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Two EECS/CURENT Alumni and EECS/CURENT Professor Receive IEEE PES Technical Committee Prize Paper Award

Two EECS/CURENT alumni, Dr. Haoyu (Harry) Yuan, who is now a research staff member at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a former direct Ph.D. student of EECS/CURENT (2011-2016); Dr. Yanli Wei who is now an Advisor in Energy Deal Structuring at Southern California Edison and a former doctoral student of EECS/CURENT (2009-2013); and their former advisor Dr. Fran Li, have received the IEEE PES Technical Committee Prize Paper award. Dr. Fran Li is the corresponding author of this award-winning paper.

They were honored during the PSOPE (Power System Operation, Planning and Economics) Technical Committee main meeting at the IEEE PES General Meeting 2019, held in Atlanta during August 4-8, 2019. The paper has been selected from a total of 12 nominations from all papers published in five IEEE PES Transactions in the scope aligned with the PSOPE technical committee, which is the largest committee within PES. Here is the paper’s citation:

Haoyu Yuan, Fangxing Li, Yanli Wei, and Jinxiang Zhu, “Novel Linearized Power Flow and Linearized OPF Models for Active Distribution Networks with Application in Distribution LMP,” IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 438-448, Jan. 2018.

EECS/CURENT Alum and Two Faculty Members Receive Highly Cited Paper Award

Dr. Linquan Bai, a recent alumnus of EECS/CURENT and now an Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte; Dr. Hantao Cui, CURENT research assistant professor and former part-time EECS/CURENT doctoral student (2012-2016); and their former advisor Dr. Fran Li, have received the Highly Cited Paper Award from the journal Applied Energy. Li’s visiting scholar, Dr. Jiang Tao (2019-2020), is also a co-author. Li is the corresponding author of this award-winning paper.

With an impact factor of 8.426, Applied Energy is a leading journal in the broad area of energy engineering and science. The award is highly competitive as it is bestowed to only 16 research papers and 13 review papers among 3200+ published papers in Applied Energy in 2016 and 2017. The award was issued during the International Conference of Applied Energy (ICAE), held August 12-15, 2019 in Sweden. Here is the paper’s citation:

  1. Bai, F. Li, H. Cui, T. Jiang, et al., “Interval Optimization based Operating Strategy for Gas-Electricity Integrated Energy Systems Considering Demand Response and Wind Uncertainty,” Applied Energy, vol. 167, pp. 270-279, Apr. 2016.

EECS Student Named to ‘20 Under 20’

Picture of EECS freshman computer engineering student Kaitlyn DanielsAn EECS student has been honored by the Knoxville News Sentinel for excellence in leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation in the 2019 20 Under 20 awards.

Kaitlyn Daniels, 19, is a freshman studying computer engineering. She and two other UT student awardees were featured in the November issue of magazine and honored at an awards reception last Thursday at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Daniels was also a dedicated Girl Scout, earning the Gold Award with an extraordinary leadership record. When Seymour Junior High School was under construction, Daniels noticed a decline in birds and greenery around the area. She decided to create a garden space at the junior high, adding trees and native plants to attract pollinators. Daniels partnered with the special education department at Seymour High School for the installation of a wheelchair-accessible raised garden. Daniels remains invested in the Seymour community, continuing work on an outdoor classroom, maintaining a seed library, and leading a science club. She lives by the goal of “wanting to make the world a better place.”

At UT, Daniels writes for the Daily Beacon and is involved with the Society of Women Engineers, looking to blend her love for science with her passion for helping others. This summer she will intern with Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company. Daniels hopes to start her own business or become a science teacher in the future.

Read more about Kaitlyn Daniels

Read about the other two UT student awardees

EECS Professor Chairing Supercomputing Conference; Another EECS Professor is an Invited Guest Speaker

Picture of Dr. Michela Taufer

Dr. Michela Taufer

Picture of Dr. Lynne Parker

Dr. Lynne Parker

The SC19 Supercomputing conference, chaired by EECS Professor Michela Taufer, is underway this week in Denver, Colorado.

One of invited speakers is another EECS Professor, Lynne Parker, who will speak today on the topic of “US Administration Activities in Artificial Intelligence and HPC.” Dr. Parker also works for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Talk description:
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming everything from healthcare to transportation to manufacturing. Recognizing the importance of AI to the United States, in February 2019, the US President announced the American AI Initiative. This Initiative is a whole-of-government strategy to advance AI in collaboration and engagement with the private sector, academia, the public, and international allies. One of the key priorities of this Initiative is AI research and development (R&D), to include not only fundamental AI algorithms, but also the underlying cyberinfrastructure, systems, and data that provide the foundation for complete AI systems. Investments in AI and high performance computing are among the most important areas of emerging technology at work for our nation, both inside and outside government. In this talk, I will discuss the Administration’s activities and priorities in AI, and in high performance computing (HPC), highlighting open R&D questions at the nexus of AI and HPC.

Read more about the SC19 Supercomputing conference

McFarlane Named ADVANCE Professor, Giving Faculty Candidates Independent View

Picture of Dr. Nicole McFarlaneWhen candidates are brought in for interviews during the process of filling faculty positions, they can have questions about the campus that they might soon call home that they might not feel at ease asking the formal search committee.

The Tickle College of Engineering is creating a new position to be a neutral party, someone outside the official hiring group as a way to solve that problem by giving candidates an outlet to get answers to questions that matter to them, but that they might not feel appropriate asking a group determining whether they would get the job.

The TCE ADVANCE Professorship will allow candidates to have personal interaction with someone to answer questions about topics such as campus climate, leave policies and benefits, or issues surrounding inclusivity, religion, or family matters.

Associate Professor Nicole McFarlane of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will be the first TCE Advance Professor, and she is already looking forward to the role.

“I am pleased to be taking on this new responsibility and in helping faculty candidates gain a better understanding of what is going on here in the college and at UT. Choosing whether or not to join a university defines a faculty member for years or even decades, so it is important that people know what they need to about their potential academic home.”
—Nicole McFarlane

In the new position, McFarlane will work with UT’s Adaptations for a Sustainable Climate of Excellence and Diversity (ASCEND) program to develop resources and information for prospective faculty candidates to help inform them on the college and what kind of career they might expect at UT.

The new professorship is part of a larger initiative that the college is undertaking to promote a more diverse and inclusive faculty, something the National Science Foundation has been keen on taking on around STEM-related areas.

The NSF began the “ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions,” in 2001 as a way to begin help recruit, retain, and encourage women in STEM-related fields, and has expanded its goals and outreach in the years since.

Like other groups, agencies, and universities, the NSF understands that increased diversity leads to an growth in the number of perspectives being brought to bear on a problem, improving chances for better outcomes and breakthroughs.

Picture of Dr. Michela Taufer at the SC19 Conference in Denver

EECS Professor Pens Article on SC19 Conference Keynote Speaker, Mars Rover Scientist

This month, EECS Dongarra Professor Michela Taufer is serving as Conference Chair for the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC19) on November 17–22 in Denver, Colorado.

She has just written an article about the conference’s keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Squyres. Dr. Squyres and his NASA teammates led the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rover programs from 2004 to 2018.

Read the article

EECS Professor’s Research Team Working to Create Ultra-Fast Electric Vehicle Charger

Picture of a module allowing for development of a 500 kilowatt DC fast charger for electric vehicles, made by WolfspeedDr. Kevin Bai, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his research team are working with Ford Motor Company and Wolfspeed to design a 1-megawatt ultra-fast charger for electric vehicles. Wolfspeed is the power and radio frequency segment of North Carolina-based Cree, a manufacturer of LED lighting and components.

According to an article on the website Talk, Business & Politics, “The new device is expected to charge electric vehicle batteries in about four minutes, similar to the amount of time one might spend at a gas station and much faster than some of the fastest electric car chargers on the market, such as the Tesla Supercharger, which requires about 30 minutes for a charge.” The project is led by Wolfspeed and sponsored by ARPA-E. Dr. Bai’s research team will provide the control strategy and simulation design for the project.

Read more about this project

EECS Professor to chair the 2021 IEEE International Future Energy Challenge

Picture of Dr. Hua "Kevin" BaiDr. Kevin Bai, an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been selected to chair the 2021 IEEE International Future Energy Challenge, to be hosted by CURENT.

The goal of the Challenge is to design a solar-powered microgrid using the CURENT hardware test bed. Eventually, eight student teams will be invited to CURENT in July 2021 for the final competition. The competition is sponsored by 3 IEEE societies: PES, PELS, IAS. Congratulations, Dr. Bai!

For more information about the Challenge, please visit

Boo in the Courtyard 2019

On Halloween, the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science competed against other Tickle College of Engineering departments in the annual Boo in the Courtyard costume contest.  This year’s theme was “At The Movies.”  Despite stiff competition from the creepy and kooky “Addams Family,” “101 Dalmatians,” Bollywood dancers from the movie “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” and “Teen Wolf,” EECS emerged victorious with its “Toy Story” costume theme and brought home the first-place trophy!

Picture of Dr. Michela Taufer at the SC19 Conference in Denver

Five UT Centers at SC19 Conference

Five computational science research centers from the University of Tennessee—the Bredesen Center, the Global Computing Laboratory, the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, the Innovative Computing Laboratory, and Chattanooga’s SimCenter—will represent the University at this year’s International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC19) on November 17–22 in Denver, Colorado.

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.

For its part, the University of Tennessee has a decades-long history in HPC and computational science and in supporting computational science research centers throughout its campuses. In addition, the University’s own Prof. Michela Taufer is serving as Conference Chair for SC19, which will bring together over 10,000 scientists, engineers, and industry leaders to share new insights and ideas and nurture essential collaborations in the field.


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 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, part of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and headed by Prof. Michela Taufer (also SC19 Conference Chair), 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 Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, headed by Prof. Anthony Mezzacappa, is a joint venture between the University of Tennessee and ORNL. Founded in 1991, JICS’s mission is to advance scientific discovery and to educate the next generation of researchers in the application of computational modeling and simulation. JICS brings to bear the vast resources available to it through its academic, industrial, and research partnerships on some of the most challenging scientific and engineering problems—those in computational mathematics, chemistry, fluid dynamics, materials science, physics, and beyond.


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 fifty researchers, students, and staff, and has earned many accolades, including four R&D 100 awards.


The 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.