August 14-27, 2017


August 14, 2017

Faculty News

Awards & Honors:

Prof. Howie Huang (ECE) and his Ph.D. students Yang Hu, Pradeep Kumar, and Ahsen Uppal won two awards—a finalist and an honorable mention—at the inaugural DARPA Graph Challenge. The Challenge seeks novel solutions for understanding the relationships in large-scale graph data sets such as social networks, sensors, and scientific experiments. This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Raytheon.

Research & Grants:

Profs. Tian Lan and Guru Venkataramani (ECE) have received a four-year, $1.47m grant from the Office of Naval Research for their project, “DIALECT: Communication Protocols Customization via Feature DIAgnosis, Lacing, Elimination, Cross-grafting, and Trimming.” The project will investigate how to individualize security in cyber systems by customizing their protocols. In contrast to the currently adopted “protocol standards,” this first-of-a-kind approach is motivated by the fact that unnecessary code/layer often introduced by standards may eventually be used as backdoors for security exploits, while protocol customization enables feature de-bloat and can significantly eliminate the risks associated with monoculture cyber systems. The project will also explore “tech push” opportunities in collaboration with naval labs.

Prof. Ekundayo Shittu (EMSE) has been awarded a one-year, $120,000, Toyota Mobility Foundation grant for his project, “Developing an Architecture for a Replicable Mobility System.” Accompanying the UN’s projected growth of global population by 83 million people annually are problems with urban mobility systems, such as limited accessibility and affordability, congestion, and environmental issues. The policies to curb these problems are increasingly becoming perverse. This project will explore the boundaries of replication by developing an integrated system of systems architecture for the transfer of sustainable mobility platforms from “smart cities” with successful implementation strategies to target cities.

Profs. Volker Sorger and Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) are the principal investigator and co-principal investigator, respectively, on a three-year, $1.33m grant funded jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) under the highly competitive and prestigious Energy-Efficient Computing: from Devices to Architectures (E2CDA) program. The project is titled “Collaborative Research: Nanophotonic Neuromorphic Computing.” Profs. Sorger and El-Ghazawi are collaborating on the grant with Prof. Pruncal (Princeton University); the GW portion of the grant is $830,000. The E2CDA program addresses the problem that future performance improvements across the board are now severely limited by the amount of energy it takes to manipulate, store, and transport data. Under this innovative and interdisciplinary project, the PIs will develop future nano-photonic neuromorphic processors, inspired by the brain. This project is a part of a longer range vision and direction by Profs. El-Ghazawi and Sorger to achieve orders of magnitude improvements over today’s computing technologies through nano-photonic-enabled computing (NEC), using innovative principles for processing and architectures that depart from the traditional von Neumann digital computer systems and their limitations.

Media Mentions:

U.S. News & World Report mentioned GW’s CyberCorps Program in the July 31 article “Research to Find Law School Concentrations, Scholarships.’’

WTRF-CBS 7 (Wheeling, WV) spoke to Dr. Rachael Jonassen (EMSE, part-time faculty) on August 7 about the future of coal in West Virginia. (video)

Hindustan Times mentioned Prof. Suresh Subramaniam (ECE) in the August 10 article “ISRO, NOAA to develop high speed data link for meteorological data exchange.’’


Elsevier Academic Press has published Federal Data Science, a new book by Dr. Feras Batarseh (CS, adjunct faculty). The book serves as a guide for federal software engineers, government analysts, economists, researchers, data scientists, and engineering managers in deploying data analytics methods to governmental processes. It provides multiple use-cases, describes federal data science benefits, and fills the gap in this critical and timely area.

Prof. Amir Etemadi (ECE) and his doctoral student Zhehan Yi have recently published two journal articles: 1) Z. Yi, W. Dong, and A. H. Etemadi. “A Unified Control and Power Management Scheme for PV-Battery-Based Hybrid Microgrids for Both Grid-Connected and Islanded Modes,” IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol. PP, no. 99, pp.1-1; and 2) Z. Yi and A. Etemadi. “Line-to-Line Fault Detection for Photovoltaic Arrays Based on Multi-resolution Signal Decomposition and Two-stage Support Vector Machine,” IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. PP, no. 99, pp.1-1

Prof. Danmeng Shuai (CEE) and his doctoral students Qinmin Zheng and Hongchen Shen have published the following article: Q. Zheng, H. Shen, and D. Shuai. “Advances and Challenges of Graphitic Carbon Nitride as a Visible-Light-Responsive Photocatalyst for Sustainable Water Purification,” Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology. Separately, Prof. Shuai published an article with his doctoral student Tao Ye: Y. Tao, D. P. Durkin, N. A. Banek, M. J. Wagner, and D. Shuai. “Graphitic Carbon Nitride Supported Ultrafine Pd and Pd-Cu Catalysts: Enhanced Reactivity, Selectivity, and Longevity for Nitrite and Nitrate Hydrogenation,” Applied Materials and Interfaces. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b09192

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Lorena Barba (MAE) will be a keynote speaker at the O’Reilly/NumFOCUS conference JupyterCon, to be held August 22-25 in New York City. Her keynote is titled “Design for Reproducibility.”

A paper co-authored by Prof. David Broniatowski (EMSE) and his student, Michael Smith, was presented August 3 at the NLP+CSS workshop at the ACL conference in Vancouver, Canada. The paper is: Z. Wood-Doughty, M. Smith, D. Broniatowski, and M. Dredze. (2017). “How Does Twitter User Behavior Vary Across Demographic Groups?” Proceedings of the Second Workshop on NLP and Computational Social Science, pp. 83–89. The paper was presented by Zach Wood-Doughty (Johns Hopkins University).

On August 3, Prof. Michael Keidar (MAE) gave an invited talk titled “Mechanisms of Plasma Cancer Therapy” at the 23rd International Symposium on Plasma Chemistry. The symposium was held in Montréal, Canada.

Prof. James Lee (MAE), his students Kerlin Robert and Mohammed Alqahtani, and his former student Dr. Jiaoyan Li presented the following talks at the 54th Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science (SES), held July 25-28 at Northeastern University, Boston, MA: 1) K. P. Robert, J. Li, and J. D. Lee. “Modeling and Simulation of Tumor Growth;” 2) K. P. Robert, J. Li, and J. D. Lee. “Simulation of 4D Printing using Finite Element Analysis;” and 3) M. Alqahtahi, K. P. Robert, and J. D. Lee. “Nonlocal Theory and its Application to Fracture Mechanics.”

Prof. Suresh Subramaniam (ECE) has made two invited presentations recently: 1) “Optics in Data Center Networks,” delivered June 26 at the OSA Advanced Photonics Congress in New Orleans, LA; and 2) M. Xu, S. Alamro, T. Lan, and S. Subramaniam. “LASER: A deep learning approach for speculative execution and replication of deadline-critical jobs in cloud,” presented at the International Conference on Computer Communication Networks (ICCCN), held July 31 to August 2 in Vancouver, Canada. On August 10, Prof. Subramaniam also was a keynote speaker at the 2nd International Conference on Telecommunications and Networks (TELNET), held at Amity University (Noida, India). His presentation was titled “Multi-Granular Optical Networks.”

Other News:

MAE doctoral student Natalia Clementi and Prof. Lorena Barba (MAE) recently taught a three-hour tutorial for high-school students for the Caminos Al Futuro program of the GW Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. The hands-on tutorial, titled “Data Science for a Better World,” guided the students through the basics of using Python with data. The students, who had never written code before, learned to use a Jupyter notebook to: manipulate data in the form of arrays, visualize the data with line plots, and analyze it with linear regression. The context applications were the decreasing size of households in the U.S. (leading to more energy consumption per capita), and the increasing earth temperature over time.

Prof. Igor Efimov (BME) has been invited to be a speaker at the 2017 DC, MD, VA Chapter of the American Physiological Society Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held October 23 here in the SEH.

Prof. Russell Hemley (CEE) helped to run the JASON summer study in La Jolla, CA from June 12 through August 4. JASON is an independent group of academic scientists and engineers that has been advising the U.S. government on important scientific and other technical matters for the past 58 years. Prof. Hemley also was re-elected for a second three-year term as chair of the organization.

Prof. Volker Sorger (ECE) has been selected as the editor-in-chief for the journal Nanophotonics. The journal has an impact factor of 5.7.

Student News

Janiele Custodio has published the following paper: R. C. Garcia, V. González, J. Contreras, and J. E. Custodio (2017). “Applying modern portfolio theory for a dynamic energy portfolio allocation in electricity markets,” Electric Power Systems Research, 150, 11-23. Janiele is a second-year doctoral student advised by Prof. Shittu (EMSE).

MAE undergraduate Thomas Susi has produced a video synthesizing the experience of the SEAS Rocket Team in this summer’s Inaugural Spaceport America Cup competition.

Other News

Support SEAS as it supports female entrepreneurs: Vote for the SEAS project in the Beacon Grant Program Poll

SEAS is launching a project to help female entrepreneurs learn hard and soft business skills, test their ideas, and meet potential teammates. Help support our grant proposal by voting for the project in the Beacon Grant Program Poll. You may submit one vote per day (scroll down to find the GW entry). Vote today: polls close August 30.

The August 1 New York Times article “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi: What You Need to Know About Pakistan’s New Prime Minister’’ covers the election of SEAS alumnus Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister of Pakistan. Mr. Abassi was elected to the position by the country’s parliament.

SEAS Events

Flipped Learning in the Quantitative Classroom
Wednesday, August 23
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Gelman Library, Faculty Lounge
Register (free)
The Teaching & Learning Center will host Robert Talbert, associate professor of mathematics at Grand Valley State University, and author of the new book Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty for a 30-minute talk followed by a workshop. Space is limited and tickets are going fast! See more details on the Eventbrite registration page.

Entrepreneurship Events

Introduction to I-Corps Course
Start date: Monday, August 14
Program details
This program will help determine the business model and commercialization path for anyone working on an innovative idea or project, and it will open up significant non-dilutive funding opportunities. GW recently received an NSF I-Corps Site Award, which allows the university to fund participating teams up to $3,000 in this I-Corps course. The site grants, which are available only to GW students and faculty, are useful even for those who have participated in GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs before. The $3,000 grant will support more extensive and ambitious customer discovery and can further validate the business model. Non-GW students and faculty are welcome to apply to the program without the funding.

Now Accepting Applications to the Fall FedTech Cohort
Entrepreneurs: Apply Here
Lab partners and Mentors: Apply Here
We will be running our fall cohort in Washington, DC from mid-September to late November and are now recruiting entrepreneurs, lab partners, and mentors. FedTech is open to participants from across the country. In-person attendance in D.C. is required only for the opening and closing sessions.