April 1-7, 2013


April 1, 2013

Faculty News

Honors & Awards:

Prof. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE)  has been awarded the Humboldt Research Award, a prestigious international research award given by the Alexander Humboldt Foundation in Germany.  The award is made every year to 100 scientists across the world in all areas.  It is granted to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.  The Humboldt Award includes a cash award and an invitation to collaborate with German scientists.  As part of his award, Prof. El-Ghazawi will collaborate with Prof. Juergen Becker, former vice president for Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and current head of the Institut für Technik der Informationsverarbeitung at KIT, and his team.

Media Mentions:

Prof. Shelly Heller's (CS)  op-ed article, "H1-B visa program has a gender gap problem," was published in The Hill  on March 28.


Prof. Philippe Bardet (MAE)  was awarded the Office of Naval Research summer faculty research program.  He will work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division.


Prof. Kie Eom (ECE)  and his visiting scholar, Dr. Peng Liu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have published the following journal paper:  P. Liu and K. B. Eom, “Restoration of Multispectral Images by Total Variation with Auxiliary Image,”  Optics and Lasers in Engineering, vol. 51,  2013, pp. 873-882, DOI: 10.1016/j.optlaseng.2013.02. 001.    

Prof. Vesna Zderic (ECE) , along with her doctoral student,  Marjan Nabili , and their collaborators from GW's ophthalmology department, have published the following paper: Nabili M., Patel H., Mahesh S.P., Liu J., Geist C., Zderic V. "Ultrasound-Enhanced Delivery of Antibiotics and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Into the Eye," Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. 2013 Apr;39(4):638-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012. 11.010. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Philippe Bardet (MAE)  gave a seminar titled “Micro-physics of Air Entrainment on Free Surfaces” at the Center for Environmental and Fluid Mechanics at the Johns Hopkins University on March 1.

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE)  gave an invited research seminar at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department on February 28.  The research seminar covered his ongoing research, “Symbiosis of Mobile Robotic Locomotion and Manipulation on Rough Terrain – Towards Modularity and Reconfigurability.”

On March 29,  Prof. Taeyoung Lee (MAE)  gave a talk titled "Computational Geometric Mechanics and Controls of Complex Aerospace Systems" at the ECE colloquium of the University of Virginia.

On March 29,  Prof. Claire Monteleoni (CS)  gave an invited talk titled "Clustering Algorithms for Streaming and Online Settings" in the Computer Science Department seminar at Johns Hopkins University.

Prof. Martha Pardavi-Horvath (ECE)  gave a talk titled "The Propagation of Electromagnetic Waves in 3D Opal-based Magnetophotonic Crystals" at a focus session of the American Physical Society March meeting.  The meeting was held March 22 in Baltimore, MD.

Prof. Julie Ryan (EMSE)  gave a presentation titled "The Detection Timeline" at the SANS Cyber Threat Intelligence Summit on March 22.

On March 27,  Prof. Greg Shaw (EMSE)  presented a 90-minute overview session  of risk management in homeland security and emergency management at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association professional workshop "Homeland Security: Who Does What, With What, For What?".  The workshop was held in Fairfax, Virginia. 

On March 22,  Prof. Timothy Wood (CS)  gave an invited talk titled "Cloud Computing: A Million Computers in the Sky?"at the Loyola University Maryland Science Seminar in Baltimore, MD.

Other News:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE)  has been invited to participate as a member of the Technical Program Committee for the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation - IEEE ICMA 2013, to be held in Japan in August.

Prof. Ken Chong (MAE)  received an award from the publisher of Elsevier "In appreciation and recognition of his excellent contribution to the development of Thin-Walled Structures journal."  Prof. Chong has been the North American editor of the journal for the last 25 years.

Prof. Taeyoung Lee (MAE)  has been appointed to the editorial board of the Journal on Automation and Control Engineering.

Sonia Schmitt (EMSE part-time faculty member)  will join the University of South Florida (USF) in fall 2013 as the executive director of the College of Business and in a concurrent position as a visiting professor of marketing.  Sonia has taught in the EMSE department since 1999.

Student News

MAE graduate student Matthieu Andre , who is studying under  Prof. Philippe Bardet , gave a talk titled "Non-condensable gas absorption by capillary waves" at the American Physics Society March meeting, held March 21 in Baltimore, MD.

EMSE graduate student Gabrielle Lyon  has been awarded the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) National Capital Chapter Marvin C. Beasley, CPP Memorial Scholarship.  The scholarship is awarded annually to a student from the George Washington University.  Gabriel is a student in the department's crisis, emergency and risk management concentration.

Guest Vignette

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the branch of computer science that focuses on algorithms to process and analyze natural language usage. NLP is inherently multidisciplinary, drawing on the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, linguistics, psychology, sociology, etc. to process unstructured data. In this age of big data and the ubiquity of social media, the need for sifting through large amounts of data to get relevant information is ever more present. Textual social media such as discussion fora, chat, Twitter, blogs, and Facebook commentaries make up a significant portion of social media. Yet, such media are mostly unstructured in nature, posing significant challenges for text analytics.

Despite the challenges, it is believed that social media language is a treasure trove for mining and understanding human interactions.  There is a perceived correlation between language use on these media and human behavior. Due to the nature of the language used and the degree of diversity, processing such media constitutes the new challenging frontier for NLP systems.

As part of an emerging exciting subfield of NLP, computational sociopragmatic modeling of language use, Prof. Mona Diab and collaborators at Columbia University and University of Michigan were recently funded (by IARPA, the SCIL Program) to work on social media analysis using cutting edge NLP techniques. They investigated issues such as  detecting the most influential participant in a discussion, identifying who is trying to grab power in a group, and, which participants in a group discussion are most likely to splinter off and form a group of their own. Though these social constructs of influence, pursuit of power, and subgroup formation are universal, interestingly (and perhaps unsurprisingly), research indicates that different languages manifest them exploiting rather distinct sociolinguistic devices reflecting significant cultural and linguistic variations.  Identifying the most influential person(s) in a group or the person(s) seeking power in a group can shed a lot of information about the dynamics of a group and their interactions. Moreover, subgroup formations are quite nuanced: the same person can belong to multiple groups--for example people could agree on some topic such as liking the movie "The Matrix," but some within that group might disagree on rating the acting skills of Keanu Reeves.  In discussion fora, people naturally form groups and subgroups aligning along points of consensus and contention.

Different sociological and anthropological factors come into play, but more importantly, the way participants express themselves in the text could help us identify how they think and how they will group. But a challenging question becomes, how much evidence is needed before we can decide whether people who share the same view points will actually form a subgroup. Is all evidence of alignment present explicitly in the text?

Prof. Diab and her students focused on the latter two questions for subgroup detection and  emergence.  They explored these questions in different social media fora, building automated systems to model the manifested language uses of participants in both English and Arabic. They successfully model some of the subtleties of  language using advanced unsupervised learning models getting at both explicit and implicit agreement patterns among participants. They complemented their models with explicit modeling of the social media networks.  Their developed systems yield state-of-the-art performance in detecting and predicting subgroup formation in social media discussion fora.  ( Provided courtesy of Prof. Mona Diab of the Department of Computer Science)

SEAS Events

ECE Faculty Candidate Colloquium:  “Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging of Tissue Metabolism”
Faculty Candidate: Dr. Mahsa Ranji, assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Monday, April 1
11:00 am
640 Phillips Hall

MAE Seminar:  "Soft Active Polymer and their Composites: Bringing Future Structures to Shape Adaptive”
Dr. Jinsong Leng, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Monday, April 1
11:00 am
736 Phillips Hall

ECE Faculty Candidate Colloquium
Faculty Candidate: Dr. Hoang Le, Senior Scientist, Irvine Sensors Corporation
Talk title: “High Performance Architectures for Packet Forwarding and String Pattern Matching”
Tuesday, April 2
1:00 pm
640 Phillips Hall

ECE Colloquium:  " A Few Quantum Computational Insights"
Dr. S.P. Hotaling, consultant
Wednesday, April 3
2:30 – 3:30 pm
640 Phillips Hall

Free COMSOL Multiphysics Workshop at GW
Host: Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE)
Thursday, April 4
Please choose the session most convenient to you; both workshops are identical:
AM Session:    
9:30 - 11:00 am: Intro and Live Demo
11:00 am - 12:30 pm: Hands-on Session
PM Session:    
1:30 - 3:00 pm: Intro and Live Demo
3:00 - 4:30 pm: Hands-on Session
736 Phillips Hall

GW Mathematica Seminar
Monday, April 8
2:00 – 3:00 pm (includes Q&A)
736 Phillips Hall

MAE and Center for Biomimetics & Bioinspired Engineering Seminar:  "Addressing Soft Robotic Challenge With Robogamis"
Dr. Jamie Paik, Swiss NCCR Robotics Group
Tuesday, April 9
3:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

ECE Colloquium:  “Developing mm-Scale High-Efficiency Power Converters”
Dr. Sarah S. Bedair
Friday, April 12
2:00 pm
352 Rome Hall

2013 Frank Howard Distinguished Lecture:  "Promoting Cutting Edge Research: The Impact of the U.S. Navy"
Speaker:  Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research
Wednesday, April 17
6:15 - 9:00 pm
103 Funger Hall
As the Chief of Naval Research, RADM Klunder coordinates, executes and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps,  distributing approximately $2 billion in funds annually .

Symposium on Biomedical Engineering and Computing
Thursday, May 2
Marvin Center, Continental Ballroom
The Symposium on Biomedical Engineering and Computing will showcase the best in interdisciplinary research going on at GW in engineering, science, and medicine focused on biomedical engineering and biomedical computing.

Entrepreneurship Events

2013 GW Business Plan Competition Finals
Friday, April 19
9:00 am – 6:30 pm
Duques Hall, 6th Floor

Dissertation Defenses

Name of Student Defending : Sylvain A. Motycka
Title of Dissertation : “Techno-Economic analysis of a plasma gasification biomass to liquid plant”
Advisor: Prof. Michael Duffey
Wednesday, April 10
10:00 am
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120