University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory received another shot of good publicity on September 29 at the 2016 Moving Together Conference, which brings together transportation leaders and individuals involved in the areas of planning, public health, bike and pedestrian safety, transit, advocacy, elected office, law enforcement, and education. At that event, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito visited the HPL booth to try her hand at the lab’s groundbreaking driving simulator – a PC-based program that trains drivers to anticipate potential roadway hazards and to maintain their attention on the forward roadway.

Jae-Hwang Lee of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a member of the team of researchers from UMass and Rice University that is publishing an article in the prestigious journal Science about a dynamic new process for producing high-strength metals. The title of the article is “Dynamic Creation and Evolution of Extreme Gradient Nanostructure in Single-crystal Metallic Micro-cubes.”

The pioneering research of Joshua Yang and Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is attracting international media attention in Scientific AmericanScience magazine, and many other outlets after being featured in the scientific journal Nature Materials. Yang and Xia are leading a research team that is developing new types of nanoscale devices for microprocessors that can mimic the functioning of a biological synapse, the junction between two neurons in the human brain. The new devices are also energy efficient.

Emeritus Professor Donald Fisher, the director of the celebrated Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory and the former head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, will deliver one of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Distinguished Faculty Lectures on Tuesday, October 18, at 4:00 p.m. Professor Fisher will be presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed to faculty by the campus, at the conclusion of the lecture. See event website.

Professor David Schmidt of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has been selected as a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the organization’s premier membership grade. According to the SAE, “The Fellow grade was established in 1975 to honor and recognize important engineering, scientific, and leadership achievements to enhance the status of SAE’s contributions to the profession and to society.”

Undergraduate students Patrick Sullivan and Eric Wybenga of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department are members of the first "class" of seven UMass Amherst students to receive scholarships from the National Science Foundation’s CyberCorps program. Both students are Computer Systems Engineering majors. A team of cybersecurity researchers at UMass Amherst, led by computer scientist Brian Levine, received a $4.2 million grant from the NSF to bring a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to the campus, the first public university in New England to receive such an award.

The research of Erin Baker, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, and a team of multidisciplinary researchers, has been attracting national attention from the Washington Post and many other media outlets. In a study designed by UMass Amherst’s Baker and others, a panel of international wind power experts says technological advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy. The survey of the world’s foremost wind power experts, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, anticipates cost reductions of 24-30 percent by 2030 and 35-41 percent by 2050, under a median or “best guess” scenario, driven by bigger and more efficient turbines, lower capital and operating costs, and other advancements.

Doctoral student Shirin Montazeri of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department won the first prize in the electronics area of the Applied Superconductivity Conference Best Student Paper Contest, held on September 5 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The title of her winning paper was “A 220 GHz Compact SIS Receiver Module Utilizing a Broadband High-Gain Ultra-Low-Power IF Amplifier.”

Professors J. Joshua Yang and Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are leading an international team of researchers who are publishing an article in Nature Materials entitled “Memristors with diffusive dynamics as synaptic emulators for neuromorphic computing.” Nature Materials is a premier Nature Publishing Group journal with an impact factor as high as 38.89.

Dr. Paula Sturdevant Rees, director of both the UMass Water Resources Research Center and the Diversity Programs in the College of Engineering, will help to lead the planning process for a new UMass Unmanned Aerial System Research and Education Collaborative (UMass UASREC). Rees and her colleagues hope to establish the UASREC: to serve as an incubator to develop new basic and applied research through access to Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) technology; and to initiate an educational program to train the next generation of UAS research scientists and the civilian workforce in UAS piloting, sensor use, data processing, and analytics.