March 2015 Newsletter

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Greetings from West Lafayette

As spring break approaches, the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering continues to look forward, propelled by exciting developments in our growth plans and continued excellence in teaching, research, and entrepreneurial efforts.ECE head Ragu Balakrishnan

Spring 2015 saw four new faculty members join ECE as part of our plan for strategic growth, bringing the number of new faculty members joining ECE over 2014-15 to a total of seven (including the three new faculty members we welcomed in Fall 2014). These additions bring our total faculty count to 90, continuing ECE's position as the largest academic unit on campus. With these researchers come a wealth of expertise in areas including nanophotonics, video transmission, and network science.

What areas will define Purdue Engineering research in the next decade? This question continues to be asked amidst the ongoing and unprecedented expansion of the College of Engineering. In the second year of the Preeminent Teams competition - the college's vehicle for selecting research areas to invest in - ECE was again well represented, with ECE faculty members heading up two of the four teams selected this year. With ECE researchers leading three out of four teams selected in the last year’s competition, more than half of all current preeminent teams are ECE-led!

Our faculty and students continue to lead in entrepreneurship as well. One of many emerging start-ups based on cutting-edge ECE research, SensorHound, is looking to the future of the Internet of Things. The company focuses on innovations that could reduce operational costs and increase the reliability and security of the software that drives sensors used in emerging technologies such as smart grids, smart homes, and smart manufacturing.

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

ECE continues to grow with new faculty in 2015

Alexander Kildishev

Alexander Kildishev's work focuses on negative refractive index metamaterials, optical artificial magnetic structures, loss compensation in metamaterials, plasmonic nanolasers and optical metasurfaces, as well as the theory and numerical models of optical cloaks, and hyperlenses. He received his M.S. from Kharkov Polytechnical Institute in Ukraine, and a Ph.D. from Kharkov Polytechnical Institute/Institute for Electrodynamics, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine.

Amy reibman
Amy Reibman joined Purdue University after 23 years of industrial research at AT&T Labs, where she was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and a Lead Inventive Scientist. Her technical interests are in image and video quality assessment, video transmission, and video analytics. Reibman received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Duke University.
Shreyas Sundaram Shreyas Sundaram's research has made fundamental contributions to the areas of network science, large-scale dynamical systems, fault-tolerant and secure control, linear system and estimation theory, and the application of algebraic graph theory to system analysis. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 and 2009, respectively.
Fengqing Maggie Zhu Fengqing Maggie Zhu's research interests include image processing and analysis, video compression, computer vision and computational photography. Zhu received her Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University in 2011. Prior to joining Purdue in 2015, she was a Staff Researcher at Huawei Technologies (USA).

ECE continues to lead in second round of preeminent teams

 The College of Engineering has named four preeminent teams in the second year of the competition, an effort that will add as many as 107 faculty over five years as part of the college's plan for growth. The strategic plan is part of Purdue Moves, a range of initiatives designed to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

"The preeminent teams process helps us make informed faculty hiring decisions based on research strengths and with a focus on the potential for impact," said Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering. "This approach emphasizes the power of team-based research."

It is the second annual competition, which brings the total number of teams to eight, of which five are lead by ECE faculty. The teams are building on strengths that are already part of the college. To become preeminent teams, they went through a process similar to a pitch entrepreneurs would give to venture capitalists. This year 27 teams, comprising more than 150 faculty members, participated in the competition.

Three of the four teams selected for investment this year involve ECE faculty, including two team leaders:

Nanomanufacturing research aimed at creating "aware-responsive" films with applications in pharmacy, agriculture, food packaging, and functional non-woven materials for uses including wound dressings and diapers. Nanomanufacturing can bring advances such as: smart pharmaceuticals that release medications differently for specific patients; food packaging that contains sensors to monitor food quality, and cheap sensors for health monitoring.

Team Leader:
Ali Shakouri, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center

Spintronics: Atoms to Systems
In 2006, the semiconductor industry and the National Science Foundation launched the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) to look for "the next transistor." Purdue researchers led by the Network for Computational Nanotechnology and the Birck Nanotechnology Center have been a visible and active part of the NRI since its inception. Conventional computers use the presence and absence of an electric charge to represent ones and zeroes in a binary code needed to carry out computations. Spintronics, however, uses the "spin state" of electrons to represent ones and zeros. Purdue could play a leading role in this new field emerging from the confluence of spintronics and nanomagnetics.

Team Leader:
Supriyo Datta, Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

ECE-based startup develops Internet of Things software to reduce operational costs, increase security of sensors

Officials of a software startup based on Purdue University innovations say their company could reduce the operational cost and increase the reliability and security of the software that drives sensors.

Vinai Sundaram, and ECE alumnus and co-founder and CEO of SensorHound LLC, said sensors gather data from an environment and share it electronically. These sensors form the foundational element of the Internet of Things (IoT) and could be used in the future to control power grids and other large systems.

"Reliability and security are paramount to next-generation IoT applications like smart grids, smart buildings and smart manufacturing," said Sundaram. "However, companies around the world must spend a significant amount of money and effort to handle security violations and failures because there is a lack of effective and efficient tools."

The Purdue researchers who founded SensorHound developed IoT-specific software products and services that reduce developmental and operational costs for large networked sensor systems. The technology has been licensed through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. More than 20 startups based on Purdue intellectual property were launched in the 2014 fiscal year.

Patrick Eugster, associate professor in Purdue's Department of Computer Science, developed the technology with Sundaram and Matthew Tan Creti, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering. Eugster is SensorHound's chief science officer, and Tan Creti is its chief technology officer.

"SensorHound specializes in making these sensor networks reliable through our pure software solutions," Eugster said. "Our specialized software can be loaded onto sensors by the manufacturers. It provides software health and performance information to a developer or system administrator while monitoring the sensors, and it can raise an alarm should something go wrong."

SensorHound received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and was chosen to participate in the Alchemist Accelerator's IOT program and the Class of 2015.

Purdue University
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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