Thanks to Professor Pietro Perona and his graduate students including Grant Van Horn and Sara Beery, the next wildlife photo you snap might set you on a path to helping map life on Earth. “The whole web, this huge repository of wonderful information, is indexed by words,” Perona says. “But when we have an image—a visual query—we don’t know what to do unless there is an expert next to us. We’ve gotten so numb to the idea that we’ll never find the answer out.” [Breakthrough story]
Fei Chen (BS ’11 EE) is on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for “building better microscopy technologies … that could help explain how complex tissues like the brain, made of a large collection of diverse cell types, are organized.” As an Electrical Engineering undergraduate student at Caltech Fei Chen was an Axline Merit Scholar for his outstanding record of personal and academic accomplishments. Currently he is a Principal Investigator at the Broad Institute, Harvard-MIT. [Forbes 30 Under 30 Full List]
Professor Ali Hajimiri and colleagues have developed a new optical gyroscope that is 500 times smaller than the current state-of-the-art device, yet they can detect phase shifts that are 30 times smaller than those systems. Their device achieves this improved performance by using a new technique called "reciprocal sensitivity enhancement." In this case, "reciprocal" means that it affects both beams of the light inside the gyroscope in the same way. [Caltech story]
Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, explores how nonlinear photonics, a field of optics, enables a broad range of previously less-explored opportunities for using lasers and light detectors for a variety of purposes, including molecular sensing and computing. One possible application of his work is in breath analysis. He describes, “ there's a lot of useful information about your health contained in your breath, but it is difficult to analyze because the concentrations are so low. To overcome that, you could analyze the spectra of exhaled breath using lasers, searching for the spectral "fingerprints," or signatures, that reveal the presence of those compounds.” [Interview with Professor Marandi]
In a letter to the Caltech community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, the Caltech President emphasizes the role this key group plays at the Institute. He stated, “Caltech's mission of world-leading research and education depends crucially on our postdoctoral scholars. Although their time at Caltech may be short, they quickly become vital parts of the Institute's intellectual fabric.” [President’s Letter] [EAS Postdoc Resource Page]
Professor Azita Emami’s work in high-speed data communications has led to a breakthrough that could spare millions of people the need to prick themselves with needles. As she engineers a more connected world, she also is working to make it a healthier one. Professor Emami doesn’t draw a line between the different endeavors. “Electronic systems for cell phones and computers are very, very advanced,” she explains. “So why not take the knowledge we have gained developing those technologies and find ways to apply it toward solutions in medicine?” [Breakthrough story]
Ryan Monroe, advised by Greg Hallinan is a winner of this year's Milton and Francis Clauser Doctoral Prize, for his thesis "Gigahertz Bandwidth and Nanosecond Timescales: New Frontiers in Radio Astronomy through Peak Performance Signal Processing." The Clauser Prize is awarded to students whose PhD thesis reflects "extraordinary standards of quality, innovative research, ingenuity, and especially the potential of opening new avenues of human thought and endeavor."
Behrooz Abiri, advised by Ali Hajimiri is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Silicon Integrated Arrays: From Microwave to IR." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.
Graduate students Ehsan Abbasi and Fariborz Salehi, working with Professor Babak Hassibi, have won a 2018 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. They proposed a new algorithm for data recovery in Massive MIMO systems, which has a near optimal performance while being computationally efficient. Massive MIMO is the key enabler in the upcoming 5G data networks which promise considerably higher data rates in future generations of wireless networks. This year there were 174 submissions to Qualcomm for the fellowship and only 8 winning teams were chosen. Each winning team will be awarded a $100K fellowship and receive mentorship from Qualcomm engineers. [List of winners]
Electrical engineering student Shuqing (Erica) Chen, advised by Professor Michelle Effros, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is interested in information theory and communication theory and is working on analyzing lossless source coding in the finite blocklength regime with unknown numbers of transmitters. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record in their discipline.