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The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has awarded 2018 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships to two recent UMass Amherst College of Engineering (COE) alumni, Ashley Kaiser (B.S., ChE, ’17) and Sanghoon Lee (B.S., EE, ’17). Kaiser and Lee are now first-year graduate students pursuing their Ph.D. degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively. Kaiser and Lee are among just 69 students selected nationwide to receive these three-year graduate fellowships from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Professors Qiangfei Xia and J. Joshua Yang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst headed up a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team whose latest manuscript, entitled "Efficient and self-adaptive in-situ learning in multilayer memristor neural networks," has just been published in Nature Communications. As Xia and Yang summarized the findings in the manuscript, “This work proves that the memristor neural network is ready for machine-learning applications.”

Professor Robert W. Hyers of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has been informed that the Board of Trustees of ASM International (formerly the American Society for Metals) has elected him as a Fellow of the Society. Hyers’ ASM citation reads: "For distinguished contributions in the field of high-temperature materials processing and properties, with proven applications of these technologies in aerospace and extractive industries."

Principal investigator Ashwin Ramasubramaniam of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department leads a joint US-Israel team that has just received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division Of Materials Research to promote inexpensive, large-scale fabrication of electronic and optical devices within single sheets of 2D materials. The research promises to make far-reaching impacts on computing, data storage, and consumer electronics.

Chemical Engineering (ChE) doctoral student Brandon Dunham has received a highly competitive $1,000 Graduate School Predissertation Research Grant from UMass Amherst to support one phase of his dissertation in progress, tentatively titled "Strategies to Improve the Performance and Stability of Planar, p-i-n Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells." Dunham’s dissertation research will investigate if he can inexpensively improve the efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells, a next-generation solar material. If successful, says Dunham, his research “could change the way the world sees solar power forever.”

Shannon Roberts of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and Eric Gonzales of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department were two of the campus experts who spoke about autonomous vehicles at a May 29 “listening session” convened by the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation and held in the UMass Amherst Cape Cod Lounge at the Student Union. Roberts spoke about “Human Factor Needs in an Autonomous Vehicle World,” while Gonzales focused on “Autonomous Vehicles for Ride Sharing.”

See media coverage: Gazette, WWLP-TV 22, News Office release.

Professors Matthew Lackner and Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department published a very illuminating essay in The Conversation on May 15 about why the offshore wind energy industry will soon vastly expand and why Massachusetts is one of the states that is leading the way. Lackner and Baker said that market forces are helping the development of offshore wind energy, while states on the East Coast are preparing long-range plans to develop wind energy to replace fossil-fuel and nuclear-power generation.

See additional media coverage: Business InsiderSalon.com

Michael C. Rossi, a doctoral industrial engineering student working in the lab of Professor Hari Balasubramanian of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has received a $50,000 award to work at a private company for six months as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) INTERN program. Rossi’s internship is designed to supplement his current research assistantship in Balasubramanian’s lab with six months of non-academic research internship activities and training.

Senior Abdul Mughis, a chemical engineering major working in Professor Wei Fan’s porous materials research group, was one of six outstanding undergraduate researchers honored by Research Next as the spring 2018 Rising Researchers on the UMass Amherst campus. As the Research Next website notes, “We honor six undergraduates this semester with the Rising Researcher award for their impressive achievements in key areas of science and art that are making a difference in our world.”

See Rising Researcher web page »

In early May the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department held its annual Senior Design Project competition, the climax and showcase event for the MIE capstone course, “MIE 415: Design of Mechanical Systems.” The Best Industry Sponsored category resulted in a three-way tie among Teams 3 and 4 (Pratt & Whitney) and Team 8 (Kinex Cappers). Team 22 (Electromagnetic Brake) was chosen as the Best Semester-long Project. The Best Student Concept went to Team 21 (Sand Mask). And, finally, the Most Popular category ended in a two-way tie between Team 15 (Self-Massage) and Team 28 (Dock Ladder), which was determined by public voting.

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