News & Events


EE students Win $100K Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships


Professor Babak Hassibi’s students Kishore Jaganathan, and Christos Thrampoulidis as well as Professor Pietro Perona’s students Ron Appel, and Krzysztof Chalupka, have won the 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Jaganathan, and Thrampoulidis’ proposal is entitled Interference Alignment via Matrix Completion for Cellular Networks and Network Coding. Appel, and Chalupka’s proposal is entitled Energy-Efficient Multiclass Classification for Visual Applications on Mobile Devices.  Each winner will receive a $100K fellowship. This year there were 137 submissions and only 9 winners have been announced. Caltech is the only school to have two winning teams. [List of Winners]

Tags: EE honors Pietro Perona Babak Hassibi Kishore Jaganathan Christos Thrampoulidis Ron Appel Krzysztof Chalupka

Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser


William Bridges, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, discovered and patented the Argon ion laser on February 14, 1964, while at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today noble gas (argon, krypton, xenon) lasers are used in a variety of applications including DNA sequencers, cell sorters, eye surgery, and laser light shows. Professor Bridges' research work with lasers involved an airborne night reconnaissance system (AN/AVD-3), space communications systems, early high power laser weapons (the carbon dioxide gas dynamic laser), and hydrogen maser clocks for the global positioning system. He also holds the patent for the Ionized Noble Gas Laser. [Oral History of Prof. Bridges]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights EAS history William Bridges

50th Anniversary of the Launch of the First Geostationary Satellite


On July 26, 1963 Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Harold A. Rosen (MS 1948 EE, PhD 1951 EE) and his team at the defense electronics laboratories of Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City overcame technical and political hurdles to successfully launch the first geostationary satellite, Syncom. Dr. Harold A. Rosen has earned worldwide recognition for his pioneering work in the field of communications satellites and is known as “the father of the geostationary satellite” in that he formed and led the team that designed and built Syncom, and subsequently, as Vice President, went on to help build the world’s largest communications satellite business at Hughes Aircraft Company. [LA Times Article] [Video of Presentation at EE Centennial]

Tags: EE EAS history alumni Harold Rosen

Professor Martel Passes Away


Hardy C. Martel, Professor of Electrical Engineering, emeritus, passed away on March 29 at his home in Altadena. He was 85. "He was one of the first at Caltech to do research on information science and communications technology," says Roy Gould, the Simon Ramo Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, a lifelong friend and colleague of Martel. "His strength was in his basic, intuitive grasp of ideas and how things worked." [Caltech Feature] [E&S Article in pdf]

Tags: EE EAS history Hardy Martel Roy Gould

Weak Electrical Fields in the Brain Help Neurons Fire Together


Costas Anastassiou, a postdoctoral scholar working with Professor Christof Koch, and colleagues have found that coordinated behavior occurs in the brain whether or not neurons are actually connected via synapses.  To tease out the effects, Anastassiou and his colleagues, focused on strong but slowly oscillating fields, called local field potentials (LFP), that arise from neural circuits composed of just a few rat brain cells.  Measuring those fields and their effects required positioning a cluster of tiny electrodes within a volume equivalent to that of a single cell body—and at distances of less than 50 millionths of a meter from one another. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch Costas Anastassiou postdocs

Christof Koch and Pietro Perona Found that Human Decisions are Influenced by Both Value and Saliency


Christof Koch, Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues' research on decision making and visual saliency has found that human decisions are influenced by both value and saliency in a way that is consistent with the ideal Bayesian observer. [Abstract]

Tags: EE research highlights Pietro Perona Christof Koch

Melissa Saenz and Christof Koch Show that Sight Recovery After Blindness Offers New Insights on Brain Reorganization


Studies of the brains of blind persons whose sight was partially restored later in life have produced a compelling example of the brain's ability to adapt to new circumstances and rewire and reconfigure itself. The research, conducted by postdoctoral researcher Melissa Saenz along with Christof Koch, the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and professor of computation and neural systems, and their colleagues, shows that the part of the brain that processes visual information in normal individuals can be co-opted to respond to both visual and auditory information. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch postdocs

Christof Koch and Colleagues Find Pupil Dilation Marks Decision Making


Christof Koch, the Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, and his colleagues, have found that changes in pupil diameter correspond to the moment when a simple decision is made. The pupil, which is about 2 mm wide in bright light, dilated by as much as 1 mm at that moment--a change that, in theory, could be noticeable to a casual observer. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch