UD Electrical & Computer Engineering Magazine

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FALL 2020







DEAR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES, These are certainly challenging times, where we are facing issues of a global pandemic, social injustice, and climate change. As engineers, we are fundamentally “problem solvers”, where we aim to persevere through adverse conditions and to use our unique technical skillset to help solve major societal challenges. Our department is preparing the next generation of engineers in an inclusive environment that fosters innovative discovery to lead in addressing critical needs of society. In my first weeks as Chair, I have been impressed with the passion and resilience of the ECE Department, and we are pleased to share some highlights over the past year. Amid the pandemic, we have primarily transitioned our educational activities to be done remotely without sacrificing the quality of teaching. We continue to engage our students with hands-on experiences where possible, including the distribution of electronics kits for students to perform experiments at home and continuing multidisciplinary activities through the Vertically Integrated Projects program. When we can safely return to in-person interactions, we are ecstatic about realizing the potential of the new MakerGym as an open access collaborative facility for innovation in academics, research, and entrepreneurship. Our research activities have demonstrated breakthroughs in fundamental areas, including a record setting transistor fabricated in the UD Nanofabrication Facility that may enable higher bandwidth wireless technologies for 5G and beyond. We are developing artificial intelligence embedded in hardware to enable functions such as facial recognition as a part of the Internet of Things. We are advancing the frontiers of high-performance computing, including infrastructure as a part of the Delaware Advanced Workforce and Innovation Network (DARWIN). While these are only a few examples of our recent activities, they illustrate connection to today’s challenges: for example, the need for high bandwidth wireless communications in today’s remote learning/work environment and high performance computing as a critical tool for COVID-19 vaccine development. We hope you enjoy reading more in the pages that follow, and invite you to stay connected with our progress and activities at ece.udel.edu, and feel free to share your feedback and suggestions with me at jphilli@udel.edu. All the Best,

Jamie Phillips Chair Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Delaware

Fall 2020

Electrical & Computer Engineering This magazine is published by the Office of Communications in the College of Engineering for the alumni, friends and peers of the College of Engineering.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Magazine

University of Delaware College of Engineering 102 Du Pont Hall Newark, DE 19716

FALL 2020





ECE by the Numbers

05 Features 08

Core Facilities

10 Research 13

Faculty News & Highlights


Student News


Advisory Council



Please submit address changes to ece-info@udel.edu or call (302) 831-2405. Subscribe or send comments to ece-info@udel.edu.

BUILDING BETTER BENCHMARKS P12 UD computer scientists on team measuring the true performance of supercomputers

The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer and Title IX institution. For the University’s complete non-discrimination statement, please visit www.udel.edu/aboutus/legalnotices.html

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering





40,000 square feet of lab and supporting facilities


National Academy of Engineering member; PECASE Awardee




Fellows of IEEE, Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), and professional societies


Named Professors

UNDERGRADUATE 398 students in Fall 2020


10,000 square feet nanofabrication research and teaching facilities 4,500 square feet Innovation Suite (iSuite). Includes state-of-the-art Cyber Range, Maker Space & Collaboration Hub

B.S Degrees Electrical Engineering Computer Engineering Minors Cybersecurity Bioelectrical Engineering Electrical & Computer Engineering


258 students in Fall 2020 M.S. Degrees Cybersecurity Electrical and Computer Engineering

PROGRAM DIFFERENTIATORS NEW Design Sequence ECE Design Challenges, ECE Design & Entrepreneurialism, Senior Capstone Design Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Long-term, multidisciplinary, facultydriven undergraduate team projects Entrepreneur in Residence Dr. Sean Wang (PhD’ 92)

Ph.D. Degree Electrical and Computer Engineering




Raised in lead-up to ECE’s 125th anniversary, funding junior chairs, iSuite, VIP, and summer research

University of Delaware

in sponsored research expenditures

CYBERSECURITY EXPERTISE DHS & NSA Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Education Cybersecurity Programs Fundamentals of Cybersecurity Certificate; Cybersecurity Minor Degree; Cybersecurity MS Degree (Online & On-Campus); Cybersecurity Scholars Program


Students in cybersecurity degree programs

Major funders include NSF, NIH, ONR, ARO, AFOSR, DARPA and DoE Areas of Research Excellence Computer Engineering, High Performance Computing & Cybersecurity, Signal Processing, Communications & Controls Nanoelectronics, Electromagnetics & Photonics Major Research Partnerships NIST National Cybersecurity FFRDC, American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), Delaware Direct Digital Manufacturing Institute (3DMI), US Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground, JPMC and the Financial Services Industry

FEATURE devices, infrared detectors based on quantum structured materials, and subwavelength dielectric gratings for infrared optical filtering. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and DARPA/ MTO Young Faculty Award, and he is a Senior Member of IEEE. “Jamie is an outstanding scholar as well as a change agent who comes to us from one of the nation’s top electrical engineering departments,” said Levi Thompson, Dean of the College of Engineering. “He joins us at a perfect time as we aim to grow for impact.”


UD WELCOMES JAMIE PHILLIPS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Jamie Phillips joined UD as the Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, effective September 1, 2020. Previously, he was an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Michigan. Professor Phillips joined the Michigan faculty in 2002 and served as Associate Chair of Undergraduate Affairs in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Division. He has research interests in the area of optoelectronic materials and devices based on compound semiconductors. Recent research activities are in photovoltaics energy harvesting in millimeter sized computers for the Internet of Things and bioimplantable


human-machine learning, data analysis and other emerging financial technologies. In addition, students and faculty will benefit from the completion of DARWIN (Delaware Advanced Research Workforce and Innovation Network), a major computational and data resource at UD. Electrical and computer engineering professor Rudi Eigenmann leads DARWIN. “I am delighted to join the tradition of excellence at the University of Delaware and for the opportunity to help lead growth of ECE in interdisciplinary research and education to the benefit of society,” said Phillips.


Prof. Phillips joins a UD department on the rise. The electrical and computer engineering department grew its student population by 66 percent from 2014 to 2019. What’s more, the department has a rich research ecosystem: faculty consistently garner millions of dollars for sponsored research programs. The innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of students and faculty is undeniable. In fact, alumnus Wayne Westerman and professor John Elias invented the touch tracking/sense and typing/gesture recognition technology in smartphones in a UD electrical engineering lab. The technology was later acquired by Apple. Jamie looks forward to leading the department through its next phase of growth and the realization of several important initiatives. For example, members of the department will thrive in the new FinTech building, now under construction. The FinTech building will bring together experts in cybersecurity,


As department chair, Jamie follows Ken Barner, Charles Black Evans Professor of Electrical Engineering, who led the department for the past 11 years. Barner returned to the faculty on July 1, and professor Mark Mirotznik served as interim department chair from July 1 to September 1. “Ken demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering over more than a decade as department chair,” said Thompson. “From bolstering our expertise in cybersecurity to launching online master’s programs to unveiling the iSuite space for student collaboration, Ken oversaw a range of impactful projects. We can not thank him enough for his contributions.”

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


A TRIBUTE TO KEN BARNER Kenneth E. Barner, Charles Black Evans Professor, served as the Chair of Electrical & Computer Engineering from 2009–2020. But Ken’s affinity for ECE started long before he led the department. While looking for undergraduate schools, Barner had UD on his radar. Ultimately, he went to Lehigh University, but during his search for graduate school, Barner took another look at UD. “I remember when I came to Delaware, the faculty member that I spoke to, Bob Hunsburger, spent a lot of time with me and talked for a long time about what was going on in Delaware. That (made) an impression on me,” he said. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Lehigh in 1987, Barner began his graduate career at UD under the advisement of Gonzalo Arce in the area of non-linear signal processing. He completed his dissertation on Permutation Filters: A Group Theoretic Class of Non-Linear Filters. As Barner was finishing his Ph.D. in 1992, then-Chair Pete Warter offered him an opportunity to teach a class as a visiting professor. Barner was also working as a Research Engineer at the Applied Science Engineering Labs (ASEL) at AI DuPont Hospital. In 1998, he was offered a full-time Assistant Professorship in ECE.

Before serving as Chair, Barner served as Associate Chair of the Graduate Program, and he has advised 19 Ph.D. and 20 MS students. Ken’s service and commitment to ECE are most evident from his contributions as Chair. In his first term, Ken led the ABET accreditation process and spearheaded a revamp of the undergraduate curriculum. Under his leadership, enrollment grew, and online and certificate programs were added to the curriculum. His greatest legacy is converting 4,000 square feet of antiquated lab space into the iSuite, a student collaboration hub that will impact students’ educational experiences for years to come. Ken’s service to ECE has included Chair, University of Delaware Chairs Caucus; Biomedical Engineering Executive Committee Steering Committee and Steering Committee of the American Association of University Professors. He’s been recognized in Who’s Who in Engineering Education (2000), is a Fellow of the IEEE for contributions in nonlinear signal processing (2016) and received an NSF CAREER award (1999).

From doctoral student to esteemed department chair and beyond, Ken Barner, Charles Black Evans Professor, has made a lasting impact on the department.

University of Delaware

PRAISE FOR KEN “It has been my pleasure work with Ken for many years. Our interests have coincided in many areas, from engineering research to the reform of engineering education. Most recently, while Ken was Chair of ECE and I served as a member of the ECE Advisory Committee, we were able to work with many other people to improve the experience of the students, graduate students, staff, and faculty of ECE. Ken was very effective as Chair, both in managing the department and working with the administration to achieve critical long-range goals. These included: the launch of an outstanding maker space; launching the VIP Program; enabling ECE research to further improve in both quantity and quality; fostering multi-disciplinary collaborations; and improving both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Most recently, Ken successfully steered ECE through the storm of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ken passes the Chair’s baton to Jaime Phillips, we all owe him great thanks, both for all he has accomplished and for ensuring that ECE@UD is very well positioned for the future.” – Ed Coyle, Georgia Tech & ECE Advisory Board Member “Ken’s service and leadership in our department has been instrumental in my career as faculty. The opportunities he created, his guidance and his mentorship have made him a role model to young faculty.” –Nektarios Tsoutsos

“It would be impossible to count all the ways Ken has shown his support for me and everyone in the department. I will always be grateful for his mentorship and leadership.” –Chengmo Yang “From my first meeting with Ken at the onsite interview in 2018, to his support on my NSF proposals last year, from his help in finding me the most appropriate courses to teach, to his valuable comments about my research direction and collaboration opportunities, Ken has influenced me so much in many ways and has set an excellent role model to me! I could hardly ask for even a little bit more from a Department Chair.” –Xiugang Wu “...Ken was a fierce advocate for the ECE department, but he was also a collegial team player; he became one of a truly trusted compatriot within the ranks of the department chairs of that period. Till today, I still miss our one-on-one meetings. I wish Ken the very best as he returns to the faculty—he deserves all the accolades coming his way for what he did for the ECE department during his tenure.” –Babatunde A. Ogunnaike “He has not only served his department with distinction, he has been an outstanding partner in helping to lead our college. During his 11 years as chair Ken helped grow the department and create important collaborative opportunities. When I started as dean, he was among the first to greet me and help me understand the UD Engineering culture. Finally, I want to thank Ken for inviting me to join his fantasy football league; I came in second place last year and look forward to winning it all this year! Ken, I wish you all the best in this next chapter of your career.”

“...It was my privilege and pleasure to work for someone who was not only a great leader and mentor, but more importantly, a friend. Even during the most trying times under multiple deadlines and gentle persuasion from me and my sticky notes, lol, you never lost your cool. You’re the most chill person I know, and you have the uncanny ability to instill that in others. You make others better as a result of your presence. Your positive impact on the ECE Department will not be forgotten. I wish you health, happiness and success in the next chapter of your career. I know you will continue to do great things. Thank you for the extraordinary honor to have worked with the best! You are an inspiration to all that know you.” – Karen DiStefano, Retired ECE Admin Assistant “Ken has been an exemplar advisor during my PhD studies not just from a technical perspective but also from a personal point of view. In addition to being a fountain of complex scientific knowledge, he was also able to strike a fine balance between guidance that a PhD student requires whilst fostering creativity. My admiration and respect for Ken grew more and more over time as we kept in touch after my graduation. He continued to support my endeavors and be a sounding board at critical points in my life – he was always there for me when I needed his wisdom and advice on practically any topic! The fact that he was a guest of honor and the life of the party at my wedding speaks volumes to the environment and bonds he is able to create between himself, his students and people around him (all the while being the sharpest person in the room)!” –Tuncer (Can) Aysal, Ph.D 2007

–Levi T. Thompson Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


This six-story structure will bring together the academic, business and governmental segments of the financial world to tap into the evolving world of financial services technology.


The University of Delaware, Delaware Technology Park (DTP) and Discover Bank will partner on the construction of a new building that continues the Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus’s march into the future, adding a building block that taps into the evolving world of financial services technology — commonly called FinTech — with an eye on growth for Delaware. The six-story, 100,000-square feet structure will bring various facets of an industry together under one roof, in this case the academic, business and governmental segments of the financial world. By constructing a hub where the financial services industry and academia intersect with technology and innovation, UD, Discover and DTP will contribute to the vitality of Delaware’s economy. UD’s research and instruction in data-related disciplines will create a highly capable workforce to feed the FinTech industry in Delaware, including the start-up businesses that will hatch, grow and spin out of the new facility. THE BUILDING WILL HOUSE:

Spaces for startups to develop and grow, managed by Delaware Technology Park. Tenants will have onsite access to business development resources and technical assistance. University of Delaware

Labs and centers associated within UD’s College of Engineering and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. These spaces will link strengths and resources from both colleges on topics such as financial analytics, cybersecurity, human-machine learning and data analysis. UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) will relocate its offices from the Delaware Technology Park’s Innovation Way location. Delaware’s Small Business Development Center, which will be synergistically located to offer assistance to OEIP’s Spin In program. This program connects UD undergraduate students with community entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to give them an inside look at business innovation in action and a chance to apply what they’re learning in real-life situations. Potential plans and programs include a cybersecurity leadership center that would link Lerner’s cybersecurity management with the College of Engineering’s cybersecurity engineering and technology, a space for human-machine learning and social media data analysis and a multi-media studio.

The 6,700-squarefoot MakerGym in UD’s Pearson Hall formerly was a gymnasium for Newark public school students before the building was purchased by the University in 1981. It features an array of 3D printers and other state-ofthe-art tools, not to mention a 21stcentury woodshop and an advanced manufacturing research center. Open to all UD students, faculty and staff, the MakerGym is a major hub for UD’s MakerNetwork of more than a dozen makerspaces developing across campus.

UD MakerGym NOVEL MAKERSPACE BOOSTS UD MAKER NETWORK FOR STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF The gymnasium where middle school students in Newark, Delaware, once took phys ed class will soon provide University of Delaware students with a different kind of work-out. They will get to exercise their creativity in a one-of-a-kind makerspace — the UD MakerGym. Located at the back of Pearson Hall, a former public school building the University purchased in 1981, you’ll now find the latest tools for developing projects ranging from integrating circuits into artwork, to prototyping a wearable medical device, creating hands-on lessons for elementary students and constructing sustainable housing. This includes an array of state-ofthe-art 3D printers, laser cutters, a water jet, a computer numerical control (CNC) router and mill,

and industrial sewing machines, not to mention a 21st-century woodshop and an advanced manufacturing research center. The 6,700-square-foot MakerGym complements more than a dozen makerspaces across UD. What sets UD’s MakerGym apart is its focus on empowerment and collaboration. It is committed to open access for all campus makers — from all disciplines and experience levels — and will support academics, research and entrepreneurship, according to Mohsen Badiey, professor of electrical and computer engineering and faculty director of the University’s Maker Initiative. Badiey conceived the idea of a Maker Initiative while he was serving as acting dean of the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment a few years ago,

envisioning a University-wide hub for creative collaboration, design, prototyping and entrepreneurship. Pioneering research also will be done in the MakerGym, in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. Behind the center’s walls, researchers will explore additive manufacturing. “UD is at the forefront in using this technology, which has the potential to revolutionize how products are created,” said center leader Mark Mirotznik, professor of electrical and computer engineering. As work in advanced manufacturing technology develops, he envisions a shared facility for cross-college collaborations, with plenty of synergy between research and education, particularly at the graduate level, to start. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering



If you have a smart phone with facial recognition, you may have wondered: How does your device learn to recognize you? Credit a neural network, a form of artificial intelligence increasingly used in everyday devices. Neural networks are algorithms trained to recognize patterns and continuously improve their ability to do so — just as the human brain does. Neural networks require a lot of power, which has limited their use in small, battery-powered devices that may lack sufficient power to support them. With a grant from NSF, associate professor Chengmo Yang is researching ways to support neural networks in low-power embedded systems by using emerging memory devices that can retrieve information even when powered off, and furthermore minimize errors in these emerging devices. HARDWARE SUITED FOR NEURAL NETWORKS

To build neural networks, engineers need the right combination of hardware and software. Yang is approaching neural networks from the hardware side. “My research works on how to develop the next-generation devices or systems or computers that are more specialized for certain applications,” said Yang. She especially aims to improve the lifetime and reliability of devices as they become increasingly connected in an Internet-of-Things (IoT). Some of these devices, especially low-end embedded and IoT devices, don’t have enough memory space or enough battery power to run neural network algorithms. “For example, certain sensors used outdoors, are not suitable for frequent battery charging,” said Yang. “You want to be able to use it for years, but the neural network algorithm could be updated almost every week or every month.”

University of Delaware

The solution could lie in the use of non-volatile memory, which doesn’t rely on electricity to store information. With these systems, you don’t lose data if you lose power. “Emerging devices use physical properties to store values,” said Yang. “For example, the material could have two different phases that are used to store information, and when you’re not using it, you don’t need to provide any power.” These types of devices can be negatively affected by changes in conditions such as temperature and humidity. Any neural networks that run on these devices could then be at risk of errors. Yang is developing a new way to test devices and detect, classify, and mitigate these errors in neural networks. She aims to determine the accumulated error threshold over which it is time to reprogram or refresh devices so as to restore them to their original error-free states. Yang teaches undergraduate courses in microprocessors and embedded systems and aims to prepare undergraduates to tackle intricate hardware problems. She is also the leader of a Vertically Integrated Projects(VIP) team named Internet of Threats. These projects pair undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members to work collaboratively on real-world projects. “It’s important for students to learn about the hardware side of data science. When most people talk about data science and models, they think about software, not how to implement these models into their hardware,” said Yang. As devices become more advanced, these skills will become more important, so Yang plans to teach students how to use hardware to implement robust neural network accelerators. She also teaches graduate courses in system reliability. ”

A Record-Setting Transistor ENGINEERING PROFESSOR DESIGNS TRANSISTOR THAT COULD ENABLE CHEAPER, FASTER WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS Many of the technologies we rely on utilize fast wireless communications. What might we accomplish if those devices transmitted information even faster? That’s what Yuping Zeng, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware, aims to discover. She and a team of researchers recently created a high-electron mobility transistor using gallium nitride (GaN) with indium aluminum-nitride as the barrier on a silicon substrate. They described their results in the journal, Applied Physics Express. Among devices of its type, Zeng’s transistor has record-setting properties, including record low gate leakage current (a measure of current loss), a record high on/off current ratio (the magnitude of the difference of current transmitted between the on state and off state) and a record high current gain cutoff frequency (an indication of how much data can be transmitted with a wide range of frequencies). This transistor could be useful for higher bandwidth wireless communication systems. For a given current, it can handle more voltage and would require less battery life than other devices of its type. “We are making this high-speed transistor because we want to expand the bandwidth of wireless communications, and this will give us more information for a certain limited time,” said Zeng. “It can also be used for space applications because the gallium nitride transistor we used is radiation robust, and it is also wide bandgap material, so it can tolerate a lot of power.” Left: Professor Yuping Zeng (right) and graduate student Peng Cui have worked on designs for transistors that could enable cheaper, faster wireless communications. Above: Among devices of its type, Professor Yuping Zeng’s transistor has record-setting properties, including record low gate leakage current (a measure of current loss), a record high on/off current ratio (the magnitude of the difference of current transmitted between the on state and off state) and a record high current gain cutoff frequency (an indication of how much data can be transmitted with a wide range of frequencies).

This transistor represents innovation in both material design and device application design. The transistors are made on a low-cost silicon substrate, “and this process can also be compatible with silicon Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology, which is the conventional technology used for semiconductors,” said Zeng. The group fabricated their device in the UD Nanofabrication Facility. Postdoctoral scholar Peng Cui, the first author on the new Applied Physics Express paper, has received funding through the Horn Entrepreneurship Postdoctoral Innovation Fellow program and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


Building Better Benchmarks Two UD professors are part of an international team creating a new, more comprehensive application benchmark for next-generation high-performance computing systems.

UD COMPUTER SCIENTISTS ON TEAM MEASURING THE TRUE PERFORMANCE OF SUPERCOMPUTERS Imagine that you’re shopping for a computer — not a laptop for your home office, but a supercomputer that can perform as many as a quintillion calculations per second. How would you even begin to assess the capabilities of a machine that powerful? Experts measure supercomputer performance using benchmarks that measure just a tiny kernel of the supercomputer’s computation power. For leaders at organizations that invest in supercomputers, scientists who use supercomputers, and experts who build new computers, a more comprehensive suite of benchmarks could be a useful tool. That’s why a multi-institutional team that includes two UD professors is creating a more comprehensive application benchmark for next-generation high-performance computing systems. By stress testing both the hardware and software of supercomputers, they hope to develop truer measures of their speed. The team is led by principal investigator Robert Henschel, Director of Research Software and Solutions in Indiana University’s

University of Delaware

Research Technologies Division, co-principal investigator Rudolf Eigenmann, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UD, and co-principal investigator Sunita Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences at UD. The group received a grant from the National Science Foundation for this project in 2018. Eigenmann and Chandrasekaran bring together complementary expertise in the supercomputing space. Eigenmann is an expert in optimizing compilers, programming methodologies, tools and performance evaluation for high-performance computing and the design of cyber infrastructure. UD is in the midst of implementing the Delaware Advanced Research Workforce and Innovation Network (DARWIN), a major computational and data resource under Eigenmann’s leadership. Chandrasekaran is an expert in programming accelerators, exploring the suitability of high-level programming models such as OpenMP and OpenACC for current and future platforms, and validating and verifying emerging directive-based parallel programming models.


New IEEE Fellows ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING PROFESSORS RECOGNIZED FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FIELD Two electrical and computer engineering professors from the University of Delaware were recently named Fellows of IEEE. No more than one 10th of 1% of the total IEEE voting membership can be elevated to Fellow status. Professor Rudolf (Rudi) Eigenmann was named a Fellow for contributions to compilers for high-performance computing. Eigenmann studies optimizing compilers, programming methodologies, tools and performance evaluation for high-performance computing, as well as the design of cyberinfrastructure. This work has been maintained by a funding level of over $115 million by sponsors including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy, and Intel Corporation, which has resulted in 179 publications and 11 books/chapters. He leads a team of researchers that recently received a $1.4 million grant from the NSF to implement a major computational and data resource at UD.

of state-of-the-art radiofrequency-photonic devices such as: ultra-high bandwidth modulators, silicon photonic radiofrequency sources, photonic crystal chip-scale routers, meta-material antennas, and integrated radiofrequency-photonic phased arrays. This work has been maintained by a funding level of over $35 million by sponsors including NSF, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office and many industrial sponsors and has resulted in over 600 publications, over 40 patents, and 16 books/chapters. Through recent funding from the Department of Defense, Prather has been developing a new millimeter-wave imaging device. Commercialization of his work occurs through Phase Sensitive Innovations (PSI), a company Prather co-founded with colleagues Shouyuan Shi, Christopher Schuetz, Janusz Murakowski, Garrett Schneider, and Peng Yao (Leo). In 2017, Prather was named to the National Academy of Inventors. He holds more than 60 patents and invention disclosures.

UD Professor Rudolf (Rudi) Eigenmann, left, and Engineering Alumni Professor Dennis Prather have been named IEEE Fellows for 2020.

Since 2018, Eigenmann has been an advisory board member for Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), an NSF-funded virtual organization that integrates and coordinates the sharing of advanced digital services. In 1997, he received an NSF CAREER Award. Engineering Alumni Professor Dennis Prather was named a Fellow for contributions to diffractive optical systems. Prather studies the development and application of integrated electronic and photonic devices into novel radiofrequency systems for waveform synthesis, high-end receivers, passive and active radiometric imaging, and wireless networks and communications. In particular, he develops fabrication and integration processes necessary for the demonstration

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


Young Investigator PROFESSOR SELECTED FOR ARMY RESEARCH OFFICE YOUNG INVESTIGATOR PROGRAM Assistant professor Tingyi Gu has been selected for the Army Research Office Young Investigator Program. This award goes to early-career researchers pursuing fundamental research in areas relevant to the Army. Gu is studying materials that exploit the interface between light and electronics for potential use in lasers, displays, memory and more. “The materials in this research show promising potential for a new class of photonic devices that can be altered from one state to another (crystalline to amorphous) by heating elements University of Delaware

at very high speeds,” said Michael Gerhold, program manager, Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. “The Army could use these devices in laser beam steering, neuromorphic photonic computing, and other data processing circuits for next generation network capabilities.” Gu develops circuits and devices that consume very low power, but these systems are limited by the properties of the materials they are made of. To develop even more desirable systems, scientists must uncover new insights about these materials. In this project, Gu is studying phase transfer materials, which absorb or release heat as they transition from solid to liquid and back, at the atomic level.

The optical properties of these materials make them useful for a variety of applications. “This project gets me interested in phase change materials and application in nonvolatile memory devices beyond my past experience on silicon photonics”, said Tiantian Li, a postdoctoral scholar in Gu’s group, who worked on the device design, fabrication, and testing. “The interesting thing about phase change materials is how we can tune them by manipulating their innate properties for applications from data storage to energy. A deeper understanding of their structural, optical and electrical properties is pivotal to explore all the potential applications of these materials”, said Anishkumar Soman, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering.

UD Prof. Tingyi Gu is collaborating with the Army Research Laboratory to study materials that exploit the interface between light and electronics for potential use in lasers, displays, memory and more.

Hui Fang Recognized for Early Career Academic Achievement THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS HONORS HER WITH ALUMNI AWARD

Affiliated faculty member John Suarez has been named a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). NAI senior membership is a national distinction that recognizes active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member institutions, such as UD, who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.


Suarez, who previously was a senior research engineer for the U.S. Army and is now an associate professor at Widener University, in addition to his UD affiliation, was selected for work aimed at improving radio communications through the use of a patented opto-cancellation system that uses radio-frequency signals to reduce interference in radio transmissions. The novel system allows low-power radio signals to be received in the presence of powerful interference 100 times stronger than a signal of interest. It has been applied to broadcast, cellular, satellite and marine communications. ECE professor Mark Mirotznik has worked collaboratively with Suarez for several years on the use of advanced additive manufacturing methods for applications in wireless communications and radar. Mirotznik and Suarez are collaborating on the design and implementation of millimeter-wave lenses and associated electronics to create agile beam-steering systems at a relatively low cost.

Hui Fang, Associate Professor and the David L. and Beverley J. C. Mills Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received the 2019 Early Career Academic Achievement Alumni Award from the University of Illinois Department of Computer Science. Fang was recognized at an awards ceremony and banquet on October 18, 2019.

“Dr. Suarez’s expertise in electronic design and fabrication, combined with his natural creative abilities and engineering skills make him the ideal collaborator,” said Mirotznik. NAI senior members are noted for their growing success in patents, licensing and commercialization. Suarez currently holds 12 U.S. patents for various inventions in radio-frequency electronics, microelectronics and photonics, a branch of technology that deals with the transmission of photons, such as those found in fiber optics. He has four additional patents pending, including one on a diagnostic technique for detecting transistor faults in very large-scale integrated circuits. Suarez’s research centers on designing circuits, sensors and other systems in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. He also is known for his work mentoring the next generation of inventors of all ages, from junior high school to early career researchers and engineers. His teaching and mentorship efforts have been recognized with multiple awards, including the Great Minds in STEM Military/Civilian Award. UD is cultivating an ecosystem that supports innovators. UD is home to more than 225 inventors who have access to resources to support their entrepreneurial and commercialization efforts, including the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships and Horn Entrepreneurship, for example.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


Staff Award for Excellence Tom Lum, Electronics Lab Supervisor, received the 2020 University of Delaware College of Engineering Staff Award for Excellence. Colleagues praised his tireless work helping student design teams with prototypes and assisting faculty with setting up labs. Before joining UD in 2018. Lum was a technology teacher for the Cecil County Public School System.

A Second Act in Cybersecurity

That same year, in the U.S. Cyber FastTrack competition, Lehman was selected for a full scholarship to the Undergraduate Certificate program in Applied CyberSecurity accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and operated by the SANS Technology Institute (SANS.edu).

aware Technical Community College, where she earned an associate’s degree. In 2015, she received a bachelor’s degree in computer and network security from Wilmington University. Then in 2017, she enrolled in UD’s master’s degree in cybersecurity, which can be completed on campus or online.

Patricia Lehman spent decades writing award-winning books and magazine articles about Boston terriers and miniature pinschers.

Lehman was one of 100 students selected out of more than 13,000 candidates. The courses began in December 2019.

Today, she spends a little less time thinking about human’s best friend — instead focusing on how to protect our infrastructure from malicious enemies. Lehman earned a master’s degree in cybersecurity from the UD in 2019.

Lehman started in cybersecurity years ago with a few computing courses through UD’s Professional and Continuing Studies program. Later, she enrolled in the computer network engineering technology program at Del-

Next, Lehman is pursuing a second master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at UD. “I think protecting the infrastructure of the power companies is going to be critical, so I’m trying to merge those together —cybersecurity and the power supply,” she said.


University of Delaware

Honor in Solar Energy Doctoral student Anishkumar Soman (Anish) received the 2020 John and Barbara Yellott Award from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). This award is given annually to a doctoral student concentrating on solar energy in a recognized institution of higher learning in the US. Anish was selected for his innovation in interface engineering and processing for silicon photovoltaics. Anish has been studying at UD’s Institute of Energy Conversion for the last four years. Founded in 1972, the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) is believed to be the oldest continuously operating solar research institute in the world and one of two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Centers of Excellence for photovoltaic research and education.

A Custom Drone to Survey an Animal Preserve On animal preserves, personnel must keep track of animals inside and monitor for poaching. Student Emory Nolte led a team that designed and built a custom drone based off a gas engine to provide longer-range and higher-altitude capabilities for surveillance. Nolte helped a team in South Africa working on regulating the voltage and power from the custom engine and implementing a microcontroller to monitor and regulate the whole system. Once that is complete, the team wants to mount normal and thermal cameras on the base to allow for the greatest range of detection in the field. “I will be working on implementing manual control of these cameras while the drone flies autopilot on designated flights,” said Nolte.

A Wearable Vitals Monitor for Firefighters Tage Firkin is working on a wearable device to help firefighters stay safe. The device tracks firefighters’ hydration levels, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and body temperature and transmits that data live to a ground station for monitoring. All of the devices will be on flexible printed circuit boards that will be sewn into a compressive full-sleeve shirt so that it can be worn underneath the firefighter's jacket. A central microcontroller will collect the data and format it to be sent using a long-range radio to a ground station so that multiple firefighters can be tracked at once.

An Automated Drone Evan Battaglia developed an automated aerial drone capable of being fired from a 40mm grenade launcher. Using mainly hobbyist components and a healthy amount of 3D printing, Battaglia was able to create a prototype that survived launch and entered stable flight. Unfortunately, tolerance limits on certain 3D printed joints have increased failure rates of subsequent launches, driving development towards traditional machined components for now. A substantial contribution was made by UD Senior Ben Segal, who helped modify a custom firmware for the drone’s flight software.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


VIRTUAL CAMP TEACHES KIDS CYBER SKILLS UD STUDENTS HELP MIDDLE SCHOOLERS LEARN COMPUTER ENGINEERING About 60 local middle schoolers recently put their socially distant time to good use, thanks to a virtual coding and cybersecurity summer camp hosted by computer engineering experts at the University of Delaware. The Summer of Cyber was a free cyber-themed summer camp for middle school students with or without previous coding experience. The first session ran from June 15 through July 9, and the second session ran from July 20 to Aug. 13. About 15 UD students built the content under guidance from Andy Novocin, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

University of Delaware

at UD, and Mel Jurist, academic program manager for UD’s K-12 Engineering Outreach Program. This effort was a collaboration of UD’s K-12 Engineering Outreach Program, Cybersecurity Scholars, Vertically Integrated Projects, CS+ Social Good registered student organization, and the student startup CyberSecLabs. In week one, students made their own websites and a series of games while learning to code. In week two, they learned cybersecurity principles including password security, steganography, how to run a computer from the terminal, web app security, remote code execution, social engineering and the importance and opportunities of cybersecurity careers. In week three, kids learned cryptography. In week four, they studied networks and used Minecraft to learn how the internet is built. Along the way, campers earned fun badges such as “password cracker” and “cyber expert.”

“We’ve had a principle of providing real and meaningful outcomes that empower the students to create and be useful even from the start, as opposed to drilling basics for a long time before beginning to approach how things are done in reality,” said Novocin. Off the success of the camp, the UD students involved are exploring opportunities to train K-12 teachers and have set up ways to get the content into classrooms via virtual field trips, self-guided study, and workshops. After all, when more kids learn important cybersecurity skills, we all benefit. “The need for cybersecurity specialists is great but if kids don’t know about a field, how can they aspire to it?” said Jurist.

UD Students, Faculty Attend Grace Hopper Celebration The world’s largest gathering of women technologists took place virtually from September 29 to October 3 with several UD faculty and students in attendance. Over 30,000 people from 115 countries gathered virtually to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of women in technology. Attendees were brought together from around the world to build connections, expand knowledge and develop their careers over an amazing week of networking, workshops and phenomenal keynotes. For those who had the privilege to attend, the common takeaway was that they felt empowered, energized and inspired. Doctoral student Rebekah Houser was captivated straight through to the end of the conference, noting “I ended the conference with a renewed drive to do what keynote speaker Lisa Su challenged: “Run toward problems” – and solve them.” First-time attendee Chase Cotton, professor of electrical and computer engineering, felt the virtual format was impressive. For Cotton the format “did not seem to diminish the various activities I saw online.”

Student Team Builds Mini Self-Driving Cars THROUGH SENIOR DESIGN, ENGINEERS FLEX THEIR SKILLS A team of students created a workable miniature self-driving vehicle that stays in lane while driving around a track, avoids obstacles placed in the lane, and stops for a stop stimulus. “Building the car was a lot of hardware, but training the car was a lot of software, so it was a combination of all different skill sets,” said student Shalini Sundar. The students used a RC Car equipped with a motor, a servo driver, and a battery to power the motor. A wide-angle camera and Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+ sit atop the car. They used software through the Donkey Car platform and TensorFlow through a Google Colab training file. “The big thing that senior design taught me was how to work in a collaborative environment,” said Sundar. Senior Design students are advised by Professor Chase Cotton and student teaching assistants.

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


Non-Thesis MS Graduates

PhD Dissertations Abu Naim Rakib Ahmed Advisor: Prather Hybrid Thin-Film Lithium Niobate-Silicon Nitride Photonics

Rodney McGee Advisor: Kiamilev RIVER: Roaming Inverter Vehicle Energy Resource

Peyman Barakhshan Advisor: Kiamilev End to End Testing and Non-Uniformity Detection and Correction of Superlattice Light Emitting Diodes Infrared Scene Projectors

Olga Mironenko Advisor: Kempton Detection of DC Injection and Measuring AC Current with a Single System for Electric Vehicle Charging and Discharging

Michael DeLucia Advisor: Cotton Machine Learning Enhanced Network Security

Fuquan Wang Advisor: Prather Linearization of Analog Photonic Links

Garrett Ejzak Advisor: Kiamilev Novel Silicon Architecture for Increased Dynamic Range of Infrared LED Scene Projectors Xin (Cindy) Guo Advisor: Barner Deep Learning Algorithms for Image Understanding Based on Multiple Cues Miguel Hernandez Advisor: Kiamilev Higher Definition Mid-Wave Infrared Scene Projectors Via Shrinking Pixel Pitch Stephen Kozacik Advisor: Prather Design and Implementation of Real-Time Turbulence Mitigation and Characterization Guangyi Liu Advisor: Cimini Advanced Wireless Networks with Densely Deployed Antennas and Imperfect Network State Information

University of Delaware

Bohan Zhang Advisor: Cimini Massive MIMO and Millimeter Wave Communications for 5G and Beyond Wireless Systems Yulin Zhang Advisor: Li Fast Convolutional Neural Networks on Graphics Processing Units Yubao Zhang Advisor: Wang Understanding and Defending Vulnerabilities of Web-Based Information Systems

Master Theses Abdalrahman Alblwi Advisor: Barner Improving the Adaptive Moment Estimation Optimization Methods for Modern Machine Learning William Beardell Advisor: Prather Coherent Optical Processors Claudio Cesar Claros Olivares Advisor: Brockmeier Synergistic Human-Machine Prediction: Active Error Analysis and Mitigation with Gaussian Process Regression Alexis Deputy Advisor: Kiamilev Design and Implementation of a Testing Procedure for an Infrared Scene Projector System Jan Sher Khan Advisor: Eigenmann Comparative Analysis of CETUS Using Benchmarks Tianne Lassiter Advisor: Kiamilev Scalable Board Architecture Design & Mechanical Adaptations for Infrared Scene Projector Systems Qi Li Advisor: Wang A Survey Study of Password Setting and Reuse Jose Monsalve Diaz Advisors: Gao, Chandrasekaran (CISC) OPENMP 4.5 Validation and Verification Testsuite Design and Implementation for Offloading Features

Alexander Muniz Advisor: Badiey A Study of Waveguide Invariant Using Multiple Parameters

Brandon Stacy Advisor: Prather Modular Tightly Coupled Antenna Array

Oluwabukunmi Olayiwola Advisor: Wang How to Install/Use Honeypot for Domain Take-Down

Russell Stump Advisor: Singh Mechanical Detectors of Scalar Dark Matter

Krishna Patwardhan Advisor: Zeng TiO2 as an Intermediate Buffer Layer in Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Solar Cells

Md Abu Sufian Advisor: Goossen Investigation of the Christiansen Effect in Indium Tin Oxide Bulk Materials

Karelia Pena Pena Advisor: Arce Per-Pixel Calibration Using CALTag and 3D Point Cloud Sampling and Reconstruction on Multigraphs

Sean Vernon Advisor: Goossen Optofluidic Smart Glass Response to Differential Temperature

Jason K Reynolds Advisor: Martin Anomaly Detection with Hierarchical Temporal Memory: A System for Detecting Potential Distress in the Elderly and Those with Dementia Andrew Sayanlar Advisor: Kiamilev Development of a Data Analysis Toolkit for Non-Uniformity Detection in an Infrared LED Projector Matthew Sayanlar Advisor: Kiamilev Design, Development and Testing Hardware Used in Close Support Electronics for an Infrared Scene Projector System Jaclyn Singh Advisor: Kiamilev Fabrication and Testing Procedures for Infrared Scene Projector Closed Support Electronics and Wafer Application

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering


2020–2021 ADVISORY COUNCIL Dr. Karen Bloch Advisory Council Chair DuPont

Dr. Shalinee Kishore Lehigh University

Mr. Jeffrey Six T. Rowe Price

Dr. Daniel Lau University of Kentucky

Mr. Steve Steffel Pepco Holdings, an Exelon Company

Dr. Mark Bendett Retired, Lockheed Martin

Mr. Michael Lombardi U.S. Army

Dr. Qian Xie Quantenna Communications

Dr. Sunita Bhatia Johns Hopkins University

Mr. Mark Melillo Melillo Consulting, Inc.

Mr. Bradley Cain Hewlett Packard Enterprise Dr. Edward Coyle Georgia Tech Dr. Charles Johnson-Bey Lockheed Martin Corporation University of Delaware

Mr. James Orr Apple Inc. Dr. Athina Petropulu Rutgers School of Engineering Mr. Ray Sokola Phase Sensitive Innovations, Inc.


SUPPORT ELECTRICAL & COMPUTER ENGINEERING The time has never been better to give back to your alma mater and pave the way for the next generation of electrical & computer engineers.


Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

College of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering 140 Evans Hall Newark, DE 19716

Visit our website to learn more about our programs: www.ece.udel.edu


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