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UT, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Release New Biodiversity Web Application

UT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and School of Art have partnered with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Inventory and Monitoring Branch to create a new web application, Species Mapper.

Everyone from park managers to school groups can use Species Mapper to explore suitable habitats for species for more than 1,800 species.

Species Mapper uses locations where species have been found to help predict additional places they may occur in the park. These predictions, or models, are based on observations made during ongoing resource monitoring as well as research studies conducted by scientists from all over the world.

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CURENT’s Huang Receives Chinese Government Award

Picture of Can HuangWhen the National Science Foundation and US Department of Energy chose UT to serve as lead institution for its new engineering research center in 2011, the impact was felt far beyond the $18 million in support.

One of the key goals of the initiative, known as the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks, or CURENT, was to attract top minds from around the world—and the varying perspectives they bring—to UT.

Once here, those students help researchers resolve issues surrounding the nation’s power system, including developing a high-efficiency low-cost grid that can be monitored and controlled in real time.

Under the leadership of the Tickle College of Engineering’s CTI Molecular Imaging Chair and Professor Kevin Tomsovic and Governor’s Chair for Power Electronics Yilu Liu, CURENT has brought in such visionaries in spades.

The latest example of that success is Can Huang, an electrical engineering doctoral candidate who was recently honored with the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad.

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EECS Professor Honored for Early Career Excellence in Research and Scholarship

Gu_EECSFour faculty members received Research and Creative Achievement—Professional Promise Awards at the 2016 Chancellor’s Honors Awards. The honorees are Monica Black, associate professor of history; Shawn Campagna, associate professor of chemistry; Sarah Colby, associate professor of nutrition; and Gong Gu, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Dr. Gu is a prodigious researcher whose h-index—27 for the Web of Science—already exceeds the average in his field. His primary interest lies in the heterostructures of two-dimensional materials. Published in the journal Science in 2014 and cited sixty-eight times, his landmark study in this area examines how the concept of heteroepitaxy in 3-D semiconductors can be extended to two dimensions, resulting in a one-dimensional interface. Gu’s other research interests include photovoltaics and organic electronics. For this work, Gu and his student, S. Das, were featured on the cover page of the journal Nanoscale. He is known for his open-mindedness, perseverance, and leadership in the discipline.

Systers: Women In EECS Award Winners at Chancellor’s Honors Banquet

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek celebrated faculty, staff, and students for their accomplishments and service Tuesday at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet. The banquet is the university’s largest recognition event of the year.  Systers: Women In EECS @ UTK was the recipient of the 2016 Charles R. Burchett Extraordinary Contributions to Campus Life Award.

The Charles R. Burchett Extraordinary Contributions to Campus Life award is named for the World War II veteran, former Knox County Schools administrator, and UT dean of students to honor students and student organizations for extraordinary contributions to campus life.

With its mission to recruit, mentor, and retain women in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the group SYSTERS: Women in EECS has seen success—in the form of an increase in the percentage of women in the department from 6.1 to 9.6, in the growth of outreach by the group to area middle and high schools, and in the hosting of a number of camps and events designed to encourage current students and to welcome new ones. The group relies on a combination of peer mentoring and tutoring. It provides workshops in skills that are central to the discipline but not covered in the curriculum, and sponsors student life activities.

Systers was founded by Denise Koessler, who earned a doctorate in computer science in 2014. Koessler sought to create an environment for women in engineering that was welcoming and geared toward encouragement and collaboration. In just a few short years, it has become one of the most active student organizations in the College of Engineering and has garnered local and national media coverage.

EECS Ph.D. student Wins 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad

Photo of EE Ph.D. student Can HuangElectrical Engineering Ph.D. student Can Huang has received the 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad ($6000).  This award was established to encourage research excellence and to recognize the achievement among Chinese students abroad. It is granted across all fields of study and was presented to only 500 out of 460,000 Chinese oversea students all over the world in 2015. The final winners were selected by a review committee organized by China’s Ministry of Education.

Two CS Students Awarded Fellowships

Congratulations to two of our EECS students who have recently been awarded fellowships!

Austin McEver has been awarded a URS Engineering Study Abroad Fellowship in the amount of $1,500. This award will go toward his Fall, 2016 studies in Computer Science at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Rachel Offutt has also been awarded a URS Engineering Study Abroad Fellowship in the amount of $1,500. This award will go toward her Fall, 2016 studies in Computer Science at University College, Dublin, Ireland.

Best of luck in Australia and Ireland this fall!

Sun Receives NSF Award

Dr. Kai Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has received the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for his proposal, “Integrated Research and Education in Nonlinear Modal Decoupling and Control for Resilient Interconnected Power Systems.”

Photo of Dr. Kai Sun

The award will provide $500,000 over a five-year period for Dr. Sun to establish a new methodology for power system stability analysis and control based on understanding, decoupling and control of nonlinear modal dynamics. The outcomes of the project are expected to create broad impacts on both the power industry and the research community in interconnected power systems and other networked dynamic systems.

Liu Elected Member of National Academy of Engineering

Yilu Liu, the joint UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Electric Power Grids, has been named a newly elected member of the National Academy of Engineering.

YiluLiuBeing elected to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Lui was elected “for her innovations in electric power grid monitoring, situational awareness, and dynamic modeling,” according to the NAE. She is one of thirty-four American university professors from the group of eighty engineers chosen from across the United States.

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Birdwell Third at UT Named to National Academy of Inventors

A lifetime of innovation in areas related to computing and processing has led to UT’s Doug Birdwell being named as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Photo of Dr. J. Douglas Birdwell

Birdwell, a professor emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is the third person from UT to be so honored. Previously named fellows include Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Taylor Eighmy and John Fisher Distinguished Professor Mark Dean.

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