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EECS Students Recognized at Chancellor’s Honors Banquet

EECS students were among those recognized at the Chancellor’s Honors banquet on Tuesday evening, in the Pilot Flying J Ballroom in the Student Union. This campus-wide event recognizes the outstanding service and achievements of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university. Congratulations!

Extraordinary academic achievement: Kelsey Veca

Extraordinary professional promise:
Shaghayegh Aslanzadeh
Chandler Bauder
Farnaz Foroughian
Ava Hedayatipour
Shahram Hatefi Hesari
Farshid Tamjid

Top collegiate scholars: Kendra Anderson

Picture of UT Distinguished Professor Jack Dongarra at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dongarra Named a Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society

UT Distinguished Professor Jack Dongarra has been named a Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society, joining previously inducted icons of science such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking.

“This honor is both humbling because of others who have been so recognized and gratifying for the acknowledgement of the research and work I have done,” Dongarra said. “I’m deeply grateful for this recognition.”

Dongarra is perhaps best known for his work helping to compile the annual list of the world’s fastest, most powerful supercomputers.

That list, the TOP500, has been used as the global standard for more than 25 years, helping spread knowledge of Dongarra and his work along with it.

Dongarra has helped design more than a dozen well-known software systems, has authored more than 200 articles on computing, and has been awarded three different medals from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

At UT, Dongarra also serves as the director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory (ICL), which he founded through his joint UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory appointment in 1989. Since that time, ICL has grown to include more than 40 researchers, all working together to provide services related to supercomputing such as linear algebra and benchmarking.

In addition to his role at UT, Dongarra is an ORNL Distinguished Research Staff member, the Turing Fellow in the Computer Science and Mathematics Schools at the University of Manchester (England), and an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.

The Royal Society established the fellowship program to honor those who use science to help humanity.

“This year’s newly elected fellows and foreign members of the Royal Society embody this,” said Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the society.“It is with great honor that I welcome them as fellows of the Royal Society.”

Dongarra is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics; and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,

EECS Professor Dr. Lynne Parker in the Oval Office of the White House

On the Front Lines of the White House AI Initiative

Dr. Michela Taufer’s blog, featuring her interview with Dr. Lynne Parker on the White House AI initiative, has been posted on SC19:

Lynne Parker, Assistant Director for Artificial Intelligence at The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) for more than two decades.

Hers was the first PhD dissertation ever on the topic of multi-robot systems, she is a pioneering researcher in that field, and formed the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. There, she has conducted research in multi-robot systems, sensor networks, machine learning and human-robot interaction.

As AI continues to proliferate through all aspects of life, so too has Lynne’s impact on the field. In August, she put her academic work on hold to take on a groundbreaking assignment with The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Recently, Lynne took a few minutes to discuss her new role, share her insights on the state of AI in the US (and beyond), and opine on the future impact of high-performance computing (HPC) on the evolution of AI.

I encourage you to read on, as the growing convergence of AI and HPC will be one of the hot topics at SC19 this November!

Read Dr. Taufer’s full interview of Dr. Parker here.

Farnaz Foroughian and Shahram Hatefi Hesari standing with their GSS Excellence awards

Three EECS Students Honored at the Graduate Student Senate Awards Ceremony & Breakfast

Three EECS students were honored today at the Graduate Student Senate awards ceremony and breakfast at the Frieson Black Cultural Center.  This ceremony recognizes outstanding graduate and professional students as well as the faculty and staff who support them.

Farnaz Foroughian and Farshid Tamjid were awarded for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching.  This award is presented to graduate teaching assistants and associates for extraordinary performance in teaching.

Shahram Hatefi Hesari was awarded for Excellence in Service.  This award is presented to graduate and professional students who are extraordinary campus leaders, participate in service learning or other community initiatives, and/or provide service leadership to their academic discipline through service in professional organizations.

Picture of UT students who competed in the Three Minutes Thesis competition

EECS Computer Science Graduate Student Competes in the Finals of the Three Minute Thesis Competition

John Reynolds, a PhD student in Computer Science, competed in the finals of the Three Minute Thesis Competition, held on Wednesday as part of UT’s Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week. Although Reynolds did not win with his presentation, entitled “Exploring Natural Patterns,” reaching the finals is a great achievement in communicating his research to a general public.

The 3MT competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

It challenges master’s and doctoral students to communicate their unique thesis or dissertation to an audience unfamiliar with the subject. Competitors have three minutes to explain their research using only one slide or photo.  Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Logo for WomEngineers Day

WomEngineers Day is April 13. Register Now

Saturday, April 13, 8:00am to 2:30pm

Student Union, Ballroom
1502 Cumberland Ave.

Every other year, the Tickle College of Engineering and the TCE Women’s Leadership Council hosts a one-day conference for current UT students focused on leadership and professional development. Go beyond the classroom by hearing about professional and personal topics related to career and life choices. Attendees will hear from a diverse group of speakers and have the chance to network with other students, faculty, and leaders in industry! Let us help you develop personal and professional skills not taught in engineering classes, but that are necessary for success in the engineering industry.

The event is open to all UT students. Although the event is focused on the engineering industry, participants from other majors can and will still greatly benefit from hearing from these experts across a range of interesting and relevant topics.

Janis Terpenny Named Dean of UT’s Tickle College of Engineering

Picture of TCE Dean Janis TerpennyThe University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has selected Janis Terpenny, head of the industrial and manufacturing engineering department at Pennsylvania State University, to be the next Wayne T. Davis Endowed Dean’s Chair and dean of the Tickle College of Engineering. She will join the university this summer.

As dean, Terpenny will oversee a rapidly growing college that has, over the past decade, doubled its undergraduate and doctoral enrollment, improved its graduation rates, and increased its faculty endowments and research expenditures. The college is ranked 31st among public institutions for its graduate programs and 33rd for undergraduate programs.

“Dr. Terpenny’s expertise in engineering design and smart manufacturing will be invaluable to the college and the university as we continue to emerge as a leader in the fields of advanced materials and high-performance computing,” said Provost David Manderscheid. “With her track record as an academic leader who can foster collaboration, advance research, and build on the college’s already excellent reputation, I am certain that Dr. Terpenny will be a great asset to the university.”

Terpenny has been at Penn State since 2015, when she became the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Chair and head of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She also serves as Director for the Center for eDesign, a National Science Foundation Industry University Cooperative Research Center. Prior to joining Penn State, Terpenny served as professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State, and held faculty positions at Virginia Tech and the University of Massachusetts, in addition to serving as program director for the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education. She is a fellow in both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and was inducted into Tau Beta Pi as an Eminent Engineer in 2011. Terpenny earned her bachelor’s in mathematical sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1979 and her master’s and doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech in 1981 and 1996, respectively.

“I am honored and humbled to be joining the University of Tennessee to lead the Tickle College of Engineering,” said Terpenny. “The college has been on a wonderful trajectory of growth and impact over the last decade. I am looking forward to contributing to and cultivating an inspired and passionate culture that is driven by a common mission to continuously learn, to innovate, and to contribute … for the good of one another, our community, indeed, for the world.”

Along with the growth in enrollment and research, the Tickle College of Engineering has also been improving its resources. In 2012, the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building opened, followed by the John D. Tickle Engineering Building the next year. The college is currently constructing a $129 million engineering complex that will house its top-ranked nuclear engineering program and laboratories for advanced engineering research.

A $200 million fundraising campaign led to the naming of the college and the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, in addition to several endowed professorships and named professors of practice. The campaign also allowed the college to make improvements to existing student, laboratory, and classroom spaces.

In recent years, the college has strengthened its relationship with several key partners, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That collaboration has produced doctoral programs in energy science and data science through the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. It also led to the establishment of the $259 million IACMI—The Composites Institute, and supports the UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair program, with 11 of the 16 Governor’s Chairs serving in the college.

On campus, engineering has teamed up with other colleges on a number of high-profile projects, including a pair of health care initiatives with the College of Nursing, the establishment of the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering program with the Haslam College of Business, and a societal impact study with the College of Social Work.

Terpenny will succeed Interim Dean Mark Dean, who took over from Interim Dean Lynne Parker when she accepted the position of assistant director of artificial intelligence for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis served as Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering for 10 years, until May 2018 when he postponed retirement to serve as Interim Chancellor.



Megan Boehnke (865-974-3242,

David Goddard (865-974-0683,

EECS Computer Science Graduate Student Reaches the Finals of the Three Minute Thesis Competition

Competition finals will take place at 1:30pm, Wednesday, April 3 in the Student Union Ballroom, Room 272

Two of the ten graduate students who were nominated from the Tickle College of Engineering and Bredesen Center to participate in the 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition have reached the 3MT finals. This is a great achievement by our students in communicating their research to a general public.

John Reynolds is a PhD student in Computer Science, and is one of the two graduate students who has reached the 3MT finals. He will be participating in the finals on Wednesday with his presentation titled “Exploring Natural Patterns.”

The 3MT competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Fulbright Student Program Kick-Off

On Wednesday, April 3rd, 4:00 – 5:30pm, in the Frieson Black Cultural Center (lobby and multi-purpose room), the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONSF) will host its 2019 FULBRIGHT STUDENT PROGRAM KICK-OFF as part of this year’s Fulbright competition launch. Refreshments will be served at the front end, followed by a presentation and panel by ONSF staff and recent UT Fulbright recipients. Faculty and staff are likewise invited to attend to learn more about the Fulbright Student Program. We also welcome faculty/staff to make online student referrals to ONSF for the Fulbright and other awards here:

The Fulbright Student Program each year offers more than 2,000 year-long, fully funded post-graduate fellowships to support research, arts projects, graduate study, or teaching in one of 140+ countries. UT was recently named a Fulbright Student “Top Producer”; we hope to maintain and build upon that momentum with the launch of the 2019 competition. Much more information on the Fulbright, as well as ONSF’s 2019 Fulbright Declaration of Intent Form, can be found here:

Picture of Dr. Chien-fei Chen

Chen Named Fulbright Global Scholar for 2019-20

UT’s Chien-fei Chen was recently informed that she was among a select group of faculty across the country to be named a Fulbright Global Scholar.

Chen, an environmental sociologist and research associate professor and director of education and diversity for CURENT, a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy center housed in the Tickle College of Engineering, was one of only 20 people from the US to be selected for the Global Scholar program.

“This is a great honor to have my research selected for further study,” Chen said. “Being able to have Fulbright backing will allow me to further explore ideas related to interdisciplinary aspects of energy equality. Renewable energy technology is growing fast, but it also raises pressing justice issues related to equity and fairness.”

Her proposal, “When East Meets West: An Interdisciplinary and Cross-cultural Research on Energy Justice and Renewable Technology Adoption for Future Smart Communities” focuses on energy needs and uses across social lines.

Of particular interest to Chen is the concept of energy justice, the idea that low-income households should have the same access to renewable energy as the rest of the population.

Using the integrated method of examining social, behavioral, environmental, and technical impacts on communities, Chen hopes to better understand and model how energy use and access differs across populations when comparing eastern and western cultures.

Though focused on China and the United Kingdom, her work will use methodologies that allow results to be extrapolated into similar areas.

By better understanding energy issues, Chen hopes to combat global energy inequality issues, inform energy policy, and improve outcomes for underserved areas.

Through the award, her hosts will be the School of Engineering at Cardiff University in Wales in the United Kingdom and the School of Economics and Management at China University of Geosciences in Wuhan.

The Fulbright Global Scholar award was created to help US academic projects spanning across international borders, giving them combined teaching and research activity that can last up to two years.

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