Category: Research

Hackers Could Make Smart Homes Stupid–or Worse

image25903-persImagine the smart home of the future. Thanks to a central controller and wi-fi, not only does the thermostat power up and warm or cool the house as you are heading home. Smart light bulbs come on low at dusk and brighten up as the sky gets darker; your washing machine starts a load of clothes when the electricity is cheapest; your smart refrigerator thaws the roast in one section, while another keeps your cheese ready to slice and yet another chills your beer. The doors lock automatically behind you and unlock as you—but no one else—approach. A 2-way nannycam lets you keep an eye on the kids while a sprinkler waters your lawn when water demand is lowest.
Read More


Zhuo Feng Gets CAREER Award to Develop New Tools for Nanoscale Computer Chip Design

Back in the day, actual human beings wired computer circuitry by hand. Then along came integrated circuits, and now the technology is so advanced that tens of billions of transistors can be put on a single chip no bigger than a dime. The complexity of these nanoscale integrated circuits makes it difficult to make the most of their design, says Zhuo Feng, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University. That’s because software used to design computer chips hasn’t kept pace with the hardware in these emerging computing systems.
MORE


Zhuo Feng receives DAC Best Paper Award

ECE assistant professor Zhuo Feng received Best Paper Award at the 2013 Design Automation Conference (DAC), held this week in Austin, Texas, for his paper titled “Scalable vectorless power grid current integrity verification”. 

The DAC is a major annual conference in the electronics industry, this year with 747 papers. Prof. Feng’s paper was the sole winner, topping a slate of 8 nominated papers from academic and research institutions across North America and Europe.

For more information or a copy of the paper see http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2488840


The Circuit – Newsletter 2011-2012

ECE 2011-2012 newsletter The Circuit is now available. The publication highlights recent activities in the department including: 

  • ECE Education in Tune with Industry – electrical and computer engineers in demand at Fall 2011 Career Fair 
  • The Changing Face of Engineering – Women in ECE
  • Establishment of the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Energy Systems – “Doc” Wiitanen to be honored at May 4 retirement celebration
  • Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research Dedicated
  • Student’s Winning Satellite to be Launched into Orbit
  • Senior Design: A Renaissance Approach

The Circuit – fall 2010 newsletter

The ECE fall 2010 newsletter, The Circuit is now available. The publication highlights recent activities in the department including:

> Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiatives (SFHI):  Next-Generation Energy Systems

> $3 Million Grant received from the US Department of Energy to Develop Electric Vehicles Education Programs

> ECE Students Bring Laptops to Ghana

> Tech’s Online Power Engineering Program Marks 10th Anniversary

> Dave House:  Why Research is Key to the Future of Tech and to ECE

and more . . . check it out!


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]