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A graduate of our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and a Biomedical Engineering doctoral student were members on two of the four winning teams at the recent Innovation Challenge Seed Pitch competition, held on Wednesday, November 29.

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UMass Amherst and the College of Engineering are addressing the nationwide “Me Too” movement with hands-on action. On December 7, the UMass Society of Women Engineers held a very timely and topical panel discussion entitled “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - It Could Happen to You Too: Data, Strategies, Resources, and Allies.” Meanwhile, Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced a new task force to address the important issues in the “Safe at Work” campaign ...

As Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department Head Sundar Krishnamurty says, “We had a banner year this year with six of our alums taking up faculty positions” at various institutions. Banner year indeed! Robert Hyers’ student, Jongyun Lee, is now an assistant professor at Iowa State University. Zana Cranmer, an IGERT student with Erin Baker, has moved on as an assistant professor at Bentley University. Rachel Koh, IGERT student with Matthew Lackner and Robert Hyers, is currently an assistant professor at Lafayette University.

Akshaya Shanmugam — a UMass Amherst alumna of our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and CEO and co-founder of the Amherst-based spinoff company Lumme Inc. — has been recognized in Forbes Magazine’s list of “30 under 30” entrepreneurs for Healthcare. At Lumme, Shanmugam has developed helpful and effective software for smokers who want to quit. See press coverage: Mirror Now, Zee News, Domain-b.com. See UMass News Office article. Shanmugam earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical and computer engineering at UMass Amherst in 2012 and 2015, respectively, both under the direction of Dr. Christopher Salthouse of the ECE department.

Senior Mechanical Engineering Major Jamar Hawkins is among a small group of students who have been selected to receive the 2017-2018 UMass Amherst Rising Researcher student achievement award. This award recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Professor Yubing Sun nominated Hawkins for the award in recognition of his student’s research and academic achievements conducted under Professor’s Sun’s direction. Read more about the award and previous recipients »

Professors Qiangfei Xia and Joshua Yang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at UMass Amherst have just published an article about their research on a “computing engine using large memristor crossbars” in the opening issue of Nature Electronics, a research journal launched recently by the Nature Publishing Group. Xia, Yang, and their research colleagues say that “Memristor crossbars offer reconfigurable non-volatile resistance states and could remove the speed and energy efficiency bottleneck in vector-matrix multiplication, a core computing task in signal and image processing.”

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Neal Anderson’s doctoral student Natesh Ganesh has won the Best Student Paper award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 2017 International Conference on Rebooting Computing (ICRC). The title of his paper and presentation was "A Thermodynamic Treatment of Intelligent Systems." The conference was held on November 8 and 9 in Washington, DC. The goal of the IEEE ICRC was to discover and foster novel methodologies to reinvent computing technology, including new materials and physics, devices and circuits, system and network architectures, and algorithms and software.

As Aksamija says about the research in the Scientific Reports paper, “We study atomic monolayer materials, such as graphene, because of their potential applications in future ultra-nanoscale devices. Graphene is a material of superlatives, including very low electrical resistivity, but it’s missing a key property that other semiconductors have: an energy bandgap. The lack of a bandgap means graphene devices cannot be completely turned off.”

 

Sarah Perry of our Chemical Engineering Department is working with a colleague at the University of Illinois to create new bioinspired materials using electrostatic charge to direct the self-assembly process of long molecules. The research team, working with a class of polymers called coacervates, found they could be modified by changing the sequence of charges along the polymer chain. Coacervates are commonly used in food products and cosmetics. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications. See media coverage: Phys.org, Nanowerk, Electronics 360, Nanotechnology Now, Global News Connect.

On Thursday, November 30, Karen Gillett Britton ’87, the senior vice president and chief operating officer for the e-Management Company and a former special assistant and chief information officer for the Obama White House, will deliver the 18th annual Tang Lecture at 4:00 p.m. in the Amherst Room on the 10th Floor of the Campus Center on the University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus. A reception will follow the Lecture at 5:00 p.m. The title of Britton’s Tang Lecture: “Are emerging cyber threats stifling business innovation?” The public is invited to this free event.

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