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2018 Watson Fellow

03-23-18

Electrical engineering senior Michelle Wang, working with Professor Ali Hajimiri and Postdoctoral Scholar Alex Pai, has been selected to receive the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She will spend a year abroad working on a series of projects related to the augmentation of humanity through machines. "Prosthetics for children need to be flexible, durable, and need to be able to grow with the child so that they don't have to be replaced constantly," she says. "But beyond that, we want to find ways to make them proud of their prosthetics. We don't just want to give them mobility but dignity." [Caltech story]

Tags: EE honors Ali Hajimiri alumni Michelle Wang Alex Pai

Winding Back the Clock

03-12-18

Electrical Engineering alumnus Osman Kibar (BS ’93) wants to turn back time. His business, Samumed, makes drug therapies that may reboot the body’s capacity to renew damaged or diseased tissue. If these efforts pay off in full, society will see cures for everything from baldness to cancer. “Caltech showed me that there’s no reason to put arbitrary boundaries between different fields, whether it be science or business,” he says. “If you’re trying to solve a problem, you go at it with everything you’ve got—what you’ve learned in every other field.” [Breakthrough story]

Tags: EE alumni Osman Kibar

Gift Enables Transformative Advances in Health Care

03-01-18

The Heritage Medical Research Institute (HMRI), a nonprofit founded by physician and Caltech trustee Richard Merkin, has extended its partnership with Caltech for a minimum of three more years. “I firmly believe that one person can change the world. Imagine what nine, focused HMRI investigators can do for understanding, diagnosing, and treating diseases,” says Merkin, who has served on the Caltech Board of Trustees since 2007. Caltech’s current HMRI investigators include EAS Professors Hyuck Choo, and Azita Emami. [Breakthrough story]

Tags: EE MedE Hyuck Choo Azita Emami Richard Merkin

Pushing Machine-learning Technology: Creature-Cataloging Contest for Computers

03-01-18

Graduate student Grant Van Horn and postdoctoral scholars Oisin Mac Aodha, working with Professor Pietro Perona, started the iNaturalist Challenge last year, to see how much they could push machine-learning technology. The competition is now in its second year and the dataset contains over 8,000 species, with a combined training and validation set of 450,000 images that have been collected and verified by multiple users from iNaturalist. This year's competition promise to be much more challenging because there are more species and less examples for the computer to learn from. The top submissions will be invited to give talks at  CVPR, which is the premier annual computer vision event. [Enter the competition]

Tags: EE CMS Pietro Perona postdocs Grant Van Horn Oisin Mac Aodha

Professor Wang Receives Biophotonics Award

02-28-18

Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has received the 2018 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award from the Optical Society (OSA) for “invention of the world’s fastest two-dimensional receive-only camera; enabling real-time imaging of the fastest phenomena on earth.” The award recognizes individuals for their innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics, regardless of their career stage. [OSA release]

Tags: EE honors MedE Lihong Wang

Engineered Metasurfaces Replace Adhesive Tape in Specialized Microscope

02-28-18

The latest advance in a new type of optics aimed at improving microscopy started with a game of tennis three years ago between Mooseok Jang a graduate of Professor Changhuei Yang's lab and Yu Horie working with Professor Andrei Faraon. "The hope is that our work will prompt further interest in this area of optics and make this type of microscopy and its advantages feasible for practical, everyday use—not just as a proof of concept," says Josh Brake, a graduate student in Yang's lab who continues to work on the project with Faraon and Yang. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Changhuei Yang MedE alumni Andrei Faraon Mooseok Jang APh Yu Horie Josh Brake

Meet the 2017 Amazon Fellows

02-23-18

Four graduate students from the Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) Department and one from the Electrical Engineering (EE) Department have been selected as 2017 Amazon Fellows. This fellows program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon AWS around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The EE fellow is Srikanth Tenneti who is exploring the potential of deep learning for Direction of Arrival applications, and extending Ramanujan Sums based techniques for multi-dimensional periodicity extraction. CMS graduate student Navid Azizan Ruhi is researching faster optimization algorithms for machine learning.  He is looking forward to visiting Amazon AI as a fellow and exchanging ideas with their researchers. Computer science graduate student Hoang Le is developing methods for efficient and intelligent sequential decision making in realistic systems. Florian Schaefer, whose focus is applied and computational mathematics, is researching the interface of statistical estimation and the design of fast algorithms. Control and dynamical systems graduate student Ellen Feldman, working with Professor Joel Burdick, has used part of the funding to present her research at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting and looking forward to other future opportunities to share her research. 

Tags: EE honors CMS P. P. Vaidyanathan Babak Hassibi Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Navid Azizan Ruhi Hoang Le Ellen Feldman Florian Schaefer Srikanth Tenneti Houman Owhadi

Professor Kostina Receives NSF CAREER Award

02-12-18

Victoria Kostina, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, has been awarded the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for her 5-year project, “Information Theory of Dynamical Systems”. The CAREER program is NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE honors NSF CAREER NSF Victoria Kostina

Professor Wang Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

02-07-18

Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Wang was elected for "inventions in photoacoustic microscopy enabling functional, metabolic, and molecular imaging in vivo." Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education." [Caltech story] [NAE release]

Tags: EE honors MedE National Academy of Engineering Lihong Wang

Caltech and Disney Engineers Collaborate on Robotics

01-18-18

Caltech and Disney Research have entered into a joint research agreement to pioneer robotic control systems and further explore artificial intelligence technologies. Pietro Perona will work with Disney roboticist Martin Buehler to create navigation and perception software that could allow robotic characters to safely move through dense crowds and interact with people. Aaron Ames will work with Disney Research's Lanny Smoot to further explore robot autonomy and machine learning by creating objects that can self-navigate and perform stunts. Yisong Yue has been working with engineers from Disney Research on the use of machine learning to analyze the behavior of soccer players and to measure audience engagement. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights MCE CMS Pietro Perona Yisong Yue Aaron Ames