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Picture of Dr. Catherine Schuman

ORNL researcher, UT EECS alumna receives DOE early career funding award

Seven Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers representing a range of scientific disciplines have received Department of Energy’s Office of Science Early Career Research Program awards.

The Early Career Research Program, now in its tenth year, supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.

“Supporting our nation’s most talented and creative researchers in their early career years is crucial to building America’s scientific workforce and sustaining America’s culture of innovation,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  “We congratulate these young researchers on their significant accomplishments to date and look forward to their achievements in the years ahead.”

Catherine Schuman, who works in ORNL’s Computer Science and Mathematics Division, received funding for her proposal, “Learning to Learn: Designing Novel Neuromorphic Algorithms with Machine Learning,” from the Office of Science Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

The project will use machine learning and high-performance computing to automatically create new algorithms that will enable real-time continuous learning for neuromorphic systems, which are novel, energy efficient computing systems inspired by biological neural networks. The work aims to provide a path forward for using neuromorphic computers for real-time adaptive machine learning-based analysis of scientific data.

Catherine Schuman is a Research Scientist in Computational Data Analytics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  She received her doctorate in computer science from the University of Tennessee in 2015, where she completed her dissertation on the use of evolutionary algorithms to train spiking neural networks for neuromorphic systems.  She is continuing her study of models and algorithms for neuromorphic computing, as well as other topics in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as part of her work at ORNL.  Catherine is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, where she, along with four other professors at UT, leads a neuromorphic research team made up of more than 25 faculty members, graduate student researchers, and undergraduate student researchers.

Engineering In London 2019- #2

Dr. Mike Berry has shared a new blog post from the Engineering In London experience:

Tour of London

“The EIL 2019 program got off to a great start today with fantastic weather and the traditional tour of the City of London. By bus (with a few stops) students were given a good orientation of the City with chances to take photos near St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Globe Theatre, Borough Market, and the Millennium Bridge over the Thames River. Brian Harlock , our tour guide, gave the students a superb history lesson on London from the Middle Ages up to the present. He also escorted the group to The Mall for a view of the Trouping the Colours practice. This is the formal celebration of the Queen’s Birthday that will be celebrated on Saturday, June 8 this year. After the tour, the students were treated for a sandwich and crisps lunch at IES prior to their safety and housing orientation meeting.”

Engineering In London 2019

Dr. Mike Berry has shared a blog post from the Engineering In London experience:

Friday, May 31, 2019

Departure Day 2019

Fourteen of the twenty-two EIL 2019 students traveled with Prof. Berry from Nashville to London/Heathrow via British Airways. Although a little weary from jetlag, the group made it to the London Underground (Picadilly Line) enroute to Chapter Housing in King’s Cross.

Picture of Wenxuan Yao, winner of the 2019 NASPI award for Outstanding Grad Student, with Dr. Yilu Liu and other members of CURENT

Wenxuan Yao Wins NASPI award for Outstanding Grad Student

Wenxuan Yao won the 2019 NASPI (North American Synchrophasor Initiative) award for Outstanding Grad Student. The NASPI awards are issued to recognize significant accomplishments and contributions of its members in 2018.  This marks the third year in a row that a UT student has won a NASPI award.

The North American Synchrophasor Initiative (NASPI) is an international community of electric industry members, researchers, and vendors working together to advance the understanding and adoption of synchrophasor technology to enhance power system reliability and efficiency.

Wenxuan Yao is an exemplary graduate student whose work on m-UGA has improved PMU sampling accuracy and PMU signal acquisition. M-UGA allows higher resolution PMU deployment and enhances power system observability.

The award was presented during the The North American Synchrophasor Initiative (NASPI) Work Group meeting in San Diego, California last month. The conference featured technical sessions and presentations that showcased innovative applications of synchrophasor technology, wide-area streaming applications of high-speed (so-called “point-on-wave”) time-synchronized measurements, and issues associated with inverter-based generation and the ability to maintain essential reliability services. Mr. Ali Yari, Director, Electric Grid Operations, from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) was the keynote speaker.

College Names Kilic Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Picture of Tickle College of Engineering Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Ozlem Kilic

The Tickle College of Engineering has named Professor Ozlem Kilic as the new associate dean for academic and student affairs. Kilic will start her new role on July 29.

“We’re thrilled to have someone of Professor Kilic’s caliber join us here in the college,” said Interim Dean Mark Dean. “She has a wealth of expertise in a variety of areas, and her past experiences will serve her well in this new role.”

Kilic will replace Masood Parang in the position, which oversees a variety of the college’s programs, including undergraduate and graduate curricula and the offices responsible for the college’s diversity, study abroad, advising, recruiting, and scholarship and fellowship programs, among others.

As part of the change, the Office of Engineering Professional Practice—which coordinates paid, educationally relevant co-op and internships for the college—will move from reporting to the associate dean for academic and student affairs to instead reporting to Keith Stanfill, the Edwards Assistant Dean and Director of Integrated Engineering Design. The move will allow that office to be more closely aligned with major industry-focused student experiential learning opportunities conducted through Stanfill’s role.

Parang announced his intent to retire in 2019 after 41 years with the college.

“I am very happy for the opportunity that awaits me at UT. I look forward to meeting faculty, students, and staff, and helping the college thrive.”

—Ozlem Kilic

Kilic comes to UT from The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC, where she most recently served as associate dean in the School of Engineering.

There, she founded and served as director of both the Electromagnetics and Remote Sensing Laboratory and the school’s data analytics program. She also served as director of CUA’s Engineering Center for Care of Earth, a position that led to her being granted audiences with both Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church to discuss climate issues.

Kilic is a member of numerous organizations. She is a fellow of the Applied Computational Electromagnetic Society and an elected council member for the Maryland Clean Energy Center. She has served as chair and vice chair of the International Union of Radio Scientists Commission A and as advisory committee member of IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society. She has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed articles.

Kilic earned her bachelor’s degree from Istanbul’s Bogazici University in 1989 and her master’s and doctorate from George Washington University in 1991, and 1996, respectively, all in electrical engineering.

Prior to joining CUA, Kilic served as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech from 2002 through 2005 and then with George Washington University in 2003. She worked for COMSAT Laboratories, now owned by Lockheed Martin, from 1996 through 2002, served at the US Army Research Laboratory from 2002 through 2005, and as a visiting professor at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in 2006.

University of Tennessee Silicon Valley Experience Tour

On Tuesday, May 14, University of Tennessee, Knoxville computer science and engineering students visited HP Inc. in Palo Alto, California for a tour of the Customer Welcome Center and then to the HP Garage as part of the 3rd annual Silicon Valley Experience Tour.

On Thursday, May 16, they held a UT Alumni and Student Networking Event- An evening in San Francisco with students & alumni meeting each other & getting an update on UT changes from EECS Department Head Dr. Greg Peterson.

The students who attended this year’s Silicon Valley Experience Tour were Gary Burns, Spencer Howell, Samuel Jones, Yaw Mensah, Lydia San George, Daniel Troutman, Michael Wermert and Samantha Zimmerman.


Two UT Engineering Students Win Goldwater Scholarships

Two UT engineering students have been named 2019–2020 Goldwater Scholars.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor US Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The most prestigious undergraduate STEM scholarships in the United States, Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 annually to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board. An estimated 5,000 sophomores and juniors nationwide applied this year for the Goldwater.

Since 2010, UT has had 16 students named Goldwater Scholars.

This year’s recipients, both rising seniors, are Carl Edwards, who is majoring in honors computer science and honors mathematics, and Ian Greeley, who is majoring in materials science and engineering.

“To be named Goldwater Scholars, Carl and Ian had to compete with the finest undergraduate STEM students in the country,” said Andrew Seidler, director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships. “Recognition as Goldwater Scholars is an indication of their tremendous efforts and potential and also of the outstanding support they’ve received at UT to pursue undergraduate research—on and off campus.”

Picture of Goldwater Scholar Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards

Edwards, of Knoxville, said he plans to attend graduate school after completing his bachelor’s degree at UT. He wants to earn a PhD in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Receiving this award will provide me the chance to further develop my scientific and research abilities and will create new opportunities in the future,” he said.

At UT, Edwards has worked with Bamin Khomani, who is the Granger and Beaman Distinguished University Professor, head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and director of the Sustainable Energy Education and Research Center, and with Professor Brian Edwards, who is associate head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

He’s done research at both Oak Ridge National Laboratory and through EuroScholars the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Picture of Goldwater Scholar Ian Greely

Ian Greely

Greeley, also of Knoxville, also plans to attend graduate school and earn a PhD in materials science after completing his bachelor’s degree. He wants to conduct research in functional materials for energy storage applications.

He has worked for two years at the Scintillation Materials Research Center studying novel scintillators (materials that exhibit luminescence triggered by ionizing radiation) for radiation sensors and imaging systems. Greeley’s research mentors at UT are Charles Melcher, research professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, and Yuntao Wu, research assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Greeley also had an internship last summer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory working on polymer binders for use in silicon-graphite anodes for lithium-ion batteries.

Greeley described the Goldwater application process as “an invaluable reflection that helped me identify my research interests, motivations, and ambitions.”

UT can nominate up to four undergraduates each year for the Goldwater Scholarship. This year 496 Goldwater Scholars were named from the 1,223 students nationwide nominated by 443 colleges and universities.

At UT, the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships facilitates the application process and its UT Goldwater Selection Committee chooses the final nominees. This year’s committee members were Remus Nicoara, associate professor of mathematics and director of the Math Honors program; Masood Parang, associate dean and professor of engineering; Gina Pighetti, associate professor of animal science; and Albrecht von Arnim, professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology and director of the Genome Science and Technology program.

UT students who would like more information about the Goldwater Scholarship and other nationally competitive awards can visit the ONSF website and set up an appointment to meet with ONSF staff.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Andrew Seidler, UT Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (865-974-3518,

Dr. Garrett Rose and Students Earn 3rd Place in Best Paper Contest at GLSVLSI

Picture of Dr. Garrett Rose

Dr. Garrett Rose

Dr. Garrett Rose and his students received 3rd Place in the Best Paper Award Contest at the ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI (GLSVLSI). This was presented Friday night at the conference banquet.

Md Badruddoja Majumder, Md Sakib Hasan, Aysha Shanta, Mesbah Uddin, and Garrett Rose, “Design for Eliminating Operation Specific Power Signatures from Digital Logic,” in Proceedings of the ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI (GLSVLSI), Washington DC, May 2019.


The following paper was also a nominee for the same best paper contest:
Mesbah Uddin, Md Sakib Hasan, and Garrett S. Rose, “On the Theoretical Analysis of Memristor based True Random Number Generator,” in Proceedings of the ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI (GLSVLSI), Washington DC, May 2019.

Congratulations to Dr. Rose and his students!

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