January 13-20, 2014


January 13, 2014

Faculty News

New Faculty:

Saniya LeBlanc has joined SEAS as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Prof. LeBlanc obtained a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a specialization in materials science at Stanford University. Her research goals are to utilize nano- and micro-structuring techniques to improve the efficiency of energy systems. She uses scalable manufacturing techniques to create nanostructured materials for energy and thermal management applications and creates techno-economic models for emerging energy technologies. Prof. LeBlanc joins GW from her recent position as a research scientist at Alphabet Energy, a startup company, where she created research, development, and manufacturing characterization solutions for thermoelectric technologies and evaluated the potential of new power generation materials. With a strong commitment to educational equity, she has served in Teach For America as a high school math and physics teacher in Washington, D.C. and is thrilled to return to the city as a member of the GW community.


Prof. Howie Huang (ECE) has received a five-year, $375,000 NSF CAREER Award for his research project “Hardware Error Resilient Virtualization Infrastructure.” Prof. Huang explains that while cloud data centers have become an important cyber-infrastructure vital to our society and economy, this virtualization infrastructure is prone to many reliability challenges. This research will advance our understanding of hardware error behaviors in virtualized environments and develop virtualization-aware techniques for robust error detection, recovery, and protection. The research will build a hardware error resilient virtualization infrastructure to provide high-performance computing in clouds while offering strong protection against hardware error and failure. 

Prof. Tianshu Li (CEE) has received a two-year, $44,843 grant from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for a collaborative proposal, “Physics and chemistry of carbon at extreme conditions,” with an international team composed of scientists from the U.S. and Europe. The team is affiliated with the “physics and chemistry of carbon” directorate of the Deep Carbon Observatory created by the Geophysical Laboratory at Carnegie Institute of Washington. As the single PI at GW, Prof. Li will continue developing computational tools for understanding the crystallization of carbon bearing phases and minerals.

Prof. Gabriel Sibley's (CS) Robotics & Perception Group has received a $120,000 grant from MITRE to research automatic systems for dense 3D visual-inertial simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) for mobile robots. This state estimation will be used for air and ground vehicles, and will provide these autonomous systems with dense 3D maps of their surrounding environment. The team will explore the computational foundations of the problem, and novel estimation and sensor fusion approaches.


Prof. David Broniatowski (EMSE) has had a journal article published in PLoS One: David A. Broniatowski, Michael J. Paul, Mark Dredze. “National and Local Influenza Surveillance through Twitter: An Analysis of the 2012-2013 Influenza Epidemic,” PLoS One.

Prof. Chunlei Liang (MAE) recently published a journal article with his colleagues at Stanford University: S. Premasuthan, C. Liang, A. Jameson. “Computation of Flows with Shocks Using the Spectral Difference Method with Artificial Viscosity: Part I” Basic Formulation, 2014, Computers & Fluids.

Profs. Thomas Mazzuchi and Shahram Sarkani (EMSE) have had the following articles published within the past month:

  1. R. Leung, S. Sarkani, and T. A. Mazzuchi. “Mission success regulations, their effect on EVL launch success and the applicability to regulating commercial human spaceflight,” Space Policy, Vol. 29, Issue 4, (2013), pp. 258-265.
  2. H. Mohammadi, T. A. Mazzuchi, and S. Sarkani. “A system engineering framework for implementation of security and critical patch management process (SCPMP) for diverse environments (academic department’s workstations),” Journal of Information Technology Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, (2013), pp. 51-61.
  3. J. W. Eggstaff, T. A. Mazzuchi, and S. Sarkani. “The effect of the number of seed variables on the performance of Cooke’s Classical Model,” Reliability Engineering and Systems Safety, Vol. 121, No. 1, 2014, pp. 72-82.

Prof. Volker Sorger (ECE) published an article titled "Plasmonic Modulators: Breaking Photonic Limits" in the December 2013 issue of the IEEE Photonics Society News, Vol. 27, No. 6.

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Taeyoung Lee (MAE) and his collaborators, Prof. Vijay Kumar (University of Pennsylvania) and Prof. Koushil Sreenath (Carnegie Mellon University), presented the following papers to the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), held December 10-13, 2013 in Florence, Italy:

  1. Geometric Control of Cooperating Multiple Quadrotor UAVs with a Suspended Payload
  2. Geometric Control and Differential Flatness of a Quadrotor UAV with a Cable-Suspended Load
  3. Stochastic Optimal Motion Planning and Estimation for the Attitude Kinematics on SO(3)

Other News:

Profs. Azim Eskandarian (CEE) and Lance Hoffman (CS) and their former student Jeremy Blum have had a paper selected as one of the Top Ten Best Research Papers for the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems for the decade 2000-2009. The citation is: J. J. Blum, A. Eskandarian, and L. J. Hoffman, “Challenges of intervehicle ad hoc networks,” IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 347–351, December 2004.

Allan Friedman has joined GW’s Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI) as a visiting scholar researching cybersecurity policy. Wearing the hats of both a technologist and a policy scholar, his work spans computer science, public policy, and the social sciences, and has addressed issues ranging from electronic medical records to telecommunications policy. His recent work has focused on the economic aspects of information security. Prior to joining CSPRI, Friedman was a Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and the research director for the Center for Technology Innovation. Dr. Friedman is the coauthor of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2014). More information about his book is available in a video of the book launch, which was broadcast live by CSPAN on January 6.

Guest Vignette

Computational Analysis of Expert Committee Decision-Making

The United States is at the forefront of medical innovation; nevertheless, we have one of the most rigorous medical device and drug review processes on the planet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with determining which medical innovations are approved for the U.S. market. Devices, drugs, and biologics brought to these committees for review are generally those which the FDA does not have the “in-house expertise” to evaluate. Therefore, the products under evaluation by the committees are likely to be the most innovative, and those facing the most uncertainty or novelty. The decisions of these committees have significant consequences both for the public health and for the success of the product's corporate sponsors.

Prof. David Broniatowski is studying how knowledge is shared and aggregated among FDA advisory panel members, including how social dynamics might shape the final decision outcome of whether or not a device will be approved. He uses computational natural language processing to study advisory panel meeting transcripts, enabling him to drive a network-based representation of how information is exchanged among voting members. Published findings have addressed the impact of seating location upon voting behavior, indications of status hierarchies among panel members, and the presence of interactions between voting behavior and professional specialty (e.g., medical training). This research, and the associated methodological approach, is widely applicable to situations where a multidisciplinary team of experts must evaluate a technical artifact, including design scenarios, policy evaluations, and technology assessment. (Provided courtesy of Prof. David Broniatowski of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering)

SEAS Events

CEE Seminar: “Rocking Dynamics and Masonry Structures”
Speaker: Professor Matthew DeJong, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK
Friday, January 17
10:30 - 11:30 am
640 Phillips Hall
Refreshments will be served

MAE Seminar: “Some Recent Progresses in Mechanics of Nanostructured Materials, Bio-Nano and Energy Storage Systems”
Speaker: Professor Huajian Gao, School of Engineering, Brown University
Friday, January 17
11:00 am
736 Phillips Hall

CEE Seminar: “Roles of Nano- and Microscale Subsurface Geochemical Reactions on Safe and Efficient Geologic CO2Sequestration Operations”
Speaker: Dr. Yandi Hu, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Houston
Wednesday, January 22
4:00 – 5:00 pm
640 Phillips Hall

SAVE the DATE: 8th Annual SEAS Student Research & Development Showcase
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
12:00 – 3:00 pm (Poster set-up, Judging)
  3:00 – 6:00 pm (Opens to the public)
Marvin Center Grand Ballroom
More info

Career Center Events

Deloitte Information Table
Tompkins Hall Lobby
Wednesday, January 15
8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Learn about career opportunities at Deloitte by visiting their Information Table at SEAS!

Entrepreneurship Events

Entrepreneurial Session: Hands-on Executive Summary Workshop and Open Office Hours with GW Office of Entrepreneurship and GW Business Plan Competition
Wednesday, January 15
5:10 pm
353 Duques Hall
RSVP:  http://exec-summary-handson.eventbrite.com

Entrepreneurial Session: Choosing the Form of Organization for Your Business with Deloitte and the GW Business Plan Competition
Wednesday, January 22
5:10 pm
353 Duques Hall
RSVP:  https://gw-deloitte-entrepreneurship.eventbrite.com

GW Business Plan Competition deadline: Please be reminded that the deadline for the competition is 11:59 pm on January 21.