August 5-18, 2019


August 5, 2019

Faculty News

Dr. Volker Sorger (ECE)

Dr. Volker Sorger (ECE) is the principal investigator of a $3.1 million Office of Naval Research grant for “Photonic Convolutional Processor for Network Edge Computing.” It is a collaboration among GW, UCLA, University of Texas at Austin, and Omega Optics Inc. Dr. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) is a co-PI on the grant. The project develops an accelerator for feature extraction known as a “convolutional neural network.” Unlike other approaches, this project uniquely combines two million optical parallel channels in free-space with tens of GHz-fast signal processing delivered by silicon photonic chip technology. This one-of-a-kind system enables processing of Peta-bytes of data (even Exa-bytes, when scaled-up) every second, with a small footprint equivalent to a desk rather than a football field. It can do this at the speed-of-light, enabling near real-time information processing, which is not possible in electronics due to parasitic effects of electrons in wires. The military seeks such real-time processors for timely decision making, but civilian applications such as autonomous and self-driving or flying vehicles could also benefit from it.


Dr. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE)

Dr. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) is the principal investigator (PI) of a three-year, $675,000 award from the Airforce Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for the project “RANC: A Residue Arithmetic Nanophotonic Computer.” Dr. Volker Sorger (ECE) the co-PI of the project. Its goal is to develop an integrated photonics computing system (from device to architecture) based on the residue number system to achieve orders of magnitude improvements in computational speed per watt over the current state-of-the-art, while again computing at the speed of the light. This grant falls along the same trajectory of the PI's vision to explore new post-Moore's Law processor paradigms that can bypass the technological obstacles presented by the end of the Moore's Law and Dennard's scaling by engendering new classes of efficient nanophotonic processors. Since they started this pioneering direction four years ago, Drs. El-Ghazawi and Sorger have jointly secured multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, AFOSR, and SRC, Inc. totaling approximately $6.7 million for this groundbreaking line of research that explores: photonic neuromorphic processors, reconfigurable processors and PDE solvers, residue number system processors, convolutional neural networks edge processors, and adaptive hybrid nanophotonic/plasmonic/electric networks-on-chip to support many core processors.


Dr. James Hahn (CS)

Dr. James Hahn (CS) is the principal investigator of a one-year, $37,436 GW Cross Disciplinary Research Fund award with co-investigators Michele Mietus-Snyder (Pediatrics), John Philbeck (Psychology), Christine Pintz (Nursing), Jennifer M. Sacheck (Exercise and Nutrition Science), and Xiaoke Zhang (Statistics). The project, “Predicting 3D Body Composition Using Optical Surface Scans,” will provide preliminary data for a new National Institutes of Health R01 proposal.




Dr. Emilia Entcheva

Dr. Emilia Entcheva (BME) co-authored the following paper with collaborators, including a lead at Imperial College London: F. Schultz, P. Swiatlowska, A. Alvarez-Laviada, J. L. Sanchez-Alonso, Q. Song, A. A. F. de Vries, D. A. Pijnappels, E. Ongstad, V. Braga, E. Entcheva, R. G. Gourdie, M. Miragoli, and J. Gorelik. “Cardiomyocyte-myofibroblast contact dynamism is modulated by conexin-43,” FASEB Journal, DOI: 10.1096/fj.201802740RR, 2019.


Dr. Ahmed Louri

Dr. Ahmed Louri (ECE) has published two recent conference papers. With his Ph.D. student Ke Wang, he published: K. Wang, A. Louri, A. Karanth, and R. Bunescu. “IntelliNoC: a holistic design framework for energy-efficient and reliable on-chip communication for manycores.” The paper was published at the 46th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, held June 22-26 in Phoenix, AZ. ISCA is recognized as the premier forum for new ideas and experimental results in computer architecture. The conference specifically seeks particularly forward-looking and novel submissions. The paper, which Ke presented at the conference, introduces a machine learning-enabled design methodology for scalable manycore network-on-chip (NoC) with the goal of balancing power consumption, reliability, and performance. He also published the paper “An Online Quality Management Framework for Approximate Communication in Network-on-Chips” with his Ph.D. student Yuechen Chen. This paper introduces a hardware-based quality management framework for the approximation system in network-on-chip to further enhance network performance while ensuring the quality of communication. The paper was published at the 33rd ACM International Conference on Supercomputing, held June 26-28 in Phoenix, AZ.



Dr. Ekundayo Shittu

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu (EMSE) has published a co-edited volume titled Renewable Energy: International Perspectives on Sustainability with Dmitry Kurochkin and Elena Shabliy, colleagues from Harvard and Columbia Universities, respectively. The publisher is Palgrave Macmillan.


Media Mentions:



Dr. Lorena Barba

On July 8, Dr. Lorena Barba (MAE) and her Ph.D. student Tingyu Wang gave a tutorial titled “Land on Vector Spaces: Practical Linear Algebra with Python” at the SciPy Conference in Austin, TX. The tutorial video and a GitHub repository with the materials are available online. On July 14, Dr. Barba separately gave a keynote at the PyData London conference. The presentation was titled “One step forward, two steps back: the frustration of diversity efforts in STEM.” The presentation slides and video are also available online.


Dr. David Broniatowski

Dr. David Broniatowski (EMSE) was the local area chair for the 2019 SBP-BRIMS conference, held July 9-12 in the Lehman Auditorium. He co-authored the following paper with his student Pedram Hosseini, who is co-advised with Dr. Mona Diab (CS): P. Hosseini, M. Diab, and D. A. Broniatowski. “Does Causal Coherence Predict Online Spread of Social Media?” In International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (pp. 184-193). Springer, Cham. At the conference, Dr. Broniatowski also presented a poster and gave a talk titled “Identifying Burns in Medical Device Reports,” which was co-authored with his student Lydia Gleaves.


Dr. Emilia Entcheva

On July 2, Dr. Emilia Entcheva (BME) was an invited speaker at the Symposium “50 Years Excitable Media,” organized by the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamic Systems and Self-Organization in Goettingen, Germany. Dr. Entcheva presented a talk on all-optical cardiac electrophysiology.


Dr. Charles Garris

Dr. Charles Garris (MAE) was invited by ARPA-E to participate in the workshop “Flexible Carbon Capture Technologies for a Renewable-Heavy Grid,” which was held July 30-31 in Washington, DC.


Dr. Jimmy Jia

Dr. Jimmy Jia (visting scholar, EMSE), who works with the SEAS Environmental and Energy Management Institute, was a facilitator of the Western States Innovation Workshop, held June 25 in Seattle, WA. Sponsored by the Western Interstate Energy Board and the CleanTech Alliance, it included attendees from energy offices of the Western states, Canadian provincial policymakers, representatives of national labs, and other commercialization organizations throughout the West. The workshop provided an opportunity to strengthen and broaden collaborations among Northwest energy innovators, build on top of 2016 regional energy innovation workshops sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, and improve commercialization pathways for technologies emerging from R&D institutions.


Other News:

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu with workshop students
Front row (left to right): Kian Asongwed, Amy Campos, Nadav Oren, Kamyia Denson, Kaili Clark, Eileen Sawyer, Camila Marryshow and Alexa Rosdahl (GW/EMSE)
Back row (left to right): Tsige Solomon, Andreas Frey, Robbie Mirabello, Roman Kassaraba, Adwin Paul, Amir Oyolola, Will Bates (Data Science, UCSD), and Dr. Shittu


Dr. Ekundayo Shittu (EMSE) conducted a six-week, summer, intensive modeling workshop for 13 high school students, grades 9-12, who have impressive competence in mathematics and data analysis and are interested in expanding their skillset. The workshop, infused with project-based learning pedagogy, introduced the students to spreadsheet modeling with Microsoft Excel, linear and integer programming, elementary data analysis, and introduction to computer programming using visual basic for applications in Excel and Python. The students were also exposed to the elements of professional preparation including resume writing, presentation decorum, and interviewing etiquette. The program was run in a hierarchical educational mentoring platform that also included two undergraduate teaching assistants. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this workshop aimed to excite students to pursue degrees in STEM, especially in systems engineering and computer science. The students were drawn from a pool of applicants in high schools across Maryland, DC, and Virginia.


Student News
MAE undergraduate Allegra Farrar is an intern this summer with Northrop Grumman working on the James Webb Space Telescope and doing high school STEM support after hours. On July 27, she participated in the Northrop Grumman-sponsored Global Summit Innovation Challenge, which gave five teams of interns the chance to present custom-designed quadcopters, planes, and rovers to extinguish fires.


Upcoming SEAS Events
Special Topic Lecture: Enterprise Security with Expanded Network Boundaries
Speaker: Dr. Zhijun (William) Zhang, Lead Security Architect, The World Bank Group
Monday, August 5
6:10 – 7:30 pm
Tompkins Hall, 205
This is a special topic lecture for CSCI 6541: Network Security. Please RSVP by email to Dr. Hurriyet Ok today.


Human Resources News

Marion Flythe-Inman

In this month's HR Corner, SEAS HR Manager Marion Flythe-Inman shares new information on:

  • the Proud to be GW Festival, and
  • Kronos time off training opportunities and virtual office hours.

The HR Corner is a new web page for SEAS staff that contains HR-related news, information, and events. Marion encourages staff to visit the page to find information on GW's new time off and leave guide, events and trainings, SEAS employment opportunities, and much more.


Position Announcement: Sustainable GW is seeking a research assistant for a project on addressing preparations and responses to hazards including increased wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes, among others. Applicants should be graduate students registered at GW with an interest in disaster preparedness and response and strong writing and research skills. Since the position will look at the issue from a variety of disciplinary approaches, there is no requirement for specific knowledge in advance on this topic. The job will run during the 2019-2020 academic year. It is a half-time position (20 hours/week) with a salary of $26,000 over the course of the academic year. The research assistant will help PIs organize bi- biweekly lunches; identify and prepare grant proposals; prepare articles for publication; and attract media attention for this project. To apply for the position, please send a cover letter and a resume by August 15 to Robert Orttung. Please contact him for additional information and questions, as well.


New Course: SUST 3003: World on a Plate
CRN: 98428
Tuesdays, 4:10 – 6:00 pm in MPA B07
World on a Plate, created by internationally renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés, surveys the many ways in which food and society interact. Faculty and guest lecturers have been carefully selected to expand the experiences of students who choose to participate in this exciting exploration of a truly interdisciplinary topic. In this course, we invite you to think deeply about food in its many different roles, e.g., as a critical factor in public health, as an industry, as a science, as the medium of the craft of cooking, and as a political instrument.


PI Dashboard Orientation Sessions: The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the Division of Information Technology (DIT) have made a number of enhancements to GW's Principal Investigator (PI) Dashboard, which will be released to the GW research community on September 1. OVPR will provide an orientation to the enhanced PI Dashboard on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, August 6: 9:00 – 10:30 am; Marvin Center 311
  • Tuesday, August 6: 2:00 – 3:30 pm; Marvin Center 311
  • Thursday, August 8: 9:00 – 10:30 am; Marvin Center 307
  • Thursday, August 8: 2:00 – 3:30 pm; Marvin Center 307

WebEx will be available for each session. More information about the PI Dashboard


Entrepreneurship News & Events
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize: This national invention competition recognizes students at any U.S. college or university who have tested prototypes of technology-based inventions in healthcare, food/water and agriculture, transportation and mobility, or consumer devices. In each of the four categories, graduate students are awarded $15,000 and undergraduate teams are awarded $10,000. The initial application deadline is September 27. See complete details about the application process and eligibility requirements.