November 2014 Newsletter

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Greetings from West Lafayette

The fall semester is a favorite time for many on Purdue’s campus. Students return re-energized and excited to share news of summer travel and internships and happy to reunite with friends and professors. The whole campus seems alive with a new sense of vitality.ECE head Ragu Balakrishnan

Returning students recognized physical changes to campus with the opening of state-of-the-art ECE facilities in the new Seng-Liang Wang Hall. This expansion helps to make room for our school’s growing faculty as we take part in an initiative to expand the College of Engineering.

We are proud of the work of our department’s students and faculty. Recently, a pair of ECE graduate students were recognized for their dynamic video on cell phone technology. Separately, a graduate research group developed a modified smartphone to help prevent falls in people with compromised balance.  These are just two examples of how ECEs are contributing to the future of engineering.

As always, we welcome your feedback and appreciate your continued interest in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue.


V. Ragu Balakrishnan
Michael and Katherine Birck Head
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Seng-Liang Wang Hall Dedication

Wang Hall dedication On September 19, Purdue and the Purdue Research Foundation dedicated the new $38.9 million Seng-Liang Wang Hall, named for the father of Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Patrick Wang. ECE will use 40 percent of the building for research laboratories and offices, forming the third leg of the “ECE triangle” with the Electrical Engineering Building and the Materials and Electrical Engineering Building across the street.

Wang Hall offers advanced laboratory space that will support ECE research including:
* Power, energy and sustainability, especially for bulk power systems, and the next generation of marine, aerospace and vehicular power and propulsion systems.
* Nanodevices, with a focus on electronic transport in nanostructures.
* Circuit design for radio frequency (RF)/mixed-signal/analog circuits and systems for wireless communications and biomedical applications.
* On-chip electromagnetics focusing on computational electromagnetic solutions for next-generation circuit design.
* Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), adaptive radio electronics and sensors with applications ranging from medical devices to smartphone.

2014 new Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty

Stanley Chan Stanley Chan's research interests include signal and image Processing, applied statistics, and large-scale numerical optimization. Before joining Purdue, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and a master's degree in mathematics from the University of California at San Diego. He obtained his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Hong Kong. Chan is a recipient of the Croucher Foundation Fellowship for Postdoctoral Research, and the Croucher Foundation Scholarship for full-time overseas Ph.D. studies.
Felix Xiaozhu Lin
Felix Xiaozhu Lin works with low-level software for exploiting emerging hardware features. His past work has focused on mobile and wearable systems, the early adopters of heterogeneous hardware. He strives to meet users' ever-increasing (and sometimes unreasonable) demands: lightning-fast UI, always-on devices, and long-lasting batteries. One of his recent projects, the K2 mobile OS, won the best paper award of ASPLOS' 14. Lin received his Ph.D. at Rice University, and his bachelor's and master's from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. During his Ph.D. research, he worked at with research teams at Nokia, IBM, and Microsoft. 
Alexander Quinn Alexander Quinn's research focus in human-computer interaction (HCI) is on the design and study of human computation systems to solve data-intensive problems that machines alone cannot yet solve adequately. His prior work spans a broad range of domains and topics within HCI, including mobile design, technology for children, readability, tabletop interfaces, museums, and information visualization. Quinn earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Maryland and his bachelor's in computer science from the University of Washington. 

ECE graduate students win YouTube/YouKu Video Competition

ECE graduate students Wesley Allen and Andrew Kovacs won the first place award in the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques (MTT) society YouTube/YouKu Video Competition. This annual competition is organized by the MTT society to provide an opportunity for students to showcase their most impressive, instructive, and captivating microwave-related laboratory demonstrations.

The award was presented in the IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS) 2014. Both students are PhD candidates advised by Dimitrios Peroulis, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

ECE research group adapts smartphone to measure gait and reduce falls

Researchers have shown how to modify a smartphone so that it can be used to measure a person's walking gait to prevent falls in people with compromised balance, such as the elderly or those with Parkinson's disease.

The innovation, being commercialized as SmartGait, is designed as a tool to aid healthcare officials in assessing a person's risk of falling and identifying ways to avoid injury.

"We know that people who are more likely to fall have slower gait speeds and variable stride time, step length and step width. But it's hard to gather that information in an everyday environment," said Shirley Rietdyk, an associate professor in Purdue University's Department of Health and Kinesiology and a faculty associate with Purdue's Center on Aging and the Life Course.

The new system captures the gait length - the distance from the tip of the front foot to the tip of the back foot - and the gait width, the distance between each foot, and walking speed, said Babak Ziaie, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Until now, there has been no portable user-friendly system that could be worn for a period of time to record a person's gait, said Ziaie, who is working on SmartGait with Rietdyk, ECE doctoral student Albert Kim and graduate student Junyoung (Justin) Kim.

The researchers adapted a conventional smartphone with a downward-looking wide-angle lens and a special app that allows the phone to record and calculate gait measurements. The smartphone is worn on the waist, and the system records a person's gait by measuring the distance between colored "foot markers" attached to the tip of each shoe.

ECE research featured in College of Engineering Publication

Discovery: Innovation@Purdue Engineering is a new Purdue College of Engineering publication focused on advances in research. The quarterly e-publication features recent research achievements in the College and highlights faculty and student research, including collaborations with international partners. Significant initiatives in engagement with industry and in translating research to practice will also be spotlighted. 
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