Category Archives: News

Showing of AlphaGo includes AI panel discussion with ECE faculty and alumnus

alphgoTonight’s viewers of AlphaGo will get the opportunity to learn more on the research and application of artificial intelligence (AI) happening today, here at Michigan Tech and beyond. A panel discussion with Dr. Timothy Havens (ECE/CS), Dr. Laura Brown (CS), Dr. Steven Goldsmith (MEEM/ECE), Dr. Scott Marratto (HU), and Josh Manela (ECE alumnus) of Ford subsidiary Argo AI will follow the screening.

AlphaGo: 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 3, Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

AlphaGo is featured in this year’s 41 North Film Festival hosted by the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Directed by Greg Kohs, the documentary chronicles a journey from the halls of Cambridge, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of DeepMind in London, and, ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?

Glen Archer Demonstrates Excellence in Large Class Teaching

Glen Archer
Glen Archer

For many students and instructors, the upcoming weeks are the most motivationally challenging of the academic year. Days are getting shorter, colder and darker with six solid weeks of class behind us and four more weeks ahead before a break.

But Michigan Tech’s terrific faculty routinely provide me with inspiration to keep me focused. I want to share a story I play back in my head on tougher days in hopes that it will inspire you too.

When I first became the CTL director, Glen Archer, principal lecturer and associate chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, used to do me the favor of speaking near the end of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) orientation each fall. Glen would remind the GTAs that they were going to be the “maximum in the room.”

What he meant was that any students would almost certainly reflect and rise only to the level of enthusiasm and motivation set by their instructor. Glen was challenging them to set that bar high.

Glen’s advice helps me focus on bringing my best self into the classroom, even on days when I’m distracted by non-teaching or personal business, teaching material I don’t find that interesting myself, or just plain tired. It helps me see that if I’m not leading the way with interest and enthusiasm, it’s pretty hard to expect that my students will follow.

On Nov. 30, Glen will be recognized with the final 2017 CTL Teaching Award for Excellence in Large Class Teaching.  He’ll share other stories as part of this event; I encourage you to mark your calendar now so that you can attend and hear more words of wisdom from this terrific teacher.

If you’d like to talk more about ways to keep yourself and students motivated, stop into the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.

From Terrific Teaching at Tech, by Mike Meyer, William G. Jackson CTL.

Cameron Philo receives Best Green Innovation – Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition

bobmarkelevatorpitchcompetition2017EE major Cameron Philo received “Best Green Innovation” at the 2017 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition held Saturday in the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Philo was selected for his “3D Windmill,” a unique compact windmill design to bring electricity to underdeveloped regions. Along with the $250 cash prize, Philo will join the other 10 award recipients in Silicon Valley during Spring Break 2018.

For a complete list of prize winners see Tech Today.

ECE Announces Graduate Student Awards

(L-R) Award recipients Aref Majdara and Navid Gandji
(L-R) Award recipients Aref Majdara and Navid Gandji

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering announced its award recipients for 2016-2017 at the Annual ECE Graduate Student Banquet held on September 25. Aref Majdara received the Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant and Navid Gandji received the Matt Wolfe Award for Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant.

Dr. Glen Archer, ECE associate chair and TA supervisor said in his nomination “Aref is one of those rare students who seems to excel at everything you ask him to do. He has worked as a TA for several years in a variety of different courses and received praise from the students in every case.” Archer stated that Aref’s performance in the Circuits lab “revealed a quiet patience that motivates students to perform at their best” and in the more difficult to staff labs such as Microcontroller, Embedded System Engineering, and Signal Processing, “Aref accepted these challenges in the same way he faces everything, with purposeful resolve and a relentless pursuit of excellence”. Mr. Majdara’s PhD advisor is Prof. Saeid Nooshabadi.

Dr. Elena Semouchkina, ECE associate professor and PhD advisor stated in her nomination for outstanding GRA, “Navid Gandji’s research features two important aspects: (1) novelty at the frontiers of engineering physics and (2) addressing vital societal needs. Navid’s work is in a very competitive field of artificial materials, including photonic crystals and metamaterials, which were named by the American Physical Society as one of the top three physics discoveries of the first decade of the new century. His work comprises theoretical studies, full-wave electromagnetic simulations, and experiments on a unique automatic microwave field mapping fixture, which he helped to develop and advance.” Overall, during his PhD studies, Navid has authored and co-authored 4 journal papers, 4 more papers are in preparation. He has also authored and co-authored 5 published refereed conference proceedings and made two presentations at the IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation, the major forum in the field.

The ECE Department congratulates Aref and Navid and appreciates their many contributions to the department, university, and their field.

Collaborative NSF Research Funding for Saeid Nooshabadi

Saeid Nooshabadi
Saeid Nooshabadi

Saeid Nooshabadi (ECE/ICC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received $349,988 from the National Science Foundation for the project, “Collaborative Research: ACI-CDS&E: Highly Parallel Algorithms and Architectures for Convex Optimization for Realtime Embedded Systems (CORES).” This is a three-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Embedded processors are ubiquitous, from toasters and microwave ovens, to automobiles, planes, drones and robots and are typically very small processors that are compute and memory constrained. Real-time embedded systems have the additional requirement of completing tasks within a certain time period to accurately and safely control appliances and devices like automobiles, planes, robots, etc. Convex optimization has emerged as an important mathematical tool for automatic control and robotics and other areas of science and engineering disciplines including machine learning and statistical information processing. In many fields, convex optimization is used by the human designers as optimization tool where it is nearly always constrained to problems solved in a few hours, minutes or seconds. Highly Parallel Algorithms and Architectures for Convex Optimization for Realtime Embedded Systems (CORES) project takes advantage of the recent advances in embedded hardware and optimization techniques to explore opportunities for real-time convex optimization on the low-cost embedded systems in these disciplines in milli- and micro-seconds.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

NSF Funding on Cyber Risk Management for Power Grids

Chee-Wooi Ten
Chee-Wooi Ten

Chee-Wooi Ten (ECE) is the lead principal investigator on a project that has received a $348,866 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Yeonwoo Rho (Math/ICC) is the Co-PI on the project “CPS:Medium: Collaborative Research: An Actuarial Framework of Cyber Risk Management for Power Grids.” This is a three-year project.

There are two investigators from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The total for both universities is $700,975.


As evidenced by the recent cyberattacks against Ukrainian power grids, attack strategies have advanced and new malware agents will continue to emerge. The current measures to audit the critical cyber assets of the electric power infrastructure do not provide a quantitative guidance that can be used to address security protection improvement. Investing in cybersecurity protection is often limited to compliance enforcement based on reliability standards. Auditors and investors must understand the implications of hypothetical worst case scenarios due to cyberattacks and how they could affect the power grids. This project aims to establish an actuarial framework for strategizing technological improvements of countermeasures against emerging cyberattacks on wide-area power networks.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Chee-Wooi Ten answers: Are Power Grids Prepared to Withstand Cyber Threats?

powergridstory-20170906In an interview with @ForensicMag, ECE associate professor Chee-Wooi Ten answers the Virtual Case Notes question: Are Power Grids Prepared to Withstand Cyber Threats?

Ten says an effective approach to improving cybersecurity for power grids would be to encourage cooperation between those with knowledge about cybersecurity and those with knowledge about power grids and their physical components, so the two can work together to assess the risks and how they can best be dealt with.

Read more for the complete story by associate editor Laura French.

NSF Funding for Semouchkina on Transformation Optics

Elena Semouchkina
Elena Semouchkina

Elena Semouchkina (ECE/ICC), is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $337,217 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project is “Developing Anisotropic Media for Transformation Optics by Using Dielectric Photonic Crystals.” This is a three-year project.


Transformation optics (TO) is based on coordinate transformations, which require proper spatial dispersions of the media parameters. Such media force electromagnetic (EM) waves, moving in the original coordinate system, to behave as if they propagate in a transformed coordinate system. Thus TO introduces a new powerful technique for designing advanced EM devices with superior functionalities. Coordinate transformations can be derived for compressing, expanding, bending, or twisting space, enabling designs of invisibility cloaks, field concentrators, perfect lenses, beam shifters, etc., that may bring advances to various areas of human life. Realization of these devices depends on the possibility of creating media with prescribed EM properties, in particular, directional refractive indices to provide wave propagation with superluminal phase velocities and high refractive indices in the normal direction to cause wave movement along curvilinear paths. Originally, artificial metamaterials (MMs) composed of tiny metallic resonators were chosen for building transformation media. However, a number of serious challenges were encountered, such as extremely narrow frequency band of operation and the high losses in metal elements. The proposed approach is to use dielectric photonic crystals to overcome these major limitations of MM media. This project will allow graduate and undergraduate students, especially women in engineering, to participate in theoretical and experimental EM research. Outreach activities include lectures and hands-on projects in several youth programs to K-12 students.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.

Former UPPCO CEO, Distinguished Tech Almunus, Elio Argentati Dies

Elio Argentati
Elio Argentati

Funeral services were held over the weekend for the former CEO of the Upper Peninsula Power Company and a distinguished Michigan Tech Alumnus, Elio Argentati.

Argentati, of Iron River, passed away Tuesday (Aug. 22, 2017) at Aspirus Hospital in Iron River, he was 89.

According to his obituary on the Jacobs Funeral Home website, Argentati was a 1950 graduate of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University) with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

He joined the Upper Peninsula Power Company in 1960 as an applications engineer and rose up through the ranks eventually becoming president, chairman of the board and CEO in the corporate office in Houghton, retiring in 1994.

He was active in the Michigan Tech Alumni Association and a member of the Golden M Club. In 2012 he was awarded the Board of Control Silver Medal.

Funeral services were held Saturday at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Iron River, with interment in the Resthaven Cemetery in Iron River.

Havens and Pinar Present in Naples and Attend Invited Workshop in UK

fuzz ieee 2017Tim Havens (ECE/CS) and Tony Pinar (ECE) presented several papers at the IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems in Naples, Italy. Havens also chaired a session on Innovations in Fuzzy Inference.

The conference took place July 9-12, 2017.

Havens and Pinar also attend the Invited Workshop on the Future of Fuzzy Sets and Systems in Rothley, UK. This event invited leading researchers from around the globe for a two-day workshop to discuss future directions and strategies, in particular, to cybersecurity. The event was hosted by the University of Nottingham, UK, and sponsored by the National Cyber Security Centre, part of UK’s GCHQ.