Title: ECE news
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091053/00011
 Material Information
Title: ECE news
Series Title: ECE news
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Florida
Publisher: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2006
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091053
Volume ID: VID00011
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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The Foundation for The Gator Nation

Electrical and

Computer Engineering

Fall 2006

message fom the Chair

We just had our accreditation visit from the national board
(ABET) for the undergraduate programs. I'm pleased
to be able to tell you that both Electrical and Computer
Engineering programs passed with flying colors. The fac-
ulty and staff worked very hard to ensure a good visit. This
included writing the self-study, collecting data, and prepar-
ing the facilities. All involved deserve praise.

The ABET accreditation process is built around continu-
ous quality improvement. We monitored students' perfor-
mance on eleven different specific outcomes across many
of our classes. Monitoring this performance led to curriculum improvement. For
example, student skills with complex variables and linear algebra didn't always
have them ready for some of our more advanced classes. We have added a new
class to address some of the specific analysis and math skills students need to be

We have invested heavily in labs. We have performed over $200k in renovations
to facilities and new equipment for our undergraduate teaching labs. Many of you
wouldn't recognize them any more! We are currently building a server cluster
and renovating a room to provide 24/7 access to required course software for
all students wherever they have high-speed internet connections. Students are
required to purchase laptops and several of the labs allow the student laptops to
connect directly to measurement equipment via USB ports. We have had many
corporate sponsors provide support for equipment upgrades, including Progress
Energy, Lockheed Martin, and Harris.

We are proud of ourfaculty, student and alumni accomplishments. Several research
projects from our faculty are described inside this newsletter. The SubjuGator
team won the national autonomous vehicle competition for the second year in a
row. New student organizations are starting to help enrich the educational experi-
ence. Both of these are described within.

All of these activities and many others helped drive our success in accreditation.
Please know that we continue to strive for excellence and that we are always try-
ing to make you proud of your alma mater. Have a happy holiday season!


One of the greatest challenges in understanding the role
of free-ranging wildlife in maintaining diversity, tracking
invasive species, and the spread of emerging diseases is
obtaining unobtrusive visual information used to study the
behaviors and interactions of wildlife species in their natural

Dr. Yuguang Michael Fang and Dr.
Dapeng Oliver Wu have teamed up with
Dr. Zhihai Henry He and Dr. Joshua J.
Millspaugh, both from the University of
Missouri-Columbia, on an NSF-spon-
sored project on wireless sensor net-
working for wildlife behavior analysis
and interaction modeling. The project is
called DeerNet.

The central objective of this interdisciplin-
ary project is to bring video monitoring
capability to wireless sensor networks in
order to collect important visual informa-
tion about wildlife behavior for analysis
and interaction modeling. The overall
goal of the research is to develop a long-
S lived and unobtrusive wildlife video moni-
/ touring system capable of real-time video
S streaming with remote control capability.

The real-time captured video will be transmitted overwireless
sensor networks to a remote monitoring center for viewing

and camera control. Because real-time transmission require-
ments are particularly challenging, the research will address
important issues on energy minimization and performance
optimization over mobile wireless sensor networks.

The participants in the project will engineer a portable, low-
energy, rugged, wireless network video/GPS/motion sensor
coupled with an optimized
transmission protocols
and routing schemes for
transferring video images
through sensor node de-
sign, access control, and
robust routing protocol.
Fang and Wu will design
the networks while He
and Millspaugh will focus
on designing the devices mounted on the deer as well as the
wildlife study.

DeerNet is a highly innovative interdisciplinary engineering,
computer science, and wildlife science project in the field
of cognitive ecology and is part of the National Ecological
Observatory Network (NEON).

NEON is the first national ecological measurement and
observation system designed both to answer regional- to
continental-scale scientific questions and to have the in-
terdisciplinary participation necessary to achieve accurate
ecological forecasting and prediction.

AdS a6 9Z ceives Gift

Mr. Daniel Dillery, Director of Avionics Engineering and
Technical Area Leader for Mission Systems with Northrop
Grumman Corporation in Melbourne, Florida, presented a
$25,000 check to Dr. Jose Fortes, Director of the ACIS lab,
on October 26, 2006.

The funding of the gift is part of Northrop Grumman's
Innovation Alliances Program where they select leading
researchers within academia that are conducting research
in areas of interest to both the professor and Northrop

"We at Northrop Grumman elected to fund work in the area
of grid computing at the University of Florida," said Dillery.
"These grants are gifts that Northrop Grumman expects will
contribute to the advancement of technology of interest to
the company in 10 to 15 years down the road."

"These gifts help the ACIS lab fulfill its mission in many dif-
ferent ways," said Fortes. "They also indicate a growing

recognition of the ACIS lab research quality and prestige.
We greatly appreciate the gift from Northrop Grumman and
look forward to a continued growing relationship between
Northrop Grumman and the ACIS lab."

Left to right: Dr. Mark Law, Mr. Daniel Dillery,
Dr. Jose Fortes, Mr. Dave Huddleston

Magnetic SeCf-Assemb(y of Elctronic Components

With the ever decreasing size of electronic components and
the desire for integration of different chip technologies to
form complex systems, back-end assembly of these small
components is causing problems for manufacturers.

Sheetal Shetye and Janhavi Agashe,
Ph.D. candidates, are working with
Dr. David Arnold on a project funded
by the National Science Foundation
to develop a method for magnetically-
driven self-assembly of small parts.

In their approach, tiny magnets are
fabricated onto the parts using low-
cost electroplating techniques. These
magnets are arranged in arrays that,
when matched, permit alignment and
bonding between components.

Currently, manufacturers use robotic methods to assemble
circuit boards and device packages. With these methods,
the assembly of the components is one piece at a time and
causes a bottleneck for manufacturing. The goal of self-as-
sembly is to eliminate the need for robotic manipulation of

components and enable batch assembly of many devices
in parallel.

Others have tried to create the self-assembly process before
by using shape-recognition and capillary-force driven meth-
ods, but these approaches have found limited use. With
the magnetic self-assembly, both attractive and repulsive
magnetic forces can be used, and the process can occur
in wet or dry environments. Moreover, the use of arrays of
magnets ensures precise alignment and selective bonding
in only one predetermined configuration.

,rrm r. ,I M

Magnetic Assembly

TFe future ofStrainedSiicon

Silicon is the primary semiconductor material used in today's
chips. A semiconductor is characterized by the ability to
conduct electricity in certain circumstance, while in others it
acts as an insulator. This ability allows silicon to be used in
today's processors, where tight electrical control is needed
to even get the product to work. Throughout the years the
natural ability of silicon has rarely been the problem in get-
ting chips to go faster and faster. However; with the latest
generation of process technology, silicon is now proving to
be very problematic to work with and to get high speeds out
For decades, chip manufacturers have made transistors
faster by making them smaller. Until recently, silicon strain
was a phenomenon to be avoided. It conjured variations in
a silicon crystal, which is shunned by manufacturers who
depend on uniformity within the silicon to produce chips with
millions upon millions of predictable and reliable transistors.
Dr. Scott Thompson, along with Dr. Toshi Nishida and five
graduate students, have been studying the physics of strained
silicon under a project sponsored by the Semiconductor
Research Corporation (SRC).
The natural tendency for atoms inside compounds is to align
themselves with each other.

When silicon is deposited on top of a substrate with atoms
spaced farther apart, the atoms in silicon stretch to line up
with the atoms beneath, stretching -- or "straining" -- the sili-
In the strained silicon, electrons experience less resistance.
Lower resistance means that transistors can flow up to 70
percent faster, which can lead to chips that are up to 35 per-
cent faster -- without having to shrink the size of transistors.
This will lead to increased semiconductor performance and
decreased power consumption in semiconductors thereby
showing that strained silicon is better than alternate materi-
Dr. Thompson will be present-
ing the results of their research
at the 2006 International Electron
Devices Meeting in December in San
Francisco, California.

SubjuQator TaLes first

The University of Florida's underwater robot, Subjugator,
took first place in the annual competition sponsored by
the Navy. It's the second year in a row that the SubjuGator
team has won the contest, beating teams such as Cornell,
Duke, Georgia Tech, MIT and USC. Teams from India and
Japan also competed. The youngest were 14 years old,
from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, near San

SubjuGator is an autonomous underwater vehicle designed
and built by students of the Machine Intelligence Lab
(MIL) at the University of Florida. Since the Association for
Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) under-
water competitions started in 1998, SubjuGator has been
there, placing in the top 3 five times, including first place in

The robots were required to swim through a gate, find and
dock with a flashing light box, locate and tag a cracked pipe-
line, then home in on an acoustic beacon and resurface in
a designated recovery zone. Top prize was $7,000 and seri-
ous bragging rights.

Florida's 12-man team was sponsored by defense contrac-
tor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), with backing coming from
other companies including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Intel
Corp. (INTC).

Matthew Koenn, who wrote the computer code that enabled
the SubjuGator to "see" the pool floor, said the robot's 35-
pound weight made it faster and more maneuverable than
others that were closer to the competition's maximum of 140

Front Row, left to right: James Greco, Kevin Claycomb,
Carlo Francis
Back Row, left to right: Sean Cohen, Matthew Koenn,
Greg Ciewslewski, Gene Shokes, Jacob Collins,
Michael Gregg, Sean Matthews, Dr. Eric Schwartz,
Adam Barnett

TFacily fNe-ws

Dr. Jenshan Lin will receive the 2007 N. Walter CoxAward
of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. This
award recognizes an individual who has given exemplary
service to the Society in a spirit of selfless dedication and

A paper coauthored by Huilin Xu and Dr. Liuqing Yang
entitled, "Timing with dirty templates for low-resolution digital
UWB receivers," received the Best Student Paper Award at
the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Ultra-Wideband,
September 24-27 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Tao Li received the 2006 IBM Faculty Award. The
IBM Faculty Awards program is a competitive worldwide
program. Candidates must have an outstanding reputation
for contributions in their field or, in the case of junior faculty,
show unusual promise.

Dr. Dapeng Oliver Wu was invited to serve as the found-
ing editor-in-chief of a new journal, Advances in Multimedia,
beginning July 2006

Dr. Mark Law received the 2006 Aristotle Award at the
SRC Student Symposium 2006 Banquet in Cary, North
Carolina. The Aristotle Award recognizes SRC-supported
faculty whose deep commitment to the educational experi-
ence of SRC students has had a profound and continuing
impact on their professional performance and consequently
a significant impact for members over a long period of time.

Dr. Jose Principe was nominated by the Academy of
Finland to be a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for
the Center of Excellence in Adaptive Informatics Research,
Helsinki University of Technology, 2006-2009.

Dr. Dapeng Wu's paper, "Energy Efficient Cooperative
Rate Adaptation in IEEE 802.11-based Multi-hop Networks,"
with students K. Wng, F. Yang, Q. Zhang and Y. Xu, received
the QShine 2006 Best PaperAward at the Third International
Conference on Quality of Service in Heterogeneous Wired/
Wireless Networks (QShine 2006) in Waterloo, Ontario,

Lightning Sparks Interest at CapitotClifl

&Educationa Luncheon

At the Coalition for Plasma Science (CPS) educational lun-
cheon on Capitol Hill on May 8, Dr. Vladimir Rakov discussed
the science behind one of the most commonly viewed plas-
mas on earth lightning

In a talk entitled "What You Don't Know About Lightning,"
Rakov began his presentation by reviewing the spatial dis-
tribution of lightning around the world, illustrating that while
parts of Florida receive the most lightning flashes in the
U.S., central Africa appears to be the global hot spot. We
typically think of lightning as descending from the sky toward
the earth, but lightning can also extend upward from a tall,
grounded building or monument, like the Eiffel Tower. Rakov
explained that the direction of the branches off the main
lightning channel reveals the direction of the lightning.

We also hear of planes being "struck" by lightning. In fact,
a plane can trigger lightning. Rakov showed an impressive
slide of a plane just after take-off, initiating columns of plas-
ma that extended both upward and downward. Rakov noted
that if the plane had not been there, the lightning would not
have occurred.

Lightning can be triggered intentionally as well, most of-
ten using a simple rocket with a trailing wire connected to
ground. Rakov introduced the audience to the International
Center for Lightning Research and Testing (ICLRT) at
Camp Blanding, Florida,
where researchers trigger
lightning to investigate its
effects and to determine
ways of protecting people,
objects and buildings.

Researchers at the ICLRT
investigated the effects of
lightning on underground
power cables. They buried
three cables (each with
varying degrees of insula- Dr. Vladimir Ratov
tion or protection) to see what effect lightning strikes would
have on them. They discovered that even the cable with
the most protection (an insulating jacket and PVC pipe) was
severely damaged.

EfJicient 9MIMO Transceivers Basedon Channef

(Decomposition Techniques

The ever-increasing demand for wireless communications
and networking services and the ever-shrinking availability
of unoccupied spectrum have been the major driving forces
behind the current enormous research and development ef-
forts to enhance communications capabilities without spec-
trum expansion.

Dr. Liuqing Yang and Dr. Jian Li are working on an NSF
project where they will take a completely new approach to
the design of MIMO systems. Their idea is to take a major
departure from existing channel decomposition techniques.
Not only does this novel channel decomposition technique
give rise to computationally-efficient and hardware-friendly
transceiver designs, but it also has the potential to achieve
both full rate and full diversity.

The scientific promise of the proposed channel decomposi-
tion technique will reach far beyond MIMO transceiver de-
sign problems. Successful development of the algorithms
and their efficient implementation architectures will have
profound impact on a growing class of challenging problems
in communications systems. As an enabling technology,
the proposed effort has the potential to impact a number of

important communication applications, including medical
electronics, consumer entertainment, emergency response
and homeland security.


Dr. Liuqing Yang

Dr. Jian Li

Three New Student Organizations formed

Three new student organizations were formed begin-
ning Fall 2006 Women in Electrical and Computer WECE members from left
Engineering(WECE), Electrical&ComputerEngineering t rt rin aor,
Dewberry, Gina Wansor,
Graduate Student Organization (ECEGSO), and the Carolyn Krekeler
Audio Engineering Society (AES).

WECE was originally established to create a commu-
nity within the ECE department where women could
seek friendship, support, and advice regarding their
academic, professional, and personal life. Their mis-
sion has expanded to include exposing pre-college
students to ECE in order to generate interest in electri-
cal and computer engineering. ECEGSO members (front row,
ECEGSO members (front row,
The ECEGSO was formed to serve as a forum for left to right): Carolyn Krekeler,
Christy Rogers, Erin Taylor
graduate students to discuss such things as student Chrisy Rogers, rin Tor
(back row, left to right) Girish
life, mentoring, departmental affairs, and research in- Venkatasubramanian, Jeremy
teractions. The organization is open to all ECE gradu- Anderson, Debdeep Chatterjee
ate students.

The third student organization to be formed was the
Audio Engineering Society. It is the only professional
society devoted exclusively to audio technology and is
open to students, regardless of major, who are inter-
ested in audio engineering.

Thie department woulflie to thankour alumni andfriens for theirfinancialsupport.
Dr. & Mrs. Barbara Beck Mr. Walter L. Hunt, Jr. Mr. John F. Pearce
Mr. & Mrs. Brent A. Berthy Mr. Don A. Irons, Jr Mrs. Blanca R. Perez
Mr. Christopher L. Blake Mr. & Mrs. James Jaffee Mr. EricA. Rail
Dr. Gijs Bosman Mrs. Diane M. Kirlin Mr. RodgerA. Ross
Mr. Gustavo Calderon Dr. Jack L. Kouloheris Mr. Richard Santamaria
Mr. Damon M. Clark Dr. Herman Lam Mr. Stephen A. Schneeberger
Mr. & Mrs. John D. Corry Dr. Haniph Latchman Mr. & Mrs. James Scott
Mr. Robert C. Dahlgreen Dr. & Mrs. Sheng Li Mr. & Mrs. Larry R. Schneider
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Davis Mr. Joseph E. Lounds Mr. Ashishkumar K. Smart
Dr. Francisco H. De La Moneda Mr. Bradley C. Malemezian Mr. James P. Spoto, Jr.
Mr. David H. Denson Mr. & Mrs. Edward L. Masters, Jr. Mr. Robert F. Stiffler
Dr. & Mrs. George Deunsing Mr. & Mrs. Floyd McLamb Mr. Krehl E. Strainger
Mr. & Mrs. Carl J. Evens Ms. Caryn Melrose Dr. Ramakant Srivastava
Mr. Edmund Fitzgerald Ms. Katherine B. Milikin Mr. & Mrs. Gustavo Suarez
Dr. Jeffrey Fitzsimmons Mr. Monroe A. Miller, Jr Mr. Dennis L. Tackett
Dr. & Mrs. Robert Fox Mr. & Mrs. David Molyneaux Mr. & Mrs. Edward J. Telander
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel P. Frain Mr. Roger F. Moonen Ms. Kelli Thomas
Mr. Rhett T. George, Jr Mr. & Mrs. Jeffery Nauful Mr. Michael J. Thorn
Mr. Chidambar Ganesh Mr. Hugh C. Nicolay Mr. William C. Tinsley
Mr. Robert M. Handley Mr. Robert D. Niekum Dr. & Mrs. Martin Uman
Mr. & Mrs. Harlan Y. Harrell, Jr. Dr. & Mrs. Toshi Nishida Mr. James R. Wheeler
Mr. David Graf & Ms. Melody Mierisch Mr. Carl A. Olivenbaum Mrs. Kathryn H. White
Dr. Ronald C. Houts Mr. & Mrs. Elwood Padgett, Jr Mr. F. E. Yanaros, Jr
Mr. & Mrs. David M. Howell Mrs. Dayle A. Parkes
Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Hubacker Mr. Christopher Parman


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The Foundation for The Gator Nation
Electricial & Computer Engineering
216 Larsen Hall
P. O. Box 116200
Gainesville, FL 32611-6200

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