Alumni Gifts Fund New Center for Computer Systems Research

Center for Computer Systems Research
Center for Computer Systems Research

Computer engineering and computer science are both key to advancing knowledge of computing. The engineers focus on design and integrating software and hardware, while the scientists concentrate on analysis and the fundamental nature of computing.

Now, with the enthusiastic support of the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is creating a space where Michigan Tech’s computer engineers and scientists can put their heads together.

The new Center for Computer Systems Research will occupy the entire fifth floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC). The Seaman Mineral Museum, a longtime tenant of the area, will be moving to a new building in the Advanced Technology Development Complex. Construction on the center is slated to begin December 1, with the opening expected in April 2011.

“We’re excited about working with the computer science department on this,” said Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering. “We’ll be looking at experimental architectures, new applications, and new ways of doing computing.”

Steven Carr, interim chair of computer science, is equally enthusiastic. “It’s a really neat opportunity for Computer Science and Computer Engineering to finally collaborate in a much more defined way,” he said. “We have always worked well together, and there are faculty in both departments who have the potential to cooperate closely on large projects. The center will play a big role in making that happen.”

The half-million-dollar renovation is funded in part by two $150,000 gifts, one from the James Fugere Foundation and the other from the Dave House Family Foundation. The remaining $200,000 is being underwritten by numerous smaller donations given to the department over the last several years.

“The fact that this is made possible completely by alumni donations is phenomenal,” said Fuhrmann.

Brainstorming for the new center began over a year ago, when Michigan Tech launched a strategic initiative to hire faculty in the area of computational discovery and innovation. Through the initiative, the department has gained two new computer engineering faculty, Zhuo Feng and Saeid Nooshabadi.

“We started thinking about what we could do to reinforce the hiring initiative and our relationship with the computer science department,” Fuhrmann said. In addition, the computer engineering program was growing; with new master’s and PhD degrees, it needed more space.

The Center for Computer Systems Research addresses all three issues. The new faculty are expected to be heavily engaged; Nooshabadi in particular will play a leadership role, since his research crosses the disciplines of electrical engineering and computer science. Preliminary plans include offices that can be used by faculty from both departments, informal meeting rooms, laboratory space, a conference room, space for graduate students, a seminar room, and even a kitchen. A department committee chaired by Senior Lecturer Glen Archer provided guidance to OHM Engineering Services in Hancock, which drew up the plans.

The center represents a huge step forward for the department, and it wouldn’t be happening without support from alumni, Fuhrmann stressed. “I’d like to thank all of you who have contributed to the department over the years,” he said. “Your generosity has made this possible. We literally couldn’t have done it without you.”


Researchers Design More Reliable Invisibility Cloak

glasscloak
The design of the invisibility cloak consists of a spoke-like configuration of glass resonators, which form a magnetic resonance that is used to obtain the desired parameters of the medium. The illustration shows the glass cloak designed to hide a metal cylinder of 15 micrometers in diameter. Image credit: Semouchkina, et al.

In the study, Elena Semouchkina from Michigan Technological University and Pennsylvania State University and her coauthors designed an invisibility cloak made of glass for the infrared range. Currently, most metamaterial cloak designs require that the metamaterial response be homogeneous. However, the new design relies on simulations of a true multi-element cloak structure and takes into account the inhomogeneity of a real metamaterial response.

“This is one of the first designs of an optical cloak, in particular, of a cylindrical shell,” Semouchkina told PhysOrg.com. “This is a non-metallic low-loss all-dielectric cloak. … In contrast to the previous designs, the design of our cloak has been developed at a careful control of interactions between resonators, since a true multi-resonator structure has been simulated. It makes the design essentially more reliable.”

The structure of the proposed cloak consists of identical nanosized chalcogenide glass resonators arranged in a concentric pattern. In simulations, the researchers found that glass resonators in the shape of a cylinder with a diameter of 300 nm and a height of 150 nm provided the best results for the light wavelength of 1 micron.

“The design employs identical resonators in all layers of the cloak, which, from the point of view of fabrication tolerance, presents a tremendous advantage versus fabricating nano-sized elements of different prescribed dimensions,” Semouchkina said.

The spoke-like configuration of the resonators forms radial magnetic moments despite different incidence angles of incoming light. As Semouchkina explained, the magnetic resonance response creates the desired effective parameters of the medium. [Read more at Physorg.com]


2009 Graduate Student Award

perger-zou Chao Zou is in the fourth year of his PhD study, and he has accomplished outstandingly as a PhD candidate from many perspectives. Chao has proven himself to be a worthy recipient of the Matt Wolfe Award for Excellence in Graduate Research through his leadership in the department and his exceptional accomplishments, including the following:

1) Three journal articles, one conference paper, and one book chapter, plus two IEEE Transactions articles submissions. Chao Zou has published three articles in top journals, including Elsevier Journal of Computer Networks and Elsevier Journal of Computer Communications. Two more journal papers based on his PhD dissertation research have been recently submitted to IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, and IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology; Chao is the leading author of one conference paper published in the IEEE Communications Society’s flagship conferences, IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC); he is also the leading author of one book chapter for one of the first books on Cognitive Radio Networks. Chao Zou Research Webpage

2) With his substantial publication record, even as a PhD candidate, Chao has already been frequently invited to review journal articles and conference papers for prestigious journals and conferences in the last two years.

3) Chao has developed a ns-2 based software simulator for cognitive radio networks. This simulator will be released to the international network research community shortly. And we expect it will promote the reputation of Michigan Tech largely, as this will be the first ns-2 based simulator of its kind.

4) One of our NSF proposals that is based mainly on Chao’s research work has been ranked as “competitive” recently.
Chao distinguishes himself as an outstanding PhD student researcher, not only by the quality and productivity of his research, but also by his “seeking-the-truth” research spirit. He often initiates constructive discussions among labmates, and he has become a role model for other PhD students in our lab.

Many of Chao’s labmates have mentioned that he has been an inspirational influence on them, since he sets the goals high and then reaches those goals with his hardworking and truth-seeking attitude