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Engineering Students Shine

Graduate and undergraduate students in Electrical & Computer Engineering and in Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering excelled in recent competitions, bringing pride to their departments and the entire School of Engineering.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Attending the Seventh Annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) challenge at Polytechnic Institute of New York University last month, Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) doctoral student Xuehui Zhang won first prize in the Embedded Systems competition. The CSAW challenge attracted hundreds of the nation’s top student cyber security specialists and researchers, selected from over 1,000 entries, to NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn campus for an opportunity to prove their cyber mettle. Contenders were chosen based on the quality of their two-page proposal for inserting malicious circuits. Xuehui was one of just 10 teams chosen for her competition. As part of the challenge, she spent 20 days prior to the two-day CSAW event embedding 51 Trojans on an integrated circuit board called a field programmable gate array (FPGA). She then e-mailed the code to the challenge website and headed to New York for the on-site portion of the competition, which included one day in which she worked on the hardware followed by a second day in which she presented her design method and discussed her poster before a team of three judges.

Xuehui was the only UConn student to compete, and despite working solo, she not only captured top honors and a $500 purse, she also did so as one of the few women competitors. Read more about the challenge, and Xuehui’s success, here and here.

Xiaoxiao Wang, also a doctoral student in the ECE Department, received a Best in Session Award at the 2010 TECHCON Conference sponsored by Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies. The conference took place September 12-14 in Austin, TX and afforded students whose research is funded by SRC member companies to present their findings to the consortium members. The conference is a forum for researchers from over 100 top engineering universities, along with industry leaders, who are conducting microelectronics research, to exchange news about the progress of new materials and processes in chip arena.

Both Xuehui and Xiaoxiao are advised by Dr. Mohammad Tehranipoor.

Other ECE standouts won honors at the 13th International Conference on Information Fusion in Edinburgh, Scotland. Recent Ph.D. graduate Marco Guerriero received the J.P. LeCadre Best Paper Award with his advisor, Dr. Peter Willett, for a paper entitled “Shooting Two Birds with Two Bullets: How to Find Minimum Mean OSPA Estimates.” Shuo Zhang earned honorable mention for the Best Student Paper Award, for a paper entitled “Tracking with Multisensor Out-of-Sequence Measurements with Residual Biases,” co-written with his advisor, Dr. Yaakov Bar-Shalom, and G.W. Watson of SPARTA. Also receiving honorable mentions for Best Student Paper Award were doctoral candidate Ramona Georgescu for “GM-CPHD and ML-PDA Applied to the Metron Multi-Static Sonar Dataset,” co-written with advisor Dr. Peter Willett, and doctoral candidates David Crouse and Richard Osborne for co-authoring “2D Location Estimation of Angle Only Sensor Arrays Using Targets of Opportunity,” with Drs. Bar-Shalom, Willett, and Krishna Pattipati.

At the OSA Biomedical Optics Conference in Miami, FL, doctoral candidate Yan Xu won a Best Student Poster Presentation Award in the Optical Imaging & Spectroscopy session for a poster entitled“Imaging Heterogeneous Absorption Distribution of Advanced Breast Cancers Using Optical Tomography Guided by Ultrasound,” co-written with Dr. Quing Zhu.

Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering

Doctoral candidate Ying Wang shared the 3rd place Poster Prize in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers annual meeting’s Materials Engineering & Sciences Division for a poster entitled: “Meso-Tritolylcorrole/Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes Donor-Acceptor Heterojunction and Its Application in Ultra-Sensitive NO2 Detection.” Ying is advised by Dr. Yu Lei.

Another of Dr. Lei’s research students, Chemical Engineering junior Anthony V. La, received 3rd place in the Materials Engineering & Sciences section of the AIChE meeting undergraduate poster competition for his poster entitled “Preparation, Characterization and Gas Sensing Application of Novel Conducting Polypyrrole Composite Nanofibers.” His collaborators included Ying, Yu Ding and Dr. Lei.