ECpE Department receives major external research awards

During the months of July through September 2016, Iowa State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received many external research awards from the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other groups.

Coover in the FallMajor grants from the DOE include an award of $1,162,477 for a project entitled “Autonomous Tools for Attack Surface Reduction,” with Manimaran Govindarasu as Principal Investigator (PI) and Venkataramana Ajjarap and Doug Jacobson as Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PI). The total anticipated amount of the award is $2,981,103. The DOE also awarded $1,318,903 for a project called “Novel Light Extraction and Utilization, Organic LED (OLED) Core Technology Research: Enhanced Light Extraction from Low Cost White OLEDs (WOLEDs) Fabricated on Novel Patterned Substrates,” with Ruth Shinar as PI and Rana Biswas and Joseph Shinar as Co-PIs.

A variety of projects received grants from the NSF, with one highlight being $4,054,476 for the project “WI-ECSEL Scholarship Program (Women in Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering as Leaders,” with Joseph Zambreno as PI and Doug Jacobson, Phillip Harrison Jones, Lisa Larson, Mani Mina, Sarah Rajala, Sarah Rodriguez, Diane Rover and Mack Shelley as Co-PIs.

For more information on grants received during the months of July through September, visit this link:

ECpE Distinguished Lecture

Reza Iravani
Reza Iravani

Integration and Operation of Microgrids in the Smart Grid

Speaker: Reza Iravani, Founder and Coordinator of the Centre for Applied Power Electronics and Professor, The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto

Date: December 5, 2011

Time: 1:10 p.m.

Location: Alliant Energy – Lee Liu Auditorium, Howe Hall

Abstract: Environmental issues of central power plants, aging infrastructure, rapid technological developments of renewable resources, and the potential proliferation of plug-in electric vehicles have created the conditions for the utility power industry to consider the concept of “smart grid” to address the challenges of electric power systems. The smart grid integrates information and communication technologies, and advances control, protection, and power management strategies to improve grid performance, reduce address environmental impacts, respond to the rising electricity demand based on sustainability, and enable interactions among stakeholders.

This presentation provides a new perspective for migration from the conventional grid to the smart grid, and elaborates on the concepts, technologies, and R&D requirements, with an emphasis on the microgrid as a building block. This view of smart grid virtually divided the grid into multiple zones where the majority of zones are of “smart microgrid” type. The microgrids and the other zones within the smart grid can interact with each other and collectively respond to the operational needs of the encompassing smart grid. This talk provides definitions of smart grid, microgrid, and intelligent microgrid; elaborates on the technologies and concepts to realize such entities; describes operational bphilosophy, control, and energy management strategies for their realization; and highlights some of the barriers.

Speaker biography: Iravani received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1976 in Tehran, Iran, and worked as a consultant for the power utility industry until 1979. He received his master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Manitoba, Canada. Iravani currently serves as a professor in The Edward S. Rogers, Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, Canada. Iravani is the founder and coordinator of the Centre for Applied Power Electronics at the University of Toronto, through which he leads R&D activities for a group of 25 research engineers, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, related to grid integration of wind and solar-photovoltaic power plants, grid integration of distributed energy resources, and control and operation of high-voltage direct-current converters.

ECpE Faculty Seminar

Omar Smadi
Omar Smadi

Seminar: TBA

Speaker: Omar Smadi, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering; and Research Scientist, Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University

Date: November 28, 2011

Time: 1:10 p.m.

Location: 3043 ECpE Building Addition

Abstract: Information coming soon

Speaker bio: Information coming soon

Summer Research Opportunities Informational Meeting

Event: Summer Research Opportunities Informational Meeting

Date: November 17, 2011

Time: 5:10 to 6 p.m.

Location: Gold Room, Memorial Union

Details: Learn about the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and other summer research opportunities at Iowa State and elsewhere. A panel of faculty and students who participated in summer research programs will talk about finding positions, application processes and other topics related to undergraduate research.

Software Engineering Distinguished Lecture

Seminar: Digital Archaology

Speaker: Audris Mockus, Avaya Labs

Date: November 17, 2011

Time: 3:40 p.m.

Location: 2432 Food Science Building

Abstract: Measurement is the essence of science. Many professional and social activities become software mediated, thus generating vast digital remains that represent projections of collective and individual activities. The reconstruction and quantification of the behavior of an individual, an organization, or a society from these projections is the main challenge of digital archeology. I will illustrate the approach in the context of current software development practice. Software development is experiencing a radical change driven by the open source movement and the business needs to move development to low-cost locations. I will discuss ways to measure mentor-follower relationships in succession (the transfer of code ownership), and the aspects of succession that impact productivity and quality. I will introduce measures of relative sociality (the ratio of social and technical competencies), illustrate how they evolve over time, and quantify how the initial project environment is associated with the probability that a developer will become a long-term contributor.

In conclusion, I will discuss how digital archeology offers new ways to understand software development and human nature.

Speaker bio: Audris Mockus studies software developers’ culture and behavior through the recovery, documentation, and analysis of digital remains. These digital traces reflect projections of collective and individual activity. He reconstructs the reality from these projections by designing data mining methods to summarize and augment these digital traces, interactive visualization techniques to inspect, present, and control the behavior of teams and individuals, and statistical models and optimization techniques to understand the nature of individual and collective behavior.

Audris Mockus received B.S. and M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1988. In 1991 he received M.S. and in 1994 he received Ph.D. in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University. He works at Avaya Labs Research. Previously he worked at Bell Labs.

This lecture was made possible in part by the generosity of F. Wendell Miller, who left his entire estate jointly to Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Mr. Miller, who died in 1995 at age 97, was born in Altoona, Ill., grew up in Rockwell City, graduated from Grinnell College and Harvard Law School and practiced law in Des Moines and Chicago before returning to Rockwell City to manage his family’s farm holdings and to practice law. His will helped to establish the F. Wendell Miller Trust, the annual earnings on which, in part, helped to support this activity.

Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities Informational Meeting

Event: Summer Research Opportunities Informational Meeting

Date: November 16, 2011

Time: 12:10 to 1 p.m.

Location: Gold Room, Memorial Union

Details: Learn about the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and other summer research opportunities at Iowa State and elsewhere. A panel of faculty and students who participated in summer research programs will talk about finding positions, application processes and other topics related to undergraduate research.

ECpE Faculty Seminar

Liang Dong
Liang Dong

Seminar: TBA

Speaker: Assistant Professor Liang Dong, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University

Date: November 14, 2011

Time: 1:10 p.m.

Location: 3043 ECpE Building Addition

Abstract: Information coming soon

Speaker bio: Information coming soon

Society of International Engineers CAFÉ Informational Meeting

Event: Society of International Engineers CAFÉ (Creating a Fellowship of Engineers) Informational Meeting

Date: November 13, 2011

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: 114 Marston Hall

Details: Want to study abroad? The Society of International Engineers (SIE) is holding an informational meeting about studying abroad. The meeting is a great way for students to learn more about studying abroad and network with students who have studied or worked abroad.

IEEE Magnetics Society Distinguished Lecture

Oliver Gutfleisch
Oliver Gutfleisch

Magnetic Materials in Sustainable Energy

Speaker: Oliver Gutfleisch, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW Dresden) and Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Magnetics Society (2011-12)

Date: November 11, 2011

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Location: 3043 ECpE Building Addition

Abstract: A new energy paradigm, consisting of greater reliance on renewable energy sources and increased concern for energy efficiency in the total energy life cycle, has accelerated research in energy-related technologies. Due to their ubiquity, magnetic materials play an important role in improving the efficiency and performance of devices in electric power generation, conversion and transportation. Magnetic materials are essential components of energy applications (i.e. motors, generators, transformers, actuators, etc.) and improvements in magnetic materials will have significant impact in this area, on par with many “hot” energy materials efforts (e.g. hydrogen storage, batteries, thermoelectrics, etc.).

The lecture focuses on the state-of-the-art hard and soft magnets and magnetocaloric materials with an emphasis on their optimization for energy applications. Specifically, the impact of hard magnets on electric motor and transportation technologies, of soft magnetic materials on electricity generation and conversion technologies, and of magnetocaloric materials for refrigeration technologies, will be discussed.

The synthesis, characterization, and property evaluation of the materials, with an emphasis on structure-property relationships, will be examined in the context of their respective markets as well as their potential impact on energy efficiency.

Finally, considering future bottle-necks in raw materials and in the supply chain, options for recycling of rare-earth metals will be analysed.

Speaker bio: Information coming soon

Virtual Reality Experience

Date: November 11, 2011

Time: 1 to 2 p.m.

Location: Alliant Energy/Lee Liu Auditorium, Howe Hall

Details: The VRAC public tour offers participants a chance to learn about virtual reality (VR), the unique research facilities at Iowa State, how VRAC uses virtual reality as a research tool and a look at how computer graphics technology has improved in the past 25 years. In addition to the presentation, participants get to see several virtual reality applications that were developed at Iowa State. These demos typically include visiting the USS Ronald Reagan, a US Navy aircraft carrier, using VR for product conceptual design and exploring galaxies in the Virtual Universe.

Tours are free, but reservations should be made online at