University of Delaware
Students demonstrate creations at Research Day.

ECE Research Day

Event showcases department research, student and alumni achievements


1:18 p.m., March 17, 2016--The University of Delaware Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  held its annual Research Day on Wednesday, March 9, at the Trabant University Center. The event showcased department research and alumni achievements.

“The breadth of student, faculty, and alumni work and accomplishments shows the incredible vitality and impact of their creativity and work,” says Kenneth Barner, professor and department chair.

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Distinguished Lecture

David Munson, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan, delivered a lecture on “Engineering Education: Preparing Students to Change the World” as part of the department’s distinguished lecture series. 

Munson discussed the growing need for engineering schools nationwide to ramp up their experiential offerings in multidisciplinary design, entrepreneurship, international programs, and student groups — a change driven by students’ desire to make a difference.

He offered a brief history of engineering education and described recent progress that universities are making in the experiential direction. He also discussed how increased diversity and digital learning will become much stronger parts of the fabric of engineering education.

“Engineering students today are developing impressive skills in creation, communication, teamwork, leadership and global competency,” he said. 

Student research and awards

More than 70 posters addressing a wide range of topics from solar cells and biomedical devices to imaging technologies and security strategies were displayed in the Trabant Center during the event. 

Awards went to the following students:

• Computer Systems and Networks: Hamzah Ahmed, “Modular and Scalable Firmware for Infrared Scene Projectors,” adviser Fouad Kiamilev.

• Nanoelectronics, Electromagnetics and Photonics: Austin Good, “In-Plane Characterization of Graded Dielectrics Fabricated Through Additive Manufacturing,” adviser Mark Mirotznik.

• Signal Processing and Communications: Angela Cuadros, “Experimental Validation of Compressive X-ray Tomosynthesis,” adviser Gonzalo Arce.

• Women in Engineering: Hoda Aghaei Khouzani, “Towards a Scalable and Write-free Multi-version Checkpointing Scheme in Solid State Drives,” adviser Chengmo Yang.

• Senior Capstone Project: Benjamin Cahill, Bryan Debbrecht, Byron Lambrou and Arjun Patel, “SNOOPBOXX - Wireless Network Traffic Analyzer.”

Alumni Awards

The Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to the guest lecturer, Munson.

This award is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon alumni of the ECE department. Individuals receiving this award have distinguished themselves through significant contributions in engineering research, practice, education or business. 

Munson received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from UD in 1975 and master of science, master of arts and doctoral degrees in the same field from Princeton University. Prior to Michigan, he was on the electrical and computer engineering faculty at the University of Illinois. 

Munson’s research is focused on signal processing issues in imaging systems, especially synthetic aperture radar. He is co-founder of InstaRecon Inc., which is commercializing fast algorithms for image formation in computer tomography. 

He is co-author of the Infinity Project textbook on the digital world, which has been used in about 400 high schools nationwide. 

Munson is a fellow of IEEE, past president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and co-founder of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing. 

In addition to multiple teaching awards and other honors, he was presented the Society Award of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he served as a distinguished lecturer of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, received an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and was the Texas Instruments Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rice University. 

The Outstanding Service Award was presented to Edward J. Coyle, a 1978 graduate.

This award acknowledges alumni who, through dedication and exemplary volunteer service, illustrate broad leadership in support of the aims and objectives of the department. Honorees recognized by this award have set a strong example to their fellow alumni through their exceptional contributions to scholarship, teaching or other improvements for ECE faculty and students. 

Coyle is the John B. Peatman Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. He is the founder and director of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program, which integrates research and education by embedding large-scale, long-term teams of undergraduates in the research efforts of faculty and their graduate students. 

Coyle was a co-recipient of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s 2005 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. In 1998, he was elected a fellow of IEEE for his contributions to the theory of nonlinear signal processing. 

Coyle is a member of the ECE Department Advisory Council, served on the department’s recent curriculum review committee, and is helping UD become a VIP Program site.

The Entrepreneurial Innovation Award was presented to Wayne Westerman, who received a doctorate in 1999.

This award is conferred upon alumni who have created an innovative business, developed a new product, brought to market a new venture or expanded an existing business. Honorees recognized by this award exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit central to the ECE discipline. 

Westerman is a distinguished engineer and multi-touch architect at Apple Inc., where he has designed algorithms for dozens of products. 

His dissertation’s exploration of typing and gesture on capacitive, multiple- touch-sensitive surfaces helped to anticipate the iPad gesture experience.

In 1999 he co-founded FingerWorks Inc., the first company to successfully commercialize multi-touch with a line of 10-finger touch pads and ergonomic keyboards that seamlessly combine pointing, scrolling, typing and editing gestures in the same space. 

Westerman’s 107 U.S. patents on multi-touch cover aspects such as swipe gestures, chording gestures, surface typing recognition, typing drift tracking, finger identification, resting palm rejection, noise reduction and ellipse fitting for capacitive images. 

The Young Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Janine Barbacane, a 2001 graduate.

This award recognizes alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years and have excelled in their chosen professions. Awardees exhibit outstanding technical achievement, entrepreneurship or leadership, with achievements that distinguish them among their recent fellow graduates. 

Barbacane is a senior federal account executive with Oracle Corporation, where she manages key accounts including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She is responsible for meeting expectations for profitability and growth and developing forward thinking, data-driven recommendations for technology solutions based on DHS mission and objectives. 

Barbacane has received the Oracle North America Sales Top Engineered Systems Award (2014), Motorola Business Leadership Development Program Outstanding Achievement Award (2005) and the Milton G. Young Award (2001). Barbacane was recently accepted to the executive MBA program in the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. 

Photos by Doug Baker

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