2006-07 Distinguished Lecture Series

Each year the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering presents a Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings prominent researchers in the electrical, computer, and software engineering fields to campus. The 2006-07 Distinguished Lecture Series was held in conjunction with support from the Information Infrastructure Institute (iCUBE) and F. Wendell Miller Lecture Series.

Videos from the 2006-07 Distinguished Lecture Series are available to ISU students, faculty, and staff for educational purposes only. To obtain access to the videos, e-mail the department’s Communications Specialist or stop by 2215 Coover Hall.

September 18


Michael Pursley, Holcombe Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clemson University

Abstract: Not available

Speaker biography: Not available

October 23


Richard Taylor, Professor, Department of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California at Irvine

Abstract: Software architecture is a powerful technology that has proven itself in numerous domains.  It has been used, for example, to shape the contemporary World Wide Web and has provided the basis for the economic exploitation of the notion of product families.  In far too many development organizations, however, consideration of software architecture is relegated to a specific time-period, or phase, of software development.

This talk considers how software architecture relates to the classical conceptions of software development. What emerges is a substantial reorientation of software engineering, for  the power of architecture demands a primacy of place.  With architecture as a central focus the very character of key software engineering activities, such as requirements analysis and programming, are altered and the technical approaches taken during development activities are necessarily changed.

Speaker biography: Richard N. Taylor is a professor of information and computer sciences at the University of California at Irvine and a member of the Department of Informatics (of which he was chair from its founding in January 2003 through June 2004). He received the PhD degree in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1980.

His research interests are centered on design and software architectures, especially event-based and peer-to-peer systems and the way they scale across organizational boundaries. Taylor is the director of the Institute for Software Research, which is dedicated to fostering innovative basic and applied research in software and information technologies through partnerships with industry and government. He has served as chairman of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Software Engineering, SIGSOFT, chairman of the steering committee for the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), and was general chair of the 1999 International Joint Conference on Work Activities, Coordination, and Collaboration and the 2004 International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering.

Taylor was a 1985 recipient of a Presidential Young Investigator Award and in 1998 was recognized as an ACM Fellow. In 2005, he was awarded the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award.






Tryphon Georgiou
Tryphon Georgiou





November 27


Tryphon Georgiou, Vincentine Hermes-Luh Chair in Electrical Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota

Abstract: Signal analysis is often a hidden technology behind a wide range of applications. From radar to medical imaging, and from speech processing to communications and system identification, many technological advances rely on new efficient ways to estimate a power frequency distribution from recorded signals. Robustness and accuracy are of at most importance, yet there is no universal agreement on how these are to be quantified. The focus of the talk is on intrinsic notions of distance between power spectral distributions. We will discuss alternatives and present a natural distance motivated by a problem in prediction of timeseries. More specifically, a power spectral distribution allows constructing an optimal predictor for a corresponding time-series. If the actual power spectral distribution of the time-series differs from the one used in designing the predictor, a degradation of the prediction-error variance is to be expected. This degradation of predictive performance allows us to quantify distances and induces a Riemannian metric. This metric defines a natural geometry for power spectral densities. A similar rationale has long ago been followed in Information Theory, where the Fisher information metric was used to define the appropriate Information Geometry in the works of Rao, Amari, and others. Analogies, comparison, and applications will be discussed.

Speaker biography: Tryphon T. Georgiou received the Diploma in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in 1979, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Florida in 1983. He has served on the faculty at Florida Atlantic University (1983-1986) and at Iowa State University (1986-1989). Since 1989 he has been with the University of Minnesota where he holds the Vincentine Hermes-Luh Chair of Electrical Engineering. He has served on the Editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Journal on Control and Optimization, and the Systems and Control Letters. He has also served on the Board of Governors of the Control Systems Society of the IEEE.

He has received the George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper award of the IEEE Control Systems Society three times, for the years 1992, 1999, and 2003. In 1992 and in 1999 he received the award for joint work with Prof. Malcolm C. Smith (Cambridge Univ., U.K.) advancing the gap metric as a tool for robustness analysis and design of feedback control systems, and in 2003 for joint work with Professors Chris Byrnes (Washington Univ. St. Louis) and Anders Lindquist (KTH, Stockholm) which deals with model complexity constraints in robust control and in signal analysis.

January 22


José Moura, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: Sensor networks, which can instrument large areas with many inexpensive multimodal sensors, have the potential to collect vast amounts of data. Extracting relevant information from this data locally to avoid massive data transfers and localizing inter-sensor communication are important issues to reduce power consumption, while still achieving good performance. Distributed network architectures avoid centralized decision and do not overburden a few sensors with communication and processing, rather distributing across all sensors traffic flow and processing. By network topology, we mean the graph that supports the communication interchange among sensors. We consider the problem of optimizing the topology of the sensor network for distributed inference, subject to a constraint on the maximum number of available communication channels among sensors. We convert this into a spectral graph problem, i.e., what is the graph that maximizes the ratio between two graph spectral parameters-the graph algebraic connectivity and the maximum eigenvalue of the graph Laplacian. We present results for different versions of this problem, including when the communication costs vary among sensors and when the sensors may fail at random times (communication errors).

Speaker biography: José M. F. Moura is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and founding co-director of CenSCIR, the Center for Sensed Critical Infrastructure Research. In 2006-07, he is on sabbatical at MIT as a visiting professor of electrical engineering and computer science. He holds MSc, EE, and D.Sc. EECS degrees from MIT and an EE degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon, Portugal). His interests are in algebraic and statistical signal/image processing. His current research includes distributed decision in sensor networks, time reversal imaging, SPIRAL, an intelligent compiler for signal processing transforms, and bioimaging. He serves as President Elect for the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS), on the Editorial Board of the IEEE Proceedings and of the ACM Sensors Journal, on several IEEE Boards, and served or serves on the steering committee of two major Conferences: the IEEE International Symposium on BioImaging (ISBI) and the ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Information Processing and Sensor Networks (IPSN). He was the editor in chief for the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of AAAS, and a corresponding member of the Academia das Ciencias of Portugal. He received the IEEE 3rd Millennium Medal and the IEEE SPS Meritorious Service Award.

February 8


John Stankovic, BP America Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia

Abstract: Wireless sensor networks (WSN) composed of large numbers of small devices that self-organize are being investigated for a wide variety of applications. Applications, such as military surveillance and large scale assisted living facilities are key examples of applications that can benefit from WSN. Current research for WSN is widespread. However, many of the proposed solutions are developed with simplifying assumptions about wireless communication and the environment, even though the realities of wireless communication and environmental sensing are well known. Many of the solutions are evaluated only by simulation. In this talk I describe a fully implemented system, called VigilNet, consisting of a suite of more than 30 synthesized protocols (40,000 lines of code). The system supports a power aware surveillance, tracking and classification application running on 203 XSM motes and evaluated in a realistic, large-area environment. Technical details and evaluations are presented for several of the key services. I will also present AlarmNet – an assisted living and residential monitoring system that is under development. Lessons learned from building these two systems will be discussed.

Speaker biography: Professor John A. Stankovic is the BP America Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. He recently served as Chair of the department, completing two terms (8 years). He is a Fellow of both the IEEE and the ACM. He won the IEEE Real-Time Systems Technical Committee’s Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions and Leadership (first winner). He also won the IEEE Distributed Processing Technical Committee’s Award for Distinguished Achievement (first winner). Professor Stankovic also served on the Board of Directors of the Computer Research Association for 9 years. Before joining the University of Virginia, Professor Stankovic taught at the University of Massachusetts where he won an outstanding scholar award. He has also held visiting positions in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie-Mellon University, at INRIA in France, and at the Scuola Superiore S. Anna in Pisa, Italy. He was the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Distributed and Parallel Systems and was a founder and co-editor-in-chief for the Real-Time Systems Journal for 18 years. He was also General Chair for ACM SenSys 2004 and General Chair for ACM/IEEE Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN) 2006. His research interests are in distributed computing, real-time systems, operating systems, and wireless sensor networks. Prof. Stankovic received his PhD from Brown University.

*Lecture co-hosted by Department of Computer Science






Fred C. Lee
Fred C. Lee





March 29


Fred Lee, Lewis A. Hester Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Distinguished University Professor, Virginia Institute of Technology and State University

Abstract: Power electronics is an enabling infrastructure technology with direct product sales of $60B. More significantly, power electronics enables an entire electronics industry that is growing rapidly and exceeds $1T worldwide. Presently, many of the industry products are not utilizing advanced power electronics solutions. The potential energy savings using the advanced power electronics solution are significant. According to EPRI’s report, power electronics technology would result in a 33% savings in electrical energy consumption. In the U.S. alone, the energy saving is equivalent to the total output of 840 fossil-fueled power generation plants. In order to enable widespread use of power electronics solutions to all forms of products, we must make further advancement in power electronics equipment, with improved quality reliability and reduced cost.

Power electronics products, to date, are essentially custom-designed and manufactured using non-standard parts. The products cycle times are long and manufacturing processes are labor-intensive, thus, resulting in poor reliability and high cost. The Center for Power Electronics Systems, established in 1998 as one of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers, is charged in leading the nation in the development of an integrated power electronics system approach via integrated power electronics modules (IPEMs). A brief discussion of the center’s research enterprise and strategic plan in addressing key technological areas and advancements needed to improve the characteristics of power electronics systems, such as increased levels of integration, standardization of parts and improved packaging techniques for enhanced thermal management and electrical performances. The technologies being developed for the realization of integrated systems include planar metallization to allow three-dimensional structural integration of power devices and control functions, integration of power passives, integration of RF and EMI filters, and integration of electrical/thermal design tools.

Speaker biography: Fred C. Lee received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan in 1968. He went on to receive M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Duke University in 1972 and 1974, respectively.

Dr. Lee is currently a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.  He directs the Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), a National Science Foundation engineering research center whose participants include five universities and over 80 corporations. In addition to Virginia Tech, participating CPES universities are the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina A&T State University, and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

His research interests include high-frequency power conversion, distributed power systems, space power systems, power factor correction techniques, electronics packaging, high-frequency magnetics, device characterization, and modeling and control of converters. Dr. Lee holds 35 U.S. patents, and has published over 188 journal articles in refereed journals and more than 480 technical papers in conference proceedings. The total sponsored research funding secured by Dr. Lee over the last 25 years exceeds $70M.

Dr. Lee is a Fellow of IEEE.  During 1993-94, Dr. Lee served as president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society. In 1989, Dr. Lee received the William E. Newell Power Electronics Award, the highest award presented by the IEEE Power Electronics Society for outstanding achievement in the power electronics discipline. He is also the recipient of the Power Conversion and Intelligent Motion Award for Leadership in Power Electronics Education (1990), the Arthur E. Fury Award for Leadership and Innovation in Advancing Power Electronic Systems Technology (1998), the IEEE Millennium Medal (2000) and the Ernst-Blickle Award for outstanding achievement in science (2005).’

April 23


Shankar Subramaniam, Professor, Department of Bioengineering, and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at San Diego

Abstract: The sequencing of eukaryotic genomes presents us with unprecedented opportunities to understand the large-scale function and to quantitatively analyze and predict properties of living systems.This interface is referred to as systems biology and this has introduced significant challenges for computational sciences.  Conceptually, this broad area can be divided into two parts: first, is data and information-driven biology with high throughput and medium throughput measurements of gene, protein and other molecular components in cells under different conditions and manipulation of this data in combination with legacy knowledge. Many of the tools that are needed for this manipulation are at a less mature stage. Hence, the major challenges of this area are: 1) how to organize and make accessible this largesse of data; 2) how to make diverse data interoperable; and 3) how can integration of this data be achieved to yield knowledge.

The second part deals with physics-driven computation. Much of this to date embodies modeling of metabolic and signaling networks using equilibrium and kinetic equations. The biggest challenge in these approaches is a) the unavailability of parameters (concentrations, rate constants, equilibrium constants, etc.) and b) absence of continuous time measurements (assays) of components and species in vivo and in vitro systems. There are few focused funding efforts that make systematic measurements of cellular components dynamically and embed them into quantitative models.

In this talk, I will use exemplars from our research to highlight formulation of significant research problems in this interface area that will concomitantly alter the way we have practiced computational science.

  • What are the computational challenges in comparative and functional genomics that will provide new insights into physiology?
  • What are the challenges in network biology and what new algorithmic approaches need to be developed?
  • What are the challenges in ontology development and database developments in life sciences?
  • How can we compute systemic properties of complex biochemical networks?
  • How can we integrate myriad data in biology to obtain qualitative and quantitative insights in systemic phenotypes?
  • What is the next frontier in biomedicine and how will computational sciences aid this development?

Speaker biography: Shankar Subramaniam is a professor of bioengineering, chemistry and biochemistry and biology and director of the bioinformatics graduate program at the University of California at San Diego.  He also has adjunct professorships at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and is a guest professor at the Center for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at the University of Oslo, Norway, and professor at the Center for Cardiovascular Bioinformatics and Modeling at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to moving to UC-San Diego, Dr. Subramaniam was a professor of biophysics, biochemistry, molecular and integrative physiology, chemical engineering and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  He was the director of the bioinformatics and computational biology program at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the co-director of the W.M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics at UIUC. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and is a recipient of Smithsonian Foundation and Association of Laboratory Automation Awards and his research work is described below. In 2002, he received the Genome Technology All Star Award. His research spans several areas of bioinformatics and systems biology.

Subramaniam has played a key role in raising national awareness for training and research in bioinformatics.  He served as a member of the National Institute for Health (NIH) Director’s Advisory Committee on Bioinformatics, which resulted in the Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI) report.  The report recognized the dire need for trained professionals in bioinformatics and recommended the launching of a strong NIH funding initiative.  Dr. Subramaniam serves as the chair of a NIH BISTI Study Section.  Dr. Subramaniam has also served on Bioinformatics and Biotechnology Advisory Councils for Virginia Tech, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and on the Scientific Advisory Board of several Biotech and Bioinformatics Companies.  Dr. Subramaniam served as review panel member of NIH CIT and his focus was on how CIT should respond to the BISTI initiative.  Dr. Subramaniam has served as a member of the State of Illinois Governor’s initiative in biotechnology and an advisor and reviewer of the State of North Carolina initiative in biotechnology.