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EECS Faculty Members and Students Receive 2017 Chancellor’s Citation Awards

Accomplished faculty, staff, and students were honored Wednesday evening at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, the university’s largest recognition event of the year.  The Chancellor’s Honors Banquet is held each spring to recognize students, faculty, staff and friends of the University of Tennessee for their extraordinary achievements.

EECS Professor Dr. Benjamin Blalock received one of the evening’s top faculty awards, the Alexander Prize. Several other EECS faculty members and students were awardees, as well.

 

Campus Honors- EECS Faculty Members

 

2017 Alexander Prize- Dr. Benjamin Blalock

Benjamin J. Blalock, the Blalock-Kennedy-Pierce Professor of Analog Electronics in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received the Alexander Prize.

Blalock directs the Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory and focuses on analog circuitry for extreme environments. He and his research students, working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, have designed a microchip that controls robotic movement in the Mars rover Curiosity. He does similar work with the Exploration Technology Development Program, a NASA-funded team of universities and companies developing circuitry that can operate reliably on the moon. He is developing space-based avionic systems for exploring ocean worlds in the outer solar system and improving power modules for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Blalock, who is a UT alumnus, is a supporter of student scholarship programs and of the first Big Orange STEM Symposium to promote UT’s Tickle College of Engineering to high school students.

The Alexander Prize is named for former UT president and US Senator Lamar Alexander and his wife, Honey.

 

2017 Research and Creative Achievement- Dr. Hairong Qi

Hairong Qi, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Gonzalez Family Professor in Image Processing, studies advanced imaging and collaborative processing. She pioneered the application of mobile-agent-based paradigms for supporting collaborative processing in distributed environments. Qi’s instincts, leadership, and knowledge have allowed her to identify and lead highly sought-after opportunities in interdisciplinary studies. Her recent work in fast rock sample selection for NASA’s Mars rover and in nuclear source identification and tracking shows her aptitude for transferring her knowledge in image processing to tackle key issues in demanding environments. She is a productive teacher and researcher who in the past five years alone has attracted over $3 million in external funding, graduated eight PhD students, and published 23 refereed journal papers with the high h-index score of 38. She has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, best paper awards at two international conferences, and the Highest Impact Paper award from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society.

 

2017 Research and Creative Achievement—Professional Promise- Dr. Wei Gao

Although he has been part of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for only a little more than four years, Assistant Professor Wei Gao has already established himself in the area of mobile computing and wireless networking systems—in particular the Internet of Things, wearable computing, and virtual reality. Gao’s research has attracted more than $2.5 million in external research funding from multiple government agencies, including the National Science Foundation. His work goes beyond civilian applications, however. The US Army Research Office currently supports two of his projects to develop adaptive mobile communications systems for the military. His long-term collaborations with other Army research agencies may help to fundamentally transform the way US troops access information in the battlefield. Gao has published more than 60 articles, most of them in top-tier journals. He also finds time to chair and serve on various committees of international research organizations.

 

Student Awards- EECS student awardees

 

2017 Extraordinary Academic Achievement

Extraordinary Academic Achievement honors are awarded to undergraduates who exhibit extraordinary scholarship.

  • Sunay Bhat

 

2017 Extraordinary Professional Promise

Extraordinary Professional Promise honors are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

  • Mst Shamim Ara Shawkat
  • Cheng Cheng
  • Hantao Cui
  • Yong Li
  • Liu Liu
  • Haoyang Lu
  • Yiwei Ma
  • Ifana Mahbub
  • Sabikun Nahar
  • Ying Qu
  • Farhan Quaiyum
  • Alireza Rahimpour
  • Lingyun Ren
  • Samira Shamsir
  • Aysha Siddique Shanta
  • Yang Song
  • Wenxuan Yao
  • Zhifei Zhang
  • Jiecheng Zhao

 

2017 Scholar Athlete Awards

Scholar Athlete Awards honor students who excel exceptionally in both scholarship and athletics.

  • Sunay Bhat

 

2017 Top Collegiate Scholar Awards

The Top Collegiate Scholar Awards honor undergraduates who exhibit extraordinary scholarship.

  • Richard Austin McEver

 

Liu Gets a Charge from Her Research- and Keeps It Going

Yilu Liu not only gets a charge out of her research, she makes sure the charge stays on for all of us.

Liu, the joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Governor’s Chair for Power Electronics, serves as deputy director of CURENT, the Center for Ultra-Wide-Area-Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks.

Housed in the Tickle College of Engineering, CURENT is a $38 million, National Science Foundation-funded center devoted to making the nation’s power grid more secure, reliable, and efficient.

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Engineer Using Big Data to Help Solve Cold Cases

Photo of Dr. David IcoveThe term “big data” has caught on in recent years as a way to talk about massive quantities of calculations, figures, and computations made by extremely high-tech machines like the supercomputers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Now a national nonprofit group that includes a professor from UT’s Tickle College of Engineering has found a new use for such data: crime solving.

“The idea is to try to help solve cold cases through the use of big data and computer analytics,” said David Icove, UT’s UL Professor of Practice in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Data can reveal what the human component might not be able to distinguish.”

Read more.

Governor’s Chair Liu Named Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Liu_EECSA UT faculty member who is an expert on improving the power grid is being inducted as a 2016 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Yilu Liu, the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Power Electronics, serves as deputy director of the National Science Foundation–backed Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks—CURENT—which is housed in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering.

Through her role with CURENT, as a researcher, and as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UT, Liu has helped pioneer many of the advancements in the safeguarding of the nation’s power grid.

Read more.

 

UT’s Parker Leading White House, NSF Effort to Boost Artificial Intelligence

Parker_EECS

The concept of artificial intelligence and automated machinery dates back at least as far as Greek mythology and has more recently found a place in science fiction novels, movies, and TV shows.

The White House recently announced a series of initiatives aimed at bringing the technology to more widespread use, with UT researcher leading the way.

The National Science Foundation’s Lynne Parker—who is also a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering—serves as the NSF’s division director for information and intelligent systems.

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Jack Dongarra Named Member of Russian Academy of Sciences Along with Henry Kissinger

Photo of Dr. Jack Dongarra

Jack Dongarra, director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, has added another item to his already impressive resume, as the Russian Academy of Sciences has elected him as a member.

“Being elected to the academy is not only an honor but also another effective avenue for sharing what we learn from our experimental computer science work,” said Dongarra, who also serves in the college as a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science.

“The academy’s prestige stems from its long-standing role as a global network of scientists and scholars from an array of institutes and laboratories dedicated to advancing science for the betterment of humanity.”

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Board Votes to Name the John D. Tickle College of Engineering

The UT Board of Trustees have voted to name the College of Engineering for distinguished alumnus John D. Tickle.

It marks the second time in the campus’s 222-year history that a college has been named for an alumnus and benefactor. Tickle, a 1965 industrial engineering graduate from Bristol, Tennessee, is chairman of the Strongwell Corporation.

“My goal is for the University of Tennessee to be known for their education and the product they put out,” said Tickle. “[My wife] Ann and I both believe that education is what fuels success—not just our own success, but the success of UT and the state as well.

“I’m deeply honored and will try to live up to the billing,” he said of the naming recognition.

Read more.

Engineers Day to Welcome 1,500 High School Students to Campus

The newly named Tickle College of Engineering will welcome more than 1,500 high school students from across Tennessee to campus on Thursday for the college’s annual Engineers Day.

The annual daylong celebration of engineering will feature events at various engineering locations on the Hill and in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Engineering classes will be dismissed for the day so UT faculty, staff, and students can interact with the visitors and give demonstrations.

“This is a great way for us to share with prospective students what engineering is about, both in general and more specifically here at UT,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the college. “Giving them the hands-on experience with current students and faculty members is a far more personal touch than anything that they could find online, so it really brings all the possibilities home to them.”

Dave Wilson, vice president of product marketing for software, academics, and customer education at National Instruments, will be this year’s keynote speaker.

The college has held Engineers Day each October for more than a hundred years. The event includes building competitions, design challenges, and an egg drop. The day culminates with a quiz bowl.

Nearly 30 groups will take part in the event.

“The goal is to have everyone get involved and interact with our visitors as much as possible,” said A. J. Toth, a senior majoring in electrical engineering who is helping plan the event. “Our student groups and our student ambassadors are really helpful in letting us pull that off.”

UT is even sending a convoy of buses to Memphis and West Tennessee to bolster attendance by students from that part of the state.

To accommodate the event, Middle Drive will be closed in front of Perkins Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

CONTACT:

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)

Parker Leads Task Force on AI Plan

Parker_EECSDr. Lynne Parker, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Division Director for Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF), led an interagency task force on artificial intelligence (AI) that produced the “National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan,” released October 12 by the White House. This Strategic Plan is part of the broader White House efforts to ready the United States for a future in which AI plays a growing role. Parker, at the direction of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, attended the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh on October 13, where this Strategic Plan was further announced and highlighted.

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Dr. Micah Beck Named Fulbright Scholar for 2016–17 Academic Year

Four UT professors are serving as Fulbright Scholars this academic year—Micah Beck, Sarah Eldridge, Krista Wiegand, and Songning Zhang.

The Fulbright Program is a prestigious international exchange initiative that awards about 1,100 grants to American scholars each year. Funded by the US government, Fulbright Scholars are chosen based on their leadership and their abilities to teach, conduct research and contribute to solutions for shared international concerns.

Beck_EECSMicah Beck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science in UT’s College of Engineering, will head to Nairobi, Kenya, to conduct research and teach at Strathmore University.

There he will work with iLabAfrica to develop better network and data systems in the hopes of increasing connectivity between urban centers and rural schools, libraries, and research locations. The lessons learned during that work will help better connect rural areas to the modern world.

Leader of the Logistical Computing and Internetworking Laboratory, Beck’s research activities include computing and operating systems, networking, storage, and exploring the boundaries of both parallel and distributed computation.

Read more.

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