The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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In February, 40 Girl Scouts, ranging from kindergartners to fifth-graders, visited campus for one of the Diversity Office’s regular Girl Scout Days and took part in an innovative national program designed to address cybercrime and other cybersecurity issues. As NBC News announced last spring, “For the first time, millions of Girl Scouts nationwide are taking on hacking and cybercrime as they work towards earning newly introduced cybersecurity badges.

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named Professor Christos Dimitrakopoulos of our Chemical Engineering Department as one of 66 academic inventors in the inaugural class of NAI Senior Members. Dimitrakopoulos, who joined the university as a professor in 2013, holds 87 U.S. patents and has authored or co-authored more than 90 publications in journals and proceedings, with a total citation count of more than 21,000.

David A. Reckhow of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was interviewed on Radio Station WGBY-TV 57 in February about how to interpret a recent finding of slightly elevated levels of haloacetic acids in Springfield’s drinking water. Interviewed on the local public television show Connecting Point, Reckhow said the temporarily elevated levels are caused by the interaction between organic matter in the water, as produced by excessive rainfall over the last few months, and chlorine that is added. He said there should be no alarm about this issue on a short-term basis.

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) alumnus Brandon Tory until recently led a very secret double life as a senior software artificial intelligence engineer at Google and a rap musician and producer. Now the Renaissance rapper has made the big time in both branches of his professional career after being featured in such decidedly non-pop publications as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Tory finally revealed his amazing secret life for one very good reason: “It IS cool to be a nerd, and I want young black kids from every neighborhood to know that.”

Read entire Forbes interview »

An article from Inside UMass reports that Assistant Professor Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Department has received a five-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop nanoscale sensors which can measure both the mechanical and electrical properties of a cell at the same time. The grant is from NSF’s influential Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program.

An article by the UMass Amherst News Office describes how Juan M. Jiménez, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has received a five-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how blood flow around artificial stents in coronary arteries affects the cells that line the arteries and direct how they heal. The grant is from the very prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program.

Professor Friederike C. Jentoft (Principal Investigator) and Associate Professor Wei Fan (Co-PI) of the Chemical Engineering Department have received a two-year, $110,000 grant from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund. Their collaborative research aims to identify and investigate organic-inorganic surface sites capable of converting methane to higher alkanes at mild conditions. The objective is to design new catalysts and optimize the entire process.

UMass Amherst alumnus Vishal Misra (M.S.’96, Ph.D.’00, ECE), now a professor of computer science at Columbia University, has been named a Distinguished Alumnus at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Misra is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and was an Outstanding Junior Alumni Recipient from the UMass Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department in 2014. See Misra’s Columbia website »

A paper in Advanced Materials Technologies, published by a team from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, reviews the current state of six of the most promising technologies for creating new types of memory devices that can replicate the function of biological neurons and synapses. The paper was also reviewed in The Next Platform.

University of Massachusetts Associate Professor Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is working with Google to create a cryogenic quantum controller that operates in extreme cold and consumes less than 2 milliwatts of power — 1,000 times less than Google’s current control electronics. As an article in VentureBeat explains, “Google says it has made significant progress toward an efficient, reliable, and scalable means of controlling quantum-systems electronics — systems it hopes will someday solve computationally complex problems beyond the reach of classical machines.”

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