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Eastern Interconnection Frequency Oscillation Observed

Source: USGridSec,

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) sent a real time notification on Friday, January 11th of an observed large frequency swings that was picked up on measurement devices across the United States Eastern Interconnection. The divergent frequency observations began of 4:45 am eastern and continued to approximately 5:00 am.

In a related posting from the PowerIT Lab at University of Tennessee, Knoxville/Oak Ridge National Lab, the frequency swings can be observed from data collection through Phasor Measurement Units that are deployed across the nation. The cause of the Frequency swings has not yet been determined.

Read more.


Picture of Daniel Enciso

Making Goals: Grad Succeeds as Haslam Scholar, ORNL Researcher

Four years ago, as he was finishing his senior year of high school after winning back-to-back state soccer championships, Daniel Enciso set his sights on a new goal—attending UT to study engineering.

Shoot and score: Enciso, a computer engineering major in the Tickle College of Engineering, graduated last Friday, December 14.

At UT, Enciso said, he found big opportunities.

He’s been a Haslam Scholar, conducted research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and interned at a California software company.

“Challenge yourself to do big things, be willing to adapt, and you’ll have no limit to how far you can go and what you can do,” he said.

“For me, personally, the research opportunities at ORNL have prepared me for life after college in a way that taking an internship with businesses couldn’t have,” Enciso said, adding that UT’s partnership with ORNL provides students with opportunities that simply don’t exist in many other places.

“Beyond computing, when you look at the history of the lab, the mix of disciplines all across the board, the researchers they have coming in from other universities and labs from around the world—it really sets UT apart and provides opportunities beyond what other places can offer during an undergraduate experience.

“When you step back and look at all the ways we work with them and the people we get to collaborate with through them, it really is awesome.”

While he interned with ORNL, he also landed a co-op with OSI Soft, a software company based in California, where he worked with the development of internal analytics and web services.

Enciso began dabbling with software engineering in the summer after his senior year of high school. Now it’s his favorite aspect of computer engineering and something he hopes to do in a future career.

He credits UT’s faculty for helping him hone his coding skills.

“Michael Roberts (professor emeritus) and Jens Gregor (professor and associate department head) really pushed us,” Enciso said. “Also Josh Dunn—who started out as a teaching assistant and doctoral student and is now a lecturer in the department—was the instructor for one of my last classes this semester. His insight helped shape our undergraduate learning, taught us how to communicate like older students, and stretched our capabilities.”

Enciso arrived at UT as one of 15 freshmen in the 2014 class of Haslam Scholars, and he said the program helped him grow as a student and as a citizen. It provided him with an instant group of friends which whom he shared classes, experiences, and free time.

“We had all different backgrounds, viewpoints, ideas, and the like, as you would expect from a random selection of students,” Enciso said. “But because we were bonded as a group and through common classes, it allowed us to share ideas in a civil way—to have different thoughts and it to be OK. It’s really important to have discussions like that.”

The program also offered Enciso the opportunity to travel and do community service.

He participated in Science Saturdays, an effort led by the Haslam Scholars and the Society of Physics Students that brings experiments and projects to elementary students to teach them about science, engineering, and physics. At the same time, the UT students serve as mentors to the younger students.

“It’s a big deal to these kids to be getting these experiences that they might not otherwise have,” Enciso said. “Being present. Being around. Being there to answer their questions and spark their imaginations. It’s a big deal to help them develop confidence.”

Enciso expanded his horizons by traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland, with the Haslam Scholars to learn about the Scottish Enlightenment. He also did a study abroad semester in England, studying consumer behavior at the London School of Economics.

He’s gained plenty of knowledge to prepare him for the next challenge, but he’s also learned the power of the Volunteer spirit.

“You can go to a big city and see groups from any number of schools, but it’s just different with UT,” Enciso said. “Whether I’m in Silicon Valley, or a big city somewhere, people see that you’re from UT and it is just an instant connection. It’s just something that makes this place special.”


David Goddard (865-974-0683,

Peterson Officially Takes Over as EECS Department Head

Picture of Dr. Gregory Peterson

Dr. Greg Peterson

Professor Greg Peterson has been selected to take over as department head of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he has served as interim department head since August 1.

“We’re pleased to be able to remove the interim label from Dr. Peterson’s title,” said Tickle College of Engineering Interim Dean Mark Dean. “He is someone very familiar to the people of the department, having been a faculty member for nearly 20 years, and will provide a smooth transition.”

Peterson has served in a number of leadership roles, including as a US Air Force captain at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Laboratory, as deputy director of the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and as director of UT’s National Institute for Computational Sciences.

He began serving as interim department head when Min H. Kao Professor Leon Tolbert returned to the department’s faculty after having served as head since January 2013.

Peterson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in both electrical engineering and computer science, and a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1990, ’92, and ’94, respectively.

At UT, his many varied research interests have included high performance computing, performance evaluation, digital systems, and computational science and engineering.

“I’m very honored to have been chosen to be the leader of the department where I’ve worked for the last two decades,” said Peterson. “I look forward to continuing the momentum our department has built and help facilitate the key research we have.”

He is a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Accellera/VHDL International Users’ Forum, and the Society for Computer Simulation.

David Goddard (865-974-0683,

Picture of the Kapoho Bay USB form factor based on the Loihi neuromorphic research chip system.

Intel Announces Neuromorphic Computing Research Collaborators


The Neuromorphic Computing team in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has been selected as one of 13 universities working with Intel on their neuromorphic computing platform, Loihi.  Key faculty involved include Dr. Jim Plank and Dr. Garrett Rose.  This work is also in collaboration with EECS alumna Dr. Catherine Schuman at ORNL.


Intel Announces Neuromorphic Research Progress


On December 6, 2018, Intel named academic, government and corporate research groups participating in its Intel Neuromorphic Research Community (INRC) and discussed research progress from the inaugural INRC symposium held in October. The goal of the INRC is to tackle the challenges facing the adoption of neuromorphic architectures for mainstream computing applications. INRC members will use Intel’s Loihi research chip as the architectural focal point for research and development. Intel hopes the findings of this community will drive future improvement of neuromorphic architectures, software and systems, eventually leading to the commercialization of this promising technology.

Mike Davies, director of the Neuromorphic Computing Lab at Intel, said, “While there are many important unsolved neuromorphic computing research problems to explore at all levels of the computing stack, we believe the state of neuromorphic hardware currently leads the state of neuromorphic computing software. We’re confident this network of INRC members will rapidly advance the state of neuromorphic learning algorithms and demonstrate the value of this emerging technology for a wide range of applications.”

Who is Participating: Fifty projects have been selected to participate in the INRC. Engaged INRC members will receive access to Intel’s Loihi neuromorphic research chip and software, and are invited to participate in technical symposiums where progress, results and insights will be shared among the community. INRC-supported workshops will offer members an opportunity to learn to develop for Loihi in extended hands-on tutorial sessions and hackathons hosted by Intel Labs researchers and collaborators.

Among the 50 selected projects, teams from 13 universities were selected to receive funding to pursue their research plans. These teams come from a wide range of academic institutions around the world, and include the University of Tennessee’s Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

What Is Neuromorphic Computing: Neuromorphic computing entails nothing less than a bottom-up rethinking of computer architecture. By applying the latest insights from neuroscience, the goal is to create chips that function less like a classical computer and more like a human brain. Neuromorphic chips model how the brain’s neurons communicate and learn, using spikes and plastic synapses that can be modulated based on the timing of events. These chips are designed to self-organize and make decisions in response to learned patterns and associations.

The goal is that one day neuromorphic chips may be able to learn as fast and efficiently as the brain, which still far outperforms today’s most powerful computers. Neuromorphic computing could lead to big advancements in robotics, smart city infrastructure and other applications that require continuous learning and adaptation to evolving, real-world data.

What is Next: Intel has released early versions of its software development kit for Loihi, named Nx SDK, to engaged INRC members. Researchers may remotely log in to Intel’s neuromorphic cloud service to access Loihi hardware and Nx SDK to develop their algorithms, software and applications. Additionally, Intel has supported Applied Brain Research to port its Nengo software framework to work with Loihi. Nengo is freely available today for research use.

Loihi hardware has been made available to select INRC members for research in domains such as robotics that require direct access to hardware. These systems include a USB form factor code-named “Kapoho Bay.” In addition to providing a USB interface to Loihi, Kapoho Bay offers an event-driven hardware interface to the DAVIS 240C DVS silicon retina camera available from iniVation*, among other peripherals.

Next year, Intel and INRC members expect to contribute much of the enabling software and research results to the public domain in the form of publications and open source software. INRC membership is expected to steadily grow, and as the foundational algorithms and SDK components mature, Intel foresees an increasing project focus on real-world applications, ultimately leading to the commercialization of neuromorphic technology.


For more information, please visit

Picture of Dr. Lynne Parker

Parker Named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

UT Professor Lynne Parker has been selected as a 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow for her work as a leading researcher in robotics and for her distinguished professional service.

Parker, a member of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is now the 32nd faculty member at UT so honored, and the 10th from the Tickle College of Engineering.

“It’s always nice to be honored, especially when it comes from your peers in science and engineering,” said Parker, who is already an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow. “This is validation, not just on a personal level, but on the growing importance of my chosen field of research.”

In her selection, the AAAS noted her “foundational contributions to distributed robotics and for distinguished service and accomplishment to professional societies and administration in government.”

As a sign of her leadership in the emerging field of artificial intelligence, she is currently serving as assistant director for artificial intelligence for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In that role, she is the White House lead for AI policy and engages with numerous stakeholders in areas of importance to the leadership of the United States in AI, including research and development priorities and coordination, budgetary matters, advancing AI infrastructure, education and workforce initiatives, advancing AI innovation, national security and defense considerations of AI, and international activities in AI.

“AI is a topic of intense national and international attention, and the world is looking to the United States to provide leadership,” Parker said at the time of her appointment. “The opportunity to help lead the nation in an area that has such national and international importance, and which has been the focus of my career, is a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. I am honored to be asked to serve the nation in this manner.”

Parker also previously served as Division Director for Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation, further demonstrating her leadership in shaping the nation’s artificial intelligence capabilities.

During her time at UT, Parker founded the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory and the Center for Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning, served as associate department head, associate dean for faculty affairs and engagement, and most recently was interim dean before being named to her new role in Washington, DC.

She remains affiliated with UT thanks to the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which allows the temporary assignment of personnel to the federal government from universities.



David Goddard, 865-974-0683,

New Campus Safety App- LiveSafe

Picture of the LiveSafe App Screen on an iPhone

LiveSafe meets student requests for a mobile solution to simplify communication with the university. Users have convenient access to campus resources and services without having to search the internet for them. 
LiveSafe can be a practical resource—whether it’s using the SafeWalk feature as they go to and from study sessions, reaching out to the Student Counseling Center for assistance, or reporting a lab incident.
The campus safety app is transitioning from Guardian to LiveSafe. The new app provides additional functionality to improve your personal safety and make campus safer. Guardian will continue to function through the transition.

For more information and instructions on how to sign up for the LiveSafe app, visit

Picture of EECS winners at the 2018 R&D Awards

EECS & ORNL are Winners at the 2018 R&D Awards

At the 2018 R&D Awards, EECS Governor’s Chair Professor Dr. Yilu Liu and her research team have been awarded jointly with Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the development of a Mobile Universal Grid Analyzer (m-UGA). It has been selected as one of the 100 Most Technologically Significant New Products of the Year in IT/Electrical.

The R&D 100 Awards have served as the most prestigious innovation awards program for the past 56 years—with the celebration having taken place at the black-tie awards presentation on Nov. 16 in Orlando. The R&D 100 Conference was launched in 2015 as an executive educational event that both celebrates the historic R&D 100 Awards and provides unique opportunities for R&D professionals to learn, network and collaborate.

Picture of Jared Smith at the CSAW 2018 Cybersecurity Games

EECS Professor and Student are Winners at CSAW 2018, the World’s Biggest Student-led Cybersecurity Games

Dr. Max Schuchard, EECS Assistant Professor in Computer Science, and Jared Smith, EECS Computer Science Ph.D. student, have won first place in the Applied Research Competition at CSAW, the largest student-led cybersecurity competition in the world, now in its 15th year.

The duo took first place for their presentation of their paper “Routing Around Congestion: Defeating DDoS Attacks and Adverse Network Conditions via Reactive BGP Routing.”

Long recognized as the premier showcase for young security researchers whose work has already appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals and conferences, the Applied Research Competition requires a poster and one student to present the research to a panel of judges.

This competition assesses the top scholarly security research from the previous year. With eligibility limited to previously published papers or camera-ready papers, this competition has a reputation for drawing some of the best security research worldwide.

Picture of Berat Arik, Jared Smith and unidentified University of Kentucky student, in Toronto, Canada

CS Student Presents Paper and Poster at Security Conference in Toronto

Undergraduate senior in CS and HackUTK leader Berat Arik traveled to Toronto, Canada in mid-October to present a poster and short paper at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS). CCS is one of the largest and most selective academic security venues, with a full paper acceptance rate of 17% in 2018 among a total of 809 papers submitted. Berat, in collaboration with a 4th-year math PhD student from the University of Kentucky, completed this research during his summer internship at Oak Ridge National Lab in 2018, where both students were mentored by ORNL staff memberJared Smith. Jared is also a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in the UT Computer Security Lab advised by Dr. Max Schuchard

Their short paper presented early work on the first operating-system and architecture-independent malware detection system, leveraging raw binary memory snapshots and deep learning to predict when a device has been compromised. For more information, view the paper at

Picture of 4 professors attending the SC Conference in Nov. 2018

UT is Full Speed at SC Conference

Four computational science research centers from the University of Tennessee—the Bredesen Center, the Global Computing Laboratory, the Innovative Computing Laboratory, and the SimCenter—will represent the university at this year’s International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC18) on November 11–16 in Dallas, Texas.

In modern science, computational modeling and simulation using high-performance computing (HPC) represents a new branch of scientific methodology, known broadly as “computational science,” that now sits alongside traditional theory and experiment. Computational science is accelerating things like drug development and energy research and enabling scientists to tackle problems that were simply intractable without HPC.

SC18, sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), brings together over 10,000 scientists, engineers, and industry leaders in HPC for invited talks, panels, research papers, tutorials, workshops, posters, and Birds of a Feather sessions. This capstone conference enables the principal architects of HPC and computational science to share new insights and ideas with their peers and nurture essential collaborations in the field. For its part, the University of Tennessee has a decades-long history in HPC and computational science—boasting four major research centers described below—and SC18 is the ideal venue to present its cutting-edge research.

The Bredesen Center offers one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary PhD programs in Data Science and Engineering (DSE) by bringing together students and researchers from the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Bredesen Center distinguishes itself from traditional PhD programs by allowing students to create customized PhD experiences working on interdisciplinary projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy as well as other government agencies. DSE students have access to world-class computing expertise and resources at the university and at ORNL—including ORNL’s new Summit supercomputer. A large array of other ORNL facilities generate unique scientific data sets and enable cutting-edge research in computational and data sciences. DSE focus areas include life and health sciences, materials science, advanced manufacturing, national security, transportation, urban systems, and environmental sciences. The Bredesen Center also offers an interdisciplinary doctorate in Energy Science and Engineering.


The Global Computing Laboratory, headed by Prof. Michela Taufer, focuses on various aspects of HPC and its use in application science. The lab is engaged in the design and testing of efficient computational algorithms and adaptive scheduling policies for scientific computing on GPUs, cloud computing, and volunteer computing. Interdisciplinary research with scientists and engineers in fields such as chemistry and chemical engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, seismology, and mathematics is at the core of the lab’s activities and philosophy.


The Innovative Computing Laboratory, founded by Prof. Jack Dongarra in 1989, is a large computer science research and development group situated in the heart of the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus. The lab’s mission is to ensure that the University of Tennessee is a world leader in advanced high-performance and scientific computing through research, education, and collaboration. Specializing in numerical linear algebra, distributed computing, and performance analysis and benchmarking, the lab employs over forty researchers, students, and staff, and has earned many accolades, including four R&D100 awards.


SimCenter, headed by Prof. Tony Skjellum, is a research incubator at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) for interdisciplinary work with a foundation in HPC, modeling and simulation, data analytics, and machine learning. The SimCenter helps faculty and students at all levels advance their research and learning in a variety of fields including biology, computer science, mathematics, energy, the environment, smart cities, aerospace, and advanced materials. SimCenter is also UTC’s core facility for advanced computing and network infrastructure and offers HPC and Virtual Private Cloud Resources for faculty and outside collaborators undertaking computing and big data problems across a spectrum of disciplines. One of the center’s goals is to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in computational sciences and engineering by providing meeting space, making connections among faculty, and offering proposal development and other research support.

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