May 18-31, 2020


May 18, 2020

SEAS Events Re-cap


Screenshot of SEAS 2020 Graduation


On Friday, May 15 SEAS hosted a virtual 2020 SEAS Graduation Celebration for GW’s 1195 engineering and computer science graduates. With one ceremony for bachelor’s degree candidates and another for master's and doctoral candidates, SEAS honored the graduates with personalized slides and the reading of each graduate's name. Deans Rumana Riffat and Bhagi Narahari presented the names of all senior design winners and recipients of other student awards, and Dean Can Korman presented the names of all the 2019 SEAS Student R&D Showcase winners. Both the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies included a student speaker and an address from Dean John Lach.


A recording of the two ceremonies, a slideshow of all the student winner certificates, faculty and staff congratulatory messages, and photo albums are all posted on the 2020 SEAS Commencement page.


The GW Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) has established the COVID-19 Technology Maturation Award, with rolling submissions accepted until June 30, 2020 for up to $50,000. The award supports projects demonstrating the commercial potential of academic research outputs in any science and engineering discipline at GW. This demonstration is achieved through proof-of-concept, prototyping, technology development and/or scale-up work. Successful projects will generate technology validation necessary to attract experienced licensees. Full application requirements may be downloaded from the announcement on the TCO website.


GW has joined the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), a new collaborative partnership to train future leaders in applying technology expertise to promote the public good and advance the public interest. Faculty who are interested in joining the network should email AskOVPR. The second way to participate is by proposing a new project for the PIT-UN annual Network Challenge. This year’s challenge will prioritize projects addressing the needs of communities historically denied access to new technologies, excluded from conversations concerning technology and policy, and/or prevented from joining the technology workforce. GW will be allowed to submit up to three proposals. The grant amounts can be $45,000, $90,000 or $180,000, inclusive of a 20% overhead rate. Interested faculty will need to submit their CV and a two-page description of their proposed project by May 26 via OVPR’s InfoReady portal. Faculty who have questions about PIT-UN may also email Annamaria Konya Tannon, who represents SEAS in this network.


Faculty News

Dr. Igor Efimov
Photo of Professor Luyao Lu

Dr. Igor Efimov (BME), Dr. Luyao Lu (BME), and their colleagues Elena Molokanova and Alex Savtchenko have been awarded a 22-month, $207,610 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The grant will fund their work on the project “Graphene optoelectronic biointerfaces for enabling optical cardiac pacemaking.”


Dr. Arkady Yerukhimovich

Dr. Arkady Yerukhimovich (CS) has received a four-year National Science Foundation grant for the project “New Approaches for Large Scale Secure Computation.” Secure computation allows parties to perform joint computations on private data without having to trust each other or to disclose their inputs to each other. Current solutions work best for small numbers of parties, but today's large-scale distributed systems such as Tor and blockchain require protocols that support thousands, if not millions, of parties. This project will investigate how to scale secure computation to the scale of today's applications. This is a collaborative project with George Mason University and The United States Naval Academy. The GW portion of the award is $404,534 over four years.



Dr. Adam Aviv

Dr. Adam Aviv (CS) and his colleagues have published the following conference paper: T. J. Forman, D. S. Roche, and A. J. Aviv. “Twice as Nice? A Preliminary Evaluation of Double Android Unlock Patterns,” CHI EA ’20. April 2020, pp 1–7. Although the ACM CHI (Human-Computer Interaction) Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems was not held this spring, CHI posted the paper on its conference website.

Dr. Igor Efimov

Dr. Igor Efimov (BME); members of his lab, Kedar Aras, Anna Gams, and Aaron Koppel; and their collaborators have published the following journal article: D. Smirnov, A. Pikunov, R. Syunyaev, R. Deviatiiarov, O. Gusev, K. Aras, A. Gams, A. Koppel, and I. R. Efimov. “Genetic algorithm-based personalized models of human cardiac action potential,” PLoS ONE. Published May 11, 2020. The paper presents a novel modeling technique based on the genetic algorithm that enables the construction of personalized cardiac function models using patient gene expression data. This model is another step toward personalized medicine since it can be used in patient-specific cardiac therapy development and drug testing.

Dr. Michael Keidar

Dr. Michael Keidar (MAE) and his colleagues have published the following paper: C. Corbella, S. Portal, M. N. Kundrapu, and M. Keidar. “Anodic arc discharge: Why pulsed?Physics of Plasmas, Vol.27, Issue 5. Published online May 11, 2020.


Conferences & Presentations:

Dr. Tianshu Li

On May 11, Dr. Tianshu Li (CEE) gave an invited virtual talk titled “Large-scale first-principle computational modeling of GeSn alloys” at the CLEO (Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics).


Other News:

Photo of Professor Vora

With a group of others studying election integrity, Dr. Poorvi Vora (CS) wrote a letter to Chris Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in response to guidance provided by CISA for conducting elections this year. The letter emphasizes the security issues associated with delivering and marking ballots online—even when they are returned on paper by the postal system or in person. The letter was covered by the Washington Post's “Cybersecurity 202” twice in the week since it was sent, May 8 and May 11. Additionally, following a letter from Dr. Vora and others, Governor Vázquez Garced of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico vetoed a bill that proposed working up toward internet voting as the sole option for Puerto Ricans.


Student News

KaYesu Machayo

CS undergraduate KaYesu Machayo, a rising junior in CS, has received a Generation Google Scholarship. The scholarship was established to help aspiring computer scientists excel in technology and become leaders in the field, and it recognizes students for academic excellence, leadership, and passion for technology. The scholarship awards students $10,000 and includes a virtual Google Scholars’ Retreat this summer.


SEAS Events Re-cap


CEE senior design meeting video call


Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, CEE seniors worked in teams in their two-semester, senior design capstone project. The project reinforced graduating students' knowledge while providing for a greater appreciation of how the material they have learned and studied in their classes at GW can be used to develop or solve a project with national or global implications. On May 11, the senior students presented their project to a group of six external professional engineers and to the CEE faculty. This year the presentations were conducted online, and students were offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invite family and friends to attend their presentations live. The photo shows the positive celebration at the end of the event, which was celebrated and recorded by a “virtual” group photo.


The BME Department congratulates its recently-graduated seniors on their success in the BME Capstone Design class! On May 14, two teams of BME seniors presented their projects in the Next Level event, a joint celebration of the inaugural collaboration between Sweden’s Chalmer’s University of Technology and SEAS. The MRI Simulator team designed a simulator that allows patients to use Virtual Reality (VR) and experience the auditory and spatial environment of an MRI prior to the MRI to help assess the patient's ability to scan successfully. The Leg Carrier Team created a storage case for hand-cycles to allow those who wear prosthetics to optimize the transport of assistive devices and personal belongings.


The ECE Department honored several students with awards at the 2020 ECE Annual Awards Ceremony, held virtually on May 12:


Outstanding Bachelor of Science Student Awards:

  • Computer Engineering: Samantha Paralikas
  • Electrical Engineering: Young Soung Park and Caitlin Carfano

Outstanding Master of Science Student Awards:

  • Hongkun Zhang and Xiaoxuan Cheng (both in Electrical Engineering)

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards:

  • Lauren Robinson and Mohannad Alhazmi

Best Dissertation Awards:

  • Dr. Shuai Sun (Advisor: Dr. Volker Sorger): for his dissertation on exploring optical data processing through communication silicon photonics
  • Dr. Engin Kayraklioglu (Advisor: . Tarek El-Ghazawi): for his dissertation on productive machine learning support for data locality optimizations in distributed memory systems
  • Dr. Pradeep Kumar (Advisor: Dr. Howie Huang): for his dissertation on systems for concurrent real-time graph analysis


Upcoming SEAS Events

Please note that all SEAS and GW events will be virtual events until further notice.


CSPRI Webinar: “The Benefits of a Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce”
Speaker: Sharon Smith, Principal Consultant, Governance Risk and Compliance, Verizon
Thursday, May 21
12:00 noon
This event will be held as a webinar through Webex. Please RSVP to Dr. Hurriyet Ok to register for the talk. Registrants will receive the Webex video conference details from Dr. Ok.


Festival of Animation 2020
Friday, May 22
4:00 - 6:00 pm
The Festival of Animation 2020, held annually since 1990, is your chance to see projects for computer graphics, computer animation, virtual reality, and computer games courses; hang out and mingle with students and faculty; and celebrate together the end of an eventful academic year. You will also have the chance to vote for the winners of the various categories. This semester, the Festival will be held in 3D virtual space. You can participate through your computer terminal or by using a VR head mounted display if you have one. Please visit the Institute for Computer Graphics website to find instructions on how to participate.


External Events
GW Career Services Center: May STEM Virtual Job Search Group
Fridays, May 8-29
2:00 – 3:00 pm
The May STEM Virtual Job Search Group is particularly designed for students finishing their academic studies at GW who are stuck or uncertain about next steps in their career journey in these unprecedented times and who need structure, guidance, and support to move forward. The sessions are interactive and instructive. Attendance for each of the four sessions is required. Spaces are filling up quickly. In addition, students can make individual appointments through Handshake with Dr. Sonya Merrill, the STEM industry career coach for the GW Career Services Center.


The American Solar Energy Society’s annual conference, previously scheduled to be held in GW’s Marvin Center on June 23-25, has been converted to a virtual event due to COVID-19. EMSE Visiting Scholar Scott Sklar (director of renewable energy, SEAS Environmental and Energy Management Institute) will serve as the general chairman of the event, which already has over 600 registrants. More information is available on the ASES website and on its magazine website, SolarToday.


Human Resources News
HR Corner Hero

This week's HR Corner includes information about GW employees' access to the Headspace mindfulness app, as well as important information regarding the paid time-off option, qualified life event changes in status, medical virtual visit costs, and other topics. Please visit the HR Corner to read these updates.