ECE Associate Professor Jonathan Klamkin receives a NASA 2015 Early Stage Innovation (ESI) award

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Klamkin and UC, Santa Barbara awarded for proposal on “PICULS: Photonic Integrated Circuits for Ultra-Low Size, Weight and Power”

NASA has selected 15 university-led proposals for the study of innovative, early stage technologies that address high priority needs of America’s space program.

The Early Stage Innovations awards from NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program are worth as much as $500,000 each. Universities have two to three years to work on their proposed research and development projects.

“The agency’s space technology research areas lend themselves to the innovative approaches U.S. universities can offer for solving tough science and exploration challenges,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “NASA’s Early Stage Innovations grants align with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and the priorities identified by the National Research Council, helping enable NASA’s exploration goals including robotic missions to Mars and the outer planets, and ultimately human exploration of Mars.”

The proposals selected under the Early Stage Innovations 2015 solicitation address unique, disruptive or transformational technologies, including: payload technologies for assistive free-flyers; robotic mobility technologies for the surfaces of icy moons; integrated photonics for space optical communication; computationally guided structural nanomaterials design; and atmospheric entry modeling development using flight data from the Orion’s first flight test in space last December called Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1).

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IEE Executive Director & ECE Professor David Auston receives the UC Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative

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David Auston, executive director of UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency, Center for Energy Efficient Materials and ECE Adjunct Professor, is among 10 University of California faculty members to receive the award from UC President Janet Napolitano

The award recognizes Auston and faculty members from UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz for demonstrating outstanding leadership on UC President Janet Napolitano’s systemwide initiatives. They range from increasing student access and diversity, enhancing campus entrepreneurialism, achieving carbon neutrality, promulgating healthy and sustainable food systems around the world and furthering UC’s engagement with Mexico.

Auston is a member of Napolitano’s Global Climate Leadership Council and co-chair of the council’s Applied Research Working Group. Within months of the creation of the council, he helped to convene two workshops on how UC research could be deployed to help meet the systemwide goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. He also played a leading role in organizing a carbon neutrality research summit that included Napolitano, Gov. Jerry Brown and other state leaders, top administrators, sustainability managers and researchers from UC.

“This is a very special honor,” said Auston. “It has been — and continues to be — a great pleasure to work with all the members of the Global Climate Leadership Council and the many faculty, staff and students from the 10 UC campuses, the three national laboratories and UCOP, who are workingto advance the Carbon Neutrality Initiative.”

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3D Integrated Memristive Devices for Memory and Computing

The von Neumann bottleneck has been growing narrower over the years, as CPU speed and memory have been increasing much faster than the bandwidth between them can accommodate. One promising approach to circumvent this problem is logic-in-memory computing, where computation is performed in the memory itself, significantly reducing traffic between the CPU and the memory subsystem. The most practical implementation of logic-in-memory utilizes electronic devices that can perform both storage and logic while being monolithically integrated into existing CMOS technology. A very prominent example of such a device is the memristor a two-terminal memory devices with high endurance, low power consumption, and proven scalability down to 10 nm. Memristors are now actively investigated for non-volatile memory applications and energy-efficient hardware implementations of artificial neural networks. Recently, a novel logic-in-memory approach implementing material implication logic with memristors was proposed by Hewlett Packard, providing a potential new way forward for opening the von Neumann bottleneck.

The objective of this dissertation is to advance of the state of the art for material implication logic through three research goals. Our first goal was to develop a fabrication pathway for monolithical vertical integration of memristors in order to implement 3D memories. This allows us to experimentally test logic-in-memory systems. Our second goal was to determine memristor device and circuit constraints for implementing material implication logic and explore circuit and device level solutions to increase robustness of operation. Our final goal was to combine these two efforts together and demonstrate reliable material implication logic in vertically stacked memristors. To this end, we fabricated and successfully tested monolithically stacked memristive structures implemented with TiO2-based memristors. We also developed an optimized circuit configuration able to perform material implication with maximum tolerance to device variations. This allowed us to demonstrate, for the first time, hundreds of successful three-dimensional data manipulation cycles using material implication. An inter-layer NAND gate with the inputs and output in different device layers was implemented with 94% yield. This high yield demonstrates the potential for using the inter-layer stateful logic gates in larger circuits for in-memory logic. This implementation also opens the way through aggressive scaling to achieve one of the Feynman Grand Challenges – the construction of a functional nano-scale 8-bit adder in 50x50x50nm for which a circuit implementation is proposed.

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Professor Kaustav Banerjee’s work on nano-carbon interconnects receives ICCAD’s ’10 Year Retrospective Most Influential Paper Award’

photo of banerjee and award The award selection committee credited the paper for being judged the most influential on research and industrial practice in computer-aided design of integrated circuits over the ten years since its original appearance at ICCAD

At the recently concluded 34th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Computer Aided Design (ICCAD), held in Austin, Texas, the executive committee of the conference presented the prestigious ICCAD 2015 Ten Year Retrospective Most Influential Paper Award to Professor Kaustav Banerjee and ECE alum, Dr. Navin Srivastava.

For over 34 years, ICCAD has been the world’s premier conference devoted to technical innovations in electronic design automation. The selected paper that was published in the 2005 Proceedings of ICCAD is titled “Performance Analysis of Carbon Nanotube Interconnects for VLSI Applications.” The article’s co-author, Dr. Navin Srivastava, carried out his doctoral research in Professor Banerjee’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab and received the PhD degree in Spring 2009. He is currently an R&D engineer at Mentor Graphics Corporation, Wilsonville, Oregon.

The semiconductor industry has been looking for alternative interconnect solutions to replace copper due to their increasing resistivity and limited current carrying capacity. Professor Banerjee’s early work highlighting the prospects of carbon nanomaterials (including carbon nanotubes and graphene nano-ribbons) as interconnects and passives is now being pursued in many industrial R&D labs and research groups around the world.

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UCSB’s Madhow, Rodwell, Buckwalter and Zheng among researchers receiving $2.4M in NSF funding for millimeter wave band research

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UCSB researchers take aim at the potential bottleneck created by the growing flood of shared multimedia content on wireless networks

“According to industry projections that are widely quoted, mobile broadband data demand will grow by a thousandfold between 2010 and 2020,” says Upamanyu Madhow, a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We are in the middle of this period, and wireless carriers and equipment providers are scrambling to come up with solutions.” The demand, he said, is driven by bandwidth-hungry multimedia applications, such as streaming services, games and cloud storage, as well as web conferencing and remote desktop services. Should the network become overloaded, Madhow noted, users of these apps would experience the familiar and very frustrating slowdown of service.

However, with the help of $2.4 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, Madhow and fellow UCSB researchers Jim Buckwalter, Mark Rodwell and Heather Zheng, along with Amin Arbabian of Stanford University and Xinyu Zhang of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, plan to investigate an emerging approach to wireless connectivity. Their research focuses on what is called the “millimeter wave band,” an area of the electromagnetic spectrum that operates at a much higher frequency than the radio waves used in conventional wireless communications.

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ECE Professor Clint Schow elected as a 2016 Optical Society (OSA) Fellow

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Schow elected for his contributions to high capacity optical interconnects

OSA Fellows are selected based on their overall impact on optics, as gauged through factors such as specific scientific, engineering, and technological contributions, a record of significant publications or patents related to optics, technical leadership in the field, business leadership, and service to OSA and the global optics community.

Drawing from nominations from current fellows, the OSA Fellow Members Committee recommends candidates to the OSA Board of Directors. This process is highly competitive, as no more than 10 percent of the OSA Membership may be Fellows.

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Optical Technologies for the Future Data Center and Metro Networks

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The physical layer interconnection inside and between data centers will become an increasingly important fraction of the overall network cost, power consumption and footprint because analog optical transponder hardware does not follow Moore’s law. We will discuss how to fundamentally scale optical interface speeds to 400G/1T/1.6T to keep up with the ever increasing packet processor capacity. A key technology will be coherent which has already disrupted long-haul WDM transmission. Its excellent reach and transmission properties make it also very suitable for Metro distances (10-100km). But for shorter reaches (0-10km), single-mode and multi-mode direct detection will not be displaced. We will explore the trade-offs between the different transmission technologies and speculate which technology will win for the different applications.

Key to any competitive transmission technology is to have the right optical/electronic integration. Recent advances in silicon photonics, SiGeBiCMOS and 14 nm FD-SOI could be potential game changers and fundamentally alter the supply chain for transponders by allowing an CMOS- like separation of design and manufacturing.

We will also examine whether there are opportunities for a true optical layer enabled by optical cross-connects or optical add-drop devices in the data center internetworking. Analog networking technologies have been touted to be the next big thing a long time, but so far have failed to create a true impact; therefore there are reasons to be skeptical. Nevertheless, the fundamental scalability of an optical cross connect will, at some point, offer an irresistible value proposition once fibers carry Tb/s of capacity inside the data center.

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Professor Kaustav Banerjee’s work on 2D transistors among selected papers at IEDM 2014

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Selection to this kind of “IEDM Hall of Fame” is significant because for over 60 years, IEDM has been the world’s leading forum for reporting innovation, discovery, and breakthroughs in electron device technology.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), the technical program committee of the conference last December selected the eleven most significant contributions from over 220 papers presented in IEDM 2014 in San Francisco, CA, for a special section in the IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices (T-ED). The special section appears in the November 2015 issue of the journal and is aimed at commemorating 60 years of IEDM.

Prof. Banerjee’s selected paper in T-ED that was presented at the 2014 IEDM by ECE PhD candidate Wei Cao is titled “2D Semiconductor FETs–Projections and Design for Sub-10 nm VLSI”. The paper is co-authored by several other members in his Nanoelectronics Research Lab.

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‘To the Stars and Beyond’ — ECE Alumnus José Hernández honored at the Dream Luncheon

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Dream Luncheon celebrates NASA astronaut and distinguished UCSB alumnus José Hernández and the campus’s Hispanic community

Hundreds gathered at this weekend’s Dream Luncheon honoring NASA astronaut José Hernández with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. The event also celebrated UCSB’s achievement as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and was a benefit for the Dream Scholars Fund for underprivileged and underrepresented UCSB students.

The son of migrant farmers, Hernández was 12 years old when he learned to speak English. A first generation college student, Hernández graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering in 1986. He went on to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory where he developed digital equipment to detect breast cancer.

Pursuing a childhood dream inspired by watching the first moon landing on television, Hernández tried — and failed — 11 times to become a NASA astronaut. On his 12th attempt, Hernández was assigned to the crew of the Space Shuttle mission STS-128, sent to orbit the Earth in 2008.

Congressman Tony Cárdenas, also a UCSB engineering alumnus, described Hernández as the embodiment of the American dream. “The sky’s the limit, we always say,” said Cárdenas. “But José has proved the sky is not the limit. Very few people can say ‘I’ve orbited the Earth.’ The sky is no longer the limit.”

“Anything is possible as long as you have the perseverance,” said Hernandez after he accepted the Distinguished Alumni Award. “The sky’s not the limit — the stars are. I’m living proof of that.”

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Theory of Codes in Network and Inference Problems

Due to applications in large-scale distributed storage systems, local encoding and repair properties of codes have recently earned a lot of attention. In the first part of the talk, we show that generalized locality properties of codes lead to the notion of a graph capacity that is fundamental in the study of network flow problems. Furthermore, this capacity is closely related to the steady-states of graph dynamical systems, and thus steer us towards applications in neural auto-associative memories and consensus-based community detection algorithms.

In the second part of the talk we will address another general application of codes motivated by the pseudo-random behavior of code-words distribution. We will show how this basic principle is used to provide deterministic construction of structured matrices for applications such as sparse recovery and low-rank approximation.

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