Prof. Jian-Ping Wang to Lead DARPA Funded Exploration into Novel Materials For Electronics

Researchers at the University of Minnesota will receive $3.1 million from the Department of Defense (DoD) to explore new materials, architectures, and systems that can overcome Moore’s Law, and push electronics technology forward, capable of meeting engineering, economic, and defense challenges.

Distinguished McKnight Professor and Robert F. Hartmann Chair in Electrical Engineering Jian-Ping Wang is the principal investigator of the University team and the funding is an outcome of the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) rolled out by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a DoD agency. The focus of the team will be the development of advanced magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ) for novel computing. While the University will lead the effort, it will also be collaborating with National Institute of Standards and Technology, GlobalFoundries, and University of Arizona. Other participating University of Minnesota scientists are Prof. Tony Low and Prof. Bin Ma, both from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

DARPA’s ERI seeks to bring together research and technical expertise from academia and industry to explore new materials and architectures to bridge the gap between memory and logic functions and create new ways of computing information more quickly and efficiently. The Initiative is a $1.5 billion five-year investment designed to energize innovation in the electronics industry, and respond to anticipated challenges in the microelectronics technology industry.

One of the thrust areas under ERI is Materials & Integration which is organized into two programs: Three Dimensional Monolithic System-on-a-Chip (3DSoC), and Foundations Required for Novel Compute (FRANC). Current electronic system performance is governed by the constraints of time and power required to access memory, often referred to as the memory bottleneck. Researchers working under the FRANC program will address the bottleneck by exploring new circuit designs using novel materials and integration schemes that can minimize the movement of data between memory components and processors.

MTJs, created by sandwiching a thin insulator between two ferromagnets, have been critical to the field of spintronics; the MTJ is the basis of MRAM (magnetoresistive random-access memory), a type of non-volatile memory. The University has led research into spintronics, pursuing MTJ-based computation for more than 15 years. “In fact,” Prof. Wang notes, “our team proposed the very early idea to use magnetic tunnel junctions for the computation in random access memory (CRAM).”

With DARPA’s ERI funding, Prof. Wang and his team will work on demonstrating the value of MTJs in bridging the separation between the memory and logic functions that exist in conventional circuit designs. Their goal, under the FRANC program, is to leverage and integrate novel materials, architectures, and chip components to enhance computational speed, and performance, while lowering power consumption.

Learn more about the ERI

More information about Prof. Jian-Ping Wang’s work

Mehran Elyasi Receives ISIT Best Paper Award

The International Symposium on Information Theory, organized by the IEEE Information Theory Society has awarded Mehran Elyasi with the Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Best Student Paper Award for 2018. Mehran’s paper is titled, “A Cascade Code Construction for (n,k,d) Distributed Storage Systems,” published in Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory.

Exact-repair regenerating codes are codes used for Distributed Storage Systems for the purpose of data recovery and repair when a storage unit fails. In his paper, Mehran introduces a novel class of these codes that hit an optimum trade-off between storage bandwidth and repair bandwidth.

Mehran’s Research

The award winning paper stems from Mehran’s doctoral research which focuses on, among other issues, the problem of reliability in Distributed Storage Systems (DSS). (As the volume of digital data generated on the Internet, and the users seeking access to such data  increases rapidly, DSS are used to maintain data availability.) But the unreliability of such systems remains a key concern. While the problem can be overcome by building in redundancy in the data, it leads to storage overheads. Additionally, with failures being common in large scale storage systems, a significant volume of network traffic is diverted to repair failed storage nodes. While the ideal goal is to minimize the repair bandwidth while also maximizing the storage efficiency of the system, currently one can be optimized only at the cost of the other.     

To counter these challenges, Mehran has worked on the design of a novel coding scheme, called Determinant Coding, for Distributed Storage Systems. The construction of the scheme provides encoding/decoding algorithms for storage as well as an efficient mechanism for the repair of failed storage units. These universally structured codes can operate in all the optimum points of the storage-bandwidth trade-off.

Mehran earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran, in 2014. His areas of interest include information theory and its applications in communication, distributed storage systems, and statistical machine learning. He is pursuing his doctoral degree under the guidance of Prof. Soheil Mohajer. He is the recipient of the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship awarded by the University’s Graduate School, and is also a 2018 Facebook Fellow.

The Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Best Student Paper Award is given annually to three outstanding papers that are primarily authored and presented by the student. The content of the paper and the quality of its presentation are criteria for the award, which includes a plaque for each student author and a $500 honorarium to be shared by each of them.

 

Scientists Discover Ferromagnetic Properties in Ruthenium

University Scientists Lead the Discovery of Ferromagnetism in Ruthenium

A collaborative effort led by researchers at the University of Minnesota has resulted in the experimental discovery of ferromagnetic properties in Ruthenium, making it the fourth single element with such properties in the periodic table. The discovery opens an exciting new chapter in the fundamental studies of this element, and its application potential in the creation and scaling of magnetic memories, and breaking new ground in computing performance.

The importance and use of ferromagnetism reaches far back into ancient times, when lodestone was used for navigation. Since then only three elements on the periodic table have been found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature–iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni). Rare earth element gadolinium (Gd) misses this status by a mere 8 degrees celsius. These magnetic materials have been used for fundamental studies and in several everyday applications such as sensors, permanent magnets, memory devices, and most recently, spintronic memories.

With improvements in thin film growth over the past few decades, the ability to control the structure of crystal lattices has also improved, to the extent that scientists can even force structures that are impossible in nature. The discovery of Ru’s ferromagnetic properties was facilitated by the use of ultra-thin films to force the ferromagnetic phase of the element. The details of the work are published in Nature Communications in a paper titled “Demonstration of Ru as the 4th ferromagnetic element at room temperature.” The University of Minnesota team comprised Dr. Patrick Quarterman, the lead author, Prof. Jian-Ping Wang, the corresponding author, and doctoral candidate Yang Lv.

Prof. Jian-Ping Wang says, “This work will trigger the magnetic research community to look into fundamental aspects of magnetism for many well-known elements.”

For Prof. Wang, the potential that lies beyond this development is obvious. “Magnetism is always amazing. It proves itself again. We are excited and grateful to be the first group to experimentally demonstrate and add the fourth ferromagnetic element at room temperature to the periodic table. It took us about two years to find a right way to grow this material and validate it. This work will trigger the magnetic research community to look into fundamental aspects of magnetism for many well-known elements.”

Co-author Paul Voyles, who is Beckwith-Bascom Professor and Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison echoes Prof. Wang’s enthusiasm. “The ability to manipulate and characterize matter at the atomic scale is the cornerstone of modern information technology. Our collaboration with University of Minnesota Professor Wang’s group shows that these tools can find new things even in the simplest systems, consisting of a just a single element.”

Industry experts agree about the critical nature of the discovery. “Spintronic devices are of rapidly increasing importance to the semiconductor industry,” according to Todd Younkin, the director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-sponsored consortia at Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC). “Fundamental advances in our understanding of magnetic materials, such as those demonstrated in this study by Prof. Wang and his team, is critical to realizing continued breakthroughs in computing performance and efficiency.”

Collaborating scientists from Intel point to the possibilities that lie ahead. “Intel is pleased with the long-term research collaboration it has with the University of Minnesota and the C-SPIN Center. We are excited to share these developments enabled by exploring the behavior of quantum effects in materials, which may provide insights for innovative, energy efficient logic and memory devices.”

Novel technologies require novel materials

Magnetic recording is still the dominant player in data storage technology, but magnetic based random-access memory and computing is beginning to take its place. These magnetic memories place additional constraints on the magnetic materials where data is stored, compared to traditional hard disk media magnetic materials. This push for novel materials has led to renewed interest in attempts to realize predictions which show that under the right conditions, non-ferromagnetic materials such as Ru, palladium (Pd), and osmium (Os) can become ferromagnetic. 

The discovery of ferromagnetism in Ruthenium has implications for the semiconductor industry

Building upon the established theoretical predictions, researchers at the University of Minnesota used seed layer engineering to force the tetragonal phase of Ru, which prefers to have a hexagonal configuration, and observed the first instance of ferromagnetism in a single element at room temperature. The crystal structure and magnetic properties were extensively characterized by collaborating with the University of Minnesota’s Characterization Facility and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin. The figure on the top left is a high resolution electron microscopy image confirming the tetragonal phase of Ru as predicted by the authors. (Image credit: University of Minnesota, Quarterman et al, Nature Communications)

From an application perspective, Ru is interesting because it is resistant to oxidation, and additional theoretical predictions claim it has a high thermal stability—a vital requirement for scaling magnetic memories. Examination of its high thermal stability is the focus of ongoing research at the University of Minnesota.

The lead author of the paper, Dr. Patrick Quarterman earned his doctoral degree under the guidance of Prof. Jian-Ping Wang. He is currently a National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In addition to Quarterman, Wang, and Voyles, researchers involved in this study include Javier Garcia-Barriocanal from the University of Minnesota Characterization Facility, Yang Lv from the University of Minnesota Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mahendra DC from the University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy, Sasikanth Manipatruni, Demitri Nikonov, and Ian Yang from Intel Components Research, and Congi Sun from the University of Wisconsin Department of Materials Science and Engineering. 

Research was funded by the Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) at the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the NSF-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at the University of Minnesota.

The full paper entitled “Demonstration of Ru as the 4th ferromagnetic element at room temperature,” by Quarterman et al, is available at the Nature Communications website.

Learn more about C-SPIN

Learn more about Prof. Jian-Ping Wang’s research

 

Alumnus and trailblazer Prof. Alejandro Ribeiro on the cover of Penn Engineering magazine

ECE alumnus and Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Alejandro Ribeiro is featured in Penn Engineering Magazine, a biennial magazine put out by the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). In a feature titled “Expanding Applications of Network Science,” he points out that the real power of networks lies in the connections they establish. Prof. Ribeiro uses “complex mathematical frameworks to understand how networks behave” and spends his time examining not the individual parts of the network, but how these parts interact with each other.

His research has taken him in some interesting and perhaps slightly unlikely directions. One area is the examination of Shakespeare’s plays, especially the ones that have had particularly problematic authorship. Another area Prof. Ribeiro is investigating is the creation of ad-hoc communication networks that could help swarms of robots communicate with each other in a way where these drones can independently analyze and decide on what might constitute a good connection. A third area of research is an examination of why some individuals display greater cognitive flexibility (the ability to switch easily from one task to another) as compared to others. In all these explorations, Prof. Ribeiro uses a technique he has developed over the last several years called Graph Signal Processing (GSP). The technique allows him to scrutinize the network as a whole and how the parts connect to each other.

Prof. Ribeiro, clearly a pioneering researcher, is also an earnest teacher and mentor. He is the recipient of the S. Reid Warren, Jr. Award (2012) for outstanding mentorship presented by Penn Engineering undergraduate students, and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2017) awarded by the University of Pennsylvania. Read more about this trailblazing ECE alumnus in the Penn Engineering Magazine’s spring 2018 issue.

Prof. Alejandro Ribeiro earned his doctoral degree in 2007 under the guidance of Prof. Georgios Giannakis

Prof. Randall Victora in the News: Interview in AIP

Prof. Randall Victora and doctoral student Rizvi Ahmed, recently presented a technique for the simulation of a magnetic field in chromia (Cr₂O₃), a material that in the not too distant future, could form the key component of computer memory. The findings appear in the paper “A fully electric field driven scalable magnetoelectric switching element,” published in the journal Applied Physics Letters. Prof. Victora was interviewed by the American Institute of Physics about the new development. 

A switching element made from chromia could be the answer to the problem of reducing the size of memory components while also increasing energy efficiency. While consumers have come to expect greater memory sizes in small devices as a matter of routine, semiconductor companies have had to slow down; the size of memory components is not going down as rapidly as they once did, and current designs display a marked reduction in energy efficiency.

To overcome these challenges, researchers are investigating the use of magnetic fields to store information, a move away from transistors and electric fields that are typically used in memory devices, to store and retrieve information. A promising version of such a magnetic device depends on the magnetoelectric effect to switch the magnetic properties of a devices. However, the challenge here is that currently such a device requires large electric and magnetic fields.

According to Prof. Victora, the use of chromia as a possible answer to this lies in the fact that it has shown better potential for scaling and with refinements, could possibly be sized down, and be more energy efficient. The authors have designed a device where the chromia is surrounded with magnetic material, thereby doing away with the need for an externally applied magnetic field for it to operate. The details of the technique are explained in the paper.

NEXT STEPS

The authors intend to collaborate with other researchers familiar with chromia to fabricate and test the device. If all ends well, then the new chromia-based device stands to replace dynamic random access memory (DRAM), and this could be a revolutionary change in computer memory components. DRAM is what provides the fast memory that we are all used to in our devices, but it is energy inefficient and volatile. (You can blame its volatility when you lose an unsaved document when your computer crashes.) A chromia-based device however would be non-volatile. There are challenges yet to be overcome; the study’s authors point to chromia’s low heat tolerance. Currently, their modeling predicts that the device will stop functioning around 30 degrees celsius, and computers tend to run hotter than that. A possible solution the authors suggest is the introduction of other elements to optimize its functioning. So rein in your excitement just a dash. It might be a few years before such a memory device hits the market.

This research was supported by C-SPIN, one of six STARnet centers, a Semiconductor Research Corporation Program sponsored by MARCO and DARPA.

Read the complete paper

Prof. Randall Victora’s research

Mehran Elyasi Is A Facebook Fellowship Awardee

Doctoral candidate Mehran Elyasi has been recognized as a 2018 Facebook Fellow. The Facebook Fellowship Program awards its fellows with tuition and fees for the academic year (up to two years), a stipend, travel funds, and the opportunity to meet with and present their work to other researchers at Facebook’s annual summit. 

Established seven years ago, the Facebook Fellowship program seeks to support doctoral students engaged in research that is promising, innovative, and pertinent to the fields of computer science and engineering. This year 17 doctoral students have been awarded the Fellowship. The topics from this year’s cohort range from natural language processing to networking and connectivity hardware, to security and privacy. The Fellowship application is open to doctoral students pursuing research in an accredited institution in any country.

Mehran’s fellowship winning work is his design of a novel coding scheme called Determinant Coding, for Distributed Storage Systems (DSS). The scheme seeks to overcome some of the challenges currently faced by such systems.

MEHRAN’S RESEARCH

A large volume of digital data is generated by Internet users everyday. At the same time, the number of users seeking access to such data through applications such as Facebook, is also rapidly increasing. Distributed Storage Systems (DSS) are widely used in such large scale storage systems to maintain data availability and reliability. However there are several concerns faced by such systems, key among them being their unreliability. While the issue can be overcome by building in redundancy in the data, it leads to storage overheads. Additionally, with failures being common in large scale storage systems, a significant volume of network traffic is diverted to repair failed storage nodes. While the ideal goal is to minimise the repair bandwidth while also maximizing the storage efficiency of the system, currently one can be optimized only at the cost of the other.     

To counter these challenges, Mehran has designed a novel coding scheme, called Determinant Coding, for Distributed Storage Systems. The construction of the scheme provides encoding/decoding algorithms for storage as well as an efficient mechanism for the repair of failed storage units. These universally structured codes can operate in all the optimum points of the storage-bandwidth trade-off.

Mehran earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran, in 2014. His areas of interest include information theory and its applications in communication, distributed storage systems, and statistical machine learning. He is pursuing his doctoral degree under the guidance of Prof. Soheil Mohajer.

Check the complete list of the 2018 cohort of Facebook Fellows

Prof. Bethanie Stadler Elevated to Fellow of the Materials Research Society

The Materials Research Society has recognized Prof. Bethanie Stadler as an MRS Fellow, honoring her exceptional research and her outstanding contributions to the field of materials research. The fellowship is a lifetime appointment, and commends Prof. Stadler “[f]or distinguished service to materials research and for pioneering work in magneto-photonics integration and magnetic nanowire devices that enable far-reaching applications of fundamental science to improve the quality of life.”

Scientific Contributions to the Field

Prof. Stadler’s contributions to the field of materials research through her work on magnetic nanowires and magneto-optical garnets, and her service to the MRS have gone a long way to the advancement of the field. She has led her research group to develop a process that  creates the largest number of perfectly ordered closely packed magnetic metal nanowires known till date. She has also proposed nanowires for novel array read heads in hard drives, for which she has been invited to present at magnetics conferences by Seagate.

She has also applied materials research to control the strain and defect structure of garnets to produce low optical loss waveguides on multiple substrates, including the silicon-insulator-silicon substrate. More recently, her group has developed push/pull garnets that can be used to make efficient devices in uniform magnetic fields. Her work has practical implications for industrial and biomedical applications. 

Read more about Prof. Stadler’s research

Service to the Society

Prof. Stadler’s engagement with the Materials Research Society began early, while she was a graduate student at MIT, as its student chapter president. While chapter president, she was invited to join the Society’s membership committee, during which time she created the first annual report template for student chapters. Her template guided chapters on identifying what was important, planning their activities accordingly, and submitting successful chapter reports, which are all integral to the running of successful chapters. Her success led to an invitation to form a new subcommittee, the Special Projects Subcommittee, which was responsible for encouraging student chapters to undertake projects that coincided with the Society’s goals. She was later asked to be the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee while a postdoctoral fellow. This was followed by a request to further undergraduate research within the MRS. To fulfill this charge, Prof. Stadler established the Undergraduate Materials Research Initiative, which endured for five years, before the funds were redirected to another Society effort, a global science museum called Strange Matter, an effort that she strongly supported. She has been on the MRS’ Board of Directors (2005 – 2007), and then Secretary of the MRS (2008 – 2010). She has served on, and actively engaged with several Society committees, while also organizing several symposia in her areas of research, magnetics and photonics. Since the start of 2018, Prof. Stadler has been serving as chair of the Program Development Subcommittee. 

Prof. Stadler’s continued engagement and active contributions to the scientific world and to the MRS should not come as a surprise to anyone. She was honored as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in 2015. And in 2017, she was honored with the George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Service by the University’s College of Science and Engineering. Prof. Stadler has carried on her service engagements, along with her research and teaching responsibilities, and we in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are very proud of her achievements.

Read more about Prof. Stadler’s Taylor Award and Elevation to IEEE Distinguished Lecturer

Read more about Prof. Stadler’s current appointment as ECE’s Associate Department Head

 

Aelios Technology Move To the National Cleantech UP Competition

The Aelios Technology team, comprising ECE doctoral students Shreyas Bhaban and Sourav Patel, and mechanical engineering doctoral student Saurav Talukdar, and Carlson MBA student Atul Fotedar, were one of two startup companies named runners-up in the 2018 Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) Midwest Showcase. Bagging the runner-up position gives the team the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Cleantech UP national level competition to be held in Washington, D.C. in June.

Supported and advised by ECE’s Prof. Murti Salapaka, Prof. Carla Pavone from the Carlson School of Management (CSOM), and MGMT 5102 (a course offered by CSOM on testing a business concept and the market for it), Aelios Technology have developed a device called iPlugD, Intelligent Plug for Devices. The device can lessen the adverse effects of unreliable power supply in developing nations, especially in the healthcare field. An intelligent switch, it is designed to redirect power from non-critical to critical devices in the event of a power outage, or unreliable power supply, and thereby reduce the adverse impact on healthcare services, and even prevent the loss of lives.

Cleantech UP was established by the U.S. Department of Energy to “inspire and equip the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and innovators by providing them with competitive funding for business development and commercialization training and other educational opportunities.” The Midwest Showcase titled Switched On: Student Innovations in Cleantech, saw teams from eight universities across the midwest present their cleantech business innovations. Cleantech Hub, a national level center for the support of student led clean energy business ideas, will coordinate the national competition which awards $100,000 in prizes.

Recently, Aelios Technology also took first place in the University’s Acara Challenge, in the graduate division. Hosted and facilitated by the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota, the Acara Challenge is an entrepreneurship competition that recognizes students who develop solutions to some of the most acute challenges currently facing the world.

The team has showcased their technology at other business plan competitions too. They are final round contenders at the First Look West (FLOW) competition organized by the Resnick Institute at Caltech. They were also one of the finalists in the Energy for Developing Economies track at the MIT Clean Energy Prize and were considered one of “17 of the world’s most promising clean energy ventures”.

Read more about the Acara Challenge and other winners of the challenge 

More information about the Cleantech UP competition 

Prof. Chris Kim Receives Taylor Award for Research

Prof. Chris Kim has been honored with the 2018 George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research. Prof. Michael McAlpine from the Department of Mechanical Engineering is the other honoree for this year. The research award is typically awarded to a faculty member who has shown outstanding ability in research and is within 15 years of having earned their doctorate at the time of their nomination. The award comes with a citation and an honorarium.

The award recognizes Prof. Kim’s expertise in integrated circuit design, in particular advanced CMOS technologies and post-CMOS devices. He is a leading authority on circuit-based characterization and mitigation techniques to combat circuit-aging effects, hardware-based solutions for preventing hacking attacks (a key contribution being the digital fingerprint design called Soft Physical Unclonable Function or PUF for authentication purposes), and a new neural network hardware paradigm called “time domain computing,” a low energy, compact alternative to conventional digital computers. He is also engaged in collaborative research that is investigating new materials, fabrication techniques, and circuit design for flexible electronic devices, working alongside faculty from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science at the University, and from Northwestern University. In a similar exploratory research venture, he has been working with several faculty from ECE and other departments at the University to address the design challenges posed by spintronics devices.

Prof. Kim leads an active research group that is conducting research in improving energy efficiency, performance, and security in connected devices, as well as exploring future computing systems based on emerging technologies such as spintronics, and post-CMOS transistors. Through research funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Prof. Kim’s group has successfully transferred technology to the US industry. The silicon odometer technology is a key case in point. The silicon odometer, a circuit that can measure the wear and tear of a silicon chip, has become a critical technology adopted by IBM. For this groundbreaking invention, he received the 2016 SRC Technical Excellence Award. The technology has also been transferred to Texas Instruments, and Global Foundries. The award recognizes researchers who make “key contributions to technologies that significantly enhance the productivity of the US semiconductor industry.”

Prof. Kim’s publications have appeared in highly competitive peer-reviewed journals and conferences. The International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), VLSI Technology and Circuits Symposium, Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC), International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED), and IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (JSSC) are some of them. His collaborated publications have appeared in journals such as Nature Nanotechnology, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, and others.

Prof. Kim has also been successful in raising funds to the tune to $5.9 million in sponsored projects, besides several million in non-sponsored gifts, and equipment. He has also been active in several center related fundraising efforts such as the SRC/DARPA Center for Spintronics, and ONR MURI. He has successfully raised funds from multiple entities: federal, industry, state, and non-profit.

Prof. Kim earned his doctorate in 2004 at Purdue University, and joined the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor in the same year. In 2015, he became a full professor. Besides the SRC Technical Award, he has also received several other prestigious awards at the national and international level: IBM faculty partnership awards, the NSF CAREER award, several design contests, and the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship are some of them.

You can read more about Prof. Chris Kim’s research here

Endowed within the College of Science and Engineering, the Taylor Awards were established in memory of George W. Taylor, a 1934 graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Each year, an award is made to a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the categories of teaching, research, and service. 

Alumnus Michael Roman Appointed CEO of 3M

Alumnus Michael Roman has been selected to be the next CEO of Minnesota-based multinational 3M. He will replace Inge Thulin starting July 1. Thulin will move into the newly created position of executive chairman of the company’s board, and continue working closely with Roman on 3M’s long term strategy.

At 58, Roman has worked with the company for 30 years, serving most recently as chief operating officer and executive vice-president since July 1, 2017.

Roman earned his B.E.E. degree in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1982, and his master’s degree in 1987 from the University of Southern California. Over the years, Roman has taken on roles of successively greater technical and managerial leadership. He has held positions such as Technical Manager, Project Manager of Intelligent Transportation Systems, and Six Sigma Director of Safety, Security and Protection Services Business Center.

In more recent years, his roles have included managing director of 3M Korea, vice- president of business development – Optical Systems Division, Asia, and  vice-president and general manager of Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division. In his latest role before being appointed COO, Roman served as executive vice- president of Industrial Business Group, 3M’s largest business group.  

As chief operating officer, he has been overseeing the company’s international operations as well as its five business groups (consumer, electronics and energy, health care, industrial, and safety and graphics).

A thorough midwesterner, Roman has continued his ties with his alma mater. He serves on the University of Minnesota Foundation’s Board of Trustees as Treasurer. The members of the board are “responsible for providing governance, advocacy, and philanthropic support to advance the mission of the Foundation.” 

Read about CEO  news announcement available here and here in addition to other places.