January 30 - February 5, 2012


February 5, 2012

Faculty News

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) attended the DARPA Defense Sciences Office Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) Conference, held in Miramar Beach, FL, January 24-25. During the conference, he presented his new DARPA-funded project on Autonomous Symbiosis of Mobile Robotic Locomotion and Manipulation on Rough Terrain. Prof. Ben-Tzvi says his participation and presentation was an excellent opportunity to publicize SEAS and GW as a top notch engineering school.

Prof. Michael Plesniak (MAE chair) attended the 50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, held January 9-12 in Nashville, TN. At the meeting, he chaired Session 239-FD-51: Drops and Particles. Prof. Plesniak serves as a member of several committees and participated in the AIAA (national) Public Policy Committee meeting, the annual meeting of the Aerospace Department Chairs Association, the Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee (FDTC) plenary meeting, and the FDTC Experimental and Theoretical Fluid Dynamics subcommittee meeting. He is the FDTC liaison to ASME and to the Public Policy Committee.

Prof. Adam Wickenheiser (MAE) was invited to give a lecture at the Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute Workshop on Computational Material Science for Energy Generation and Conversion, held January 9-20 in Santiago, Chile. His talk was titled "Vibration Energy Harvesting Using Piezoelectricity: Single Segment, Multi-Segment, and Circuit Modeling." At the workshop he also ran a lab session on finite-element modeling of vibration energy harvesters.


The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) has awarded Prof. Chunlei Liang (MAE) a JSPS invitation fellowship for a two-month research visit to Japan during 2012. He will be hosted by the Yokohama National University.

Prof. Zoe Szajnfarber (EMSE) was invited to brief NASA's agency wide "Barriers to Innovation (B2I) Working Group" on January 17. The B2I team was chartered by the NASA Center Chief Technologists and includes senior representatives from all 10 NASA Centers. The group hopes to use Prof. Szajnfarber's NASA Innovation research to help frame its recommendations.

Other News

Nominations for the 2012 SEAS Excellence Awards for Teaching and Research are due by Friday, February 17th. The criteria and nomination forms for each of the awards are posted on the SEAS website at:

  • SEAS Distinguished Teacher Award for Full Professors and Associate Professors: (PDF) (Word)
  • SEAS Outstanding Young Teacher Award for Assistant Professors: (PDF) (Word)
  • SEAS Researcher Awards (the Distinguished Researcher and Outstanding Young Researcher awards share the same nomination form): (PDF) (Word)

The awards will be announced by mid-March, and shortly after that, Dean Dolling will host an awards ceremony, at which each recipient will receive a $5,000 cash award and a commemorative plaque.

Want to help improve the SEAS graduate student experience? The university is gathering ideas from graduate students on ways to enhance your time at GW. To offer your suggestions or opinions, please attend a brief focus group Tuesday, January 24 at 8:30 pm or Thursday, January 26 at 8:30 pm. Pizza and refreshments will be provided! To sign up, email Elizabeth Barnett at [email protected].

Guest Vignette

Our appetite for computing power and storage has continued to grow over the last few decades. Businesses must now store vast amounts of data and be able to process it in real time for customers. To meet these demands, businesses make use of data centers, warehouse sized facilities filled with tens of thousands of servers and storage devices. If a business does not wish to maintain all of this infrastructure itself, it can rely on cloud computing platforms, which rent computing resources to them on demand. Prof. Timothy Wood's research seeks to improve the reliability and efficiency of these data centers and cloud platforms.

While many enterprises already own significant amounts of IT infrastructure in their own data centers, they would also like to take advantage of cloud resources to allow them to rapidly increase their computing capabilities during short periods of high demand. In joint work with researchers from IBM Research and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Prof. Wood has been exploring how enterprises can use "cloud bursting" to dynamically shift their applications to the cloud and ensure high performance during peak periods such as the holiday season. This work involves both building the low level systems required to perform this type of application migration, and the high level control algorithms that can make intelligent decisions about which applications to move when.

High performance is important, but for many businesses and government agencies, reliability is even more crucial. Dr. Wood's recent work has also studied how cloud platforms can provide resiliency to disasters by acting as economical online backup sites. In joint work with researchers from AT&T Labs, Dr. Wood has designed techniques that replicate application data to the cloud in an efficient and consistent way. The approach uses speculative execution to combine the performance of asynchronous replication with the consistency guarantees of synchronous replication. All of this work seeks to reduce the cost of large scale distributed systems while improving their performance and reliability. (Provided courtesy of Prof. Timothy Wood of the Department of Computer Science)

SEAS Events

ECE Colloquium: IEEE Magnetics Society Distinguished Lecture Series 2012: 
Science and Technology of Modern Permanent Magnet Materials
George C. Hadjipanayis, Department of Physics and Astronomy Sharp Lab, University of Delaware
Thursday, February 2
3:30 pm
640 Phillips Hall
More info . . .

CS Colloquium: "You Can Pick Your (Best) Friends"<
David Liben-Nowell, Ph.D., Carleton College
2:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall
More info . . .

GW Engineering and IT EXPO!
A career and networking fair exclusively for SEAS students, which includes the pre-event workshop,
"Hardwire Your Soft Skills," by Nancy Miller,professional etiquette specialist
Wednesday, February 15
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Marvin Center Grand Ballroom

Entrepreneurship Events:

The Path to Entrepreneurial Success: Capitalizing on Opportunities and Resources
Karen G. Mills, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
Wednesday, February 1 
5:00 - 6:00 pm
Jack Morton Auditorium (805 21st Street, NW)
More info and registration

Entrepreneurial Session 10: Product Development Strategies<
Thursday, February 2
5:00 - 6:30 pm
453 Duques Hall
More info and registration


Dissertation Defenses

Name of Student Defending: Stephen Fortier
Title of Dissertation: "Defining an Optimal Incident Response Mechanism for Chemical Facilities"
Advisor: Gregory L. Shaw
Tuesday, January 31
10:00 am
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120

Name of Student Defending: James Andrew Pettigrew III 
Title of Dissertation: "Decision-Making by Effective Information Security Managers" 
Advisor: Julie J.C.H. Ryan 
Tuesday, January 31 
1:30 pm 
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120