ECE 6900/7900 Graduate Seminar

Fall Semester 2014

Instructor: Prof. Gianluca Lazzi,
Location: WEB 1250

Meeting Time: Mondays at 3:05-3:55 p.m. (with some occasional Fridays)
Teaching Assistant: Seyyed Hashemizadehkolowri,


General Course Information and Requirements

  1. This is a credit/no credit class required of all MS/ME students. A student continuing for the Ph.D. degree must register for ECE 7900/7910 after having previously taken ECE 6900 and 6910 during their MS/ME program.
  2. A tentative Graduate Seminar Schedule for the beginning of Fall 2014 will be listed below once seminars are scheduled. Several of the seminars have yet to be announced. These slots will be filled in due course, and the speakers and topics of the seminars will be announced as the information becomes available.
  3. To receive credit for this class, a student must attend at least 70% of the seminars offered. Based on the current estimate of seminars that will be offered this semester (15), this translates into attending at least 11 seminars.
  4. Seminar attendance will be recorded. It is a student’s responsibility to bring their UCard to each seminar so the course TA can verify attendance. Students must stay for the duration of the seminar to get credit.
  5. The first graduate seminar of Fall Semester will be held on Monday, August 25th, 2014.
  6. Students are expected to turn in a well-written, 2-page minimum report on any seminars that they attended during the year. Students may compensate for 2 absences by turning in an additional report on the research of any single graduate seminar speaker. Reports should be turned in to the course instructor before the last day of the semester and should be in the IEEE Magnetics Letters format laid out at the bottom of the following webpage:

Class Documents

 Slides from Sept. 8, 2014 Seminar – ECE Graduate Program Policies and Requirements


Seminar Schedule

“Welcome and Introduction”

"Welcome and Introduction"

August 25th, 2014

Dr. Gianluca Lazzi University of Utah Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, August 25, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 During this first Graduate Seminar of Fall 2014, Dr. Lazzi will welcome students to the 2014-2015 academic year and go over the format for Graduate Seminar for the remainder of the semester.

“ECE Graduate Policies and Procedures”

"ECE Graduate Policies and Procedures"

September 8th, 2014

Drs. Priyank Kalla and Darrin Young University of Utah Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, September 8, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Drs. Priyank Kalla and Darrin Young will review graduate policies and procedures for the ECE Department.

“Using Sparsity-Based Models to Characterize and Monitor Critical Infrastructures”

"Using Sparsity-Based Models to Characterize and Monitor Critical Infrastructures"

September 15th, 2014

Dr. Joel Harley University of Utah Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, September 15, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Abstract In engineering and the sciences, there is considerable interest in new technology to sense and monitor large, physical environments. These systems have applications in many fields, including civil and aerospace engineering, medicine, oceanography, and seismology. For civil and aerospace applications, these technologies can be used to noninvasively monitor the structural integrity of bridges, pipes, airplanes, and other modern structures to reduce maintenance costs and prevent catastrophic failures in transportation, power, and resource distribution networks. Ultrasonic guided waves (waves that are “guided” by the geometry of the environment) have been of particular interest for monitoring critical infra-structures due to their sensitivity to damage and capability to interrogate large areas at once. To detect, locate, and evaluate damage, ultrasonic guided waves are measured and analyzed using various signal processing strategies. However, successfully detecting and locating damage is challenging because complex propagation environments significantly distort the waves as they travel through the medium. This talk presents a signal processing framework for overcoming these challenges by combining the physical principles of ultrasonic waves with novel data-driven signal processing strategies. Through experimental data, I demonstrate how to characterize complex environments and use their properties to improve to improve detection, localization, and characterization performance. We briefly discuss how these strategies can be extended to other applications. Speaker Biography Joel B. Harley received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University, Medford, MA, in 2008 and a M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA in 2011, and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA in 2014. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. His interests include the integration of complex wave propagation models with novel signal processing, machine learning, and big data methods for applications in structural health monitoring, nondestructive evaluation, medical imaging, electrical monitoring, and other fields. Dr. Harley is a recipient of the 2009 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, the 2009 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, the 2009 Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellowship (declined), and the 2008 Lamme/Westinghouse Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Fellowship. He is also the recipient of the 2014 Carnegie Mellon A.G. Jordan Award for academic excellence and exceptional service. He has published more than 30 technical journal and conference papers, including four best student papers. He is a student representative for the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society, a member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and a member of the Acoustical Society of America.

“High-Efficiency PA Techniques: Incorporating Novel Devices     and Architectures for      Improved Efficiency Wideband and High-Speed Communication”

"High-Efficiency PA Techniques: Incorporating Novel Devices and Architectures for Improved Efficiency Wideband and High-Speed Communication"

September 22nd, 2014

Dr. Jeffrey S. Walling University of Utah Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, September 22, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Abstract CMOS is used nearly ubiquitously for digital computation, and as such plays an ever increasing role in our lives as we increasingly use computation to improve working efficiency. Increasing levels of integration have made it possible to embed analog and RF circuits with digital processing on a single integrated circuit. The RF power amplifier (PA) has been the exception to integration in CMOS, owing to its relatively poor performance (e.g., peak output power and energy efficiency) when compared to other semiconductor technologies (e.g., III-V compounds and SiGe). In this talk I will introduce digital PAs (DPAs), which leverage CMOS inherent strengths of fast switching speeds and superior lithographic matching to yield a linear, efficient digital power amplifier. I will also examine current research in the University of Utah Power Efficient RFIC lab addressing limitations in DPAs, and high power PAs using GaN devices. The aim of such PAs is to enable reconfigurable operation for software-defined and cognitive radios networks. Speaker Biography Jeff Walling received the B.S. degree from the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 2000, and the M.S. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Prior to starting his graduate education he was employed at Motorola, Plantation, FL working in cellular handset development. He interned for Intel, Hillsboro from 2006-2007, where he worked on highly-digital transmitter architectures and CMOS power amplifiers and continued this research while a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the University of Washington. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the ECE Department at University of Utah, where he directs the Power Efficient RFIC Lab. His current research interests include power amplifier design, high-efficiency transmitter architectures and low energy wireless circuits. Dr. Walling has authored over 30 articles in peer reviewed journals and refereed conferences and holds two patents. Recently he received the Best Paper Award at Mobicom 2012. He has also received the Yang Award for outstanding graduate research from the University of Washington, Department of Electrical Engineering in 2008, an Intel Predoctoral Fellowship in 2007-2008, and the Analog Devices Outstanding Student Designer Award in 2006.

“The College of Engineering at the University of Utah”

"The College of Engineering at the University of Utah"

September 29th, 2014

Dr. Richard Brown Dean, University of Utah College of Engineering Professor, University of Utah Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, September 29, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250

“Big Data Visual Analysis”

"Big Data Visual Analysis"

October 6th, 2014

Dr. Chris Johnson Director, SCI Institute Distinguished Professor, University of Utah School of Computing When: Monday, October 6, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Abstract We live in an era in which the creation of new data is growing exponentially such that every two days we create as much new data as we did from the beginning of mankind until the year 2003. One of the greatest scientific challenges of the 21st century is to effectively understand and make use of the vast amount of information being produced. Visual data analysis will be among our most important tools to understand such large and often complex data. In this talk, I will present state-of-the-art visualization techniques, including ways to visually characterize associated error and uncertainty, applied to Big Data problems in science, engineering, and medicine. Speaker Biography Chris Johnson is the founding director the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute at the University of Utah where he is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Physics and Bioengineering. His research interests are in the areas of scientific computing and scientific visualization. Dr. Johnson founded the SCI research group in 1992, which has since grown to become the SCI Institute employing over 200 faculty, staff and students. Professor Johnson serves on several international journal editorial boards, as well as on advisory boards to several national research centers. Professor Johnson has received several awards, including the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow (PFF) award from President Clinton in 1995 and the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology from Governor Michael Leavitt in 1999. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and received the Utah Cyber Pioneer Award. In 2010 Professor Johnson received the Rosenblatt Award from the University of Utah and the IEEE Visualization Career Award. In 2012, Professor Johnson received the IEEE IPDPS Charles Babbage Award and in 2013 Professor Johnson received the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award. In 2014, Professor Johnson was elected an IEEE Fellow.

“Navigating New Directions in Engineering”

"Navigating New Directions in Engineering"

October 7th, 2014

Univ. of Utah ECE Dept. Frontiers in Engineering Innovation Judd Distinguished Lecture Dr. T.E. Schlesinger Benjamin T. Rome Dean Whiting School of Engineering Johns Hopkins University When: Monday, October 20, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (SMBB) 2650 - Auditorium Abstract The latter half of the twentieth century has been the age of the transistor. To a great extent the fabric of technology that has transformed science, engineering and society through computation, communication, information storage, sensing and networking is based on the transistor and the integration of this device in the billions. As one looks to the future it seems unlikely that the next revolution in technology will emerge in this space. Rather it appears more likely that it is the use of engineering technologies to advance understanding in biology, medicine, and healthcare and to transform these with the discipline of engineering that will produce the type of “game changing” advances that will once again create transformative changes in societies. The organizations that understand how to thrive in this new reality in terms of education, research and the translation of these to impact society will lead this change. In this presentation I will offer a view of why the focus of technology will shift in the coming years and how even at the level of undergraduate curricula institutions must respond to these and other changes so as to position themselves for this new reality. Speaker Biography T.E. Schlesinger is the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to this he was at Carnegie Mellon University as the David Edward Schramm Professor and Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director of the Data Storage Systems Center, Associate Department Head in ECE, founding co-director of the General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratory and Director of the DARPA MISCIC Center. He received his B.Sc. degree in Physics from the University of Toronto in 1980 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1982 and 1985 respectively. His research interests are in the areas of solid state electronic and optical devices, nanotechnology, and information storage systems. He has published over 250 refereed and conference proceedings and holds thirteen patents. He has received a number of recognitions including; the Carnegie Institute of Technology George Tallman Ladd Award for research, and the Benjamin Richard Teare Award for teaching, Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1999 and 1998 R&D 100 Awards for his work on nuclear detectors and electro-optic device technology, the Carnegie Science Center 1998 "Scientist" award, and the ECE Department Heads Association’s Robert M. Janowiak Outstanding Leadership and Service Award. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the SPIE, was President of the ECE Department Heads' Association was a member of the International Advisory Panel for the A*STAR Graduate Academy in Singapore and the Advisory Board for the ECE Department, Georgia Tech and the Technology Commercialization Advisory Board for Innovation Works. He currently serves on Governor of Maryland’s P20 Council and on the National Research Foundation (Singapore) Fellowship Evaluation Panel.

“Analog Circuits in Sensor Applications”

"Analog Circuits in Sensor Applications"

October 27th, 2014

Dr. Ross Walker University of Utah Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, October 27, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Abstract Analog and mixed-signal circuit technology is a fundamental enabler of sensor applications spanning environmental measurement, implantable biosensing, experimental laboratory measurement, distributed sensor networks, ‘smart cars’, and others. Modern sensor systems have roots in precision analog sensor interface circuits used to amplify and condition weak sensor signals. State-of-the-art ‘smart’ sensor systems include myriad additional functions such as digitization, calibration, data processing and telemetry, feedback and actuation. Supported by advanced VLSI technology and micro- and nano-fabrication techniques, these systems can be aggressively miniaturized and integrated, leading to flexible deployment in an ever-growing number of applications and environments. This talk will present examples of state-of-the-art electronic systems for sensor applications, and will highlight the key role of analog circuit research. Speaker Biography Ross Walker is a recent addition to the ECE faculty at University of Utah. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering and the B.S. degree in computer science from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 2005. He received the M.S. degree (2007) and Ph.D. degree (2013) in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Stanford, CA (dissertation title: Interface Electronics for Emerging Sensor Systems). Ross subsequently joined the ECE faculty at University of Utah as Assistant Professor, where he pursues research involving mixed-signal integrated circuit design with an emphasis on sensor interfacing, biomedical applications, and signal processing. Ross has experience with neural interfaces, quantum biomolecular sensing, biomedical optical imaging, and other sensor systems. During his time as a student, Ross held internships at IBM, National Semiconductor (now Texas Instruments), and Linear Technology.

“Upcoming Seminar”

"Upcoming Seminar"

November 3rd, 2014

Dr. Richard Normann University of Utah Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Ophthalmology When: Monday, November 3, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Abstract To be announced. Speaker Biography Richard A. Normann, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Ophthalmology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City where he conducts research on sensory encoding and information processing by neural ensembles in the vertebrate central and peripheral nervous systems. He is the inventor of the Utah Electrode Array technologies and other high-electrode-count micro-electrode arrays that can be used for basic and applied research in the emerging field of neuroprosthetics. His current research interests are the cortically based restoration of vision in those with profound blindness, and peripheral nerve interventions for the restoration of stance and for the control of prosthetic limbs and bladder control in those who have lost these functions.

“Digitally-Assisted, Charge-Steering Analog-to-Digital Converters”

"Digitally-Assisted, Charge-Steering Analog-to-Digital Converters"

November 10th, 2014

Dr. Shiuh-hua Wood Chiang Brigham Young University Electrical & Computer Engineering Department When: Monday, November 10, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.Where: Warnock 1250 Abstract Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) are widely used in communication systems to interface analog and digital circuits. While the speed, power, and area of digital circuits directly benefit from the decreasing channel length of CMOS devices, analog circuits suffer from reduced headroom, lower intrinsic gain, and higher device mismatch. Consequently, it has been increasingly difficult to design high-speed and low-power pipelined ADCs using conventional op amps. This work presents a pipelined ADC that employs novel “charge-steering” op amps to relax the trade-offs among speed, noise, and power consumption. Such op amps afford a fourfold increase in speed and a twofold reduction in noise for a given power consumption and voltage gain. Using a new clock gating technique, the ADC digitally calibrates the nonlinearity and gain error at full speed. A prototype realized in 65-nm CMOS technology achieves a resolution of 10 bits with a sampling rate of 800 MHz, a power consumption of 19 mW, an SNDR of 52.2 dB at Nyquist, and an FoM of 53 fJ/conversion-step. A new background calibration technique is also proposed to accommodate temperature and supply variations. Current research efforts include extending the digital calibration techniques to ultra low-power neural amplifiers. Speaker Biography Shiuh-hua Wood Chiang received his B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada in 2007, the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine in 2009, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2013. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Communication Circuits Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2013. From 2013 to 2014 he was a Senior Design Engineer in the RFIC design group in Qualcomm, developing low-power circuits for Bluetooth transceivers. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Brigham Young University in 2014 as an Assistant Professor. Prof. Chiang received the Analog Devices Outstanding Student Designer Award in 2011 and 2012.