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Space Solar Power Initiative

04-28-15

Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights GALCIT Harry Atwater Ares Rosakis Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

Ali Hajimiri's New Camera Chip Provides Superfine 3-D Resolution

04-06-15

To make an exact copy of an object with a 3-D printer, you must first produce a high-resolution scan of the object with a 3-D camera that measures its height, width, and depth. The most sensitive systems generally are too large and expensive to be used in consumer applications. Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, has created a new device called a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI) that is an inexpensive silicon chip less than a millimeter. The NCI provides the highest depth-measurement accuracy of any such nanophotonic 3-D imaging device. 3-D imaging may be a possible feature in future smartphones. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Ali Hajimiri

Professor Bruck Receives IEEE Data Storage Best Paper Award

03-19-15

Jehoshua Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering, and colleagues' paper entitled “Zigzag Codes: MDS Array Codes With Optimal Rebuilding” has received the 2013 best paper award from the Data Storage Technical Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The award recognizes a paper that has substantial and meaningful impact on both the theory and the practice of the existing or future data storage systems, or on emerging storage technologies that are gaining momentum. By giving these awards, the committee also motivates researchers to continue to make great original contributions to the field of data storage.

Tags: EE honors research highlights Jehoshua Bruck

Engineering and Art

03-12-15

Students in Professor Hillary Mushkin’s media arts seminar (E/H/Art 89 New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries) have once again put on a unique exhibition highlighting art and engineering. The course provides a platform for an expanded understanding of engineering and an active, project-based engagement with art history.

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Tags: EE research highlights MCE CMS Hillary Mushkin

What Is Possible in Real-World Communication Systems

09-29-14

Victoria Kostina, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, is the newest member of the EE Department.  When asked what excites her about research in information theory she states “ I love that it is very basic research, very theoretical. Once we strip away all the particularities of a given problem, we are left with a mathematical model, which is timeless. Once you solve such a problem, it stays there. But at the same time, I like that this work applies to the real world. The fact that it gives us insights into how to improve existing communication systems is a very exciting feature for me.” [Interview with Professor Kostina] [ENGenious article]

Tags: EE research highlights Victoria Kostina

Variability Keeps The Body In Balance

09-22-14

By combining heart rate data from real athletes with a branch of mathematics called control theory, John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering and colleagues have devised a way to better understand the relationship between reduced heart rate variability (HRV) and health.

"A familiar related problem is in driving," Doyle says. "To get to a destination despite varying weather and traffic conditions, any driver—even a robotic one—will change factors such as acceleration, braking, steering, and wipers. If these factors suddenly became frozen and unchangeable while the car was still moving, it would be a nearly certain predictor that a crash was imminent. Similarly, loss of heart rate variability predicts some kind of malfunction or 'crash,' often before there are any other indications," he says. [Caltech Release] [Read the Paper]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS John Doyle

Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List

09-11-14

Caltech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs have been ranked fourth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Engineering graduate programs ranked very well with second in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical, third in mechanical, third in applied math, fourth in electrical / electronic / communications, sixth in materials, and eight in environmental / environmental health. [All 2015 Caltech Rankings]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE CMS ESE Graduate school rankings

Programmed to Fold: RNA Origami

08-20-14

Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA. "RNA origami is still in its infancy," says Rothemund. "Nevertheless, I believe that RNA origami, because of their potential to be manufactured by cells, and because of the extra functionality possible with RNA, will have at least as big an impact as DNA origami." [Caltech Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health CMS Paul Rothemund

Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds

06-02-14

Tracey C. Ho, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and colleagues’ research on stateless data transmission using Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC) promises higher network speeds with an elegant mathematical approach to data error correction and redundancy. They have shown that data could be transmitted without link layer flow control bogging down throughput with retransmission requests, and also the size of the transmission can be optimized for network efficiency and application latency constraints. [Networkworld Blog]

Tags: CMS Tracey Ho research highlight

Celebrating with Professor Carver Mead

05-02-14

Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. Professor Mead is best known for his pioneering work on VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s, which made it possible to greatly increase the number of transistors placed on a single semiconductor chip. It is no exaggeration to say that the computer era we live in would not have been possible without VLSI technology. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was. "There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," Mead says. [Caltech interview] [Share Your Memories] [ENGenious article]

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Tags: EE CMS Carver Mead research highlight