October 24-30, 2011

Newsletter

October 24, 2011

Faculty News

Awards & Honors:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) and his doctoral student William Rone were awarded the Best Paper Award for their paper "MEMS-Based Microdroplet Generation with Integrated Sensing," which was published and presented at the 2011 COMSOL Conference held in Boston, MA, October 13-15.  Their paper was selected from among 160 accepted peer-reviewed papers presented at the conference, including papers from Stanford, Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue, University of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia Tech and more.

Books & Papers:

Profs. Tom Mazzuchi and Shahram Sarkani (EMSE) published the following article with their doctoral student, Nazanin Azizian: N. Azizian, T. A. Mazzuchi, S. Sarkani, and D. F. Rico. "A framework for evaluating technology readiness, system quality, and program performance of U.S. DoD acquisitions," Systems Engineering, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2011, pp. 410-426.

Conferences & Presentations:

As a part of his sabbatical, and through the end of November 2011, Prof. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) is serving as a Senior Fulbright Scholar under the Middle East and North Africa Program for a variety of lecture and collaboration activities.  Most recently, he delivered a keynote address titled "Advances in Supercomputing" at the International Workshop on Information Technologies and Communication, held in Casablanca, Morocco, October 13-15.  

Prof. Chunlei Liang (MAE) gave a seminar titled "High-order Spectral Difference Solution of Unsteady Compressible Micropolar Equations on Moving and Deformable Grids" for the NIST Applied and Computational Mathematics Division (ACMD) Seminar Series on October 18.  The seminar covered joint research with Dr. James Chen, Indiana University at Fort Wayne, and Prof. James Lee (MAE).

Prof. Julie Ryan (EMSE chair) gave a lecture to GW parents on October 14, as part of the Parents' Weekend "Classes from GW's Best."  Her lecture, titled "Secrets and Spice," provided a brief overview of cryptography, explaining how it has been used through the ages as a way to conceal secrets and to conduct covert activity, but also how it is the enabling technology for e-commerce.  This class featured an in-class exercise and homework for the parents to accomplish in their free time.  Prof. Ryan also gave a workshop in cryptography to high school girls as part of the Infinite Options programs at the College of Southern Maryland on October 15. The Infinite Options program is an NSF-funded activity designed to expose girls to math and science career options. 

Prof. Zoe Szajnfarber (EMSE) recently attended the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held October 3-7 in Cape Town, South Africa. There she presented a paper titled "Patterns of Innovation at NASA: Explaining Switchbacks in Maturity." Her co-author on the paper is Prof. Annalisa Weigel from MIT. The paper was nominated for inclusion in the IAC Cape Town special issue of Acta Astronautica.

On October 14, Prof. Zoe Szajnfarber (EMSE) gave an invited lecture at the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands, hosted by Dr. Leopold Summerer, who heads the ESA Advanced Concepts Team. The talk was also broadcast to senior members of the Technology Strategy Division and Policy Directorate at headquarters in Paris. The title of Prof. Szajnfarber's talk was "Patterns of Innovation in Government Organizations: Insights from NASA."

Other News:

Advanced Micro Devices has provided GW’s High-performance Computing Laboratory (HPCL) with a $50,000 unrestricted cash gift to support Prof. Tarek El-Ghazawi's (ECE) research work on virtualization and PGAS programming models for graphical processing units.

Other News

Biomedical Engineering/Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship: The GW Institute for Biomedical Engineering is looking for undergraduate students who are interested in participating in biomedical research projects over Spring and Summer.  The deadline for application is December 1 at 5:00 pm.  Application and more information

Students who are interested in participating in the SSPI Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s 2nd Engineering Student Project Competition on Space Systems are encouraged to read the chapter’s invitation letter to find out more about the competition’s requirements and deadlines.

SEAS is a proud sponsor of the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival, a collaborative effort of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community to re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in STEM subjects. The Festival will present the most compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science gatherings in the United States through hands-on exhibits with high entertainment value and integrity of scientific content.  Pre-festival events will begin the week of April 22, 2012 and culminate with a Finale Expo on April 27-29, 2012 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and surrounding areas throughout Washington, D.C., including GW.  A schedule of pre-festival activities hosted by SEAS and by SEAS alumni across the country will be available in the coming months.  Learn more about the festival here.  Inquiries about SEAS sponsorship, participation, and volunteer opportunities should be directed to Lisa J. Jennings at lisajj@gwu.edu.

Guest Vignette

Machine learning is a cutting-edge subfield of computer science research concerned with developing algorithms to detect patterns in data. A wide range of technologies rely on machine learning algorithms, including web search (e.g. Bing, Google); recommendation systems for books, movies, and music (e.g. Amazon, Netflix, Pandora, iTunes); and personalized advertising deployed on search engines, smartphone applications, and social networks (e.g. Facebook).  Machine learning has made profound impacts on problems as varied as DNA analysis, computer vision, and natural language processing, among others, and it is poised to impact many other fields. 

As data sources continue to grow at an unprecedented rate, interesting and urgent challenges for machine learning algorithm design are emerging. The data can be vast, high-dimensional, streaming, noisy, time-varying, or it may combine these and other attributes. Motivated by such challenges, Prof. Claire Monteleoni works on designing machine learning algorithms, formally analyzing their performance and applying them in practice. 

A recent thrust of Prof. Monteleoni's research is devoted to launching the subfield of climate informatics: accelerating discovery in climate science with machine learning. The threat of climate change is one of the greatest challenges currently facing society. With an ever growing supply of climate data from satellites and sensors, machine learning is poised to make a profound impact on climate science, just as it has on other natural sciences to which it has been applied (e.g. bioinformatics).  In collaboration with climate modelers, Prof. Monteleoni recently applied a machine learning algorithm to combine the predictions of 20 global climate models, and demonstrated significant outperformance of the state-of-the art.  Her work in this area has received a Best Application Paper Award, and has been presented at an Expert Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN panel that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. 

Prof. Monteleoni recently founded the International Workshop on Climate Informatics.  This year’s inaugural event brought together experts, students, and researchers from the fields of computer science, statistics, and climate science. The response was extremely enthusiastic, with a high turnout, international attendees, press inquiries, and numerous sponsors from academia and industry.  Prof. Monteleoni is currently writing a book chapter defining and posing challenge problems for climate informatics.  (Provided courtesy of Prof. Claire Monteleoni of the Department of Computer Science)

SEAS Events

MAE Seminar: "A Kalman/Particle Filter-Based Position & Orientation Estimation Method Using a Position Sensor/Inertial Measurement Unit Hybrid System"
William Melek, University of Waterloo (Canada)
Thursday, October 27
2:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall
More info . . .

NEW DATE: "Dare to Dream"
A talk by SEAS alumna Anousheh Ansari
Thursday, October 27
3:00 pm: Refreshments; 3:30 - 4:30 pm: Talk
405 Marvin Center

Southeast Biomedical Engineering Career Conference 2011
Co-hosted by GW and the University of Virginia
Friday, October 28
Hyatt Dulles Conference Center, Herndon, VA
[ Note: A round-trip bus from GW to the conference will be provided.  Reserve a seat by contacting Shravalya Tirumala: tirumala@gwmail.gwu.edu.]

NEW DATE: SEAS Resume Critique & Networking Reception
Tuesday, November 1
6:30 - 8:00 pm
Alumni House: 1918 F Street, NW

EMSE Seminar: "Emergency Care G.P.S. a discussion on the state of emergency care in the U.S. and around the world" (This is a joint seminar among the GW Department of Emergency Medicine, the SPHHS Department of Health Policy, and EMSE.)
Wednesday, November 2
9:00 - 11:00 am
Jack Morton Auditorium
More info . . .

GW Culture Buffs at the National Air and Space Museum: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
"The Future of Manned Space Flight... What's Next?"
Saturday, November 5
11:30 am - 1:30 pm: Lunch, Speaker & Panel Discussion, and Tours
14390 Air & Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, Virginia
Note: The participants include: Dr. Charles Camarda (SEAS '80), NASA astronaut and engineer; Dr. Scott Pace, director of the GW Space Policy Institute; renowned sculptor John Safer (Columbian College '47, honorary doctorate '09), creator of two sculptures featured prominently at the Udvar-Hazy Center; Randy Graves (SEAS ’78); and Dean David Dolling.

Entrepreneurship Events

Pitch George Orientation
Tuesday, October 25
5:30 - 7:00 pm
520 Funger Hall
More info . . .

Entrepreneurial Session 3: Relationship and Team Building
Friday, October 28
12:15 - 2:00 pm
453 Duques Hall
RSVP

Entrepreneur Office Hour
Friday, October 28
3:00 - 4:00 pm
2033 K Street, NW, Suite 750
RSVP

Dissertation Defenses

Name of Student Defending: Hongjun Yu
Title of Dissertation: "Golay Code Clustering Using Double Golay Encoding Technique"
Advisor: Prof. Simon Berkovich
Tuesday, October 25
3:00 - 5:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

Name of Student Defending: Sergio de Cosmo
Title of Dissertation: "Decision Support Tool for Mass Fatality Victim Identification"
Advisor: Prof. Joe Barbera
Wednesday, October 26
1:00 pm
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120

Name of Student Defending: Deena Sara Disraelly
Title of Dissertation: "Volunteerism through Social Networks for Community-Based Preparedness and Emergency Response"
Advisor: Prof. Greg Shaw; Co-advisor: Dr. John Harrald
Thursday, October 27
9:30 am
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120

Name of Student Defending: Shutao Wang
Title of Dissertation: "Focused Ultrasound for Enhancement of Drug Delivery into Malignant Tissues"
Advisor: Prof. Vesna Zderic
Thursday, November 3
2:30 pm
736 Phillips Hall