Fall 2016 Electrical and Computer Engineering Newsletter
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
I am very excited to serve as the new Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Idaho. I feel lucky to have the chance to work with such a strong faculty and a great staff. While I know the ECE department is very strong in providing cutting-edge research and high quality teaching, I believe there are still many opportunities where the department can move to the next level of excellence and I am ready to help lead the way.
Let me first introduce myself, I received my bachelor's (with distinction) and master's degrees in electrical engineering, and my master's and doctoral degrees in computer engineering from Syracuse University. Previously, I served as the associate vice president of Graduate Studies at Qatar University, the chair of the Computer Science Department at Western Michigan University, and the chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of West Florida. I also served in academic positions at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Colorado-Boulder, Syracuse University, and Kuwait University. My research interests include wireless communications and mobile computing, computer networks, mobile cloud computing, security, and smart grid. I serve on the editorial boards of several international technical journals and I am the founder and the editor-in-chief of Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing journal (Wiley). I have authored nine books and more than 400 publications in refereed journals and conferences. I have been a guest editor on a number of special issues in IEEE journals and magazines. I also served as a member, chair, and the general chair of a number of international conferences. I received the best research award from three institutions and the best teaching award from two institutions. I served as the chair of the IEEE Communications Society Wireless Technical Committee and the Chair of the TAOS Technical Committee. I also served as the IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Speaker from 2003 to 2005.
I prioritize a work environment that is conducive to productivity. I encourage creativity, individuality, and stress the importance of open, honest communication with my colleagues. I plan to advance the overall goals and objectives of the ECE department. I have experience in developing and managing academic programs, budgets, raising funds to support undergraduate and graduate students, program accreditation and familiarity with trends in emerging interdisciplinary areas of engineering research and development. As a faculty member and a department chair in the past, I have attracted many students to STEM by arranging visits to high schools, organizing summer camps and offering workshops on engaging topics. So, I find this opportunity as ECE chair inspiring and challenging and I am eager to lead the way.
Perhaps one of the strongest contributions that I bring to the ECE department table is my extensive research and publication record and my commitment to the inherent value of research in the improvement of society. I am a fellow of the IEEE (with an h-index of 37) and have attracted more than eight million dollars in research funding throughout my career. I have supervised/co-supervised more than eighteen doctoral and thirty-four master's students, and I have been awarded the Faculty Research Award multiple times from different institutions. I know how to bring faculty together on multidisciplinary research projects that can have high impact and enhance the culture of “thinking outside the box.”
During my first year as a chair, we have seen many successes. I have made it a priority to support the ECE faculty to keep winning research funding which has increased this year. I have traveled to China with Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering to visit with first and second year students at Wenzheng College of Soochow University who are enrolled in our electrical engineering 3+1 exchange program. With the support of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories we inaugurated the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Endowed Chair in Power Engineering held by professor Brian Johnson. We have made important department hires at the faculty and staff level (see below). And we held two important meetings with our Industrial Advisory Board — one last fall and the other in spring.
For next year, we plan to hire at least three more faculty members. We will work on our Strategic Plan and fine-tune our departmental mission and vision. I will also keep supporting our faculty to increase research funding, work on increasing the enrollment, especially in the Computer Engineering program and plan to increase the overall number of doctoral students in the program.
Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
WENZHENG COLLEGE OF SOOCHOW UNIVERSITY ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING EXCHANGE PROGRAM
In 2013, the U of I College of Engineering and Wenzheng College of Soochow University in Suzchou, China established a joint 3+1 electrical engineering exchange program. A proposal was designed by Dean Larry Stauffer, electrical and computer engineering faculty and administrators at WSCU to establish a joint program between the two universities. The program was approved by the Chinese Government in the same year.
The program officially started in 2014. The inaugural U of I-WCSU class enrolled 77 students. The program is designed to have WCSU students spend their first three years studying U of I curriculum at WCSU and the fourth year at U of I. One distinct aspect of the program is that U of I-WCSU students use the same curriculum and text books as students at U of I and all classes are taught in English by international professors approved by U of I, making the credit transfer process seamless.
In addition, U of I plans to send faculty to WCSU to teach classes and encourage U of I students to study at WCSU. Students successfully completing the program will be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from U of I and WCSU. Though designed as a 3+1 program, selected students may be able to transfer to the U of I after two years at WCSU. There is also the anticipation that many WCSU undergraduates will continue to earn a graduate degree at U of I. Learn more about the 3+1 electrical engineering exchange program.
NEW FACULTY AND STAFF HIRES
This fall we welcome three news assistant professors to the department, Zouheir Rezki (Communications/Control and Security), Sameh Sorour (Computer Engineering), and Yacine Chakhchoukh (Power and Security). We are also happy to announce that Vishal Saxena has joined us as the new Micron Endowed Professor in Microelectronics. We have a new temporary lecturer Mohamed Ahmed Salem, who is teaching classes on electrical circuits and antenna principles and design, and we also have new staff: Molly Jones is our new department manager and Stephanie Bunney is our new administrative coordinator.
BRIAN JOHNSON NAMED FIRST SCHWEITZER ENGINEERING LABORATORIES ENDOWED CHAIR IN POWER ENGINEERING
Professor Brian Johnson was named the first Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Chair in Power Engineering with the University of Idaho College of Engineering. The position was made possible by a $2 million gift from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL). The Pullman-based international electrical power systems company announced its support of the U of I endowed chair early last fall.
An endowed chair is a distinguished university professorship that is used to attract a preeminent scholar in a specific academic field, in this case power engineering. The enhanced financial support and prestige generated by the endowment will dramatically fuel future innovation in electric power research and teaching. Learn more about the first Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Chair in Power Engineering.
EXCELLENCE IN POWER ENGINEERING
Professor Herbert Hess is the first recipient of the College of Engineering Excellence in Power Engineering award. A graduate of West Point Academy Hess has served as a professor of Electrical Engineering at U of I since 1993. Hess teaches power and electronics. His research focuses on electronic conversion of power, great and small. His work impacts a wide-range of state and regional advanced technologies including forest products, mining, agriculture, semiconductors, transportation, batteries and energy storage, electrical transmission and distribution, and renewable energy.
HIGH ALTITUDE LEARNING
Research Involving Student Engineers and Educators (RISE) is a multidisciplinary, student run, high altitude ballooning project. The project provides hands-on engineering experience and serves as a test bed for experimental NASA hardware. To date, RISE has flown over twenty times reaching altitudes in excess of 100,000 ft.
Notable projects this year include an experimental parafoil inflation mechanism from NASA Ames Research Center, a student designed HAM radio telemetry system, a student designed Iridium Short Burst Data telemetry system, a student designed capsule guidance system, and — as always — taking beautiful pictures.
The most recent flight, which took place on April 16, successfully demonstrated both the HAM and Iridium telemetry systems and gathered valuable information for the capsule guidance project which attempts to steer the descending capsule by tugging on the parachute. During our previous flight in the fall we successfully demonstrated the parafoil inflation mechanism which uses thin Mylar bladders that inflate in low pressure to force the parafoil into the correct shape. This is important for future International Space Station deployed cube satellites that don't have enough atmosphere to properly inflate experimental drag bodies. .
U OF I INTERNATIONAL MICROELECTRONICS ASSEMBLY AND PACKAGING SOCIETY (U OF I-IMAPS)
The International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society have a mission to lead the microelectronics packaging, interconnect and assembly community, providing means of communicating, educating and interacting at all levels. U of I-IMAPS chapter is led by Chi-Han Wang (president), Zafar Sadeque (vice president), Yashashree Wase (secretary), Huy Hung Tran (treasurer) and advised by ECE professor Suat Ay. New officer elections were held on April 21, 2016. New elected officers are Malvika Khurana (president), Jeffrey Craig (vice president), Hector Cruz (secretary) and Mitchell Petterson (treasurer).
The U of I-IMAPS chapter raised a total of $1,300 from the Engineering Student Advisory Council (ESAC) in fall and spring 2016 semesters for planned workshops and other activities. A portion of the funds were used to acquire the award-winning film series Silicon RunTM for on campus training activities about microelectronics and integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing. Two workshops were organized by the chapter debuting two of the Silicon RunTM films. The first workshop took place on March 24, 2016 in Janssen Engineering Building John C. Wahl thinkTANK showing, "NANOTECHNOLOGY: The World Beyond Micro" film which is about explorations of the world of nano dimensions and a growing number of engineered nanomaterials. After the movie, professor Suat Ay discussed the current state-of-the-art nanometer IC manufacturing technologies and answered some questions of the attendees. The second workshop took place in on April 7, 2016 showing, "MEMS: Making Micro Machines" which is an overview of the manufacture and design of microelectromechanical systems.
U of I-IMAPS chapter also organized a Clean Room Tour May 5, 2016. The clean room facility located in the Gauss-Johnson Laboratory building was toured during this activity. Students learned about clean room protocols and equipment available for microelectronics packaging, manufacturing and research at U of I.
Other activities of the chapter involved in recruitment meetings and an IMAPS information session presented by student president Chi-Han Wang in ECE 292 and the ECE Sophomore Seminar class. Eight new student members joined after these events. Future guest speaker series and workshops are planned for the future. Due to funding restrictions, U of I-IMAPS members could attend the annual IMAPS International Symposium on Microelectronics typically held in Pasadena, Calif. this October. U of I-IMAPS members typically attend this conference, present student research papers, expand their professional networks and compete on different student paper categories.
U OF I-IMAPS FAST FACTS
The International Microelectronics And Packaging Society (IMAPS) is the largest society dedicated to the advancement and growth of the use of microelectronics and electronic packaging through professional and public education, the dissemination of information (by symposia, conferences, workshops, and other efforts), and the promotion of the Society’s portfolio of technologies.
- U of I-IMAPS is a College of Engineering student organization
- Faculty Advisor: Professor Suat Ay of ECE ([email protected])
- Who can join? Undergraduate and Graduate students from Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Materials Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physics, or Chemistry.
- Time commitment: One hour every other week
- How do students join? Online at
- How much does it cost? $5 membership fee annually for students
ECE STUDENT RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS OUTSTANDING GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD
Abu Md. Zafar Sadeque, a recent ECE master’s graduate received the prestigious University of Idaho, Graduate and Professional Student Association’s (U of I-GPSA) Outstanding Graduate Student Award for academic year 2015-16. He was among the three students who received this award in master's student category this year. U of I-GPSA selected the award winners based on their cumulative grade point average (CGPA), paper/poster presentation, awards and honors, leadership activities, professional association membership, work experiences, and other volunteering and community activities.
Sadeque is originally from Bangladesh successfully defended his master's thesis on the topic of Overlapping Soft Comparators for High-Speed and Accurate ADCs. He worked under the supervision of professor Saied Hemati doing research in the area of low-power and high-speed analog/mixed signal circuit for sensor and communication applications. Sadeque authored one journal article and two conference papers. He also has five research poster presentations in various conferences. He earned second position at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Regional Conference Technical Research Exhibition (TRE) poster present competition and received the NSBE Apex (Academic Pyramid of Excellence) Honors Award.
Sadeque is a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SSCS), International Microelectronics and Packaging Society (IMAPS), American Physical Society (APS), International Thermoelectric Society (ITS), and NSBE.
He served as vice-president of U of I-IMAPS, an ECE graduate ambassador, a U of I international student ambassador of Bangladesh, team leader for Bangladesh for the U of I International Cultural Program, a project judge and volunteer for the K-12 Invent Idaho Project Competition, a volunteer for the Engineering Outreach program and the U of I Sustainability program.
Sadeque has over five years professional experience. He worked as a services engineer in radio access network design and optimization at Ericsson. He is an Ericsson Global Certified Network Engineer. He also worked as research assistant with Nanoscale and Quantum Electronic and Optoelectronic Device Modeling and Simulation group at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Ill. and as and pixel design and characterization engineer intern at ON Semiconductor. Sadeque graduated this past spring and is now a product engineer at ON Semiconductor in their Image Sensor Division in Meridian, Idaho.
RECENT UNDERGRADUATE OUTSTANDING SENIOR AWARDS
Three of our undergraduate students also received Outstanding Senior Awards from the College of Engineering. Daniel Schmalz and William Parker in electrical engineering and Tim Slippy in computer engineering pictured above with Larry Stauffer, Dean of the College of Engineering.
Daniel Schmalz is from Boise, Idaho. In high school, he discovered his affinity for math and science. Some of Schmalz’s favorite college experiences include his internship position at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories as well as his attendance at the ISSCC conference with other U of I faculty and students. Most recently, he has been applying his knowledge to work on problems in medical imaging. Schmalz is pursuing a doctorate at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
William Parker grew up in the small town of Palouse, Wash. He chose to study electrical engineering because of his interest in using renewable energy to generate clean power for people in the developing world. While pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis on power systems, Parker has been actively pursuing his interests in humanitarian applications for engineering serving as president for Humanitarian Engineering Corps (formerly Engineers Without Borders) working on a water supply project for the village of Carani, Bolivia. When not studying or working at his internship at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Parker enjoys backpacking, fly fishing and gardening. Opportunities to teach as a lab instructor and tutor have allowed Parker to develop a passion for teaching, and he hopes to create a career teaching and researching the challenges of integrating distributed, renewable energy generation into the power grid. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Idaho.
Tim Slippy grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho, the son of a Vandal engineer. Since he was 12, he knew he wanted go to attend U of I College of Engineering. He will graduate May 2016 with a bachelor's in computer engineering. Slippy has been a member of the University Honors Program throughout his college career and enjoyed the company of fellow academically-oriented friends. During his sophomore spring semester, Slippy enjoyed the experience of being a TA for an ECE lab section. For his junior spring semester, Slippy was the resident assistant for Willey second floor in Wallace. He completed an internship with Garmin in Kansas City after his junior year. After graduation he decided to take a full-time position with Garmin AT in Salem, Ore.
ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING AMBASSADORS
The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ambassador program has been dedicated to outreach to elementary, middle and high schools to educate students about the potential that any student can obtain through Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Idaho. The ambassadors travel to schools in Idaho and Washington, bringing with them demonstrations, experience and the enthusiasm young students need to become excited about electrical engineering. During the academic 2015-2016 school year, the ECE Ambassador program has visited dozens of schools, reaching out to upwards of one thousand students in the Northwest, doubling the outreach efforts of last year. The program hopes to continue with its goal and spread even more knowledge about the budding possibilities offered here at the University of Idaho for years to come!
ONLINE DEGREES NAMED MOST AFFORDABLE IN NATION
We are happy to announce that two of our have been recently named among the most affordable in the nation for 2016. The rankings come from OnlineU, a site that publishes annual rankings of the most affordable online degrees in the country across 24 popular subjects. Every degree is from an accredited school. Our , and .