December 7-13, 2020


December 7, 2020

Faculty News
Awards & Honors:

Dr. Ahmed Louri

The IEEE Computer Society recently produced videos to honor the recipients of its 2020 technical, education, and service awards, among them Dr. Ahmed Louri (ECE). Dr. Louri received the Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award, “for pioneering contributions to the solution of on-chip and off-chip communication problems for parallel computing and manycore architectures.”Watch the video.



Dr. Erica Gralla

Dr. Erica Gralla (EMSE) and her co-authors, Julia Moline (FEMA) and Jarrod Goentzel (MIT), were awarded the Decision Sciences Journal Best Paper Award for their paper “Approaches for Locating and Staffing FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.” The paper develops and demonstrates decision support models that improve service to disaster survivors and reduce costs to FEMA; the models were implemented by FEMA in several major disaster responses in recent years. The award was announced at the Decision Sciences Institute Annual Conference, held November 21-23.


Dr. Thomas Mazzuchi
Dr. Shahram Sarkani

Dr. Tom Mazzuchi (EMSE), Dr. Shahram Sarkani (EMSE), and EMSE doctoral student Christina Liaghati have published the following paper: C. Liaghati, T. A. Mazzuchi, and S. Sarkani, “A method for the inclusion of human factors in system design via use case definition,” Human-Intelligent Systems Integration, Vol. 2, December 2020, pp.45-56. Christina is advised by Dr. Mazzuchi.


Dr. Volker Sorger

Dr. Volker Sorger (ECE) was interviewed in the December 3 Optics & Photonics article “Boosting the Speed and Power of VCSELs." The article features research recently published by Dr. Sorger and his co-authors that reports a new VCSEL design paradigm to fundamentally improve the speed of an entire class of semiconductor laser.

Dr. Suresh Subramaniam

Dr. Suresh Subramaniam (ECE) contributed a book chapter titled “Cross-layer design” to the Handbook of Optical Networks, published by Springer. The 1200-page book is intended to be a compendium of the latest advances in optical networking.


Conferences & Presentations:

Dr. Amir Aslani

Dr. Amir Aslani (ECE) attended the ECEDHA Educators Summit and ECEDHA Lab Pros Summit on December 1-2. The Summit offered a two-day virtual program, featuring a series of training sessions in autonomous systems, makers, ECE curriculum, diversity and inclusion and more, with an immediate deep dive into experiences before and after COVID-19, lessons learned this fall, and plans for the spring.

Dr. Adam Aviv

Two papers published by Dr. Adam Aviv (CS) are appearing this week at the 2020 Annual Computer Security Applications Conference: 1) T. J. Forman and A. J. Aviv, “Double Patterns: A Usable Solution to Increase the Security of Android Unlock Patterns;” and 2) H. Khan, J. Ceci, J. Stegman, A. J. Aviv, R. Dara, and R. Kuber, “Widely Reused and Shared, Infrequently Updated, and Sometimes Inherited: A Holistic View of PIN Authentication in Digital Lives and Beyond.”

Photo of Professor Luyao Lu

On November 30, Dr. Luyao Lu (BME) gave a talk titled “Advanced Multimodal Optoelectronic Systems for Bio-Interfacing” at the 2020 Virtual Materials Research Society Spring/Fall Meeting.

Photo of Professor Santos

On November 20, Dr. Joost Santos (EMSE) presented a lecture to the Society of the Emeriti. The title of the lecture was “Predicting the Ripple Effects of Disasters Across Interdependent Infrastructure and Economic Systems.” The lecture can be viewed online.

Dr. Volker Sorger

Dr. Volker Sorger (ECE) has given several presentations recently. On November 30 he gave an invited talk, titled “Straintronics and ITO-Photonics: Advances in Heterogeneous Opto-electronics Devices,” at the MRS Fall Meeting (held virtually). He was also the lead organizer of the symposium “Photonic Materials for Information Processing and Computing” and moderator of the panel discussion “Intelligent Integrated Photonics.” On December 1, he gave an invited colloquium titled “Photonics for Machine Intelligence and Quantum Information” at the Quantum in Proteins seminar series at UCLA. This week he will present two invited talks at the European Conference on Optical Communications, to be held virtually, December 7-9: “Photonic Tensor Core and Nonvolatile Memory for Machine Intelligence” (which was part of the workshop “ WS 6: Pathway to Bring Photonics in High-Performance Computing: from Materials to Applications,”) and “Strainoptronics and Gain-Bandwidth-Product Detector Roadmap” (which was part of the “2D materials photonics” CLEO Focus Session).


Other News:

MAE Professor Emeritus Ali Kiper

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of MAE Professor Emeritus Ali Kiper. Dr. Kiper had a distinguished 28-year career at GW, retiring in 1995. He served as chair of the (former) Department of Civil, Mechanical and Environmental Engineering. After retirement he remained actively engaged, including service on the MAE External Advisory Board for many years. Both of his children graduated from GW and most recently his grandson, Luke, graduated from SEAS. His daughter Renan Kennedy said, “I know that my father would want the department to know how much his 28 years at GW meant to him. It was such a part of who he was. He would always say that his students kept him young and interested. He admired and respected the faculty and all the people with whom he worked so very, very much. GW was home to him and he so enjoyed and appreciated being invited back after his retirement. He treasured that connection.” The family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, an organization Dr. Kiper supported for many years.

Dr. David Broniatowski

Dr. David Broniatowski (EMSE) served as a member of a high-level panel on vaccine confidence and misinformation convened by the Center for Strategic & International Studies and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The panel recently published its call-to-action statement.

Photo of Professor Vora

Dr. Poorvi Vora (CS) and her research group have developed the Athena election audit algorithm and software package, which has been integrated into Arlo, the main election audit software tool used by election officials. The Athena class of ballot polling audits decreases considerably the effort of election officials, and is likely to help make audits more popular among them. No ballot polling audits were performed for the general election, but pilot (non-binding and post-certification) ballot polling audits for Michigan and Pennsylvania are anticipated early next year, when it is hoped that Athena will be used. Dr. Vora’s collaborators are Dr. Filip Zagórski (Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland) and Neal McBurnett (independent software consultant). CS undergraduates Grant McClearn and Sarah Morin participated in all aspects of the work as well, and CS undergraduates Oliver Broadrick, Claire Furtick and Jay Grieve also played a role. The research is/was supported in part by National Science Foundation awards 2015253/1421373.


Student News

Doctoral student Andrew Chen, advised by Dr. Vesna Zderic (BME), is the first author on this recently published manuscript: A. W. Chen, A. Jeremic, and V. Zderic. “Ex Vivo Imaging of Ultrasound-Stimulated Metabolic Activity in Rat Pancreatic Slices,” Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 2020 Nov 27:S0301-5629(20)30484-1.


Other News
The Natural Language Processing (NLP) Group at SEAS welcomes GW faculty and students who are interested in NLP to join them at: The NLP Group hopes to connect researchers and create new opportunities for collaboration around the trending and important subfield of artificial intelligence. For more information, please contact Pedram Hosseini of the CS department.


GW’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP) has announced a call for fellowship proposals in support of research projects aligned with IDDP’s mission to help the public, journalists, and policymakers understand digital media’s influence on public dialogue and opinion, and to develop sound solutions to disinformation and other ills that arise in these spaces. Applications should be submitted as a single PDF document via email to the IDDP associate director, Dr. David Broniatowski (EMSE), by December 15.


New course--Application deadline extended: Global & Experiential Education has EXTENDED the deadline to apply for the Sweden: Global Business Project: International Business of Sustainable Energy spring 2021 virtual study program taught by Dr. Anna Helm and Dr. Saniya LeBlanc until Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 11:59pm (ET).

  • Course Description: This course brings together students from multiple disciplines to learn about energy technologies, international business, and global energy perspectives. Students will compare and contrast the energy perspectives of two countries, the United States and Sweden. After learning core energy and business topics, interdisciplinary teams of students will partner with real clients in Sweden to complete energy sector consulting projects. Students will work in teams to research new market opportunities for the firm’s technology and propose their recommendations upon conclusion of the course.
  • Credits: 3
  • Date/Time: Thursdays, 12:45 - 3:15 pm (ET)
  • Instructors: Dr. Anna Helm and Dr. Saniya LeBlanc
  • Learn more and apply at: Sweden: Global Business Project: International Business of Sustainable Energy
  • Watch the information session: Sweden Spring 2021 Info Session


SEAS Events Re-cap


BME students on zoom call


Last Friday night, the SEAS BME Undergraduate Ambassadors and the Biomedical Engineering Society hosted a “Get to know the BME Professors” Kahoot night. The game night gave students the chance to connect with professors, learn fun facts about them, and learn about their research as well. Prior to the event, the hosts sent BME professors a Google form to collect their responses to questions such as, “If you could have any superpower what would it be?”, “What is one of your hidden talents?”, and “What area of research does your lab focus on?” During the game, students had to guess which professors gave which answers to various questions. As part of the game, students also learned which labs will have undergraduate positions available next semester.


Upcoming SEAS Events
ECE Distinguished Lecture Series: “Operator Inference: Bridging Model Reduction and Scientific Machine Learning”
Speaker: Dr. Karen Willcox, University of Texas at Austin
Tuesday, December 8
10:00 am
WebEx link
This lecture will count as part of the ECE department’s colloquium requirements.


CSPRI Webinar: Applied Research International Discussion
Wednesday, December 16
8:00 am ET (The webinar is being hosted early to permit participation from a broader audience)
Disaster Risk Reduction is an emerging discipline that is very much in the public eye currently with pandemic tracking, food chain security, and rising sea levels in the news daily. Exploring just how BlockChain technology can be of help is the topic of an upcoming Frontiers publication co-produced by SEAS researchers Neil Wasserman and Costis Toregas (director of the Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute), along with Jean-Fabrice Lebraty of Lyon University. This CSPRI webinar will explore the dimensions of this intersect and encourage current and future strands of applied research. For more information, please contact Dr. Toregas or Dr. Wasserman. An event link will be sent those who register, but please mark your calendars in the meantime!


External Events
IEEE Communications Society (Washington, DC Chapter) Distinguished Lecturer Presentation: “Elastic Optical Networks”
Speaker: Dr. Suresh Subrmaniam (ECE)
Saturday, December 12
10:30 am
This event is free, and a link will be provided to all registrants by 9:30 am on December 12. Please RSVP online or via email to Ms. Debi Siering by the morning of December 10.

GW Coders
Weekly, on Fridays
11:00 am
Complete this short form to learn more
GW Coders is a new community that brings together students and faculty to apply computational and data analytics skills in research. We will share coding experiences, learn some new skills, and build our professional networks. GW Coders is for everyone, from those just getting interested in coding to those who have years of experience; for undergraduate and graduate students; for faculty in any discipline; for others in the DC community who want to join us.


Office of Research Integrity Seminar: “Responsible Conduct of Research”
Weekly, on Thursday
12:00 – 1:30 pm
This fall 2020 seminar course is designed to develop and strengthen ethical problem-solving skills and foster sensitivity to ethical issues in the conduct of research. Registration is open to the entire campus community but will be capped at twenty participants. Please register early to secure your space. If you have questions about the seminar, please email the Office of Research Integrity.


Dissertation Defenses
Student Name: Hongyu Fang
Dissertation Title: “Efficient Defense against Covert and Side Channel Attack on Multi-core Processor Using Signal Processing Techniques”
Advisor: Dr. Miloš Doroslovački (ECE)
Tuesday, December 8
8:00 – 10:00 am
WebEx link


Student Name: Yimeng Wang
Dissertation Title: “Data-Driven Online Network Optimization through Reinforcement Learning”
Advisor: Dr. Tian Lan (ECE)
Tuesday, December 8
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
WebEx link


Human Resources News
HR Corner Hero

This week's HR Corner includes information related to the temporary suspension of employer base and matching contributions to retirement plans, changes to campus access, updates to GW's FY21 holiday schedule, and more. Please visit the HR Corner to read these updates.