News & Events


EAS Remembers Jakob van Zyl


Jakob van Zyl, Senior Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering and Aerospace, passed away on August 26, 2020 at the age of 63. He came to Caltech in 1982 and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1983 and 1986, respectively. He joined JPL in 1986 and retired in 2019 as the Director of Solar System Exploration. He was world-renowned for his research in imaging radar polarimetry. He made pioneering contributions to the design and development of many synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems, including SIR-C, SRTM, AIRSAR, TOPSAR, and GeoSAR. He held management roles at JPL including, Director for Astronomy and Physics (2006-2011), Associate Director of Project Formulation and Strategy (2011-2015), and Director of Solar System Exploration (2016-2019). He received many honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 2015 for his contributions to space missions, for being a good ambassador for Africa, and for inspiring young scientists and engineers in his home continent. Over the last two decades, he taught EE/Ae 157 Introduction to the Physics of Remote Sensing. He contributed in numerous ways to promote interactions between EAS and JPL.

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Undergraduate Fellowship Winner Will Study Artificial Intelligence and Machine-learning Applications for Health Care


Meera Krishnamoorthy, a senior in electrical engineering, has received a National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC) Fellowship that will fund up to six years of graduate training. Krishnamoorthy will be enrolling in a computer science PhD program at the University of Michigan, studying artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications for health care, such as turning complex medical data into actionable knowledge that ultimately improves patient care. "Engineering is a great way to solve problems in multiple disciplines," she says. Krishnamoorthy's interest in machine learning was sparked by coursework and a research project she worked with Professor Yisong Yue, and her academic advisor has been Professor Steven Low. [Caltech story]

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Bob McEliece Passes Away


Robert J. McEliece (BS '64, PhD '67), Caltech alumnus and Allen E. Puckett Professor and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on May 8, 2019 at the age of 76. "Bob McEliece was renowned for his contributions to a wide range of problems in information transmission and storage," said EAS Chair Ravichandran. "His contributions are drivers for numerous applications in modern communications. He was an outstanding researcher and a beloved and inspiring teacher, mentor, and colleague." [Caltech story]

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Best Paper Award


Professor Pietro Perona along with Caltech alumni David Hall and Steve Branson have won the 2018 U. V. Helava Best Paper Award from the ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Their paper “From Google Maps to a fine-grained catalog of street trees” was selected for the award. The jury described the work in the paper as “innovative, and applicable for large areas of tree classification and inventories. The developed methodology would affect practices of urban tree management globally.” [Read the paper]

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Electrical Engineering Student Selected for 2019 Knight-Hennessy Scholars Class


Kavya Sreedhar, a senior double majoring in electrical engineering and business, economics, and management, has been named to this year's class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, a graduate-level scholarship program founded by Stanford University. The program aims to develop a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. Sreedhar will receive a scholarship providing full tuition, room and board, and a living stipend while she pursues a PhD in electrical engineering. Her graduate work will be focused on circuits and hardware research for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. She is joined by 67 other students chosen from a pool of 4,424 applicants for the program's 2019 cohort. [Caltech story]

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2019 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized alumnus William Dally (PhD ’86, Computer Science) with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Dally was recognized “for his significant contributions to the architecture of interconnection networks. He developed much of the technology found in modern interconnection networks including wormhole routing, virtual-channel flow control, global adaptive routing, modern network topology, deadlock analysis, performance analysis, fault-tolerance methods, and equalized high-speed signaling.” [Caltech story] [Distinguished Lecture at Caltech]

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As artificial intelligence becomes mainstream, who will guide it?


In a recent Techer interview Electrical Engineering alumna Fei-Fei Li (PhD ’05) explains, “As we see artificial intelligence impacting the real world, it’s no longer a niche computer science, technical field. Policymakers, business leaders, educators, social scientists—they all need to take part and guide the future of A.I.” [Check out the full interview]

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EE Alumnus on Forbes 30 Under 30 List


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]

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2018 Watson Fellow


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]

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Winding Back the Clock


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]

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