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College of Engineering 50th Anniversary ‘Tell Your Story’: David Vandervoet
BSEE ’67

January 12th, 2017

Photo of D.Vandervoet

David Vandervoet graduated as an electrical engineering major in 1967 and was part of the first class ever to go through UCSB College of Engineering from freshman to senior year.

After graduating, Vandervoet began his career designing and launching major US satellites. He took some time to share his stories about the College in its early years, reflecting on the great community, protests, pranks, and how things have evolved in the last 50 years.

How many students were in the College of Engineering at the time and what was the community like?
Not sure but I would guess maybe 80-100. I was the first class to go through engineering from freshman to senior. Maybe there were 30 freshmen in my class.

What was student life at the College like in the 1960’s?
It started in the Arts Building and classes were small. We knew our professors very well. There were also a lot of protests, mostly by non-students in Isla Vista, and multiple police actions with protestors stopping us from getting to class.

What are some of the best memories you had while as a student?
Getting up the courage as a freshman to go into Dean Conrad’s office in the Arts building and meet him. I figured that I was paying part of his salary and he should know who I was. The meeting went very well. He was gruff but said he wished more students would come see him.

Dean C later invited me to his house to show me how he made violins. He imported very special wood from somewhere in Europe. He dried the wood for two years in some drying equipment that he made. He had very fine hand tools to do custom work in the violins. But what impressed me the most was that he would use an oscilloscope to tune them. He was still an engineer at heart.

Who was/were your mentor(s) as a student and how did they affect your life?
Dr. Heidbreder and Dr. Mattai. I learned theoretical communication theory from Dr. Heidbreder that got me started in the satellite business.

Is there something that happened when you went to COE that current students would have a hard time believing?
I climbed the outside bricks to the 5th floor on the end of the engineering building and taped a large sign that said “Welcome to Earl Hall” (our lab technician). Earl was a survivor of Pearl Harbor bombing and lived because he went to sleep Saturday night with his shoes on and could run across the burning deck of his ship on December 7 and dive into the water because of his shoes. He still wore his shoes to bed in the 1960s. Dean Conrad was annoyed but no one was brave enough to climb the bricks and take it down.

Tell Your COE Story! Alumni, friends, members of the community past and present, tag posts on social media with #UCSBCOE50 or submit your story online.

UCSB College of Engineering Celebrating 50th Anniversary

More College of Engineering Stories

ECE graduate student Jiahao Kang receives a Peter J. Frenkel Foundation Fellowship from UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE)

January 9th, 2017

kang and batala with the Frenkels
The 2016-17 fellowship granted to two advanced doctoral candidates, Jiahao Kang (ECE – Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group) and Megan Butala (Materials – Production & Storage Solutions Group), in recognition of their outstanding research contributions to the field of energy efficiency

Kang’s research involves developing next-generation highly-dense energy-efficient electronics utilizing 2-dimensional electronic materials, starting from in-depth materials physics to device design and finally to experimental demonstration of unique applications enabled by these materials. He is advised by Professor Kaustav Banerjee and is a member of Banerjee’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL).

Frenkel fellowships are made possible by the generous support of the Peter J. Frenkel Foundation. These highly competitive $4000 awards recognize outstanding graduate research in energy or energy efficiency by two students per academic year who have advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Jiahao Kang has authored or co-authored more than 40 papers including seven at the premier electron devices conference IEEE IEDM and has published in leading journals that include Nature, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, Physical Review X, Applied Physics Letters, IEEE Electron Device Letters and IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices.

“Institute for Energy Efficiency announces 2016 – 2017 Peter J. Frenkel Foundation fellows”

IEE Frenkel Foundation Fellowships

Kang’s Google Scholar page

Nanoelectronics Research Lab

Photonics Spectra magazine Q&A with ECE Professor John Bowers

January 6th, 2017

cover of jan 2017 issue of photonics spectra
“The Revolution Has Just Begun Q&A with John Bowers” — Photonics Spectra speaks with Bowers about The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM), his breakthrough work and the impact of integrated photonics on medicine, communications and defense.

One of the foremost names in the world of integrated photonics is John Bowers, Ph.D., who is credited with leading a team that successfully demonstrated an electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser a decade ago. That advance has paved the way for the commercial production of high-bandwidth silicon photonic devices. Today, Bowers is leading UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the AIM initiative and is a central figure in this exciting field.

Q: Could you provide us with a snapshot of where you see the state of integrated photonics at the moment?
A: Integrated photonics is transforming telecommunications and data communications. Infinera, Acacia and others are introducing new telecommunication products with much higher capacity and performance that have been enabled by integration. Intel, Luxtera, Lumentum, Finisar and others are increasing capacity and lowering cost by integration. Virtually all 100-Gbps transceivers are highly integrated, and the next generation at 400 Gbps are only possible with integration. This started with integration on InP but high volumes are now being shipped by many silicon photonics suppliers, including Intel, Luxtera, Acacia and others.

Additional Questions (see full article):

  • Please elaborate on how you feel integrated photonic circuits are likely to impact such fields as transportation, medicine and defense in the years ahead?
  • Your work in ’06/’07 successfully bonding III-V material to a silicon waveguide has been cited as one of the seminal breakthroughs in integrated photonics. A decade later, can you share your reflections on this work and some of the primary challenges you overcame?
  • Has the hybrid silicon III-V laser reached commercial viability?
  • In 2015, the AIM initiative was formed and you were tasked with heading up UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the program. Can you discuss recent advances?
  • How is integrated photonics likely to transform the world in which we live in the years and decades ahead?

Photonics Spectra is today’s leading source of technological solutions and of news and information about photonics. It is the magazine referred to worldwide by the largest audience of photonics engineers, scientists and end users. Integrating all segments of photonics, Photonics Spectra is unique in that it provides both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry.

John E. Bowers holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology, and is the Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the IEEE, OSA and the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the IEEE Photonics Award, OSA Tyndall Award, OSA Holonyak Prize, and the IEEE LEOS William Streifer Award.

Photonics Spectra magazine

UCSB West Coast Headquarters of AIM Photonics

Bowers' Optoelectronics Research Group

ECE Professor Yasamin Mostofi awarded the 2016 Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize by the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS)

December 15th, 2016

photo of yasamin mostofi
Mostofi selected for the IEEE CSS honor for her “contributions to the fundamentals of communications and control co-optimization in mobile sensor networks”

Mostofi was recognized for her research in the area of mobile sensor networks and her lab work on multi-disciplinary problems at the intersection of the two areas of control and communications. Mostofi’s current research thrusts include RF sensing, X-ray vision for robots, communication-aware robotics, human-robot networks, occupancy estimation, and see-through imaging.

The Ruberti Prize is awarded by CSS to acknowledge contributions by a researcher under the age of 40 in the broad field of systems and control. The award was established in 2005 to honor Ruberti, whose scientific interests in the field of system and control was wide-ranging and was also one of the early pioneers of geometric control methods for nonlinear systems.

Mostofi was presented the Ruberti Prize at the CSS awards ceremony on Dec. 13, 2016 during the 55th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) in Las Vegas, NV.

Along with the Ruberti Prize, she has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, and the IEEE 2012 Outstanding Engineer Award of Region 6 (more than 10 Western U.S. states) and additional awards. Her research has appeared in various reputable news outlets such as BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Engadget.

IEEE CSS Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize

Mostofi’s Research

ECE Professor Larry Coldren elected as a 2016 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

December 13th, 2016

photo of larry coldrenUCSB professors Larry Coldren (ECE & Materials) and James Speck (Materials) are among the newest fellows and are recognized by NAI for their “highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

“We are doubly honored that both Professors Coldren and Speck have been elected fellows of the National Academy of Inventors,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. “This proud professional distinction acknowledges not only their creative and original research contributions, but the tangible applications of that innovative research for the betterment of our global society.”

“Professor Coldren’s contributions in integrated photonic devices, including wavelength tunable lasers, and Professor Speck’s in photonic materials for LEDs have enabled major advances in ever-higher capacity communication networks and energy-efficient lighting that have positively impacted our daily lives,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. “We are very proud of their achievements and their recognition by the National Academy of Inventors.”

“It is a great honor to receive this recognition from my peers,” said Coldren, UCSB’s Fred Kavli Professor of Optoelectronics and Sensors, who was noted for his work in optoelectronic devices and materials, which have applications in communications, switching and sensing, to name a few. His research currently focuses on components and fabrication techniques for photonic integrated circuits (PICs).

Coldren has been elected as a fellow of several prestigious organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Institute of Electronics Engineers in the UK. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the recipient of the OSA’s 2004 John Tyndall Award, the of IEEE’s 2009 Aron Kressel and 2014 David Sarnoff awards.

The UCSB Current – "Invention Honors" (full article)

NAI Fellows (webpage)

Coldren's CoE Profile

ECE Ph.D. Deblina Sarkar recognized by the 2016 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering

December 13th, 2016

photo of deblina sarkarSarkar’s dissertation “2D Steep Transistor Technology: Overcoming Fundamental Barriers in Low-Power Electronics and Ultra-Sensitive Biosensors” accorded an honorable mention in the competition as one of the top three from over 45 dissertations from institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada

The awards committee made a special point to say that it considers Dr. Sarkar’s work as some of the best early-career scholarship in the award disciplines. UCSB nominated her for the nationwide contest after she received the university’s 2016 Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Award for Math, Physical Science and Engineering.

The Council on Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest dissertation awards are designed to honor scholars whose dissertation represents original work that make an unusually significant contribution to the field area. The award is sponsored by ProQuest and recipients are selected by CGS.

At UCSB, Sarkar was member of the Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL) and advised by ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee. She is presently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Sarkar's Dissertation Info – UCSB Alexandria Digital Research Library (ADRL)

ECE News – "Dr. Deblina Sarkar receives the UCSB Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Award for Math, Physical Science and Engineering" (June 14, 2016)

Sarkar's MIT webpage

ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee named a 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow

November 21st, 2016

photo of kaustav banerjee
Three UCSB faculty members named 2016 AAAS Fellows – an engineer (Banerjee), a computer scientist (Divyakant Agrawal) and a biologist (Kathleen Foltz) are among the newest members of the prestigious organization. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. The UCSB professors join 388 other newly elected members to AAAS for 2016.

“It is a special honor to congratulate three of our colleagues on their election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “Professors Agrawal, Banerjee, and Foltz join the ranks of distinguished fellows at one of the world’s foremost scientific societies — one with a strong tradition of promoting collaboration, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility and supporting scientific education.”

“This prestigious honor highlights their pioneering contributions, as recognized by peers in the same fields. We are immensely proud and honored to have them as scientific leaders and colleagues on our campus.”

ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee was recognized in AAAS’s section on engineering “for distinguished contributions to nanoelectronics, particularly for pioneering devices and interconnects with nanomaterials, and innovating circuit and chip design concepts, all advancing toward ultra-energy-efficient electronics.”

The director of UCSB’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab, Banerjee’s research interests include nanometer-scale issues in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor very large-scale integrated circuits as well as emerging nanotechnology. A fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), he is the recipient of the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation. Banerjee is also affiliated with the California Nanosystems Institute and the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB.

Banerjee, Agrawal and Foltz will be presented with official certificates and gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pins on Saturday, February 18, during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.

The UCSB Current – “A Trio of AAAS Fellows” (full article)

AAAS – “2016 AAAS Fellows Honored for Advancing Science to Serve Society”

Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL)

Banerjee's CoE Profile

ECE Ph.D. student Belal Amin receives the Roberto Padovani Scholarship for interns from Qualcomm Research

November 8th, 2016

Photo of Belal Amin
The global scholarship program was created in 2008 and recognizes interns who demonstrate extraordinary technical talent during their summer internships

Amin interned at Qualcomm, New Jersey during the Summer of 2016 under the supervision of Sundar Subramanian on “Performance evaluation of various PHY/MAC algorithms for 5G beamformed MMW systems.”

Candidates are nominated by their mentors or managers based on their technical contributions and overall impact to the organization. Approximately 7 scholarships are provided each year.

Recipients of the Padovani scholarship receive a $5,000 academic scholarship to be used towards school expenses. In addition, recipients who come back to Qualcomm Research as an intern or as a full-time employee immediately upon graduation are eligible to receive a return bonus.

The scholarship is named after Dr. Roberto Padovani, who is currently an Executive Vice President and Fellow at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Dr. Padovani served as the Qualcomm’s Chief Technology Officer from 2002 to 2011. He holds numerous patents on wireless systems and has published technical papers in the digital communications field.

UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang honored by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for ‘Dedication in Science and Technology’

November 1st, 2016

photo of yang at the NAE podium
The National Academy of Engineering has named UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang the recipient of the 2016 Arthur M. Bueche Award. The award, which consists of a commemorative medal, was presented at the academy’s annual meeting earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

Established in 1982, the award honors an engineer who has shown dedication in science and technology, as well as involvement in determining United States science and technology policy, promoting technological involvement and contributing to the enhancement of the relationship among industries, government and universities.

Yang, also a professor in UCSB’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, was cited for “seminal research in aerospace, civil, and mechanical engineering; superb contributions to national science and technology policy; and enhancements to international technological development and cooperation.”

“The Arthur M. Bueche Award is one of the three awards presented annually to outstanding engineers by the National Academy of Engineering, which is the premier institution of U.S. engineers in all fields,” said Rod Alferness, dean of UCSB’s College of Engineering.

The UCSB Current – "For 'Dedication in Science and Technology'" (full article)

Chancellor Yang's COE Profile

ECE Prof. Yuan Xie and graduate student’s paper recognized as an IEEE Micro “Top Picks from the 2015 Computer Architecture Conferences”

October 31st, 2016

cover of ieee micro vol. 36, issue 3
With one of the most significant computer architecture papers of 2015, ECE faculty Yuan Xie and graduate student Shuangchen Li are recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Micro’s Top Picks

Their paper titled “Architecture Exploration for Ambient Energy Harvesting Nonvolatile Processors,” which was originally published in 21nd IEEE Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA 2015) and won the best paper award, was chosen by IEEE’s Micro magazine for its 2016 issue on “Micro’s Top Picks from the Computer Architecture Conferences”, and published as “Nonvolatile Processor Architectures: Efficient, Reliable Progress with Unstable Power ” in IEEE MICRO Vol.36, Issue 3.

The paper explores the design space for a nonvolatile processor across different architectures, input power sources, and policies for maximizing forward progress in a framework calibrated using measured results from a fabricated nonvolatile processor. The UCSB team, together with collaborators from Penn State and Tsinghua University, proposes a heterogeneous microarchitecture solution that efficiently capitalizes on ephemeral power surpluses.

IEEE Micro magazine publishes its yearly “Micro’s Top Picks from the Computer Architecture Conferences”, which collects the previous year’s most significant research papers in computer architecture based on novelty and potential for long-term impact. Any computer architecture paper (not a combination of papers) published in the top conferences of prior year is eligible. The Top Picks committee recognizes those significant and insightful papers that have the potential to influence the work of computer architects for years to come. Li and Xie’s paper is one of the 11 final winners out of hundreds of candidates selected by the committee.

IEEE Micro "Top Picks from the 2015 Computer Architecture Conferences”

Xie's and Li's paper “Architecture Exploration for Ambient Energy Harvesting Nonvolatile Processors”

Yuan Xie's – Scalable Energy-efficient Architecture Lab (SEAL)