It is with heavy hearts that we post this in memoriam tribute to Cheryl Snead, the first African-American alumna of the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. During her storied career, Ms. Snead was the founder, CEO, and president of Banneker Industries Inc. and an inspirational leader in business, women’s issues, and civil rights. Banneker is a world-class provider of supply chain management solutions, including logistics, headquartered in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, with operations across the United States.
As a 2013 article on in The Economist said about neuromorphic computing (meaning microprocessors configured more like human brains than like traditional chips): “Computers will help people to understand brains better. And understanding brains will help people to build better computers.” In that general context, Professors Joshua Yang and Qiangfei Xia of our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department led a 24-person international team of researchers that has just published the second of two defining papers on neuromorphic computing, which mimics neuro-biological architectures present in the nervous system in order to build better computing systems.
By some estimates, more than 1,000 American citizens have lost their lives in Puerto Rico as one chilling aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 17, 2017, and the whole island is still imperiled by the immediate risk of waterborne illness due to lack of purified water. In answer to this national emergency, a group of dedicated, highly-principled, and brilliant students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst raised enough money to visit Puerto Rico from January 2 to 14 and carry out an intensive campaign of water purification, water contamination education, the distribution of food and medical supplies, and other forms of physical and emotional support for the ravaged island.