April 12-18, 2010


April 12, 2010

Faculty News

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Michael Duffey (EMSE) and doctoral student Deniz Ozkan were invited speakers at the International Workshop on Wind Energy Development in Cairo, Egypt, on March 22nd-24th.  Their presentation was entitled "Calculating Cost of Energy for Offshore Wind under Uncertainty: An Open Source Methodology and Case Studies."  Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the workshop brought together industry, government, and university participants from the US and Middle Eastern countries to encourage collaboration.

Prof. Howard Eisner (EMSE) gave an invited two-hour presentation at NASA Headquarters, on March 5th, on the subject of "Managing Complex Systems and Thinking Outside the Box."  A question and answer session followed.

Prof. Matthew Kay (ECE) and his graduate student, Huda Asfour, attended the International Conference on Electrical Bioimpedance in Gainesville, FL, last week.  This conference is the main venue for leaders in the field of electrical bioimpedance. Ms. Asfour presented her research in a talk entitled "Low frequency impedance spectroscopy of cell monolayers using the four-electrode method."  Co-authors included William Soller (School without Walls HS), Nikki Gillum-Posnack (GW, Dept. of Pharmacology and Physiology), Andrew Pollard (UAB BME) and Prof. Kay.

Prof. Pedro Silva (CEE) was invited by the National Director for Medical Preparedness Policy and the National Security Staff to deliver a talk on April 6th on the effects of earthquakes on structures. The presentation was held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to The White House.  The presentation was attended by a variety of directors and concentrated on describing the key features that engineers look at after an earthquake.

Books & Papers: 

Members of the Institute for Magnetics Research recently had the following papers published: Gary R. Kahler, Edward Della Torre, Ermanno Cardelli, “Implementation of the Preisach-Stoner-Wohlfarth Classical Vector Model,” IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 46, pp. 21-28 (2010); and V. Provenzano, R. D. Shull, R. M. Waterstrat, L. H. Bennett, E. Della Torre, and H. Seyoum, “Magnetic Properties of Zr9Ni11 Intermetallic Compound, IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 46, pp. 502-504 (2010).

Student News

Ms. Deborah Blass, a CEE structural engineering graduate student studying under Prof. Kim Roddis, was awarded a scholarship from the Construction Management Association of America's (CMAA) National Capital Chapter.  The CMAA Foundation awards scholarships to reward merit in students in a construction management program or a related field.  Deborah received the award based on her academic success, extracurricular activities, employment experience, and faculty member evaluations. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers/National Capital Section (ASCE/NCS) has awarded scholarships to three GW students.  Michele Lockhart, Abraham Todd, and Michael Zarrella each received one of the 2009-10 ASCE/NCS scholarships.

Other News

Graduate Student R&D Showcase: Don’t miss your chance to participate in the 4th Annual Graduate Student Research & Development Showcase, where you can show your R&D projects to local companies and federal labs.  The event includes a poster contest with cash prizes for the best presentations: First Place = $2,000; Second Place = $1,200; Third Place = $800.  The Showcase will be held on Friday, April 30, 2010, from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm in the Marvin Center’s Grand Ballroom.  The deadline for applications to participate is Wednesday, March 31, 2010.  

Networking Happy Hour: Please join SEAS alumni and current SEAS students for a networking happy hour at Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy, from 6:30-8:00 pm on Thursday, April 22nd.  We are highlighting alumni and students of SEAS student organizations, but we invite everyone to join the fun and networking.  The event is free of charge, but we ask that you register your attendance in advance.  Hors d'oeuvres will be provided and a cash bar is available.  If you’d like to register, you can do so online, or by contacting Erin Pitts, associate director of school alumni programs, at [email protected] or 202.994.2355.  

Guest Vignette

Prof. Rahul Simha wears three hats, as befits a rapidly balding person. The first is his main research area, computer systems.  These days, he is grappling with the question "Can hardware help make software safer?"  One solution his graduate students are exploring involves placing software components in so-called hardware "containers" that, analogous to containerized shipping, make software impervious to attacks and prevent malicious software from affecting anything outside their containers.

Prof. Simha also lets students brainwash him into going along with their exotic interests.  For instance, one student is working on software tools that "read and understand software," a problem known as program comprehension.

The second hat is the new "science of complex sytems."  For years, Prof. Simha has been enviously watching the growth of this field from afar, wondering when, if ever, he would take the plunge.  Luckily, a collaboration with GW physicist Chen Zeng and others recently bore fruit and has led to an exciting interdisciplinary project on understanding biological complexity.  This project seeks answers to questions like: can biological circuits be analyzed to explain their contribution to complex behavior, and just how did these circuits come together in the first place?

The third and possibly largest, ill-fitting hat is "undergraduate education."  In addition to supervising undergraduates in research, Prof. Simha has been involved in several efforts related to undergraduate education at GW.  One example is the two-year old Scholars in Quantitative and Natural Sciences (SQNS) program, an interdisciplinary program for undergraduates that combines biology, physics and computer science with a capstone research experience.  Initiatives like these, including similar interdisciplinary programs in SEAS, help Prof. Simha stay out of trouble.

Prof. Simha would love for students, not just those in his courses or his advisees, to drop by at random during office hours and chat.

Outside of work, with pitifully little time for practice, Prof. Simha nonetheless nurtures an on-going passion for jazz, playing bass in a quartet that is working up the courage to play their first gig, possibly in some obscure cafe far away from here.  Prof. Simha lives in Springfield, Virginia, with his wife, two kids, and a grossly over-committed schedule. (Contributed by Prof. Rahul Simha of the Department of Computer Science)

Upcoming Events


MAE Seminar: “Turbulence by Design”
Speaker: Arindam Banerjee, Missouri University of Science & Technology
Monday, April 12th at 1:30 pm
736 Phillips Hall

CS Colloquium: “Macro-Micro Scale Interactions Associated with Motility and Nutrient Absorption in the Small Intestine analyzed with Lattice-Boltzmann Models”
Speaker: James G. Brasseur, Pennsylvania State University
Tuesday, April 13th, 1:00 - 2:00 pm
640 Phillips Hall

CS Colloquium: “Models of Motivation”
Speaker: Glenn Becker, Unisys Corporation
Wednesday, April 14th at 6:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

CS and CSPRI Colloquium: “Cyberattack as an Instrument of U.S. Policy”
Speaker: Herbert Lin, Chief Scientist, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Academy of Sciences
Thursday, April 15th at 11:00 am
640 Phillips Hall

MAE Seminar: “Understanding the Hemodynamic Response to Vena Cava Filters”
Speaker: Michael Singer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Thursday, April 15th at 1:30 pm
736 Phillips Hall

CS Colloquium: “Mid the Gap: STEM Women in Career Breaks”
Speaker: Prof. Rachelle Heller, SEAS/CS
Monday, April 19th at 4:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

ECE Colloquium: “Biomagnetics: An Interdisciplinary Field Where Magnetics, Biology, and Medicine Overlap”
Speaker: Dr. Shoogo Ueno, University of Tokyo/Kyushu University
Thursday, April 22nd, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
640 Phillips Hall

SEAS Seminar Series on Entrepreneurship:

Please join SEAS for the remaining two seminars of the four-part Seminar Series on Entrepreneurship. These events are free and open to the SEAS and GW community. To register, please visit alumni.gwu.edu/calendar.

Product vs. Service Entrepreneurs
GW Summit on Entrepreneurship
Thursday, April 15th 
10:30 – 11:30 am: Panel Discussion
Duques Hall, Room 652

Sponsored by the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Engineer Alumni Association.

SEAS Seminar Series in Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century:

SEAS continues the seminar series it initiated last semester with more discussions on engineering challenges facing us:

Systems Architecting: Taking a System from Concept to Reality
April 20th 
6:30: Reception; 7:00: Presentation
101 Marvin Center

Sex, Lies and Videoclips: The Perils of Life Online
Prof. Dianne Martin
May 4th 
6:30: Reception; 7:00: Presentation
309 Marvin Center