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Three EECS students awarded by Graduate Student Senate for Excellence in Graduate Research

Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week- Our graduate students are a critical and valued part of the UT community. Every year, we set aside a week in spring to show them how much we appreciate them and the work we do. This year, we’re showing that appreciation online!

Today, the Graduate Student Senate has announced the winners for their Fourth Annual GSS Awards online. This year, three EECS students have been awarded for Excellence in Graduate Research.

Please join us in congratulating all of our award winners! Although GPSAW 2020 was not celebrated in person, we are still so proud and excited for the accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff! An excerpt from their nominations is included to celebrate accomplishments and success. You can see more of the winners here.

Excellence in Graduate Research

The “Excellence in Graduate Research” award is presented to graduate and professional students who have received national and/or international recognition in their field and show promise in their area of research and/or creative achievement.


Picture of EECS graduate student Shaghayegh Aslanzadeh










Shaghayegh Aslanzadeh

Graduate Research Assistant

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“She has exemplified excellence in research through her strong publication record. In her time here at UT, she has published 3 peer reviewed conference papers and one peer reviewed journal paper. In addition to all of this she is guiding an undergraduate researcher in developing portable devices and has volunteered to help our lab’s k-12 outreach activities. In short, I believe she has demonstrated the qualities of excellence in graduate research.”


Picture of EECS graduate student Razieh Kaviani Baghbaderani










Razieh Kaviani Baghbaderani

Graduate Research Assistant

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“Although she has only been in the program for less than 2 years, she has managed to publish two first-authored conference papers, both of which are IEEE flagship conferences in the areas of remote sensing and image processing. She also demonstrated a very strong leadership capability in this period, both academically and socially. For example, she serves as the secretary of a very successful student organization, Systers: Women in EECS @ UTK.”


Picture of EECS Graduate Student Tamjid Farshid










Farshid Tamjid

PhD Candidate

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“So far he has made very good progress with his research objectives and published four conference papers as the first author and he is a co-author in four conference and journal papers, all since joining my research group. Also, one of his journal papers are under review in one of the most prestigious transactions in the RF and Microwave field.”

Three EECS Students are 2020 Bodenheimer Fellowship Winners

The winners of the 2020 Bodenheimer Fellowship in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have been announced. This year’s EECS student recipients of this honor are Daniel Burns, Ian Schomer and Roy Tan.

The Bodenheimer Fellowships, valued at $10,000 per year per person, are combined with GTA/GRA positions bringing the total package to more than $43,000 per year. The fellowships are awarded to superior or deserving EECS graduates from UT to encourage them to stay on for graduate school at UT. These students, who often have GPAs of 3.8 or above, are being recruited with similar offers from the very best graduate programs in the country and these fellowships allow us to make them competitive offers.

Picture of EECS graduate student and 2020 Bodenheimer Fellowship winner Ian Schomer

2020 Bodenheimer Fellowship winner Ian Schomer

One of the winners, Ian Schomer, is a graduate electrical engineering student and Graduate Teaching Assistant. “I was born and raised in Knoxville, so being a recipient of the Bodenheimer Fellowship has been yet another confirmation that I don’t have to travel far from home to receive a great electrical engineering degree with unmatched financial support,” Schomer said. “Moreover, as a newlywed whose spouse has been financially impacted by COVID-19, this news could not have come at a better time!”

Picture of EECS student winner of the Bodenheimer Fellowship, Daniel Burns

2020 Bodenheimer Fellowship winner Daniel Burns

Daniel Burns is another winner. “The Fellowship is quite an honor and I’m humbled to be a part of Dr. Bodenheimer’s legacy at the University,” Burns said. “I was born in Tennessee and have spent the majority of my life here, so I’m incredibly proud and grateful that folks are reinvesting in the education of our state. The primary mission of the University is to improve the quality of life in Tennessee (in addition to the nation and world) through education and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and support to continue my education at UTK and then contribute to our Tennessee community. I’m just ecstatic that the people involved in the Fellowship (Dr. Bodenheimer, Mr. Crabtree, and all others) believe in the students from the department and generous enough to support our education make Tennessee a better place.”

Picture of Roy Tan

2020 Bodenheimer Fellowship winner Roy Tan

Roy Tan is the third of this year’s winners. “Being chosen for the Bodenheimer Fellowship is an honor as I know that those chosen before me were people with great minds and steadfast determination,” Tan said. “I strive to follow in their footsteps as someone who will be proud to call themselves a UTK graduate and a Bodenheimer Fellow.”

Each student may receive the fellowship for up to five semesters while pursuing the MS degree and an additional ten semesters when pursuing the PhD degree on a full-time basis.

The Bodenheimer Fellowships were established in honor of Robert E. Bodenheimer who taught ECE courses at UT for nearly forty years prior to his retirement. The primary benefactor has been one of his students, Michael C. Crabtree, who received his BS in 1973 and MS in 1975 from UT, both in electrical engineering. Crabtree was one of the founders of CTI (Siemens) Molecular Imaging, Inc.

An applicant must be a US citizen with preference given for residents of the State of Tennessee and be accepted or enrolled as a full-time student in the EECS graduate program at UTK with a superior academic record and/or financial need. Applications are due each January with award offers made in March for students beginning (or continuing) their programs in the summer or fall or the next spring terms. The selection committee consists of Crabtree, professors Blalock, Bouldin, Rose, and Bodenheimer & Dr. Marc Bodenheimer (MD).

Engineering Ranks 32nd Among Publics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering in Top 30

Graphic for EECS Electrical Engineering graduate program ranked 30th among public universities 2021 US News & World ReportGraphic for EECS Computer Engineering graduate program ranked 30th among public universities 2021 US News & World ReportThe Tickle College of Engineering (TCE) ranked 32nd amongst public institutions in the US in the 2021 U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings, which came out this morning.

The college ranking is one place lower than last year, despite the college’s rise in grad recruiter perception and the fact that more of its programs climbed rather than fell. This is four places higher in the rankings than five years ago and positions the college in the top 30th percentile of all public schools ranked.

“We are pleased that six of our graduate programs rose in the rankings,” said Janis Terpenny, Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering and Wayne T. Davis Endowed Dean’s Chair. “It is also great to see that seven of our graduate programs are in the top 35 among public institutions, but our goals and aspirations are higher still.”

Electrical engineering rose two places among publics to 30th, joining computer engineering at that ranking and placing it in the top 22nd percentile among publics.

Mechanical engineering saw the biggest climb among disciplines at UT, rising from the 44th- to the 33rd-ranked public ME program, placing it in the top 26th percentile.

Nuclear engineering came in as 7th among publics and 8th overall nationally.

Aerospace engineering held steady at 28th among publics and rose to 38th overall program in the nation.

Civil engineering joined the top-35 crowd, rising two places among public programs, placing it in the top 31st percentile.

The college’s materials science and engineering program now ranks 31st among publics.

Rounding out the rankings, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, and biomedical engineering came in at 41st, 48th, and 63rd, respectively. Biosystems engineering and soil science, which is run through the Herbert College of Agriculture, rose to 23rd among publics. Rankings for computer science graduate programs have not yet been released.

U.S. News and World Report ranks graduate programs each spring based on dean and department head votes in the fall, with undergraduate programs being ranked in the fall from spring votes.

Colleges as a whole are ranked based on a variety of factors, including peer and recruiter perception, research expenditures, doctorate degrees granted, and enrollment, while department rankings are based solely on perception scores from other department heads.

The rankings are meant to help the next round of students make decisions, so the year given for rankings is always one year ahead, meaning this round was the 2021 graduate rankings.

EECS Assistant Professor Awarded for Outstanding Dissertation

Picture of Dr. Ahmedullah Aziz

Dr. Ahmedullah Aziz

EECS Assistant Professor Ahmedullah Aziz has been selected for a 2019 EDAA Outstanding Dissertation Award by the European Design and Automation Association.  In recognition of the importance of university research to the advancement of design, automation and test, and to encourage young researchers to work in the field, the EDAA has established this award for outstanding Ph.D. dissertations.

Five award categories have been considered for 2019. Dr. Aziz’s award is in the category of “New Directions in logic, physical design and CAD for analog/mixed-signal, nano-scale and emerging technologies.”

Aziz’s research portfolio comprises of a diverse and wide domain of emerging electronics. He works on device-circuit co-design with CMOS and post-CMOS technologies to overcome daunting challenges that exist in the concurrent semiconductor industry. He explores and utilizes unique characteristics of complex materials like correlated oxides, ferroelectrics, and 2D transition metal di-chalcogenides to design novel devices and circuits for the next-generation processors and digital data storage.

EDAA is a non-profit association. Its purpose is to operate for educational, scientific and technical purposes for the benefit of the international electronics design and design automation community. The Association, in the field of design and design automation of electronic circuits and systems, promotes a series of high quality technical international conferences and workshops across Europe and cooperates actively to maintain harmonious relationships with other national and international technical societies and groups promoting the purpose of the Association. EDAA is the main sponsor of DATE, the premier Design, Automation and Test Conference and Exhibition in Europe.

EECS Has Several Honored by UTRF

During the UT Research Foundation’s annual awards in December, several groups and individuals from the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science were recognized for their efforts.

Professor Michael Berry had a maturation grant for his work with UT Health Science Center Assistant Professor Jillian McCarthy-Maeder on Vocabulary Coordinator (VocaCoord): A Speech to Text Solution to Accessing Academic Vocabulary.

EECS also has ties to seven patents that were issued for 2019:

  • Professor Emeritus Doug Birdwell, Professor Emeritus Mark Dean, and alumna Catherine Schuman, for three: Method and Apparatus for Constructing, Using and Reusing Components and Structures of an Artificial Neural Network; Method and Apparatus for Constructing a Dynamic Adaptive Neural Network Array (DANNA); and Method and Apparatus for Providing Real-Time Monitoring of an Artificial Neural Network
  • Birdwell and Schuman, for a fourth, Method and Apparatus for Providing Random Selection and Long-Term Potentiation and Depression in an Artificial Network
  • Governor’s Chair for Power Electronics Yilu Liu, alumnus Wenxuan Yao, and graduate student Jiecheng Zhao, for Synchrophasor Measurement Method for Power Systems
  • Liu, Yao, former Assistant Professor Wei Gao, student Haoyang Lu, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Lingwei Zhan, for Mobile Electric Field Sensor Based Phasor Measurement Unit for Monitoring an Electric Power Grid
  • Associate Professor Daniel Costinett, Min H. Kao Professor Leon Tolbert, Professor and Condra Chair of Excellence in Power Electronics Fei Wang, students Jingxin Wang and Fei Yang, and ORNL’s Sheng Zheng, for DC Current Controller for Continuously Variable Series Reactor
Picture of Dr. Fangxing "Fran" Li

EECS Professor Appointed Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Journal

Dr. Fran Li, a James McConnell Professor in EECS and an IEEE Fellow, has been named the Editor-In-Chief (EIC) of IEEE Open Access Journal of Power and Energy (OAJPE), effective January 1, 2020. The journal website can be found at

Prof. Li has been providing significant service in his professional society, IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES). For instance, he has been the Chair (since 2020) and Vice Chair (2016-2019) for the largest PES committee, Power System Operation, Planning and Economics (PSOPE). He has served as the Vice EIC for Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy (MPCE) in 2019, a Consulting Editor (2017-2019) and Editor (2011-2017) for IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy, an Editor for IEEE Transactions on Power Systems (2017-2019), and an Editor for IEEE PES Letters (2011-2019). He is the recipient of the PES Technical Committee Distinguished Service Award in 2015 and a co-recipient (as Vice Chair) of the “Technical Committee of the Year” award in 2018.

Prof. Li has also received numerous research awards including the 2018 PES Technical Committee Prize Paper award, the 2016-2017 Highly Cited Paper award from Applied Energy (IF: 8.426), and four Best Conference Papers at a number of recent IEEE PES General Meetings. He is an IEEE Fellow (Class of 2017).

Picture of Dr. Jack Dongarra

Jack Dongarra Selected to Receive the 2020 IEEE Computer Society’s Computer Pioneer Award

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 14 January 2020 – Dr. Jack Dongarra, who holds an appointment at the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Manchester, has been named to receive the IEEE Computer Society’s 2020 Computer Pioneer Award.

The award is given for significant contributions to early concepts and developments in the electronic computer field, which have clearly advanced the state-of-the-art in computing.  Dongarra is being recognized “for leadership in the area of high-performance mathematical software.”

Dr. Dongarra specializes in numerical algorithms in linear algebra, parallel computing, use of advanced computer architectures, programming methodology, and tools for parallel computers. He was awarded the IEEE Sid Fernbach Award in 2004; in 2008, he was the recipient of the first IEEE Medal of Excellence in Scalable Computing; in 2010, he was the first recipient of the SIAM Special Interest Group on Supercomputing’s award for Career Achievement; in 2011, he was the recipient of the IEEE Charles Babbage Award; in 2013, he received the ACM/IEEE Ken Kennedy Award; and in 2019, he received the ACM/SIAM Computational Science and Engineering Prize.

He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and SIAM and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Science, a foreign member of the British Royal Society, and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Dongarra will receive his award at the Computer Society’s annual awards dinner and presentation to be held on Wednesday evening, 27 May 2020 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner during the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors meeting. The award consists of a silver medal and an invitation to speak at the award presentation.

Recent recipients of the award include Laura Haas, Jitendra Malik, Barbara Liskov, Bjarne Stroustrup, Michael Flynn, Peter Kogge, Linus Torvalds, Edward Feigenbaum, and Cleve Moler. Read more about the Computer Pioneer Award, including a list of all past recipients.

About IEEE Computer Society

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EECS Professor and Research Group Receive Two NSF Awards

Picture of Dr. Michela Taufer

Michela Taufer

Michela Taufer and her research group are the recipients of two NSF awards for their High-Performance Computing (HPC) research.

The first is a $1.2 million award in conjunction with The University of Texas.  The title of their project is “ANACIN-X: Analysis and modeling of Nondeterminism and Associated Costs in eXtreme scale applications.” Read the abstract here.

The second is a $300,000 award with The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The title of this project is “EAGER: Reproducibility and Cyberinfrastructure for Computational and Data-Enabled Science.” Read the abstract here.

EECS Professor Receives Grant at the 2019 UTRF Innovation Awards

EECS professor Michael Berry and Dr. Jillian Maeder from Audiology and Speech Pathology received a 2020 Technology Maturation Grant for their VocaCoord technology, at the 2019 University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) Innovation Awards on December 4.

The Knoxville awards ceremony, held on December 4, recognized the UT researchers whose innovations better society. 2019 honorees included researchers who patented 19 new innovations and/or secured 28 licenses, as well as a new startup company showing enormous potential, Electro-Active Technologies. Five teams of UT researchers were awarded Maturation Grants, helping to further the development of technologies with potential for commercial success. Throughout this year, UTRF received 168 invention disclosures and filed 108 patents for UT inventions.

Read more.

CURENT Faculty and Researchers Recognized at 2019 Innovation Awards

picture of CURENT faculty and researchers being recognized for issued patents at the 2019 Innovation Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, December 4picture of CURENT faculty and researchers being recognized for issued patents at the 2019 Innovation Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, December 4Several CURENT faculty and researchers were recognized for Issued Patents at the 2019 Innovation Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, December 4th, at The Foundry in Knoxville, TN. The awards are given by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) to distinquish University of Tennessee researchers whose innovations better society.

The following CURENT faculty, research staff and students were honored for issued patents.

Wei Gao, Yilu Liu, Haoyang Lu, Wenxuan Yao and Lingwei Zhan for Mobile Electric Field Sensor Based Phasor Measurement Unit for Monitoring an Electric Power Grid

Yilu Liu, Wenxuan Yao and Jiecheng Zhao for Synchrophasor Measurement Method for Power Systems

Daniel Costinett, Leon Tolbert, Fei “Fred” Wang, Jingxin Wang and Sheng Zheng for DC Current Controller for Continuously Variable Series Reactor

Please join us in wishing all the people above a hearty congratulations for their achievement.

CURENT is a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Engineering Research Center headquartered at UT. Partner institutions are Northeastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Tuskegee University.

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