Skip to content

EECS Professor Becomes United States Citizen

Congratulations are in order for one of the newest citizens of the United States, who also happens to be a professor here in EECS: Dr. Jayne Wu!  She became a naturalized citizen in February 2018.

Associate Professor Dr. Jayne Wu was born in Hefei, China, and lived in that same city until she went to Shanghai to pursue a Ph.D. in semiconductor devices, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).  In 1999, she received her degree from CAS and left Shanghai for South Bend, Indiana.  She was offered a scholarship to study for a Ph.D. in the area of MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) at the University of Notre Dame.  Dr. Wu graduated in 2003 and then set her sights on becoming a faculty member at a research university. After doing a one-year postdoc, she joined what, at the time, was the ECE department at the University of Tennessee.

“I became a US citizen this February. This is a natural choice for me.  I feel comfortable here. I have been in the US for 19 years.  The last two steps of naturalization process include an interview in Memphis and an oath ceremony in Chattanooga. The latter took place this past February.  I drove there myself.  Honestly, I don’t feel different before and after the process.  People treat me the same. May I attribute that to very tolerant culture of America?”  Congratulations, Dr. Wu!

UT Electrical Engineering Ph.D. Student Awarded Student Travel Grant

Picture of Samira Shamsir  28 promising graduate-level student engineers from around the world were recently awarded stipends for travel to and from the conference ISSCC 2018.  Among them was UT Electrical Engineering Ph.D. student Samira Shamsir.  She received the IEEE SSCS Student Travel Grants to attend this year’s conference in San Francisco.

Student Travel Grants + Women in Circuits Travel Grants

The IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Student Travel Grant Award (STGA) program recognizes and promotes early career accomplishments in all solid-state circuits fields by supporting graduate student travel to SSCS-sponsored conferences: ISSCC and A-SSCC.

With the help of the STGA program, up-and-coming young engineers:

  • may network with researchers from industry, academia, and government from all over the world
  • learn about IC design breakthroughs, and about challenges that have not yet been solved or need to be addressed, in-person and in advance.

STGA applicants must be SSCS members, enrolled for at least a year in a PhD program, and be recommended by one professor. (A dissertation topic needs not yet to have been selected.)

Samira Shamsir received her B.Sc. degree (with honors) in electrical and electronic engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 2015. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focus lies on the implementation of advanced biomedical sensors and systems and semiconductor device modeling. Samira has co-authored in several international journals and conference proceedings including International Journal of High Speed Electronics and Systems (IJHSES), IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering (RBME), and 2017 USNC-URSI National Radio Science Meeting (NRSM) in Boulder, CO. In addition, she presented her works on IEEE 60th Midwest Symposium of Circuit and System in Boston, MA and in IEEE Region-10 Humanitarian Technology Conference (R10HTC) in Bangladesh in 2017. She has achieved the J. Wallace and Katie Dean Fellowship and Department Excellency Fellowship in 2016 and the Min H. Kao Fellowship in 2017. She has been awarded the outstanding teaching assistant award in the year 2016-17 from her department and the chancellor’s citation award for extraordinary professional promise in 2017. In addition, she achieved several travel awards from Graduate Student Senate in UTK, PowerAmerica, and IEEE SSCS.

Read More

Brainy little UT robot may hold key to smart, unmanned drones and vehicles


A team of University of Tennessee students and an Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher have created a robot with a brain. The vehicle — affectionately named Neon — looks like a cross between a Roomba and Disney-Pixar’s “Wall-E.”

It is capable of navigating a space while avoiding obstacles by sensing objects and then changing directions to avoid bumping into them.

The University’s neuromorphic research group created the bot as a step toward new drone technology for the Air Force.

Read more here.

For more information, please also visit the website for TENNLab- Neuromorphic Architectures, Learning, Applications

Min H. Kao Building Tour

Have a look around the Min H. Kao Building, home of the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department!

Wang Elected Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Fred Wang, UT’s Condra Chair of Excellence in Power Electronics, has been selected for induction as a National Academy of Inventors Fellow for 2017.

Being named an NAI Fellow is one of the highest honors a researcher can receive, with the 912 NAI Fellows—including 29 Nobel laureates—accounting for more than 32,000 issued US patents and $140 billion in revenue.

For Wang, who holds a joint appointment with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and serves as technical director of the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT), his work has been mainly on high-power, high-efficiency, and high-density power electronics—technology critical to electrified transportation wind and solar energy integration, data centers, and industrial automation.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen by my fellow scientists and engineers for this award,” said Wang. “This recognition of the work that my colleagues and I have been able to do is humbling, and serves as inspiration to continue to improve our ideas.”

Wang and his colleagues are working on microgrids, systems that can operate either with the overall power grid or independently.

Microgrids can be particularly helpful in the wake of natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, since they allow power to be restored far sooner than it takes to rebuild a traditional power system.

While the cost to deploy them remains prohibitively high for widespread adaptation, the concept holds enough promise that many CURENT industry partners—like TVA, the Chattanooga Electric Power Board, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Southern Company—have all taken interest, among others.

Wang joins three colleagues in the Tickle College of Engineering as an NAI Fellow: Yilu Liu, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Power Electronics and CURENT deputy director; Mark Dean, John Fisher Distinguished Professor; and Doug Birdwell, professor emeritus.

Selections are made based on peer nominations for innovation and discovery that have “significant impact on society” and help enhance further research.

Wang and the other members of this year’s class will be inducted at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on April 5, 2018.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,

EECS Professor and Student Receive Best Paper Award

Dr. Husheng Li and his student, Yawen Fan, have received the best paper award of IEEE Global Communications Conference (Globecom) 2017:

  1. Fan and H. Li, “Distributed approximating global optimality with local reinforcement learning in HetNet,” IEEE Globecom, 2017.

Dr. Li said, “Globecom is one of the two flagship conferences in the area of communications (the other one is IEEE ICC; we received the best paper award of ICC in 2011). This will be a good chance to improve the visibility of UTK and our ECCS in the filed of communications.”

EECS Alumni Spotlight: Computer Science MS Grad Xiaoyan Zhang

For its newest San Francisco hire, Reed Smith has reached across the Pacific. The firm announced the addition Monday of Xiaoyan Zhang as counsel in the firm’s Information Technology, Privacy and Data Security practice group.

The hire of Zhang will boost the firm’s level of expertise around tech-related laws in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in China. Zhang has a master’s degree in computer science [from the University of Tennessee] on top of her J.D. and years of experience working as an attorney in the U.S. and in China, most recently at Mayer Brown JSM, that firm’s Asian outpost.

“In addition to her deep experience in Asia and her language and cultural capabilities, which are obviously important, I regard her as a switch-hitter, capable of both traditional IP as well as data law work,” said Mark Melodia, Reed Smith’s IP, Tech & Data co-chair. “That’s exactly how we’ve set up our global team.”

With international legal frameworks changing at a steady clip, firms like Reed Smith are looking to hire counsel like Zhang who understand tech, data and cross-border laws. And Zhang’s experience working on privacy and cybersecurity in Asia looks to be especially crucial following China’s implementation of a tough new cybersecurity law in June.

Many U.S. companies operating in China or looking to expand there have been confused by the law and its implications—it uses language that doesn’t always translate perfectly to English. One of the law’s key international provisions hasn’t even been implemented yet. Starting in December 2018, any important data transferred outside of China will need to go through a security assessment.

Zhang said she feels a duty to help U.S. companies learn to comply with China’s new laws, as someone who’s lived and worked extensively in both China and the U.S. and understands both cultures.

“Coming back to help U.S. clients with what I’ve seen and learned in Asia, it’s quite satisfying,” Zhang said. “I really hope we can clarify some of the confusions and obstacles in trying to understand what’s required.”

During her nearly three years at Mayer Brown JSM in Hong Kong, she advised international clients on IP issues in cross-border M&A transactions, as well as privacy and cybersecurity, according to her LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, she worked as a senior associate for Hogan Lovells in New York. There, she also focused on technology licenses and M&A.

Before working in law, she spent four years in the technology security field, her profile said. After earning her master’s in computer science, she worked as an information security consultant. She spent two years as a senior information security engineer and ethical hacker for HSBC.

Melodia said Reed Smith was “really thrilled” to find an attorney who is “fluent in not just English and Mandarin, but also tech.”

Read more

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.