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EECS Professor Receives Grant at the 2019 UTRF Innovation Awards

EECS professor Michael Berry and Dr. Jillian Maeder from Audiology and Speech Pathology received a 2020 Technology Maturation Grant for their VocaCoord technology, at the 2019 University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) Innovation Awards on December 4.

The Knoxville awards ceremony, held on December 4, recognized the UT researchers whose innovations better society. 2019 honorees included researchers who patented 19 new innovations and/or secured 28 licenses, as well as a new startup company showing enormous potential, Electro-Active Technologies. Five teams of UT researchers were awarded Maturation Grants, helping to further the development of technologies with potential for commercial success. Throughout this year, UTRF received 168 invention disclosures and filed 108 patents for UT inventions.

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CURENT Faculty and Researchers Recognized at 2019 Innovation Awards

picture of CURENT faculty and researchers being recognized for issued patents at the 2019 Innovation Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, December 4picture of CURENT faculty and researchers being recognized for issued patents at the 2019 Innovation Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, December 4Several CURENT faculty and researchers were recognized for Issued Patents at the 2019 Innovation Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, December 4th, at The Foundry in Knoxville, TN. The awards are given by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) to distinquish University of Tennessee researchers whose innovations better society.

The following CURENT faculty, research staff and students were honored for issued patents.

Wei Gao, Yilu Liu, Haoyang Lu, Wenxuan Yao and Lingwei Zhan for Mobile Electric Field Sensor Based Phasor Measurement Unit for Monitoring an Electric Power Grid

Yilu Liu, Wenxuan Yao and Jiecheng Zhao for Synchrophasor Measurement Method for Power Systems

Daniel Costinett, Leon Tolbert, Fei “Fred” Wang, Jingxin Wang and Sheng Zheng for DC Current Controller for Continuously Variable Series Reactor

Please join us in wishing all the people above a hearty congratulations for their achievement.

CURENT is a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Engineering Research Center headquartered at UT. Partner institutions are Northeastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Tuskegee University.

Picture of Dr. Lynne Parker speaking at a White House event on Artificial Intelligence in Government

Parker Named Deputy US Chief Technology Officer

UT Professor Lynne Parker was one of two people named deputy US chief technology officers on Wednesday, joining Winter Casey in that honor.

“I am very excited and humbled by my selection for this position,” Parker said. “It’s an exciting time for emerging technology and innovation, and I look forward to helping our country in any way that I can.”

The US chief technology officer is a position within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where Parker was has been serving as assistant director for artificial intelligence since August 2018.

In this new role, she’ll help guide policies and efforts related to the industries of the future, which include quantum information science, advanced communications, advanced manufacturing, and the bioeconomy, in addition to continuing a strong focus on artificial intelligence.

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Two EECS/CURENT Alumni and EECS/CURENT Professor Receive IEEE PES Technical Committee Prize Paper Award

Two EECS/CURENT alumni, Dr. Haoyu (Harry) Yuan, who is now a research staff member at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a former direct Ph.D. student of EECS/CURENT (2011-2016); Dr. Yanli Wei who is now an Advisor in Energy Deal Structuring at Southern California Edison and a former doctoral student of EECS/CURENT (2009-2013); and their former advisor Dr. Fran Li, have received the IEEE PES Technical Committee Prize Paper award. Dr. Fran Li is the corresponding author of this award-winning paper.

They were honored during the PSOPE (Power System Operation, Planning and Economics) Technical Committee main meeting at the IEEE PES General Meeting 2019, held in Atlanta during August 4-8, 2019. The paper has been selected from a total of 12 nominations from all papers published in five IEEE PES Transactions in the scope aligned with the PSOPE technical committee, which is the largest committee within PES. Here is the paper’s citation:

Haoyu Yuan, Fangxing Li, Yanli Wei, and Jinxiang Zhu, “Novel Linearized Power Flow and Linearized OPF Models for Active Distribution Networks with Application in Distribution LMP,” IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 438-448, Jan. 2018.

EECS/CURENT Alum and Two Faculty Members Receive Highly Cited Paper Award

Dr. Linquan Bai, a recent alumnus of EECS/CURENT and now an Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte; Dr. Hantao Cui, CURENT research assistant professor and former part-time EECS/CURENT doctoral student (2012-2016); and their former advisor Dr. Fran Li, have received the Highly Cited Paper Award from the journal Applied Energy. Li’s visiting scholar, Dr. Jiang Tao (2019-2020), is also a co-author. Li is the corresponding author of this award-winning paper.

With an impact factor of 8.426, Applied Energy is a leading journal in the broad area of energy engineering and science. The award is highly competitive as it is bestowed to only 16 research papers and 13 review papers among 3200+ published papers in Applied Energy in 2016 and 2017. The award was issued during the International Conference of Applied Energy (ICAE), held August 12-15, 2019 in Sweden. Here is the paper’s citation:

  1. Bai, F. Li, H. Cui, T. Jiang, et al., “Interval Optimization based Operating Strategy for Gas-Electricity Integrated Energy Systems Considering Demand Response and Wind Uncertainty,” Applied Energy, vol. 167, pp. 270-279, Apr. 2016.

EECS Student Named to ‘20 Under 20’

Picture of EECS freshman computer engineering student Kaitlyn DanielsAn EECS student has been honored by the Knoxville News Sentinel for excellence in leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation in the 2019 20 Under 20 awards.

Kaitlyn Daniels, 19, is a freshman studying computer engineering. She and two other UT student awardees were featured in the November issue of magazine and honored at an awards reception last Thursday at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Daniels was also a dedicated Girl Scout, earning the Gold Award with an extraordinary leadership record. When Seymour Junior High School was under construction, Daniels noticed a decline in birds and greenery around the area. She decided to create a garden space at the junior high, adding trees and native plants to attract pollinators. Daniels partnered with the special education department at Seymour High School for the installation of a wheelchair-accessible raised garden. Daniels remains invested in the Seymour community, continuing work on an outdoor classroom, maintaining a seed library, and leading a science club. She lives by the goal of “wanting to make the world a better place.”

At UT, Daniels writes for the Daily Beacon and is involved with the Society of Women Engineers, looking to blend her love for science with her passion for helping others. This summer she will intern with Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company. Daniels hopes to start her own business or become a science teacher in the future.

Read more about Kaitlyn Daniels

Read about the other two UT student awardees

EECS Professor Chairing Supercomputing Conference; Another EECS Professor is an Invited Guest Speaker

Picture of Dr. Michela Taufer

Dr. Michela Taufer

Picture of Dr. Lynne Parker

Dr. Lynne Parker

The SC19 Supercomputing conference, chaired by EECS Professor Michela Taufer, is underway this week in Denver, Colorado.

One of invited speakers is another EECS Professor, Lynne Parker, who will speak today on the topic of “US Administration Activities in Artificial Intelligence and HPC.” Dr. Parker also works for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Talk description:
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming everything from healthcare to transportation to manufacturing. Recognizing the importance of AI to the United States, in February 2019, the US President announced the American AI Initiative. This Initiative is a whole-of-government strategy to advance AI in collaboration and engagement with the private sector, academia, the public, and international allies. One of the key priorities of this Initiative is AI research and development (R&D), to include not only fundamental AI algorithms, but also the underlying cyberinfrastructure, systems, and data that provide the foundation for complete AI systems. Investments in AI and high performance computing are among the most important areas of emerging technology at work for our nation, both inside and outside government. In this talk, I will discuss the Administration’s activities and priorities in AI, and in high performance computing (HPC), highlighting open R&D questions at the nexus of AI and HPC.

Read more about the SC19 Supercomputing conference

McFarlane Named ADVANCE Professor, Giving Faculty Candidates Independent View

Picture of Dr. Nicole McFarlaneWhen candidates are brought in for interviews during the process of filling faculty positions, they can have questions about the campus that they might soon call home that they might not feel at ease asking the formal search committee.

The Tickle College of Engineering is creating a new position to be a neutral party, someone outside the official hiring group as a way to solve that problem by giving candidates an outlet to get answers to questions that matter to them, but that they might not feel appropriate asking a group determining whether they would get the job.

The TCE ADVANCE Professorship will allow candidates to have personal interaction with someone to answer questions about topics such as campus climate, leave policies and benefits, or issues surrounding inclusivity, religion, or family matters.

Associate Professor Nicole McFarlane of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will be the first TCE Advance Professor, and she is already looking forward to the role.

“I am pleased to be taking on this new responsibility and in helping faculty candidates gain a better understanding of what is going on here in the college and at UT. Choosing whether or not to join a university defines a faculty member for years or even decades, so it is important that people know what they need to about their potential academic home.”
—Nicole McFarlane

In the new position, McFarlane will work with UT’s Adaptations for a Sustainable Climate of Excellence and Diversity (ASCEND) program to develop resources and information for prospective faculty candidates to help inform them on the college and what kind of career they might expect at UT.

The new professorship is part of a larger initiative that the college is undertaking to promote a more diverse and inclusive faculty, something the National Science Foundation has been keen on taking on around STEM-related areas.

The NSF began the “ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions,” in 2001 as a way to begin help recruit, retain, and encourage women in STEM-related fields, and has expanded its goals and outreach in the years since.

Like other groups, agencies, and universities, the NSF understands that increased diversity leads to an growth in the number of perspectives being brought to bear on a problem, improving chances for better outcomes and breakthroughs.

Picture of Dr. Michela Taufer at the SC19 Conference in Denver

EECS Professor Pens Article on SC19 Conference Keynote Speaker, Mars Rover Scientist

This month, EECS Dongarra Professor Michela Taufer is serving as Conference Chair for the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC19) on November 17–22 in Denver, Colorado.

She has just written an article about the conference’s keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Squyres. Dr. Squyres and his NASA teammates led the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rover programs from 2004 to 2018.

Read the article

EECS Professor’s Research Team Working to Create Ultra-Fast Electric Vehicle Charger

Picture of a module allowing for development of a 500 kilowatt DC fast charger for electric vehicles, made by WolfspeedDr. Kevin Bai, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his research team are working with Ford Motor Company and Wolfspeed to design a 1-megawatt ultra-fast charger for electric vehicles. Wolfspeed is the power and radio frequency segment of North Carolina-based Cree, a manufacturer of LED lighting and components.

According to an article on the website Talk, Business & Politics, “The new device is expected to charge electric vehicle batteries in about four minutes, similar to the amount of time one might spend at a gas station and much faster than some of the fastest electric car chargers on the market, such as the Tesla Supercharger, which requires about 30 minutes for a charge.” The project is led by Wolfspeed and sponsored by ARPA-E. Dr. Bai’s research team will provide the control strategy and simulation design for the project.

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