University of California, Riverside

Bourns College of Engineering

2010 News

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Student Team Named Winner of Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition

A team of UC Riverside students has been named one of three winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Solve This international mobile game design competition, earning them an expense-paid trip to Microsoft’s campus in Seattle, Wash., in April 2011 to compete for the $8,000 grand prize. Microsoft made the announcement November 22.

Four members of the UCR student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), who adopted the name Team Inspiration, won for their design of Trash Boy, a game designed for mobile phones where players protect fish by preventing trash from entering the ocean. 

ACM Image Cup teamStudents (pictured left to right in the photo) John Sullivan, Jaleesa Conner, Vanessa Soria (computer science majors) and Charlie Thach (biological sciences/psychology major) learned about the competition from ACM faculty advisor Iulian Neamtiu, assistant professor of computer science, and Jun Wang, professional development officer in the Bourns College of Engineering, before the school year started. 

“I thought it was a great idea for our organization, because of the creativity and networking behind the activity,” said UCR’s ACM chapter president Felicia Lopez, a computer science major. “It was a little hard spreading the word about the Imagine Cup, because this was our first year participating in it and we also had a limited time to prepare.

“Our teams started working on their projects during early October and I saw each team work very hard. Team Inspiration spent many hours in the lab creating this project and prototype. It's amazing to see that even though they all had other responsibilities, they put a lot of effort and dedication to the Imagine Cup. I truly believe this was a key factor to their accomplishment in this competition.”

“The mobilization for the Imagine Cup has been phenomenal,” said Neamtiu. “I met with Sam Stokes, the Microsoft representative, at the end of summer and he offered to serve as Imagine Cup coach. I talked to ACM officers about this unique opportunity, and in a very short interval, the ACM assembled several teams that competed under Sam's coaching in the initial rounds of the Imagine Cup.”

According to team member Soria, “We were initially trying to make an RPG (role-playing game), which requires a lot of work to get going. Four days before the project was due we decided to change the game to the Trash Boy concept. We then did some high-velocity, high-octane programming. We probably spent a good 40-50 hours on the project in those four days. The mobile platform was also perfect for the game we wanted to create. Trying to flick trash into the boat with the mouse or with an Xbox controller wouldn't be nearly as intuitive as using the touch screen.”

The reason for developing a game with a focus on the environment was, according to Soria, “…because the theme of the Imagine Cup competition was ‘imagine a world where technology solved the world's toughest problems.’ It also makes us feel warm and fuzzy for making an environmentally conscious video game.”

“I think this accomplishment is a testament to the outstanding quality of our undergraduate student body and the academic support they receive,” Neamtiu added. “Their solid education, technical and organizational skills, coupled with the dedication of our faculty and support staff, has enabled them to achieve this outstanding performance and gain national-level recognition and visibility.”

ACM is the premier organization for computer scientists and computer professionals. The ACM chapter at UCR is dedicated to advancing students’ understanding of computer science and its applications, and preparing students in computing and related fields for successful careers.

Now in its ninth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to become a global competition with more than 325,000 students representing 100 countries and regions entering the competition last year. The Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals will be held in New York City July 8–13 — the first time the United States will host the final stage of the competition.

Alexander Balandin Named Fellow of OSA – The Optical Society

Alexander BalandinAlexander Balandin, professor of electrical engineering and chair of the Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E) Program at the Bourns College of Engineering (BCoE), has been named a fellow of OSA - The Optical Society (formerly The Optical Society of America). 

Balandin was elected by the society’s board of directors at its meeting Oct. 25, 2010, in Rochester, N.Y., and informed of his election in a letter from the OSA President J. C. Wyant, a professor at the University of Arizona. The board cited him for “outstanding contributions to investigation of the optical properties of semiconductor nanostructures and pioneering work on the optothermal metrology of graphene.”

Balandin is the first BCoE faculty member to be elected a fellow in OSA. He will receive his certificate and will be honored at the society’s conference in Los Angeles in March 2011. 

Balandin’s research, which led to OSA fellow election, is related to theoretical and experimental studies of optical properties of nanostructures made from the wide band-gap semiconductors such as zinc oxide and gallium nitride. These materials are used for fabrication of blue and ultraviolet light emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers. His results for the quantum dot superlattices were used for their optimization for photovoltaic solar cell applications. 

Balandin also developed a new Raman spectroscopic technique for investigation of thermal properties of graphene. This non-contact optical method was essential for measurements with graphene, which has the thickness of just one atom. His optical method allowed his research group to perform pioneering studies of heat conduction in graphene and discover its unique properties in 2008.

The Balandin group has recently built the first triple-mode graphene transistor amplifier, which has enhanced functionality compared to conventional semiconductor devices. This major breakthrough in graphene research – transition from individual graphene devices to graphene circuits – was highlighted by the MIT Technology Review, Materials Today, Physics World, PhysOrg, NanoWerk and more than 100 other technical media sources.

Balandin received his M.S. degree (summa cum laude) in applied physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia, in 1991. He received his second M.S. degree and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1995 and 1996, respectively. 

Prior to joining UCR in 1999, he worked as a research engineer in UCLA. He is a recipient of the ONR Young Investigator Award (2002) for his work on GaN transistors, NSF Faculty CAREER Award (2001) for the development of the concept of phonon engineering, UC Regents' Faculty Award, and the Merrill Lynch Award for "commercially valuable engineering research" related to the electronic applications of semiconductor quantum dots. 

In 2000, Professor Balandin organized the Nano-Device Laboratory (NDL) at the Department of Electrical Engineering at BCoE. The mission of his research group is the investigation of the properties of nanostructured and low-dimensional materials and development of novel electronic and optoelectronic devices on the basis of these materials. 

As the founding chair of UCR’s MS&E Program, Balandin led the campus effort for its approval and establishment. The interdisciplinary program, focused on materials for nanotechnology, energy and sustainability, includes 40 faculty members from eight participating departments. The inaugural class of 20 students was welcomed in 2008. The graduate MS&E program leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees was approved by the UC President Mark G. Yudof in 2009, and the first cohort of 10 Ph.D. students was accepted for fall quarter of 2010. The program will occupy the new $56-million MS&E building beginning in the spring of 2011. 

The mission of OSA is to promote the generation and application of knowledge in optics and photonics and to disseminate this knowledge worldwide. OSA was founded more than 90 years ago as The Optical Society of America and has evolved into a global enterprise serving a worldwide constituency. In recognition of its global reach and focus, since 2008 the society has been known as OSA - The Optical Society.

The purposes of the society are scientific, technical and educational. The OSA members include individuals from over 95 countries and nearly half of the society's members reside outside the United States. The fellows of the society are selected from the OSA members who distinguished themselves in research and advancement of optics field. The number of fellows elected annually is limited to 0.4% of the current membership.

Robert Haddon Selected as Winner of Richard E. Smalley Research Award

Robert HaddonRobert Haddon, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Environmental Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2010 Richard E. Smalley Research Award from the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the society for solid-state and electrochemical science and technology.

The award, sponsored by the Fullerenes, Nanotubes, and Carbon Nanostructure Division of the Society, recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding and applications of fullerenes – molecules composed entirely of carbon, in the form of hollow spheres, ellipsoids, or tubes.

The formal presentation of the award will occur at the society’s annual meeting in Montreal, Canada, on May 2, 2011. The award includes a scroll, $1,000, and travel funds to attend the annual meeting, where Haddon will give a lecture. He is cited for “pioneering contributions to the chemistry, synthesis, electronic structure, magnetism, properties, understanding and application of carbon fullerenes, nanotubes and graphene and the prediction and discovery of conductivity and superconductivity in alkali metal doped C60.” 

Haddon joined the faculty at UCR in 2000 with a joint appointment in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering and College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. He is the Director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering and in 2008 was awarded the James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials from the American Physical Society (APS).

Haddon grew up in Longford, Tasmania, and earned his B Sc (Hon) degree at Melbourne University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University. His research interests are in the areas of the electronic structure and properties of molecules and materials, with particular emphasis on transport, magnetism, superconductivity, device fabrication, nanotechnology, and the discovery of new classes of electronic materials.

In collaboration with colleagues at AT&T Bell Laboratories, he discovered the alkali metal fullerides and their conductivity properties and the occurrence of superconductivity in the A3C60 compounds (A=K,Rb). In 1991, he was named the Person of the Year by Superconductor Week, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

Keogh Awarded Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant

Eamonn Keogh and Gustavo BatistaProfessor of Computer Science Eamonn Keogh (on the left in the photo at right) has been awarded a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations grant for his research project "Counting and classifying insects with ultra-cheap sensors.” Keogh’s project is one of 65 grants chosen from 2,400 proposals in the fifth funding round of Grand Challenge Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. Read More

MESA Robotics Invitational Returns to BCoE Nov. 13

MESA RoboticsMore than 500 middle and high school students from Riverside and San Bernardino counties will converge at the the Bourns College of Engineering on Saturday, Nov. 13, for robotic competitions that draw on bioengineering, military drones and sumo wrestling. The Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) School Programs at UCR, in conjunction with the San Bernardino Community College District and FIRST LEGO league will host the third annual MESA Robotics Invitational from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Read More

BCoE Students Participate in MESA Leadership Conference

BCoE students Justin Bautista, David Becerra, Monique Poluan and Heather Salvador were among a select group of 150 college students from across California chosen to participate in the two-day Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference in October.

This event also represented the initiation of the MESA Engineering Program (MEP) at UCR, which becomes the newest member of the program, joining 12 other four-year universities in Calif., including UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz.

“MEP supports university students enrolled in college of engineering so they will successfully attain their baccalaureate degrees,” said Jun Wang, professional development officer and director of newest MEP at UCR. “The program offers a wide array of academic support as well as exposure to different careers available to engineering graduates. MEP at UCR will work with industrial representatives to support and advance more professional development opportunities for our students at BCoE.”

MESA Leadership ConferencePictured at the conference in the photo at right are, left to right: David Becerra (SHPE president, ME major), Jun Wang, Justin Bautista (BCoELC president, EE major), Astronaut Jose Hernandez, Monique Poluan (SWE outreach chair, CS major), Heather Salvador (SWE president, ME major) and PG&E vice president Bill Harper.

The conference offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, were from 24 universities and community colleges across the state, including UC Riverside.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) sponsored the event and more than 25 PG&E employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference.

PG&E was recognized for the extensive support the company has provided to assist educationally disadvantaged MESA students to graduate in math-based fields. PG&E has supported MESA since 1979. William Harper, PG&E vice president and chief diversity officer and MESA board member, addressed the students and encouraged them to continue.

“I see the future in this room, that is why PG&E is committed to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers of the future by working with organizations like MESA,” he told the group.

NASA astronaut and MESA alumnus Jose Hernandez spoke to MESA students during the event.

The astronaut motivated students to continue through tough engineering and math courses with stories of his upbringing as a farm worker in central California. He went on from that humble background to fly aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 2009. He participated in MESA while a student at the University of the Pacific and UC Santa Barbara.

“It’s very important what MESA is doing to support you to stay in these fields,” Hernandez said. “I’m a product of MESA, so you see good things come out of the program.”

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, MESA is one of the largest programs in the state to support educationally disadvantaged students so they can graduate from college with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees.

“We know that California’s economy needs more STEM workers to stay competitive,” said MESA Executive Director Oscar F. Porter. “These students provide the solution to industry’s need for well-trained professionals.

“They were selected to attend the conference because these students have strong leadership skills. This event gives them a chance to interact extensively with STEM professionals currently working in the field,” said Porter.

Student attendees represented the following campuses: CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Sonoma State University, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, University of the Pacific (Stockton), American River College (Sacramento), Bakersfield College, Butte College (Oroville), Cañada College (Redwood City), City College of San Francisco, Cosumnes River College (Sacramento), Los Medanos College (Pittsburg), Mission College (Santa Clara), Napa Valley College (Napa), Sacramento City College, Santa Rosa Junior College, Skyline College (San Bruno), Yuba College (Marysville).

MESA, an academic preparation program that each year serves about 20,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged, is an awarding winning program with a model that works. Seventy percent of MESA high school graduates statewide went directly to college after graduation compared to 48 percent of all California graduates. Sixty percent of MESA students go on to math, science or engineering majors.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California.

More information:

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)
Pacific Gas & Electric 

Dean Reza Abbaschian Honored at Materials Science & Technology Conference

Reza Abbaschian, William R. Johnson, Jr. Family Professor and dean of the Bourns College of Engineering was honored for his contributions to the field at the Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) Conference and Exhibition Oct. 17-21, 2010, in Houston, Texas. It was hosted by the professional societies ACerS, AIST, ASM and TMS.

Reza AbbaschianAbbaschian (shown addressing the attendees at left) was recognized through a special event titled, "A Symposium in Honor of Professor Reza Abbaschian: Processing, Crystal Growth and Phase Equilibrium of Advanced Materials," comprised of six sessions with more than 30 invited speakers, many of them colleagues of Abbaschian during his distinguished career.

Abbaschian and ShawAt a dinner in Abbaschian’s honor on Monday, August 18, he was presented with a plaque by symposium organizer Leon Shaw, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Connecticut (photo, right). Abbaschian was Shaw’s Ph.D. advisor at the University of Florida.

“He is an excellent mentor who encourages students to pursue new ideas and gives them opportunities and resources to do so,” Shaw said. “However, the most significant thing for Reza is his seminal contributions to materials education and to the theoretical and experimental aspects of materials processing, crystal growth and phase equilibria over the last 40 years. His outstanding contributions to the materials science and engineering field and exceptional leadership in the national and international materials communities are well recognized by his peers.”

Shaw, Levister, Abbaschian and BournsIn addition to the conference honors, BCoE Council of Advisors chair Gordon Bourns and co-chair Ernest Levister, Jr., surprised Abbaschian by attending the event and presenting him with a plaque honoring his contributions to the field and to the college. (Left to right in photo at left: Leon Shaw, Ernest Levister, Jr., Reza Abbaschian and Gordon Bourns)

Bourns and Levister read a message from UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White, which said, in part, “Since you joined UCR as dean of engineering in 2005, the school has thrived. This year you graduated the first students in the new interdepartmental program you created in Materials Science and Engineering. You have overseen the construction of the new $56-million Materials Science and Engineering Building. And today, The Bourns College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the nation, with more than 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. You accomplished this with diversity in mind. And in 2009, that core value was recognized with the Claire Felbinger Award for Diversity from ABET, the engineering and technology accreditation organization.”

“During the dinner, I talked with Martin Glicksman, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida,” Bourns said. “He said that when Reza led the department, he and his wife Janette created a feeling of being a close family by supporting each other and celebrating their shared accomplishments. As chair of the Bourns College of Engineering Board of Advisors, I appreciate the excellent meetings we have in which Reza and his faculty keep the board up to date with respect to significant achievements of the college as well as the challenges they are facing. The Board of Advisors meetings are well-attended because we know that they will be informative and because Reza takes our recommendations very seriously.”

Levister echoed Bourns’ comments: “The symposium was a well-deserved honor for a great mind and tireless humanitarian. It’s often said that honor is not merely a matter of any man’s calling, but rather of his own actions in it. At the college, Reza has impacted the organizational culture from the top down by instilling in all a student-centered, inclusive educational approach to include a commitment to faculty and student diversity and excellence. Faculty research achievement with industry partnership is part of the core that will continue to propel the Bourns School of Engineering to the top of all rankings.”

MS&T plaqueShaw pointed out Abbaschian’s numerous honors and distinctions that preceded his MS&T recognition (plaque shown at left), including: the 2003 ASEE Donald E. Marlowe Award in recognition of “creative and distinguished administrative leadership in engineering and engineering technology education,” the 1999 TMS Leadership Award for “outstanding leadership in the fields of metallurgy and materials,” the 1998 TMS Structural Material Division’s Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award in recognition of “a long-lasting contribution to the fundamental understanding of microstructure, properties and performance of structural materials for industrial applications,” and the 1998 TMS Educator Award for “outstanding educator, leader, researcher and inventor who provides a modern standard for today’s academician.”

Mike Kaufman, professor of metallurgical engineering and department head at the Colorado School of Mines (Mines), worked with Abbaschian at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Florida (UF). “Reza was a mentor, supporter and collaborator and I quickly realized how fortunate I was to have him as a department chair," Kaufman said. "We proceeded to work together with the other faculty to build the department into one of the top MSE programs in the country. He was a tireless leader with vision and drive and he worked very hard to make the department one of the best in the country.

"I recently took over as department head [at Mines] and my dream is to work hard to make our department one of the top places for materials education and research in the country. Of course, I still have the model that I watched Reza forge at UF. For the sake of our faculty and students, I hope that I can achieve half the success that Reza had during his tenure as department chair at UF.”

Another long-time colleague of Abbaschian’s who presented at the conference was University of California, Davis, provost and executive vice chancellor Enrique Lavernia. He was a graduate student at MIT when Abbaschian was a visiting scientist there. “At the time, it was the greatest group of experts in the field,” Lavernia said. Lavernia went on to accept a faculty position at the University of California, Irvine, followed by an appointment as dean of engineering at UC Davis in 2002. In that capacity, he met regularly with Abbaschian and the other University of California engineering deans after Abbaschian’s appoint at BCoE in 2005.

“We’ve been through very difficult financial times and circumstances, but Reza never stops thinking about the future and new opportunities,” Lavernia said.” He doesn’t say, ‘This is terrible,’ but instead asks, ‘How can we do things differently and still be better?’ He has very high standards and an excellent eye for quality. We both feel very strongly that in our roles we should continue to have a research component to our work. It allows us to have the faculty perspective – to see what’s working and not working.”

Akua Asa-Awuku and Elaine Haberer Earn NSF BRIGE Awards

Bourns College of Engineering assistant professors Akua Asa-Awuku and Elaine Haberer have been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) highly competitive Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE), it was announced recently.

These are BCoE’s second and third BRIGE awards since the program began in 2008. Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Julia Lyubovitsky earned the award in 2009 for her project, “Towards the in-situ analysis of the assembly of structural proteins by multi-photon optical image guided spectroscopy.” The NSF awards only 27 to 30 BRIGE grants per year.

Akua Asa-AwukuAsa-Awuku (photo, left), a member of the faculty in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), was awarded the grant for her research proposal, “Development of a Novel Organic-Water Thermodynamic Measurement and Modeling Technique for Health and Climate Applications.”

Elaine HabererHaberer (photo, right), a member of the faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering Program, was awarded the grant for her proposal, “An Integrated Research and Education Program for Viral-Templated Type-II Nanostructured Heterojunctions for Photovoltaics.”

The NSF’s BRIGE program offers research initiation grant funding opportunities with the goal of broadening participation to all engineers including members from groups underrepresented in the engineering disciplines. Another goal is to support innovative plans for recruiting and retaining a broad representation of researchers in programs supported by these grants.

Asa-Awuku’s primary research interest is understanding and predicting aerosol-cloud climate interactions, specifically, the impact of warm cumulus clouds that may counteract the warming effects of greenhouse gases and models of cloud microphysical processes. Her research explores the water-uptake of organic particles as it pertains to aerosol hygroscopicity, cloud condensation nuclei activation and droplet growth.

The goal of Asa-Awuku’s BRIGE research is to develop a novel and transformative measurement and modeling technique to investigate the ability of organic components to take up water in the atmosphere. The results of the project will have significant implications in air quality, climate, and health and the results will be incorporated into a long-term research plan relevant to the priorities of the NSF’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) program. The success of the project will result in unique cross-cutting research and educational opportunities to broaden the participation of all citizens in engineering related research.

Asa-Awuku and her undergraduate and graduate student team will conduct their research in the state-of-the-art air pollution laboratory CE-CERT, which provides opportunities for her research team to interact with the worldwide air pollution research community of scientists and engineers from academic institutions, government agencies and industry. Already, her research is involved in broadening the participation of K-12 students with high school science fair projects in air pollution. Last year the students took first place in the Earth Sciences division of the Riverside unified district high school fair, and this year they look forward to repeating their success. Through local seminars and involvement in community programs and regional science fairs, she hopes to inspire K-12 students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Asa-Awuku joined the faculty at BCoE in 2009. She received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, her M.S in chemical engineering at Georgia Tech in 2006, and her B.S in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2003. In 2008, Asa-Awuku served as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon University.

Haberer’s research interests include bio-templated materials for electronic, optoelectronic and energy applications, nano-structured hybrid materials, and novel top-down and bottom-up assembly techniques. The objective of her BRIGE project is to assemble nanostructured materials and devices with superior electrical transport properties. More specifically, she intends to use viruses to build nanostructured materials for solar cells, which are both highly efficient and affordable, a combination which has been elusive to date.

“There is much to be learned from nature in the area of materials assembly,” Haberer said. “Biomolecules, such as viruses, are capable of building nanostructures which are not possible with conventional synthetic techniques. Such geometries can be very useful in the development of more efficient solar cells.”

Haberer’s BRIGE Award will also provide support for a number of mentoring and outreach activities designed to increase diversity and broaden participation in engineering through coursework, research experience and professional development opportunities. 

Haberer will collaborate with Assistant Professor Marsha Ing from UCR’s Graduate School of Education in co-teaching a service-learning course for both education and engineering undergraduates through the Undergraduate Research in the Community (UGRC) program at UCR. The students will work as a team to develop, teach, assess and redesign lessons in solar energy, which will include “hands-on” experimental activities for students in UCR’s Math Engineering Science and Achievement (MESA) Schools Program. Haberer and Ing will partner with one science club or classroom for each course, offering to cultivate connections between the undergraduates and the MESA student participants.

Haberer joined the faculty at BCoE in 2009. She earned her Ph.D. in materials science from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2005 and her M.S. and B.S. in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1998 and 1997, respectively. Her postgraduate research, completed at UCSB, explored viral-based assembly of inorganic materials. In addition to her teaching and outreach experience at MIT and UCSB, she served as coordinator for the California NanoSystems Institute Apprentice Researcher Program, a six-week summer internship program for high school students.

Laxmi Bhuyan Inducted into Wayne State University Engineering Hall of Fame

Laxmi BhuyanLaxmi Bhuyan, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Bourns College of Engineering Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was inducted into the Wayne State University Engineering Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The honor was bestowed at the Detroit Science Center during “Night of the Stars,” the WSU College of Engineering’s annual celebration and fundraiser honoring alumni who have contributed to excellence in the field of engineering.

More than 17,000 students have attended Wayne State’s College of Engineering since it first opened its doors more than 70 years ago. In 1983, the college began to recognize some of its most outstanding graduates by creating a Hall of Fame. More than 100 alumni with distinguished careers and life experiences are now members.

Selected by a college committee made up of WSU College of Engineering faculty and deans, Hall of Fame honorees are recognized with a plaque with their name and image on a wall in the college’s Hall of Fame Lounge.


BCoE Signs Agreement with Naval Surface Warfare Center

NSWC signingThe Bourns School of Engineering (BCoE) signed an educational agreement with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division, on Oct. 6, formalizing a partnership that will strengthen ties between the two institutions.

Among other outcomes, the agreement will enhance BCoE students' experience and provide access to NSWC Corona's unique expertise, one-of-a-kind facilities and specialized equipment relating to naval warfare systems and technologies. For NSWC Corona, the partnership enables it to tap top faculty to help solve challenging technical problems, as well as facilitating training and recruitment of UCR graduates as future employees of the science and engineering command. Some 95 percent of undergraduate interns later hire on with the command. 

"We're very excited about this partnership that is making sure we maintain technical excellence for the Navy with talented, up-and-coming scientists and engineers," said NSWC Corona commanding officer Capt. Jay Kadowaki. "We're thrilled to make this participation official and partner with a leading research university like UCR."

BCoE Dean Reza Abbaschian said the college can benefit greatly from the partnership, with faculty collaborating on projects with Navy scientists and engineers. He said the opportunity for BCoE students to work as interns at such a prestigious laboratory will provide tremendous advantages for them, and even those prospective students who may want to apply to UCR. 

"This kind of participation is needed for students," he said, adding that both NSWC Corona and the university "are in the education business." In addition to research collaboration, Abbaschian sees two areas which allow for immediately collaboration between UCR and the naval command: the proposed new online master's program and seminars on engineering ethics. 

As an independent assessment agent, the Navy scientists and engineers have much experience in dealing with industry, government and academia on ethical questions that sometimes arise during acquisition of defense systems. New engineering students eventually will face these questions when joining the workforce and would benefit from the insights of NSWC Corona engineers, he said.

NSWC groupThe UCR delegation toured the naval laboratories to see the precise measurement projects underway and found Craig MacDougall, a UCR graduate now working on naval research projects just as his father, Clifton, also a UCR graduate, did before him. "My father was the first bagpiper," MacDougall proudly shared to the delegation. "Go, Highlanders!"

NSWC Corona is the Navy's independent assessment agent and newest federal laboratory, responsible for gauging warfighting capability of ships and aircraft and analyzing missile defense systems. The historic base that dates back to the start of World War II employs approximately 1,000 Navy civilians, 75 percent of whom are scientists and engineers -- a number that has grown by 75 in the last year and is expected to continue in coming years. 

The base is home to three premiere laboratories and assessment centers: the Joint Warfare Assessment Lab, the Measurement Science and Technology Lab, and the new $12 million Daugherty Memorial Assessment Center named in honor of fallen sailor Petty Officer 1st Class Steven P. Daugherty of Barstow.

National Research Council Assessment Gives BCoE Programs High Marks 

Four Doctorate Programs in Engineering Rank in Top Quartile 

The National Research Council (NRC) released a data-based assessment of U.S. research doctorate programs Sept. 28, 2010, that demonstrates the excellence of the Bourns College of Engineering's faculty and the rapid rise in the quality of its graduate programs. 

Among the 27 UCR doctorate programs that were evaluated, eight of them were ranked in the NRC's top quartile, and four of those were in engineering: computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering. BCoE's programs in bioengineering and materials science and engineering were too new at the time of the study to quality for assessment.

"I am extraordinarily proud of our faculty for this stellar achievement," said Dean Reza Abbaschian. "For a college as young as ours to be recognized in this way is remarkable. When one looks at the quality of the faculty and their research, and the dedication to student success and diversity, we are among the nation's leaders. This assessment clearly demonstrates that."

The NRC study was based on data from 2005-06 that was collected in 2007. It evaluated more than 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 fields within 212 research universities in the U.S. The assessment is designed to assist students in evaluating the quality of the doctorate program they are considering, and for department chairs and administrators to see how where they can improve their programs, if needed. 

The NRC gathered its data from four sources: an institution questionnaire, a program questionnaire, a faculty questionnaire and a rating of program quality questionnaire (given to a subset of faculty). 

Unlike the NRC's previous assessments in 1982 and 1995, which were based on reputational surveys, this year's provides two sets of data-based rankings: an S-ranking (for "survey") and an R-rating (for "regression,") for overall measures of quality -- research activity, student support and outcomes, and diversity of the academic environment. Also notably different in this year's assessment is the absence of a rank-order listing of programs within a field. Instead, the programs were given a range. 

The Bourns College of Engineering's rankings showed a marked rise over previous years, particularly when compared to peer institutions:

The complete report and more information about how UCR and the other University of California campuses were ranked can be found here:

The National Research Council functions under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, which are part of a private, nonprofit institution. The four organizations are collectively referred to as the National Academies. The mission of the NRC is to improve government decision-making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology and health.

Bytes Bistro to Open in Mid-October

BytesSomething new and exciting has been brewing in the lobby of Winston Chung Hall (WCH) this summer that you won't want to miss. You will notice there are now tables and chairs on the outdoor patio and inside, you'll find Bytes, an eclectic little eatery in the newly designed, refurbished and soon-to-be-refurnished lobby. 

Bytes will open in mid-October sporting a menu of gourmet coffee drinks made with organic, Rain Forest Alliance and Fair Trade coffees, fruit smoothies, pastries, snacks and an assortment of bagels with cream cheese spreads.

Meal options include breakfast sandwiches, gourmet chili - premium, all-natural and gluten free with no artificial ingredients, plus an assortment of gourmet flatbread sandwiches including Buffalo Chicken; Mushroom, Ortega Chili and Jack Cheese; Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato with Spring Greens, Turkey & Bacon Club with Chipotle Ranch Dressing; and a deli style Philly Cheese with Southwest Dressing. Afternoon snacks include assorted flavored or regular pretzels with dipping sauces and spread options.

Bytes will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Come and enjoy a "byte" to eat in this fun environment with its warm wood tones and striking new mural featuring engineering artwork.

Cwiertny and Walker Earn NSF CAREER Awards 

Sharon Walker and David CwiertnyDavid Cwiertny and Sharon Walker, members of the faculty in the Bourns College of Engineering's Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering have been named recipients of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) CAREER award, the prestigious grant for promising junior faculty members. 

It is rare for two members of the same institution to be recognized with the CAREER award at the same time, particularly by the same NSF panel. 

Walker, who is associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering and the John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering, will use the grant for her project, "Fundamentals of Nanoparticle Behavior in Water Treatment." She will study the unintended consequences of nanotechnology, including the release and accumulation of engineered nanoparticles in surface and ground waters. Walker will seek to identify the fate and transport of nanoparticles (with dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers) in traditional water treatment facilities, and to identify the mechanisms leading to their removal in these critical engineered systems. 

The project builds on Walker's background in colloidal and bacterial stability and filtration, colloidal characterization and deposition quantification, as well as microscopic visualization techniques.

Nanomaterial manufacturing is on the rise, as demonstrated by production of titanium dioxide (TiO2) reaching 40,000 metric tons per year in the U.S. alone. Since 2002, the NSF and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has committed more than $25 million to investigate the applications and implications of nanotechnology, and many researchers are investigating the problematic interactions of nanoparticles with organisms. While many nanomaterials have been shown to be toxic, their adverse effects on organisms will be inevitably be governed by their fate and transport in the environment -- processes that are still not well understood. 

In addition to providing insights into best practices for protecting human health and informing practitioners in setting standards for water treatment, Walker will use the grant to work with the local community to engage K-12 and college students in environmental science and engineering. Collaborating with the Riverside Unified School District, she will assist with judging and awarding a new Science Fair prize for budding environmental engineers, develop a program for students on designing Science Fair projects using examples of water quality, and coordinate a seminar at Riverside Community College with a theme of science and engineering. 

Earlier this year, Walker was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to direct the development of a collaborative program on water sustainability with Ben Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Israel.

Beginning her sixth hear at the Bourns College of Engineering in 2010-11, Walker is active in a number of programs to ensure student success and diversity, including serving as faculty advisor for the UCR chapters of the Society of Women Engineers and the national engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. She also serves as a mentor and speaker for the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council's summer programs, "Minds for Design" and "Engineer IT."

Cwiertny is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and a cooperating member of the faculty in BCOE's Program in Materials Science and Engineering. The CAREER award will support his project, "Hybrid Nanostructures as Catalysts for Advanced Oxidation Processes: An Integrated Research and Education Plan Promoting Water Reuse and Sustainability."

He will fabricate and optimize an innovative, nanomaterial-based technology for advanced water treatment, while promoting diversity in environmental engineering and education initiatives focused on water sustainability and nanotechnology. Cwiertny will utilize a promising class of nanomaterials -- hybrid carbon nanotubes (CNTs) -- to optimize advanced oxidation processes through their catalytic production of hydroxyl radical from ozone. 

Cwiertny joined the faculty at BCOE in 2007. His research interests are environmental chemistry, pollutant fate and transport, and applications of nanotechnology for environmental quality control.

He is also co-principal investigator with Walker on a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the natural processes to disinfect pathogens in water supplies.

Through their study, "Photochemical Disinfection of Pathogens: Influence of Extracellular Polymeric Substances on Bactericidal Capacity of Reactive Oxygen Species," they hope to understand the combination of factors which contribute to the fate of agriculturally introduced bacteria, such as E. coli, occurring by photochemical disinfection. 

Cwiertny is a faculty advisor for the BCOE student chapters of Tau Beta Pi and Engineers Without Borders, which supports community-driven development programs worldwide through the design and implementation of sustainable engineering projects, while fostering responsible leadership. One of the organization's ongoing projects is to improve water quality in San Lorenzo, Guatemala.

In 2008, the Committee on Research, Riverside Division of the Academic Senate awarded Cwiertny a Regents' Faculty Fellowship and Faculty Development Award for his project, "Using sunlight for water disinfection: Understanding the formation and bactericidal activity of photochemically generated reactive oxygen species."

The NSF's CAREER award recognizes the work of teacher-scholars deemed likely to be academic leaders of the future. Cwiertny and Walker are the 19th and 20th members of BCOE's 84-member faculty to receive the CAREER award. Some 400 young faculty members are chosen each year for the CAREER grants, which range from $300,000 to more than $750,000 over five years. More than 2,500 assistant professors from U.S. academic institutions, laboratories and museums apply each year.

Bourns Welcomes New Faculty for 2010-11

The Bourns College of Engineering welcomes three new assistant professors to its faculty ranks during the 2010-11 academic year: Huinan Liu (Department of Bioengineering), Harsha V. Madhyastha (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) and Lorenzo Mangolini (Department of Mechanical Engineering).

Huinan LiuLiu (photo, right) comes to the college from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was a research assistant professor in the Musculoskeletal Research Center in the Department of Bioengineering. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in materials science and engineering from the University of Science and Technology Beijing (China), her M.S. in materials science and engineering from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Brown University. Her research focuses on creating novel biomaterials and drug delivery systems to repair and regenerate musculoskeletal tissues and eventually restore their normal biological functions.

Harsha V. MadhyasthaMadhyastha (photo, left) was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, San Diego, prior to his appointment at the Bourns College of Engineering. He earned his B.Tech. in computer science and engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington. His research interests include distributed systems, networking, Internet-scale applications and data centers. 

Lorenzo Mangolini

Prior to joining BCOE, Mangolini (photo, right) was a senior researcher at Cima Nanotech in St. Paul, Minn., a startup working on printable electronics and transparent conductive coatings. He earned his M.S and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology, and earned his laurea in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic of Milan (Italy). Mangolini's research interests include the synthesis of novel nanomaterials and nanostructures, and their application in photovoltaic devices.

Dean Reza Abbaschian to be Honored at International Materials Conference

Reza AbbaschianReza Abbaschian (photo, left), William R. Johnson, Jr. Family Professor and dean of the Bourns College of Engineering will be honored for more than four decades of seminal contributions to the field at the Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) Conference and Exhibition Oct. 17-21, 2010, in Houston, Texas.

Abbaschian will be recognized through a special event titled, "A Symposium in Honor of Professor Reza Abbaschian: Processing, Crystal Growth and Phase Equilibrium of Advanced Materials." It will address recent advancements and challenges in science and technologies related to materials processing, crystal growth, and phase equilibrium of nanocrystalline materials, fine and course-grain alloys, intermetallics, and metal- and intermetallic-matrix composites.

Abbaschian is a fellow and former president of ASM International, the largest materials society in the world. Its membership now exceeds 36,000 materials scientists and engineers from around the globe. It is also a co-sponsor of the symposium honoring Abbaschian.

Abbaschian earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. Prior to joining BCOE at UC Riverside in 2005 as dean of engineering and distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, he was chairman of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. He has also held the positions of chairman and professor at the Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran, visiting associate professor at the University of Illinois and visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Abbaschian has authored or co-authored more than 230 scientific publications and eight books and is named on four patents.

At the Bourns College of Engineering, Abbaschian was instrumental in the creation of the interdepartmental Materials Science and Engineering Program, which began in 2007 and graduated its first students in 2010, and in the construction of the new $56-million Materials Science and Engineering Building. The Bourns College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the nation, with an enrollment of more than 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. In 2009, the college was recognized with the Claire Felbinger Award for Diversity from ABET, the engineering and technology accreditation organization.

Abbaschian has received numerous awards, including the 2003 ASEE Donald E. Marlowe Award in recognition of "creative and distinguished administrative leadership in engineering and engineering technology education" and the 2002 Davis Productivity Award of the State of Florida. He received the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) Leadership Award in 1999 and in 2000 he was elected a fellow. He also received the TMS Educator Award in 1998.

At the conference, Abbaschian will also be recognized for his many contributions to such topics as phase diagrams, powder processing of composites, solidification and melting kinetics, high pressure-high temperature growth of diamonds, supercooling and containerless processing of stable and metastable structures, and the role of interfaces on the process and properties of materials. 

Abbaschian's most recent projects involve investigations in solidification, high pressure-high temperature growth of diamond crystals, and electromagnetic levitation processing of alloys.

The MS&T conference will bring together scientists, engineers, students and suppliers to discuss current research and applications, and to share the future of materials science and technology. It is hosted by the following organizations: ACerS, AIST, ASM and TMS.

Civic Leader and Long-Time College Supporter Eugene Yeager Dies at Age 85

Yeager Conference Room dedicationEugene "Gene" Yeager (third from left in photo), a long-time friend and supporter of UC Riverside and the Bourns College of Engineering, died at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sept. 5. A memorial service celebrating his life of 85 years was held at California Baptist University Sept. 9.

Yeager, along with his brother Jacques, led the E.L. Yeager Construction Company in Riverside, which developed much of the region's transportation infrastructure. The brothers were civil engineers and graduates of UC Berkeley and their company laid some of the first curbs and sidewalks of the then-new UC Riverside campus. Their firm also poured the large concrete letter "C" on the mountainside east of campus.

In May, the Yeager brothers were honored for their support of the College of Engineering - Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) with the naming of the center's major meeting room as the Jacques and Eugene Yeager Conference Room. The room is the hub of collaboration between center researchers, industry and government. Pictured above at the dedication ceremony are (left to right): Gene Yeager's wife Billie, UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White, Gene Yeager and Jacques Yeager.

At the ceremony, BCOE Dean Reza Abbaschian said, "We call Jacques and Gene Yeager 'pillars of the community.' When one speaks of 'pillars,' of the community, the meaning is usually not quite so literal as in the case of the Yeager family. Nearly 100 years ago, the E. L. Construction Company began laying the foundations and building the infrastructure of California cities and towns."

In his remarks, Gene Yeager said of his lengthy relationship with the university, the college and CE-CERT, "This has been a great association and this is a proud, proud moment."

Additional links:

  • A video of Gene Yeager's remarks at the dedication ceremony at CE-CERT
  • Chancellor White's letter to the UCR community about the Yeager brothers' legacy
  • Riverside Press-Enterprise obituary

NSF Awards More Than $1.3M in Grants to CSE Faculty 

CSE faculty





 Four members of the faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the Bourns College of Engineering have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaling more than $1.3 million for research in software development and computing and network performance improvement. 

Professor and Graduate Advisor Gianfranco Ciardo (photo, far left) was awarded $400,000 for his project titled "A Hierarchical Symbolic Framework to Verify Logic, Timing, and Probabilistic Properties of Computing Systems," which will use decision diagrams for the storage of large data structures and develop a symbolic framework for their manipulation. This work is expected to produce both theoretical results and software packages that will give researchers, students, and practitioners hands-on tools for modeling, verifying, and analyzing the logic and timing behavior of complex computer system models. 

Professor Rajiv Gupta (photo, middle left) and Assistant Professor Iulian Neamtiu (middle right) were awarded $726K for their project, "Programmable Monitoring Framework for Multicore Systems," which addresses the challenges of developing a Dynamic Binary Translation-based monitoring framework for parallel applications running on multicore systems. The programmability of the framework will enable realization of benefits in achieving enhanced performance, reliability, security, and availability. The project will employ mechanisms for improving performance via speculative parallelism, enabling debugging via a novel strategy of execution suppression, improving reliability via an approach that allows applications to automatically recover from failures, providing security via dynamic detection of mutating viruses, and software availability via dynamic updates. 

Professor Srikanth Krishnamurthy (photo, far right) was awarded $240,000 for his project, "Collaborative Research: Harnessing Network Coding Gains in Multi-Rate Wireless Networks," which will seek to provide improvements in the throughput of wireless networks, which can in turn drive new applications that are bandwidth intense (e.g., distributed games). Because wireless networks operate at transmission rates depending on the quality of the link, it is important for network coding to be able to "overhear" the transmitted data packets. The project will design a novel rate adaptation model that will lessen the occupancy time (and resulting throughput) on the channel. It will also design effective ways for controlling the flow of packets at the link layer and quantify and propose solutions to the inherent trade-off between how routes are chosen and gains are achieved due to network coding. Along with co-principal investigator Thomas F. La Porte of Penn State, Krishnamurthy will also introduce new courses that incorporate cutting edge topics on wireless networks, including network coding. The will recruit undergraduate and graduate students to expand their wireless networks, providing them with a unique system-building opportunity.

International Zeolite Association Recognizes Yushan Yan with Donald W. Breck Award

Yushan Yan receives Breck AwardYushan Yan, professor and chair of the BCOE department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, was presented with the 2010 Donald W. Breck Award by the International Zeolite Association (IZA) at the 16th International Zeolite Conference (IZC), held jointly with the 7th International Mesostructured Materials Symposium, July 4 to July 9, 2010, in Sorrento, Italy.

The Breck award, which is given at the association's meeting every three years, honors an individual or group who has made the most significant contribution to molecular sieve science and technology.

According to IZA president François Fajula, "The 2010 Breck Award is given to Yushan Yan and Ryong Ryoo for their respective contributions in advancing the science of zeolite thin films and the direct synthesis of zeolite nanosheets." Ryoo is a professor of chemistry at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea.

ZeoliteYan's research focuses on zeolite thin films as insulators for computer chips, corrosion-resistant coatings for aerospace alloys, and hydrophilic and antimicrobial coatings for water separation in a space station. Another research interest of his is fuel cell catalysts and membranes. An illustration of the structure of zeolite LTA is shown at left.

Yan joined UC Riverside in 1998 as assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and professor in 2005. In 2006, he was chosen as one of the five inaugural University Scholars. He was appointed department chair in 2008. His research has been widely cited in the scientific community and also extensively covered by the media and technical magazines including New Scientist, Business Week, Materials Today, CNN, CNBC and China Press, among others.

The Breck award was created to honor Donald W. Breck of the Union Carbide Corporation, who was a major figure in the early development of synthetic molecular sieves and one of the founders of the IZA.  His landmark book, "Zeolite Molecular Sieves: Structure, Chemistry, and Use" (1974), summarized the first 25 years of zeolite science and technology, and occupies a special place in the library of any molecular sieve scientist.

Following his untimely death in 1980, the Union Carbide Corporation proposed the establishment of an award in his memory to be sponsored by Union Carbide Corporation and administered by the IZA. The first award was presented in 1983 at the Sixth IZC in Reno, Nev. The award is presented at each IZA conference "to an individual or group for significant contribution to molecular sieve science and technology achieved since the last conference." 

BCOE Alumnus Ricky J. Sethi Named Computing Innovation Fellow 

Ricky SethiRicky J. Sethi, who earned his Ph.D. in 2009 from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE), has been chosen as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Computing Innovation Fellow (CIFellow), a highly competitive award given annually by the Computing Research Association (CRA).

The award is initially for one year with the option for another year. The initial one-year award will be for $140,000 for salary and expenses to support Sethi's post-doctoral research with Prof. Jenn Wortman Vaughan in the UCLA Department of Computer Science, beginning in November 2010. Typically, only about 10 percent of applicants are chosen as CIFellows and in 2010 only 47 were given to scholars across the country.

Sethi, whose dissertation was titled, "A Physics-Based Neurobiologically-Inspired Stochastic Framework for Activity Recognition", was advised by Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and cooperating faculty in the Department of Computer Science. At UCLA, Sethi's work will be on developing a machine-learning framework for distributed collaborative intelligence, formally analyzing crowd-sourcing sites like, and innovating novel algorithms for scientific learning and studying their applications in computer vision.

While working with Roy-Chowdhury, Sethi helped develop various physics-based models to analyze motion in video. They placed the models within neurobiologically-inspired, stochastic algorithms to analyze motion in video and determine what each object or person is doing. Using mathematical models, the goal was to achieve, with a computer, a measure of what the human mind is able to do automatically.

Since the underlying motion is governed by physics, Sethi posited that physics-based analysis is a natural fit for the study. And since the human brain is so good at analyzing motion, the neurobiological underpinnings of vision were used to create novel algorithms for the analysis.

"The stochastic algorithms we developed in my Ph.D. work are the perfect link to the machine-learning algorithms we will be developing in the post-doc work," Sethi said. "I anticipate building upon quite a bit of the work we've done as we explore the broad application of the various algorithms we developed at UCR. I am very grateful to UCR and Prof. Roy-Chowdhury for the wonderful foundation and opportunities afforded me." 

SPIRIT Program Helps Local Teachers Update and Invigorate STEM Curriculum

Bourns College of Engineering recently hosted teachers and administrators from the Riverside and San Bernardino school districts for a series of workshops, lab tours and demonstrations designed to make engineering more exiting and relevant to high school students.

SPIRIT lab tourThe Success Partnership for Increasing Recruitment Into Technology (SPIRIT) program, held July 6-16, 2010, exposed middle and high school teachers to the latest developments in engineering to help them design programs that stimulate student interest in education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Local high school students participated in a similar hands-on immersion in engineering at BCOE the weeks of July 19 and July 26.

The Bourns College of Engineering has worked with the Riverside Unified School District and the Alliance for Education on the project, which is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Verizon Foundation.

"We need to update our knowledge of technology," said Linda Jirsa, a teacher at Arlington High School in the Riverside Unified School District who participated in the workshop. "When we came through high school and college, we still used slide rules."

BCOE faculty members Chris Dames (mechanical engineering), David Kisailus (chemical and environmental engineering), Chinya Ravishankar (computer science and engineering), Victor Rodgers (bioengineering) and doctoral candidate Sam Pournazeri led this year's workshops, which included lectures, lab tours, demonstrations and teaching module development. Ravishankar is principal investigator for the program's grants.

Dames and Kisailus are hoping to extend the value of the program by going directly to the students in the schools.

"I included possible follow-on interactions with these teachers as part of my recently-submitted NSF CAREER proposal," Dames said. "If that grant is funded, my basic premise is to take the SPIRIT workshops into local high-school science classrooms. Now that I've had two years to refine the basic demonstration and workshop materials, including feedback from the 2009 and 2010 SPIRIT teachers, the materials are stronger and could be appropriate for delivery as brief workshops at a high school."

"We see a lot of value in that for our high school students," said John Gifford, a workshop participant who teaches at Riverside Polytechnic High School. "For them to hear this material from young professors can be much more effective than hearing it from us 'old guys.'"

New approaches to STEM education are needed to address serious problems nationally, and in the region: the college-going rate for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties is significantly below the state-wide average, and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency calculates a shortage of almost 40,000 engineers by 2014.

Summer Research Underway for Undergrads

Summer ResearchUndergraduate students in the Bourns College of Engineering are working with faculty mentors this summer researching everything from water quality to wildfires to materials that could lead to new medical devices.

"UCR has a lot of opportunities to get involved with research," said Erika Aragon (pictured at left), a sophomore, who is one of the students taking part in the Summer Bridge program. "This is the reason I choose UCR. I didn't want to sit behind a book for four years." Read More

USDA Awards Grant to Sharon Walker for International Collaboration on Water Research

Sharon WalkerSharon Walker, associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering and the John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering, has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to direct the development of a collaborative program on water sustainability with Ben Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Israel.

Along with co-principal director Moshe Herzberg of BGU, Walker will establish an international, interdisciplinary research and education collaboration leading to innovative approaches to the management of water for agricultural uses, which are essential in the U.S. and Israel. Despite its small size and limited resources, Israel has achieved the highest rate of water reclamation in the world (40 percent). Conversely, the U.S. was ranked last for water efficiency among the nations ranked by the World Water Council in 2004. Forty-two percent of water in the U.S. is lost to evaporation through irrigation.

The project, "Water Sustainability in Desert Agriculture: Enhancing relationships with global competency of graduate students and faculty through collaboration with Israel," has three components:

  1. Hands-on experience and exposure for students and faculty to Israel's water management and agricultural research in short visits for faculty and extended visits for students.
  2. Shared curricular materials for undergraduate and graduate course development to enhance the international content of existing courses at both UCR and BGU.
  3. Dissemination of information to assist U.S. scholars in becoming acquainted scientifically and culturally with Israeli water management and research, particularly as it affects sustainable agriculture in desert regions.

The project will link UCR faculty in the Bourns College of Engineering's Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences' Department of Environmental Sciences. Ultimately, faculty and students will share their findings with researchers at UCR and BGU, and with agricultural professionals through the UCR Cooperative Extension and other venues, including the USDA Land and Sea Grant National Conference.

Growth in the demand for water is a challenge throughout the world, and Israel and Inland Southern California are no exception. Israel's water use in 2010 has been estimated at 2400 million cubic meters (MCM), of which 50 percent is for agricultural use. Reclaimed municipal wastewater is an increasingly important source of water for agriculture in Israel, where its use has jumped from 25 percent in 2000 to 37 percent in 2010 and it is projected to be 46 percent in 2020.

A semi-arid region with rainfall only slightly more than the Negev region of Israel, Riverside is one of the five fastest-growing regions in the U.S., with a population increase of 23.7 percent from 2000 to 2006. Drawing much of its water from the Sierra Nevada snowpack and the Colorado River, the region is currently dealing with the effects of a 10-year drought. Lake Mead, the reservoir for the Colorado River, is at its lowest level since 1965, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack is predicted to decrease between 25 and 40 percent by 2050.

The Municipal Water District, a consortium of 26 Southern California water districts, has funded an ambitious program to meet demand by expanding its water recycling and groundwater recovery efforts, with a goal of adding approximately 200 MCM to the 445 MCM it currently produces each year. Similarly, the California Department of Water Resources is seeking to increase the state's water supply by more than 1,230 MCM per year through water reuse.

Walker's research focuses on the physical, chemical and biological processes in natural and engineered aquatic systems. The overall goal of her work is to optimize effective water treatment and distribution, wastewater reclamation, and to understand mechanisms controlling particle transport in aquatic environments.

Walker spent the 2009-10 academic year on a Fulbright Scholarship based in Sde Boker, Israel, the location of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research of The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, a satellite research campus of BGU of the Negev. Her work was the subject of a story in the Jerusalem Post, where she was quoted as saying, "At the end of the day, I want to help make sure that people have a clean glass of water."

SC-RISE to be Recognized for Collaboration with City on Sustainable Energy

The Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy (SC-RISE) at UC Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering has been recognized as a leading example of international collaboration for sustainable energy by Sister Cities International.

The city of Riverside will receive an award next month from Sister Cities International for helping to launch SC-RISE, a collaboration of industry, academia and other interested parties to advance the science and application of solar energy throughout Southern California.

The city will receive the "Innovation: Sustainable Development-Energy" award in the category for cities with a population of 100,001-500,000 on July 31 during Sister Cities International's 54th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The award will be given to the International Relations Council of Riverside, the nonprofit organization that administers Riverside's sister city program.

"We are pleased to recognize the International Relations Council of Riverside, Inc. for its outstanding achievements in citizen diplomacy in 2009," said Patrick Madden, president and CEO of Sister Cities International. "Our awardee programs demonstrate real impact in their own city and around the world."

SC-RISE, which is housed at UCR's College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), is the result of a four-party agreement signed in 2007 by Reza Abbaschian, dean of UCR's Bourns College of Engineering, Ron Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, and representatives from the city of Sendai, Japan and Sendai's Tohoku University.

That agreement was signed during a celebration of the 50th anniversary sister city relationship between Riverside and Sendai. During the celebration, officials decided the next 50 years of this relationship, and Riverside's relationships with six other sister cities, would focus on strong and collaborative university-to-university relationships.

"We are very pleased to be among the forward-thinking cities and organizations receiving this award," Abbaschian said. "We owe a debt of gratitude to Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, who challenged and inspired us to create a plan for the next 50 years of sister city relations. Our collaboration is bearing fruit in ways that will improve the lives of the people of Riverside and Sendai, and it demonstrates that our vision to create SC-RISE was timely and judicious."

Loveridge, a longtime UCR professor, said he takes pride that Sister Cities International selected Riverside to receive the award.

"We are a city of arts and innovation. By making cutting-edge solar science and technology possible on an international scale, SC-RISE is good for UCR and CE-CERT, it is good for Riverside, and it is good for energy and the environment. SC-RISE is exactly what I challenged UCR, Tohoku University, Sendai and Riverside to make happen when we signed the four-party agreement in Sendai in 2007."

Matthew Barth, faculty director of SC-RISE and CE-CERT, said the sister city relationship has provided momentum for long overdue sustainability goals.

"I can't imagine a more productive city/university relationship in one hemisphere, let alone two," Barth said.

CE-CERT's Barth Featured in Transportation Video

Click to view YouTube videoA new video by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, features Professor Matthew Barth, director of the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). In the video, which describes Audi's low-emissions engineering efforts, Barth describes the development of environmental-friendly navigation systems: a way to reduce fuel use by as much as 10-15 percent, along with the resulting carbon dioxide emissions. 



Bourns Confers Degrees at Commencement

commencement 2010The Bourns College of Engineering conferred more than 300 bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees during its ceremony Monday, June 14, part of UCR's 56th annual commencement.

Robert D. Brown, director of vehicle environmental engineering at Ford Motor Company, was the keynote speaker. A video of his address can be viewed at UCR's Commencement 2010 "A Look Back" page. 

Mechanical engineering major Mike Vaona was the student speaker and graduating students Jana Buccola (graduate degrees) and Robert Bonderer (baccalaureate degrees) served as student marshals. The faculty marshal was Javier Garay, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Dean Reza Abbaschian presided over the ceremonies, Chancellor Timothy P. White delivered the university welcome, and Faculty Senate Chair Anthony Norman served as the grand marshal.

Graduating student Dalia Eldessouky served as baccalaureate tassel turner and Ph.D. student Rebekah Oulton sang the National Anthem and the UCR alma mater "Hail Fair UCR." David Cunningham '62 delivered the alumni salute and associate deans Mark Matsumoto and Chinya Ravishankar introduced the graduates as Abbascian, White and Joseph Childers, dean of the graduate division, conferred the degrees.

An all-college reception and department receptions in Engineering Building Unit II followed the ceremony. Photos of the commencement ceremony were shown on a large projection screen at the reception and can be viewed at BCOE's Flickr website.

Bourns Provides Nanotech Training in Partnership with SBCCD

In a unique collaboration between a UC campus and a community college, the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) at UCR is providing training for students who are part of the San Bernardino Community College District's (SBCCD) Nanotechnology Technician's Training program.

The three-year program, which is housed in the SBCCD's Applied Technology Training Center (ATTC) in San Bernardino, is funded in part by a $2-million Community-Based Job Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that was awarded in 2009.

Mario OlmedoUCR Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the UCR Microelectronics Teaching Laboratory Jianlin Liu developed the training curriculum in collaboration with UCR electrical engineer and graduate student Mario Olmedo (pictured in photo, right, with the atomic force microscope at the ATTC). With support from Bourns College Dean Reza Abbaschian, Department of Electrical Engineering Chair Roger Lake, and Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering Director Robert Haddon, Liu is developing a new teaching clean-room facility in Pierce Hall on the UCR campus to provide the hands-on technical training to accompany the classroom lectures. UCR will provide 90 hours of training during each of the ten six-week sessions during the three-year grant.

The grant is designed to advance economic development in the region by providing a pipeline of trained workers for the nanotechnology industry. Using data provided by the Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), the SBCCD estimates that jobs in nanotechnology are likely to grow 14 percent in Southern California by 2012. According to the National Science Foundation, nanotechnology is one of the highest growth sectors in the United States and will create over two million jobs by the year 2015 for researchers, scientists, engineers, technicians, manufacturers, QC/QA technicians, sales and marketing representatives, business executives, administrators and trainers, among others.

"The University of California, Riverside, a premier research and development university, has provided us the knowledge and course guides for our nanotechnology technician's training program. This will increase our capacity for delivering nanotechnology training at the technician's level and enable us to meet the anticipated increase in demand for highly skilled, highly trained nanotechnology workers," said Albert Maniaol, director of Applied Technologies Training at SBCCD and project director of the Nanotechnology Program.

"As far as I am aware, this collaboration between UCR and SBCCD is one-of-a-kind in California," said Lake. "SBCCD provides UCR a new opportunity to transfer our state-of-the-art nanotech expertise to the community. We hope to turn this collaboration with SBCCD into a long-term relationship."

Nanotechnology provides the ability to design and manipulate materials at the molecular level, where they can exhibit different properties at the nanoscale (1 to 100 nanometers). Some materials are better at conducting electricity and heat, some have different magnetic properties, and some reflect light better or change colors as their size is changed. These features are changing the way products are manufactured.

The six-week sessions will expose students to courses in electronic and optoelectronic devices, nanoscale characterization, device fabrication and characterization, materials characterization, micro/nano fabrication, bio-tech, and solar energy utilization. Afternoon and evening sessions are available and the next session will begin August 16. Contact ATTC Director Albert Maniaol at (909) 382-4001 or for more information.

UCR Student Chapter of Optical Society of America Formed

UCROSAThe Optical Society of America (OSA) has approved a student chapter at the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR (UCROSA), thanks to the efforts of founding chapter president Craig Nolen and fellow Ph.D. students in the Department of Electrical Engineering Javed Khan (chapter vice president and secretary) and Pradyumna Goli (treasurer), a Ph.D. student in the Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E) Program.

Nolen was notified of the May 24 founding date of UCROSA by the Member and Education Services Council of the OSA. Nolen, who earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in the Department of Electrical Engineering at UCR serves as the BCOE academic affairs officer in UCR's Graduate Student Association and graduate research assistant in the BCOE Nano-Device Laboratory (NDL). Prof. of Electrical Engineering Alexander Balandin, director of the NDL, and chair of the MS&E Program, assisted the students in founding the chapter and serves as its faculty advisor. (Members of the NDL and UCROSA are pictured above left.)

Membership in the chapter is open to all interested students. The organization's first event will be at the Optricks and Laser Extravaganza at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana on Saturday, June 12. Interested students should contact Craig Nolen at for more information.

Among the many resources and benefits of membership are:

  • A traveling lecturer program
  • Activity and education outreach grants
  • Networking with other students through social networking resources such as Groupsite, Facebook and Twitter
  • The OCA magazine, OPN, which also has a Facebook page and Twitter feed
  • The International OSA Network of Students (IONS)
  • The Student Leadership Conference, held October 24 during the Frontiers in Optics Conference (October 24 - 28, 2010, Rochester, New York)

Optics-related courses at UCR are offered by a number of departments at the BCOE and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). The undergraduate and graduate level courses cover optical properties of materials, optoelectronics, photonics, optical characterization techniques, optical communications, photonic quantum computing.

The campus-wide inter-departmental MS&E Program leading to B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in MS&E, also emphasizes education and research in optics-related areas such as photovoltaic materials and devices, solar energy generation and conversion, light interaction with materials, Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopic characterization, semiconductor nanostructured materials for photodetector, laser and light-emitting diode applications.

BCOE offers research-intensive courses and senior design projects pertinent to optoelectronic, photonic and optical communication industries. In the graduate courses, special attention is given to modifications of optical properties of materials structured at nanometer-length scale.

UCROSA becomes the 17th student organization or chapter of a national organization at BCOE, joining the following:

  • Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • College of Engineering Leadership Council (COELC)
  • Engineers Without Borders (EWB)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
  • Institute of Navigation (ION)
  • Materials Research Society (MRS)
  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society (TBP)

Bourns Student Teams Win EPA P3 Awards

Two teams of Bourns College of Engineering students have been awarded Phase One awards in the 2010 7th annual Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3).

The two $10,000 grants will allow the teams to develop their projects and travel to Washington, D.C., next year to make presentations and compete for the $75,000 Phase 2 grant to further their designs, implement them in the field or move them to the marketplace. This is the second year in a row that both teams from UCR that submitted proposals were successful in earning the Phase One grant.

Two UCR teams that won Phase One grants in 2009 went to this year's competition in April at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the sixth annual National Sustainable Design Expo. At the expo, the students' projects, which seek to apply technology in innovative ways to tackle global environmental challenges, were judged by a panel of experts.

EPA P3 teamOne of UCR's teams (photo, right) was recognized with an honorable mention for their project, "Using Waste to Clean Up the Environment: Cellulosic Ethanol, the Future of Fuels." In the photo are (left to right): Anthony Turgman, Josh Garong, Kawai Tam, Vu Nguyen, Christine Kwon, and Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for research and development at the EPA. (Photo courtesy EPA)

The first team earning this year's Phase One award includes Chemical and Environmental Engineering (CEE) senior and sophomore students Douglas Duchon, Phillip Brendecke, Joshua Comfort, Thinh Vo, and Stephanie Stasiuk, who will work on the project, "Converting Campus Waste Streams into Locally Used Energy Products through Steam Hydrogasification and Methane Reformation."

CEE junior students Marcus Chiu, Christian Contreras, Joon-Bok Lee and Jason Skovgard make up the second team and their project is "Grid-independent Electricity Generation for Remote Areas Based on a Unitized Regenerative Hydroxide Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell System."

The students will be supervised by Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering lecturer Kawai Tam and professors Joe Norbeck and Yushan Yan, who also serves as department chair. This is the fourth time UCR teams have won the P3 award. Previous winners were in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Tam has coordinated UCR's participation in the EPA competition at UCR since 2004.

Bourns Team Competes in ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge

A team of students and alumni representing the Bourns College of Engineering student chapter of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) competed in the ASME HPV (human powered vehicle) Western Regional Competition at Cal State Northridge April 23-25.

HPV renderingA total of 29 teams competed in two categories (unrestricted and speed), and the UCR team placed fourth overall and third in the design portion of the speed category. The photo on the right is a rendering of the UCR team's design. The slide show below shows the construction of the HPV and activities during the competition.

The team was made up of students Eugene O'Neill, Justin Marsh, Chris Richardson, Stephen Coffer, Adriana Figueroa, Anthony Fong, Brent Kalish, Rianne Garrido, Mark Tran, Heidi Kim, Mike Vaona, Alejandra Moreno-Aguilar, Marty McCall, and Luis Balderama, and alumni Chris Maceyko and Clayton Stothers. Also attending the competition was the ASME student chapter's advisor Jun Wang, professional development officer for the college.

The first stage of the competition involves the preparation of a comprehensive design report. The second part includes a design presentation and a series of performance events (sprint/drag race, utility endurance, and speed endurance), held over the course of a weekend. Human-powered transport is often the only type available in underdeveloped or inaccessible parts of the world, and if well designed, can be an increasingly viable form of sustainable transportation.

ASME's international Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate engineering students to demonstrate the application of sound engineering design principles in the development of sustainable and practical transportation alternatives. In the HPVC, students work in teams to design and build efficient, highly engineered vehicles for everyday use-from commuting to work, to carrying goods to market.

Victor Rodgers Earns Faculty Mentor Honors

Victor RodgersProfessor of Bioengineering Victor G. J. Rodgers (upper left in photo, left) has been named recipient of the 2009/2010 Upper Division Honors Program Faculty Mentor of the Year Award at UCR.

The award recognizes faculty mentors who have impacted the success of undergraduates in the UCR University Honors Program.

Rodgers was informed of the award by Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz, upper division coordinator, who wrote: "The selection of this award was based on a nomination from Upper Division Honors Student Pamela Jreij. Pamela presented an eloquent nomination that highlights the tremendous work you do in supporting undergraduates to excel not only academically, but also professionally."

Rodgers will be recognized along with other honorees at a reception on Thursday, May 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the Highlander Union Building (HUB), room 335. 

In February of this year, Rodgers was honored with the Distinguished Educator of the Year Award at The Engineers' Council's 55th annual honors and awards banquet in Los Angeles.

He is director of The B2K Group (Biotransport and Bioreaction Kinetics Group), which uses the fundamental principles of transport phenomena, reaction engineering kinetics and thermodynamics to investigate and develop exciting areas in biomedical engineering and bioseparations.

Rodgers is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

MS & E Building Well Underway

Construction of the new $56-million Materials Science and Engineering Building is well underway. The 80,000 square-foot facility will include more than 40,000 square feet of research and research support space, 19,000 square feet of instructional space, and a 9,000-square-foot clean room for nanotechnology related research. The building is due to be completed in late fall 2010, and occupied in January 2011.

Images in the slide show below were taken in late April 2010. You can view a live webcam view of the construction at and learn more about the building at

Roy-Chowdhury Leads Team Developing Aerial Video Analysis and Communications Lab

Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury (left, photo below), associate professor of electrical engineering at the Bourns College of Engineering, is principal investigator (P.I.) of a new project funded by the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) to create an Aerial Video Analysis and Communication Laboratory using remote-controlled drones and helicopters.

DURIP grant faculty

Roy-Chowdhury and co-P.I.s Bir Bhanu (middle, photo above) and Zhengyuan (Daniel) Xu (right, photo above), professors in the Department of Electrical Engineering, will use the laboratory for video data collection using two unmanned aerial vehicles and two remote-controlled helicopters (photos below) equipped with video capture and communication equipment, The data will be integrated with UCR's existing camera network facility called Videoweb used for Department of Defense research in surveillance and computer vision. The aircraft will also be used for research in non-line-of-sight communication in the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum to advance an Army-supported project.



The Aerial Video Laboratory will be a unique facility providing researchers with the capability to collect video data simultaneously from aerial and terrestrial platforms. This, in turn, will open up a number of research problems in camera networks and wide-area scene analysis. This is a problem of growing interest in the video analysis community due to its applications in a number of military and civil domains, e.g., national and homeland security, disaster response, environmental monitoring, and others. 

The UAVs will also be used to study the extension of the capability of UV communication for scenarios where direct communication of two ground/sea surface terminals is impossible due to weak signal reception -- another area of interest in many military applications that rely on secure, jam-resistant, and low-probability-of-intercept data communication links. 

The equipment will have also aid in nearly a dozen ongoing research projects at UCR. Additionally, students will be simultaneously exposed to cutting-edge research problems and their practical applications.

Bourns Hosts Wind Turbine Competition

Bourns College of Engineering will host six teams from Riverside and Mt. San Jacinto community college districts as they compete in a wind turbine competition Friday, May 14, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Bourns Hall, room A-265.

During the past eight weeks, undergraduate engineering students Eugene O'Neill, Marcus Tang, Rianne Garrido, Adriana Figueroa and Garrett Marsala have visited the community college campuses to work with the nearly 50 students who comprise the teams.

The project was created by the Bourns College to promote a greater appreciation of engineering as a discipline among students, and to enhance their understanding of engineering concepts and design principles. The goal is to increase interest in areas engineering, science and mathematics among high school and community college students, as well as to promote success among engineering undergraduates. 

The work was funded by the Department of Education under their College Cost Reduction and Accessibility Act, which also funds funds other activities at UCR under the STEM Pathways Project umbrella.

Bourns focused on wind turbine design because it combines many fields of science and engineering, including mechanical, electrical, aerodynamics, material engineering and physics and math, said BCOE Professional Development Officer Jun Wang, who helped coordinate the projects and competition.

The design was developed by Shadi Mahjoob and Associate Dean Ravishankar of the Bourns College. A student team under Wang's direction developed prototypes of the design at UCR, and visited area community colleges regularly to help students build their own turbines.

BCOE Lecture Series Will Conclude With Event Honoring Tom Payne

Tom PayneTom Payne, associate professor emeritus of computer science and engineering in the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE), with give the final lecture in the college's 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series, Engineering Opportunities and Challenges: The Next 20 Years, on Thursday, May 20, at 3 p.m in Winston Chung Hall, room 205/206. The event is free and open to the public.

His talk, "What the Past Tells Us About the Future of Computers," will be followed by a reception recognizing his retirement and honoring his 43 years of service to UCR and its students. Payne joined the Department of Mathematics in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) at UCR in 1967. He joined the College of Engineering (COE) in July 1992, when the Department of Computer Science, which was formed two years earlier, was moved from CNAS to COE. He served as chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from 1994 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2007.

During his tenure at UCR, Payne has been involved in numerous service activities, including membership on BCOE's ABET accreditation committee, the university's WASC accreditation committee, the Academic Senate Advisory Committee and several campus initiatives to evaluate and improve computing and information technology resources. A native of Iowa, Payne did his undergraduate work at Marquette University and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics at the University of Notre Dame.

At the reception, a new scholarship in computer science and engineering in his honor will be announced. Persons interested in contributing to the Dr. Thomas H. Payne Scholarship for Computer Science and Engineering and being recognized at the event, can make a gift online. In the box for Special Instructions, please enter "Dr. Thomas H. Payne Scholarship." For more information, contact Julia Nemeth at (951) 827-7151.

Bourns Students Finish Second in IEEE Micromouse Competition

BCOE students Alex Eisner and Andrew Juarez finished second in the micromouse competition held the regional meeting of the IEEE at California State University, Northridge, April 17.
One of UCLA's four teams won the competition, which also included teams from UCR, CSU Northridge and CSU Los Angeles.
micromouseThe micromouse Eisner (on the left in the photo at right) and Juarez (on the right in the photo at right) used in the competition is their senior design project. "I made a micromouse and competed two years ago, but this mouse looks and performs a whole lot better than my previous attempt," said Eisner, a computer engineering major. Juarez is an electrical engineering major and they are both members of the UCR student chapter of IEEE.
The BCOE team's mouse visited 72 unique cells, while the winning team from UCLA visited 102 cells. None of the teams were able to complete the challenge in the allotted time. They will get the opportunity to make improvements in their designs and compete in another regional competition later this spring.
Videos of the micromice in action can be seen on Eisner's YouTube channel here:

BCOE Graduate Students Earn Prestigious Fellowships

Bourns College of Engineering graduate students have been awarded a number of prestigious fellowships, it was announced in April.

Students Shannon Gott, Daniel Grissom and Anh Nguyen were named recipients of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships to support their doctoral studies. They are among eight UCR students to be awarded the fellowship this year -- the most-ever for UCR in one year.

The NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is highly competitive and is awarded to students who demonstrate high levels of success and strong potential for future contributions to their field.

Dan GrissomDan Grissom (photo, left) is working with Professors Philip Brisk and Gianfranco Ciardo in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering on the development of a general purpose microfluidics lab on a chip (LoC). LoC is an emerging technology which shrinks the functionality of a traditional bench-top lab onto a chip made-up of two parts: a wet part that manipulates nanoliters of fluid and a dry part (silicon-based) that sends signals to the wet part to perform the desired work. Lab-on-a-chip technology has applications ranging from rapid medical diagnostics to homeland security.

Shannon GottWorking with Professor Masaru Rao in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Shannon Gott's (photo, right) research will focus on developing novel materials that could lead to a new generation of medical devices, specifically vascular stents.


Anh NguyenAnh Nguyen (photo, left)  will be working with Professor of Mechanical Engineering Heejung Jung at the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). Her research seeks to improve the understanding of the relationship between the chemical composition of emissions from diesel engines and cloud formation in the atmosphere.

Nichola KinsingerNichola Kinsinger (photo, right) has been awarded the 2010 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG). Kinsinger's application was selected by the Navy from among 2,600 submitted applications this year. Working with Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering David Kisailus, her proposed study will focus on the investigation of a bio-inspired synthesis of TiO2 nanostructures for photocatalytic activity, seeking to understand the mechanism of nucleation and growth and how the architecture of the nanostructure (i.e., morphology) ultimately controls its function.

Rebekah OultonRebekah Oulton (photo, left) has been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's STAR graduate fellowship. Oulton works with Professor David Cwiertny in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and her proposal was titled, "Application of Carbon Nanotubes in Catalytic Ozonation for Sustainable Water Reuse." Her project explores the efficacy of using carbon nanotubes as catalysts for advanced oxidation processes targeting the removal of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutically active compounds during waste water treatment. Oulton has also been accepted into the CSU Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program, which provides loans to graduate students that are forgiven if they join the faculty at a California State University campus.

Jesse LozanoDepartment of Mechanical Engineering graduate student Jesse Lozano (photo, right) was awarded the Graduate Research Mentorship Program Fellowship, a competitive award given by UCR's Graduate Division. All students who received these campus-wide awards were ranked both by their own programs and by a subcommittee of the Graduate Council based on a number of factors including diversity (where applicable), progress toward degree, quality of proposal and departmental/program ranking. Lozano, who works with Prof. of Mechanical Engineering Shankar Mahalingam, was given the award for his proposal, "The Effect of Environmental and Fuel Properties on Wild Fires." He is pictured here at the wind tunnel and laser system he helped develop to study fire behavior at the USDA Forest Service Fire Lab in Riverside.

BCOE Hosts Space Science and Engineering Day

Space Science and Engineering DayMore than 500 local children and their parents visited the Bourns College of Engineering for Space Science and Engineering Day, Saturday, April 10. 

The event began with introductory remarks by Dean Reza Abbaschian, Prof. Elaine Haberer, BCOE Council of Advisors Chair Gordon Bourns and a keynote address by Prof. Susan Hackwood, founding dean of the college and executive director of the California Council on Science and Technology.

The audience, made up mostly of Girl Scouts from the region, were made aware of the importance of engineering and science in their everyday lives, and how rewarding a career in these fields can be.

The rest of the afternoon was spent participating in a variety of activities led by BCOE student volunteers and listening to talks by faculty and engineering professionals. Dalia Eldessouky, president of the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) said, "The response from our students was overwhelming. We had more volunteers than we actually needed."

The event was sponsored by Bourns Inc., NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Space Grant Consortium, the Riverside Astronomical Society, the Bourns College of Engineering and the Society of Women Engineers. It was covered by the Press-Enterprise newspaper. A gallery of photos of the day can be viewed at the BCOE Flickr website.

Energy and Air Quality Discussed at Distinguished Lecture Series

Bhakta RathBhakta Rath, head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the Naval Research Laboratory, and Bart Croes, chief of the Research Division of the California Air Resources Board, visited campus in April for BCOE's 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series.

Rath (photo, right) presented his talk, "Energy After Oil," on April 5 and discussed the challenges of replacing fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. He noted that price fluctuations at the gas pump have focused attention to the phenomenal increase of global energy consumption in recent years, and that the world has almost reached a peak in global oil production.

He noted that in the U.S., nearly 40 percent of energy usage is provided by petroleum, of which nearly one-thirds is used in transportation. The U.S. Department of Defense is the single largest buyer of fuel, amounting to, on the average, 13 million gallons per day.

Rath described the aggressive search for alternate energy sources, both renewable and nonrenewable, being undertaken by the government. He discussed many of the fuels being studied, and the economic and environmental challenges they face. In discussing food vs. non-food-based feedstocks for biofuels, he noted it takes more energy to produce enthanol from corn than the fuel generates, and it is viable only because of generous government subsidies designed to help reduce the dependence on foreign oil.

Rath discussed the many trade-offs that need to be overcome in developing alternative fuels (e.g., the huge amounts of water needed to sustain production of algae for biofuels). Some trade-offs can be potentially advantageous, such as when algae production can be located near coal-burning power plants and the resulting CO2 used to "feed" the algae.

Bart CroesCroes (photo,left) discussed "The Next Twenty Years of Air Quality" during his lecture April 15. His talk was integrated into the Pathways to a Sustainable Society worshop held at UCR Extension, a day-long program co-sponsored by UCR's Environmental Research Institute and the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology.

Croes noted the vast improvements in the air in Southern California since the ARB was founded more than four decades ago, pointing out that pollution levels are about 25 percent of what they were in the 1960s and 70s.

"The air quality problem in Southern California is largely a transportation issue," Croes said. "We have the largest number of motor vehicles per capita than anywhere in the world. And while we've made tremendous progress in reducing ozone and particulate matter in the atmosphere, more than 90 percent of Californians are exposed to unhealthy air some part of the year."

Croes shared data showing how exposure to particulate matter is a factor in premature deaths in the state. "Air pollution is a significant factor in the death rate in California," he said. He attibuted the reductions in deaths linked to air pollution to the ARB's regulations, which are currently focusing on heavy duty diesel trucks and other vehicles.

Panel The Pathways to a Sustainable Society workshop concluded with a panel discussion of activities on the UCR campus related to sustainability. Vice Chancellor of Research Charles Louis (far right in photo, right) decribed a U.S. university that created a college of sustainability and initiated a spirited discussion when he posed the question, "Should UCR have a new 'named' unit related to sustainability?"

Anil Deolalikar, professor of economics and director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development (second from right in photo), said that the future school of public policy that has been approved at UCR could focus on sustainability. Reza Abbaschian, BCOE dean (second from left in photo), said that it was not necessary to create a new entity, but instead recommended that engineers and scientists be allowed to do what they do best -- create new knowledge that meet the needs of society. Fellow panelist Tom Baldwin, dean of the College of Natural and and Agricultural Sciences (far left in photo), agreed: "The idea of having a college of sustainability? I wonder how sustainable that model is."

IEEE Event at BCOE Recognizes Student Research

The second annual IEEE EDS Mini-Colloquium on Microelectronics and IEEE Student Research Symposium were held jointly at UCR April 2, 2010.

Guest speakers for the event were Nate Peachey, engineering manager at RF Micro Devices and member of the board of directors for the ESD Association, and IEEE fellows Steven Voldman from IBM Corp., and Bin Zhao from FreeScale Semiconductor Corp.

Four student groups received cash prizes for their research poster presentations: 

IEEE3First place in the graduate division was awarded to Sushmee Badhulika for the poster PEDOT:PSS coated single walled carbon nanotube gas sensor arrays. (In the center of the photo at right, with Nate Peachey, left; and Dr. Albert Wang, right)

IEEE2First place in the undergraduate division was awarded to Martha Sosa for Studying the Significance of Mass Transfer in Signaling Pathways. (Second from left in photo at left, along with Prof. Albert Wang, on the left; Prof. Victor Rodgers, second from right; and BCOE Dean Reza Abbaschian, far right)

IEEE1The second place graduate award went to Prashanthi Vandrangi for Effect of Mass Transfer in Vascular Endothelium: Relevance to Flow-Dependent AMPK Signaling Pathway. (Pictured in the center of the photo at right with Steven Voldman, left; and Prof. Allbert Wang, right)

IEEE4The second place undergraduate award was given to Jeremy Tan for Electronic Properties of Ultra-scaled Si / Ge Quantum Dots and Nanowires. (In the center of the photo at left, with Prof. Albert Wang, left; and Bin Zhao, right)

UCR's Electron Devices Society event is held annually and students are encouraged to join the chapter and present their research.



BCOE Team Earns Second Place Award in International Environmental Design Competition

A team of students from Bourns College of Engineering earned a second place award at the WERC 20th International Environmental Design Contest hosted by New Mexico State University's College of Engineering Institute for Energy and the Environment in Las Cruces, N.M., March 28-31.

WERC teamThe award-winning team was made up of Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (CEE) seniors Mina Ghabbour, Bryan Goldsmith, Robert Bonderer, Kyle Pease and Dylan Switzer (pictured in photo, left to right).

A consortium for environmental education and technology development based in New Mexico, WERC holds the annual competition that attracts teams from colleges and universities from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

This was UCR's highest-ever finish in this competition. Their task, which was one of four given to the teams, was "Reduction of Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Mine."

The students were judged by a panel of 11 expert judges on their written paper, oral presentation, bench-scale demonstration and poster presentation. The second-place award included a trophy and a cash award.

WERC team with Kawai TamThey were accompanied at the competition by faculty adviser and CEE lecturer Kawai Tam (photo, far right). "This was the first time since we began participating in 2007 that we placed in the top two, so we are ecstatic," said Tam.

This year's WERC competition was sponsored by the Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research Science and Technology, Intel, Food and Drug Administration, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Water Research Foundation and New Mexico State University.

Bhakta Rath to Discuss "Energy After Oil" at Distinguished Lecture Series April 5

RathBhakta Rath, associate director of research and head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the Naval Research Laboratory, will give a lecture, "Energy Without Oil," at the Bourns College of Engineering on Monday, April 5, at 3 p.m., in Winston Chung Hall, room 205/206.

At the Naval Research Laboratory, Rath manages a multidisciplinary research program to discover and exploit new improved materials, generate new concepts associated with materials behavior, and develop advanced components.

Rath has served as the president of the American Society for Materials, and has been a member of the boards of directors/trustees of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, the American Society for Materials-International, and the Federation of Materials Society. He is member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has been honored by The American Society of Materials, the Naval Research Laboratory, the Department of Defense and numerous professional and scholarly organizations.

Aerospace CEO Wanda Austin Delivers Talk About Need to "Get it Right"

Wanda Austin, president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation, presented a talk, "Getting it Right in an Imperfect World: Catalyzing the Future," on Tuesday, Mar. 30, as part of the Bourns College of Engineering's 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series "Engineering Opportunities and Challenges: The Next 20 Years."

Abbaschian, HackwoodAustin described the five core values at The Aerospace Corporation: dedication to mission success; technical excellence; commitment to people; objectivity; and integrity. "We use a set of guiding principles -- or navigation system -- for every decision we make, whether it is in the board room, the launch control room or the cafeteria," she said. "Ours is an unforgiving business where every decision matters."

She said objectivity is "the toughest to achieve. You need to think of yourself as an independent reviewer of your own work. Don't think of yourself and your career."

Austin described the importance for teamwork and precision in preparing the missions her company undertakes, which often cost billions of dollars and decades to prepare for. "There is no instant gratification, and unlike the TV commercial, there is no 'easy button,'" she said.

She compared integrity to "truth-telling" and used her work as a member of the Augustine Commission as an example. The commission was asked to advise President Barack Obama on the feasibility of future of human space flight and concluded that returning men to the moon was not realistically possible until 2022.

"The technical and organizational complexity of these projects is daunting," Austin noted. "The practice of systems engineering is a foundation of technical leadership. Over the next 20 years, we're going to need a lot more technical leaders."

During the question and answer period, Tom Payne, associate professor emeritus of computer science and engineering, asked Austin for her thoughts on the need for systems engineering in the undergraduate engineering curriculum: "How much should we offer, and how shall we deliver it?" he asked. 

"We have an engineering curriculum that does a very good job of developing experts -- specialists -- in their fields," Austin said, "and you need to be expert in your area. You also need to open the aperture to recognize that your discipline connects to other disciplines. What we need to instill early in our engineering curriculum is a passion for asking questions about how things connect."

Susan Hackwood, founding dean of the college, professor of electrical engineering and executive director of the California Council on Science and Technology, asked Austin about the emergence of China and India as challenges to the leadership of the U.S. in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"I don't look at it as an 'us vs. them' issue," Austin said. "We need to look at who we are and our history. We are not developing the wealth of science and technology talent that we are capable of. Somehow, we've lost that. This is not to say that everyone should become an engineer or a rocket scientist, but there is value in having an educated and technically-savvy society.

"We need to set that bar higher. It's clear that other countries value science and engineering education and place a great emphasis on it."

Aerospace CEO Wanda Austin to Speak at BCOE Mar. 30

Wanda AustinWanda Austin, president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation, will be the next speaker in the Bourns College of Engineering's 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series "Engineering Opportunities and Challenges: The Next 20 Years."

"Getting it Right in an Imperfect World: Catalyzing the Future" is the title of Austin's talk, which will be presented Tuesday, Mar. 30, at 3 p.m. in Winston Chung Hall, room 205/206.

Austin is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

She has received numerous awards and citations, including the National Intelligence Medallion for Meritorious Service, the Air Force Scroll of Achievement, the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal, the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's Martin Luther King Spirit of the Dream Award, and the 2009 Black Engineer of the Year Award. She was inducted into the WITI (Women in Technology International) Hall of Fame in September 2007. In 2008, Austin received a Special Achievement Award from the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles.

The Aerospace Corporation is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the objective application of science and technology toward the solution of critical issues affecting the nation's space program. The company has nearly 4,000 employees and annual revenues of more than $850 million.

Army Investing $1.5 Million in Faloutsos' Network Research

March 29

FaloutsosMichalis Faloutsos, professor of computer science and engineering, has received $1.5 million from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory for his research as part of a new consortium known as the Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NSCTA), which brings together government, industrial and academic institutions.

The alliance is expected to be a world-leading research organization in the new field of network science -- the study of the properties, models, and theories that apply to all varieties of networks (including social, information, and communications), and the use of this understanding in the analysis, prediction, design, and control of all varieties of networks.

The NSCTA is a close collaboration between the Army Research Laboratory, other government and non-government researchers, and a consortium of four research centers: one concerned with social/cognitive networks, one focused on information networks, one studying communication networks (UCR computer science professors Srikanth Krishnamurthy and Neal Young participate as principal investigators in this center), and an Integration Research Center (IRC) that integrates research across the consortium and transitions technology to the Army. UC Riverside, led by Faloutsos, participates as a general member in this center. Its primary functions will be to evaluate and leverage research from the other three Centers as well as other research entities.

Faloutsos' focus is integrating and guiding the research across the center on understanding fundamental properties of large complex systems, such as communication networks, human interactions, online and web-based communities, and developing methods to model and predict their evolution. The funding will be provided for five years and is potentially renewable for another five.

Lonardi on Team Battling Malaria

March 23

lonardiStefano Lonardi, associate professor of Computer Science and Engineering, is part of a UCR team that has identified a mechanism that allows malaria parasites to intensively replicate themselves in human blood.

The discovery could lead to new drugs to combat the spread of the deadly disease. Study results have been published in the journal "Genome Research."

Elena Harris, a Ph.D. student researcher in Lonardi's lab, was joint first author of the paper, along with Nadia Ponts, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Karine Le Roch, a UCR assistant professor of cell biology and neuroscience, and leader of the research.

The project involved generating a very large dataset of DNA sequences from the malaria genome using a high-throughput sequencing instrument currently installed at UC Riverside. Harris and Lonardi have been responsible for the analysis of this large dataset and extracting new biological knowledge in the process.

Now that the team has identified a mechanism by which the malaria parasite Plasmodium replicates itself in human blood, they hope to find an enzyme that can regulate the replication, which would halt or greatly limit the spread of the disease.

UCR Press Release

Guze Calls Engineering and Medicine "Inseparable"

March 19

GuzeEngineering and medicine are "inseparable" disciplines, according to Phyllis Guze, associate vice chancellor, health affairs and executive associate dean of the UCR School of Medicine. She made the observation during her March 17 talk, "Medicine and Engineering: The Best is Yet to Come," which was part of the Bourns College of Engineering's 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series.

Guze began her talk by showing crude medical devices from the 1500s and described how engineers and doctors worked together to design them. She also described many of the remarkable developments in medicine that have resulted from the work of engineers.

"Without engineers, we could not replace joints," Guze said. "The important thing about this collaboration is not that you can create the device. The challenge is to make it using substances that will allow the device to stay in the body. We are very good at getting rid of things that don't belong to us. Foreign bodies don't usually last too long."

Guze also described new developments in the use of capsule endoscopy, an imaging device that is swallowed and is used to view and monitor the condition of the digestive tract as it passes through. The device is able to generate three-dimensional color views of the digestive tract. "I get asked all the time," she said. "No, it is not designed to be re-used."

Guze described the myriad ways the two disciplines complement each other, going back to the time of Leonard da Vinci, who designed an early version of a robot. Guze described how increased communications bandwidth for the transmission of high-resolution images and video has made telemedicine and robotic medicine possible. In 2001, the first trans-Atlantic surgery was performed by a doctor in New York on a patient in Paris.

Devices are now available that allow physicians to talk with and diagnose patients remotely (e.g., "from their back porch"). Guze showed an illustration of a robotic "doctor" with the video image of the human doctor on a video screen (photo, above right). "I don't know if I was sick and awoke one day and saw this looking at me, if I would be very happy," she said.

Pacemakers, which are used to control a patient's heart rhythm, were once "the size of a deck of cards and protruded from the patient's chest," she said. "With miniaturization, they are now invisible and are capable of sending data about the patient to virtually anywhere in the world."

Guze pointed out many of the newest developments in nanomedicine as among the bright prospects for the future of medicine, and for engineering.

Nanoscale devices are being used and developed for cancer prevention and control and to deliver cancer prevention agents and multi-component anti-cancer vaccines. Early detection is made possible by platforms for mass analysis of cancer-associated markers. Imaging diagnostics are using targeted contrast agents to improve resolution of cancer to a single cell, and nano-scale therapeutic devices can control the release of anti-cancer drugs.

Guze described use of nanoscaffolding to facilitate tissue growth, including the creation of the first human bladder. Researchers are using nano-scale threads to facilitate the growth of spinal cord tissue.

Looking ahead, she said, "I believe that nanotechnology will be the manufacturing technology of the 21st century. It will help us build a broad range of complex molecular machines, including bio-molecular computers. It will allow us to build fleets of computer-controlled molecular tools that are much smaller than the human cell.

Guze, School of Medicine Dean G. Richard Olds and BCOE Dean Reza Abbaschian participated in the question-and-answer portion of the lecture afterward and voiced their enthusiasm for collaboration between the BCOE and the School of Medicine in the years ahead.

Guze served as acting vice chancellor and dean of the school of medicine until Olds was named founding dean in February. She was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the school, which was formally approved by the UC regents in July 2008. The first new public medical school in California in more than four decades, it will enroll its first incoming class of 50 medical students in fall 2012.

Yan Predicts the Next 20 Years in Energy

March 12

YanGlobal energy consumption surely will go up in the next 20 years, but will petroleum consumption fall? Professor Yushan Yan addressed that question and the overall future of energy in a talk March 10 as part of the Bourns College of Winston Chung Hall0th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series.

Unlike most forecasts, Yan's outlook calls for petroleum consumption to actually decrease by 2030. Renewable energy, mainly from wind, biomass, and the sun, will begin to play a much larger role in the world's energy mix, he said. And coal consumption also could go up.

U.S. energy consumption has declined over the past 20 years despite a rising population because of increasing efficiency. However, as much of the rest of the world develops, demand for energy will rise. Yan said 1.5 billion people don't have electricity and 2.5 billion people don't have access to cooking fuels today. He grew up in a small village in a rural area of China, and remembers his family's home getting electricity when he was 7 years old.

Yan and DeanDemand, supply, and carbon dioxide impacts on global climate are the three controlling factors for the world's energy future. Yan, who is Chair of UCR's Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, said policy, technology, and finance will have a big impact on those variables. "Necessity is the mother of invention, and price generates necessity," he said.

In his lecture, Yan outlined the important role that hydrogen is likely to play. Hydrogen can be linked with solar and wind systems as a medium to store and transport energy, he said. Efficient and inexpensive fuel cells will make it possible to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen. These gases (or liquids such as ethanol from renewable biomass) then can be run back through the fuel cell to produce electricity where and when needed. Yan's group has been a leader in developing low-cost, high-efficiency alternatives to the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. He recently received one of the first awards from the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to pursue potentially transformative membrane technology. He is pictured (on the left) with Dean Reza Abbaschian after the talk. 

Nature Highlights Balandin Group's Research

March 8

cover of APLA recent research breakthrough that was achieved in Dr. Alexander Balandin's Nano-Device Laboratory was highlighted in Nature, a high-impact scientific journal. Balandin is a professor of electrical engineering and chair of the Materials Science and Engineering program at UCR.

The Nature article stated that Balandin's group has created a competitor to graphene - a single atomic layer of carbon atoms with unique properties - by succeeding in the creation of atomically thin crystalline layers of another important material, bismuth telluride.

Bismuth telluride is the best thermoelectric material known today. It is used for electrical power generation and solid-state cooling applications such as car seats that are cooled from the inside. Atomically thin films of bismuth telluride have been theoretically predicted to be much more efficient in energy conversion.

The experimental work was described in the printed and on-line version of the journal in the Research Highlights section under the title "Cutting It Fine" (Nature, Vol. 463, February 18, 2010). These results were also featured on the cover of Applied Physics Letters, a top journal in the applied physics field, and by online nanotechnology media such as NanoWerk. The journal cover (pictured) shows a scanning electron microscopy image of the bismuth telluride atomically-thin film with metallic electrodes for electrical measurements. Insets show the crystal structure of the separated atomic five-fold, and current-voltage characteristics measured in the Nano Device Laboratory. Technical reports of the work were published in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters and in Applied Physics Letters, a publication of the American Institute of Physics.

The results obtained by the Balandin group open up new possibilities for increasing the efficiency of thermoelectric cooling and "green" energy generation. Most recently, bismuth telluride films were also shown to reveal the properties of "topological insulators" - a new type of materials with possible applications for memory devices, including those used in computer chips.

Nature article "Cutting It Fine"
Nano Letters article
Applied Physics Letters article

Princeton Review Places BCOE Program in Top 50

February 3

Zordan with screenThe Princeton Review has included a Bourns College of Engineering program in their list of "Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs," chosen from 500 universities offering this field of study.

"The credit for this recognition obviously goes to the faculty of the Computer Science and Engineering department, particularly to Victor Zordan who has been championing this program tirelessly," said Dean Reza Abbaschian.

Zordan is at left in the top photo; at right is Ph.D. student Marc Soriano. Muzaffer Akbay, also a Ph.D. student, is in the other photo. Both students are wearing bodysuits with reflective markers which allow infrared cameras to record their movements for motion capture equipment that maps them to a 3-D character model.

The Princeton Review reports other school rankings, ratings and lists such as "100 Best Value Colleges" in partnership with USA Today. The game design program ranking list - the first project of its kind - was developed with the assistance of GamePro Magazine. They selected the top 50 from 500 institutions in the U.S. and Canada where students can study game design, based on a survey it conducted with administrators in 2009-10. The comprehensive survey covered areas from academics and faculty credentials to graduates' employment and career achievements, and also looked at data on scholarships, financial aid and career opportunities.

motion suit"Clearly, our efforts in formalizing game design at UCR and BCOE are still under way, but this recognition is exciting because it will fuel more interest among our students and future applicants and subsequently could lead to an acceleration of the process," Zordan said. "The ultimate form of game design at UCR is still under consideration, but there is no doubt that this high national ranking of our cross-disciplinary educational and related research efforts will make UCR an even more attractive option for students interested in careers in the game and entertainment industry. It is an exciting time for all involved."

Zordan has been an animation enthusiast and graphics programmer for more than twenty years and a researcher investigating animation techniques for more than ten. His interests are in physical simulation, motion capture, and algorithms used to create believable (and unbelievable) motion and to explore novel uses for animation in electronic games, medical and training applications, and 3D virtual worlds.

In 2008 Zordan was the recipient of UCR's Innovative Teaching Award from the university's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He was chosen as a result of his Computer Science 134 course, Video Game Design and Creation, in which Computer Science undergraduates are teamed with graduate students from UCR's Music and English departments to develop original video games compete with sound effects and musical score. The course includes discussions of ethics such as violence and social impact of the games, a field trip to a motion capture studio, and a visit by an industry game consultant for a discussion of careers in the field. This term's (Winter 2010) offering of game design also adds artists who help the programming teams by creating custom environments and characters for their game projects.

Princeton Review Top 50 list
USA Today story
UCR Press Relelase
Zordan's  Riverside Graphics Lab

Rodgers Chosen for Distinguished Engineering Educator Award

February 26

Tarn and RodgersVictor G.J. Rodgers, professor of bioengineering, was presented with the Engineers' Council Distinguished Engineering Educator Award at the organization's Honors and Awards banquet in Universal City on February 20. This event is held in conjunction with National Engineers Week. Rodgers is pictured on the right, receiving the award from Council Trustee and Secretary Robert B. Tarn.

On the podium Rodgers thanked the Council for recognizing the importance of engineering educators. He thanked Bourns College of Engineering Dean Reza Abbaschian for nominating him for the award. "I also thank my students -- past and present -- for being successful, for they make it all worthwhile," he said.

The Distinguished Engineering Educator Award honors individuals who are outstanding in professional qualities and have a top reputation for engineering education and leadership, and have significantly contributed to students' extracurricular activities and/or scientific achievements.

"Victor Rodgers is a genuinely dedicated educator and researcher who goes far beyond expectations to engage students, ensure their success, and follow their careers long after they graduate," said Dean Abbaschian.

The Engineers' Council, a nonprofit professional society based in the San Fernando Valley, was founded in 1955 through the joint efforts of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the California Society of Professional Engineers, the American Institute of Plant Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Its annual Honors and Awards Banquet is the largest Engineers Week celebration nationwide, with proceeds funding the Council's scholarship, high school mentoring, and middle school and high school math and science enrichment programs.

Garay Receives NSF CAREER Award

February 23

GarayJavier Garay, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been chosen for a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his research in controlling light refraction properties of electrooptic materials by using smaller electric fields.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.

The ability to bend (refract) light using transparent materials is familiar, and used in many devices including cameras and telescopes. Light refraction properties of a special class of materials called electrooptic materials can be controlled using electric fields. Since electric fields are relatively easy to generate and change, electrooptic materials allow light paths to be changed "on the fly". If the electrooptic response could be attained faster or using smaller fields, electrooptic materials could find a host of new applications. Garay's project aims to extend the applicability of electrooptic ceramics by using a composite approach. Typically ceramic composites are opaque, but by carefully controlling their structure large ceramic materials whose light transmittance properties can be controlled by applying electric fields will be produced. These materials could be used in a wide array of consumer electronics such as digital cameras and in advanced applications, especially in the laser field.

Garay's research will also be used to motivate young scientists and engineers through workshop-like demonstrations conducted in various venues including university dormitories and high school classrooms. Light interaction with materials is relatively easy to demonstrate, allowing the research to be brought to life for diverse groups of students.

Wing Promotes Computational Thinking at Lecture

February 19

wing talkingThe evolution from computing to computational thinking will open new scientific vistas and opportunities, said Jeannette M. Wing, Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). Physical scientists, social scientists, engineers, and others will be able to ask and answer new questions by looking at old questions in new ways. "It's not just our metal tools, it's our mental tools," Dr. Wing said in her presentation on February 17 as part of the Bourns College of Winston Chung Hall0th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series.

By treating problems of the physical world as software problems, in effect, scientists can uncover important new information. Biology was one of the first disciplines to realize this, she said. Computational methods made it possible to decode DNA and to make sense of the long strings of data. Similarly, other disciplines, from economics to medicine, are benefiting from computational approaches that can find patterns and trends in vast amounts of data.

Dr. Wing, who also holds an appointment as President's Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University, said it is important for computer scientists to reach out to researchers and professionals in other disciplines. Once the computational resources are understood, great advances will be possible, she said.

Teaching young people to think computationally also should be a priority, she said. She said the computer science community and educators have not yet figured out the appropriate ways of introducing abstraction and other elements of computational thinking into K-12 instruction. Young people today are comfortable using a wide array of electronic gadgets, so they should be receptive to teaching approaches based on what they do and how they work, she said. "We have their attention. So why not exploit that to attract their interest?"

The BCOE 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series is a broad-based look ahead at the next 20 years of engineering opportunities and challenges. The lecture series continues on March 17 with UCR Professor Yushan Yan, who speaks on "The Next 20 Years in Energy." Please see for details about the series.

Graduate Returns as Director of SC-RISE

February 11

Alfredo talkDr. Alfredo Martinez-Morales has been named as managing director of Southern California-Research Initiative for Solar Energy (SC-RISE), and will be responsible for the initiative's daily operation. Martinez-Morales earned his B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering at UC Riverside. His previous position was as manager of Professor Mihri Ozkan's Biomedical Science and Technology lab. He has also served as a visiting researcher in solar applications of nanotechnology at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.

Martinez-Morales was a speaker at a February 9 symposium at UCR (see photo) on Assembly Bill 811, which authorizes all California cities and counties to designate areas in which willing property owners can enter into contractual assessments to finance installation of distributed renewable energy generation and/or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to the property owner's residential, commercial, industrial, or other real property.

SC-RISE was created to advance solar energy technologies, train professionals to work in the industry, nurture new businesses and assist commercial and residential energy users in identifying appropriate applications for solar energy. It is based at the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). Twenty faculty at CE-CERT, the College of Engineering and the Chemistry Department have already signed on as affiliated researchers with SC-RISE.

The initiative is a vertically integrated effort to advance the utilization of solar energy through research, technology and education. Martinez-Morales also hosted a first meeting of regional colleges on February 10 to pool experience and search for areas of cooperation.

Link to SC-RISE website

NSF's Wing to Present Second Distinguished Lecture

February 8

wingOn February 17 at 3 p.m. Jeannette Wing will present a talk titled "Frontiers in Computing Research and Education: A View from the National Science Foundation" as part of Bourns College of Engineering's 20th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series. The event will take place in Winston Chung Hall, Room 205/206. There is no charge for admission, and the general public is invited.

Wing, currently on leave from her position as President's Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, heads the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. The agency provides 86 percent of all federally funded research in computer science, and contributes to the education and training of future generations of computer scientists and engineers.

Wing is an international leader in the area of formal methods -- the use of mathematical models and logics to specify and reason about computing systems. Recently she has turned her attention to trustworthy computing with a focus on software security.

An alumna of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wing has worked or consulted for AT&T Bell Laboratories, Xerox Palo Alto Research Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corporation, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Microsoft Corporation. She is a member of the National Academies of Sciences' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board and Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board, and is an elected member-at-large on the ACM Council.

The Bourns College of Engineering is celebrating its 20th anniversary during the 2009-10 academic year with a series of distinguished lectures looking ahead at the next 20 years in a variety of science and engineering topics. For a complete schedule of the Distinguished Lecture Series, please see

Mahalingam Elected Fellow of ASME

February 3

mahalingamShankar Mahalingam, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been elevated to the grade of Fellow in the national professional organization American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The Fellow grade recognizes significant engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession. Candidates for the honor are nominated by their peers and selected by the Fellow Review Committee with final approval of the Committee of Past Presidents.

Mahalingam's expertise is in the area of turbulent combustion, characterized by unsteady three-dimensional motion that can promote the mixing of fuel and air and lead to more vigorous combustion. He was among the earliest group of researchers to develop direct and large eddy simulation methodology to study the dynamics of coflowing jet diffusion flames. Over the last ten years, he has extended large eddy simulation to study fire behavior in shrub fuels. He is one of the leading experts in the area of modeling transition behavior in fires including marginal burning, and transition of surface fires to crown fires, utilizing both simulations and laboratory scale experimentation.

Mahalingam has coauthored over 100 papers including refereed journal papers, refereed conference proceedings, and other non-refereed conference papers. He has served as an Invited Professor at the Labaratoire EM2C, Ecole Centrale Paris, and as a Visiting Professor at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He would like to personally thank his graduate students and the colleagues that he has collaborated with on this work, and is especially thankful to the USDA Forest Service for its continued support of his research.

A Bright Idea: Wireless Networks from Lights

February 1

UCLight groupA new University of California initiative to develop wireless communication networks based on visible light rather than radio waves began operations last week with a kickoff meeting that attracted representatives from four UC campuses, one national laboratory, and several companies.

The mission of the Center for Ubiquitous Communication by Light, or UC-Light, is to devise technologies and strategies that will enable a new generation of high-efficiency lighting to provide data transmission capabilities. Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, already are common in traffic lights, street lighting, and some indoor settings, and they are expected to gain market share because of their high efficiency and long life. UC-Light will make it possible for networks of LEDs to provide communication, navigation, information, and other services indoors and outdoors. This will add wireless connectivity in places where radio signals are restricted, such as hospitals and aboard aircraft, and it can open the door to a number of interactive information services.

UCR Electrical Engineering Professor Zhengyuan (Daniel) Xu is UC-Light's Director. Researchers in electrical engineering, computer science, and architecture from UCR, three other UC campuses and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are involved in the effort.

Industry involvement is an important part of this center, which was established under the UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) program. For more information about how to become involved, please see UC-Light's web site,

Wu's Team Produces Coating that Repels Ice

January 21

wuJianzhong Wu, professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, is part of a team developing easily applied anti-ice coatings for solid surfaces such as roads, airplane exteriors and power lines. Di Gao, the team's leader, is a former Bourns College postdoctoral researcher and is now an assistant professor at another university. US News and World Report, United Press International,, Science Daily and the American Chemical Society's journal Langmuir are examples of the many places the work has been reported.

Inspired by the self-cleaning ridged surface of lotus leaves, the nanoparticle-based coating was an extension of research on water repellants. However, ice behaves differently than water, so coatings must be specifically formulated to repel ice formation. The team discovered that a superhydrophobic surface decorated with containing silica particles less than 50 nanometers in size completely prevented icing.

Applications for this technology could result in safer roadways, less likelihood of tree limbs breaking, and the prevention of ice buildup on surfaces of airplanes and other equipment subject to extreme weather conditions.

BCOE 20th Anniversary Lecture Series Launched

January 14

speakersGetting the public to recognize the great accomplishments of engineering will be a challenge to overcome as we look forward and work to inspire a new generation of innovators, said two guest speakers at the first presentation of the Bourns College of Winston Chung Hall0th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series on January 13.

Susan Hackwood, Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (and BCOE's Founding Dean) and Jeffrey Rudolph, CEO of the California Science Center, said engineers need to do a better job of reaching out to the public to explain how science works and how engineering and technology contribute to quality of life. Lingering suspicion of the "military-industrial complex" and corporate motives, combined with poor public understanding of science and technology, make it difficult for engineers, Dr. Hackwood told an audience of about 60 people from the campus and the community. Mr. Rudolph pointed out that informal science education through museums and events plays an important role in raising awareness and understanding of science and technology. He described the mission of the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles - the most-attended museum in Southern California -- and shared survey results that showed adults and children learn from museum visits.

Looking ahead to the next 20 years, attracting young people to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will require engineers to be better communicators, both speakers said. Dr. Hackwood said the engineering community must make an effort to share the "pretty amazing new" things that come out of the profession, and show young people how they can be part of the next generation of innovation.

Jeannette Wing, who heads the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, will give the next distinguished lecture on February 17 at 3 p.m. in Bourns' Winston Chung Hall building, Room 205/206. The lectures are free and open to the public. To view the full schedule, click here.

Lonardi, Student Collaborate on Featured Paper

January 13

lonardiStefano Lonardi (pictured), Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and his student Vladimir Vacic were co-authors on a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and featured in US News and World Report. The paper concerns the analysis of data to predict survival rates for stage III melanoma patients.

The findings, gleaned from tumor analysis and powerful computer chip technology that allows researchers to see how genes work in concert, could lead to different methods of treating patients with the advanced disease. Although stage III patients are divided into three subgroups according to the amount tumor growth in the lymph nodes, treatment has been the same for all. This study could lead to therapies tailored to the specific stages, saving some from toxic side effects of powerful cancer-fighting drugs.

PNAS is the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences, an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research.

Link to US News and World Report article

Public Invited to Distinguished Lecture Series

Hackwood and Rudolph

January 4

The Bourns College of Engineering is celebrating its 20th anniversary during the 2009-10 academic year with a series of distinguished lectures looking ahead at the next 20 years in a variety of science and engineering topics. We invite you to join us for these stimulating lectures by pre-eminent guests from industry and academia as well as our own faculty. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The series begins on January 13, 2010 at 3 p.m. with a presentation by Susan Hackwood (left) and Jeffrey Rudolph (right) on how students will learn science and technology concepts in 2030. Dr. Hackwood is Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology, and she is particularly well-suited to begin our series because she was the Founding Dean of the Bourns College of Engineering. Mr. Rudolph is Director of the California Science Center, the science museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles.

Throughout the winter and spring, we will present lectures on computing, energy, the environment, and even forecasting itself. The series concludes in May with a lecture by Professor Thomas Payne, who retired this year from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering after a 40-year career.

We welcome you to join us in celebrating the past 20 years and looking ahead to the future. Dates and details of the series are available at

More Information 

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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Bourns College of Engineering
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Tel: (951) 827-5190
Fax: (951) 827-3188