Open Faculty Positions

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities invites applications for faculty positions in:

(1) Control systems
(2) Power and energy systems

The Control systems position invites applications at the assistant professor level and the Power and energy systems position invites applications at the assistant and associate level. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is fully committed to a culturally and academically diverse faculty; candidates who will further expand that diversity are particularly encouraged to apply.

Successful candidates will have outstanding academic and research records and are expected to establish a vigorous, funded research program, teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and be involved in service to the university and the profession.

An earned doctorate in an appropriate discipline is required at the time of the appointment. Rank and salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Applications will be considered as they are received. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled, but for full consideration, please apply online by December 15, 2017.

Select the appropriate link below (or copy and paste into a browser) to access the corresponding posting. Either select ‘Sign In’ to access an existing account, or select ‘New User’ to create a new account. Review the job description and select the Apply button to begin your application.

(1) Control systems
Assistant Professor – https://z.umn.edu/ececontrols

(2) Power and energy systems
Assistant or Associate Professor – https://z.umn.edu/ecepower

University team is runner up at Retinal OCT Fluid Challenge

University of Minnesota team is a runner up at the Retinal OCT Fluid Challenge held in conjunction with the 4th MICCAI Workshop on Ophthalmic Medical Image Analysis in September 2017 in Quebec, Canada. The team comprised Abdolreza Rashno (former pre-doctoral visitor with Prof. Parhi’s research group, and currently with Isfahan University of Technology, Iran), Dr. Dara Koozekanani from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences, and Prof. Keshab Parhi from ECE.

Retinal pathologies such as fluid accumulation can be imaged using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). The goal of the Challenge was to compare automated algorithms that can detect and segment various types of fluids on a common dataset of OCT volumes, representing different retinal diseases, acquired using devices from different manufacturers. The Challenge entailed that participants develop and test existing and novel automated retinal OCT segmentation methods. For details on the methods deployed by the University team check IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

Alumna Vasu Jakkal Appointed CMO of FireEye

Alumna Vasu Jakkal has been appointed Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice-President of FireEye, Inc. The Milpitas, CA-based enterprise cybersecurity company made the announcement earlier in September. An 18 year veteran of the technology industry, Jakkal will report directly to FireEye CEO, Kevin Mandia.

Jakkal earned her Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota and  is a graduate of Stanford University’s Strategic Marketing Management, Executive Education program (Graduate School of Business). Over the years, she has held technical and managerial roles of successively greater complexity at Intel, LSI, and most recently at Brocade as Vice President of Corporate Marketing. Jakkal comes to FireEye with leadership experience in engineering, marketing, and strategy.

As Chief marketing Officer, Jakkal will oversee FireEye’s global marketing operations to raise revenue and to cement the company’s position as a leader in cybersecurity.

Graduate Students Awards and Honors

Four Graduate Students Headed to 2017 Rising Stars Workshop

Come November, four ECE students will be headed to Stanford University to attend the Rising Stars 2017 workshop. Sandhya Koteshwara, Nazila Haratipour, Sha Shi, and Yenning Shen have been invited to attend the work designed for highly accomplished women graduate students and postdocs as they prepare to set off on academic careers. The workshop comprises research presentations, panel discussions, sessions on interviews and promotions, and opportunities to network and connect with other participants. Application to the workshop is competitive and around 60 applicants are selected each year to attend the workshop.

Here’s a closer look at the research profiles of these accomplished scholars:

Sandhya Koteshwara

Sandhya is a doctoral candidate, and working under the guidance of Prof. Keshab Parhi, she is pursuing three topics: hardware obfuscation, authenticated encryption, and architectures for machine learning. In a paper published recently in the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, she introduced a dynamic obfuscation scheme where the time to attack is lower, bounded by an exponential function of the key size. Her research also addresses architectures and evaluation of candidates for the ongoing standard CAESAR: Competition for Authenticated Encryption: Security, Applicability, and Robustness. She is also working on low-energy machine learning systems using approximate computing.

Sandhya started work on her doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota in 2012. Prior to this, she worked at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions in Bengaluru, India. She has pursued internships with Advanced Micro Devices, MA, and Intel Security Center for Excellence, OR. She has received a Best-in-Session award at the 2016 SRC TECHCON and has a best paper nomination for the 2017 Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers.

Sha Shi

After completing her secondary schooling in Tieling, in the Liaoning Province, Sha enrolled at Sichuan University where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physics in 2008 and 2011 respectively. While at Sichuan University, her research focused on developing lithography methods based on plasmonics; the institution awarded her the Excellence Fellowship Award and the Outstanding Senior Award for her contributions. She started her doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota in fall 2011 under the guidance of Prof. Paul Ruden. In the doctoral program, Sha’s research focuses on the physics of organic semiconductor materials and devices. The work extends from the analysis of the properties of materials, to the development of analytical and numerical models for applications in flexible electronic and spintronic devices including organic molecular tunnel junctions and spin valves.

She has published in Journal of Applied Physics, ACS Nano, Physical Review B, and in a chapter of the book Spin in Organics (World Scientific Publishing, edited by Z. V. Vardeny). Sha Shi is the recipient of the College of Science and Engineering fellowship, and the Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation fellowship.

Nazila Haratipour

Nazila Haratipour received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2011 from the University of Tehran, Iran. She received her master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in physics and her doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Steven J. Koester from the University of Minnesota in 2017. Her research has focused on fabrication, characterization, and analysis of field effect transistors based on novel two-dimensional materials such as graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides and black phosphorus for future generation of electronics. Nazila’s PhD dissertation is centered around two-dimensional black phosphorus for high-performance field effect transistors. She has done comprehensive experimental and theoretical studies to improve black phosphorus transistor performance.

Nazila has published 14 papers and abstracts in leading journals and major conferences. She was awarded the University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in 2016-17. She recently joined Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, OR as a Components Research Engineer.

Yanning Shen

Yanning Shen is a PhD student in the Department, working under the guidance of Prof. Georgios Giannakis. She received her BS and MS degree in 2011 and 2014, respectively, both from University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Her research interests include network science, nonlinear modeling, and online convex optimization. Yanning mainly focuses on introducing general nonlinear models and scalable online algorithms for inference and learning over large-scale dynamic networks. Outcomes of her research will benefit various application domains such as social networks, epidemiological studies, transportation, financial networks and brain networks.

Yanning has published her research in IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing and in conference publications. She is also the recipient of several awards including the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) Travel Grant Award (in 2013, and 2016), and the NSF Student Travel Grant Award (2016).

 

 

 

Prof. John Sartori’s Research on Bespoke Processors Gains Traction

Research on bespoke processors conducted by Prof. John Sartori’s group has been gaining currency recently. So what are bespoke processors? Conventional microprocessors used to drive embedded systems as seen in wearable and Internet of Things devices usually run a single application. However to ensure programmability and flexibility, these chips carry a large number of circuits, most of which will never see any action. This is a waste when you consider the power consumed and the of cost of fabricating such a processor. And eliminating this waste is exactly what ECE’s Prof. John Sartori, and Prof. Rakesh Kumar (University of Illinois), and their team of students have been working on.

Their answer to the problem is a redesign of the conventional microprocessor. By identifying the logic gates that are not utilized for the specific application, and removing them, they are left with what they term a “bespoke processor.” Such a processor is smaller and left with the only the circuitry for the required application. Learn more about their research on bespoke processors and the potential they hold for the design of application specific processors, in IEEE SPECTRUM.

Profs. Karpuzcu, Sapatnekar, and Wang awarded NSF grant under SPX program

ECE faculty, Prof. Ulya Karpuzcu, Prof. Sachin Sapatnekar, and Prof. Jian-Ping Wang have been awarded an $800,000 grant by the NSF under the Scalable Parallelism in the Extreme (SPX) program. Prof. Karpuzcu will be the lead PI for the project.

Big data is regarded as a killer application that can resolve most major computing challenges of the future. But exploding data volumes and the rising costs of data transportation have made the traditional model of computing, where data is delivered to the computing engine, increasingly untenable. Prof. Karpuzcu’s project undertakes to change this paradigm by exploring the possibility of bringing computation to data by developing a novel scalable framework for processing-in-memory (PIM). Although traditional CMOS structures are unsuitable for this, emerging spintronic technologies show promise for such a framework. The proposed approach will develop the notion of computational RAM (CRAM) to build PIM solutions to solve data-intensive computing problems using spintronics technologies.

The idea of bringing computation to memory has been gaining circulation, and the most viable solutions perform near-memory processing by performing computation at the edge of a large memory array. But this approach comes with significant overhead costs. The proposed CRAM-based approach avoids the substantial overheads of such a method. Instead it proposes a method for reconfiguring the memory to write the output of a logic operation directly onto a memory cell.

The project seeks to advance the state of the art in electronics technology, in large scale memory-centric computing using post-CMOS spintronic technologies, paving the path for new ways to build energy-efficient, scalable integrated systems.

 

Team ECE Receives Best Paper Award at ISLPED 2017

A paper presented by ECE graduate student Muqing Liu, and co-authored by an all-ECE team (Muqing Liu, Chen Zhou, Qianying Tang, Prof. Keshab Parhi, and Prof. Chris Kim) has been selected for the best paper award at the 2017 International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED), a key conference on low power circuits and systems.

Titled “A Data Remanence based Approach to Generate 100% Stable Keys from an SRAM Physical Unclonable Function,” the paper’s authors have been recognized with the best paper award two years in a row, which is rather unusual for this conference. The paper proposes a method that is more effective in finding the most stable cells in a large SRAM array.

SRAM is an attractive circuit for generating encryption keys because the start-up value of an SRAM cell is unique, random, and unclonable. However, the primary challenge for SRAM based key generation, however, is poor stability when the circuit is subject to random noise, temperature and voltage changes, and device aging. Earlier papers have suggested the use of temporal majority voting (TMV) and bit masking to identify and store the location of unstable or marginally stable SRAM cells. However, TMV requires a long test time and significant hardware resources. In addition, the number of repetitive power-ups required to find the most stable cells is prohibitively high.

The authors developed a one-time highly efficient data remanence based test method that can identify the most stable bits in an SRAM array for reliable key generation. The approach only requires two tests to identify all the stable ‘0’s and ‘1’s, which is more efficient than the popular temporal majority voting (TMV) technique. Experimental studies have shown that the 256-bit key generated from a 512 kbit SRAM using the proposed data remanence method is 100% stable under different temperatures, power ramp up times, and device aging.

The work was jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Semiconductor Research Corporation.

Alumnus Michael Roman Appointed COO of 3M

Alumnus Michael Roman has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice-President of Maplewood, Minnesota-based multinational corporation, 3M. A 25-year veteran of the Minnesota-based company, Roman will report directly to the Chairman, President, and CEO Inge Thulin. The appointment was effective 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 will oversee 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.” (https://give.umn.edu/about/board)

 

Prof. Keshab Parhi Receives IEEE CAS Mac Van Valkenburg Award

The IEEE Circuits and Systems Society has awarded ECE’s Prof. Keshab Parhi the Mac Van Valkenburg Award for pioneering contributions to VLSI digital signal processing architectures, design methodologies, and their applications to wired and wireless communications, and service to IEEE Circuits and Systems Society.

The Mac Van Valkenburg Award honors individuals for outstanding technical contributions and distinguishable leadership in a field within the scope of the Circuits and Systems Society. The award is based on the quality and significance of contribution, and continuity of technical leadership.

Prof. Parhi has made significant and long-lasting impacts through his seminal and pioneering research in the broad field of Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) design of digital signal processing, image processing and communications systems. His research is used in many integrated circuit chips for broadband communications systems that form the backbone of the internet. Examples include gigabit ethernet and 10-gigabit ethernet on copper and fiber cables, cable modems, settop boxes, chip-to-chip communication in backplanes and serializers-deserializers (a.k.a. serdes), cell phones, and storage systems. He is widely recognized for his pioneering work on pipelining and parallel processing of numerous recursive computations such as decision-feedback equalizers and Tomlinson-Harashima precoders using various look-ahead techniques. He developed the theory of folding and
unfolding transformations for data-flow graphs that describe digital signal processing programs. He also authored the text book: VLSI Digital Signal Processing Systems (John Wiley and Sons, 1999). He is the author of over 600 papers and inventor or coinventor of 29 US patents.

Prof. Parhi has served the IEEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) society in numerous capacities. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, Part-I during 2004 and 2005. He has served in Associate Editor capacity for various journals 14 times. He served on the Board of Governors of the CAS society during 2005-2007. He was Chair of the Technical Committee on VLSI Systems and Applications during 2003 and 2004, and a founding member of the Nano-Giga Technical Committee of the IEEE CAS society. Previously, Prof. Parhi was awarded the 2012 Charles A. Desoer Technical Achievement award and a 2000 Golden Jubilee Medal from the IEEE CAS Society. He also received the 2003 Kiyo Tomiyasu Technical Field award from the IEEE and the 2004 Frederick Emmons Terman award from the American Society of Engineering Education.

Prof. Parhi, along with his former doctoral student Yingjie Lao (now faculty at Clemson University), is also the recipient of the 2017 IEEE VLSI Best Paper Award. The paper “Obfuscating DSP Circuits via High-Level Transformations,” was published in the IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems in the May 2015 issue.

This paper presents a novel approach to the design of obfuscated circuits for digital signal processing (DSP) applications using high-level transformations, a key-based obfuscating finite-state machine (FSM), and a reconfigurator. The goal is to design DSP circuits that are harder to reverse engineer thereby protecting the designer’s intellectual property. Typically, a hacker determines the functionality of a DSP circuit in one of two ways: either by structural analysis to isolate the original design, or by simulation-based reverse engineering to determine functionality of the design.

To protect DSP circuits against reverse engineering, the obfuscated circuits will only operate in the desired mode with a negligible probability that others would be able to find. Thus, the correct functionality is hidden to the adversary even when the adversary can access the DSP circuits. For details, read the award-winning paper here.

ECE Alumnus is 2017 CSE Commencement Speaker

Grant Erickson, ECE alumnus, is the CSE Commencement speaker for 2017. He is a principal engineer at Nest Labs where he oversees the technical development of platform software designed to support Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, WiFi, and Weave. He played an active role in the formation of the Thread Group and Thread networking protocol, and is currently president of the Thread Group.

You can read a detailed biographical sketch on Grant here.

Grant earned his bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in 1996 and 1998 from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He led the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association for 16 years. He currently resides in Sunnyvale with his wife Jessica, daughter Grace, and golden doodle Charlie. Some of Grant’s other passions include architecture and design, playing the guitar, and travel.

In fall 2015, we had featured an interview with Grant on the challenges and opportunities of living in a connected world. You can read the interview “IoT: opportunities, concerns, and challenges” here.