Engineering and Computing Annual Report 2015

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Department Overview

In 2014 – 15, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) continued its growth and accomplishments. The faculty continues to be involved in a balanced combination of research and teaching so as to fully benefit the students. A large number of our faculty have considerable industrial experience and some maintain active consulting roles to provide current and relevant knowledge to the students in classroom and research settings.

The ECE department continues to improve the quality of the undergraduate program by reviewing and updating the curriculums for both the EE and CpE programs to attract more high school graduates and transfer students. Our vision remains the same to have the best undergraduate program in the State of Florida and to be internationally recognized with our graduate program driven by excellent research that responds to the needs of the State of Florida, in particular, and the nation in general.

Furthermore, serving our community and maintaining our mission in providing excellence in undergraduate education so that our graduates become critical thinkers, creative problem solvers and lifelong learners. This annual report provides a summary of the critical data for our department in the areas of academics, research, training and future plans and priorities for the past academic year. We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to yet another year of growth and success.

Faculty Highlights

National designation of FIU through ECE

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated the Florida International University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through the year 2019. This designation, pioneered by ECE professor Alexander Pons, will help FIU meet the growing demands of professionals with network and cyber security expertise in various disciplines.

This will now allow FIU students and faculty to become eligible for more scholarships, grants and research opportunities with government agencies like the NSA and DHS. The department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has made notable waves in cybersecurity over the past year by establishing three brand new research and teaching labs with a focus in network and cyber security.

Targeting disease with nanotechnological engineering
A group of scientists have combined medicine and advanced nanotechnological engineering to create a smarter, more targeted therapy that could overcome the most lethal gynecologic cancer. FIU researchers, including Sakhrat Khizroev, are crafting a new weapon for that battle.

In a study published last fall in Scientific Reports, Khizroev reported that loading Taxol, a chemotherapy drug, onto MENS and guiding them remotely by a magnetic field penetrated tumor cells and completely destroyed the tumor within 24 hours. Normal cells, usually collateral damage in chemotherapy, were spared.

Nanotechnology advances let Khizroev and researcher Rakesh Guduru control the function of the cell to regulate proliferation, which would then stop cancer development as soon as possible.

Five years after historical quake, Haiti partners with FIU in solar power
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering recently partnered with Haiti Energie on an agreement to provide engineering design and plans for future projects. Haiti has a high demand for solar power. Since the earthquake disaster in 2010, approximately 20 percent of the population has restored access to power and electricity.

The Energy Systems Research Lab at FIU, led by Professor Osama Mohammed, will play a major role in providing batteries, wiring, racking and other materials essential to a solar power energy system. This innovative partnership and collaboration will only strengthen Haiti Energie and further benefit the people of Haiti.

Origami research continues to unfold
In January 2014, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing announced that a National Science Foundation grant would be supporting a collaborative research effort between FIU researcher Stavros Georgakopoulos and Georgia Tech University to work on the development of unique antennas using classic origami techniques.

One year later, Georgakopoulos’s origami antennas have evolved out of the pockets of soldiers and into cockpits of shuttles planning to launch in to outer space, a development he will be sharing with his distinguished colleagues at the Second Annual Workshop on Origami Design for Integration of Self-Assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI).

FPL and FIU partner to build innovative solar research facility
The project involves the installation of more than 5,700 solar panels on 23 canopy-like structures. Using data from the 1.6 megawatt solar array, faculty and students from ECE will study the effect of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) generation on the electric grid in real-life South Florida conditions. Assistant Professor, Arif Sarwat, worked with FPL to establish the model site. The goal of this $7.65 million collaborative venture is to study and understand the potential impact of incorporating the clean energy sources in to the existing power grid and evaluate the ramifications of such an integration in terms of reliability, power quality, efficiency and other power characteristics.

FIU adopts ANSYS engineering simulation solutions campus-wide
Students at FIU now have access to the full suite of ANSYS (NASDAQ: ANSS) multiphysics solutions – enabling them to be better prepared for engineering careers by using the same software used by professionals around the world. University faculty will also be able to conduct research using the campus-wide license. Led by ECE Professor, Stavros Georgakopoulos, this is an expanded partnership from ANSYS after they sponsored his lab last year.

NSF funding for first REU site founded at FIU
Associate Professor Kemal Akkaya and Assistant Professor Selcuk Uluagac were awarded $365K from the National Science Foundation to create a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) Site program within the ECE department. The project was titled “Security of Smart Things: From Small Devices to Large Infrastructures.”

The site began in the Summer 2015 semester and engaged 12 undergraduate students from across the US to conduct research under the supervision of an ECE faculty mentor. The program will last for three years and is expected to attract the involved students to continue their graduate careers at FIU ECE.

At the conclusion of the project, the REU students presented their research work to faculty, students, staff and a visiting group of young engineers from a local middle school.

First Engineering Orientation robot competition
ECE Instructor Wilmer Arellano organized the first ever Robot Competition as a way of engaging the creativity of young engineers, most of whom had not yet completed their first semester as college students.

Each team received a kit of components to build their robots, Autonomous Navigation Vehicles that needed to complete a tour of a closed track in minimal time. The robots were judged on accuracy as they made their way around the track, speed, aesthetics and a video that was scored for entertainment, creativity and execution.

A total of 40 teams demonstrated their homemade robots to a packed house, including President Mark B. Rosenberg and Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Lunsford.

FIU ECE hosts ASSIST Annual Industry Advisory Board Meeting
For the second year in a row, FIU ECE hosted the ASSIST Annual Industry Advisory Board meeting. This two day event included a poster session for FIU graduate students to display their research among other ASSIST students from NC State University, Penn State University and University of Virginia.

ECE/ASSIST graduate students also gave a fifteen minute presentation on their work with cortisol research. Out of the entire group of presenters, the ECE group received great feedback for their hard work and meeting the continuous goals set forth by the ASSIST team.

Sweat of the Stress: A cortisol research update
Students within the Bio-MEMS research group continue to unlock the mysteries behind stress detection. Led by Dr. Shekhar Bhansali, the team first announced breakthroughs in their research last summer, when a student from the group led the universities first ever I-Corps program at FIU.

Students developed an application where stress levels could be measured through a detection of Cortisol using a person’s sweat or saliva.

Since then, their research has evolved in to a more pioneering method to sensing these levels using Nano-Enabled Molecular Imprinted Polymers. This manner of sensing has not been done before within Cortisol research.

Bhansali’s team is also developing a distinctive approach to a multiuse sensor. Previous sensors for Cortisol recognition are single use only.

Ismail Guvenc receives 2014 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award
For the 2014-15 academic year, the Powe Award Committee awarded 35 grants, which were competitively selected from among 134 faculty applications. The peer review evaluation and selection process is rigorous and involves outstanding scientists from across the nation. Prof. Ismail Guvenc, Director of the MPACT (Mobile Pervasive and Autonomous Communication Technologies) Research Lab, has received this award with his research proposal titled “Toward Next Generation Public Safety Communications”.

Herman Watson receives Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching
Each year, FIU Faculty Senate recognizes exceptional faculty members in six classifications (Advising and Mentorship, Engagement, Librarianship, Research and Creative Activities, Service, and Teaching) who have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in their categories.

Dr. Herman Watson has received the award for Excellence in Teaching. He was nominated by his peers for his admirable performance as an undergraduate lecturer, program director and especially his leadership and involvement with Senior Design teams.

Ismail Guvenc receives 2015 NSF CAREER Award
Assistant Professor, Ismail Guvenc, wins the NSF CAREER Award for his project titled “Towards Broadband and UAV-Assisted Heterogeneous Networks for Public Safety Communications.”

Professor Guvenc has been part of the FIU ECE faculty since August 2012. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from University of South Florida in 2006, with an outstanding dissertation award.

Selcuk Uluagac receives 2015 NSF CAREER Award
Assistant Professor, Selcuk Uluagac, wins the NSF CAREER Award for his project titled “Securing Sensory Side-Channels in Cyber-Physical Systems.”

Professor Uluagac has recently joined the FIU ECE faculty since August 2014. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in security and networking from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also received the “Outstanding ECE Graduate Teaching Assistant Award” in 2007.

Student Highlights

The ECE department encourages undergraduates and graduate students to participate in internship training. Consequently the students have been offered internships by various companies locally and all over the US. The department also encourages students to present papers, attend conferences and collaborate in research activities with other Universities. The following are just a few of the student achievements garnered by our ECE students and reported to the department.

Abdullah Aydeger            1. Two conference proceedings were accepted un his first semester
2. A book chapter on Secure Software Defined Networking is submitted

Ahmed Elsayed                 1. IEEE PES 2014 Conference Travel Support Award
2. IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IECON 2014 Conference (Dallas, TX) – Outstanding Poster Paper Presentation Award & Travel Support Scholarship

Arash Ahmadivand          1. SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship
2. UGS Conference Attendance Support
3. Conference presentation MRS Spring 2015 Meeting
4. Submitted and invited chapter on “Plasmonic Photodetectors” to be published in “Photodetectors: materials, devices, applications,” Editor: Bahram Nabet, Woodhead Publishing – scheduled for publication in Summer 2015

Arvind Merwaday            1. Summer/Fall internship with Intel (June – December)

Chowdhury Al-Amin       1. Conference presentation at SPIE DSS 2015 – Defense, Security and Sensing in Baltimore, MD
2. FIU Dissertation Year Fellowship Award
3. UGS Conference Attendance Support Award

Christopher Lashway      1. IEEE PES 2014 Conference Travel Support Award
2. Energy Storage Association Scholarship to participate in the 2015 ESA Annual Conference and Expo

Hoda Rajaei                        1. 2015 Scholarly Forum in Engineering I, category: Oral presentations

Imtiaz Parvez                     1. FIU President’s Scholar Fellowship recipient

Kelly Mesa                          1. I-Corps fellowship recipient, funded through the NSF (first of its kind at FIU)

Mehmet Cintuglu            1. IEEE PES 2014 Conference Travel Support Award

Mohammad Islam           1. Summer Graduate Research Internship at Georgia Tech University
2. 2014 IFU ECE Best Teaching Assistant Award

Muhammad Khan            1. Summer Graduate Research Internship at CarePredict, Inc.

Mustafa Karabiyik            1. FIU Doctoral Evidence Acquisition (DEA) Fellowship
2. Submitted an invited chapter on “Plasmonic Photodetectors” to be published in “Photodetectors: materials, devices, applications,” Editor: Bahram Nabet, Woodhead Publihing – scheduled for publication in Summer 2015
3. Submitted an invited chapter on “Terahertz (THz) detectors” to be published in “Photodetectors: materials, devices, applications,” Editor: Bahram Nabet, Woodhead Publishing – scheduled for publication in Summer 2015

Nadisanka Rupasinghe  1. Internship with DOCOMO Innovations, Palo Alto, CA (January – August)

Nico Saputro                      1. Became an ECE PhD candidate
2. Published two journal articles:
– N. Saputro and K. Akkaya, “PARP-S: A Piggybacking-based ARP for IEEE 802.11s-based Smart Grid AMI Networks,” Elsevier Computer Communications, Volume 58, pp. 16-28, 2015.
– N. Saputro and K. Akkaya, “On Preserving User Privacy in Smart Grid Advanced Metering Infrastructure Applications,” Wiley Security and Communications Networks Journal, Vol. 7 No 1, pp. 206-220, 2014
2. A book chapter is accepted: Nico Saputro, K. Akkaya, A. Yurekli and S. Uluagac, “Privacy-preservation for IoT in Smart Buildings,” in Security and Privacy in Internet of Things (IoTs): Models, Algorithms, and Implementations, CRC Press
4. Published 5 conference proceedings

Raju Sinha                           1. Journal publication in Nature, Scientific Reports: Raju Sinha, Mustafa Karabiyik, Chowdhury Al-Amin, Phani K. Vabbina, Durdu O. Guney and Nezih Pala, “Tunable Room Temperature THz Sources Based On Nonlinear Mixing in a Hybrid Optical and THz Micro-Ring Resonator”, Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 9422 doi:10.1038/srep09422

Sajay de la Puente           1. During NASA internship, created a code to subset/tile out large images used in disaster responses such as the recent earthquake in Nepal. Recommendation letter from NASA program Director

Saman Sargolzaei             1. 2015 Scholarly forum in Engineering I, category: Oral presentations
2. 2014 recipient of the FIU Perry Graduate Scholarship
3. FIU Graduate Student Leadership Award, Outstanding Student Life Award

Shi Sha                                  1. 2015 Scholarly forum in Engineering I, category: Oral presentations

Tan Ma                                 1. 2014 Best Research Assistant Award

Tarek Youssef                    1. FIU Scholar Award, Outstanding Student Life Award

Xiaokun Yang                     1. Best Ph.D. Forum Paper of the IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI

Karina Quintana                1. One of five recipients of the 2015 Positive Impact Awards, nominated for Positive Impact Person of the Year
2. AHSIE Seed to Tree Student Scholarship
3. FIU Scholar Award, Outstanding Student Life Award

Carlos Rodriguez              1. NSF REU Program Recipient

Patrick Vega                       1. NSF REU Program Recipient

Robert Medina                 1. NSF REU Program Recipient

Community Engagement

FIU in space: Electrical engineering students build satellite in historic collaboration
Students part of an after school program at David Lawrence Jr K-8 (DLK8) Center took on a project to build a fully functioning satellite. A short time later, it became clear that a more sophisticated level of engineering was necessary to truly ‘launch’ this project. DLK8 then asked FIU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to become involved. Department chair Shekhar Bhansali and Senior Design Instructor Wilmer Arellano enthusiastically agreed and with that the partnership transformed into a tiered educational triad. It became the first satellite project in the United States in which the whole educational spectrum participated together to build and have a satellite.

After two years of electronic design and redesign, trials and successes with radio communication, image processing, and programming, the project was completed. When launched, the satellite, which looks like a coffee can and sports retractable measuring tapes from either side, will make an entire revolution around earth every 90 minutes and will be visible for around five minutes at every revolution. It will send back pictures, speed and temperature readings.

Senior Design Expo
For the first time in the department’s history, the Senior Design Day was moved to main campus and renamed the Senior Design Expo. Invitations were sent to FIU administration and the entire community. Over 200 visitors walked throughout the MARC Pavilion to view the senior design capstone projects and engage with the student teams on their ideas and process of product commercialization.

Future City Competition
The Future City Competition is a national program where students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade are presented with an engineering problem and work with a team educator and engineering mentor to solve it. As the South Florida Regional Director of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition, Professor Osama Mohammed held the Regional Competition for South Florida at the FIU Engineering Center on January 17th for the thirteenth consecutive year in a row.

The winner of each region will advance to the National Finals in Washington, DC in February during Engineers Week. Last year, students from St. Thomas the Apostle School in Miami, were highlighted at the White House Science Fair to celebrate the winners.

This year’s theme was “Feeding Future Cities: Select one vegetable and one protein and design a way to grow enough of each within your future city limits to feed your citizens.”

Engineering Expo
Multiple ECE labs opened their doors this year and welcomed students during the Engineering Expo. The event showcase degree programs offered by the College of Engineering & Computing, in addition to its well-appointed facilities and various student organizations, to get youngsters interested in STEM studies and encourage them to consider FIU for college. Faculty and students spent the whole day showcasing research projects, and holding interactive demos for the students to partake in.

International community engagement through the Energy Systems Research Lab (ESRL)

This summer a group of ten undergraduate students from a university in Brazil were hosted by Prof. Osama Mohammed and the graduate students from the ESRL. Each student was paired with a Ph.D. student and assisted them in research for two months.

Their visit to FIU concluded with a two day presentation of the student’s individual work. Each student gave a fifteen minute presentation to in front of an audience of ECE students and faculty. When asked at the end of their presentation where they wanted to continue their studies, every student was excited about joining the Panther family and continuing to work for the ESRL and Prof. Mohammed.

Research and Funding (includes sponsored research)

Electrical & Computer Engineering AwardsJuly 2014 – June 2015
DirectF&ATotalPI TOTAL
Adjouadi,Malek   $387,612
A Consortium to Study Novel Ma$36,816$3,682$40,498 
BPC-AE: Computing Alliance of$28,924$8,677$37,601 
Imaging for Alzheimer Detectio$0$0$0 
Participant payments$19,000$0$19,000 
SBIR/CREST Phase Iia: Efficien$0$0$0 
Subproject to Main Project OSR$211,615$78,898$290,513 
The Ware Foundation Research$0$0$0 
Akkaya,Kemal   $355,922
Participant Support to 8000050$300,240$0$300,240 
REU Site: Security of Smart Th$38,402$17,280$55,682 
Bhansali,Shekhar   $358,874
800002444 Participant Payments$43,400$0$43,400 
8-2444 Participant Pmts Y2$0$0$0 
Advanced Self-Powered Systems$183,667$78,547$262,214 
Assessment of MCS Cells Using$0$0$0 
Biosensors- Effect of design o$5,007$2,253$7,260 
Bridge to doctorate Cohort at$0$0$0 
Cortisense: Handheld point of$0$0$0 
DORBRDG – 800003875$0$0$0 
Graduate Research Fellowship P$46,000$0$46,000 
Caballero,Amaury A   $77,000
Electrical Wiring Program for$71,296$5,704$77,000 
Deng,Hai   $572,336
Collaborative Research: Inves$245,017$97,070$342,087 
Innovative Concepts and Approa$164,884$65,365$230,249 
Georgakopoulos,Stavros   $549,085
Antennas Instrumentation for R$498,085$0$498,085 
EFRI-ODISSEI: Novel Perpetual$0$0$0 
Origami antenna structures for$35,000$0$35,000 
REU Supplement to 800002491$16,000$0$16,000 
Guvenc,Ismail   $318,584
CAREER: Towards Broadband and$65,040$25,006$90,046 
Compressive Sensing for Improv$20,000$0$20,000 
EARS: Collaborative Research:$141,706$50,832$192,538 
NeTS: JUNO: Towards Energy-Eff$0$0$0 
REU to Project 800003634$0$0$0 
REU to Project 800004589$16,000$0$16,000 
Toward Next Generation Public$0$0$0 
Jung,Ranu   $7,000,000
License Agreement between the FIU Board of Trustees and Florida Power & Light/FPL$7,000,000$0$7,000,000 
Khizroev,Sakhrat   $115,132
Nano-electroporation for high-$0$0$0 
Physics of Spin Switching in S$42,758$19,242$62,000 
Sub-Project for Dr. Khizroev$36,643$16,489$53,132 
Larkins,Grover L   $150,000
Potentially Useful and Novel P$109,435$40,565$150,000 
Mohammed,Osama A   $485,680
A Flexible Secure Energy Manag$97,714$37,966$135,680 
Optimal DC Distribution Archit$137,931$62,069$200,000 
Physics-Based Modeling of Powe$68,966$31,034$100,000 
Real Time Modeling & Simulatio$34,483$15,517$50,000 
Pala,Nezih   $356,500
3D Simulation of THz Plasmonic$63,183$26,817$90,000 
Building a Test Bed for Hybrid$0$0$0 
NeTS:SMALL: Collaborative Rese$183,386$66,614$250,000 
On Track to Carbon Neutral Bui$0$0$0 
Particip Support to 800004119$16,000$0$16,000 
Visible Light Communication fo$500$0$500 
Quan,Gang   $0
REU Supplement to 800000535$0$0$0 
Sarwat,Arif Islam   $991,222
Collaborative Research:RIPS Ty$172,866$64,356$237,222 
CPS: Synergy: Towards Secure N$215,818$84,182$300,000 
Electric Power Reliability & A$287,479$68,521$356,000 
REU Supplement to 800004507$12,000$0$12,000 
REU Supplement to 800004823$16,000$0$16,000 
Smart Grid: Game Changer for L$55,556$14,444$70,000 
Uluagac,Arif Selcuk   $257,229
CAREER: Securing Sensory Side-$77,053$30,365$107,418 
SI2-SSE: A Sustainable Wireles$107,779$42,032$149,811 
TOTAL $10,921,649$1,053,527$11,975,176

Fall Term Enrollment

Academic CareerNumber of students enrolled as of 8/3/2015

*More students are expected to enroll from now until day 1 of the Fall semester

Degrees Awarded

Term GrantedBachelorsMastersDoctoralTotal Degrees
Summer 2014218130
Fall 20147025297
Spring 2015890089
2014-15 Total180333216

*These numbers have been reported by the institution (OPIE) but differ from departmental records

Term GrantedBachelorsMastersDoctoralTotal Degrees
2014-15 Total192566254

*These numbers reflect departmental/college records