Engineers Explore New Media Art


Students in Professor Hillary Mushkin’s media arts seminar (E/H/Art 89 New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries) displayed and discussed their projects at a recent campus event. The projects used a variety of approaches to explore cyberspace, gaming, the internet, and privacy. [List of projects]

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A Birder in the Hand: Mobile Phone App Can Recognize Birds From Photos


Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed the Merlin Bird Photo ID mobile app which uses machine-learning technology to identify hundreds of North American bird species it "sees" in photos. "This app is the culmination of seven years of our students' hard work and is propelled by the tremendous progress that computer-vision and machine-learning scientists are making around the world," says Professor Perona. "A machine that recognizes objects in images, like humans do, was a distant dream when I was a graduate student and now it's finally happening." [Caltech story]

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Professor Chandrasekaran Wins INFORMS Optimization Society Prize


Venkat Chandrasekaran, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and Electrical Engineering, is a winner of the 2016 INFORMS Optimization Society Prize for Young Researchers for his paper Relative Entropy Relaxations for Signomial Optimization. The prize is awarded for an outstanding paper in optimization and serves as a recognition of promising colleagues who are at the beginning of their academic or industrial career. [List of winners]

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Counting L.A.’s Trees


Professor Pietro Perona, has developed a method using Google Earth and Google Street View to count the trees in the city of Los Angeles. The process of counting the trees using human tree counters is very expensive and would cost about $3 million today. The last time the city did such counting was more than two decades ago and at the time there were 700,000 street trees. Perona has tested the methodology in a section of Pasadena where the city recently commissioned a sidewalk survey. By comparing the results to the known inventory, he determined that the computer was about 80% accurate. [LA Times story] [KPCC story]

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Professor Doyle Receives Test of Time Paper Award


John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, and colleagues have received the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Paper Award for their paper, A first-principles approach to understanding the Internet's router-level topology. The award recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years in the past that is deemed to be an outstanding paper whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today. [List of recipients]

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Winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The student winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special dinner with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Rachel P. Galimidi received the prize in Biotechnology for her work with Professor Pamela Bjorkman aimed to further understand the mechanism of HIV evasion of the humoral immune response. Junle Jiang was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Nadia Lapusta which used probabilistic inversion tools to understand the deep-ocean trench generated tsunamis that occurred during the subduction-zone earthquakes in Japan and Chile. Yinglu Tang working with Dr. Jeff Snyder received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her work on thermoelectric skutterudites for mid-temperature applications such as automotive waste heat recovery. The second winner in this category was Changhong Zhao who worked with Professor Steven Low to study the control and optimization of modern electric power systems. The winner of the prize in Nanotechnology was Gustavo Rios whose research involves development of a modular, scalable, nanofabricated neural probe system for dense 3-D electrophysiology to study animal brains. Rio’s graduate advisor was Professor Thanos Siapas. The prize in Entrepreneurship was given to Anton A. Toutov who was advised by Professor Robert Grubbs. His research interests lie in using fundamental chemistry to development radically new, sustainable ways to make everyday chemical products and generate clean energy.

Tags: APhMS EE honors MedE MCE CMS Jeff Snyder Nadia Lapusta Steven Low Robert Grubbs CNS Junle Jiang Rachel P. Galimidi Pamela Bjorkman Yinglu Tang Changhong Zhao Gustavo Rios Thanos Siapas Anton Toutov

Smaller Chips May Depend on Vacuum Tube Technology


A recent New York Times article featured Caltech alumnus, Gordon Moore (PhD ’54), and the research of Professor Axel Scherer on ultrasmall vacuum tube as a candidate to replace the transistor. [Read the article]

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Caltech’s Smart Charging Network for Electrical Vehicles


Charging electric vehicles (EVs) can require a substantial amount of electricity (most EVs charge at 7 kilowatts, the equivalent of simultaneously running 70 desktop computers). Steven Low, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, has developed Caltech's adaptive charging network, which uses a smart algorithm to coordinate the charging schedule with the Institute's existing electrical infrastructure. This program helps minimize energy usage and about 30 percent of the electricity at each charging station is from carbon-free renewable sources. [Caltech story]

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New Caltech Trustees


Two distinguished leaders in the computing industry—Michelle "Mich" Mathews-Spradlin, and Sabeer Bhatia (BS '91, EE)—have been elected to the Caltech Board of Trustees.  Mich Mathews-Spradlin is an angel investor, primarily in the technology sector. She previously served as a top executive at Microsoft Corp., beginning her career in 1989 as a United Kingdom–based consultant and then joining the company in the United States in 1993.  Sabeer Bhatia, a pioneer of web-based email, is cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Sabse Technologies Inc., a mobile-telecommunications company. He was the cofounder of Hotmail Corporation, guiding that company's rise from a 1996 start-up into one of the world's largest email providers. Microsoft acquired Hotmail in 1998, eventually turning it into Microsoft Outlook. [Caltech story]

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Professor Vidick Receives NSF CAREER Award


Thomas Vidick, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, has been awarded the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his 5-year project, “Interactions with Untrusted Quantum Devices”. The CAREER program is NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

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