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We Inspire wins Highest Growth Potential Award

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BSEE senior Arick Davis (3rd from left)

Two student teams from Michigan Tech each brought home $10,000 or more in venture funding from the New Venture Competition at Central Michigan University last weekend.

We Inspire, led by BSEE senior Arick Davis, won the $10,000 Korson Family Highest Growth Potential Award. We Inspire is developing an online system and community to help students make informed career choices by connecting them with profiles and feedback from practicing professionals.

Superior Filament, led by Cedric Kennedy, Aubrey Woern and Jos Krugh, brought home a $10,000 Best Technology Award, as well as another $1,000 for Best Pitch and the $250 Audience Choice Award.

The student-run company is developing filment for 3-D printers from recycled plastics to support growth in the 3-D printing industry while reducing environmental impact.

Two other Michigan Tech teams participated in the annual entrepreneurial competition. TRU is developing a big data solution with proprietary algorithms to help performance athletes optimize performance through informed nutritional and dietary supplement choices.

Huskies 4 Hire is connecting students looking for short-term employment opportunities with community members seeking temporary employees.

The Pavlis Honors College helped sponsor the event financially. The student teams received support from Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, the School of Business and Economics and the MTEC SMartZone.

Original story by Jenn Donovan, Tech Today, 4/12/16

For more information see LinkedIn Pulse.

Fridays with Fuhrmann: A heartfelt thank you!

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L-R Front: ECE Chair Dr. Dan Fuhrmann, Prof. John Lukowski, recipients Casey Strom, Ester Buhl, and Lauren Clark. L-R Back: recipient Jonathan Schulz, Prof. Bruce Mork, recipients Dustin Hanes, Zachary Jensen, Troy Johnston, and Executive Vice President of Systems Control Brad Lebouef.

This week Michigan Tech made an announcement of a gift from ECE alumnus David Brule, Sr., in support of scholarships in the ECE Department. You can read all about it on the university daily news source “Tech Today“.

Dave Brule is a very good friend of Michigan Tech and of the ECE Department. He has supported a number of initiatives at the university, and while this is not done secretly or anonymously, to my knowledge none of the activities or facilities he has supported carry his name. For example, he was a major contributor to the Dennis Wiitanen Endowed Professorship in Electric Power Engineering, named in honor of a long-time and much-loved faculty member in the ECE Department. He recently funded the renovation of a plaza outside the library, named in honor of retired facilities manager John Rovano.

There are several reasons this is good news for the ECE Department. The first is of course the financial support that it provides for some of our most promising students. Beyond that, however, it serves as a good recruiting tool for the ECE Department, and it raises our visibility as a Department with a long history of excellence in undergraduate education in electrical power transmission and distribution. This is an area where there are significant workforce needs, now and anticipated in the near future. Indeed this is part of Dave’s motivation: to get more students interested in the utility power industry in general, and for Systems Control in particular.  In order to attract students into the field, the ECE Department and its partners and friends need to do everything possible to raise awareness of the career opportunities, and to train students to be ready for those opportunities. Finally, I have to commend Dave for really raising the bar in terms of the philanthropic response to this workforce need. A lot of recruiters talk to me about tapping into our ECE talent pipeline, which is gratifying of course and along with Career Services I do everything I can to help them. Now we have a first-rate example of what it really takes to get the attention of students in today’s job market, and it is much more than anything I could ever do by myself.

Michigan Tech is very grateful to all its alumni, friends, and other donors for their philanthropic support of the university mission. It means the world to us. I encourage anyone with a possible interest in doing the same to get in touch – I’d love to talk to you.

- Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann

Dave House Professor and Chair

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Michigan Technological University

Fridays with Fuhrmann: Colleges That Pay You Back . . . That You Can Actually Get Into

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This week we learned that Michigan Tech made the top-200 list in Princeton Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back” category.  These are the colleges that score highly when one looks at things like financial aid and starting salaries after graduation, the things that speak to the return on investment for a college education. It is good to be recognized for something that we pay attention to, and take a lot of pride in.

One thing that struck me in looking at the list is that the top 5 included Cal Tech, Princeton, and MIT.  I am quite certain that by the metrics used in this ranking, these colleges score very highly.  The cost of an education is very reasonable if not free, due to the all the financial aid available, and the starting salaries are probably through the roof.  There’s only one catch – the typical American high school student could never get in!  It’s cruel to hold schools like this up as paragons of value and then tell students they have no hope of going there.  I’m tempted to write Princeton Review and suggest a new category – “Colleges That Pay You Back That You Can Actually Get Into.”

If they had such a list, Michigan Tech would be right up there near the top.  Our in-state tuition is about $13k, there is a fair amount of financial aid available, starting salaries university-wide are in the mid-60s, and our admission rate is 75%!  Now a lot of people think that being ultra-exclusive is what makes for a great university, but I disagree.  What makes a university great is what is does for its students.  Michigan Tech takes students from all walks of life, all different backgrounds, and a wide range of abilities, and gives them the opportunity to create a meaningful and rewarding life for themselves if they are willing to work hard and do what it takes.  There are a lot of naturally gifted students here, but we also have a wide swath of normal everyday students, and we think everyone deserves a shot at the good life.  It’s not a cakewalk at Michigan Tech (although it is a lot of fun) but there is a big payoff at graduation.  It is interesting to note that, even with that 75% admission rate, our average high school GPA is 3.66 which means that a lot of talented students are choosing Michigan Tech over other more prestigious institutions, and quite a few weaker students are self-selecting out.

Don’t get me wrong about those highly-ranked schools.  I know from personal experience that Princeton is an absolutely fabulous place, where a lot of really smart people are surrounded by other really smart people, and doing good work.  All of their graduates are going to be very successful in life, not only because of the incredible education they receive, but also because they were talented enough to get in in the first place.  The issue I am raising here is that there is only so much a place like Princeton can do for the vast number of American high school seniors.  I am coming to believe that it is the Michigan Techs of the world that are doing the most good to prepare large numbers of young people to take their place in the 21st century economy.

I can’t resist getting in one more dig.  The “Colleges That Pay You Back” list was featured in a piece on the Today Show, and the Princeton Review rep that was being interviewed gave praise to Harvey Mudd College, a small engineering school east of Los Angeles.  I agree with his assessment; Harvey Mudd is a great school with a project-focused educational philosophy very similar to that of Michigan Tech.  In talking about the industry demand for graduates, the rep brought up the fact that 150 companies came to the Harvey Mudd campus recently to recruit.  150!  I laughed out loud.  At the Fall 2015 Career Fair, Michigan Tech had *370* companies and organizations on campus recruiting – and we are located in a geographical dead end, not the middle of southern California!  My hat is off to our Career Services office for the fabulous job that they do for our students and graduates.

Speaking of Career Services, next week I will stay in this same vein, reporting on our Spring Career Fair which is next Tuesday. Until then, Happy Valentines Day and Happy Presidents Day everyone!

- Dan

Daniel R. Fuhrmann
Dave House Professor and Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University

 

Follow ECE on Social Media

MTU_ECE_smphotoThe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is now on Facebook and Twitter. Like and follow us for faculty spotlights, student accomplishments, outreach and events, industry and alumni news, and more; including a weekly post from the chair in “Fridays with Fuhrmann”. We hope you’ll add us to your social media picks.

ECE Annual Report 2015

ECE Annul Report 2015
ECE Annul Report 2015

We are happy to share with you our newly released ECE Annual Report 2015. A look back at our past year highlights research activities by Profs. Zhaohui Wang, Wayne Weaver, Bruce Mork, and Mike Roggemann, along with ECE’s involvement in Michigan Tech’s new research agreement with Google ATAP. Once again the year included a wide variety of hands-on student projects in our Senior Design and Enterprise programs and we thank our sponsors for making it all possible! Our undergraduate programs added two new concentrations starting Fall 2015 – Biomedical Applications and Environmental Applications within the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. We invite you to read about these stories and more. From all of us at ECE, best wishes for 2016!

ECE News Briefs

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Tim Havens (ECE) co-authored two articles, “Data-informed Fuzzy Measures for Fuzzy Integration of Intervals and Fuzzy Numbers” and “Quadratic Program-based Modularity Maximization for Fuzzy Community Detection in Social Networks,” in the latest issue of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems. The second article was written with former graduate student, Jianhai Su, who is now at McAfee.

Wayne Weaver (ECE) has received $97,460 from Sandia National Labs under contract for a research and development project titled, “Unstable and Pulse Load Control Designs for Naval Electrical Systems.”

Laura Brown (CS/AIM) is the principal investigator on the research and development project, “Collaborative Research: CRISP Type 2: Revolution through Evolution: A Controls Approach to Improve How Society Interacts with Electricity” that has received a $699,796 grant from the National Science Foundation. Also working on the project are co-pi’s Chee WooiTen (ECE) and Wayne Weaver (ECE). This is a three-year project.

Durdu Guney (ECE) has received a $131,305 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research for the research and development project titled, “Full Compensation and Control of Losses in Metamaterial Devices without Gain Medium.” This is the first year of a three-year project, totaling $374,027.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) published an article “Overcoming the North’s Diesel Dependence With Renewable Energy” in Circle, the magazine of the World Wildlife Federation’s Global Arctic Program and was posted on their arctic blog, Thin Ice Blog. Joshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) research showing a high ROI for open source scientific hardware development was the top story on NSF’s Science 360. It was also covered by others including ECN Magazine and 3Ders.

Graduate students Tony Pinar (ECE) and Bas Wijnen (MSE) collaborated with Jerry Anzalone (MSE), Tim Havens(ECE), Paul Sanders (MSE) and Joshua. Pearce (MSE) on a paper titled: Low-cost Open-Source Voltage and Current Monitor for Gas Metal Arc Weld 3-D Printing published in the Journal of Sensors.

Graduate students Wyatt Adams (ECE), Ankit Vora (ECE) and Jephias Gwamuri (MSE) co-authored a paper with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and Durdu Guney (ECE). Controlling optical absorption in metamaterial absorbers for plasmonic solar cells, for the SPIE Proceedings on Active Photonic Materials. Graduate student Bas Wijnen (MSE) co-authored a paper with Jerry Anzalone (MSE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) on Multi-material additive and subtractive prosumer digital fabrication with a free and open-source convertible delta RepRap 3-D printer published in the Rapid Prototyping Journal.

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Shiyan Hu named as an ACM Distinguished Speaker

image25903-persThe Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world ‘s largest educational and scientific computing society, has named Associate Professor Shiyan Hu (ECE) as an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

ACM’s Distinguished Speaker Program identifies top computing technology leaders and innovators, and makes them available to speak at colleges and universities, corporations, events and conferences and ACM local chapters.

Each distinguished speaker serves a three-year term. Hu will be available to speak about computer aided design for VLSI circuits and cyber-physical systems.

Hu received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and has chaired more than 70 committees for IEEE conferences.

Hu’s ultra-fast slew buffering technique has been widely deployed in industry. For example, it became a default option in the IBM physical design flow used for designing more than fifty microprocessors and ASIC chips, including IBM flagship chips POWER 7 and 8.

ECE Senior Design Team Wins Expo Award

The 2nd Place Award for the 2015 Michigan Tech Design Expo was won by the ECE team: Front End Protection for Data Aquisition
Team Members: Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, and Ben Veltman, Electrical Engineering; Matthew Zawisza, Computer Engineering
Advisor: Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project Overview: Often devices under test can behave in erratic ways, resulting in catastrophic damage to expensive test equipment. By designing specifications based on National Instruments’ limitations and typical automotive testing requirements, the team created a buffer box to protect from over-voltage and add layers of isolation. The buffer box, used in conjunction with the $50k–$500k tools being regularly used by the automotive industry, is a simple tool, which can be used by a wide range of people with varying levels of expertise to keep expenses down.

Team Members Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, and Ben Veltman, Electrical Engineering; Matthew Zawisza, Computer Engineering Advisor Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering Sponsor Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Team Members: Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, and Ben Veltman, Electrical Engineering; Matthew Zawisza, Computer Engineering
Advisor: Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

View a Video about Michigan Tech: Front End Protection for Data Acquisition on Michigan Tech Expo Channel on Youtube

View a Video about the award winning ECE team on Michigan Tech Expo Channel on Youtube
View a Video about the award winning ECE team on Michigan Tech Expo Channel on Youtube

When the Design Expo 2015 Image Contest winners were announced, Robotics Systems Enterprise 216 team won second place for its image of ECE student Kealy Smith working on an Afraid-of-the-Dark bot. The team is sponsored by ArcelorMittal and 205 (Blue Marble Enterprise) team entry won 3rd Place.

See the Design Expo Summary Report with links to more articles and pictures

Design Expo 2015 Success: Winners, Senior Design and Enterprise Projects

IMG_2518One such team has worked on an automated parts counting system for MacLean-Fogg. The team’s machine uses fins, bars and bays to sift and sort metal parts. The bolts, pins, screws and other fastener parts fall down the chute, bounce off the fins and bars, which reorients them, and then they are separated out into bays equipped with sensors. The project required both electrical and mechanical engineering.

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