Skip to main content

Kyle Johnson and Adhyyan Narang named UW + Amazon Science Hub inaugural fellows

Recent UW ECE graduate Kyle Johnson and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows. They will each receive funding to pursue research projects and participate in summer internships alongside Amazon researchers.

Learn More

Kyle Johnson and Adhyyan Narang named UW + Amazon Science Hub inaugural fellows Banner

Professor Kai-Mei Fu leads establishment of UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering

UW ECE Professor Kai-Mei Fu led a multidisciplinary faculty group to create and implement a new graduate certificate program at the UW this fall, which prepares students to develop quantum-enabled technologies.

Learn More

Professor Kai-Mei Fu leads establishment of UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering Banner

UW ECE is hiring two tenure-track Assistant Professors!

Join world-class faculty in the vibrant city of Seattle! Applicants from all ECE areas are encouraged to apply. Application deadline is December 1.

Learn More

UW ECE is hiring two tenure-track Assistant Professors! Banner

Originating from UW research, Zap Energy is on its way to making sustainable energy from nuclear fusion a practical reality

UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson (center) is co-founder and chief technology officer of Zap Energy, a UW spinout that seeks to bring nuclear fusion power to the electrical grid.

Learn More

Originating from UW research, Zap Energy is on its way to making sustainable energy from nuclear fusion a practical reality Banner

IFDS workshop brings together data science experts to explore ways of making algorithms that learn from data more robust and resilient

The Institute for Foundations of Data Science (IFDS), led by UW ECE Professor Maryam Fazel, brought experts from across the country to the UW to focus on “distributional robustness” a promising research area in data science.

Learn More

IFDS workshop brings together data science experts to explore ways of making algorithms that learn from data more robust and resilient Banner

Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at UW ECE

Applications for the Ph.D. program at UW ECE are now open! Apply by December 15, 2022.

Learn More

Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at UW ECE Banner

News + Events

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/amazon-fellows/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/kai-mei-fu-qise-certificate/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/hiring-assistant-professors/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/zap-energy-nuclear-fusion-2022/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ifds-workshop-2022/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ph-d-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-at-uw-ece/
826uweeViewNews Object
(
    [_showAnnouncements:protected] => 
    [_showTitle:protected] => 
    [showMore] => 
    [_type:protected] => spotlight
    [_from:protected] => newsawards_landing
    [_args:protected] => Array
        (
            [post_type] => spotlight
            [meta_query] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [key] => type
                            [value] => news
                            [compare] => LIKE
                        )

                )

            [posts_per_page] => 6
            [post_status] => publish
        )

    [_jids:protected] => 
    [_taxa:protected] => Array
        (
        )

    [_meta:protected] => Array
        (
            [0] => Array
                (
                    [key] => type
                    [value] => news
                    [compare] => LIKE
                )

        )

    [_metarelation:protected] => AND
    [_results:protected] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 29205
                    [post_author] => 36
                    [post_date] => 2022-12-02 09:22:04
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2022-12-02 17:22:04
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29249" align="alignright" width="625"]Headshot of Kyle Johnson on the left and Adhyyan Narang on the right  UW ECE alum Kyle Johnson (left) and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang (right) have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows by the UW + Amazon Science Hub. Johnson is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, where he is advised by Vikram Iyer, a recent UW ECE graduate and assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Narang is advised by UW ECE Professors Lillian Ratliff and Maryam Fazel.[/caption]

Adapted from an article by UW + Amazon Science Hub

UW ECE alum Kyle Johnson and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows by the UW + Amazon Science Hub. The Science Hub is directed by Joshua Smith, who is the Milton and Delia Zeutschel Professor in Entrepreneurial Excellence at UW ECE. Johnson and Narang will receive three quarters of funding to pursue independent research projects in robotics and adjacent areas in AI. They will also have an opportunity to take part in paid summer internships at Amazon where they can work directly with Amazon researchers to gain valuable industry insight and experience.

Learn more below about Johnson and Narang's backgrounds and their research projects.

 

 

Kyle JohnsonHeadshot of Kyle Johnson

Johnson is researching autonomous robotic platforms for swarms of insect-scale devices that can crawl, roll, walk, jump, glide or fly. His work demonstrates novel solutions to the size, weight, power, sensing and communication limitations of commercially available technologies. With onboard power, sensing and control, his robots aim to culminate in fully autonomous and truly bio-inspired systems. He received his bachelor's degree from UW ECE in 2020 and master's degree from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering in 2022. Johnson is currently a third-year doctoral student at the Allen School, where he is advised by Vikram Iyer, a recent UW ECE graduate and assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Project Title: Enabling Autonomy for Insect-Scale Robots To create autonomous swarms of insect-scale robots that can fly, glide, run, jump, crawl and/or roll, Johnson has researched bio-inspired structural designs and hybrid actuation solutions to address the size, weight, power, sensing and communication limitations of robots at the sub-gram and millimeter-scale. To build robots that have onboard power, sensing and control (autonomous), Johnson and his team leverages a hybrid actuation approach with bio-inspired structural designs. Using a combination of electromagnetic solenoids, permanent magnets and the bistability demonstrated in leaf-out origami, Joshnson and his team have experimentally achieved crawling, jumping and gliding locomotion. Using a combination of mm-scale motors and piezoelectric bimorphs, they have theoretically defined the controls for devices that fly, run and roll.

Adhyyan NarangHeadshot of Adhyyan Narang

Narang is a third-year doctoral student in the labs of UW ECE Professors Lillian Ratliff and Maryam Fazel. He is interested in answering fundamental theoretical questions in supervised machine learning and reinforcement learning that can provide practical prescriptions. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering and computer science. Project Title: Multiagent reinforcement Learning for robot co-ordination In many applications, multiple robots seek to co-ordinate in order to solve tasks that are dynamically specified: for instance, robots on a warehouse floor that need to move products around, with new orders received at any time. Traditional centralized planning approaches cannot account for the dynamic nature of the tasks, and single-agent reinforcement learning solutions scale poorly with the size of the problem. Narang's team considers multiagent RL approaches that can trade-off between optimality and runtime efficiency.   Learn more about the Amazon Fellowship and the rest of the fellows here. Read more about this story on Amazon Science. [post_title] => Kyle Johnson and Adhyyan Narang named UW + Amazon Science Hub inaugural fellows [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => amazon-fellows [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-12-02 15:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-12-02 23:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29205 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29279 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2022-11-21 09:06:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-21 17:06:19 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_29287" align="alignright" width="500"]Professor Kai-Mei Fu headshot The new UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering was established fall quarter 2022 by a multidisciplinary faculty group led by Kai-Mei Fu (above). Fu is a professor of physics and of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Washington. The Certificate can be completed concurrently with a master’s or doctoral degree, and it prepares students for careers and leadership roles in fields related to development of quantum-enabled technologies. Photo by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE[/caption] This fall, a new graduate certificate program at the University of Washington began training students in an emerging, fast-growing field that blends information science based on principles of quantum mechanics with development of new technologies. The UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering provides students with a robust, interdisciplinary experience that explores how this new field relates to other areas within science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Certificate program was established by a multidisciplinary faculty group and is directed by Kai-Mei Fu, a professor of physics and of electrical and computer engineering at the UW. Fu led the group in development and implementation of the Certificate curriculum, which was designed to complement and augment students’ existing degree programs. Courses are taught by a select number of UW faculty that have a wide range of expertise in the field. The Certificate can be completed concurrently with a master’s or doctoral degree, and it prepares students for careers and leadership roles in fields related to development of quantum-enabled technologies. “The people who tend to be drawn to this program are students who have been hearing about quantum information, realize the impact scalable quantum computing systems can have and want to understand how their discipline can actually help make this impact a reality,” Fu said. “If you want to make a difference in this field, then you need a solid base. And if you want to get that base, then you should get the Certificate.”

Interdisciplinary curriculum for graduate students

[caption id="attachment_29292" align="alignright" width="300"]Microsoft Azure logo Students in the program will have access to quantum cloud computers through Microsoft Azure, which will allow them to run experiments and explore how real quantum devices behave in practice.[/caption] The student cohort pursuing the Certificate is very diverse, being over 35 percent women and bringing together 60 students from five different departments on campus. Most students are research trainees in the National Science Foundation-funded Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies program; however, the Certificate program is open to any UW graduate student who has met the required prerequisites. The program is an especially good fit for students interested in quantum information science who are studying electrical and computer engineering, physics, computer science and engineering, chemistry, or materials science and engineering. The program curriculum is structured to enhance a graduate student’s research focus. “This fall, we have three intro courses in the Certificate program that target the expertise of the people we’re training,” Fu said. “We have Introduction to Quantum Information Science and Engineering for Chemists and Materials Scientists, which is offered through the chemistry department, Quantum Information offered through the physics department, and Introduction to Quantum Computing taught through the Allen School. All these courses work together, and any one of them can be a student’s first introductory course.” [caption id="attachment_29290" align="alignleft" width="350"]Professor Kai-Mei Fu working on a device in the lab Fu is director of the Quantum Defect Laboratory at the UW and co-chair of UW QuantumX, which brings together quantum information science and engineering researchers and educators from across campus. Fu’s strong network and connections, along with support from colleagues, enabled the Certificate program to be quickly established. (Above) Fu inspecting equipment in the Quantum Defect Laboratory. Photo by Dennis Wise | University of Washington[/caption] Students in the program will have access to quantum cloud computers through Microsoft Azure, which will allow them to run experiments and explore how real quantum devices behave in practice. They will also gain experience participating in team-based projects that are important to the field and relevant to future employers. Courses that explore cross-disciplinary topics, such as EE 500Q: Quantum Information Science and Engineering Seminar (offered during winter quarter at UW ECE), are at the heart of the Certificate program. EE 500Q provides weekly presentations from quantum scientists across multiple disciplines, covering industry, academia and National Laboratory experiences while exposing students to potential research and career directions. The Certificate program also offers opportunities to make connections with many other people working on quantum-enabled technologies. Fu said that these connections could help students better understand where their own research might fit into a broader picture. Fu added that the projects and teamwork, along with the program courses, help to create a common language between different disciplines.
“If you want to make a difference in this field, then you need a solid base. And if you want to get that base, then you should get the Certificate.” — Professor Kai-Mei Fu
“The reason why an interdisciplinary approach to quantum information science and engineering is important is that, right now, there are challenges at every single level of the quantum hardware stack,” Fu said. “So, if we think of the materials that are developed that go into the devices, the devices that go into the architecture and that on the architecture you’re running software, which is an implementation of some algorithm, you can see how the entire stack is connected. Everything needs to be co-designed and developed together to optimize and maximize performance in these systems.” The need to develop a workforce with interdisciplinary expertise in this emerging field was behind the idea for the Certificate program itself. Fu talked about the growing demand for those with a strong background in quantum information science and engineering and that National Laboratories, in particular, are eager to hire people with skills in this area. “Potential employers need really good electrical engineers, computer scientists, chemists and physicists that understand quantum information science and engineering,” Fu said. “Based on that knowledge, it became clear to me and my colleagues that a certificate program, something that could augment a graduate-level degree and demonstrate expertise connected to the individual’s primary research focus, would best serve our students.”

Taught by outstanding faculty at a world-class university

[caption id="attachment_29296" align="alignright" width="500"]Headshots of professors Arka Majumdar, Sara Mouradian, Rahul Trivedi UW ECE professors Arka Majumdar, Sara Mouradian and Rahul Trivedi (from left to right) are instructors in the Certificate program. Majumdar also co-chairs UW QuantumX alongside Fu, and Mouradian will be leading the graduate-level Quantum Information Practicum, which brings students together into teams to work on academic and industry-sponsored projects.[/caption] To that end, Fu and her colleagues assembled a team of UW faculty who are leaders in their respective areas of expertise to teach this new curriculum. Fu noted the enthusiasm and support across campus for the Certificate, which enabled the program to be quickly established to meet the needs of a rapidly advancing field. “The University of Washington has very open, curious and bold faculty who are willing and able to expand research directions across different disciplines,” Fu said. “Even in universities that have had a strong footprint in quantum for a long time, it’s been in specific departments. What is exciting here is that we span a number of University units and departments.” Fu is a faculty member of the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute, the Clean Energy Institute and the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems. These sorts of cross-campus connections, combined with co-chairing UW QuantumX alongside Arka Majumdar, an instructor in the Certificate program who is a UW associate professor of physics and of electrical and computer engineering, provided Fu with a strong network to draw from. “QuantumX supports research, training and curriculum development in this area,” Fu said. “Many of the core faculty in the Certificate program are also active faculty in QuantumX. So, it’s all part of a rich ecosystem on campus in quantum information science and engineering.” [caption id="attachment_29299" align="alignleft" width="450"]Close up of a crystal being targeted by a laser in Fu's lab As director of the Quantum Defects Lab, Fu’s research focuses on identifying and controlling the quantum properties of point defects in crystals, which has potential applications for both information and sensing technologies. Students pursuing the Certificate stand to benefit from Fu’s expertise as well as that of her colleagues teaching in the Certificate program. Photo by Dennis Wise | University of Washington[/caption] The Certificate program has received critical support from the UW College of Engineering, which in 2020 launched a cross-departmental faculty cluster hire in quantum information science and technology. The initiative included new faculty hires in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, the UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering and the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. At UW ECE, the cluster hire brought on board assistant professors Sara Mouradian and Rahul Trivedi. Both faculty members are instructors in the Certificate program, and Mouradian will be leading the graduate-level Quantum Information Practicum, which brings students together into teams to work on academic and industry-sponsored projects. “I’m excited to teach this capstone course,” Mouradian said. “It’s rare to have such a hands-on course at the graduate level, and it will be a great opportunity for students to take the information they’ve learned in the Certificate program and put it into practice while gaining exposure to industry and National Labs.” Fu noted that studies led by the National Science Foundation have shown that participating in smaller, independent team projects early in a doctoral degree program can help to accelerate completion of the degree. So, one of the Certificate program’s aims will be to teach graduate students project management and team skills in quantum information science and engineering early in their academic careers. Fu said that there was excitement among faculty about this new capstone course, and combined with other courses in the Certificate program, what will be offered to graduate students overall. “We’ve built a really serious program in this area, one that is at the forefront of research and education,” Fu said. “Our students will receive a solid foundation, and they are going to go out and make an impact in this field when they graduate.” To learn more, visit the UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering webpage on the QuantumX website. UW students interested in and eligible for the program should contact Program Coordinator Madeline Miller for information or to notify intent to pursue the Certificate. [post_title] => Professor Kai-Mei Fu leads establishment of UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => kai-mei-fu-qise-certificate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-21 09:14:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-21 17:14:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29279 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29190 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2022-11-17 10:13:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-17 18:13:49 [post_content] => Want to teach at one of the top universities in the world? UW ECE is hiring two tenure-track assistant professors! The positions are full-time, multi-year appointments with 9-month service periods and with an anticipated start date of September 1, 2023. For full consideration, applicants must submit all materials no later than December 1. Apply here!   [post_title] => UW ECE is hiring two tenure-track Assistant Professors! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => hiring-assistant-professors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-17 10:13:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-17 18:13:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29190 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29098 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2022-11-02 17:42:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-03 00:42:21 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_29100" align="alignright" width="625"]From left to right: UW ECE alumni Steve Zwaller, UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson, UW ECE Professional Master's Program student Daniel Garratt, standing next to each other in front of equipment at Zap Energy UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson (center) is co-founder and chief technology officer of Zap Energy, a UW spinout that seeks to bring nuclear fusion power to the electrical grid. The company’s 80+ employees include UW ECE alumnus Steve Zwaller (left) and UW ECE Professional Master’s Program student Daniel Garratt (right). Photo by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE[/caption] When most people hear the words “nuclear power,” it is nuclear fission that first comes to mind — often represented in the news by pictures of massive, concrete power plants and cooling towers. This type of energy production is capable of producing enormous amounts of electricity from splitting atoms, and it is considered by the U.S. Department of Energy to be a clean, sustainable power source. However, this method of generating nuclear energy is not without serious downsides. The types of nuclear power plants we are familiar with are expensive to construct and politically difficult to build because of ongoing environmental and public safety concerns. These power plants generate waste that remains highly radioactive for hundreds, or even thousands, of years and must be put into safe storage. Partial plant meltdowns have occurred in places such as Three-Mile Island, Pennsylvania and Fukushima, Japan, seriously damaging surrounding areas, and in some cases, such as Chernobyl in Pripyat, Ukraine, rendering them completely uninhabitable for humans. And as the world has recently been reminded in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, nuclear power plants can become wartime targets. That is why for decades, scientists and engineers have been working toward developing nuclear fusion, which does not have these downsides and differs from fission in many important ways. The first and perhaps most fundamental difference is that nuclear fission splits heavy elements, such as uranium, into lighter ones to generate energy. Whereas nuclear fusion is a process of combining — or fusing — lighter elements, such as deuterium, into heavier ones. Both processes yield millions of times more energy per mass of fuel than other conventional power sources such as burning coal, oil or gas. But fusion can create almost four times more energy per mass of fuel than fission. Fusion is also carbon-free, produces virtually no radioactivity as compared to fission and it can be generated within a much smaller reactor. Fusion also promises to be an inexpensive form of energy production because its fuel source, hydrogen isotopes, are found in water and are vastly abundant in our world’s oceans.
"We are aiming, through nuclear fusion, to quickly get a non-carbon producing, clean form of electrical energy on the grid, one that has nearly limitless fuel available." — UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson, co-founder and chief technology officer of Zap Energy
Now, because of recent advances in technology and the growing threat of climate change, the race is on to make nuclear fusion power a practical reality, and UW spinout Zap Energy is well-positioned to come out ahead. The company, co-founded in 2017 by UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson, UW Aeronautics & Astronautics Professor Uri Shumlak, and entrepreneurial investor Benj Conway, is in the midst of building an affordable, compact and scalable fusion reactor. Their unique approach promises to be one of the most commercially viable solutions to achieving nuclear fusion power because of technology they developed at the UW in cooperation with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. [caption id="attachment_29103" align="alignleft" width="600"]Two male employees working on the Zap Energy nuclear reactor prototype Zap Energy employees working on development of the company’s FuZE-Q reactor. Most approaches to nuclear fusion today are using building-sized devices that contain huge magnets or lasers. In contrast, Zap Energy’s device is compact, which makes it attractive to public utility companies and more practical for widespread, real-world implementation. Photo courtesy of Zap Energy[/caption] “Our goal is to bring fusion power to the electrical grid,” said Nelson, who is chief technology officer at Zap Energy. “We have a different approach than the mainstream, and I don’t know how you could compete with the simplicity of our reactor. If we are successful, and I think we will be, this promises to offer real hope for humanity, a way to significantly address climate change and replace fossil fuels.” Zap Energy is working hard toward that goal. The company has offices in Mukilteo and Everett, Washington, where over 80 employees, including UW ECE Professional Master’s Program student Daniel Garratt and UW ECE alumnus Steve Zwaller (BSEE ‘84), are developing reactor prototypes and bringing Nelson’s vision to life. “I’ve been able to directly apply what I’ve learned in every class I’ve taken so far at UW ECE to my work here,” said Garratt, who is a high-voltage research engineer for Zap Energy. “I think nuclear fusion is going to be the sort of thing people won’t notice changing their lives until it has already done so. But it will have an undeniably positive effect on people’s lives and the planet.” “The potential of what this could do for the world motivated me. I read about what the company was doing, and it was a no-brainer. I decided to join,” added Zwaller, a senior facilities manager at Zap Energy who postponed his retirement so he could become part of the startup. “I’m really into sustainability. Knowing that we’re going to come up with a low or carbon-free power source, that did it for me.”

Zap Energy’s approach to fusion

[caption id="attachment_29105" align="alignright" width="600"]artist's illustration of the inside of Zap Energy's nuclear reactor prototype An artist’s rendering of the fusion reaction that takes place within Zap Energy’s FuZE-Q reactor. This device uses pulses of electrical current traveling along a central column, which creates a strong magnetic field that confines, compresses and heats plasma to the point of generating fusion. Illustration courtesy of Zap Energy[/caption] A nuclear fusion reactor mimics natural processes in stars like our sun, where gravity fuses together hydrogen atoms to create helium, producing light and generating enormous amounts of energy. Engineering fusion has been likened by some to ‘creating a star in a bottle.’ Huge amounts of heat and pressure are involved, and therein lies one of the key reasons why nuclear fusion has proven to be so challenging for scientists and engineers to produce. Generating sustained fusion reactions in a system that creates more energy than it requires to operate, and capturing that energy in an efficient way, has proven over the years to be confoundingly difficult. The two main approaches to nuclear fusion today either use magnetic fields to confine and compress a plasma gas to the point where fusion occurs or use lasers to heat hydrogen isotopes in a contained environment, generating shock waves that trigger fusion. A number of huge devices and facilities have been built to this end, such as the ITER tokamak in southern France and the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, but as of yet, none have been able to generate more power than what was required to create the fusion reaction itself. Zap Energy is taking a different approach. Rather than using large magnets or lasers, they have developed a compact device that uses pulses of electrical current traveling along a central column. This creates a strong magnetic field that confines, compresses and heats plasma to the point of generating fusion. In engineering, this method is considered a “Z-pinch” because the electrical current pinches the plasma along the Z axis of a normal, three-dimensional graph. A Z-pinch plasma flow is prone to instability, but the device compensates for that by producing a plasma flow that varies across the column radius — an approach Zap Energy calls “sheared-flow stabilization.” It’s akin to traveling in the middle lane on the freeway and being unable to change lanes because of cars zooming past on both sides. “Z-pinch has long been an appealing way to achieve nuclear fusion, but for many years researchers considered Z-pinch’s plasma instabilities to be an insurmountable challenge,” said Shumlak, Zap Energy’s chief science officer, in a June 2022 press release. “We’ve shown through both simulation and experiment that sheared flows can stabilize fusion plasmas, and that the stability should extend to a commercially viable scale.” This unique approach keeps plasma compressed and fusion reactions confined for longer periods of time than previous Z-pinch models have been able to achieve. And that puts what scientists and engineers call ‘scientific breakeven’ — where energy input equals the device’s energy output — within reach for the company. Achieving breakeven, both scientifically and from an engineering standpoint, will be key for Zap Energy to realize its vision of bringing fusion power to the electrical grid.

Hope for humanity

[caption id="attachment_29106" align="alignright" width="600"]Detailed illustration of Zap Energy reactor prototype An illustration showing the inner workings of Zap Energy’s FuZE-Q reactor. Deuterium gas is injected into the acceleration region of the reactor, where electrodes pulse, removing electrons from the deuterium atoms. This creates a plasma, which picks up speed as it moves into the far end of the column (right) where the electrical current generates a strong, stable magnetic field that confines, compresses and heats the plasma — using a method known as a Z-pinch — to the point of generating fusion. Illustration courtesy of Zap Energy[/caption] The company’s new Fusion Z-pinch Experimental reactor prototype, known as FuZE-Q, is currently under development to bring Zap Energy closer to that breakeven goal. This new system is being optimized for the high levels of electrical current needed to reach the equivalent of scientific breakeven. The company estimates that it will need to produce 650kA (kiloamperes) of electrical current to achieve this. Last year, they reached 500kA, which was a big accomplishment, and the limit of their hardware capabilities at the time. “FuZE-Q is the fourth generation of Z-pinch device that we’ve built and is undoubtedly the most ambitious,” Nelson noted in the company’s recent press release. “We designed it to be versatile, resilient and tunable in lots of ways that will be critical as we ramp to higher currents, temperatures and densities. Looking forward, one of the most important goals for the company will be to confirm through experiments and demonstrations that their Z-pinch technology remains stable as it is subjected to higher amounts of electrical current. Nelson said that he is confident their equipment will meet that test and confirm simulations that predict the plasma will maintain its stability. Then, the next step after achieving scientific breakeven will be to build another reactor capable of surpassing engineering breakeven, where the power generated by the device substantially exceeds what is needed to produce the fusion reaction. If things go as planned, the company aspires to reach that goal by 2026. “We are aiming, through nuclear fusion, to quickly get a non-carbon producing, clean form of electrical energy on the grid, one that has nearly limitless fuel available,” Nelson said. “The economic and environmental benefits will be huge, and because fuel is virtually limitless and easy to access, fusion holds the potential to reduce political strife between nations. It could even power space travel someday. Our device is compact, scalable and mass-producible. With those things in mind, nuclear fusion is a realistic hope for humanity, and I believe it is the future.” Learn more about UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson on his UW ECE bio page, and find information about Zap Energy on the company website. [post_title] => Originating from UW research, Zap Energy is on its way to making sustainable energy from nuclear fusion a practical reality [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => zap-energy-nuclear-fusion-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-02 17:52:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-03 00:52:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29098 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28926 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2022-10-26 16:36:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-26 23:36:35 [post_content] => Article by Wayne Gillam, Photos by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_28931" align="alignright" width="600"]Large group of people sitting, posing for a photo on the rooftop deck of the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, with Husky Stadium in the background Participants in the Institute for Foundations of Data Science’s 2022 IFDS Workshop on Distributional Robustness in Data Science. The event was held in early August on the UW campus at the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering.[/caption] Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the mathematical algorithms that underpin these technologies affect our lives every day. For example, recommender systems within Netflix and Spotify learn our interests and serve up movies and music accordingly, natural language processing within assistants such as Siri and Alexa help to interpret our vocal commands, and facial recognition technology helps to find and sort our photos on social media. AI and machine learning are also used in a wide range of areas with important impacts to individuals and communities, such as health care, banking and online security. However, many of the algorithms within AI and machine learning applications in use today are not as resilient to shifts in data and changes in the operating environment as they could be. Typical algorithms often assume that the data they work with follows a fixed distribution. But in reality, this data distribution is constantly changing and shifting because of a variety of factors, such as algorithms being deployed in a complex environment that changes over time, underreported or missing data, or even human responses to decisions an algorithm makes. These real-world complications can result in unexpected and negative outcomes such as errors in decisions and algorithmic biases, which can cause some population groups to be favored over others.
"Machine learning algorithms are used everywhere, and they’re used in settings without full knowledge from a theoretical standpoint of how they will work." — Maryam Fazel, UW ECE Moorthy Family Professor and IFDS Director
A big question that researchers are grappling with today is whether algorithms could be designed to adapt to such changes and handle the corresponding effects with minimal disruption. Could major failures and unintended consequences that arise when data distribution changes be prevented? And if so, how well could this be accomplished? Finding satisfactory answers to these questions could help make AI and machine learning algorithms more reliable and adaptable to the real world, preventing many of the thorny issues described above. [caption id="attachment_28940" align="alignleft" width="500"]Stephen Wright and Samory Kpotufe talking in the event reception room at the IFDS workshop IFDS Wisconsin site director Stephen Wright (left) and Columbia University professor Samory Kpotufe (right) having a lively discussion at the workshop. “Creating a sense of community is so important in an endeavor like IFDS,” Wright said. “It brings together people with different perspectives and creates the right conditions for interesting new research to emerge.”[/caption] The Institute for Foundations of Data Science recently brought mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and other data science experts to the University of Washington campus to discuss ways of addressing these questions at the IFDS Workshop on Distributional Robustness in Data Science, which was held in early August at the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. As its name suggests, the workshop focused on exploring “distributional robustness.” This is a promising framework and research area in data science aimed at addressing complex shifts and changes in data, which are fielded by automated devices and processes such as the algorithms used in AI and machine learning. “It is a key challenge in machine-learning data science and AI nowadays because machine learning algorithms are used everywhere, and they’re used in settings without full knowledge from a theoretical standpoint of how they will work,” said UW ECE Moorthy Family Professor Maryam Fazel, who is the director of the IFDS and a member of the workshop’s steering committee. “From the IFDS’ perspective, this workshop directly ties into our research mission, and it is well aligned with three of four core themes we are exploring at the Institute — data robustness, closed-loop data science and ethics in algorithms. We are very excited about the new ideas that are inspired by the workshop.”
“Distributional robustness presents challenges but also opportunities to think about both purely technical aspects and socio-technical aspects of data science" — Professor Zaid Harchaoui, UW Department of Statistics, IFDS workshop Program Chair
The IFDS is funded by the National Science Foundation, and it is a collaboration between the UW and the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison, California Santa Cruz, and Chicago. The mission of the Institute is to develop a principled approach to the analysis of complex, automated, decision-making algorithms and ever larger and potentially biased data sets that play an increasingly important role in industry, government and academia. “Workshops are a vital annual activity of the IFDS because they give us the opportunity to focus on an area of particular interest across the Institute and to engage the wider data science community by inviting experts to speak,” said Stephen Wright, who is a computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, IFDS’ Wisconsin site director and also a member of the workshop’s steering committee. “Creating a sense of community is so important in an endeavor like IFDS. It brings together people with different perspectives and creates the right conditions for interesting new research to emerge.”

New research collaborations, a unique educational experience

[caption id="attachment_28936" align="alignright" width="550"]People sitting, listening to a speaker at the IFDS 2022 workshop The workshop brought mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and other data science experts to the University of Washington campus. Attendees noted that they benefited from hearing how challenges in data science were being addressed from different points of view[/caption] Speakers and attendees came to the workshop from institutions of higher learning across the country, and UW ECE, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, the UW Department of Mathematics, and the UW Department of Statistics were all well-represented at the event. Invited speakers were from a wide range of academic disciplines and well over half of the invited speakers were female or from underrepresented minority groups. The talks covered theoretical, technical and socio-technical aspects of distributional robustness. “Distributional robustness presents challenges but also opportunities to think about both purely technical aspects and socio-technical aspects of data science,” said Zaid Harchaoui, who is a professor in the UW Department of Statistics, an IFDS founding member and part of the Institute’s leadership, and the workshop’s program chair. “Many creative advances in the area of distributional robustness are made by young researchers, and the workshop program reflected this.” He added, “We announced the event across many research and education communities to reach out to a broad and diverse audience.”
“Bringing in experts to all speak about a central theme, especially in person, has a way of sparking conversations and research directions that would not have otherwise happened.” — Assistant Professor Kevin Jamieson, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
Attendees noted that they benefited from hearing how challenges in data science were being addressed from different points of view. Several of the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers gave software demonstrations, which introduced new research tools to the broader group. The workshop itself provided a forum for discussion and starting new research collaborations, as well as a unique opportunity for participants to better understand distributional robustness from many different angles. “The presence of so many experts gave me a wider perspective on the problem, particularly the statistical aspects,” Wright said. “The talks were all high quality. I was inspired to keep working on this topic of distributional robustness in close collaboration with IFDS postdocs and faculty.” “Bringing in experts to all speak about a central theme, especially in person, has a way of sparking conversations and research directions that would not have otherwise happened,” said Kevin Jamieson, a workshop attendee, member of the IFDS leadership team and an assistant professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “Students and I are already following up on ideas discussed at the workshop with other participants, and there is no telling what long-term research contributions and collaborations will result.” Abstracts and full videos of all talks from this workshop can be found on the event website. Information about other Institute events and activities is available at the IFDS website. [post_title] => IFDS workshop brings together data science experts to explore ways of making algorithms that learn from data more robust and resilient [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ifds-workshop-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-26 16:50:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-26 23:50:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=28926 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28289 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 15:57:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 22:57:07 [post_content] => Want to further your education, start a research career and invent the next life-changing technology? Earn a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Washington! Our Ph.D. program prepares students to impact the future and address challenges in IT, healthcare, energy, the environment, communication and more. Do incredible research with distinguished ECE faculty in the vibrant Pacific Northwest city of Seattle! Diverse applicants from ECE, computer science, math, physics and other disciplines welcomed. Four years of guaranteed funding for all admitted candidates. GRE not required. Applications are currently open and close on December 15, 2022. Application waivers available. For questions regarding eligibility, please email grad@ece.uw.edu. Learn more about the program and apply here! [post_title] => Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at UW ECE [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ph-d-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-at-uw-ece [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 15:57:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 22:57:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=28289 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [_numposts:protected] => 6 [_rendered:protected] => 1 [_classes:protected] => Array ( [0] => view-block [1] => block--spotlight-robust-news ) [_finalHTML:protected] =>
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/amazon-fellows/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/kai-mei-fu-qise-certificate/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/hiring-assistant-professors/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/zap-energy-nuclear-fusion-2022/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ifds-workshop-2022/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ph-d-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-at-uw-ece/
[_postID:protected] => 184 [_errors:protected] => Array ( ) [_block:protected] => [_db:protected] => WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [post_type] => spotlight [meta_query] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [key] => type [value] => news [compare] => LIKE ) ) [posts_per_page] => 6 [post_status] => publish ) [query_vars] => Array ( [post_type] => spotlight [meta_query] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [key] => type [value] => news [compare] => LIKE ) ) [posts_per_page] => 6 [post_status] => publish [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [orderby] => menu_order [order] => ASC [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => ) [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [queried_terms] => Array ( ) [primary_table] => wp_posts [primary_id_column] => ID ) [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [key] => type [value] => news [compare] => LIKE ) [relation] => OR ) [relation] => AND [meta_table] => wp_postmeta [meta_id_column] => post_id [primary_table] => wp_posts [primary_id_column] => ID [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( [0] => wp_postmeta ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( [wp_postmeta] => Array ( [key] => type [value] => news [compare] => LIKE [compare_key] => = [alias] => wp_postmeta [cast] => CHAR ) ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts INNER JOIN wp_postmeta ON ( wp_posts.ID = wp_postmeta.post_id ) WHERE 1=1 AND ( ( wp_postmeta.meta_key = 'type' AND wp_postmeta.meta_value LIKE '{9f62da7f6991a220c7af15320cdab61213ba89cd1bc29b1bd5efb5e6f88a9d52}news{9f62da7f6991a220c7af15320cdab61213ba89cd1bc29b1bd5efb5e6f88a9d52}' ) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'spotlight' AND ((wp_posts.post_status = 'publish')) GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.menu_order ASC LIMIT 0, 6 [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29205 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2022-12-02 09:22:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-12-02 17:22:04 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29249" align="alignright" width="625"]Headshot of Kyle Johnson on the left and Adhyyan Narang on the right UW ECE alum Kyle Johnson (left) and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang (right) have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows by the UW + Amazon Science Hub. Johnson is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, where he is advised by Vikram Iyer, a recent UW ECE graduate and assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Narang is advised by UW ECE Professors Lillian Ratliff and Maryam Fazel.[/caption] Adapted from an article by UW + Amazon Science Hub UW ECE alum Kyle Johnson and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows by the UW + Amazon Science Hub. The Science Hub is directed by Joshua Smith, who is the Milton and Delia Zeutschel Professor in Entrepreneurial Excellence at UW ECE. Johnson and Narang will receive three quarters of funding to pursue independent research projects in robotics and adjacent areas in AI. They will also have an opportunity to take part in paid summer internships at Amazon where they can work directly with Amazon researchers to gain valuable industry insight and experience. Learn more below about Johnson and Narang's backgrounds and their research projects.    

Kyle JohnsonHeadshot of Kyle Johnson

Johnson is researching autonomous robotic platforms for swarms of insect-scale devices that can crawl, roll, walk, jump, glide or fly. His work demonstrates novel solutions to the size, weight, power, sensing and communication limitations of commercially available technologies. With onboard power, sensing and control, his robots aim to culminate in fully autonomous and truly bio-inspired systems. He received his bachelor's degree from UW ECE in 2020 and master's degree from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering in 2022. Johnson is currently a third-year doctoral student at the Allen School, where he is advised by Vikram Iyer, a recent UW ECE graduate and assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Project Title: Enabling Autonomy for Insect-Scale Robots To create autonomous swarms of insect-scale robots that can fly, glide, run, jump, crawl and/or roll, Johnson has researched bio-inspired structural designs and hybrid actuation solutions to address the size, weight, power, sensing and communication limitations of robots at the sub-gram and millimeter-scale. To build robots that have onboard power, sensing and control (autonomous), Johnson and his team leverages a hybrid actuation approach with bio-inspired structural designs. Using a combination of electromagnetic solenoids, permanent magnets and the bistability demonstrated in leaf-out origami, Joshnson and his team have experimentally achieved crawling, jumping and gliding locomotion. Using a combination of mm-scale motors and piezoelectric bimorphs, they have theoretically defined the controls for devices that fly, run and roll.

Adhyyan NarangHeadshot of Adhyyan Narang

Narang is a third-year doctoral student in the labs of UW ECE Professors Lillian Ratliff and Maryam Fazel. He is interested in answering fundamental theoretical questions in supervised machine learning and reinforcement learning that can provide practical prescriptions. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering and computer science. Project Title: Multiagent reinforcement Learning for robot co-ordination In many applications, multiple robots seek to co-ordinate in order to solve tasks that are dynamically specified: for instance, robots on a warehouse floor that need to move products around, with new orders received at any time. Traditional centralized planning approaches cannot account for the dynamic nature of the tasks, and single-agent reinforcement learning solutions scale poorly with the size of the problem. Narang's team considers multiagent RL approaches that can trade-off between optimality and runtime efficiency.   Learn more about the Amazon Fellowship and the rest of the fellows here. Read more about this story on Amazon Science. [post_title] => Kyle Johnson and Adhyyan Narang named UW + Amazon Science Hub inaugural fellows [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => amazon-fellows [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-12-02 15:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-12-02 23:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29205 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29279 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2022-11-21 09:06:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-21 17:06:19 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_29287" align="alignright" width="500"]Professor Kai-Mei Fu headshot The new UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering was established fall quarter 2022 by a multidisciplinary faculty group led by Kai-Mei Fu (above). Fu is a professor of physics and of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Washington. The Certificate can be completed concurrently with a master’s or doctoral degree, and it prepares students for careers and leadership roles in fields related to development of quantum-enabled technologies. Photo by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE[/caption] This fall, a new graduate certificate program at the University of Washington began training students in an emerging, fast-growing field that blends information science based on principles of quantum mechanics with development of new technologies. The UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering provides students with a robust, interdisciplinary experience that explores how this new field relates to other areas within science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Certificate program was established by a multidisciplinary faculty group and is directed by Kai-Mei Fu, a professor of physics and of electrical and computer engineering at the UW. Fu led the group in development and implementation of the Certificate curriculum, which was designed to complement and augment students’ existing degree programs. Courses are taught by a select number of UW faculty that have a wide range of expertise in the field. The Certificate can be completed concurrently with a master’s or doctoral degree, and it prepares students for careers and leadership roles in fields related to development of quantum-enabled technologies. “The people who tend to be drawn to this program are students who have been hearing about quantum information, realize the impact scalable quantum computing systems can have and want to understand how their discipline can actually help make this impact a reality,” Fu said. “If you want to make a difference in this field, then you need a solid base. And if you want to get that base, then you should get the Certificate.”

Interdisciplinary curriculum for graduate students

[caption id="attachment_29292" align="alignright" width="300"]Microsoft Azure logo Students in the program will have access to quantum cloud computers through Microsoft Azure, which will allow them to run experiments and explore how real quantum devices behave in practice.[/caption] The student cohort pursuing the Certificate is very diverse, being over 35 percent women and bringing together 60 students from five different departments on campus. Most students are research trainees in the National Science Foundation-funded Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies program; however, the Certificate program is open to any UW graduate student who has met the required prerequisites. The program is an especially good fit for students interested in quantum information science who are studying electrical and computer engineering, physics, computer science and engineering, chemistry, or materials science and engineering. The program curriculum is structured to enhance a graduate student’s research focus. “This fall, we have three intro courses in the Certificate program that target the expertise of the people we’re training,” Fu said. “We have Introduction to Quantum Information Science and Engineering for Chemists and Materials Scientists, which is offered through the chemistry department, Quantum Information offered through the physics department, and Introduction to Quantum Computing taught through the Allen School. All these courses work together, and any one of them can be a student’s first introductory course.” [caption id="attachment_29290" align="alignleft" width="350"]Professor Kai-Mei Fu working on a device in the lab Fu is director of the Quantum Defect Laboratory at the UW and co-chair of UW QuantumX, which brings together quantum information science and engineering researchers and educators from across campus. Fu’s strong network and connections, along with support from colleagues, enabled the Certificate program to be quickly established. (Above) Fu inspecting equipment in the Quantum Defect Laboratory. Photo by Dennis Wise | University of Washington[/caption] Students in the program will have access to quantum cloud computers through Microsoft Azure, which will allow them to run experiments and explore how real quantum devices behave in practice. They will also gain experience participating in team-based projects that are important to the field and relevant to future employers. Courses that explore cross-disciplinary topics, such as EE 500Q: Quantum Information Science and Engineering Seminar (offered during winter quarter at UW ECE), are at the heart of the Certificate program. EE 500Q provides weekly presentations from quantum scientists across multiple disciplines, covering industry, academia and National Laboratory experiences while exposing students to potential research and career directions. The Certificate program also offers opportunities to make connections with many other people working on quantum-enabled technologies. Fu said that these connections could help students better understand where their own research might fit into a broader picture. Fu added that the projects and teamwork, along with the program courses, help to create a common language between different disciplines.
“If you want to make a difference in this field, then you need a solid base. And if you want to get that base, then you should get the Certificate.” — Professor Kai-Mei Fu
“The reason why an interdisciplinary approach to quantum information science and engineering is important is that, right now, there are challenges at every single level of the quantum hardware stack,” Fu said. “So, if we think of the materials that are developed that go into the devices, the devices that go into the architecture and that on the architecture you’re running software, which is an implementation of some algorithm, you can see how the entire stack is connected. Everything needs to be co-designed and developed together to optimize and maximize performance in these systems.” The need to develop a workforce with interdisciplinary expertise in this emerging field was behind the idea for the Certificate program itself. Fu talked about the growing demand for those with a strong background in quantum information science and engineering and that National Laboratories, in particular, are eager to hire people with skills in this area. “Potential employers need really good electrical engineers, computer scientists, chemists and physicists that understand quantum information science and engineering,” Fu said. “Based on that knowledge, it became clear to me and my colleagues that a certificate program, something that could augment a graduate-level degree and demonstrate expertise connected to the individual’s primary research focus, would best serve our students.”

Taught by outstanding faculty at a world-class university

[caption id="attachment_29296" align="alignright" width="500"]Headshots of professors Arka Majumdar, Sara Mouradian, Rahul Trivedi UW ECE professors Arka Majumdar, Sara Mouradian and Rahul Trivedi (from left to right) are instructors in the Certificate program. Majumdar also co-chairs UW QuantumX alongside Fu, and Mouradian will be leading the graduate-level Quantum Information Practicum, which brings students together into teams to work on academic and industry-sponsored projects.[/caption] To that end, Fu and her colleagues assembled a team of UW faculty who are leaders in their respective areas of expertise to teach this new curriculum. Fu noted the enthusiasm and support across campus for the Certificate, which enabled the program to be quickly established to meet the needs of a rapidly advancing field. “The University of Washington has very open, curious and bold faculty who are willing and able to expand research directions across different disciplines,” Fu said. “Even in universities that have had a strong footprint in quantum for a long time, it’s been in specific departments. What is exciting here is that we span a number of University units and departments.” Fu is a faculty member of the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute, the Clean Energy Institute and the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems. These sorts of cross-campus connections, combined with co-chairing UW QuantumX alongside Arka Majumdar, an instructor in the Certificate program who is a UW associate professor of physics and of electrical and computer engineering, provided Fu with a strong network to draw from. “QuantumX supports research, training and curriculum development in this area,” Fu said. “Many of the core faculty in the Certificate program are also active faculty in QuantumX. So, it’s all part of a rich ecosystem on campus in quantum information science and engineering.” [caption id="attachment_29299" align="alignleft" width="450"]Close up of a crystal being targeted by a laser in Fu's lab As director of the Quantum Defects Lab, Fu’s research focuses on identifying and controlling the quantum properties of point defects in crystals, which has potential applications for both information and sensing technologies. Students pursuing the Certificate stand to benefit from Fu’s expertise as well as that of her colleagues teaching in the Certificate program. Photo by Dennis Wise | University of Washington[/caption] The Certificate program has received critical support from the UW College of Engineering, which in 2020 launched a cross-departmental faculty cluster hire in quantum information science and technology. The initiative included new faculty hires in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, the UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering and the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. At UW ECE, the cluster hire brought on board assistant professors Sara Mouradian and Rahul Trivedi. Both faculty members are instructors in the Certificate program, and Mouradian will be leading the graduate-level Quantum Information Practicum, which brings students together into teams to work on academic and industry-sponsored projects. “I’m excited to teach this capstone course,” Mouradian said. “It’s rare to have such a hands-on course at the graduate level, and it will be a great opportunity for students to take the information they’ve learned in the Certificate program and put it into practice while gaining exposure to industry and National Labs.” Fu noted that studies led by the National Science Foundation have shown that participating in smaller, independent team projects early in a doctoral degree program can help to accelerate completion of the degree. So, one of the Certificate program’s aims will be to teach graduate students project management and team skills in quantum information science and engineering early in their academic careers. Fu said that there was excitement among faculty about this new capstone course, and combined with other courses in the Certificate program, what will be offered to graduate students overall. “We’ve built a really serious program in this area, one that is at the forefront of research and education,” Fu said. “Our students will receive a solid foundation, and they are going to go out and make an impact in this field when they graduate.” To learn more, visit the UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering webpage on the QuantumX website. UW students interested in and eligible for the program should contact Program Coordinator Madeline Miller for information or to notify intent to pursue the Certificate. [post_title] => Professor Kai-Mei Fu leads establishment of UW Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => kai-mei-fu-qise-certificate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-21 09:14:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-21 17:14:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29279 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29190 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2022-11-17 10:13:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-17 18:13:49 [post_content] => Want to teach at one of the top universities in the world? UW ECE is hiring two tenure-track assistant professors! The positions are full-time, multi-year appointments with 9-month service periods and with an anticipated start date of September 1, 2023. For full consideration, applicants must submit all materials no later than December 1. Apply here!   [post_title] => UW ECE is hiring two tenure-track Assistant Professors! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => hiring-assistant-professors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-17 10:13:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-17 18:13:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29190 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29098 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2022-11-02 17:42:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-03 00:42:21 [post_content] => By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_29100" align="alignright" width="625"]From left to right: UW ECE alumni Steve Zwaller, UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson, UW ECE Professional Master's Program student Daniel Garratt, standing next to each other in front of equipment at Zap Energy UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson (center) is co-founder and chief technology officer of Zap Energy, a UW spinout that seeks to bring nuclear fusion power to the electrical grid. The company’s 80+ employees include UW ECE alumnus Steve Zwaller (left) and UW ECE Professional Master’s Program student Daniel Garratt (right). Photo by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE[/caption] When most people hear the words “nuclear power,” it is nuclear fission that first comes to mind — often represented in the news by pictures of massive, concrete power plants and cooling towers. This type of energy production is capable of producing enormous amounts of electricity from splitting atoms, and it is considered by the U.S. Department of Energy to be a clean, sustainable power source. However, this method of generating nuclear energy is not without serious downsides. The types of nuclear power plants we are familiar with are expensive to construct and politically difficult to build because of ongoing environmental and public safety concerns. These power plants generate waste that remains highly radioactive for hundreds, or even thousands, of years and must be put into safe storage. Partial plant meltdowns have occurred in places such as Three-Mile Island, Pennsylvania and Fukushima, Japan, seriously damaging surrounding areas, and in some cases, such as Chernobyl in Pripyat, Ukraine, rendering them completely uninhabitable for humans. And as the world has recently been reminded in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, nuclear power plants can become wartime targets. That is why for decades, scientists and engineers have been working toward developing nuclear fusion, which does not have these downsides and differs from fission in many important ways. The first and perhaps most fundamental difference is that nuclear fission splits heavy elements, such as uranium, into lighter ones to generate energy. Whereas nuclear fusion is a process of combining — or fusing — lighter elements, such as deuterium, into heavier ones. Both processes yield millions of times more energy per mass of fuel than other conventional power sources such as burning coal, oil or gas. But fusion can create almost four times more energy per mass of fuel than fission. Fusion is also carbon-free, produces virtually no radioactivity as compared to fission and it can be generated within a much smaller reactor. Fusion also promises to be an inexpensive form of energy production because its fuel source, hydrogen isotopes, are found in water and are vastly abundant in our world’s oceans.
"We are aiming, through nuclear fusion, to quickly get a non-carbon producing, clean form of electrical energy on the grid, one that has nearly limitless fuel available." — UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson, co-founder and chief technology officer of Zap Energy
Now, because of recent advances in technology and the growing threat of climate change, the race is on to make nuclear fusion power a practical reality, and UW spinout Zap Energy is well-positioned to come out ahead. The company, co-founded in 2017 by UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson, UW Aeronautics & Astronautics Professor Uri Shumlak, and entrepreneurial investor Benj Conway, is in the midst of building an affordable, compact and scalable fusion reactor. Their unique approach promises to be one of the most commercially viable solutions to achieving nuclear fusion power because of technology they developed at the UW in cooperation with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. [caption id="attachment_29103" align="alignleft" width="600"]Two male employees working on the Zap Energy nuclear reactor prototype Zap Energy employees working on development of the company’s FuZE-Q reactor. Most approaches to nuclear fusion today are using building-sized devices that contain huge magnets or lasers. In contrast, Zap Energy’s device is compact, which makes it attractive to public utility companies and more practical for widespread, real-world implementation. Photo courtesy of Zap Energy[/caption] “Our goal is to bring fusion power to the electrical grid,” said Nelson, who is chief technology officer at Zap Energy. “We have a different approach than the mainstream, and I don’t know how you could compete with the simplicity of our reactor. If we are successful, and I think we will be, this promises to offer real hope for humanity, a way to significantly address climate change and replace fossil fuels.” Zap Energy is working hard toward that goal. The company has offices in Mukilteo and Everett, Washington, where over 80 employees, including UW ECE Professional Master’s Program student Daniel Garratt and UW ECE alumnus Steve Zwaller (BSEE ‘84), are developing reactor prototypes and bringing Nelson’s vision to life. “I’ve been able to directly apply what I’ve learned in every class I’ve taken so far at UW ECE to my work here,” said Garratt, who is a high-voltage research engineer for Zap Energy. “I think nuclear fusion is going to be the sort of thing people won’t notice changing their lives until it has already done so. But it will have an undeniably positive effect on people’s lives and the planet.” “The potential of what this could do for the world motivated me. I read about what the company was doing, and it was a no-brainer. I decided to join,” added Zwaller, a senior facilities manager at Zap Energy who postponed his retirement so he could become part of the startup. “I’m really into sustainability. Knowing that we’re going to come up with a low or carbon-free power source, that did it for me.”

Zap Energy’s approach to fusion

[caption id="attachment_29105" align="alignright" width="600"]artist's illustration of the inside of Zap Energy's nuclear reactor prototype An artist’s rendering of the fusion reaction that takes place within Zap Energy’s FuZE-Q reactor. This device uses pulses of electrical current traveling along a central column, which creates a strong magnetic field that confines, compresses and heats plasma to the point of generating fusion. Illustration courtesy of Zap Energy[/caption] A nuclear fusion reactor mimics natural processes in stars like our sun, where gravity fuses together hydrogen atoms to create helium, producing light and generating enormous amounts of energy. Engineering fusion has been likened by some to ‘creating a star in a bottle.’ Huge amounts of heat and pressure are involved, and therein lies one of the key reasons why nuclear fusion has proven to be so challenging for scientists and engineers to produce. Generating sustained fusion reactions in a system that creates more energy than it requires to operate, and capturing that energy in an efficient way, has proven over the years to be confoundingly difficult. The two main approaches to nuclear fusion today either use magnetic fields to confine and compress a plasma gas to the point where fusion occurs or use lasers to heat hydrogen isotopes in a contained environment, generating shock waves that trigger fusion. A number of huge devices and facilities have been built to this end, such as the ITER tokamak in southern France and the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, but as of yet, none have been able to generate more power than what was required to create the fusion reaction itself. Zap Energy is taking a different approach. Rather than using large magnets or lasers, they have developed a compact device that uses pulses of electrical current traveling along a central column. This creates a strong magnetic field that confines, compresses and heats plasma to the point of generating fusion. In engineering, this method is considered a “Z-pinch” because the electrical current pinches the plasma along the Z axis of a normal, three-dimensional graph. A Z-pinch plasma flow is prone to instability, but the device compensates for that by producing a plasma flow that varies across the column radius — an approach Zap Energy calls “sheared-flow stabilization.” It’s akin to traveling in the middle lane on the freeway and being unable to change lanes because of cars zooming past on both sides. “Z-pinch has long been an appealing way to achieve nuclear fusion, but for many years researchers considered Z-pinch’s plasma instabilities to be an insurmountable challenge,” said Shumlak, Zap Energy’s chief science officer, in a June 2022 press release. “We’ve shown through both simulation and experiment that sheared flows can stabilize fusion plasmas, and that the stability should extend to a commercially viable scale.” This unique approach keeps plasma compressed and fusion reactions confined for longer periods of time than previous Z-pinch models have been able to achieve. And that puts what scientists and engineers call ‘scientific breakeven’ — where energy input equals the device’s energy output — within reach for the company. Achieving breakeven, both scientifically and from an engineering standpoint, will be key for Zap Energy to realize its vision of bringing fusion power to the electrical grid.

Hope for humanity

[caption id="attachment_29106" align="alignright" width="600"]Detailed illustration of Zap Energy reactor prototype An illustration showing the inner workings of Zap Energy’s FuZE-Q reactor. Deuterium gas is injected into the acceleration region of the reactor, where electrodes pulse, removing electrons from the deuterium atoms. This creates a plasma, which picks up speed as it moves into the far end of the column (right) where the electrical current generates a strong, stable magnetic field that confines, compresses and heats the plasma — using a method known as a Z-pinch — to the point of generating fusion. Illustration courtesy of Zap Energy[/caption] The company’s new Fusion Z-pinch Experimental reactor prototype, known as FuZE-Q, is currently under development to bring Zap Energy closer to that breakeven goal. This new system is being optimized for the high levels of electrical current needed to reach the equivalent of scientific breakeven. The company estimates that it will need to produce 650kA (kiloamperes) of electrical current to achieve this. Last year, they reached 500kA, which was a big accomplishment, and the limit of their hardware capabilities at the time. “FuZE-Q is the fourth generation of Z-pinch device that we’ve built and is undoubtedly the most ambitious,” Nelson noted in the company’s recent press release. “We designed it to be versatile, resilient and tunable in lots of ways that will be critical as we ramp to higher currents, temperatures and densities. Looking forward, one of the most important goals for the company will be to confirm through experiments and demonstrations that their Z-pinch technology remains stable as it is subjected to higher amounts of electrical current. Nelson said that he is confident their equipment will meet that test and confirm simulations that predict the plasma will maintain its stability. Then, the next step after achieving scientific breakeven will be to build another reactor capable of surpassing engineering breakeven, where the power generated by the device substantially exceeds what is needed to produce the fusion reaction. If things go as planned, the company aspires to reach that goal by 2026. “We are aiming, through nuclear fusion, to quickly get a non-carbon producing, clean form of electrical energy on the grid, one that has nearly limitless fuel available,” Nelson said. “The economic and environmental benefits will be huge, and because fuel is virtually limitless and easy to access, fusion holds the potential to reduce political strife between nations. It could even power space travel someday. Our device is compact, scalable and mass-producible. With those things in mind, nuclear fusion is a realistic hope for humanity, and I believe it is the future.” Learn more about UW ECE Research Professor Emeritus Brian Nelson on his UW ECE bio page, and find information about Zap Energy on the company website. [post_title] => Originating from UW research, Zap Energy is on its way to making sustainable energy from nuclear fusion a practical reality [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => zap-energy-nuclear-fusion-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-02 17:52:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-03 00:52:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29098 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28926 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2022-10-26 16:36:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-26 23:36:35 [post_content] => Article by Wayne Gillam, Photos by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_28931" align="alignright" width="600"]Large group of people sitting, posing for a photo on the rooftop deck of the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, with Husky Stadium in the background Participants in the Institute for Foundations of Data Science’s 2022 IFDS Workshop on Distributional Robustness in Data Science. The event was held in early August on the UW campus at the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering.[/caption] Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the mathematical algorithms that underpin these technologies affect our lives every day. For example, recommender systems within Netflix and Spotify learn our interests and serve up movies and music accordingly, natural language processing within assistants such as Siri and Alexa help to interpret our vocal commands, and facial recognition technology helps to find and sort our photos on social media. AI and machine learning are also used in a wide range of areas with important impacts to individuals and communities, such as health care, banking and online security. However, many of the algorithms within AI and machine learning applications in use today are not as resilient to shifts in data and changes in the operating environment as they could be. Typical algorithms often assume that the data they work with follows a fixed distribution. But in reality, this data distribution is constantly changing and shifting because of a variety of factors, such as algorithms being deployed in a complex environment that changes over time, underreported or missing data, or even human responses to decisions an algorithm makes. These real-world complications can result in unexpected and negative outcomes such as errors in decisions and algorithmic biases, which can cause some population groups to be favored over others.
"Machine learning algorithms are used everywhere, and they’re used in settings without full knowledge from a theoretical standpoint of how they will work." — Maryam Fazel, UW ECE Moorthy Family Professor and IFDS Director
A big question that researchers are grappling with today is whether algorithms could be designed to adapt to such changes and handle the corresponding effects with minimal disruption. Could major failures and unintended consequences that arise when data distribution changes be prevented? And if so, how well could this be accomplished? Finding satisfactory answers to these questions could help make AI and machine learning algorithms more reliable and adaptable to the real world, preventing many of the thorny issues described above. [caption id="attachment_28940" align="alignleft" width="500"]Stephen Wright and Samory Kpotufe talking in the event reception room at the IFDS workshop IFDS Wisconsin site director Stephen Wright (left) and Columbia University professor Samory Kpotufe (right) having a lively discussion at the workshop. “Creating a sense of community is so important in an endeavor like IFDS,” Wright said. “It brings together people with different perspectives and creates the right conditions for interesting new research to emerge.”[/caption] The Institute for Foundations of Data Science recently brought mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and other data science experts to the University of Washington campus to discuss ways of addressing these questions at the IFDS Workshop on Distributional Robustness in Data Science, which was held in early August at the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. As its name suggests, the workshop focused on exploring “distributional robustness.” This is a promising framework and research area in data science aimed at addressing complex shifts and changes in data, which are fielded by automated devices and processes such as the algorithms used in AI and machine learning. “It is a key challenge in machine-learning data science and AI nowadays because machine learning algorithms are used everywhere, and they’re used in settings without full knowledge from a theoretical standpoint of how they will work,” said UW ECE Moorthy Family Professor Maryam Fazel, who is the director of the IFDS and a member of the workshop’s steering committee. “From the IFDS’ perspective, this workshop directly ties into our research mission, and it is well aligned with three of four core themes we are exploring at the Institute — data robustness, closed-loop data science and ethics in algorithms. We are very excited about the new ideas that are inspired by the workshop.”
“Distributional robustness presents challenges but also opportunities to think about both purely technical aspects and socio-technical aspects of data science" — Professor Zaid Harchaoui, UW Department of Statistics, IFDS workshop Program Chair
The IFDS is funded by the National Science Foundation, and it is a collaboration between the UW and the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison, California Santa Cruz, and Chicago. The mission of the Institute is to develop a principled approach to the analysis of complex, automated, decision-making algorithms and ever larger and potentially biased data sets that play an increasingly important role in industry, government and academia. “Workshops are a vital annual activity of the IFDS because they give us the opportunity to focus on an area of particular interest across the Institute and to engage the wider data science community by inviting experts to speak,” said Stephen Wright, who is a computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, IFDS’ Wisconsin site director and also a member of the workshop’s steering committee. “Creating a sense of community is so important in an endeavor like IFDS. It brings together people with different perspectives and creates the right conditions for interesting new research to emerge.”

New research collaborations, a unique educational experience

[caption id="attachment_28936" align="alignright" width="550"]People sitting, listening to a speaker at the IFDS 2022 workshop The workshop brought mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and other data science experts to the University of Washington campus. Attendees noted that they benefited from hearing how challenges in data science were being addressed from different points of view[/caption] Speakers and attendees came to the workshop from institutions of higher learning across the country, and UW ECE, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, the UW Department of Mathematics, and the UW Department of Statistics were all well-represented at the event. Invited speakers were from a wide range of academic disciplines and well over half of the invited speakers were female or from underrepresented minority groups. The talks covered theoretical, technical and socio-technical aspects of distributional robustness. “Distributional robustness presents challenges but also opportunities to think about both purely technical aspects and socio-technical aspects of data science,” said Zaid Harchaoui, who is a professor in the UW Department of Statistics, an IFDS founding member and part of the Institute’s leadership, and the workshop’s program chair. “Many creative advances in the area of distributional robustness are made by young researchers, and the workshop program reflected this.” He added, “We announced the event across many research and education communities to reach out to a broad and diverse audience.”
“Bringing in experts to all speak about a central theme, especially in person, has a way of sparking conversations and research directions that would not have otherwise happened.” — Assistant Professor Kevin Jamieson, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
Attendees noted that they benefited from hearing how challenges in data science were being addressed from different points of view. Several of the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers gave software demonstrations, which introduced new research tools to the broader group. The workshop itself provided a forum for discussion and starting new research collaborations, as well as a unique opportunity for participants to better understand distributional robustness from many different angles. “The presence of so many experts gave me a wider perspective on the problem, particularly the statistical aspects,” Wright said. “The talks were all high quality. I was inspired to keep working on this topic of distributional robustness in close collaboration with IFDS postdocs and faculty.” “Bringing in experts to all speak about a central theme, especially in person, has a way of sparking conversations and research directions that would not have otherwise happened,” said Kevin Jamieson, a workshop attendee, member of the IFDS leadership team and an assistant professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “Students and I are already following up on ideas discussed at the workshop with other participants, and there is no telling what long-term research contributions and collaborations will result.” Abstracts and full videos of all talks from this workshop can be found on the event website. Information about other Institute events and activities is available at the IFDS website. [post_title] => IFDS workshop brings together data science experts to explore ways of making algorithms that learn from data more robust and resilient [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ifds-workshop-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-26 16:50:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-26 23:50:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=28926 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28289 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 15:57:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 22:57:07 [post_content] => Want to further your education, start a research career and invent the next life-changing technology? Earn a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Washington! Our Ph.D. program prepares students to impact the future and address challenges in IT, healthcare, energy, the environment, communication and more. Do incredible research with distinguished ECE faculty in the vibrant Pacific Northwest city of Seattle! Diverse applicants from ECE, computer science, math, physics and other disciplines welcomed. Four years of guaranteed funding for all admitted candidates. GRE not required. Applications are currently open and close on December 15, 2022. Application waivers available. For questions regarding eligibility, please email grad@ece.uw.edu. Learn more about the program and apply here! [post_title] => Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at UW ECE [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ph-d-in-electrical-and-computer-engineering-at-uw-ece [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 15:57:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 22:57:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=28289 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29205 [post_author] => 36 [post_date] => 2022-12-02 09:22:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-12-02 17:22:04 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29249" align="alignright" width="625"]Headshot of Kyle Johnson on the left and Adhyyan Narang on the right UW ECE alum Kyle Johnson (left) and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang (right) have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows by the UW + Amazon Science Hub. Johnson is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, where he is advised by Vikram Iyer, a recent UW ECE graduate and assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Narang is advised by UW ECE Professors Lillian Ratliff and Maryam Fazel.[/caption] Adapted from an article by UW + Amazon Science Hub UW ECE alum Kyle Johnson and UW ECE doctoral student Adhyyan Narang have been named inaugural Amazon Fellows by the UW + Amazon Science Hub. The Science Hub is directed by Joshua Smith, who is the Milton and Delia Zeutschel Professor in Entrepreneurial Excellence at UW ECE. Johnson and Narang will receive three quarters of funding to pursue independent research projects in robotics and adjacent areas in AI. They will also have an opportunity to take part in paid summer internships at Amazon where they can work directly with Amazon researchers to gain valuable industry insight and experience. Learn more below about Johnson and Narang's backgrounds and their research projects.    

Kyle JohnsonHeadshot of Kyle Johnson

Johnson is researching autonomous robotic platforms for swarms of insect-scale devices that can crawl, roll, walk, jump, glide or fly. His work demonstrates novel solutions to the size, weight, power, sensing and communication limitations of commercially available technologies. With onboard power, sensing and control, his robots aim to culminate in fully autonomous and truly bio-inspired systems. He received his bachelor's degree from UW ECE in 2020 and master's degree from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering in 2022. Johnson is currently a third-year doctoral student at the Allen School, where he is advised by Vikram Iyer, a recent UW ECE graduate and assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Project Title: Enabling Autonomy for Insect-Scale Robots To create autonomous swarms of insect-scale robots that can fly, glide, run, jump, crawl and/or roll, Johnson has researched bio-inspired structural designs and hybrid actuation solutions to address the size, weight, power, sensing and communication limitations of robots at the sub-gram and millimeter-scale. To build robots that have onboard power, sensing and control (autonomous), Johnson and his team leverages a hybrid actuation approach with bio-inspired structural designs. Using a combination of electromagnetic solenoids, permanent magnets and the bistability demonstrated in leaf-out origami, Joshnson and his team have experimentally achieved crawling, jumping and gliding locomotion. Using a combination of mm-scale motors and piezoelectric bimorphs, they have theoretically defined the controls for devices that fly, run and roll.

Adhyyan NarangHeadshot of Adhyyan Narang

Narang is a third-year doctoral student in the labs of UW ECE Professors Lillian Ratliff and Maryam Fazel. He is interested in answering fundamental theoretical questions in supervised machine learning and reinforcement learning that can provide practical prescriptions. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering and computer science. Project Title: Multiagent reinforcement Learning for robot co-ordination In many applications, multiple robots seek to co-ordinate in order to solve tasks that are dynamically specified: for instance, robots on a warehouse floor that need to move products around, with new orders received at any time. Traditional centralized planning approaches cannot account for the dynamic nature of the tasks, and single-agent reinforcement learning solutions scale poorly with the size of the problem. Narang's team considers multiagent RL approaches that can trade-off between optimality and runtime efficiency.   Learn more about the Amazon Fellowship and the rest of the fellows here. Read more about this story on Amazon Science. [post_title] => Kyle Johnson and Adhyyan Narang named UW + Amazon Science Hub inaugural fellows [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => amazon-fellows [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-12-02 15:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-12-02 23:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=29205 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 826 [max_num_pages] => 138 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => 1 [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => c64914061c8ecf9b16abe746203f6ad7 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) ) )
More News
More News Electrical Engineering Kaleidoscope Electrical Engineering eNews