EE Newsletters


October 1, 2002

This is the latest electronic update of news in the department. If you have specific news or announcements that you would like to have included in an issue of this newsletter, please send them to Howard ( or Ann (

New Tenure Track Faculty
Welcome to New Grad Students and New Undergrad Majors
Research Funding Still Growing!
New NSF Center in Photonics at UW
Construction Update
Conference Room 303 Returns

New Tenure Track Faculty

We now have 42 tenure track faculty as of Fall 2002 (with 3 on leave and one on sabbatical), and we will have 43 by the Spring 2003 quarter. Please join me in welcoming our two new tenure track faculty:

Dr. Tara Javidi joined the EE department in September 2002, as an Assistant Professor. She studied electrical engineering at the Sharif University of Technology from 1992 to 1996. She received her MS degrees in Electrical Engineering: Systems, and Applied Mathematics: Stochastics, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, in 1998 and 1999, respectively. She received her PhD from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research interests are in communication networks, stochastic resource allocation, and wireless communication.

I'm also pleased to announce that Dr. Lih Y. Lin has agreed to join the EE department in April 2003 as an Associate Professor. She received her Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1996. She then joined AT&T Labs-Research as a Senior Technical Staff Member, where she conducted researches on micromachined technologies for optical switching and lightwave systems, as well as WDM network architectures. In March 2000, she joined Tellium, Inc. as Director of Optical Technologies, where she led the MEMS team for the all-optical switching program. She has over 110 publications in the areas of optical MEMS, high-speed photodetectors, and network architectures. She holds 13 US patents, and has 10 patents pending.

Dr. Lin has served on technical program committee, steering committee, and co-chair of various technical conferences, including International Optical MEMS Conference, OSA Annual Meeting, OSA Photonics in Switching Topical Meeting, CLEO Pacific Rim, IEEE LEOS Annual Meeting, and SPIE Symposia. She is currently the guest editor for Journal of Lightwave Technology: Special Issue on Optical MEMS and Its Future Trends.

Dr. Lin joins us as part of an "Advanced Technology Initiative" (ATI) in photonics.

Welcome to New Graduate Students and new Undergraduate Majors

Greetings to our 69 new graduate students for the Fall 2002 quarter (perhaps six more if VISA problems can be resolved). One third of our new graduate students are women, and two thirds are US citizens or permanent residents.

Welcome also to the 115 new majors admitted to the department. It was a very competitive process this year, with an approximately 49% acceptance rate and an average freshman/sophomore GPA of 3.65. Also welcome to our 9 new majors through the freshman direct admissions program.


Kudos to EE graduate student Winyu Chinthammit, for winning the "Best paper award" from the IEEE VR2002 Virtual Reality conference. Her advisor is Professor Tom Furness (in IE).

Congratulations once again to our newly promoted Full Professors Eve Riskin and Sumit Roy and to newly promoted Research Associate Professor Jiri Homola.

Research Funding Still Growing!

Grant and contract awards in EE for the first three months of 2002-2003 are approximately $10M. Based upon this information, it is likely that we will significantly exceed last year's departmental external grants and contracts total of $22.6 million, which was an increase of more than $10M over the previous year. This was approximately 10% of the UW's total research awards growth in 2001-2002! The above total does not include funds that are sub-accounts of projects that are based in other departments (but it does include funds that we subcontract out). By way of comparison, our 1998-1999 number was $5M. For 2001-2002, our "private research gifts" (non-overhead bearing) were about $2.4 million.

These increased funds will empower new research opportunities for our graduate students, undergraduates, faculty and staff.

New NSF Center in Photonics at UW

The National Science Foundation has chosen the UW as the host of one of six new national science and technology centers.

The Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research is directed by Larry Dalton, a professor of Chemistry who is also an Adjunct Professsor of Electrical Engineering. Dalton is a leader in the field of photonics, is best known for developing polymers that serve as electro-optic modulators and switches, or "opto-chips." They are microscopic devices that can translate electronic signals such as television, computer, telephone and radar into light signals at rates up to 10 times faster than the current fastest speeds. Once translated from electrical to optical format, the information can be transmitted at light speed using fiber optic systems. The NSF decision to finance the UW's photonics research represents a significant change in technological focus, choosing an alternative approach to ultrafast information processing and communications rather than pursuing traditional semiconductor research. The center fwill likely would receive about $16 million in NSF funding in the next five years and could receive more than twice that amount over 10 years.

This STC, along with the ATI in photonics, will provide substantial opportunities for the department (and the university as a whole) to take leadership in this increasingly important field.

Construction Update

If you were gone during the summer, you probably notices that there have been a lot of construction changes along the "phase line" between the EE building and the new Allen Center. Particular items of note:

  1. Five new Women's Rest Rooms (on the East end of the building, on Floors UB and 1-4). The "unisex" bathrooms on these floors have become Men's Rooms.
  2. New research labs (Modified Room 465, New 269, expanded 159, New 065)
  3. New engineering support room 165.
  4. New general purpose Computing Lab 371

Note that there is no longer an entrance to the building on the East End of the first floor. Once the construction is done, entrance to this part of the building will be from the new Atrium.

The offices of the student organizations have moved to the East End of the second floor, next to the TA offices and the new tutorial area. The upper basement tutorial area remains as well.

A "topping off" ceremony for the Allen Center (for placing of the last beam) will occur next week. It is currently anticipated that the building will be completed next summer, with occupancy in the Fall 2003 quarter. The EE department headquarters (including advising, chairs office, etc) will move to half of the first floor at that time (adjacent to CSE department headquarters).

Conference Room 303 Returns

With completion of Room 371, and the relocation of one of the General Purpose Computing Labs, Room 303 is once again a conference room! The Electrical Engineering Department currently has several rooms that are designated as conference room space. Information about reserving these rooms appears at

Howard Chizeck