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rethinking engineering U N I V E R S I T Y O F P E N N S Y LVA N I A

Penn Engineering CONTENT From the Dean


On the Brink of a New Technological Standard


Penn Creates First Engineering Program to Cultivate Leaders of Networked Economy


George Heilmeier


“What Good May I Do?”


EMTM’s 20th Anniversary


Susan Davidson: Inspiring Leadership in Computer Science


Haptics at Penn: A Class of Touch



Collaboration, Community, and the SIG Center for Computer Graphics



School News


Pop Quiz with Michele Grab


123 TOWNE BUILDING 220 SOUTH 33RD STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104-6391 EMAIL PHONE 215-898-6564 FAX 215-573-2131 EDUARDO D. GLANDT Dean GEORGE W. HAIN III Executive Director Development and Alumni Relations JOAN S. GOCKE Director, Special Projects and Communications, Editor CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Amy Biemiller Jennifer Baldino Bonett Amy Calhoun Jessica Stein Diamond Patricia Hutchings Olivia Loskoski Nan Myers Alison Peirce Catherine Von Elm DESIGN Kelsh Wilson Design PHOTOGRAPHY Kelsh Wilson Design John Carlano Halkin Photography LLC Felice Macera


Rethinking Engineering

Dean Eduardo D. Glandt and friends Cryenco, Voltz and Shauer 2. These robot sculptures, created by Gordon Bennett, are made from a collection of objects both old and new.

Invention is at the soul of engineering; it is a synonym for it. We are constantly challenged to think anew about how we arrive at invention, and how we motivate, foster and reward creativity. It is a perennial question for my colleagues and me, a school full of engineers! The question is particularly relevant these days, as we reaffirm our identity as a profession of people who make things and build processes and products, both real and virtual.

recommendation systems, peer-production systems, collective intelligence and decision-making, social networks and also physical systems such as telecommunications and the power grid. We all recognize the tremendous currency and intellectual ferment in these areas and the profound change in our culture that these developments are creating day by day.

How are we doing in creating an atmosphere of innovation that inspires our students and infects them with a “cultural virus” for invention? In the following pages you will find a partial but nonetheless compelling answer. The proof is in the deliverables, in the character of our new programs, the content of our new courses, the research of our faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students and even in the design of our facilities. You will learn about a stunning new lab for computer graphics, a must-take course on haptics, ground-breaking research in nanotechnology and particularly about our new major, the Singh Program in Market and Social Systems Engineering.

We are constantly challenged to think anew

The Singh Program, an elite, novel major conceived as the center of an undergraduate and graduate intellectual community, represents a turning point for Penn Engineering. This bold initiative, made possible through the generosity of Overseer Raj Singh and his wife Neera, will train its graduates for one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy. Our students will be prepared to shape the technologies that underpin web search, keyword auctions, electronic commerce, social and financial networks, and even the still unanticipated markets and social systems of the years ahead. They will learn network science, network mathematics and network economics as well as algorithmic game theory and will apply them to

about how we arrive at invention, and how we motivate, foster and reward creativity. The past two decades have seen an explosive growth in the application of engineering tools and ideas to the world of biology and health. Biology has become quantitative, a science of information. As soon as molecular biology and biophysics were understood, engineers ran with them. The Singh Program anticipates that in the times ahead of us, engineers will again find a whole new world of applications, this time in the social sciences. Data-based economics, sociology and communication deal with collective systems and collective behavior and therefore feel very natural to an engineer’s mind. The “gene” for innovation has been passed down from generation to generation. I am proud that this issue also features the pioneering accomplishments of Dr. George Heilmeier, (EE’58): engineer, inventor and technology leader. Although it was his invention of the liquid crystal display that earned Heilmeier a place in the Inventors Hall of Fame, his entire career is an example for our students and faculty to emulate. Yes, innovative engineering and engineers are everywhere! PENN ENGINEERING ■ 1


On the brink of a new technological standard The stage is set for a radical transformation of the electronics industry and Cherie Kagan, Associate Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering and Materials Science, has a leading role. While electronics is still concerned with the development and application of circuits or systems that manipulate voltages and electronic currents, Kagan is investigating that science on a nano-level, using molecules and nanostructured materials to build devices that promise new ways to transform electronics, harvest energy, diagnose medical conditions, and detect biological and chemical agents. FALL 2009 ■ 2

“We work with fundamental physical chemistry/materials and device physics of organic, nanocrystal and nanowire semiconductors and their hybrids and optimize their performance for low-cost, flexible electronics, optoelectronics, solar photovoltaics (PVs) and implantable bioengineered devices,” she says. Research in molecular and nanoscale architectures is transformative, says Kagan, who integrates chemistry into the study of electronic technology. “Many of the ways to prepare those materials, whether they are nanostructured materials or molecular materials, is through chemistry,” she says. “Manipulating and positioning these materials can also be achieved through chemical approaches.”

Professor Kagan and Marjan Saboktakin (ESE) work together to align the path of the laser used to study electronic, photonic and solar energy materials and devices.

Kagan joined the faculty at Penn a little over two years ago from IBM, where she was manager and researcher with the Molecular Assemblies and Devices group. There she used chemistry to design materials and molecular assemblies to make new devices. “I have always been interested in electronically and optically active materials,” she says, explaining that electronics and chemistry have much in common when it comes to understanding semiconductors. “When you make semiconductors small, they look a lot like molecules. Since they are or behave like molecules, many of the physical phenomena that describe these systems can also be described in the language of chemistry.”

Kagan’s research focuses on the electronic function of molecules, and how through chemical manipulation, those molecules can be built into devices or used to tailor semiconductor nanocrystals and nanowire devices. She also studies interfacial charge transfer to learn how to integrate molecular systems with other components of an electronic system. At IBM, Kagan used her expertise in chemistry to further the advancement of electronics. She was attracted to Penn by the University’s commitment to build in the sciences and engineering, and joined Penn in order to advance that commitment. “I transitioned to academia for the opportunity to explore new directions that my research could take to make a broader impact on other areas of science and technology, PENN ENGINEERING ■ 3

“We work with fundamental physical chemistry/materials and device physics of organic, nanocrystal and nanowire semiconductors and their hybrids and optimize their performance for low-cost, flexible electronics, optoelectronics, solar photovoltaics (PVs) and implantable bioengineered devices,” Kagan says.

and to work with students to achieve that,” she says. “I really enjoy having a research group of postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as teaching in the classroom.” Trying to switch from corporate life to academia can be challenging, but certain industry experience brings value to the classroom. Kagan’s first-hand knowledge of how technologies are created and applied to manufacturing is particularly significant for today’s students who are interested in an additional frame of reference as they learn how to research and how to apply their knowledge to new scientific frontiers. “Penn students really enjoy not only great teaching, but great teaching on topics that have relevance to larger societal problems,” says George J. Pappas, the Joseph Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Deputy Dean for Research at Penn Engineering. “Having a corporate background in the broad areas of energy and nanotechnology is a unique asset that Cherie brings to the classroom.” For as much as her corporate

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experience appeals to her students, it’s the classroom interaction that has added a new and welcome dimension to Kagan’s life and her science. “I like working with students and seeing them recognize that research gives you the opportunity to explore and discover new science and technologies,” she says. Students like working with Kagan as well, and appreciate her corporate background. “Cherie is very good about weaving in different class concepts with industry experience,” says David Kim, a graduate student who does research with Kagan. “I think students enjoy hearing first-hand about the novel and innovative research she has done (and is now doing at Penn). She does an excellent job tying in material from other majors, and her corporate background makes her very good at conveying information to different types of audiences. This makes her a great lecturer and she is always getting the class involved by asking questions and promoting discussion.” Kagan’s industry experience also makes her uniquely qualified to manage research projects, where her skills in setting up a lab, defining goals for research and managing scientists are put to good use. Kim, who is currently studying the physics of charge-transport in nanostructured semiconductors, also appreciates Kagan’s “hands-off ” approach in her mentorship of his research. “She allows us to explore (and fumble around and make mistakes) as much as we want, but she’s always there for guidance if we need it. One of the things I value most is that even though Cherie is currently more knowledgeable about my research project than I am, she still values my input and treats me as an equal,” he says.

“When you make semiconductors small, they look a lot like molecules. Since they are or behave like molecules, many of the physical phenomena that describe these systems can also be described in the language of chemistry.”

Cherie Kagan, Co-Director, Penn Center for Energy Innovation

Key to Kagan’s success is her disciplined approach to being open to inspiration. “I get inspiration when I get a chance to think: while running, walking, sitting with a piece of paper or in conversations with colleagues and students,” she says. Collaboration is also an important part of innovation in materials science, a discipline that changes all the time. Keeping up with the changes requires personal engagement in the scientific community, a commitment that Kagan embraces. “I continue to learn through the scientific community, my students and colleagues. It is the most exciting opportunity to be able to incorporate and make connections in my lectures between fundamentals and currently relevant topics,” says Kagan. Kagan’s transition from corporate research to academia has also allowed her the opportunity to make a broader impact on other areas of science and technology. Along with Andrew M. Rappe, Professor of Chemistry, she co-directs Penn’s newest research center, the Penn Center for Energy Innovation. “Pennergy” comprises investigators from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Arts and Sciences, other Penn schools and Drexel University. Here, the focus is research collaboration in innovative technologies and materials aimed at meeting the world’s growing energy demand and achieving environmental and economic sustainability. “This is research that is important to Penn Engineering, the University and world,” says Kagan. “I accepted this role because I want to see Penn’s strengths used to address the scientific and technological challenges in energy research in

order to develop practical and innovative solutions to better use current energy sources and to create sustainable energy technologies.” Currently, world-class researchers at the Center, with expertise in materials, nanoscale science and engineering, and in biomimetic materials are taking a team approach to investigating solar photovoltaics, solarto-fuel conversion, thermoelectrics, fuel cells and mechanical studies of the behavior of material subject to real-world environments. “The energy challenge is much larger than any individual and can only be addressed in collaborative teams,” says Pappas. “In addition to being a leading researcher in her field, Cherie has tremendous leadership abilities in bringing together people with very different expertise, creating a very collaborative environment. Pennergy is a collaborative effort between schools. It is only through such collaborations that we can address some of the grand challenges in the area of energy.” The Center also fosters interdisciplinary educational activities across campus, so Penn’s students are empowered to meet future energy challenges, notes Kagan. With so much on her plate, and personal energy resources limited by her own humanity, Kagan confesses that there is nothing typical about her daily routine and does a lot of multitasking in order to get everything accomplished. “However, my best days are those when I get to talk with my students.”



Engineering Leaders of

“Our goal is to inspire a new generation of engineers to think in a visionary way not just about technology, but about the integrated aspects of technology,” says Michael Kearns, MKSE’s founding Faculty Director.

Creates First

Program to Cultivate Networked Economy BY JESSICA STEIN DIAMOND

Google, financial exchanges, Facebook, electronic commerce and the power grid are all elements of the increasingly networked global economy. Depending on how networks like these are structured, they hold the potential to generate wealth, transform relationships among people, companies and governments, and even trigger disaster. Leaders of the networked economy increasingly need technical expertise in computers and electrical and systems engineering. But they also need a broader tool kit drawn from disciplines as diverse as economics, sociology, mathematics, finance, epidemiology and psychology. “The reality is that people cannot solve engineering problems in a trench because technological and business challenges are intertwined. The networked economy requires collaboration with others,” says Rajendra Singh, who along with his wife/ business partner recently donated $8 million to Penn for the creation of the Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Market and Social Systems Engineering (MKSE). With this gift, Penn Engineering becomes home to the first undergraduate engineering program in the world to train students to shape and lead the networked economy.

“Our goal is to inspire a new generation of engineers to think in a visionary way not just about technology, but about the integrated aspects of technology,” says Michael Kearns, MKSE’s founding Faculty Director. “This program is about the interaction of technology with the incentives of the users who adopt that technology, how companies monetize that usage, and what might subvert that technology. Our graduates will understand the science and technology well enough to create complex networks, and will also be prepared to generate the big ideas that are essential to profitability.” A succinct description of Penn’s new MKSE program is that it is designed for the type of person who would build the next Google or eBay. However the focus is much larger than Internet advertising markets and electronic commerce. It will prepare graduates to become technology and business leaders who will create and


“We’re giving people tools to shape how the world is connected economically, socially, strategically and technologically.” manage the networks used in virtually every sector of the economy. Some graduates may become networked economy investors, policy-makers or regulators. Others may work in financial markets. But they will be prepared to influence those financial markets specifically as engineers. Compared to the financial engineering programs at other universities, Penn’s new program has a broader, more technical focus. “We’re talking more Silicon Valley than Wall Street,” says Ali Jadbabaie, Faculty Co-Director for MKSE. “The focus is on the network aspect, the incentives and how network structures and markets interact. We’re giving people tools to shape how the world is connected economically, socially, strategically and technologically.” Jadbabaie describes the emerging science of Market and Social Systems Engineering by way of an analogy: “The science of physics evolved from looking at the stars for thousands of years, to looking at data from telescopes and developing from those measurements the theories and calculus of Sir Isaac Newton and so on. We’re at the early stages of a comparable process with lots of data from the Internet and from social, economic and technological networks. We are working on the underlying principles and the predictive models for how networks grow and function with autonomous and interdependent nodes. Research is now vibrant enough in this field to warrant setting up an undergraduate program to train people who will advance science in these areas.” Penn’s new MKSE program will welcome its first class of undergraduates in the fall of 2011 and is expected to appeal to Penn Engineering applicants who have a strong math

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background and are sophisticated about technology. Admission to the program will be limited to achieve small class sizes and to maintain a focus on gifted students. Relevant experience—such as creating an iPhone or Facebook application—would strengthen an applicant’s chance of admission. One of four planned faculty recruits for the program has been hired so far: Andreas Haeberlen joins the Department of Computer and Information Science as assistant professor in January of 2010. He completed his Ph.D. at Rice University in 2009 and has since worked on postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany. An introductory MKSE course, “Networked Life,” taught by Kearns, currently attracts 150 students, more than half of whom are drawn from outside Penn Engineering. “My own goal is that a lot of our courses will be more broadly popular within the University,” says Kearns who holds dual appointments in the Wharton School and Penn Engineering. New MKSE courses are currently in development and will be taught by the program’s new faculty and by faculty in SEAS and other collaborating schools at Penn. Topics will include non-traditional markets, the economics of networks, algorithmic game theory and mechanism design, human peer production systems, collective intelligence, and technology and public policy. “There are two time scales for this new discipline,” says Eduardo Glandt, Penn Engineering Dean. “One for the intellectual foundation which is based in engineering, mathematics, economics and computer science, and the

From an Off-the-Grid Childhood to Endowing a New Engineering Discipline Ali Jadbabaie, MKSE Co-Director

other for the faster-moving applications that young people are using every day of their lives.” Case studies will reflect timely strategic insights used by rapidly changing players in the online networked economy. Current examples would include how Google applied game theory to create an auction system for paid ads, creating an influential new market for advertising; how eBay applied reputation systems to create incentives for vendors to tell the truth in describing products and to be penalized when they lie; and how to structure networks such as power grids to try to prevent disasters (such as the sequence of events that led to the Northeast blackout of 2003) that current engineering theories cannot predict. While networks connect decentralized, geographicallydispersed people, goods, currencies and ideas, Penn’s strategic advantage in incubating this new science is the ability to gather people in the same room. “We’re building on our identity of being the Ivy League university with the most number of schools on a very compact campus,” says Dean Glandt. “Proximity adds intellectual value. This is our strategic advantage. Our time has come because now everybody understands that some of the most exciting breakthroughs occur at intellectual boundaries.” Recalling the ENIAC computer created at Penn in the 1940s and the University’s subsequent leadership role in ushering in the then new field of computer science, Glandt adds, “There is precedent at Penn for realizing something is here to stay and wanting to lay down the academic foundation for it. While we have been active players in many emerging disciplines since, in my experience I have not seen something this new where we so clearly play the leadership role. This intersection of technology with the social sciences is a booming area with a wave of creation of innovation and wealth. I would not be surprised if the graduates of this program become some of the most entrepreneurial of our alumni.”

Few people understand the transformational power of education like Rajendra Singh, who along with his wife/ business partner recently endowed the formation of the world’s first undergraduate program in Market and Social Systems Engineering at Penn. “What education does is give people the tools to work for the betterment of society and to achieve their fullest potential,” says Singh, who grew up in the remote village of Kairoo in northwestern India that at the time had been virtually unchanged for 400 years with no electricity, telephone, running water or newspapers. Singh’s life trajectory changed when his father became the first person in his village to get a secondary degree and then opened a primary school in their hometown. Singh subsequently earned a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University and later, in partnership with his wife Neera, became a successful wireless entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. “Penn’s new Market and Social Systems Engineering program will provide engineers with a deeper understanding of the powerful forces involved in the mass behavior of networks and financial markets,” says Singh. “It’s important that students become better equipped to shape these networked markets as engineers, entrepreneurs and business leaders.” “Fifty to 100 years ago the primary drivers of human misery and happiness were the political or social systems,” he adds. “Today financial markets and the networked economy have this same power. That’s why I believe this new program holds the potential to shape leaders who are prepared to solve problems of meaning to society.” Singh is a member of Penn Engineering’s Board of Overseers. His family is the principal owner of Telecom Ventures, L.L.C., a private investment firm specializing in telecommunications and related information technologies. The firm’s publicly-traded former subsidiary, LCC International, Inc., is one of the largest wireless telecommunications engineering consulting firms in the world.



George Heilm Famous as the inventor of the liquid crystal display, George Heilmeier holds 15 patents and has won myriad prizes and awards. Like the founder of the university where he is an Overseer, he’s enjoyed a career that defies comparison for its depth and breadth. Unlike Ben Franklin, Heilmeier cites his parents’ influence as the key to his accomplishments. Until he won the Kyoto prize in advanced technology in 2005, even he had not fully reflected on the road that he has traveled. “The 50 million yen Kyoto prize, I’m told, is the Japanese Nobel Prize—a very big occasion!” he says. “In my acceptance speech, I thought I’d talk about the major themes that might lead to a future prize. The organizers politely told me that this was not what they were looking for. They wanted to know what made me who I am. Writing that speech changed my perspective; it made me recall things that had deep impact that, at the time, I didn’t fully understand or appreciate. Frankly, to me, this was worth more than the prize.” Heilmeier began his journey in the public schools in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. “Ours was a neighborhood of row homes occupied by families like mine with fathers who worked in the factories and mothers who raised children at home,” he says. “My father worked in the factories until manufacturing moved south and then he worked as a janitor in a nearby high school. By today’s standards, I guess you might say that we were poor, but we never saw ourselves as being poor.” Education was a priority since neither parent had completed high school due to financial constraints. Homework was made into a competitive game, and every trip was educational. During World War II, when his father was deployed to the Pacific, Heilmeier says, “We plotted his progress on the maps that we had pinned to my bedroom walls. This is how I learned geography. Dad was in every major invasion (except Iwo Jima) from mid-1944 until the end of the war.” Heilmeier won full tuition scholarships to Penn, Yale and several other schools. “My family couldn’t afford the expense of room and board, so I lived at home and attended Penn,” he recalls. He loved sports and wanted to be a physical education major, but since Penn didn’t offer that, he selected engineering. “It offered FALL 2009 ■ 10

challenging work, job security and a good salary, and these were important factors given the environment in which I lived and the experiences of my blue-collar family. Dad said that in every place he ever worked, engineers wore clean clothes and made lots of money. That did it!” Heilmeier’s Kyoto prize achievement was ultimately rooted at Penn, where he earned his B.S. in electrical engineering. He continued his studies at Princeton where he earned his M.S.E., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in solid state materials and electronics. There he began to solidify his first principles approach to problem solving. Upon graduation he went to RCA Laboratories, where he began his groundbreaking work in liquid crystal displays (LCD). In 1970, disillusioned with the slow pace of commercialization of LCD technology, Heilmeier left RCA to become a White House Fellow, beginning a fascinating career in government service. After his term as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Heilmeier became Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he applied his no-nonsense approach to funding decisions. He demanded that proposers articulate their objectives, justify their approach in light of current practices, identify timelines and costs, and explain the impact of success and the importance of the proposed solution. These practical objectives, known to many as “Heilmeier’s catechism,” revolutionized DARPA. “I saw some excellent proposals and some pretty bad proposals, but with each rejection I explained what was missing and, on a few occasions, how much funding they would have received had they answered my questions,” Heilmeier chuckles. “We started to see better proposals very quickly!” During his tenure, DARPA initiated revolutionary projects in stealth aircraft, space-based lasers and reconnaissance systems, infrared technology, anti-submarine warfare and applications of artificial intelligence. Among the 35-plus major awards he has received are the National Medal of Sciences, the Japanese C&C award, the IEEE Medal of Honor, the National Academy of Engineering Founders Award, the Pioneer of Stealth award, election to the National Inventors and the Consumer Electronics Halls of Fame and two honorary

meier Awards/

Heilmeier has won numerous awards including

the National Medal of Science, three major IEEE awards,

doctorates. Heilmeier was twice awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest honor given by the department, and one that is rarely given twice.

including the David Sarnoff Award, the Founders Award, and the Philips Award. He was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George H. W. Bush for contributions to national

These days, Heilmeier admits that he has “failed at retirement. Science and technology are my hobby and who can retire from their hobby?” He currently serves on the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Penn, and holds positions on the boards of directors of Compaq Computer Corp., Fidelity Funds, Mitre Corp., ADP as well as the Defense Science Board, the National Security Agency Advisory Board and the General Motors Science and Technology Board. He is also Chairman Emeritus of Telcordia Technologies, formerly Bellcore, and he has also served as Senior VP and CTO of Texas Instruments for 10 years.

security and competitiveness. For his pioneering work on liquid

The journey from Mayfair to the board room has been an exciting one. Through it all, Heilmeier has never forgotten his roots. A boy of humble means finds opportunity through hard work and dedication, and grows up to become a prolific inventor, a leader of industry and an advisor to Presidents. Benjamin Franklin would be proud.

Development of Low Observable Aircraft.” In 2005, Heilmeier

crystal displays he received the National Academy of Engineering Founders Award, Eta Kappa Nu’s Vladimir Karapetoff Eminent Members’ Award, as well as the Industrial Research Institute Medal. Named the first Technology Leader of the Year by Industry Week magazine, Heilmeier was also honored with the John Scott Award and the IEEE Medal of Honor, its highest honor, for his work on LCDs, followed by the John Fritz Award and the Pioneer of Stealth Award for “Visionary Leadership and Trailblazing Contributions of Enduring National Significance in the was awarded the Kyoto Prize in advanced technology, Japan’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Most recently, Heilmeier was inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.



“What good may I do?” DRAWING INSPIRATION FROM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PROFESSOR JOSEPH BORDOGNA TRANSFORMS “USEFUL KNOWLEDGE” INTO PUBLIC BENEFIT. The future dean of Penn Engineering grew up in South Philadelphia, where roots (and stickball rivalries) run deep, and where a college education was still a novel aspiration in the 1940s. The winner of a General Electric prize for academic achievement at Bartram High School in 1951, the young Joe Bordogna then used his Naval ROTC scholarship to learn the useful and the ornamental about engineering at Benjamin Franklin’s university. After serving in the U.S. Navy on the Battleship New Jersey and two destroyer escorts, the newly-minted electrical engineer won a Whitney Fellowship to MIT, but first worked at electronics innovator RCA for a year to refine his interests. In 1960, with his MIT master’s in electrical engineering, he returned to RCA before earning his doctorate at Penn Engineering. Here, the Philadelphia story of Joseph Bordogna becomes classically Franklinian.

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Bordogna has devoted his 47-year Penn career to expanding on the work of Franklin the scientist/engineer and Franklin the educator. As professor and dean, Bordogna launched innovative academic initiatives including dual-degree programs in management and technology and in computer and cognitive science, and an alternative liberal arts degree in an engineering school. “I was taken with Joe’s vision of how great the university could be—how the arts and sciences, business, engineering, nursing and medicine, indeed all of Penn’s schools and colleges, could work together to make a difference,” says longtime friend and colleague Ira Harkavy, (B.A.’70, Ph.D.’79), associate vice president and founding director of Penn’s Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships. “Joe has an extraordinary commitment to Franklin’s approach of ‘What good may I do?’ He exemplifies what Franklin said an educator should be— scholar, teacher, citizen.”

Throughout his career, Bordogna has worked to include underrepresented populations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. He is devoted to improving K-12 education in these areas, generating the Bordogna mantra: “We cannot afford to lose one brain.” In 1973, he co-founded PRIME, the Philadelphia Regional Introduction for Minorities to Engineering, and has served on the boards of Philadelphia-based organizations dedicated to accessible education for all. Last year, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, which Bordogna co-developed in 1983 to stimulate entrepreneurial potential in Pennsylvania, earned recognition from the U.S. Department of Commerce as the most outstanding technology-led economic development organization in the country. Garrett E. Reisman, (B.S.’91, M&T), studied engineering with Bordogna and skyrocketed from Penn Engineering to NASA under his professor’s mentorship. A rain-soaked, white-knuckled finish to Penn Engineering’s first solar car race forced Bordogna and his students, including Reisman, to cluster under the solar car’s single remaining wing, and

demonstrated the intensity of the professor’s devotion. In return, Reisman reserved a front row seat for Bordogna at the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which sent Reisman into orbit for three months in 2008, carrying with him a Penn pennant and an original knob from ENIAC. Reisman appreciates the concern his “incredible teacher” has for education and for the nation’s progress in science and technology. He says, “Dr. Bordogna has a deep-seated desire to do everything he can to make our country succeed.” In 1991, under President George H.W. Bush, Bordogna was appointed head of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate, followed by appointment as deputy director and COO of NSF by President Bill Clinton. Bordogna oversaw NSF’s $5 billion budget and programs supporting the nation’s strategic direction in research, technology and education. The National Science Board (which sets NSF policy) recognized Bordogna as “a creative force in setting new directions for the Foundation,” shepherding the NSF to “new heights of


scientific achievement, workforce diversity, and educational accomplishments.” He has the distinction of an eponymous plateau in Antarctica (the Bordogna Plateau) in recognition of his NSF Antarctic activities. In 1998, Bordogna served as worldwide president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which awarded him the James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal in 2008. He returned to Penn in 2005 as Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Engineering.

Bordogna’s Philadelphia story is best viewed through the windows and perspectives that Penn opened to him, says Harkavy, who has known Bordogna for nearly 40 years. “The Franklinian heritage, Franklin’s core ideas and core approaches—the integration of theory and practice to help improve the world—have influenced Joe,” Harkavy says. “Franklin founded Penn with the intention to educate young people to serve morally, to prepare the individual to contribute to society—and these are the principles that Joe takes everywhere.”

Bordogna Plateau, Antarctica / 83˚ 18’S 165˚ 19’E The Bordogna Plateau is named in honor of Dr. Joseph Bordogna, who served the National Science Foundation and the nation as head of the Engineering Directorate (1991-96), NSF Acting Deputy Director (1996-99) and NSF Deputy Director (1999-2005).

“Round, Flat, or Spiky—The World Turns on an Axis: The ‘This’ in ‘We Can Do This.’” During President Obama’s inaugural week, Joseph Bordogna gave the keynote address marking the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching. The awards are the highest recognition in the U.S. for K-12 teachers in math and science. This is an excerpt from that speech. We need to re-think the concept of education for a world transformed by revolutions in knowledge, technologies, economies, life expectancies, environments, and families. No matter our training and position, we must be ‘learners’ as well as ‘learned.’ In many ways, our children and grandchildren will be our educators. We have no shortage of ideas and we possess inexhaustible drive. The more we learn about the exquisite balance of the Earth’s natural and human-made systems, the more we discover about human interaction and learning, the more we comprehend how institutions work, the more we will be able to navigate these complexities, embrace technology appropriately, and see new possibilities to create positive outcomes. . . . Talent runs deep in America, in broad streams of intellect, perspective, and culture. We possess tantalizing potential, but we have not yet learned how to help all individuals realize their promise: We have not been totally inclusive. When we understand that diversity and inclusivity are the lifeblood of progress and prosperity, it becomes the nation’s responsibility—and that includes all of us. Every sector and every citizen has something to offer. We will realize our goals sooner if we all work together in harmony. It is the varied, richly textured and shaded fabric of diversity and inclusivity—not any single thread—that provides durability and strength to our science and engineering enterprise—and thus to our nation. Diversity—once given scope and opportunity—has the potential to shape, to transform, and to drive our future for the better.

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Penn’s Executive Master’s in Technology Management Program Celebrates Significant Milestone

As a matter of course, the early EMTM curriculum looked very different than it does today. “It had about four times more material than we ultimately ended up with. We were wildly optimistic at first, but became more realistic about the amount of information students could absorb,” says Dwight Jaggard, the original and current Academic Director for EMTM. Classes included two mathematics courses, statistics, systems engineering, marketing, management, economics and, reflecting the student body, a technology elective in telecommunications. Team projects were required in some classes, but teamwork was not a critical component of the program. Over the past 20 years, the curriculum, which requires a set of ten core management courses, has expanded the set of electives to embrace multiple technologies. EMTM students can now take electives in materials science, bio and pharma, and energy and the environment. As Judith Zosh, (EMTM’03), Vice President, IT Risk Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co., recalls, “The entire EMTM experience was a mind-stretch. It turned on my creativity by giving me a 20-year view of where technology is going.” Over time, the program has added students from a broader array of backgrounds and geographic areas, increased electives, and included a leadership component and a focus on global business issues. There are strong currents of entrepreneurship and innovation that run through the program as well. The series of 20th anniversary events have been well-received by EMTM’s current students and more than 800 alumni. Future Space: The Intersection Between Technology and Social Science has

EMTM’s 20th Anniversary

There is a buzz on campus, marking the 20th anniversary of the Executive Master’s in Technology Management Program. Based in Penn Engineering and co-sponsored by The Wharton School, EMTM was the brainchild of Penn Engineering faculty members Joseph Bordogna and Louis Girifalco, who recognized that executives needed to understand not only the business drivers of their organizations, but the role technology plays in their individual sectors, and how to capitalize on emerging technologies for competitive advantage. The Penn faculty collaborated with local companies to develop a program that would specifically address and integrate the disciplines of business and technology.

Keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, discusses social networking tools at an EMTM anniversary event on May 22, 2009.

been the focus of each of the events. In May 2009, attendees enjoyed a variety of activities, including a panel of experts on social networking tools, a speed-networking exercise to promote interaction among the entire EMTM community and a presentation by Guy Kawasaki on innovation. In October, Michael Kearns, Penn professor of Computer and Information Science spoke on “Strategic Behavior in Social Networks,” addressing the diffusion of information and processes involving strategic and economic behavior. Kearns illustrated his main points using some participatory “experiments” during the lecture. The final celebration will take place May 21, 2010. The keynote speaker, Dr. Clayton M. Christensen, the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, will focus on the impact of disruptive innovation.



Susan Davidson

Inspiring Leadership in Computer Science

Susan Davidson comes to Computer and Information Science (CIS) honestly. She is in it, she muses, because her father was an applied mathematician. “Computer science has a very mathematical basis…and a sense of relevance,” she says. “Today, with the growth of interdisciplinary research, it has become crucial to many fields.” When she began at Penn in 1982 as an assistant professor fresh from obtaining a doctorate in Computer Science from Princeton, Davidson says she found it to be an exhilarating and special place. “You had the sense that you were at the beginning of a new discipline.” The department is still evolving and the changes are huge, she says. When she began, the computing environment had just moved from punch cards and punch card readers to CRT monitors connected to large VAX machines. Now, her computing environment fits in her briefcase. Like the department, Davidson has also progressed. She rose to professor in 1998. In 2004, she became the inaugural George A. Weiss Professor and was named Fulbright Scholar. She became the Penn Engineering Deputy Dean in 2005, a position she held until 2008 when she took on the mantle of department chair. A key area this year is the Market and Social Systems Engineering (MKSE) program—at the intersection of computer science, engineering and the social sciences—to be led by Michael Kearns (CIS) and Ali Jadbabaie (Electrical and Systems Engineering). “Just as computation and high-throughput technologies have enabled a new way of doing biological experiments like genomics and computational biology, computation and the World Wide Web have enabled a new way of doing sociological experiments. The program will not merely juxtapose technology and business; it will synthesize disparate ways of thinking about how the technological world is changing and changing us,” Davidson explains.

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Joining them will be Andreas Haeberlen, who comes to the department from Rice University. “Sociological and economic researchers in this area rely on advanced computational platforms and technologies currently available at places like Yahoo! Research or Google, which are being designed and created by distributed systems researchers like Andreas. He has taken the socio-economic notion of accountability to counter intractable failure modes and govern good behavior in computer systems,” Davidson says. A precursor to the MKSE program remains popular. The course CIS 112 Networked Life, looks at how our world is connected— socially, economically, strategically and technologically—and why it matters. It addresses numerous issues including how Google finds what you are searching for, how Google makes money, and what we mean by the “economics of spam.” This fall, the department also embarked on a new master’s program in Embedded Systems, an outgrowth of the new Penn Research for Embedded Computer and Integrated Systems (PRECISE) Center led by Professor Insup Lee. The program introduces students to the scientific foundations of cyber-physical systems (CPSs) and integrates the theories of computing and communication systems, sensing and control of physical systems, and the interaction between humans and CPSs. Associated with this new program, a new course, CIS 540 Principles of Embedded Computation, is being offered. Professor Rajeev Alur teaches students the principles underlying design and analysis of computational elements that interact with the physical environment. Moving ahead, Davidson foresees a time when CIS has a strong focus on how to prevent people from using computers malevolently. “There is motivation for controlling how computers are being used,” she says, “as well as how you access them. The desire for a kind of control is influenced by what we do in regulating markets and what people do to regulate good behavior in society.”





nside the Towne Building’s Haptics Lab, members of Team Kuchenbecker are bent over their work stations, completely absorbed in individual projects. A question is raised from one of the benches and soon the dynamic changes: a diverse and interesting mix of doctoral, master’s, undergraduate, and high school students gather around a central work table to collectively figure out an answer. Katherine J. Kuchenbecker, Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, would be pleased; she has cultivated and encouraged this kind of collaboration and interaction among her student researchers.

She knows a little about team spirit. At Stanford, where she received all three of her engineering degrees, Kuchenbecker was a scholar-athlete and a member of the NCAA Division I Championship volleyball team two years in a row. Her athletic sensibilities inform the cooperative work ethic in the lab, from the high energy that pervades the space to the lively and up-to-the-minute Haptics Group website ( that keeps members electronically connected with news on conferences, publications and activities. Students often show up to work in their red Penn Haptics t-shirts, originally designed for members of the group to wear at the IEEE World Haptics Conference last March. The t-shirts may have been a hit at the conference, but so was the group’s research. Kuchenbecker and her student, Will McMahan, won the “Best Hands-On Demonstration” award for Will’s project on highly realistic haptic rendering, which they call “haptography.”

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Haptics, as defined by Kuchenbecker, is “the science of understanding and improving human interactions with the physical world through the sense of touch.” As part of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab at Penn, her research group investigates haptic interfaces, electro-mechanical systems that allow the user to feel and control a real or virtual environment via a computer. And along with MEAM 147, Introduction to Mechanics Lab, Kuchenbecker teaches MEAM 625, Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environments and Teleoperation, at the graduate level. Her Ph.D. work with Dr. Günter Niemeyer at Stanford’s Telerobotics Lab focused on techniques to improve haptic feedback (the feeling of a surface through robotic technology) in virtual and remote interactions. And now, Kuchenbecker is keenly interested in the possibilities of haptic feedback during robotic surgeries. Currently, robot-assisted operations are essentially based on visual information; the surgeon performs tasks remotely with the aid of endoscopic 3-D imaging but cannot feel the tissues and structures that the robot is touching. Kuchenbecker, who in the spring received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award, envisions a “super-human” robotic surgeon with not only unfailingly steady hands and visual acuity, but also tactile virtuosity. Jamie Gewirtz is on the case. A second-year student in the three-year-old master’s program in Robotics administered by the GRASP Lab, his work is aligned with Kuchenbecker’s vision. Gewirtz’s background is in science—he majored in biology at Kenyon College and worked as a lab assistant in

H TOUC hematology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) after graduation. At CHOP, when he voluntarily became involved in a side project to improve the efficiency of a lab instrument, it became clear to him why everyone had always commented that he should become an engineer. When he heard about the “Robo Master’s” program, Gewirtz applied. It seemed the perfect curriculum through which to meld his biomedical experience with his innate technical talents.

Accepted, he began his coursework in the spring of 2008, with Kuchenbecker as his advisor. She describes him as a “natural tinkerer” with a strong inclination to help people

The da Vinci system is said to have a “master-slave” relationship, denoting that the surgeon controls the robotic device from a console. Along with the console, the system includes a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms—three for instruments and the fourth to hold an endoscopic camera. There are about 1,300 such systems in the world, six at the hospitals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. Kuchenbecker’s close ties with Penn Medicine facilitated Gewirtz’s hands-on experience with one of the da Vinci robots last summer. Along with several other members of the lab, he was instructed on how the robot works and took a turn at the controls. The Haptics Group’s host was


perform more effectively. Gewirtz has been investigating ways in which to introduce haptic feedback into the delicate procedures of robot-assisted minimally invasive surgical (RMIS) systems. His current haptics/robotics research relates to the da Vinci Surgical System, a commercial product designed by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. This work was recently chosen as one of five semester-long projects in Gewirtz’s EAS 546 Engineering Entrepreneurship class, which will allow him and three other students to investigate the business potential of this project.

Dr. David I. Lee, Chief of the Division of Urology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Surgery. Lee is one of the most experienced physicians in the world with robotic prostatectomy—minimally invasive removal of the prostate with the use of a da Vinci robot. He is excited by the possibilities of being able to gather tactile information during surgery and improving the already good outcomes of robotic operations. Gewirtz’s research is one of several sophisticated research projects being undertaken in the Haptics Lab. Other current PENN ENGINEERING ■ 19


projects include Tactile Feedback for Stroke Rehabilitation, Haptography (haptic photography), the SlipGlove, and the iTorqU, which Gewirtz also worked on. Kuchenbecker describes the iTorqU as “an ungrounded haptic interface designed to exert controlled torques on the user’s hand through use of the gyroscopic effect.” Possible future applications of this technology include immersive gaming, upper-limb rehabilitation, and remote control of aerial vehicles. Students in Kuchenbecker’s MEAM 625 class also turn out some exceptional work. At last spring’s “Haptics Open

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House,” they welcomed visitors to learn sign language with the assistance of a glove that guides finger motions; track a desired arm trajectory guided only by skin stretch feedback on one’s wrist; and control a virtual human arm exoskeleton with only one’s thoughts, among other demonstrations. The Haptics Open House was attended by over 200 individuals from Penn’s community and surroundings, and it seemed to be enjoyed by all. It exemplified, in fact, the spirit of Kuchenbecker’s classes and haptics research at Penn in general—students and researchers at the top of their game, performing at their innovative best and having a great time doing it.


Collaboration, Community, and the SIG Center for Computer Graphics Penn’s program in Computer Graphics (CG@Penn) relies as much on the principles of collaboration and community as it does on technology and research in developing simulations of human movement and 3-D virtual environments for use in education, training, and the motion picture and video game industries. A major gift from the Susquehanna International Group (SIG) enabled the transformation of ENIAC’s birthplace on the first floor of the Moore Building into an optimal research environment for the CG@Penn community, which is anchored by Norm Badler, Professor of Computer and Information Science, and Director of the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS), and his colleagues: Alla Safonova, Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Science; Stephen Lane, Director of the master’s program in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT); Amy Calhoun, Associate Director of the Digital Media Design

(DMD) undergraduate program; and Joe Kider, SIG Center Associate Director. Tripp Becket (ENG’89, GEN’90, GR’97), Associate Director at SIG, and one of Badler’s Ph.D. advisees, was instrumental in formalizing the relationship between SIG and SEAS. As Becket explains, “It’s natural for SIG and Penn to partner. Penn students have been drawn to the area by the University’s outstanding academic opportunities, and we want them to stay in the Philadelphia area after graduation, which means that there have to be opportunities where they can apply their skills in a competitive and collaborative environment.” Based in Bala Cynwyd, SIG is one of the world’s largest privately-held financial institutions, providing trading and market-making services, institutional sales, research, private equity, venture capital, and investment banking. “Since our founding in 1987,” says Diane Chi (GEN’96, GR’99), Associate Director at SIG,


and a Badler Ph.D. advisee, “we have continually looked to Penn as a source of talent. We hope our sponsorship of the Center increases student awareness of SIG and the opportunities we have for them after graduation.” From the virtual companion wall that illuminates LED lights to accompany visitors as they approach the entrance, to the blackout shades that ensure functionality of the cutting-edge equipment inside, no detail of the SIG Center’s design and construction has been overlooked. Badler and his colleagues, especially former SIG Center Associate Director Jan Allbeck, (Ph.D. CIS’09), worked closely with Boston-based Kennedy and Violich Architecture and contractors Murphy, Quigley Company, to maximize technical and interpersonal functionality of the space, which opened in January of 2009.

reflective markers strategically placed on a person whose motions will be mapped to a 3-D character in a virtual environment. Ground reaction force sensors also collect data, enhancing researchers’ analysis of the dynamics of motion. “We call this a data acquisition facility,” says Safonova, “where we can acquire many different data, which can be synchronized, and used for a variety of applications.” Just how to integrate multiple streams of dynamic data is a challenge to be met as the studio grows. “We plan to add more sensors, so that we can capture data about eye movement, heart rate, and respiration rate, and it will all be synchronized,” says Badler, alluding to what he identifies as the studio’s potential as “a large-scale, wireless, biosensing lab” for both human motion and medical research.

The H. Stone Animation Studio is an 800-square-foot space anchoring the south side of the SIG Center. The largest motion capture facility in the region, the studio is outfitted with the same equipment used by Disney, Dreamworks, and Industrial Light and Magic. A ring of a dozen infrared cameras suspended above the studio capture the location of

Undergraduate and graduate workspaces form the perimeter of the studio’s large, open floor plan, which lends itself to collaborations and borrowing of expertise across the lab. “We endeavored to create a collaborative space here. We’ve put up as few barriers as possible, and we’ve been very fortunate, and very pleased that a sense of community exists here.” Even the

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From the virtual companion wall that illuminates LED lights to accompany visitors as they approach the entrance, to the blackout shades décor enhances that feeling. Posters lining the walls of the Raghavendran Computational Laboratory represent video games and movies, including Wall-E, The Incredibles, and Pirates of the Caribbean, on which CG alumni have worked; a Ph.D. family tree in the Dawn and Tripp Becket Conference Room helps Badler keep track of the advisees he’s had since coming to Penn in 1975, and will soon be branching out to include Safonova’s students; and the “collaborative zone,” as Badler calls it, equipped with a kitchenette, chairs, and modular tables, blends socializing with project work. “We believe strongly in heterogeneous collaborative groups,” Badler explains. Typically, project teams will include a faculty member, Ph.D., master’s, and undergraduate students, and possibly visiting scholars. “The faculty gently but firmly push students out of their comfort zones,” says Badler. In this way, programmers gain experience as 3-D modelers, and animators develop skills in writing code. According to Lane, “CG students have to be analytical, know math well, and be proficient programmers. But there has to be a bridge to the creative side. They have to have strong left-brain/right-brain skills in order to excel in computer graphics.” CG@Penn teams work to create virtual environments to be used as test beds for simulations of real world, dynamic phenomena. “Ultimately,” says Calhoun, “what we’re doing in the SIG Center is solving real-world problems using cutting-edge equipment and software.” In addition to developing simulations which will help identify efficient evacuation routes from confined spaces such as coal mines and office buildings, CG@Penn teams collaborate with art historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists to model historical sites

that ensure functionality of the cutting-edge equipment inside, no detail of the SIG Center’s design and construction has been overlooked.

which may have decayed or been destroyed over centuries, and animate dynamic visual effects in order to provide authentic depictions which would be expensive or impossible to re-create in reality. An example of this work is a virtual tour of part of the 8th to 10th century Great Mosque of Córdoba, complete with authentic lighting. Taking photographs, videos, and measurements by hand, a team captured detailed data about the light cast by re-creations of the Mosque’s glass lamps, then wrote programs that simulated those illuminations in a 3-D virtual model of the Mosque. The result, a spectacular vision of the Mosque’s interior as it was lit over a thousand years ago, has become an interdisciplinary teaching tool at Penn. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology that allows researchers to analyze and transform complex streams of data into dynamic virtual models, and a layout designed to promote collaboration, the SIG Center is an ideal home for the CG@Penn community. Applying its unique blend of creativity and technical expertise in modeling human movement and building virtual worlds, that community is extending across disciplinary boundaries, fostering new collaborations, and engaging ever widening audiences in the process.


School NEWS Inaugural Lecture for Singh Program in Market and Social Systems Engineering Duncan Watts, Principal Research Scientist for Yahoo! Research, presented the Inaugural Lecture for Penn Engineering’s newest program, the Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Market and Social Systems Engineering. The lecture and the program’s dedication took place on Thursday, October 15, in Levine Hall. The lecture, “Using the Web to Do Social Science,” detailed ways in which new and emerging data surrounding collective online behaviors can be used to study social phenomena. In his talk, Watts described how social science is often concerned with the emergence of collective behavior out of the interactions of large numbers of individuals, but that in this regard, it has long suffered from a severe measurement problem—namely that interactions between people are hard to observe, especially at scale, over time, and at the same time as observing behavior. In his talk, he argued that the technological revolution of the Internet is beginning to lift this constraint. Although Internetbased research still faces serious methodological and procedural obstacles, Watts proposed that the ability to study truly “social” dynamics at individual-level resolution will have dramatic consequences for social science. Duncan Watts directs the Human Social Dynamics group at Yahoo! Research. He is also an adjunct senior research fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University, an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute, and an associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford. His research interests include the structure and evolution of social networks, the origins and dynamics of social influence, and the nature of distributed “social” search. He is the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness. He holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of New South Wales, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University. Made possible by an $8 million gift from the entrepreneurs for whom the program is named, the Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Market and Social Systems Engineering will be the first-of-its-kind program of study to fully integrate the

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disciplines needed in this emerging science. The intellectual core of the program will encompass network science, algorithmic game theory and other disciplines relevant to engineers and scientists as they consider human incentives and behavior in developing modern technological systems. Following the lecture, Penn President Amy Gutmann presided over the dedication of the program, and in her remarks discussed the significance of the Singh program which combines engineering, computer technology, economics and finance. President Gutmann thanked the Singhs for funding this ambitious and exciting educational program and presented Dr. and Mrs. Singh with the citation that read, “The School of Engineering and Applied Science of the University of Pennsylvania celebrates the inauguration of the Raj and Neera Singh Program in Market and Social Systems Engineering and honors Raj and Neera Singh: Loyal Penn parents, academic visionaries, generous philanthropists.”

New Faculty

Honors and Awards Jason Burdick, the Wilf Family Term Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, was selected as one of 100 of the nation’s brightest young engineers to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium earlier this summer.

Daniel Gianola, Skirkanich Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University Post-Doc as Humboldt Fellow, Karlsruhe, Germany Dr. Gianola works on the prediction of mechanical response of advanced materials at reduced length scales. His experimental studies use new methodologies for the quantitative mechanical testing of materials at the nanoscale and state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques to observe the processes that govern their behavior. Gianola's group aims to answer fundamentally inspired and technologically relevant questions about how advanced engineering materials undergo deformation. The insight gained from this work will enable the design and use of next-generation computers, micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), nanotechnological devices for medical, electronic, and sensing applications, and energy generation and storage devices. Equipped with knowledge about mechanisms for deformation in advanced materials, his group strives to engineer and tailor properties for functional use.

Robert Carpick, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Penn Director, Nanotechnology Institute, has been awarded the ASME 2009 Burt L. Newkirk Award for significant contributions to the understanding of the tribological properties of ultrastrong carbon-based films through innovative experimental research that has revealed the dissipation and wear mechanisms of such films at the nanoscopic and atomic levels. Paul Ducheyne, Professor of Bioengineering, and his team at the University of Pennsylvania were awarded $100,000 from the University City Science Center’s QED Program, a $100,000 match from the University, and business advice for one year. The new program was created to fill the gap between research grants and commercial seed investment. Professor Ducheyne’s group is developing nanostructured thin films for reducing bacterial infection via external bone fixator pins. If successful, the films would reduce the high complication rates that are observed when compound fractures are repaired using external fixation. Raymond J. Gorte, the Russell Pearce and Elizabeth Crimian Heuer Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2009 R. H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering. Dr. Gorte is being recognized for seminal contributions to the field of reaction engineering. Katherine J. Kuchenbecker, the Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, has received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award for her work on “Haptography: Capturing and Recreating the Rich Feel of Real Surfaces.”

David F. Meaney has been named the Solomon R. Pollack Chair in Bioengineering. Dr. Meaney joined the Penn faculty in 1993, having completed his master’s and Ph.D. in Bioengineering at Penn in 1988 and 1991, respectively. He received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1987. Susan S. Margulies, Professor of Bioengineering, has been named a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society for her national and international contributions to Biomedical Engineering and for inspired leadership in BMES. Mark Yim, Associate Professor and Gabel Family Term Junior Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded a Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Penn’s highest teaching honor. Dr. Yim has been instrumental in reorienting the curriculum in Mechanical Engineering around a lab-based practice-integrated curriculum designed not only to teach the students concepts and skills, but to develop an engineering way of thinking. The Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC) at the University of Pennsylvania has been awarded $11.5 million from the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers of the National Science Foundation to continue to advance nanoscale research at the interface of physical and biological systems. Dawn Bonnell, the Trustee Chair Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, is the Director of the NBIC. The grant will support multidisciplinary research at Penn designed to explore and control the function and quantification of molecules, to explore interactions between organic/inorganic interfaces and physical and biological systems and to unite investigators from ten academic departments to provide new directions for the life sciences in a two-way flow essential to fully realizing the benefits of nano-biotechnology. The Moore School has been named one of InfoWorld’s 12 “Tech Meccas,”one of the “holy sites” where computing history was made. PENN ENGINEERING ■ 25

School NEWS In Memoriam J. Peter Skirkanich, successful business leader, University of Pennsylvania Trustee and Penn Engineering Overseer, died on August 17, 2009, while traveling with his wife and children in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was 66 years old. Mr. Skirkanich’s steadfast connection to Penn began while a student at The Wharton School and continued to strengthen after his graduation in 1967. He became a trustee in 2002, serving as a member of the Facilities and Campus Planning Committee, the Budget Finance Committee and its Debt Subcommittee. Mr. Skirkanich began his tenure as a Penn Engineering Overseer in 1997. He brought to the table his business acumen and contagious enthusiasm, both of which were valuable contributions to the School. He served as co-chairman of the School’s current “Making History through Innovation” capital campaign and as a member of the University-wide “Making History” campaign. Peter and his wife Geri generously established the “Skirkanich Professorships of Innovation” to support and nurture young members of the engineering faculty and endowed the Peter and Geri Skirkanich Scholarships to provide financial aid to Penn Engineering undergraduates. Mr. Skirkanich’s keen interest in engineering and technology crystallized around the field of bioengineering, as he fervently believed in its potential for bettering lives and its strategic importance to this campus, and made the naming gift to construct a new home for a cutting-edge bioengineering research facility. Today, Skirkanich Hall is an intellectual destination on campus and an architectural jewel for the Philadelphia region. Mr. Skirkanich is survived by his wife Geri; mother, Helen; sons Jack and Erik; and daughter Brett. Penn Engineering has established the J. Peter Skirkanich Memorial Fund. To donate online, please visit giving-priorities.php.

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William R. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering, died on July 15, 2009, at the age of 70. Professor Graham was a physics major at Melbourne University where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1959 and 1961. In 1965, he received his doctoral degree from Oxford University. He began his professional career at Yale University in 1965 as a Research Associate and in 1968 was appointed Assistant Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Dr. Graham spent two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Metallurgy and Mining Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining Penn in 1974 as an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. At Penn, Dr. Graham pioneered the application of field ion and auger microscopy, and medium energy ion scattering to study the geometric, electronic and vibrational structure and properties of surfaces and thin-film interface systems. His scholarly work led to seminal publications on surface reconstructions and self-diffusion on metal surfaces. Professor Graham was a consummate educator; he was adored by his students and received all possible teaching accolades at Penn. These honors included the S. Reid Warren Jr. Award for Distinguished Teaching, which he won twice; the UPS Foundation Distinguished Educator Term Chair; the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Ford Motor Company Award for Faculty Advising. Throughout his career Dr. Graham was a constant advocate for students and dedicated many years of service as Chair of the undergraduate program in MSE. He mentored, advised and taught hundreds of students during his years at Penn, and comments in his teaching evaluations consistently recall his love of teaching and his passion for passing on his knowledge in his own inimitable style. Dr. Graham is survived by his two daughters, Alison Graham-Bertolini and Elizabeth Graham; a sister; a brother; and his former wife Hilary Winks.

Benjamin Gebhart, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, died on October 18, 2009, at the age of 86. Professor Gebhart began his work career as an apprentice tool maker in Detroit before serving as a Marine in World War II. Upon his return, he began his academic career majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1948 and 1950, respectively. In 1954, he received his doctoral degree from Cornell University. He remained at Cornell as a faculty member of Mechanical Engineering until 1975 when he joined the State University of New York at Buffalo as Leading Professor and Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He joined Penn in 1980 as the Samuel Landis Gabel Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Gebhart was an active researcher and internationally recognized authority in the area of heat transfer and the associated fluid flow. His first book, Heat Transfer, was published in 1961 and had a major impact on the analysis of convective flows and became an important reference as it laid down the physical and fundamental basis for studying thermal convection. Never timid about venturing from the laboratory, Professor Gebhart undertook an expedition to the North Polar ice pack where he made experimental measurements of the temperature fields in sea water near the ice for subsequent comparison with theoretical predictions. On the occasion of Professor Gebhart’s 65th birthday, he was honored with a Festschrift in the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer by his students, friends and colleagues and the editors of the journal in recognition of his outstanding achievements. Dr. Gebhart is survived by his wife Janet Keen, and daughters Raïssa Mae Gebhart Farmer and Lorna Margaretha Gebhart Welde.

Summer@ Penn SUMMER ACADEMY IN APPLIED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (SAAST) for talented high school students

3 weeks, July 11—July 30, 2010

An exceptional opportunity for a select group of highly-motivated and talented high school students (rising 10th—12th graders) Rigorous, challenging college-level coursework in engineering at Penn Sophisticated theory and hands-on practical experiences in cutting-edge technologies Five programs are offered: Biotechnology, Computer Graphics, Computer Science, Nanotechnology, and Robotics Three weeks long, intensive, exhilarating, and lots of fun and camaraderie! For more information and online application:

SUMMER INSTITUTE IN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY (SIBT) for globally-minded undergraduates 4 weeks, July 10—August 7, 2010

A unique opportunity for highly-motivated and globally-minded undergraduates Rigorous and collaborative coursework for credit in engineering entrepreneurship and business (Wharton) Case studies, presentations, teamwork and corporate site visits focused on “Technopreneurship in the 21st century” Three courses for credit: Technology Entrepreneurship (Engineering), New Product Development and Entrepreneurial Marketing (Wharton) Exceptional faculty, intensive and rewarding coursework, cultural outings, the Penn campus experience, and friends from all over the world! For more information and online application:

Share Your Insights Mentor an Engineering Student Do you want to make a real difference in an undergraduate’s life? The Penn Engineering Mentoring Program seeks alumni who are interested in mentoring first year undergraduate engineering students to: • Provide exposure to and expand students’ perceptions of a career field. • Offer personal and professional career guidance. The time commitment is minimal, but the rewards can be enormous. For more information and to register, visit OTHER WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

The Engineering Alumni Society offers alumni many other great opportunities for getting involved with the School and the University at large. For more information, visit our website at

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Michele Grab Michele Grab is the Director of the Advancing Women in Engineering (AWE) Program. Created through the generosity of a Mechanical Engineering alumna, AWE was launched in fall 2007 with the goal to recruit and retain women in engineering. What is your role as Director of AWE? I see my first responsibility as “the ears” of the program, listening to faculty and students to discern where we want to concentrate our time and talents in the areas of recruitment and retention of female students in engineering. I also gather information on what peer institutions are doing successfully in this arena, and plan events and activities, such as peer mentoring programs, faculty panels and study breaks to carry out our mission. What drew you to this position? Are you an engineer? A lot of people assume that I’m an engineer, but I actually was a communications and journalism major in college and have a master’s in education. While in graduate school I did research on women’s leadership development and spent five years working at Carnegie Mellon University on gender-related programs. That’s when I got my first taste of working with women in engineering and computer science. I came to Penn in 2004 as the House Dean of Stouffer College House, a great way to join the Penn community. As House Dean you are an academic advisor, event planner, problem solver, supervisor, advice giver—a skill set also essential to the director of AWE. Being a House Dean gave me connections to resources and contacts to successfully implement this program. What surprises you about what you do? I’ve been astonished at how quickly we’ve been able to measure success with some of our programs. Our two summer programs, PennGEMS for middle school girls and our pre-orientation program for incoming freshmen women have been an overwhelming success. During pre-orientation we had 51 students participate this year compared to 19 last year! We were thrilled that 40 percent of the women of the class of 2013 moved in early, got connected with each other, met upper-class students, faculty and alumnae, and started their Penn Engineering careers with us. I would love to see all 51 of those faces together again at graduation in May 2013! What do you like to do outside of the office? I live in the city near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and I love to wander around exploring the different neighborhoods. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and Philly reminds me a lot of Brooklyn with all the different areas to explore. I’m a huge reader so you can often find me on a Sunday at a new coffee shop with a great book!

PENN ENGINEERING BOARD OF OVERSEERS Mr. Andrew S. Rachleff, W’80 [Board Chair] Partner Benchmark Capital Menlo Park, CA The Honorable Harold Berger, EE’48, L’51 Managing Partner Berger and Montague, P.C. Philadelphia, PA Mr. David J. Berkman, W’83 Managing Partner Liberty Associated Partners, L.P. Bala Cynwyd, PA Dr. Katherine D. Crothall, EE’71 Principal Liberty Venture Partners, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Mr. Peter N. Detkin, Esq., EE’82, L’85 Co-Founder, Vice-Chairman Intellectual Ventures Palo Alto, CA Mr. Richard D. Forman, EE'87, W'87 Managing Partner Health Venture Group New York, NY Mr. Douglas M. Glanville, ENG’93 President G.K. Alliance, LLC Glen Ellyn, IL

Dr. John F. Lehman, Jr., GR’74 Chairman and Founding Partner J. F. Lehman & Company New York, NY Dr. David M. Magerman, C’90, ENG’90 President and Founder Kohelet Foundation Gladwyne, PA Mr. Sean C. McDonald, ChE’82 President, CEO Precision Therapeutics Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Hital R. Meswani, ENG’90, W’90 Executive Director and Member of the Board Reliance Industries Limited Mumbai, India Mr. Rajeev Misra, ME’85, GEN’86 Global Head of Credit UBS Investment Bank London, UK Mr. Ofer Nemirovsky, EE’79, W’79 Managing Director HarbourVest Partners, LLC Boston, MA Mr. David Pakman, ENG’91 Partner Venrock New York, NY

Mr. C. Michael Gooden, GEE’78 Chairman and CEO Integrated Systems Analysts Inc. Alexandria, VA

Mr. Mitchell I. Quain, EE’73, parent [Board Chair Emeritus] Managing Director ACI Capital Co., LLC New York, NY

Mr. Paul S. Greenberg, EE’83, WG’87 Principal Trilogy Capital LLC Greenwich, CT

Mr. William H. Rackoff, C’71, MTE’71 President and Chief Executive Officer ASKO Inc. Homestead, PA

Mr. Alex Haidas, C’93, ENG’93, WG’98 Portfolio Manager Credaris (CPM Advisers Limited) London, UK

Mr. Allie P. Rogers, ENG’87, W’87 Co-Founder Triple Point Technology, Inc. Westport, CT

Dr. George H. Heilmeier, EE’58 Chairman Emeritus Telcordia Technologies, Inc. Piscataway, NJ

Mr. Jeffrey M. Rosenbluth, ENG’84 Private Investor Sands Point, NY Ms. Suzanne B. Rowland, ChE’83 VP Business Excellence Tyco Flow Control Princeton, NJ Mr. Theodore E. Schlein, C’86 Managing Partner Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Menlo Park, CA Mr. Roger A. Shiffman President and CEO Zizzle, LLC Bannockburn, IL Dr. Krishna P. Singh, MS’69, Ph.D.’72 President and CEO HOLTEC International Marlton, NJ Dr. Rajendra Singh, parent Chairman and CEO Telcom Ventures LLC Alexandria, VA Mr. Robert M. Stavis, EAS’84, W’84 Partner Bessemer Venture Larchmont, NY Mr. Harlan M. Stone, C’80 President and Chief Operating Officer Halstead International Norwalk, CT Mr. Frederick J. Warren, ME’60, WG’61 Founder Sage Venture Partners, LLC Winter Park, FL Ms. Sarah Keil Wolf, EE’86, W’86 Retired Investment Banker Bear Stearns and Company Scarsdale, NY Dr. Michael D. Zisman, GEE’73, GR’77 Managing Director, Operations Internet Capital Group Wayne, PA

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA NONDISCRIMINATION STATEMENT The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran in the administration of educational policies, programs or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan awards; athletic, or other University administered programs or employment. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to: Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106 or by phone at (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD). PENN ENGINEERING ■ cIII


Penn Engineering Magazine: Fall 2009  

Rethinking Engineering

Penn Engineering Magazine: Fall 2009  

Rethinking Engineering