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Volume 15, Summer 2008

CSE Bytes and Pieces INSIDE

Department Head’s Perspective

this issue:

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reetings from Lion Country! We are excited about the new academic year.

The past year has been very rewarding for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). The computer engineering doctoral program was ranked 18th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Computer science total research expenditures at Penn State was ranked 11th in the nation. I would like to congratulate CSE faculty, students, staff, and alumni for this outstanding success. Swarat Chaudhuri, assistant professor, received the Association for Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Programming Language’s Doctoral Dissertation Award for his thesis titled “Logics and Algorithms for Software Model Checking.” This year the Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award winners were Rod Woodruff from Exxon Mobil Corporation and Dr. Prasant Mohapatra, Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Davis.

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New Faculty Profile

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ACM SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertation Award

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IPDPS Best Paper Award

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IBM Faculty Award

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PSES Outstanding Staff Award

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Graduate Staff Assistant Retires

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Faculty Promotions

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Professor Helps Identify Weakness in Ohio Voting Machines

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Professor Develops a Cooperative Monitoring System that Could Wipe Out Car Alarm Noise

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An Overview of Research in the Microsystems Design Lab

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Alumni Update

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The Helping Hands of Alumni and Friends

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First Alumni Reception a Success

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Outstanding Engineering Alumnus

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Microsoft Vice President Visits CSE

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Department Head’s Perspective continued from page 1

This fall Daniel Kifer from Yahoo! Research will join us as the James L. Henderson Memorial Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University in 2006. Professor Chita R. Das was promoted to distinguished professor for his outstanding contributions to the field of architecture.

The spring 2008 engineering commencement speech was delivered by Amitabh Srivastava, who is a CSE alumnus and a Microsoft Fellow. CSE at Penn State continues to be amongst the very best departments in the country. It is at the vanguard of research to solve the critical problems facing the nation and the world.

Professor Swarat Chaudhuri Receives ACM SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertation Award

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warat Chaudhuri, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Penn State, has been named the recipient of the 2007 Association for Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Programming Language’s Doctoral Dissertation Award. His dissertation, supervised by Rajeev Alur, is titled, “Logics and Algorithms for Software Model Checking.” This award is presented annually to the author of the outstanding doctoral dissertation in the area of programming languages, and is accompanied by a prize of $1,000.

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Chaudhuri received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. He earned his Bachelor of Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.

New Faculty Profile Daniel Kifer

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rofessor Daniel Kifer received his B.A. degree in mathematics and computer science from New York University in 2000. He received a Ph.D. degree in computer science from Cornell University in 2006. After leaving Cornell, he worked at Yahoo! Research on spam detection and information extraction. Kifer’s research interests include everything, with particular emphasis on privacy, data mining, machine learning with background knowledge, and management of uncertain data.

His current research lies in the interface of program analysis and formal methods. He is interested in techniques to formally analyze and verify programs, including software model checking and static analysis, and the design of new languages for parallel programming. He is also interested in theoretical computer science, in particular, logic and automata theory.

Swarat Chaudhuri, ACM SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertation Award Recipient.


CSE Faculty Members Receive IPDPS 2008 Best Paper Award

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ahmut Kandemir, associate professor; Padma Raghavan, professor and director of the Institute of Computational Science; and Mary Jane Irwin, Evan Pugh Professor and A. Robert Noll Chair in Engineering; along with CSE student Yang Ding (advised by Professor Kandemir), received the “Best Paper Award” in the Software Track at the 2008 IEEE International Parallel

and Distributed Processing Symposium for the paper titled, “A Helper Thread Based EDP Reduction Scheme for Adapting Application Execution in CMPs.” The conference was held on April 14-18, 2008, in Miami, FL. IPDPS is one of the premier conferences in the area of parallel and distributed computing.

IPDPS Best Paper Award Recipients From Left to Right: Mary Jane Irwin, Yang Ding, Padma Raghavan, and Mahmut Kandemir.

Professor Yuan Xie Receives IBM Faculty Award

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rofessor Yuan Xie received an IBM Faculty Award in May 2008. According to IBM’s Web site, the IBM Faculty Award is a competitive, worldwide program intended to: 1) Foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development and services organizations; and 2) Promote courseware and curriculum

innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies that are strategic to IBM. The candidates must have an outstanding reputation for contributions in their field or, in the case of junior faculty, show unusual promise. Xie will receive $40,000 to continue collaboration on Threedimensional(3D) Integrated Circuits (IC) Design.

John Domico Receives PSES Outstanding Staff Award

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ohn Domico, assistant director of information technology, received the Penn State Engineering Society Outstanding Staff Award in April 2008. Domico is responsible for strategic and operative direction for academic and research computing initiatives in the department. Additionally, he is a stakeholder in CSE’s IT Learning Factory.

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Vicki Keller Retires After 36-1/2 Years of Service to Computer Science & Engineering

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icki Keller started her career in the Department of Computer Science (now the Department of Computer Science and Engineering) in the summer between her junior and senior year in high school, upon recommendation from a high school teacher. She worked after school a few days a week during her senior year and began full-time as a receptionist upon graduating from high school in

their admission’s application to verifying their graduation. She compiled thousands of applications to the graduate program, corresponded with as many applicants, performed new student orientations upon their arrival, maintained their confidential student record, advised on program requirements, scheduled exams and theses defenses, appointed graduate assistants, and finally verified their graduation. She scheduled all courses and exams for the program and handled entering credit hours for teaching assistants and faculty.

Throughout her career, she received the 2002 PSES Outstanding Staff Award and the CSE Administrative Raj Acharya presenting Vicki Keller with the Staff Service Award in 1996 and 2008. She was also 2008 CSE Humanitarian Award. honored with the first ever CSE Humanitarian Award 1971. She held various duties in 2008 for her dedication to within the department such as maintaining relations between receptionist and technical typist; the community and CSE. she served as the undergraduate secretary for eight years and She served ten years as the team became the graduate staff assistant captain of the department’s in 1981. Relay for Life Team, Cancer Bytes. As graduate staff assistant, she was responsible for handling Her plans for the future include all aspects concerning graduate doing more volunteer work with students in the department the American Cancer Society, including everything from reading, spending time with

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Faculty Promotions

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he department is pleased to announce that Chita R. Das was honored with the title of distinguished professor. His primary research interests include computer architecture, parallel and distributed computing, cluster systems, processor management in multiprocessors, performance evaluation and fault-tolerant computing. Das has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1986. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the Association for Computing Machinery. Other promotions include Guohong Cao to full professor and Yuan Xie to associate professor. Trent Jaeger, associate professor, received tenure in the department.

Vicki Keller at her retirement party.

numerous great-nieces and greatnephews, and pursuing other volunteering opportunities.


Professor Patrick McDaniel Helps Identify Weakness in Ohio Voting Machines

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uring the fall 2007 semester, Penn State Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) researchers aided Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a comprehensive review of her state’s electronic voting technology. The study, called Project EVEREST, examined electronic voting systems — touch-screen and optical scan — from Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, and Premier Election Systems (formerly Diebold). CSE Associate Professor Patrick McDaniel lead three teams of academic security researchers based at Penn State (University Park, PA), the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), and WebWise Security, Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA). The Penn State team included CSE graduate students and Systems and Internet Infrastructure Security (SIIS) Lab members Kevin Butler, William Enck, Stephen McLaughlin, and Patrick Traynor. The reviews began in September 2007 and concluded on Dec. 7, 2007, with the delivery of the final report. The teams had access to voting machines and software source code from the three vendors and performed source code analysis and security penetration testing with the aim of identifying security problems that might affect the integrity of elections that use the equipment.

The public report, released by the Ohio Secretary of State on Dec. 14, 2007, provides an extensive technical analysis of the security of these voting systems as they would be used under real-world election conditions. As a result, Brunner has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious

Professor McDaniel and his team strongly believe that the integrity of the election relies almost entirely on the physical procedures used to carry out the election, and that some weaknesses are of a depth and magnitude that formulating reliable and workable procedural

A voting system component comprised during the study.

“Profile in Courage Award” from the John F. Kennedy Foundation. The study itself identified exploitable security weaknesses in all three vendors’ systems. Many of these vulnerabilities represent practical threats to the integrity of elections as they are conducted in Ohio. The review concludes that the vendor systems lack basic technical protections necessary to guarantee a trustworthy election.

safeguards will be a very difficult task. Following the study, Professor McDaniel received a letter of commendation from the state of Ohio and joined Ohio Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Nance on a three day tour of five Ohio universities in February of 2008 to discuss the security of current electronic voting technologies and their effects on the electoral process.

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Professor Sencun Zhu Develops a Cooperative Monitoring System that Could Wipe Out Car Alarm Noise by Ándrea Messer, Penn State

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he persistent, annoying blare of an ignored car alarm may become a sound of the past if a cooperative, mutable and silent network of monitors proposed by Penn State researchers is deployed in automobiles and parking lots. “The basis of this system is trust,” says Sencun Zhu, assistant professor of computer science and engineering. “You need to trust the entity that distributes the system’s sensors, so you can rely on all the monitored cars having the goal of protecting your car and others from theft.” Working with Guohong Cao, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Hui Song, recent Penn State graduate and now an assistant professor at Frostburg State University, Zhu developed a monitoring system that relies on a network formed by the cars parked in a parking lot. When a car enters a lot and parks, the sensor is alerted – probably when the car door locks – and it sends out a signal that in essence says, “Hello, I am here.” Sensors in nearby cars acknowledge the signal and incorporate the new car into their network. Periodically,

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each car sends out a signal indicating that it is still there. When the driver unlocks the car, the sensor sends out a “goodbye” message and the network removes that car, and it drives away. If, however, a car leaves the network without issuing a goodbye message, the other cars will notice the absence or the “still here” message. Once the system has confirmed that the car

is gone, checking that other cars have not received the “still here” message, the monitoring sensor sends a signal identifying the car to the base unit in the parking lot, which will phone the owner to indicate the car is missing. The owner can then check it out. “Our thought is that the apartment complex owner could provide the sensors with the

parking stickers as an additional free perk,” says Zhu, also assistant professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State. “All they need is the base unit, the car owner’s phone number and the sensors in the car for the car should be safe in the lot.” If a car is stolen from the lot, it is preferable that the theft be noticed and reported before the car leaves the lot, but if it is not, the Sensor network-based Vehicle Anti-Theft system, SVATS, has another layer of protection. Although the main or master sensor needs to be connected to the car’s power system and so is fairly easily disabled by thieves, other slave sensors would be distributed in the car. These sensors might be activated when the master sensor no longer operates and begin to send out an identification signal. The researchers hope to be able to use existing wireless devices at intersections and roadsides to track the sensors in the stolen car. While these wireless nodes are not on every street, in areas where they are used to sense traffic patterns, stop light timing and other things, they can track stolen


cars. Because the slave sensors are very small, they would be very difficult to locate and destroy, while conventional location equipment, such as various G.P.S. systems, can be identified and neutralized. “Right now the sensors we are testing are about the size of a dollar coin with leads coming off” says Zhu. “We will eventually make them only about a cubic millimeter, small enough to embed in a parking sticker and very inexpensive to manufacture.” A cubic millimeter is about the size of an ice cream sprinkle. The researchers presented information on their system at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer’s Infocom 2008 Conference in Phoenix. Experimental evaluation of the SVATS system used a laptop as a base station and one sensor per vehicle in a Penn State parking lot. The base station transmitted once per second while the vehicle sensors sent live messages every 200 milliseconds. Each sensor could monitor up to seven other nodes but should be monitored by at least three other nodes. The researchers tested two different detection methods. The signature-based method took four to nine seconds to detect the

absence of the stolen vehicle. This method requires that at least three nodes recognize that the stolen car has moved before sending an alert. Because of this requirement, there are no false positives and consequently, no false alarms. The system works in a parking lot and can track stolen vehicles. According to Zhu, street parking is more difficult to deal with than parking lots, however, he believes that if apartment buildings along the street band together to provide sensors and base stations it might work as well. Because of

While the plan now is to have the base station contact the car owner by phone, eventually the option of having the call go to a protective service or the police for a fee is possible. The National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office funded this research.

Diagram of anti-theft sesnor network.

the trust problem, he does not see the sensors being incorporated into cars from the factory, because identifying who owns which car and sensor would be difficult. Rather, Zhu thinks that perhaps eventually, some government offices like a state’s department of transportation could provide the sensors and keep track of the vehicles.

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An Overview of Research in the Microsystems Design Lab

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he Microsystems Design Lab (MDL) performs research on computer architecture, embedded systems, lowpower and reliable systems, system design using emerging technologies (such as stacked 3D technology and nanoscale devices), and design automation tools. Four faculty members: Mary Jane Irwin, Evan Pugh Professor; Mahmut Kandemir, associate professor; Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, professor; and Yuan Xie, associate professor; along with approximately 35 graduate students (mostly Ph.D.) work in this lab. Several MDL students are supported by prestigious fellowships such as the Bunton Waller Fellowship, Government of Oman Scholarship, GEM Fellowship, and Alfred Sloan Fellowship. Several alumni from the lab are established leaders in industry and academia, while recent alumni from the group over the past four years have been placed in academic/research institutions in the United States, Cyprus, Korea, Turkey, Singapore, and industry locations around the world (including Intel, Synopsys, Motorola, Cisco, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Lattice Semiconductors). Current projects in the lab are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), The Defense Advanced Research Projects

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Agency (DARPA), Semiconductor Research Corporation, The PA Technology Collaborative, Focus Center Research Program at the Gigascale Systems Research Center, Nanotechnology Research Initiative MIND Center, and several industry partners including Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Honda, and Toyota. Many of these projects involve close collaboration with researchers at other universities (Duke University, University of Virginia, Tsinghua University (China), Ecole Polytechnique FĂŠdĂŠrale de Lausanne (Switzerland), and Arizona State University), national labs (Argonne National Labs) and other research centers/ institutes at Penn State (Applied Research Labs, Radiation Science and Engineering Center, Materials Research Institute, and High Performance Computing Institute). This article highlights a subset of ongoing projects at the lab.

consumption, and performance. The integration of multiple cores on the same chip has signaled the beginning of communication-centric, rather than computation-centric systems. Further, technology trends have accentuated the importance of interconnectconscious design as global wire delays do not scale down as fast as gate delays in new technologies. Consequently, on-chip networks (OCNs), also called Networkson-Chip (NOCs), are predicted to be a major bottleneck in designing embedded Systemon-Chip (SoC) architectures and high performance multicore architectures alike. However, the design of scalable, high performance, energy and thermal efficient and reliable on-chip networks is inherently more complex because of the stringent resource constraints and technology scaling artifacts of

Multi/Many Core Systems Several of the ongoing research projects focus on various facets of emerging single-chip multiprocessor systems. The group investigates cross-cutting issues ranging from circuit to systems level considering various design constraints such as process variation, reliability, power

One of the ongoing projects aims to address on-chip interconnect problems.


OCNs. An NSF-funded project led by Professor Narayanan is aimed at developing a holistic design paradigm for exploring the on-chip network design space. The research addresses three major issues. First, a simulation platform is being developed to understand the interplay between applications, system architecture, and on-chip interconnects. Second, design and analysis of high performance, energy and thermal efficient and reliable onchip interconnects considering the impacts of technology scaling are being investigated. Third, design of on-chip interconnects using emerging 3D chip technology is being explored. The success of this research is likely to have a significant influence on the design of next generation multicore/SoC architectures and in fostering new research directions in several areas of multicore computing, which is expected to be the predominant design paradigm for future high performance architectures. Among notable research outcomes from these projects include publications at premier computer architecture conferences including the 2008 International Symposium on Computer Architecture and the 2008 High Performance Computer Architecture Symposium. Professor Xie leads an NSF CAREER award that focuses on developing process variation aware design methodologies for the synthesis of embedded systems in nanometer

scale CMOS technology. Many embedded systems are heterogeneous multiprocessor system-on-chip (MPSoC) architectures. The reliance on deep sub-micron process technologies for the fabrication of embedded multiprocessor systemon-chips gives rise to concerns about process variations, which can cause significant performance variations for different instances of the same design. Although designing for worst-case process margins is the traditional approach to deal with outliers, the degree of variability encountered in the new process technologies makes this option nonviable. The existing deterministic embedded system design methodologies may result in unexpected performance discrepancy or a pessimistic performance estimation, and may end up using excess resources to guarantee real-time constraints,

due to overly conservative design approaches. This research proposes a design paradigm shift from today’s deterministic design to statistical or probabilistic design. Specifically, this research aims at: (1) developing hierarchical statistical analysis methodologies to facilitate embedded MPSoC synthesis; (2) developing process-variationaware hardware synthesis techniques; (3) developing process variation aware software worst case execution time (WCET) analysis and optimization techniques for embedded applications; and (4) developing process variation aware hardware/ software co-synthesis techniques. The results from this project were reported at the 2008 Asia South Pacific Design Automation Conference and won the best paper award.

Complementary to the research performed by Professor Xie in this project are a GSRC project headed by Professor Irwin and an NSF Computer Systems Research Award led by Professor Kandemir at the architecture and system software levels. The GSRC project involves the design and prototype implementation of the “Metamorphosis” platform Process variations can cause operational to exploit software-controlled parameters in identically designed components hardware states to dynamically to vary. These variations can arise across manage CMP resources “justdifferent identically designed chips from different wafers or within components from in-time” to meet performance, the same chip. The current project focuses reliability, and power goals. on efficient design in the presence of process In addition, the design of variation. CMP microarchitectures

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reliability effects resulting in Stacking it up cores that must be disabled due to permanent faults that occur Three-dimensional integrated in the field. REEact is a type of circuits (3D ICs) promise virtual execution environment to overcome the barriers in (VEE) that mediates, controls, interconnect scaling, thereby and adapts the application’s offering an opportunity to get execution. It employs a higher performance using CMOS combination of techniques technology. The benefits of 3D to adapt both the hardware ICs include: (1) higher packing resources and the application’s density and smaller footprint software code to accommodate due to the addition of a third the heterogeneous nature dimension to conventional twoProjects at MDL are developing of the CMP to provide dimensional layouts; (2) higher architectural and runtime support to performance due to reduced address reliability and thermal problems in the best performance and emerging multicore architectures. power solution where not average interconnect length; all of the CMP cores and/ (3) lower interconnect power optimized for performance, for or memory blocks are consumption due to the reduction energy, and/or for reliability in available. This research impacts in total wiring length; and (4) support of metamorphosis is CMP technology by enabling support for the realization of being investigated. The NSF the use of these architectures for mixed-technology chips. Even project focuses on the design, high performance computing. though 3D integrated circuits implementation, and evaluation With effective strategies for offer great benefits, there are of an advanced execution system, managing heterogeneity, two challenges that hinder the called REEact (Robust Execution scientists, consumers and business adoption of 3D architectures. Environment) that supports the people will more effectively use First, there are few commercially metamorphosis architecture. high-performance applications, available EDA tools and design REEact dynamically adapts an leading to greater advances in methodologies for 3D integrated application’s execution to the areas such as pharmaceutical circuits. Second, design space runtime resources landscape development, financial originating from the sources of market forecasting, heterogeneity in a next generation and environmental multi-core (CMP) chip. The science modeling. sources of heterogeneity of Among notable interest are those that arise from research outcomes process variation that impacts from these projects the maximum performance of include a best paper individual cores and memory award in the Software Three dimensional stacked ICs with multiple blocks, from power optimizations Track at the 2008 device layers offers new opportunities for novel such as dynamic frequency and IEEE International systems. Our group focuses on design of new voltage scaling (DFVS) that result Parallel and 3D architectures and development in varying core performance over Distributed Processing of design tools to facilitate adoption time and core shut down due to Symposium. of this technology. thermal emergencies, and from

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exploration at the architectural level is essential to fully take advantage of 3D integration, and design a high-performance, reliable, and low-power 3D IC. Ongoing projects on 3D stacked design at MDL integrate crosscutting research thrusts related to architectural exploration and design-automation tools. The stacking of memory components, including DRAM and non-volatile memory such as MRAM, and the relationship between memory stacking and interconnect are being explored as part of the architecture thrust. Our research team has demonstrated one of the first designs that stack SRAM and MRAM memories on top of processor cores. The designautomation thrust focuses on tools for early-design analysis, cost and yield analysis, and the development of an open access 3D tool flow. We have developed a 3D design flow which seamlessly fits with existing 2D design flow techniques as part of a DARPA funded project led by Professor Xie. Radiating Chips Radiation-induced transient errors (also known as soft errors) are becoming a significant concern for computing and communication

systems. Such errors result in system malfunction due to atmospheric radiation and radiation from impurities in material used for chip fabrication and packaging. This interdisciplinary project (involving Professors Irwin, Narayanan, Xie, and Professor Unlu from Nuclear Engineering) has established an accelerated testing facility at the Penn State nuclear research reactor for analyzing the radiation effects on contemporary microprocessors and memory chips. This facility provides the ability to project failures that may occur over several years in a few minutes of accelerated testing. A key finding of the research is that soft errors increase significantly when supply voltage is reduced. This is of significant concern as voltage reduction is a widely adopted power saving approach employed in contemporary mobile systems such as cell

phones and laptops. For instance, the error rate of a contemporary mobile microprocessor increased by 52 percent when changing its operating mode from its highest performance mode to its lowest power consuming mode. The findings from this project have also fueled new research on translating this adversity into an opportunity. In collaboration with Advanced Micro Devices/ Cerium Labs, by exploiting the increased sensitivity to failures, the investigators are exploring the idea of devising a new semiconductor device for detecting neutrons for homeland security applications. Embedded Systems

The group is also actively involved in designing novel embedded systems and tools for facilitating embedded system design. A smart camera system that integrates FPGA processing system with the camera has been developed in cooperation with VideoMining Corporation for various recognition applications. An automated system for mission planning and dynamic replanning for groups of cooperating unmanned underwater vehicles has been developed in collaboration with the Soft error testing facility (Inset: Test chip as seen from the Applied Research Lab. narrow opening in the polyethylene/lead shield). An automated synthesis

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tool for generating hardware implementation from algorithmic specification for a class of signal processing applications is under development in a project funded by DARPA. The initial phase of the project has demonstrated the ability of this system to generate hardware systems for evaluating N-body interactions within 10 percent of the design time of contemporary custom designs with comparable performance. Nanoelectronics In collaboration with researchers in the electrical engineering department, we are exploring the design of computing and sensing systems based on emerging device technologies. The ongoing projects include research on designing a chemical sensor system that integrates an array of nanosensors with CMOS signal processing, the design of ultra-low voltage system architectures, and design of reconfigurable system architectures using emerging nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes, quantum FETS, and graphene devices. For more information on our projects, please visit us at www.cse. psu.edu/~mdl or contact one of the faculty members at the lab.

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The Seahorse UUV courtesy of the Applied Research Lab at Penn State. Smart camera system.


Alumni Update

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he following alumni information has been compiled from recent graduate responses and from the online alumni questionnaire (www.cse.psu.edu/info/newsletter/questionnaire.php). Please respond to one of these formats if you have not done so in the recent past so that we can provide up-to-date information to our readers and so that we can facilitate contact among our alumni. We are always interested in what our alumni are doing since leaving Penn State. Feel free to include pictures of interest. Please check the e-mail address carefully; if you find an error, send the correction/change to the editor (jenny@cse.psu.edu). If your e-mail address is handwritten, remember that some addresses are case-sensitive, so do not mix and match your letters! You can also send updates directly to the editor via e-mail. Be sure to reference the newsletter and affirm your willingness to have the information published. You may have already sent information to the department, but if you did not check the “yes” box or indicate your permission for inclusion in the newsletter, we cannot print it. This newsletter can be viewed online at: www.cse.psu.edu/about/newsletter.

1985

2003

Kenneth W. Boyer, Jr. (kwboyer@yahoo.com)

1997

Thomas Litwin is an officer in the United States Navy. He is currently on a year sabbatical while he works on a master’s in engineering management at Old Dominion University. During his sabbatical, he is also working at ODU’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in Virginia as a research scientist developing improved Combat Modeling & Simulation Architectures. (fly@1212designs. com)

Igor R. Jablokov is employed by Yap as a CEO. His Web site is: www.ijablokov.com. (ijablokov@ gmail.com)

Andrew Karch is employed by Cisco Systems as a software engineer. (akk142@psu.edu)

Sohail Malik is employed by IBM as a project executive. He manages large-scale software teams. He is currently serving as the project manager for architecture, development, testing, and deployment of multiple, concurrent releases of the IRS modernized e-File system.

2007

Mersida Kurti is employed by Penn State’s outreach department as a programmer/analyst. She is responsible for programming, server maintenance, maintaining SOAR (system for online course registration), distance education, conference and institutes at University Park, etc. (muc154@ psu.edu)

2008 Michael S. Barry (MSB5014@ gmail.com) Michael B. Johnson (mbenjohns@gmail.com) Steven Troxell is employed at Raytheon as a software engineer I. (steven.troxell@gmail.com)

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First Alumni Reception a Success

The Helping Hands of Alumni and Friends

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he Departments of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Electrical Engineering (EE) hosted their first alumni reception on Feb. 21, 2008, at the W. Silicon Valley in Newark, CA. Alumni, faculty, staff, and David Wormley, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of the College of Engineering, enjoyed the event, which featured hors d’oeuvres and drinks. This reception provided the opportunity to network and resume friendships.

Raj Acharya, CSE department head; Corry Bullock, CSE manager of administrative services; Beth Kennedy, CSE staff assistant to the department head; Ken Jenkins, EE department head; and Deb Stauffer, EE administrative manager, greeted the guests who attended this firstever event. The department intends to make a tradition of hosting a reception for alumni in the future.

Alumni, faculty, and the dean gather for a group photo at the first annual alumni reception in Newark, CA.

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lumni and friends continue to actively support the CSE department. We are grateful for this support. Donor-designated funds are essential if our efforts to provide the best possible environment for our students and faculty are to succeed. Giving to CSE Higher education today presents more opportunities for learning, innovation, and experience than ever before. In an age of declining public support and rising costs, private philanthropy is essential for sustaining the quality of a Penn State education and for making its benefits available to all. Penn State provides a secure web site in which you can give a gift (https://secure.ddar.psu.edu/ GiveTo/.) If you want your gift to go directly to the department, please select “Other” in the dropdown menu and type the CSE department in the “Additional Information” box. You may also use the envelope included to make a donation today. Please remember that all Penn State supporters share one important reward for their gifts: the personal satisfaction from making an investment in human potential. Your gift is welcomed and greatly appreciated.


Outstanding Engineering Alumnus

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rasant Mohapatra and Rodney Woodruff were two of the eleven recipients of the 2008 Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award. The award is the highest honor conferred by the College of Engineering and recognizes graduates who have received exceptional levels of professional achievements.

Mohapatra’s research interests are in the areas of wireless networks, sensor networks, Internet protocols, and QoS. His research has been funded though grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Intel Corporation, Siemens, Panasonic Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Raytheon, and EMC Corporation.

consolidate refining computing into one large centralized data center.

Rodney Woodruff earned his B.S. in computer science in 1973 and his M.S. in computer science in 1974. Woodruff, a Johnstown, PA, native, quickly discovered that a career Dr. Raj Acharya with Prasant Mohapatra, in computers was a 2008 Outstanding Engineering Alumni good fit. He recalls, Award winner. “After I wrote my first program I fell in Dr. Mohapatra earned his Ph.D. love with computers!” in computer engineering in 1993. He is currently a professor Upon receiving his master’s and chair of the Department degree, he interviewed with of Computer Science at the several companies. He states, University of California, Davis. “I picked Exxon for the way In the past, he has been on the they treated people, both me faculty at Iowa State University and each other.” and Michigan State University. He has also held visiting scientist Woodruff started in 1974 positions at Intel Corporation, working on computing Panasonic Technologies, Institute infrastructure and of Infocomm Research (I2R), telecommunications at the Singapore, and National ICT Bayway Refinery. After two Australia (NICTA). years, he moved from New Jersey to Houston, TX, to

In 1978, he transferred to the Baytown, TX, refinery and served as a supervisor for computer operations for refinery. After two years, he moved to facilities development where he led a group of engineers developing pipeline, shipping, storage tank, and product-blending projects to support refinery operations. This led to a position as head of oil movements. At that time, refinery throughput was 650,000 barrels of crude in and 650,000 barrels of product out each day.

Rodney Woodruff, 2008 Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award winner.

Continued on page 16

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Outstanding Engineering Alumnus continued from page 15

In 1983, he moved back to Houston into an information technology (IT) position with three main roles: manager of general business systems, human resources systems projects manager, and end user services manager. Rod explains, “By 1991 I had been a manager for so long I decided it was time to do something else.” He went to work for Exxon Company International (ECI) as their Latin America information systems audit coordinator, responsible for all IT auditing in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. By 1996, he was audit manager for all activity at ECI headquarters and Exxon Research

and Engineering. He also served as executive assistant to the corporate general auditor. From 1998 to 2000, he was assigned to one of his favorite roles: Y2K program coordinator, preparing for the millennium rollover outside the United States. He laughs, “I lapped the globe 10 times in that two-year period.” After Exxon’s merger with Mobil in 2000, Woodruff moved into his current role as global security and controls advisor at Fairfax, VA. He is responsible for computing controls for refining, distribution, and marketing activities in more than 200 countries.

Woodruff has stayed in contact with Penn State, serving as the IT recruiting team captain for Exxon at Penn State from 1983 through 2003 and on the Computer Science and Engineering Department’s Industrial & Professional Advisory Council for the past nine years. He resides in Centreville, VA, with his wife Beverly. They have three daughters, Elizabeth (’02 Bus), Sharon (’07 MS EE), and Stephanie.

Microsoft Vice President Visits CSE Before Addressing Graduating Engineering Students at the Spring 2008 Commencement

A

corporate vice president and technical fellow of Microsoft, Amitabh Srivastava, spoke at this year’s College of Engineering Commencement held on Friday, May 16, 2008, at the Bryce Jordan Center. Srivastava spoke to approximately 800 graduating students. He played a major role in developing the engineering processes for the Windows Vista computer operating system. His contributions to

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CSE Bytes and Pieces

new and innovative techniques and technologies to improve Microsoft software led to him being selected as a distinguished engineer, now known as technical fellow in 2001. Srivastava earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in computer science from Penn State. He received the 2003-04 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Amitabh Srivastava is shown a demonstration of work on automated crowd behavior analysis by Robert Collins from the Laboratory for Perception, Action and Cognition.


Amitabh Srivastava along with Professor Vijay Narayanan are shown a demonstration of a compiler-based disk I/O optimizer by graduate student Seung Woo Son.

from the Indian Institute of Technology and was named an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus at Penn State in 2004. Srivastava stopped by to visit the CSE department. He toured various labs and centers. He viewed various demonstrations in the Microsystems Design Laboratory, the Laboratory for Perception, Action and Cognition, and the Networking and Security Research Center. It was a honor to have him join us.

This publication is available in alternative media on request. The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania

Amitabh Srivastava is shown a demonstration of a mobile access router built as part of an NSF grant by graduate student Yan Sun and Networking and Security Research Center Director Tom La Porta.

State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901, Tel (814) 865-4700/V, (814) 863-1150/TTY.

Designed, produced, and edited by Jenny Latchford, CSE department with support from CSE faculty. Printed/produced at Penn State Multimedia and Print Center. U.Ed. ENG 09-28

Volume 15, Summer 2008

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Department of Computer Science and Engineering The Pennsylvania State University 111 Information Sciences & Technology Building University Park, PA 16802-6822

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID State College, PA Permit No. 1

CSE Bytes and Pieces, Volume 15  

CSE Bytes and Pieces, Volume 15, newsletter created for PSU-CSE

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