Texas A&M College of Engineering fares well in latest U.S. News graduate rankings

Texas A&M Engineering’s graduate program was again ranked 11th overall nationally in the latest U.S. News & World Report survey, “America’s Best Graduate Schools 2018.” The college also ranked seventh among public institutions.

Individual programs ranked were:

      computer engineering 21 (11)

      electrical engineering 22 (13)

Computer science, which was last ranked in the Sciences category in 2014, was 40th nationally and 23rd among public institutions.

Full post on 1/12/18 at http://engineering.tamu.edu/news.html

Aggie sweeps hackathon challenge, gets honored by India’s prime minister

As cybersecurity emerges as a significant differential for economic progress across the globe, an open dialog between cybersecurity experts and governments becomes critical in influencing the global community and ensuring a safe cyberspace for the world economy.

A team of Aggies researching these cybersecurity issues has won the Global Cyber Challenge Peace-a-thon at the 2017 Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), which was inaugurated by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi, India.

Bharadwaj Satchidanandan, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, is the team lead for “Aggies” – the Texas A&M team that emerged as the winner of Best International Team award at the hackathon challenge. Satchidanandan’s team included his research advisor, Dr. P.R. Kumar, College of Engineering Chair in Computer Engineering and Distinguished Professor in the electrical and computer engineering department.

“Cyberspace remains a key area for innovation,” said Modi in a speech at the conference. “Nations must take responsibility to ensure that the digital space does not become a playground for the dark forces of terrorism and radicalization. Information sharing and coordination among security agencies is essential to counter the ever-changing threat landscape.”

Finalists for the challenge consisted 15 teams from India, Canada, United States, France and Argentina.

The hackathon began with 14 problem statements in the area of cybersecurity and privacy. The teams had 36 hours to present their solution to the problem statements and develop a proof of concept demonstrating their solution, and Satchidanandan presented Texas A&M Engineering’s video on his research with Kumar. A jury selected the winners based on a pre-decided evaluation framework. Modi presented the winners with their awards after the event.

Delegates and officials representing more than 120 countries attended the GCCS event, which was launched in 2011 to establish the internationally agreed “rules of the road” for behavior in cyberspace.

“We as a society are becoming more and more reliant on the cyberspace,” said Satchidanandan when asked about his biggest takeaway from the event and what he would like the local community to know about the cybersecurity issues he is studying. “The technical community, policy makers and law enforcement agencies are hard at work behind the scenes to ensure that the privacy and security of each individual is ensured in the digital domain.”

Aggie Bharadwaj Satchidanandan accepting the Best International Team award from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also seen in the picture are India’s Law & Justice, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (first from left) and Sri Lanka’s Ranil Wickremesinghe (fourth from left)

Original Post: https://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/11/29/aggie-sweeps-hackathon-challenge-gets-honored-by-indias-prime-minister.html

Kumar, Martell, Schneider receive Regents Awards for contributions to Texas A&M System

Three from Texas A&M Engineering were recognized for their outstanding contributions to The Texas A&M University System and their respective fields of expertise by the Board of Regents. Dr. P.R. Kumar was named a Regents Professor, and Marilyn Martell and Dr. Dean Schneider were recipients of the Regents Fellow Service Award.

Kumar is the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Engineering and a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M. He has been awarded numerous academic titles and awards. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from ETH, Zurich, and has received the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGMOBILE, the Infocom Achievement Award, the SIGMOBILE Test-of-Time Paper Award, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Field Award for Control Systems, the Donald P. Eckman Award of the American Automatic Control Council and the Fred W. Ellersick Prize of the IEEE Communications Society. Kumar is a member of the U.S. and Indian National Academies of Engineering and a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences. He also is an ACM Fellow and a Fellow of IEEE.

“Dr. Kumar is a true scholar, a leader in many research fields, a passionate teacher and mentor,” said Dr. Miroslav Begovic, head of the electrical and computer engineering department, in his nomination letter. “He embodies academic excellence, with achievements that have an impact on Texas A&M University, the state of Texas, our nation and internationally.”

Martell has served as the senior assistant vice chancellor for marketing and communications for Texas A&M Engineering more than 16 years. She is directly responsible for marketing, communications and public relations for the College of Engineering and TEES, as well as providing strategic brand development and guidance to maximize the strengths of the Texas A&M System Engineering Program. During her tenure, Martell has elevated and maximized the Texas A&M Engineering and Texas A&M System brands. Some of her greatest accomplishments include the crisis communications she led during the deployment of Texas Task Force 1 to the World Trade Center and coordinating the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition Design Weekend held at Texas A&M in 2016, which had such an impact on the community that Martell received the Hometown Hero Award from the Convention Sales Department at the Bryan/College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Ms. Martell is a person of integrity who embraces our core values and encourages others to do the same,” said Dr. Diane Hurtado, associate vice president for federal relations, in the nomination letter. “She has demonstrated a long history of professional service to the A&M System, which I have had the privilege of witnessing. As I chart her future trajectory based on her historical performance, I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that we can only expect extraordinary and spectacular things from her in the future.”

Schneider is the co-director of the Gulf Coast Regional Manufacturing Center of the Texas A&M Energy Institute, and a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Center Fellow. He is a retired U.S. Air Force research and development engineer with over 30 years of experience in technology program management and development. After joining TEES, Schneider helped provide organization and vision to TEES researchers in responding to federal manufacturing initiatives, leading to significant involvement in five national Manufacturing USA institutes, including regional leadership in three of them. He has received many awards during his career, including an Air Force Commendation Medal, an Air Force Logistic Command Outstanding Company Grade Military Engineer of the Year Award and numerous Air Force Meritorious Service Medals.

“Dr. Schneider is a model of servant leadership and consistently demonstrates his commitment to serving others,” said Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, TEES deputy director and associate vice chancellor for engineering research, in his nomination letter. “His sustained contributions to the mission of TEES makes him an exemplary asset to our agency providing extension in research to the citizens, both private and corporate, of the state of Texas.”

The Board of Regents established the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 and the Regents Fellow Service Awards program in 1998 to recognize employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas.

The Regents Professor Award honors individuals at the rank of professor or equivalent whose distinguished performance in teaching, research and service have been exemplary. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the A&M System on faculty members.

The Regents Fellow Service Award honors and recognizes extension, research and service professionals within the agricultural and engineering agencies, health science center and veterinary medical diagnostic laboratory. These professionals must have demonstrated a significant commitment and contributions to their respective agency by providing exceptional leadership in educational or program delivery/scholarship, research or service that have resulted in significant impact and lasting benefits to the state of Texas and beyond.

“These professors and professionals make The Texas A&M University System extraordinary,” said Board of Regents Chairman Charles Schwartz in a statement. “Because of them, the universities and agencies within The Texas A&M University System will continue to thrive.”

Original Post on 2/8/18 at  http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2018/02/08/kumar-martell-schneider-receive-regents-awards-for-contributions-to-texas-am-system.html

Kumar elected Indian National Academy of Engineering Fellow

Dr. P.R. Kumar was elected Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). He is among five foreign fellows elected this year.

INAE is an autonomous institution with a membership comprising of the most distinguished engineers, engineer-scientists and technologists from all branches of engineering, technology and related sciences. Up to 50 fellows from academia, industry and government are elected every year. Election to INAE is by nomination only.

Kumar is a College of Engineering Chair in Computer Engineering and a distinguished professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University. He obtained his Bachelor of Technology degree in electrical engineering (electronics) from Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 1973, and the Master of Science and Doctor of Science degrees in systems science and mathematics from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1975 and 1977, respectively

Kumar studies problems in game theory, adaptive control, stochastic systems, simulated annealing, neural networks, machine learning, queueing networks, manufacturing systems, scheduling, wafer fabrication plants and information theory. His research focus currently includes cybersecurity, privacy, cyberphysical systems, wireless networks, smart grid, autonomous vehicles and unmanned air vehicle systems.

Kumar is a member of the National Academy of Engineering in the U.S., and a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences.

Original Post: 1/19/18 at https://engineering.tamu.edu/news.html

Best Paper Award from ACM MobiHoc 2017

Dr. I-Hong Hou and Dr. P.R. Kumar, part of our CESG faculty, contributed to the Best Paper Award from the Eighteenth International Conference on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing (ACM MobiHoc 2017) earlier this year. The paper was selected as the best paper out of 179 submissions – which is truly a feat to be recognized!

Title:   “Throughput-Optimal Scheduling for Multi-Hop Networked Transportation Systems With Switch-Over Delay”

Abstract:   The emerging connected-vehicle technology provides a new dimension for developing more intelligent traffic control algorithms for signalized intersections. An important challenge for scheduling in networked transportation systems is the switchover delay caused by the guard time before any traffic signal change. The switch-over delay can result in significant loss of system capacity and hence needs to be accommodated in the scheduling design. To tackle this challenge, we propose a distributed online scheduling policy that extends the well-known Max-Pressure policy to address switch-over delay by introducing a bias factor favoring the current schedule. We prove that the proposed policy is throughput-optimal with switch-over delay. Furthermore, the proposed policy remains optimal when there are both connected signalized intersections and conventional fixed-time ones in the system. With connected-vehicle technology, the proposed policy can be easily incorporated into the current transportation systems without additional infrastructure. Through extensive simulation in VISSIM, we show that our policy indeed outperforms the existing popular policies.

Full list of authors:   I-Hong Hou, Ping-Chun Hsieh, Jian Jiao, P. R. Kumar, Xi Liu, and Yunlong Zhang

Congratulations to all!

Electrical and computer engineering former student named editor-in-chief of IET journal

Shiyan Hu, a former student from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, was named editor-in-chief of the Institute of Technology’s (IET) newly launched journal, Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory & Application.

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) include smart washing machines, self-driving cars, medical devices and smart grid meters. As the digital world becomes more than handheld, researchers seek to get a better understanding of the interface between cyberspace and the tangible elements.

Hu is an expert in CPS and cybersecurity, and is director of Center for Cyber-Physical Systems at Michigan Tech Institute of Computer and Cybersystems. As founding editor, Hu will lead a team of associate editors who are leading experts worldwide, including several from Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, the University of Illinois, National Taiwan University and The University of Tokyo.

In the journal they will address the close interactions and feedback loop between cyber components (such as embedded sensing systems) and physical components (such as energy systems) in a system. The CPS research topics include smart energy systems, smart home/building/community/city, connected and autonomous vehicle systems and smart health.

Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory & Application is dedicated to all aspects of the fundamental and applied research in the design, implementation and operation of CPS systems, considering performance, energy, user experience, security, reliability, fault tolerance, flexibility and extensibility. Its scope also includes innovative big data analytics for cyber-physical systems such as large-scale analytical modeling, complex stochastic optimization, statistical machine learning, formal methods and verification and real-time intelligent control, which are all critical to the success of CPS developments.

As an elected Fellow of IET, Hu leads this journal and also chairs the IEEE Technical Committee on Cyber-Physical Systems (www.ieee-cps.org), an authoritative constituency overseeing all CPS related activities within IEEE. He has published more than 100 research papers (about 30 in the premier IEEE Transactions), received numerous awards recognizing his research impact to the field and served as associate editor or guest editor for seven IEEE/ACM Transactions.

IET is the largest engineering society in Europe with more than 180,000 members. Visit Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory & Application.

Gratz receives Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching

Dr. Paul V. Gratz, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, was awarded the 2016 Association of Former Students (AFS) Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching — College Level. He is one of four faculty members in the college of engineering selected to receive the award.

Since 1982, the AFS teaching award has been presented to faculty members who are renowned for their expertise and exemplary dedication to the education of their students.

Dr. Miroslav Begovic, electrical and computer engineering department head, said Gratz deserves the award because he has been an early adopter of blended learning within the department and college, having restructured ECEN 350 as a blended learning class.

The restructured class features live, recorded lectures published online and online quizzes replacing traditional homework, among other enhancements. Those efforts have yielded two benefits — a two to three week increase in material covered during a semester as well as improvements in student retention from a traditionally high drop-rate class.

Gratz has also been a leader in the department’s efforts to develop a distance learning masters program. His ECEN 676 class during spring 2016 served as the pilot class for the distance learning masters program. Based on his experiences he is developing a set of distance learning training sessions for faculty.

Gratz is a member of the computer engineering and systems group. He received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. His research interests include energy-efficiency, reliability and performance in processor microarchitectures, memory systems and on-chip interconnection networks.

He has received a Teaching Excellence Award from The Texas A&M University System and a Best Paper Award from the ASPLOS’09 conference.

The AFS teaching award will be formally presented to all recipients in spring 2017 at the annual college awards banquet.

Computer Engineering and Systems Group’s Faculty and Staff Award winners recognized

M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering and director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), recognized two Faculty and Staff Award winners in the Computer Engineering and Systems Group during the 2016 Faculty and Staff Awards banquet.

Banks presented Carolyn Warzon with a Staff Excellence Award and Alex Sprintson with the William O. & Montine P. Head Memorial Research Fund Award for Contributions.

Sprintson, who joined the department in 2006, received his B.Sc. degree (summa cum laude), M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, in 1995, 2001 and 2003, respectively. From 2003 to 2005 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. His honors include the Prof. Andrew Viterbi post-doctoral fellowship, the Wolf Award for his Ph.D. studies, the Miriam and Aaron Gutwirth Fellowship for Special Excellence in Graduate Studies and numerous academic awards of excellence.

Sprintson’s research interests are in the broad area of communication networks with a focus on algorithmic and Information-theoretic aspects of networking, network coding and its applications in communication networks, and Quality of Service (QoS) routing.

Warzon, administrative coordinator for the Computer Engineering and Systems Group, joined the department in 1996. Warzon has been in the college of engineering since 1985. Other honors she has received include the 2005 Presidents Meritorious Service Award, the Dean’s Staff Achievement Award from the college of engineering, and the department’s Outstanding Staff Award.

Researchers in electrical and computer engineering receive award for brain-inspired computing

Two graduate students and their adviser in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University received the Honorary Mention Best Paper Award from the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS).

Qian Wang, Youjie Li and their thesis adviser, Dr. Peng Li, received the award for their paper titled, “Liquid state machine based pattern recognition on FPGA with firing-activity dependent power gating and approximate computing,” at ISCAS, which was held in Montreal, Canada. This award was conferred by the Neural Systems and Applications Technical Committee of IEEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society.

For a very long time, the human brain has been a great inspiration for building efficient intelligent systems. Nevertheless, mimicking the information processing capabilities of the brain in VLSI-based computing systems is a completely nontrivial task and entails the development of efficient processor architectures and hardware-friendly learning mechanisms. The researchers’ paper demonstrates how the liquid state machine (LSM), a biologically plausible recurrent spiking neural network model, can be used to enable brain-inspired neural processors. An LSM processor architecture with integrated on-chip learning capability has been demonstrated on the reconfigurable FPGA platform for pattern and speech recognition applications. This work also investigates novel firing activity-based low power and approximate computing techniques to boost system energy efficiency.

Wang and Li are part of Dr. Li’s research group, and have recently passed their Ph.D. and M.S. thesis defenses, respectively. Dr. Li is a professor in the department, a faculty member of the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience and Texas A&M Health Science Center, and an IEEE Fellow. In addition to this award, Dr. Li has received five other best paper awards from premier IEEE/ACM conferences.

ISCAS is the world’s premier networking forum of leading researchers in the highly active fields of theory, design and implementation of circuits and systems.

Duffield appointed Fellow of the IET

Dr. Nick Duffield, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, professor by courtesy in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Director of the Texas A&M Engineering Big Data Initiative was appointed Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The IET, which is based in the United Kingdom, is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with more than 167,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multidisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century.

IET Fellowship is awarded to individuals who have sustained high levels of achievement, for example through leadership, influence, senior responsibility, innovation and professional service, at the forefront of engineering, technology or cognate disciplines for a period of five years or more.

“I am honored to be recognized as a Fellow by the IET. I intend use my relations with the IET Fellow community to help build international connections in my research fields of communications networking and data science”.

Duffield received his bachelor’s degree in natural sciences in 1982 and a master’s in 1983 from the University of Cambridge, UK. He received his Ph.D. in mathematical physics from the University of London, U.K., in 1987. His research focuses on data and network science, particularly applications of probability, statistics, algorithms and machine learning to the acquisition, management and analysis of large datasets in communications networks and beyond.

Before joining the department, Duffield worked at AT&T Labs-Research, Florham Park, New Jersey, where he held the position of distinguished member of technical staff and was an AT&T Fellow. He previously held post-doctoral and faculty positions in Dublin, Ireland and Heidelberg, Germany.

Duffield, the author of numerous papers and holder of many patents, is co-inventor of the smart sampling technologies that lie at the heart of AT&T’s scalable Traffic Analysis Service. He is specialty editor-in-chief of journal Frontiers in ICT and he was charter chair of the IETF working group on packet sampling. Duffield is an IEEE Fellow and serves on the Board of Directors of ACM SIGMETRICS. He is an associate member of the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance.

The goal of IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.