ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

ECE News

March-April 2009


Photograph of Scott Midkiff

Midkiff Appointed ECE Head

Professor Scott Midkiff has been appointed ECE Department Head effective August 10. Midkiff joined ECE in 1986 and has been on assignment at the NSF as a program director since 2006.




December 2008-February 2009


Photograph of patent plaques

Novel IP process speeds CPES technology transfer

The Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES) has developed an intellectual property process that is almost as fast as industry's and may be adaptable for other university research groups, according to CPES director Fred Lee.




Photograph of Tom Rondeau

ECE alum wins national dissertation award

Tom Rondeau was awarded one of two distinguished dissertation awards by the national Council of Graduate Schools for his 2007 Ph.D. dissertation on “Application of Artificial Intelligence to Wireless Communications.” This is the nation's most prestigious honor for doctoral dissertations.




Photo of Saifur Rahman

Rahman appointed to committee that reviews NSF investments

ECE's Saifur Rahman, director of the Advanced Research Institute, has been appointed by the NSF to serve a one-year term on its Advisory Committee for GPRA Performance Assessment to determine whether NSF-sponsored programs are meeting the foundation's strategic outcome goals.




Photograph of Mike Ruohoniemi

ECE prof heads $6 million grant to build space weather radar units

Mike Ruohoniemi is the lead principal investigator on a new $6 million NSF grant to build 8 new radar units to study space weather. The units will be part of the international SuperDARN network. Other participants on the project are Dartmouth College, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. $2 million of the grant will go to Virginia Tech's Space@VT Group




Photograph of labl-in-a-box components

Lab-in-a-box to go online

Kathleen Meehan is lead investigator on an NSF grant to expand ECE's Lab-in--box program online. She is joined by Bob Hendricks (MSE/ECE) and Peter Doolittle of the Department of Learning Sciences and Technology, as well as Richard Clark, head of the engineering program at Virginia Western Community College.



October-November 2008


Photograph of student with SDR

ECE students are two-time winners in Smart Radio Challenge

A team of ECE students took first prize for one of three problems at this year’s Smart Radio Challenge competition at the annual Software Defined Radio conference on October 27 in Washington, D.C. The team was last year’s grand prize winner in the competition, which was sponsored by the SDR Forum Public Safety Special Interest Group.



Photo of Lamine Mili

Mili awarded $2 million grant for sustainable power, communications infrastructure research

Lamine Mili has been awarded a $2 million NSF grant to investigate the Development of Complex Systems Theories and Methods for Resilient and Sustainable Electric Power and Communications Infrastructures. The team, which includes ECE's Sandeep Shukla and Yilu Liu, plans to extend the scope and applicability of the highly-optimized tolerance approach to modeling cascading events across interdependent electric power and communications infrastructures while optimally placing resources for managing the risk of blackouts due to equipment failures or extreme natural hazards.



August-September 2008


Photograph of Brent Ledvina

Ledvina, Cornell team demonstrate how GPS nav systems can be duped

ECE's Brent Ledvina and colleagues from Cornell have built a system demonstrating how GPS signals can be spoofed. The team believes that current U.S. government countermeasures would not guard against their system. By demonstrating the vulnerability, the team hopes to devise methods against such attacks.



Photograph of antenna without protective housing

ECE team develops world's smallest antenna for UWB

ECE researchers have developed an efficient compact ultra-wideband antenna (CUA) for a range of home, automotive, medical, and military applications. “To our best knowledge, our invented antenna is the world’s smallest with more than a 10:1 bandwidth. It has more than 95 percent efficiency for signal transmission, and a fairly constant omni-directional radiation pattern,” said inventor and Ph.D. student Taeyoung Yang. Professors Bill Davis and Warren Stutzman are co-inventers.



Photo of Wayne Scales

Space@VT grows quickly

Space sciences research (Space@VT) has attracted five new ECE faculty members, including the SuperDARN Radar Group. The quickly growing center is featured in Engineering Now and a Virginia Tech news release describing the attraction of space sciences.



Photograph of Jeff Reed

Pie-a-Prof helps IEEE students win "Society of the Year"

The student branch of the IEEE won "Society of the Year" from the university's Student Engineering Council. The society's many efforts include a Hands-On Practical Electronics (HOPE) program that teaches electronics to students in any major, a new Women in Engineering group, a big-sister-little sister mentoring program, as well as popular get togethers and fund raising, such as last spring's Pie-a-Professor event. IEEE website.



Photograph of Jeff Reed

Virginia Tech wireless advances highlighted

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From early work characterizing the propagation environment to advances in cognitive radio, Virginia Tech's Engineering Now news story describes advances in communications technology that were developed in ECE laboratories. See the full article on wireless technologies.



Photograph of Adedamola Omotosho

CPE wins undergrad research scholarship

Adedamola Omotosho (CPE ’09) was awarded a Virginia Space Grant Consortium Scholarship for his undergraduate research proposal, "MEMS Microengineering Research: Microchips for Cancer Diagnosis." Omotosho is interning with Intel this summer, plus investigating a BioMEMS tool for use in his research this fall at Colorado State University.



Photo of Gary Wheelock

Undergrad gains DSP experience
through BAE Systems program

Gary Wheelock, (EE '08) was honored with a $2,000 stipend from BAE Systems for his work in digital signal processing (DSP). Wheelock proposed and completed an independent research project using a DSP board to develop a BPSK (binary phase-shift keying) transmitter and receiver. The equipment and stipend were funded by BAE Systems to encourage undergraduate students to gain hands-on DSP experience.


May-July 2008


Photo of Yue (Joseph) Wang

Wang featured by Think Arlington campaign

ECE's Yue (Joseph) Wang serves as the face of Virginia Tech's National Capital Region for Arlington Economic Development's "Think Arlington" campaign. Wang is based at the Northern Virginia campus and directs the department's Computational Bioinformatics and Bioimaging Laboratory.



Photo of Leyla Nazhandali

Nazhandali wins NSF CAREER award

Leyla Nazhandali has received an NSF CAREER award for her proposal, “Overcoming Power Challenges in Embedded System Design with Subthreshold-Voltage Technology.” Her work will allow her to explore ways subthreshold voltage technology can improve lives, such as reducing energy consumption of handheld landmine detectors. She is the 15th ECE faculty member to earn this prestigious award.



Drawing of sustainable house

CPES designing sustainable house of the future

The CPES Future Sustainable Home project is focused on researching, developing and demonstrating advanced technologies that would create self-sustained homes. Read the Virginia Business article and the annual report story.



Photograph of Sandeep Shukla

Shukla Receives Humboldt Foundation Award

ECE's Sandeep Shukla has received a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander Humboldt Foundation of Germany. The Bessel Award is available annually to no more than 25 scientists and scholars, internationally renowned in their field, who completed their doctorates less than 12 years ago.



Photograph  of Joseph Tront

Tront shares ed tools with scholars from India

Joseph Tront was a lead presenter at the 2008 Indo -- US Engineering Faculty Leadership Institute in Mysore, India in June.




Photograph of Harold Martin

Martin honored for career achievements

Harold Martin, a Ph.D. alumnus of ECE, was inducted into the College of Engineering Academy of Excellence in honor of his career accomplishments.



Photograph  of Yong Xu

Xu named outstanding
new assistant professor

Yong Xu was named an outstanding new assistant professor by the College of Engineering in April. His research has earned major awards and more than 760 citations.




Photograph of Tom Hou

Hou named College of Engineering Fellow

Tom Hou was named a College of Engineering Faculty Fellow in April. The award carries a $5,000 stipend to be used for supporting the recipient's research.



Bell honored with teaching excellence award

Amy Bell received a 2008 Teaching Excellence Award by the College of Engineering in April.




Photograph  of Joseph Tront

Tront honored with
innovative teaching award

Joseph Tront was awarded the 2008 College of Engineering Pete White Award for Innovation in Teaching. His work with Tablet PCs has garnered international recognition.



January-April 2008


Photograph  of Jim Thorp and Arun Phadke

Phadke, Thorp awarded 2008 Franklin Medal. On April 17, Arun Phadke and Jim Thorp were awarded the 2008 Franklin Medal for Electrical Engineering for their work in protecting the power grid. View the Franklin Institute announcement and 3-minute video.




Photograph  of Jung-Min Park

Jung-Min Park has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award to improve the security of cognitive radio networks. CAREER awards are NSF's most prestigious award for creative junior faculty members considered to be future leaders in their academic fields. Park is the 14th ECE faculty member to earn this prestigious award.




Photograph  of Masoud Agah

ECE's Masoud Agah has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award to develop a credit-card sized gas chromatography platform. The system is expected to enable in-the-field analysis of complex compounds within seconds. Agah is the 13th ECE faculty member to earn this prestigious award.




Arun Phadke has been honored by Eta Kappa Nu with the 2007 Vladimir Karapetoff Award for career accomplishment. Phadke and his colleague, Stanley H. Horowitz received the award for their technical contributions to the field of power system protection and control.


2007 News Items


ECE graduate students took top honors in the Inaugural Smart Radio Challenge at the 2007 Software Defined Radio Forum conference in November. Tech was the only school with 2 teams among the final 10 competitors.



Photo of Ibrahim Chamas

Ph.d. student Ibrahim Chamas won 1st place in the student paper competition at the 2007 IEEE Topical Meeting on Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems. His paper: "A 5 GHz I/Q Phase-tunable CMOS LC Quadrature VCO (PT-QVCO) for Analog Phase Calibrated Receiver Architectures."




Gustina Collins was the first female African-American graduate student to earn a Ph.D. in ECE at Virginia Tech in December, while Stanley Atcitty was the first Native American male to earn an Ph.D. in ECE at Tech. Collins specialized in electronics and Atcitty in power.



With funding from the National Science Foundaton (NSF), Amy Bell is working with Engineering Education faculty to introduce freshman to the creative and beneficial aspects of ECE.


NASA rocket launches with VT ribbon logo


NASA launched a Pegasus rocket Wed., April 25 displaying the Virginia Tech ribbon logo in memory of the tragedy here last week. The rocket carried the AIM spacecraft, which began a two-year mission to study noctilucent (night-shining) clouds. ECE's Scott Bailey is deputy principal investigator of the mission. The mission's principal investigator is ECE grad James M. Russell III, a professor at Hampton University.


We Remember


ECE mourns the victims of the April 16 tragedy, including computer engineering student Henry Lee. We also wish a full and speedy recovery to all the injured.


Photograph of Patrick Schaumont

Schaumont and Xu win NSF CAREER awards


Patrick Schaumont received a CAREER award for his work on protecting embedded systems from side-channel attacks.


Photograph of Yong Xu

Yong Xu received a CAREER award for his work on nanoprobe technology, including for optical imaging and measuring vacuum field fluctuations. Twelve current ECE faculty members are NSF CAREER Awardees.



Photograph of Donnie King

Scholarship established in honor of magnetometer expert


Friends and colleagues of Donnie King (EE '69) are establishing a scholarship in his name to honor his drive, expertise, and ability to inspire others.



Earlier news items