News

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)

ECE Ph.D. & CS Post Doc Gina Adam and ECE Prof. Dmitri Strukov featured in The UCSB Current article “A Tiny Machine”

October 28th, 2016

figure depicting the structure of stacked memristors w/ dimensions
UCSB electrical and computer engineers design an infinitesimal computing device that could satisfy the Foresight Institute’s Feynman Grand Prize challenge named in honor of physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman

In 1959 renowned physicist Feynman, in his talk “Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” spoke of a future in which tiny machines could perform huge feats. Like many forward-looking concepts, his molecule and atom-sized world remained for years in the realm of science fiction.

And then, scientists and other creative thinkers began to realize Feynman’s nanotechnological visions.

In the spirit of Feynman’s insight, and in response to the challenges he issued as a way to inspire scientific and engineering creativity, electrical and computer engineers at UC Santa Barbara have developed a design for a functional nanoscale computing device. The concept involves a dense, three-dimensional circuit operating on an unconventional type of logic that could, theoretically, be packed into a block no bigger than 50 nanometers on any side.

“Novel computing paradigms are needed to keep up with the demand for faster, smaller and more energy-efficient devices,” said Gina Adam, postdoctoral researcher at UCSB’s Department of Computer Science and lead author of the paper “Optimized stateful material implication logic for three dimensional data manipulation,” published in the journal Nano Research. “In a regular computer, data processing and memory storage are separated, which slows down computation. Processing data directly inside a three-dimensional memory structure would allow more data to be stored and processed much faster.”

While efforts to shrink computing devices have been ongoing for decades — in fact, Feynman’s challenges as he presented them in his 1959 talk have been met — scientists and engineers continue to carve out room at the bottom for even more advanced nanotechnology. A nanoscale 8-bit adder operating in 50-by-50-by-50 nanometer dimension, put forth as part of the current Feynman Grand Prize challenge by the Foresight Institute, has not yet been achieved. However, the continuing development and fabrication of progressively smaller components is bringing this virus-sized computing device closer to reality, said Dmitri Strukov, a UCSB professor of computer science.

“Our contribution is that we improved the specific features of that logic and designed it so it could be built in three dimensions,” he said.

The UCSB Current – "A Tiny Machine" (full article)

Wikipedia – "Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology"

Professor Kaustav Banerjee awarded an Erasmus Mundus Fellowship and named DRESDEN Fellow

October 14th, 2016

photo of banerjee
Banerjee recently honored as a DRESDEN Senior Fellow by the Technical University of Dresden, where he spent two weeks as an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Professor

Banerjee was nominated to this prestigious fellowship to honor his accomplishments in nanoelectronics, particularly in the area of 2D materials and devices – a rapidly growing field where his group has been at the forefront of innovating nano- devices, interconnects and sensors by uniquely exploiting the novel physics of these materials.

TU Dresden is one of Germany’s largest technical universities and is ranked among its eleven elite universities of excellence. Each year, two DRESDEN Senior Fellowships for established academics at the top of their field can be awarded by each of the five TUD Schools.

The Erasmus Mundus fellowships for visiting professors are funded by the European Commission and intended to attract scholars of recognized excellence in teaching and research. Professor Banerjee was invited under their Nanoscience and Nanotechnology program that is jointly organized by several leading European institutions including TUD.

Professor Banerjee who directs the Nanoelectronics Research Lab is an internationally renowned leader in the field of nanoelectronics and has been recognized with a string of honors from the IEEE, APS, and numerous other organizations around the world.

2016 DRESDEN Fellows

Erasmus Mundus Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Program

Nanoelectronics Research Lab

ECE Professor Behrooz Parhami’s “Puzzling Problems in Science and Technology (ECE 1B)” course featured in The UCSB Current

September 25th, 2016

photo of Professor Parhami in his office
“Cool Classes” article about more than 100 freshman seminars offered at UCSB during the 2016-17 academic year that explore everything from puzzling problems in science and technology to Greek archeology

Freshman seminar, “Puzzling Problems in Science and Technology (ECE 1B),” grew out of a computer engineering required course that illuminates the work of engineers. The course uses familiar mathematical and logical puzzles to describe engineering problems and solution methods to freshmen, who may not yet have the background to understand them.

Taught by Behrooz Parhami, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the seminar focuses on the puzzle-like aspects of engineering challenges and their corresponding real-life applications. “An engineer is presented with pieces of a problem and has to put them together while taking into account user requirements in terms of performance and functionality, as well as technological capabilities and limitations,” Parhami said.

To illustrate the concept Parhami’s first lecture, about predicting the future, uses puzzles from some standardized aptitude tests. “When you’re given a sequence of numbers and asked what comes next, that is the same basic problem that engineers face in technology forecasting and inventory management,” he explained. “You have a past trend up to this moment and then need to know what comes next.”

A similar puzzle involves diagrams containing circles, squares, triangles or combinations thereof, plus five choices for what comes next. The solution can be found by detecting patterns to determine which subsequent choice fits best. Netflix and Amazon use a similar process when making recommendations based on what a user has chosen and liked in the past.

“I want students to become excited about what people do in science and engineering if they aren’t already,” Parhami said. “I want them to see that important problems are being addressed and that these problems will affect their lives, maybe not in an immediate way in the next few years but eventually.”

The UCSB Current – "Cool Classes" (full article)

Parhami's CoE Profile

ECE Professor Kaustav Banerjee’s work on 2D materials featured in Physics Today

September 22nd, 2016

Image of Physics Today Cover

Banerjee and colleagues at Harvard and Rice Universities author feature story, “Two-Dimensional van der Waals Materials,” published in the September 2016 issue of Physics Today

The article provides an overview of the physics, technology, and device applications of 2D materials including graphene and beyond-graphene 2D materials as well as their wide variety of heterostructures forming completely new materials known as “van der Waals solids”. The visionary article also discusses the prospects of employing such 2D materials for realizing layered nano- structures devices and circuits with atomic precision- a scientific dream of renowned physicist, Richard Feynman.

Professor Banerjee’s group have made seminal contributions toward advancing the understanding of 2D materials physics and uniquely exploited their properties in overcoming the limitations of conventional bulk materials (such as silicon and III-V semiconductors) for addressing power dissipation and other fundamental challenges in nanoscale transistors, interconnects and sensors. For example, a key device application highlighted in the article is a new class of transistors, the 3D/2D vertical heterostructure tunnel-field-effect-transistor demonstrated by Professor Banerjee’s group (Nature, 2015) that exhibits unprecedented low leakage currents and can switch with only 0.1 volts resulting in over 90% savings in power consumption.

Physics Today is the most influential and closely-followed physics magazine in the world, and more than 120,000 subscribers across the fields of STEM receive the publication every month. It is also the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics that informs readers about science and its place in the world with authoritative features, news stories, analysis, and fresh perspectives on technological advances and ground-breaking research.

Physics Today – "Two-dimensional van der Waals Materials" (full article)

College of Engineering (news release) – "The State and Potential of Two-dimensional van der Waals Materials"

Banerjee's Nanoelectronics Research Lab

Who’s new: Introducing UCSB GradPost 2016 incoming ECE graduate student Pedro Cisneros

September 19th, 2016

UC Santa Barbara welcomes ​769 new graduate students into its ranks next ​week, and this group of incoming students is one of the most diverse ever. UCSB GradPost interviews Pedro Cisneros who will be joining the ECE department specializing in Communications, Control, and Signal Processing.

photo by Pedro Cisneros

Pedro was born in California and moved at a young age to Peru. His entire family is Peruvian, but he will be the third generation to earn a Ph.D. from a UC school (his grandfather ​went to UC Riverside and his father ​went to UC Davis). Pedro studied Electrical Engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and will be pursuing a Ph.D. at UCSB in Electrical Engineering, with an emphasis on Communications, Control, and Signal Processing. Pedro explained, “Since school, I have had an equal love for math, letters, and arts. I thought of engineering as a possible way to combine those three.” He is interested in the field of Control Theory, which deals with a considerable amount of math and has a lot of theoretical work, as well as its application to biology, sociology, complex systems, and other applied math studies.

Pedro said that he is looking forward to making Santa Barbara his second home, and he is excited about both the academic opportunities and the fun activities it has to offer. Something you might not know about Pedro is that he has ​created over 27 paintings and has done four public art expositions in Peru. He also plays frontón, a Peruvian sport similar to squash, and he has a basic understanding of Quechua, an indigenous Peruvian language.

UCSB GradPost – "Who's new: Introducing our 2016 incoming graduate student cohort" (full article)

Who’s new: UCSB GradPost breaks down 2016 incoming graduate student diversity statistics

September 19th, 2016

This year is one of the most diverse years ever with the campus welcoming ​769 new graduate students. With 66 students, ECE is among the most popular disciplines and Engineering has the most with 207.

photo of World Map

At UCSB, there are a variety of gender identities represented in our student population. From the current demographic data we have collected on the incoming graduate student class, 52 percent of students identified as men and 48 percent identified as women. Starting with the Fall 2017 admissions cycle, all applicants to UCSB will have the option to choose among six gender identities listed on admissions forms: male, female, trans male, trans female, gender queer/gender non-conforming, and different identity. Additionally, all current UC students will be able to update their gender and sexual identity through the UCSB Registrar if they would like to.

Most of the incoming graduate students are between the ages of 22 and 30, but our youngest incoming student is 20 years old and our oldest is 57 years old. Sixteen percent are first-generation college students, and 25 percent of our new grad students identify as an underrepresented minority.

UCSB’s graduate students are coming from 45 different countries – from China to ​Chile, ​Sweden to South Africa, Mexico to Malaysia – representing nearly every continent. In fact, roughly one-third of incoming students (247, to be exact) are coming from places outside the country. Our U.S. students hail from 43 of the 50 states, but over half of them are California natives.

The most popular disciplines that our new graduate students chose were Environmental Science and Management (99 new students), the Teacher Education Program (81 new students), and Electrical and Computer Engineering (66 new students). By division, the most new graduate students are in Engineering (​207) and Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences (184), followed by Education (​114) and Humanities and Fine Arts (101).

UCSB GradPost – "Who's new: Introducing our 2016 incoming graduate student cohort" (full article)