News

ECE Professor Umesh Mishra receives the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award from IEEE MTT-S

March 27th, 2017

Photo of Umesh Mishra

Mishra receives the award for his work in high-efficiency electronics from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (IEEE MTT-S)

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology. The Distinguished Educator Award recognizes an educator in the field of microwave engineering and science who exemplifies the special human qualities of the late Fred J. Rosenbaum, who considered teaching a high calling and dedicated his life to serving MTT-S and the students who study it.

“It is an honor to receive an educator award, since teaching is our primary business,” Mishra said. “We do research not only for the sake of research, but also as a means to educate, otherwise, we’d only have professional engineers working in our labs. Research is a means to a good education, so while it is thrilling to be recognized for doing good research, I feel very honored, humbled, and happy to receive this teaching award. It also makes me think of the many people in our department who deserve this as much or more than I do.”

Over the past twenty years, Mishra has played a key role in collaborative research that has led to multiple breakthroughs in LEDs at UCSB’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center, as well as in microwave and power electronics, often as part of projects funded by the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research. He is currently focused on increasing the efficiency of electronics having applications in the booming electric-vehicle industry, microwave, RADAR and communications, and the emerging Internet of Things.

UCSB College of Engineering (Article)

IEEE Award and Nomination Description

MIshra's COE Profile

ECE graduate student Arif Gungor receives 2nd place at UCSB’s Art of Science competition

March 22nd, 2017

Photo of Arif Gungor's Crack Range
Art of Science winners, including Gungor from ECE Professor Nadir Dagli’s group, share the beauty of science through imagery describing some aspect of their research. Competition sponsored by ECE Professor John Schuller’s lab and other groups.

Seeking to encourage researchers to express the joy of scientific discovery through aesthetics, UC Santa Barbara again held its Art of Science competition. About 1,400 members of the campus community voted in the fourth annual contest sponsored by ECE Professor Jon Schuller’s Lab, the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships at the California NanoSystems Institute, the College of Creative Studies and the UCSB Library.

From the 56 entries, four winners and six honorable mentions were chosen. Graduate students took win, place and show. Nicole Leung and Tyler Ogunmowo of the Craig Montell Lab received first place for “Neuronas o árboles?” Arif Gungor, who works with Nadir Dagli, vice chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded second place for “Crack Range.”

The Art of Science initiative recognizes the creative and experimental nature of science and challenges UCSB researchers to visually communicate the beauty inherent in scientific investigations. Participants in the competition use everything from photographs to spectroscopic images to data visualizations to reflect their discoveries.

All of the artwork will be exhibited at the UCSB Library beginning on July 28.

The UCSB Current — "The Aesthetics of Scientific Discovery" (full article)

Art of Science (website)

U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks UCSB’s Electrical & Computer Engineering and College of Engineering among the “2018 Best Engineering Graduate Schools”

March 20th, 2017

Photo of US News
ECE ranks #13 and the COE at #10 among public institutions

In addition to the current graduate program rankings, the magazine’s 2017 listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities” places UCSB at No. 8. Among the “Best National Universities,” which includes both public and private institutions, UCSB came in at No. 37.

“I am pleased that UC Santa Barbara’s graduate programs have once again been recognized as among the best in the world,” said Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division. “The research conducted by our graduate students across disciplines in the sciences, social sciences and humanities is both inspirational and impactful.”

Noted Rod Alferness, dean of the university’s College of Engineering: “We’re delighted at these latest U.S. News rankings for the UCSB College of Engineering, and especially for our widely recognized Materials (#3 overall and #1 public) program. Rankings always include some level of subjectivity and can only tell part of the story, and I’m extremely pleased about the entire story of UCSB engineering, where strong faculty, highly motivated students, and unwavering support for cutting-edge research combine to ensure that breakthroughs occur in every department and our graduates become thriving professionals.”

The U.S. News rankings are based on a weighted average of various measures, some specific to the particular program. The rankings generally include an assessment by peers, with measures of faculty quality and resources, student selectivity, research activity and several other factors.

Highlights of the graduate school rankings are included in the current issue of U.S. News & World Report and in the 2018 edition of its America’s Best Graduate Schools as well as on the magazine’s website.

U.S. News & World Report — "Best Graduate Schools"

The UCSB Current — "U.S. News Ranks UCSB Grad Programs Among the Top" (full article)

UCSB College of Engineering

ECE Prof. Larry Coldren’s recent research achievements published in OSA’s Optics Express and featured as a Research Highlight in Nature Photonics

March 8th, 2017

coldren research image
Coldren and his Optoelectronics Technology Center (OTC) as well as other research teams recognized for accomplishments related to “on-chip optical frequency synthesis”

Since the first demonstration in 2000, optical frequency synthesis using self-referenced optical combs have emerged worldwide for novel civilian and defense applications. Due to the large size, relative fragility, and high cost of these components and systems, however, precise optical frequency synthesis so far has been limited to lab-scale experiments. The paper in OSA’s Optics Express reports on the experimental demonstration of an agile chip-scale optical frequency synthesizer (OFS) achieved by phase-locking an on-chip widely tunable semiconductor lasers to spectrally pure optical frequency comb. New generations of optical frequency control technology could enable a wide range of applications in optical spectroscopy, gas sensing, LIDAR, portable atomic clocks, high-bandwidth and secure communications, and intrusion detection, among other areas.

The reported work is a major step towards demonstration of the true chip-scale optical frequency synthesizer with programmable <1 Hz frequency resolution, <1 cm3 volume, and <1 W electrical power consumption.  Such a system can be utilized in various microwave photonics applications, which will appeal to a broad audience both within the photonics community as well as outside.

OSA’s Optics Express is an all-electronic, open access journal for optics providing rapid publication for peer-reviewed articles that emphasize scientific and technology innovations in all aspects of optics and photonics. Nature Photonics is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. The journal covers research related to optoelectronics, laser science, and other aspects of photonics. Nature Photonics publishes review articles, research papers, News and Views pieces, and research highlights summarizing the latest scientific findings in optoelectronics.

Larry A. Coldren is the Fred Kavli Professor of Optoelectronics and Sensors at UCSB. After receiving his Ph.D. in EE from Stanford and 13 years at Bell Laboratories, he joined UCSB in 1984 where he holds appointments in the ECE and Materials and ECE. He has authored or co-authored over a thousand journal and conference papers, a number of book chapters, two textbooks, and has been issued 65 patents. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, OSA, and a recipient of the 2004 John Tyndall, 2009 Aron Kressel, and 2014 David Sarnoff Awards, as well as being a member of NAI and NAE.

“Towards chip-scale optical frequency synthesis based on optical heterodyne phase-locked loop” (Optics Express)

Chip-scale frequency synthesizer (Nature Photonics – Research Highlights)

Coldren Group

ECE Professor Kenneth Rose featured in The UCSB Current article “Reality in All Directions”

March 7th, 2017

Photo of Kenneth Rose
Electrical and computer engineering professor Kenneth Rose and his team search for better 360° video encoding

With the popularity of virtual reality surging, the potential uses of the technology widen as more applications are conceived to capitalize on its immersive nature.

But like many emerging digital innovations, one major roadblock stands in the way of its widespread adoption: the sheer amount of data that must be processed for an effective user experience.

The data generated by 360° video is a case in point. It often exceeds the bandwidth available for rapid transmission, leading to the all-too-familiar choppy output or the interruptions caused by buffering. To compensate, more sophisticated hardware can be purchased, or more precious bandwidth can be allocated — neither of which is a satisfactory solution for the host of the video, or for the consumer.

UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Kenneth Rose and his research group are poised to make things smoother. With a $40,000 gift from the company InterDigital Communications, through its charitable affiliate the Signal Foundation for Wireless Innovation, Inc., Rose and his team will investigate methods of compression to decrease both the volume of data and the time needed to process it.

“Our objective is to develop enabling technology in terms of compression, since the amount of data involved in 360 video is extensive, which as it stands would make many application scenarios impractical,” Rose said. In contrast to conventional video technology, which is projected on a flat plane, 360° video is projected on a spherical plane that encloses the viewer. And that presents unique challenges.”

The UCSB Current – "Reality in All Directions" (full article)

Rose's COE Profile

Rose's Signal Compression Lab

ECE Associate Professor Dmitri Strukov receives a 2016 Google Faculty Research Award

February 23rd, 2017

Strukov selected for the Google award for his research in systems (hardware and software)
Photo of Strukov

Professor Strukov received the award for his proposal “Fast and Energy Efficient Deep Learning Hardware Based on Floating Gate Memories.” His research focuses on the application of nonvolatile memories in neurocomputing. His group’s research is highly interdisciplinary in nature, spanning across material science, physics, electrical engineering and computer science, and involves both theoretical and experimental work.

The Google Faculty Research Awards program recognizes world-class, permanent faculty pursuing cutting-edge research in areas of mutual interest. The program provides unrestricted gifts to supports research at institutions around the world. The award is highly competitive – only 15% of applicants receive funding – and each proposal goes through a rigorous Google-wide review process.

Strukov is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He received his M.S. in applied physics and mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1999 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stony Brook University in New York in 2006. Prior to joining UCSB he worked as a postdoctoral associate at Hewlett Packard Laboratories from 2007 to 2009.

2016 Google Faculty Research Awards

Google Faculty Research Awards

Strukov Research Group

College of Engineering 50th Anniversary ‘Tell Your Story’: David Vandervoet
BSEE ’67

January 12th, 2017

Photo of D.Vandervoet

David Vandervoet graduated as an electrical engineering major in 1967 and was part of the first class ever to go through UCSB College of Engineering from freshman to senior year.

After graduating, Vandervoet began his career designing and launching major US satellites. He took some time to share his stories about the College in its early years, reflecting on the great community, protests, pranks, and how things have evolved in the last 50 years.

How many students were in the College of Engineering at the time and what was the community like?
Not sure but I would guess maybe 80-100. I was the first class to go through engineering from freshman to senior. Maybe there were 30 freshmen in my class.

What was student life at the College like in the 1960’s?
It started in the Arts Building and classes were small. We knew our professors very well. There were also a lot of protests, mostly by non-students in Isla Vista, and multiple police actions with protestors stopping us from getting to class.

What are some of the best memories you had while as a student?
Getting up the courage as a freshman to go into Dean Conrad’s office in the Arts building and meet him. I figured that I was paying part of his salary and he should know who I was. The meeting went very well. He was gruff but said he wished more students would come see him.

Dean C later invited me to his house to show me how he made violins. He imported very special wood from somewhere in Europe. He dried the wood for two years in some drying equipment that he made. He had very fine hand tools to do custom work in the violins. But what impressed me the most was that he would use an oscilloscope to tune them. He was still an engineer at heart.

Who was/were your mentor(s) as a student and how did they affect your life?
Dr. Heidbreder and Dr. Mattai. I learned theoretical communication theory from Dr. Heidbreder that got me started in the satellite business.

Is there something that happened when you went to COE that current students would have a hard time believing?
I climbed the outside bricks to the 5th floor on the end of the engineering building and taped a large sign that said “Welcome to Earl Hall” (our lab technician). Earl was a survivor of Pearl Harbor bombing and lived because he went to sleep Saturday night with his shoes on and could run across the burning deck of his ship on December 7 and dive into the water because of his shoes. He still wore his shoes to bed in the 1960s. Dean Conrad was annoyed but no one was brave enough to climb the bricks and take it down.

Tell Your COE Story! Alumni, friends, members of the community past and present, tag posts on social media with #UCSBCOE50 or submit your story online.

UCSB College of Engineering Celebrating 50th Anniversary

More College of Engineering Stories

ECE graduate student Jiahao Kang receives a Peter J. Frenkel Foundation Fellowship from UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE)

January 9th, 2017

kang and batala with the Frenkels
The 2016-17 fellowship granted to two advanced doctoral candidates, Jiahao Kang (ECE – Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group) and Megan Butala (Materials – Production & Storage Solutions Group), in recognition of their outstanding research contributions to the field of energy efficiency

Kang’s research involves developing next-generation highly-dense energy-efficient electronics utilizing 2-dimensional electronic materials, starting from in-depth materials physics to device design and finally to experimental demonstration of unique applications enabled by these materials. He is advised by Professor Kaustav Banerjee and is a member of Banerjee’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL).

Frenkel fellowships are made possible by the generous support of the Peter J. Frenkel Foundation. These highly competitive $4000 awards recognize outstanding graduate research in energy or energy efficiency by two students per academic year who have advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Jiahao Kang has authored or co-authored more than 40 papers including seven at the premier electron devices conference IEEE IEDM and has published in leading journals that include Nature, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, Physical Review X, Applied Physics Letters, IEEE Electron Device Letters and IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices.

“Institute for Energy Efficiency announces 2016 – 2017 Peter J. Frenkel Foundation fellows”

IEE Frenkel Foundation Fellowships

Kang’s Google Scholar page

Nanoelectronics Research Lab

Photonics Spectra magazine Q&A with ECE Professor John Bowers

January 6th, 2017

cover of jan 2017 issue of photonics spectra
“The Revolution Has Just Begun Q&A with John Bowers” — Photonics Spectra speaks with Bowers about The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM), his breakthrough work and the impact of integrated photonics on medicine, communications and defense.

One of the foremost names in the world of integrated photonics is John Bowers, Ph.D., who is credited with leading a team that successfully demonstrated an electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser a decade ago. That advance has paved the way for the commercial production of high-bandwidth silicon photonic devices. Today, Bowers is leading UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the AIM initiative and is a central figure in this exciting field.

Q: Could you provide us with a snapshot of where you see the state of integrated photonics at the moment?
A: Integrated photonics is transforming telecommunications and data communications. Infinera, Acacia and others are introducing new telecommunication products with much higher capacity and performance that have been enabled by integration. Intel, Luxtera, Lumentum, Finisar and others are increasing capacity and lowering cost by integration. Virtually all 100-Gbps transceivers are highly integrated, and the next generation at 400 Gbps are only possible with integration. This started with integration on InP but high volumes are now being shipped by many silicon photonics suppliers, including Intel, Luxtera, Acacia and others.

Additional Questions (see full article):

  • Please elaborate on how you feel integrated photonic circuits are likely to impact such fields as transportation, medicine and defense in the years ahead?
  • Your work in ’06/’07 successfully bonding III-V material to a silicon waveguide has been cited as one of the seminal breakthroughs in integrated photonics. A decade later, can you share your reflections on this work and some of the primary challenges you overcame?
  • Has the hybrid silicon III-V laser reached commercial viability?
  • In 2015, the AIM initiative was formed and you were tasked with heading up UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the program. Can you discuss recent advances?
  • How is integrated photonics likely to transform the world in which we live in the years and decades ahead?

Photonics Spectra is today’s leading source of technological solutions and of news and information about photonics. It is the magazine referred to worldwide by the largest audience of photonics engineers, scientists and end users. Integrating all segments of photonics, Photonics Spectra is unique in that it provides both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry.

John E. Bowers holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology, and is the Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the IEEE, OSA and the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the IEEE Photonics Award, OSA Tyndall Award, OSA Holonyak Prize, and the IEEE LEOS William Streifer Award.

Photonics Spectra magazine

UCSB West Coast Headquarters of AIM Photonics

Bowers' Optoelectronics Research Group

ECE Professor Yasamin Mostofi awarded the 2016 Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize by the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS)

December 15th, 2016

photo of yasamin mostofi
Mostofi selected for the IEEE CSS honor for her “contributions to the fundamentals of communications and control co-optimization in mobile sensor networks”

Mostofi was recognized for her research in the area of mobile sensor networks and her lab work on multi-disciplinary problems at the intersection of the two areas of control and communications. Mostofi’s current research thrusts include RF sensing, X-ray vision for robots, communication-aware robotics, human-robot networks, occupancy estimation, and see-through imaging.

The Ruberti Prize is awarded by CSS to acknowledge contributions by a researcher under the age of 40 in the broad field of systems and control. The award was established in 2005 to honor Ruberti, whose scientific interests in the field of system and control was wide-ranging and was also one of the early pioneers of geometric control methods for nonlinear systems.

Mostofi was presented the Ruberti Prize at the CSS awards ceremony on Dec. 13, 2016 during the 55th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) in Las Vegas, NV.

Along with the Ruberti Prize, she has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, and the IEEE 2012 Outstanding Engineer Award of Region 6 (more than 10 Western U.S. states) and additional awards. Her research has appeared in various reputable news outlets such as BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Engadget.

The UCSB Current – "No Robot is an Island" (Article)

IEEE CSS Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize

Mostofi’s Research