News Highlights

The latest updates and briefs from the Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering.


    NASA Honors Ph.D. Graduate Harold Haldren

    June 26, 2020

    NASA honored Ph.D. graduate Harold Haldren (ECE ’20) and his adviser Mool Gupta, Langley Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia, who earned second place in the 2020 H.J.E. Reid award competition. The Reid award is the highest recognition for a scientific research publication authored by those who support space mission projects at the NASA Langley Research Center. Daniel Perey, William Yost and Elliott Cramer, who lead research projects and programs for NASA Langley’s Nondestructive Evaluation Services Branch, join Haldren and Gupta as co-authors. The team’s paper, “Swept-Frequency Ultrasonic Phase Evaluation of Adhesive Bonding in Tri-layer Structures,” was published in the May 2019 issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

    The team developed a novel way to find weaknesses in the adhesives that hold together parts of aerospace vehicles. Their proof-of-concept relies on short pulses of ultrasonic waves directed at the joint. If the bond is strong, the sound wave bounces back quickly and cleanly; a weak or porous bond will soak up the wave, causing delay and distortion in the return signal. In contrast to current methods that simply detect good or bad bonds, the team’s method assesses strength at each nanolayer of the adhesive and the composite materials that form the joint. Haldren conducted the research for his dissertation while serving as a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. Following graduation, Haldren accepted a position at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he conducts research in radio communications for national defense.


    Research Team Wins NSF Grant to Meet Need for Large Data Capacity in Future Wireless Communication Systems

    June 26, 2020

    A research team in UVA’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has won a four-year, $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to address the need for large data capacity in future wireless communication systems. Associate Professor Andreas Beling and Assistant Professors Xu Yi and Steven Bowers are combining their expertise in integrated photonics, nonlinear optics and wideband integrated antennas to enable a platform that promises extremely fast data and video downloads for a large number of smartphone users in urban environments. They envision a chip-sized system that can provide a vast array of wireless channels in the millimeter-wave spectrum with over one tera-bit-per-second data capacity.


    Cong Shen Earns Grant to Autonomously Configure 5G and Beyond Wireless Networks Using Machine Learning

    June 26, 2020

    Cong Shen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia, and Jing Yang, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Penn State, have earned a $550,000 three-year grant to pursue machine learning for wireless networking systems.The National Science Foundation and Intel have partnered to fund the multi-university research program to accelerate fundamental, broad-based research on wireless-specific machine learning techniques applied to new wireless system and architecture design. Intel announced the grant award winners on June 25. Shen and Yang combine reinforcement learning algorithms with domain knowledge to help network managers reliably meet user demands for virtual reality and high-resolution video applications, embedded and wearable tech and large-scale infrastructure for smart homes and autonomous cars. Read More.


    New Bulk Data Transfer Method Achieves High Performance with Less Complexity

    June 24, 2020

    A team of computer engineers and computer scientists at Fuzhou University in China, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Virginia have developed a new store-and-forward scheduling method that meets massive bulk data transfer demands across the networks that connect data centers around the world. The team earned a best paper award for this research presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 2020 International Conference on High Performance Switching and Routing. Read More.


    Joe C. Campbell’s Photodetector Supports Next-Generation Optical Clocks for Navigation, Astronomy and Physics Experiments

    June 23, 2020

    Joe C. Campbell, Lucien Carr III Professor of electrical and computer engineering, developed the photodiode for a research effort led by NIST with the University of Colorado-Boulder. The team discovered how to convert high-performance signals from optical clocks into a microwave signal that can more easily find practical use in modern electronic systems. The opto-electrical converter allows communications systems to maintain stable and accurate microwave signals over long distances. Their research is published in the May 22, 2020 issue of Science.


    UVA Engineering Team Among Eight Finalists in NASA's BIG Challenge

    June 13, 2020

    NASA has selected UVA Engineering to develop and demonstrate a laser technology that will power exploration on the dark side of the Moon, one of eight universities awarded  funding through NASA's Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge to benefit the Artemis program. An undergraduate team led by UVA Langley Distinguished Professor Mool C. Gupta will build a prototype called Beaming of Sun Light Energy via Laser for Lunar Exploration. BELLE will make it possible to energize systems operating in the darkness without those systems having to leave the crater or carry their own power sources.  READ MORE.


    Hutchinson Applies Electrical Engineering Skills to Make Robotic Surgery More Intuitive

    June 13, 2020

    Ph.D. student Kay Hutchinson has designed an autonomous closed-loop camera arm system for robotic surgery. The robotic arm can detect and autonomously respond to objects in the surgical field. Hutchinson and her advisor Homa Alemzadeh will present the design at the International Symposium on Medical Robotics in November. READ MORE.


    ACS Journal of Infectious Diseases Publishes Research on Rapid Screening for C. diff Infection

    June 13, 2020

    John Moore, a Ph.D. student of electrical engineering and 2019 UVA Global Infectious Diseases Institute Fellow, collaborated with researchers in electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering and UVA’s School of Medicine to stem C. diff infection, the primary cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and colitis. Their rapid screening method assesses how well probiotic combinations may restore the gut’s microbiome following an antibiotic regimen. READ MORE.


    Nature and Nature Nanotechnology Publish Papers by Kyusang Lee

    June 13, 2020

    Kyusang Lee has extended his seminal research in epitaxy—the growth of a crystalline material on a substrate—to semiconductors used in electronic and photonic devices. Lee’s process to fabricate free-standing semiconductor film achieves a dramatic improvement in the quality of the material platform and enhances the functional properties and affordability of next-generation devices. READ MORE


    Nature Photonics Publishes UVA and UT-Austin Design for Avalanche Photodiode 

    June 13, 2020

    Joe C. Campbell, Lucien Carr III Professor of electrical and computer engineering at UVA, and Seth R. Bank, Cullen Trust Professor at UT-Austin, developed an avalanche photodiode that achieved record performance, with potential to transform next-gen night-vision imaging and LiDAR receivers. READ MORE.