ECE Ph.D. candidate Junkai Jiang and co-authors receive the 2018 IEEE S3S Best Student Paper Award

October 30th, 2018

photos of jiang, parto and cao
Jiang and co-authors demonstrate for the first time that 3D chips made with 2D materials can achieve 10-folds higher integration density as compared to conventional electronic materials at the 2018 IEEE SOI-3D-Subthreshold Microelectronics Technology Unified Conference (IEEE S3S) held in San Francisco, CA

The technical program committee of the conference presented the Best Student Paper Award to Jiang from Professor Kaustav Banerjee’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL) for the selected paper “Monolithic-3D Integration with 2D Materials: Toward Ultimate Vertically-Scaled 3D-ICs.” The paper was published in the 2018 Proceedings of the IEEE S3S and is co-authored by Professor Banerjee and two other NRL members – Kamyar Parto, a second year ECE graduate student and Dr. Wei Cao, a post-doctoral fellow. While the article is not yet available on IEEE Xplore, a discussion of the work can be found in a recent invited article on 2D materials from the NRL co-authored by Cao, Jiang, et al., in the October 2018 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices.

The semiconductor industry has been looking for alternative 3D IC technology solutions, particularly monolithic 3D integration that promises higher integration density and better performance compared to conventional methods including the Through-Silicon-Via (TSV)-based 3D ICs that are currently in the market. However, monolithic 3D integration with conventional electronic materials faces several challenges including thermal, electrical, and process issues. Jiang and co-authors demonstrate through detailed modeling and simulation, why atomically-thin (2D) layered materials provide a better platform, with respect to bulk materials (such as Si, Ge, GaN, etc.), for realizing ultra-high-density monolithic 3D-ICs for next-generation electronics.

Over the past several decades the IEEE S3S Conference has developed into one of the most relevant venues and a hot spot for the latest research and deliberations on state-of-the-art technology topics including 3D Integration, Ultra-Low Power Circuits and Devices, and Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) Technology.

Jiang’s doctoral research is focused on modeling, design, synthesis, and characterization of novel interconnect structures and materials. Professor Banerjee is widely regarded as one of the key visionaries behind the 3D IC technology being employed by the semiconductor industry for continued scaling and integration beyond Moore’s law, and led the research.

IEEE S3S Conference

IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices article

Nanoelectronics Research Lab (NRL)

College of Engineering Dean and ECE faculty member Dean Rod Alferness receives The Optical Society’s (OSA) highest award

September 25th, 2018

photo of rod alferness
Alferness receives the 2018 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize for his “basic contributions and leadership in the development of integrated optics, high-speed optical modulation and switching, and configurable WDM networks that have provided significant economic and societal impact”

Where would modern life be without the internet as we know it? When the technology became mainstream in the 1990s, demand for high-speed data transmission exploded, and that need was filled with light — unrivaled for its speed and data capacity. By the end of the 20th century, fiber optic cables and other optical infrastructure had been established around the globe, enabling speed-of-light communications and commerce. Light remains the medium of choice for the next generation of rapid long-distance data transmission.

Among those leading the charge into the era of optical networks was Rod Alferness. With other researchers and colleagues at Bell Labs, he had for years been investigating ways to harness the power of light for telecommunications. Now, as the Richard A. Auhll Professor and Dean of UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, Alferness continues to push for the study and development of optics and photonics technologies to usher in future high-performance, energy-efficient devices and telecommunications infrastructure.

“We are tremendously proud that Dean Alferness has received the highest award from The Optical Society for his leadership in integrated optics and optical switching technology and architecture,” remarked UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “Recognition by one’s peers is especially meaningful and speaks to Rod’s reputation within his field. This accolade honors not only him, but also our institution.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive the 2018 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize from OSA, the society and community that has been my professional home for nearly 45 years,” Alferness said. “My thanks to the OSA Board of Directors, the Awards and Selection Committees, those who supported my nomination and my many collaborators.”

World renowned for his work on integrated-optic devices and optical switching technology and architecture, Alferness is perhaps best known in the technology of his field for his efforts in the realm of wavelength-division-multiplexed (WDM) optical networks, a technology that enables several signals to be carried over a single optical fiber via different wavelengths. His research, according to OSA, led to the “early development of titanium diffused lithium niobate waveguide modulators which are now deployed as the high-speed signal-encoding engine in fiber optic transmission systems around the world.”

Alferness is known also for his leadership in the industry of optics and photonics, having spent much of the early part of his professional career heading research efforts at Bell Labs. Among his most significant early accomplishments is his leadership in the five-year, DARPA-funded MONET project — an experiment that connected six U.S. government agencies in Washington, D.C., via a transparent optical network — which ultimately proved the practicability of such networks. Alferness would go on to lead even larger groups and more expansive efforts as senior vice president of research at Bell Labs’ later incarnations, including parent company Lucent Technologies and at Alcatel-Lucent, eventually becoming chief scientist at Bell Labs/Alcatel-Lucent before joining UC Santa Barbara in 2011.

Alferness is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of OSA and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He served as OSA president in 2008 and as a member of the OSA board of directors from 2001 to 2003. He also was president of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-optics Society (now Photonics Society) in 1997. His work and research have earned him numerous awards throughout his career, including the OSA’s Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award in 2010, the IEEE Millennium Award and the IEEE Photonics Award.

The UCSB Current – "Guiding Light" (full article)

The OSA Announces Rod Alferness as 2018 Recipient of the Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize

Alferness' COE Profile

ECE Prof. Yasamin Mostofi’s research featured in The UCSB Current article “Crowd Counting through Walls through WiFi”

September 24th, 2018

image from video of crowd counting research
The new methodology and experimental results were presented by Mostofi at the 2018 IEEE 15th Annual IEEE International Conference on Sensing, Communication, and Networking (SECON)

Researchers in UC Santa Barbara professor Yasamin Mostofi’s lab have given the first demonstration of crowd counting through walls using only everyday communication signals such as WiFi. The technique, which requires only a wireless transmitter and receiver outside the area of interest, could have a variety of applications, including smart energy management, retail business planning and security.

“Our proposed approach makes it possible to estimate the number of people inside a room from outside,” said Mostofi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. “This approach utilizes only WiFi RSSI measurements and does not rely on people to carry a device.”

In the team’s experiments, one WiFi transmitter and one WiFi receiver are behind walls, outside a room in which a number of people are present. The room can get very crowded with as many as 20 people zigzagging each other. The transmitter sends a wireless signal whose received signal strength (RSSI) is measured by the receiver. Using only such received signal power measurements, the receiver estimates how many people are inside the room — an estimate that closely matches the actual number. It is noteworthy that the researchers do not do any prior measurements or calibration in the area of interest; their approach has only a very short calibration phase that need not be done in the same area.

This development builds on previous work in the Mostofi Lab, which has pioneered sensing with everyday radio frequency signals such as WiFi, with several publications in this area since 2009. For instance, their 2015 paper showed crowd counting without relying on people to carry a device, but with the transmitter and receiver in the same area as the people.

“However, enabling through-wall crowd counting is considerably more challenging due to the high level of attenuation by the walls,” said Mostofi. Her lab’s success in this endeavor is due to the new proposed methodology they developed.

The UCSB Current – “Crowd Counting through Walls through WiFi” (full article)

"Through-Wall Crowd Counting with WiFi, Without Relying on People to Carry a Device" (YouTube)

Mostofi Lab's research on Crowd Counting Through Walls with WiFi

More about Mostofi and her research

ECE Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Klamkin’s DARPA Young Faculty Award in The UCSB Current article “Rising Research Stars”

September 6th, 2018

photo of Jonathan Klamkin
Two UCSB junior engineering faculty members ECE Assoc. Prof. Klamkin and CS Asst. Prof. William Wang join 34 other up-and-coming researchers for 2018 the prestigious Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award

“We’re extremely proud of William Wang and Jonathan Klamkin for receiving their DARPA Young Faculty Awards, and we offer them enthusiastic congratulations on this recognition of their outstanding achievements,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. “They continue a strong tradition of junior faculty being recognized for outstanding work, and in doing so, ensure that UCSB engineering is in good hands for the future.”

Smarter, Faster, More Efficient – ECE Associate Professor Jonathan Klamkin

Modern life changed in the mid-20th century when the electronic integrated circuit took the world by storm, bringing advances in computing and the many devices made possible by that feat of engineering. Today we stand at the cusp of a similar revolution, this time with photonic integrated circuits, which transfer information with light instead of electricity. Not only can light carry more information, but it can sense and process information in innovative ways.

Klamkin, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is among those working to bring about the photonics revolution. With his DARPA project “ASPIC (Attojoule Sources for Photonic Integrated Circuits),” he aims to address the energy consumption issues associated with lasers, the sources of light in photonic integrated circuits. Confronting that challenge is a must if photonic integrated circuits are to be reliable and to reach their potential for the large-scale integration associated with electronic integrated circuits.

“We aim to drastically reduce the power consumption of laser diodes that provide the optical sources for photonic integrated circuits,” said Klamkin, who leads the Integrated Photonics Laboratory at UCSB. “Such a luxury would make photonic circuits ubiquitous in the same way that electronic circuits have become a mainstay in computers, smartphones, medical instruments, sensors and automobiles.”

“It is an honor to receive this award,” Klamkin said. “DARPA is highly recognized for its commitment to cutting-edge research. I’ve had the privilege to work with DARPA for more than 15 years on various programs and this award represents a unique opportunity for students and me to investigate truly foundational technology. I’m also excited for the interactions we will have with our terrific program manager and for the interesting events and site visits organized for the young investigators under this program.”

Klamkin, who joined the UCSB faculty in 2015, is also the recipient of a NASA Early Career Faculty award. He and his group have been recognized with several best paper awards. Klamkin has authored or coauthored more than 180 papers, holds several patents and has delivered more than 60 invited talks and tutorials.

About the DARPA Young Faculty Award

The objective of the DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) program is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and introduce them to Department of Defense needs as well as DARPA’s program development process.

The UCSB Current – "Rising Research Stars" (full article)

Klamkin's COE Profile

Integrated Photonics Laboratory (iPL)

ECE Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Klamkin’s thoughts on grad students and collaborative research in COE Convergence article “Oh, to be Young (And Interdisciplinary)”

August 14th, 2018

photos of four coe collaborators
Klamkin gives his thoughts on UCSB graduate students benefiting from working on the front lines of collaborative research

Students are among those who benefit most from the collaborative orientation of engineering and the sciences at UC Santa Barbara. Graduate students, especially, gain a great advantage from being co-advised by multiple faculty members in different departments, exposing them to a broad range of perspectives, knowledge, tools, and techniques. And because UCSB lacks the kind of research fiefdoms common at many universities, students become part of a dynamic collaborative exchange with their fellow graduate students. As a result, graduate students, who are on the front lines of research, regularly provide key insights and breakthroughs.

Jonathan Klamkin earned his PhD at UCSB (Professor Emeritus Larry Coldren was his advisor) but is also familiar with what he refers to as “the traditional university model in the U.S., where professors have their own labs and the door’s closed, and it’s not as collaborative.”

At UCSB, he says, “It’s different. We work on really tough projects that one person can’t do alone. Students work together, and the net product is something they all benefit from, not just because it’s so cutting edge, but also because they learned to work together.” Citing that familiarity with collaborative group work, he adds, “There’s definitely a concentration of UCSB graduates in industry, because they’re productive and entrepreneurial and know how to work as a team to make a finished product.”

COE Convergence "Oh, to be Young (And Interdisciplinary)" (full article)

Klamkin's COE Profile

Integrated Photonics Laboratory (iPL)

ECE Professor Joao Hespanha’s research featured in The UCSB Current article “Toward a Secure Electrical Grid”

July 20th, 2018

illustration of locked electrical grid
UCSB professor João Hespanha suggests a way to protect autonomous grids from potentially crippling GPS spoofing attacks

Not long ago, getting a virus was about the worst thing computer users could expect in terms of system vulnerability. But in our current age of hyper-connectedness and the emerging Internet of Things, that’s no longer the case. With connectivity, a new principle has emerged, one of universal concern to those who work in the area of systems control, like João Hespanha, a professor in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. That law says, essentially, that the more complex and connected a system is, the more susceptible it is to disruptive cyber-attacks.

“It is about something much different than your regular computer virus,” Hespanha said. “It is more about cyber physical systems — systems in which computers are connected to physical elements. That could be robots, drones, smart appliances, or infrastructure systems such as those used to distribute energy and water.”

In a paper titled “Distributed Estimation of Power System Oscillation Modes under Attacks on GPS Clocks,” published this month in the journal IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, Hespanha and co-author Yongqiang Wang (a former UCSB postdoctoral research and now a faculty member at Clemson University) suggest a new method for protecting the increasingly complex and connected power grid from attack.

The UCSB Current – "Toward a Secure Electrical Grid" (full article)

Hespanha's research page

Hespanha's COE Profile

ECE Prof. Manjunath and director of the UCSB Center for Multimodal Big Data Science & Healthcare research featured in the COE’s Convergence magazine

June 26th, 2018

illustration of big data
UCSB researchers awarded a $3.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to fund a broadly interdisciplinary Large-scale IMage Processing Development (LIMPID) project

Increasingly, big data and its partner, machine learning, are driving and enabling collaboration. Advances in sensors, cameras, scientific instrumentation, software platforms, deep neural networks, and computing power have made the promise of artificial intelligence real. The results show up in platforms that can identify patterns and scour meaning from millions or even billions of data points to better understand and manage a vast range of dynamical systems, from smart buildings and new materials to human biology and social systems.

Big data can take the form of simple data points that record, say, click-throughs on websites or entries on a spreadsheet, or it can be digital imagery, such as video, photographs, remotely sensed lidar images, or microscopy images. UCSB researchers are on the front lines of this data-fueled revolution, developing systems that make such multimodal big data a powerful tool for engineering.

According to B. S. Manjunath, professor in the Department of UCSB Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the campus’s Center for Multimodal Big Data Science and Healthcare, big-data approaches require three main elements: experts in the field under study who can frame the research questions and form hypotheses; computational-science experts to design algorithms and data structures; and information-processing experts to address the signaling and information-theory components. 

Because so much science-related data takes the form of digital images, the center was awarded the NSF grant to fund the LIMPID project with the work based on a platform called BisQue (Bio-Image Semantic Query User Environment), developed by Manjunath’s group. BisQue had its roots in microscopy imaging and was developed to support a wide range of image informatics research for the life sciences. With its ability to process databases and perform image analysis, BisQue makes it easy to share, distribute, and collaborate around large image datasets.

“You can think of BisQue as Google Docs for scientific images,” Manjunath notes. “Imaging data has become ubiquitous, and much of big-data science is image-centric. Working with such data should be as simple as working with text files in Google Docs, so that people can collaborate and share information in real time. Not too many places have that kind of infrastructure for data science. It has taken us twelve years to build, and it’s something that sets us apart.”

COE Convergence – "The Long Reach of Big Data" (full article)

Manjunath's COE Profile

Center for Multimodal Big Data Science and Healthcare

2018 College of Engineering, ECE Department and Computer Engineering Program honors

June 20th, 2018

graduation at the commencement green

Seniors, graduate students and faculty recognized by ECE, CE and COE


UCSB Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Award for Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering
A Lancaster dissertation award in Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering is given every other year and entered into a national competition sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools – award recipients are members of the Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony’s Platform Party

  • Jiahao Kang (EE)


College of Engineering Academic Honor
Awarded to the student with the highest grade point average of the College of Engineering graduating class as of the winter quarter, who was enrolled as a full-time, matriculated UCSB student through the spring quarter, and is expected to complete all degree requirements as of the spring quarter

  • Sean McCotter (EE)

Outstanding Seniors

  • Electrical Engineering – Sean McCotter
  • Computer Engineering – Karthik Kribakaran

College of Engineering Honors Program for Academic Excellence

  • Electrical Engineering
    Bryce Ferguson, Rachel Reyes, Phanitta Chomsinsap, Jingwen Sun, Huishan Chen, Xiaowen Guo, Jenny Zeng
  • Computer Engineering
    Nathan Vandervoort


  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant: Vince Radzicki
  • Outstanding Faculty: Professor Hua Lee


  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant: Caio Motta
  • Outstanding Faculty: Professor Forrest Brewer

ECE Professor John Bowers and his non-profit Unite to Light reach 100K milestone

June 19th, 2018

unite to light celebration
This past spring, Unite to Light, the nonprofit founded by Bowers, reached a major milestone by distributing its 100,000th solar-charged LED light with solar-charging battery pack to someone who lacks safe, reliable, bright light

“Unite to Light is focused on getting light to those who could not otherwise afford it — children who are learning to read or need to study after dark, midwives — and also to health clinics and as part of disaster response,” said Unite to Light executive director, Megan Birney, in an article about the nonprofit published in the UCSB Current in 2017. “Supplying solar lights to midwives, refugees and new mothers falls squarely into our mission of providing tools for those in need so that they may have a better opportunity to survive and thrive.”

Since the nonprofit was founded in 2011, the lights have been distributed in more than 65 countries, including in Bangladesh, where they were given to Rohingya refugees — and especially pregnant women — fleeing violence in Myanmar, as well as in Puerto Rico shortly after Hurricane Maria cut out electricity on the island, and in Ghana, South Africa, Haiti, and Peru, to name several.

The lights are valuable to students who live in remote villages and may have only candles or kerosene-fueled lamp light after dark. In South Africa, high school students must pass the official school exit exam in order to graduate and have any chance of getting a job. In the nation’s KwaZulu Natal region, where the unemployment rate is around 50 percent, pass rates for the critical exam have increased by twenty to thirty percent in areas where the lights were distributed.

In the United States, lights have also been distributed to people who spend the night in cars, targeting especially school children in that group so that they can do their homework at night. Lights have also been distributed in some native-American tribal areas that lack infrastructure.

“I’m proud of the job Megan Birney is doing as president of Unite to Light in expanding our connections in Haiti and South Africa,” said John Bowers in June while participating in a 2,745-mile unsupported bicycle ride from Canada to the Mexico border to raised funds for Unite to Light. “We are seeing a twenty- to thirty-percent increase in graduation rates with students who have lights. That means we’re helping an additional thirty thousand students graduate from high school, which is really, really exciting. Our next goal is one million lights!”

College of Engineering News – "John Bowers and Unite to Light Reach 100K Milestone" (full article)

Unite to Light

Bowers' COE Profile

EE, CE and ME senior undergraduates present projects at the College of Engineering’s 2018 Engineering Design Expo (EDx)

June 19th, 2018

hyperloop team with poster
Senior students from all disciplines in the College of Engineering (COE) complete a year-long project-based capstone course and presentation event where they show engineering solutions to real-world problems and often with input from industry partners

This year, 24 projects were presented by electrical, computer and mechanical engineering students on Friday, June 8 at EDx in Corwin Pavilion where they shared results that impressed hundreds of faculty, sponsors, fellow students, parents, and guests from beyond UCSB.

Judges walked the outdoor fair, talked with the students, and then awarded top honors to the following EE and CE representatives:


  • * Hyperloop – Engineering Innovation in Electrical Engineering: the third year of the UCSB Hyperloop project and this year’s team redesigned the magnetically levitated vehicle, complete with a carbon skin. The team hopes to earn the right to “test-fly” their pod at Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop track.
  • * SONOS MOVE – Excellence in EE: the first fully portable wireless speaker in the SONOS line, which features a six-hour battery pack and onboard LTE connection that allows for WiFi connectivity

* Multidisciplinary teams consisting of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering students with Hyperloop consisting of 25-plus students and SONOS Move with ten


  • Wall-E – Engineering Innovation in Computer Engineering: a Waterborne Autonomous Low Light Electrostereovideography (WALL-E). The submersible low-light camera cameras, which can be deployed in pairs, and use computer-vision techniques to analyze the courtship patterns of ostracods – tiny crustaceans that produce luminous courtship displays
  • Hover Hand – Excellence in EE: a glove that acts as the transmitter to a drone’s receiver, enabling the pilot to fly a quadcopter drone in a way that is more intuitive and precise

The UCSB Current – “Capstone 2018” (full article)

COE News – “Proving Ground for Engineering Seniors” (full article & ME awardees)

COE Capstone website

ECE Capstone Course webpage (ECE 188)

CE Capstone Course webpage (ECE 189)