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Behrooz Parhami's Web Page for IEEE CCS Technical Talks


IEEE logo, blue

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers,

California Central Coast Section

(Covering Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo)


Page last updated on 2020 September 16

I established this Web page as IEEE CCS Eduction Chair in March 2019 to list our scheduled and planned technical talks and to provide a resource for communication among CCS officers and IEEE members. Each talk is described briefly, with links provided to information about the speaker and the talk's abstract, when available. Other resources, such as talk slides, relevant technical papers, and on-line info will be posted from time to time.

Direct Links
Calendar of Technical Talks for 2020
Future Speakers and Invitations
Other Activities Under Consideration
Calendar of Technical Talks for 2019
Previews of Upcoming Events
Reports on Past Events (Newest-first)

Calendar of Technical Talks for 2020

[Events on the third Wednesday of each month, unless otherwise noted; Click on the date for details]
01/15 Payam Heydari, UC Irvine ("Shattering Fundamental Design Barriers of End-to-End Ultrahigh Data-Rate Transceivers: Direct Modulation in RF Domain")
02/03 Special Monday event: 3D-printer demo at Goleta Public Library, 500 N. Fairview, Goleta, 5:30 PM
02/19 Jerry Gibson, UCSB, ECE ("Compression of Everything")
03/18 Aycan Hacioglu ("Data Analysis and Visualization with MATLAB for Beginners"), on-line, 5:30-8:00 PM
04/15 (postponed) Chandra Krintz, UCSB, CS ("Advancing Agriculture and Conservation Science with the Cloud and Big Data Analytics")
05/20 (postponed) Ramtin Pedarsani, UCSB, ECE (Area: Self-driving cars)
04-07 Selected Webinars: Alternative learning opportunities for the stay-at-home and social-distancing period
06/17 Di Liang, HP Enterprise ("Photonics in High-Performance Computing")
07/15 (postponed) Sumita Pennathur, UCSB, ME (Area: bioeng., nanotech, thermal sci., fluid mech.)
07/15 Behrooz Parhami, UCSB, ECE ("Recursive Synthesis of Digital Circuits: Advantages and Examples")
08/19 Eckart Meiburg, UCSB, ME ("Modeling the Pacific Ocean on the Computer")
09/16 Luke Theogarajan, UCSB, ECE ("Electronics Meets Biology")
10/21 Yangying Zhu, UCSB, ME ("Microscale Thermal-Fluids Engineering for Next-generation Energy and Electronic Systems")
11/18 Rich Wolski, UCSB, CS (Area: Cloud computing, IoT, distributed systems), confirmed
12/16 Jessica Santana, UCSB, TMP (Area: Computational social science, ethics), confirmed

Future Speakers and Invitations

[Third Wednesdays in 2021: 1/20, 2/17, 3/17, 4/21, 5/19, 6/16, 7/21, 8/18, 9/15, 10/20, 11/17, 12/15]
2021/01/20 Misha Sra, UCSB, CS (Title: "Perceptual Engineering"), confirmed [Web site]
[TBA] Farinaz Koushanfar, UCSD, ECE (Embedded systems, security/privacy, big-data analytics), confirmed, to be scheduled
[TBA] Kyle Lewis, UCSB, TMP (Area: Technology management and team performance), invited
[TBA] Behrooz Parhami, UCSB, ECE ("Eight Key Ideas in Computer Architecture from Eight Decades of Innovation"), back-up talk

Other Activities Under Consideration

Short courses: 5G phone systems
Possible tours: UCSB labs; Cal Poly labs; JPL; FLIR Systems; ATK Space Probes
Possible sources of speakers: Skyworks Solutions, Newberry Park;
Observatories: Las Campanas; Mt. Wilson

Calendar of Technical Talks for 2019

[Events on the third Wednesday of each month; Click on the date for details]
02/20 Behrooz Parhami, UCSB ("Promoting Technological Literacy through Mathematical and Logical Puzzles")
03/20 Walter L. Whipple, former Chair of IEEE CCS ("Job Shopping for Fun and Profit")
04/17 Pradeep Sen, UCSB ("Monte Carlo Denoising")
05/15 Katie Byl, UCSB ("Mesh-Based Tools to Analyze Deep Reinforcement Learning Policies for Underactuated Biped Locomotion")
06/19 B. S. Manjunath, UCSB ("Computer Vision, Deep Learning and Big Data: Opportunities and Challenges")
07/17 Dmitri Strukov, UCSB ("Alternative Computing with Memristors")
08/21 Tali Freed, Cal Poly SLO ("UAV-RFID for Outdoor Applications")
09/18 Yasamin Mostofi, UCSB ("Robotics Meet Wireless Communications: Opportunities and Challenges")
10/16 Mahnoosh Alizadeh, UCSB ("Sustainable Electric Transportation Systems")
11/20 Roger Helkey, UCSB ("Using Photonics to Make More Energy Efficient Data Centers & Communication")
12/18 Dennis Horwitz, Micronor Inc. ("Awesome Photons—A Fiber Optic Technology Update"), joint with ASME

Previews of Upcoming Events

October 2020 speaker: Dr. Yangying Zhu

Affiliation: Mechnical Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: Microscale Thermal-Fluids Engineering for Next-generation Energy and Electronic Systems
Date/Time: Wednedsay, October 21, 2020; 6:00-8:00 PM
Venue: TBD
Links: IEEE CCS Event Page (forthcoming); Speaker's home page

Speaker's abstract: Effective management of heat has become a critical challenge in many energy and electronic applications due to the increasing power density and shrinking length scales. For example, next-generation lithium-based batteries for electric vehicles are designed to be charged at ~10 times of the electric current used now, which means ~100 times higher joule heating; high-performance gallium nitride based power electronic devices require heat dissipation of ~1000 W/cm^2, which is 1/6 of the heat flux at the surface of the Sun. Improving the thermal performance of these systems is necessary to ensure safe and efficient operations and requires manipulating the heat and fluid transport at the microscopic length scale. In this talk, I will discuss how we can leverage micro-scale modeling, fabrication and characterization capabilities to provide new insight into thermal effects in lithium-based batteries and achieve aggressive cooling of electronics. First, I will discuss the discovery of a microscopic heat-triggered battery failure mechanism through in situ local temperature sensing using micro-Raman spectroscopy and a novel graphene transducer. The high spatial resolution and the in situ capability enabled direct observation of the correlation between local temperature hotspot and accelerated Li growth, which led to internal shorting of the Li battery. Second, I will describe the development of a two-phase microchannel heat sink that significantly enhanced temperature stability and achieved a 60% enhancement in the heat flux dissipation for electronics. These improvements were realized through integrating micropillar structures into microchannels, which are optimized with thermo-fluid modeling to maximize capillary wicking. These examples demonstrate the potential of combining fundamental thermo-fluid science and advanced micro/nano engineering approaches to address many of the pressing thermal challenges in next generation energy and electronic systems.

Reports on Past Events

September 2020 speaker: Dr. Luke Theogarajan

Affiliation: Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: "Electronics Meets Biology"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, September 16, 2020; 6:30-8:00 PM
Venue: On-line (Zoom link provided with registration for the event)
Links: IEEE CCS Event Page; Speaker's home page; Facebook post; Tweet

The vision of electronics closely integrated with biology, popularized in science-fiction, is now becoming a reality. Dr. Theogarajan outlined the role of electronics in biology, within the two areas of neural interfacing and biosensing. Rapid advances in CMOS devices with the ever-shrinking transistor dimension has enabled the packing of unprecedented power in a small silicon area. However, there has not been a concomitant advance in the technology currently used for therapeutic devices. Some fundamental reasons as to why this is the case and ways of overcoming the barriers were outlined. Additionally, work in biosensing and interfacing at the micro-, nano-, and macro-scale done by Dr. Theogarajan's research group was highlighted. Challenges of remote-powering of these devices and some of the clever techniques that have been explored constituted another area of discussion. The continued role played by electronics in advancing human health concluded the talk.
The following images show a few sample slides from the talk.
A couple of slides from IEEE CCS talk by Dr. Luke Theogarajan: Batch 1 A couple of slides from IEEE CCS talk by Dr. Luke Theogarajan: Batch 2 A couple of slides from IEEE CCS talk by Dr. Luke Theogarajan: Batch 3


August 2020 speaker: Dr. Eckart Meiburg

Affiliation: Mechanical Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: "Modeling the Pacific Ocean on the computer"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, August 19, 2020; 6:00-8:00 PM
Venue: Santa Barbara's Arnoldi's Cafe, 600 Olive St.
Links: IEEE CCS Event Page; Speaker's home page; Speaker's slides (281 MB)

Today's event was held over dinner, beginning at 6:00 PM, in the courtyard of Santa Barbara's Arnoldi's Cafe. Dr. Eckart Meiburg, Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UCSB, spoke under the title "Modeling the Pacific Ocean on the Computer." This interesting and highly-relevant climate-related talk was our first live event, after two months of cancellations and another two months of on-line talks.
Professor Meiburg earned his PhD degree from U. Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1985 and joined UCSB in 2000, after appointments at Stanford U., Brown U., and USC. A Fellow of American Physical Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Dr. Meiburg has been widely honored for his research on computational fluid dynamics, focusing on environmental and multiphase flows.
The transport of heat, CO2, and other substances by ocean currents plays a crucial role in shaping Earth's climate. Dr. Meiburg highlighted some of the important mechanisms that dominate the dynamics of the ocean and generate large-scale ocean currents. He discussed the basic concepts underlying his research team's approaches to modeling and predicting the dynamics of the ocean on the computer, introducing some of the smaller-scale models developed in his research group. To illustrate the power of such computational models, he showed several computer-generated movies of oceanic transport processes.
Some of the interesting facts alluded to in this talk included ocean currents and their effects on global climate, movement of sediments that enter the oceans from rivers and how they create underwater landslides and canyons, underwater ocean waves, and differences in computational requirements and accuracies between fine-grain and coarse-grain models.
Panoramic photo for Eckart Meiburg's August 19, 2020, talk (Arnoldi's Cafe), photo 1 Panoramic photo for Eckart Meiburg's August 19, 2020, talk (Arnoldi's Cafe), photo 2 Panoramic photo for Eckart Meiburg's August 19, 2020, talk (Arnoldi's Cafe), photo 3


July 2020 speaker: Dr. Behrooz Parhami

Affiliation: Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: "Recursive Synthesis of Digital Circuits: Advantages and Examples"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, July 15, 2020; 6:30-8:00 PM
Venue: On-line via Zoom (details to be provided to those who register in response to IEEE invitation)
Links: IEEE CCS Event Page; Speaker's home page; Speaker's publications page

Offered today via Zoom to 16 participants, the talk, entitled "Recursive Synthesis of Digital Circuits: Advantages and Examples," covered the role and benefits of recursion in hardware design via a well-known example (FFT networks), a lesser-known strategy (recursive multipliers & squarers), and a new class of circuits (counting networks). A few of the talk's slides follow.

IEEE Central Coast Section technical talk by Behrooz Parhami: Slide sample 2 IEEE Central Coast Section technical talk by Behrooz Parhami: Slide sample 3 IEEE Central Coast Section technical talk by Behrooz Parhami: Slide sample 4
IEEE Central Coast Section technical talk by Behrooz Parhami: Slide sample 5 IEEE Central Coast Section technical talk by Behrooz Parhami: Slide sample 6 IEEE Central Coast Section technical talk by Behrooz Parhami: Slide sample 7


July 2020 speaker: Dr. Sumita Pennathur (postponed)

Affiliation: Mechanical Engineering Department, UCSB
Area: Bioengineering; Nanotech; Thermal science; Fluid mechanics
Postponed from the original scheduled date (Wednesday, July 15, 2020; 6:30 PM). New date TBD.

April-July 2020 alternative learning opportunities

In lieu of the talks for April and May 2020, we have put together a list of free recorded IEEE Webinars to get us through the stay-at-home and social-distancing period. IEEE Proceedings being a general-interest journal is quite suitable as a source of technical talks that would be beneficial to many members.
List of all IEEE Proceedings webinars
"Flexible Electronic Skin" (released March 2020): Linked to the October 2019 special issue
"Electricity for All" (released October 2019): Linked to the September 2019 special issue
"Machine Ethics" (released May 2019): Linked to the September 2019 special issue
"3D Imaging and Display Technologies" (released October 2017): Linked to the May 2017 special issue

IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference: Comprised of one-hour sessions throughout June 2020, the conference is free with advance registration. This site has the program details, registration links, and a library of pertinent videos. I particularly recommend the session on June 23, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT, during which director Ashley Maria will make a presentation about the documentary film "Pioneers in Skirts."

Free Virtual MATLAB Day: Thursday, June 18, 2020 (Info/Registration Link)
Session 1: "Data Analysis and Visualization with MATLAB for Beginners," 10:00-11:00 AM PDT
Session 2: "Machine Learning with MATLAB," 12:00-1:00 PM PDT
Session 3: "Deep Learning with MATLAB," 3:00-4:00 PM PDT
Session 4: "Learning MATLAB and Career Paths," 4:30-5:00 PM PDT
[P.S.: This June 3 MATLAB event may also be of interest: "Accelerating and Optimizing MATLAB Code" (Info)]

Additional learning opportunities:
Free access to IEEE Computer Society's educational courses.
IEEE CS webinar: "IT and the Fight Against COVID-19" (May 26, 2020; 6:00 PM EDT)

June 2020 speaker: Dr. Di Liang

Affiliation: Hewlett Packard Labs, HP Enterprise Systems
Title: "Photonics in High-Performance Computing"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, June 17, 2020; 6:30-8:00 PM
Venue: On-line via Zoom (details to be provided to those who register in response to IEEE invitation)
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's LinkedIn profile

Speaker's abstract: High performance computing (HPC) is penetrating deeply in people's daily lives and playing a mission-critical role to fight this unprecedented global pandemic. Photonics can enable novel HPC architecture, unprecedented performance prowess, and more affordable capital and operation cost. As the world's #1 commercial HPC vendor, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has devoted over a decade of R&D to develop world-leading HPC systems and photonic interconnect solutions. In this talk, I will review our photonics technology roadmap and discuss our most recent fully-integrated silicon photonic platform. It is capable of providing nearly all performance metrics (energy efficiency, bandwidth, latency, cost, etc.) for conventional HPC applications, as well as emerging technologies such as neuromorphic computing.
[P.S.: Virtual pizzas and beverages provided courtesy of IEEE Central Coast Section; see the last image!]
Photo 01 Photo 02 Photo 03
Photo 04 Photo 05 Photo 06
Photo 07 Photo 08 Photo 09
Photo 10 Photo 11 Photo 12


May 2020 speaker: Dr. Ramtin Pedarsani (postponed)

Affiliation: Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: "Self-Driving Cars"
Postponed from the original scheduled date (Wednesday, May 20, 2020; 6:30 PM). New date TBD.

April 2020 speaker: Dr. Chandra Krintz (postponed)

Affiliation: Computer Science Department, UCSB
Title: "Advancing Agriculture and Conservation Science with the Cloud and Big Data Analytics"
Postponed from the original scheduled date (Wednesday, April 15, 2020; 6:30 PM). New date TBD.

March 2020 speaker: Dr. Aycan Hacioglu

Affiliation: Customer Success Engineer, MathWorks
Title: "Data Analysis and Visualization with MATLAB for Beginners"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, March 18, 2020; 5:30-8:00 PM
Venue: Due to the coronavirus threat, this event was moved on-line (Webex registration link)
[Your registration approval e-mail will have the requisite info and a button for joining the meeting]
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; PDF course slides (Username = customer; Password = MathWorks); Recorded webinars; Upcoming webinars; MATLAB Onramp; MATLAB trial license

This 2.5-hour course was presented remotely, via Webex, by Dr. Aycan Hacioglu (Customer Success Engineer, MathWorks). Mathworks Application Engineers Dr. Bo Luan and Dr. Sharon Kim were also in attendance, as were 20 IEEE Central Coast Section members taking the course.
MATLAB is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numerical computation. With MATLAB, one can solve technical computing problems faster than with traditional programming languages, such as C, C++, and Fortran.
During the first 75 minutes of this introductory course, Dr. Hacioglu provided an overview of MATLAB and its powerful statistical analysis and visualization capabilities, demonstrated how to acquire, analyze, and visualize data, briefly discussed desktop tools for editing and debugging code, and showed how to publish the results.
Highlights included:
- Accessing data from files, spreadsheets, and other sources
- Performing statistical analysis, curve and surface fitting routines
- Developing algorithms and applications to automate one's workflow
- Generating reports in HTML and other file formats to share one's work
A one-hour hands-on session, involving MATLAB Onramp training, followed. The final 15 minutes of the course consisted of a short competition, with winners getting unspecified prizes, to be sent to them via e-mail.
Title slide of Aycan Hacioglu's IEEE CCS course
Slides of Aycan Hacioglu's IEEE CCS course, sample 3 Slides of Aycan Hacioglu's IEEE CCS course, sample 2 Slides of Aycan Hacioglu's IEEE CCS course, sample 4


February 2020 speaker: Dr. Jerry Gibson

Affiliation: UCSB Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Title: "Compression of Everything"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, February 19, 2020; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page; Speaker's PDF slides

The speaker for our February 19, 2020, technical talk, "Compression of Everything," was Dr. Jerry Gibson, UCSB Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Fellow of IEEE, and author of multiple text/reference books (PhD, SMU, 1973; MS, SMU, 1971; BS, UT Austin, 1969). Dr. Gibson's other honors and awards, details of which can be found on the IEEE CCS event page and speaker's home page (linked above) include service on editorial boards of two IEEE Transactions, Distinguished Lectureship for IEEE Communications Society, and multiple technical-achievement and best-paper awards.
As the talk's title suggests, compression is widely used. Our cell phones and other electronic devices contain sophisticated, continually-improving compression and decompression facilities that allow us to store and transmit ever-larger volumes of data. As storage capacities, processing power, and communication bandwidth continue their exponential growths, with multi-terabyte personal storage devices and the dawn of 5G communication, our appetite for more photos, higher-quality videos, and all things digital grows correspondingly, making compression as essential today as it was in the days of 2G and its predecssors.
Compression, defined as the representation of a signal in digital form with as few bits as possible while retaining the quality required for the given application, is largely hidden behind the physical and network distribution layers. The technologies used for voice, audio, still images, and video all differ but broadly consist of time or frequency domain decompositions, quantization, and lossless coding. Dr. Gibson began his talk by establishing the need for compression and them proceeded to provide details of the surprisingly complicated compression methods, with particular emphasis on the signal processing required. Developing compression applications for biological signals such as EEG, ECG, and EMG were also discussed.
Panoramic photo for Jerry Gibson's February 19, 2020, talk (Rusty's Pizza)
Jerry Gibson's IEEE CCS talk, photo 2 Jerry Gibson's IEEE CCS talk, photo 3 Jerry Gibson's IEEE CCS talk, photo 4


February 2020 special Monday event

Presenter: Nicole Lvoff, Goleta Valley Public Library
Title: "3D-Printing Demonstration"
Date/Time: Monday, February 03, 2020; 5:30 PM
Venue: Goleta Valley Public Library (multipurpose room), 500 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Facebook post; Tweet

A 3D-printer introduction and demo session was held this evening at Goleta Valley Public Library, where two Dagoma 3D-printers are available for educational activities and to print patrons' orders at a cost of $1.00 per hour of printing time (a small object may take 2-3 hours to print). The Library's printers use plastic-corn filaments (Polyplus, Polymax) of various colors.
Nicole Lvoff, one of the librarians familiar with the 3D-printer workings, gave the 15 attendees an overview, helped us navigate Web sites where one can find/create interesting objects to print, and told us how to submit our orders to library staff. Patrons can go to Thingiverse.com, search/browse for various interesting objects, download the object's digital file, and e-mail the file to Library staff at goletavalleylibrary@cityofgoleta.org. Alternatively, a number of services can be used to create custom designs. Here are the Library's recommended user-friendly Web sites: [Cults 3D] [SketchUp] [Tinkercad] [Blender]
Goleta Valley Public Library 3D-printer demo, Photo 1 Goleta Valley Public Library 3D-printer demo, Photo 2 Goleta Valley Public Library 3D-printer demo, Photo 3


January 2020 speaker: Dr. Payam Heydari

Affiliation: UC Irvine (IEEE Distinguished Microwave Lecturer 2019-2021)
Title: "Shattering Fundamental Design Barriers of End-to-End Ultrahigh Data-Rate Transceivers: Direct Modulation in RF Domain"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, January 15, 2020; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's slides; Speaker's home page; DML speaker page

The speaker for our January 15, 2020, technical talk, "Shattering Fundamental Design Barriers of End-to-End Ultrahigh Data-Rate Transceivers: Direct Modulation in RF Domain," was Dr. Payam Heydari, Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of California, Irvine, Fellow of IEEE, and Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE Microwave Society, DML 2019-2021 (PhD, USC, 2001; BS & MS, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, 1992 & 1995). Dr. Heydari's other honors and awards can be found on the IEEE CCS event page and DML speaker page, both linked above.
All-digital RF transceivers are reaching their limits that make going beyond 10 Gbps incredibly challenging in silicon technologies. Dr. Heydari elaborated on the nature of the challenges and argued that realizing modulation and demodulation schemes directly in RF domain can take us to data rates of 100 Gbps and beyond. Dr. Heydari then discussed transmitter/receiver chip prototypes developed by his research group to achieve extremely power-efficient 15+ Gbps data rates.
Panoramic photo for Payam Heydari's January 15, 2020, talk (Rusty's Pizza)
Payam Heydari's IEEE CCS talk, photo 2 Payam Heydari's IEEE CCS talk, photo 3 Payam Heydari's IEEE CCS talk, photo 4


December 2019 speaker: Dennis Horwitz

Affiliation: Co-founder and VP Sales & Marketing, Micronor Inc.
Title: "Awesome Photons—A Fiber Optic Technology Update"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, December 18, 2019; 6:00 PM (appetizers), 6:30 PM (banquet dinner), 7:00 PM (talk)
Venue: Mulligan's Cafe & Bar at Santa Barbara Golf Course (3500 McCaw Ave., SB, CA 93105)
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's slides; Company Web site

[Tonight's IEEE Central Coast Section technical meeting had ASME Channel Islands Chapter as a co-sponsor]
In a talk held at Mulligan's Cafe, Santa Barbara Golf Club, and attended by 36 IEEE/ASME members & guests, Mr. Dennis Horwitz (Co-founder and VP Sales & Marketing, Micronor Inc.) spoke under the title "Awesome Photons—A Fiber Optic Technology Update." The gathering doubled as CCS Section's holiday banquet, where end-of-year award certificates were given out by the Section Chair and small gifts were presented to several attendees via random drawings.
Fiber optics has revolutionized the world of communications since its commercial inception nearly 4 decades ago. The technology is about more than pushing data over long distances at bandwidth many thousands of times greater than possible with copper wires. It has been used to create unique sensors and is being applied in manufacturing, energy, aerospace, transportation, medicine, infrastrucure, consumer goods, and art. The cost of applying the technology is still problematic in some cases, but that may change over time. This entertaining and informative talk included an explanation of how fiber optics works and an overview of the technology's current status. Many example applications were cited and described.
Panoramic photo for Dennis Horwitz's December 18, 2019, talk (Mulligan's Cafe)
Dennis Horwitz's IEEE CCS talk, photo 2 Dennis Horwitz's IEEE CCS talk, photo 3 Dennis Horwitz's IEEE CCS talk, photo 5
Dennis Horwitz's IEEE CCS talk, photo 5 Dennis Horwitz's IEEE CCS talk, photo 6 Dennis Horwitz's IEEE CCS talk, photo 7


November 2019 speaker: Dr. Roger Helkey

Substitute for Dr. John Bowers
Affiliation: Assoc. Director, UCSB Institue for Energy Efficiency; West-Coast Assoc. Director, AIM Photonics
Title: "Using Photonics to Make More Energy-Efficient Data Centers & Communication"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, November 20, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's slides; Speaker's home page

In a sparsely-attended talk (due to glitches in IEEE's e-mail notification and reminder system), Dr. Roger Helkey (Assoc. Director of UCSB Center for Energy Efficiency, and West-Coast Assoc. Director of AIM Photonics) spoke under the title "Using Photonics to Make More Energy Efficient Data Centers & Communication."
Advantages of photonics are twofold: (1) Increasing the interconnect bandwidth density, and (2) Reducing energy consumption in communication, which is emerging as a bigger limitation than the energy used for computation within logic circuits. Without reducing the energy used per communicated bit, the exponential growth in data usage, which drives our information society, would not be sustainable. The use of photonics brings with it the promise of communication over distances from 1 mm to 1 km with the same energy (20 fJ/bit) and simplicity as local electrical wires on a chip.
A focus of research by Dr. Helkey and his co-workers is on using quantum-dot lasers and integration on silicon for low-threshold, high-efficiency sources, capability for operation at higher temperatures, isolator-free implementation, and superior mode-locking.
This talk ties in nicely with our December 18, 2019, talk by Dennis Horwitz, entitled "Awesome Photons—A Fiber Optic Technology Update." Announcements for the latter talk will be coming shortly.
Image for Roger Helkey's November 20, 2019, talk (Rusty's Pizza)
Dr. Roger Helkey's IEEE CCS talk, photo 2
Dr. Roger Helkey's IEEE CCS talk, photo 3
Dr. Roger Helkey's IEEE CCS talk, photo 5


October 2019 speaker: Dr. Mahnoosh Alizadeh

Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: "Sustainable Electric Transportation Systems"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, October 16, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page

In a well-attended general talk that generated much spirited discussion, Dr. Mahnoosh Alizadeh (UCSB Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; PhD 2014, UC Davis) outlined the challenges and some solutions in directing our society "Towards Sustainable Electric Transportation Systems."
Everyone agrees that electric vehicles, preferably charged using renewable energy sources, are the way to go. But several challenges remain to be addressed if this worthy goal is to become realizable. While we have come a long way in mitigating the old problem of limited range for electric vehicles, we still need to resolve long wait times at popular charging locations, shifting the charging load to more desirable times of day (e.g., by providing price incentives), upgrading the electric grid infrastructure to support the added load and the changing profile, and coming up with reasonably accurate models for human behavior in the face of varying transportation needs and price incentives.
Professor Alizadeh discussed some parts of her research program, which aims to guide the EV population to use transportation, charging, and power-system infrastructure more efficiently. Her work addresses both long term behavioral and structural modifications, as well as short-term strategies to make the best use of already-available resoruces.
Image for Mahnoosh Alizadh's October 16, 2019, talk (Rusty's Pizza)
Dr. Mahnoosh Alizadeh speaking, photo 1
Sample slide from Dr. Mahnoosh Alizadeh's talk
Dr. Mahnoosh Alizadeh speaking, photo 2


September 2019 speaker: Dr. Yasamin Mostofi

Affiliation: Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, UCSB
Title: "Robotics Meet Wireless Communications: Opportunities and Challenges"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, September 18, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page

Abstract: Recent years have seen a great progress in the area of robotics. Communication signals are also ubiquitous these days. In this talk, I will explore the opportunities and challenges at this intersection, for sensing and communication.
In the first part of the talk, I will focus on robotic sensing, and ask the following question: "Can everyday communication signals, such as WiFi signals, give new sensing capabilities to unmanned vehicles?" For instance, imagine two unmanned vehicles arriving behind thick concrete walls. Can they image every square inch of the invisible area through the walls with only WiFi signals? I will show that this is indeed possible, and discuss how our methodology for the co-optimization of path planning and communication has enabled the first demonstration of 3D imaging through walls with only drones and WiFi. I will also discuss other new RF sensing capabilities that have emerged from our approach, such as the first demonstration of through-wall crowd counting and occupancy analytics with only WiFi signals, without relying on people to carry a device, or the first demonstration of person identification through walls with only WiFi signals.
In the second part of the talk, I will focus on communication-aware robotics, a term we coined to refer to robotic systems that explicitly take communication issues into account in their decision making. This is an emerging area of research that not only allows a team of unmanned vehicles to attain the desired connectivity during their operation, but can also extend the connectivity of the existing communication systems through the use of mobility. I will then discuss our latest results along this line. I will show how each robot can realistically model the impact of channel uncertainty for the purpose of path planning. I will then show how the unmanned vehicles can properly co-optimize their communication, sensing and navigation objectives under resource constraints. This co-optimized approach can result in a significant performance improvement and resource saving, as we shall see. I will also discuss the role of human collaboration in these networks.
Dr. Yasamin Mostofi: Portrait Dr. Yasamin Mostofi: Through-the-wall imaging Dr. Yasamin Mostofi: Communication-aware robotics

August 2019 speaker: Dr. Tali Freed

Affiliation: Professor, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Title: "UAV-RFID for Outdoor Applications"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, August 21, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Flightline Restaurant and Lounge (large meeting room), 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page; 54-minute video of talk

Dr. Freed's talk consisted of three parts. In the first part, she introduced PolyGAIT (Cal Poly's Interdisciplinary Center for Global Automatic Identification Technologies, which she directs), including its mission, collaboraters, and ongoing projects. In the rest of her talk, Dr. Freed discussed two specific ongoing projects.
The first project entails optimizing a UAV-RFID cattle search tour, with the goal of allowing a UAV with limited battery life to optimally scan a pasture for RFID-tagged cattle to determine their locations. Such problems are known to be NP-hard in general, but when the UAV is equipped with long-range sensing capability, the number of cells, the centers of which must be visited to ensure complete coverage of the pasture, is small enough to allow the determination of an optimal tour with acceptable computation time.
The second project concerns the efficient management of oil-field equipment inventory. In way of an example, Dr. Freed mentioned that the tubes forming part of a drilling shaft are tagged with their properties and history, making it easy to locate and use an appropriate set of tubes for a specific drilling task. In this and the previous application, use of a UAV along with RFID tags replaces the labor-intensive process of collecting the required information manually.
The RFID tags used can be active or passive, each category coming in different varieties (with respect to range, say) that affect their costs. The more valuable the assets being managed, the higher the cost that can be justified for RFID tags. As an example, the use of higher-cost, and thus more capable, tags can be justified when race-horses, as opposed to cows, are being monitored.
The talk was preceded by a buffet dinner and followed by a lively discussion period, with many interesting questions and comments. [More photos from Dr. Freed's talk, courtesy of Chris Arnoult.]
Image for Tali Freed's August 21, 2019, talk (Flightline Restaurant and Lounge)
Four photos for Tali Freed's August 21, 2019, talk (Flightline Restaurant and Lounge)
Flyer for Tali Freed's August 21, 2019, talk (Flightline Restaurant and Lounge)



July 2019 speaker: Dr. Dmitri Strukov

Affiliation: Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSB
Distinguished Lecturer: IEEE Nanotachnology Council
Title: "Alternative Computing with Memristors"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, July 17, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Goleta Public Library (multipurpose room), 500 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Slides (forthcoming); Speaker's home page

Dr. Strukov is one of the pioneers of memristive (resistive switching) technology and its applications. Memristors offer two key properties that are essential to brain-inspired or neuromorphic computing: High device density and nonvolatile storage. Dr. Strukov's recent focus has been on metal-oxide memristors, whose 3D version resolves Feynman grand challenge of implementing an 8-bit adder in 50-nm cube. Dr. Strukov covered the application of memristors to neuromorphic and alternative-style computing. He also planned to discuss his lab's work on memristor-based security primitives, but there was insufficient time to do so. Slides for Dr. Strukov's talk will be posted to this page for those who could not attend and interested individuals who would like to review the material not covered.
Image for Dmitri Strukov's July 19, 2019, talk (Goleta Public Library multipurpose room)
Four slides for Dmitri Strukov's July 19, 2019, talk (Goleta Public Library multipurpose room)
Four more slides for Dmitri Strukov's July 19, 2019, talk (Goleta Public Library multipurpose room)


June 2019 speaker: Dr. B. S. Manjunath

Affiliation: Distinguished Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSB
Title: "Computer Vision, Deep Learning and Big Data: Opportunities and Challenges"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, June 19, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page
Image for B. S. Manjunath's June 19, 2019, talk (Rusty's Pizza meeting room)



May 2019 speaker: Dr. Katie Byl

Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSB
Title: "Mesh-Based Tools to Analyze Deep Reinforcement Learning Policies for Underactuated Biped Locomotion"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, May 15, 2019; 6:00 PM (food, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page; Report of the talk on Facebook

[Summary of notes from Dr. Byl, with suggested references and videos: Here is a very good YouTube tutorial describing the algorithm we used: Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO). We actually use the PPO2 implementation by OpenAI, but it's basically PPO. Also, here is the DeepMind video I showed (which is linked to a paper on arXiv). Key takeaways are that there are a lot of hyperparameters to be tuned for this sort of stuff to work for a new problem, and there aren't good methods for verifying/quantifying robustness. Here is some work using deep reinforcement learning for a real quadruped robot in Switzerland (ETH Zurich). We were very excited by the video but a bit more deflated by the actual paper. Little detail was given to any sort of meta-strategy for parameter tuning (which seemed to involve potentially lengthy hand-tuning/guessing by one or more graduate students). Our group is interested in understanding what's actually going on (within a high-dimensional state space) when deep reinforcement learning "works" vs. not, to avoid hand-tuning and to better understand the resulting closed-loop dynamics.]

April 2019 speaker: Dr. Pradeep Sen

Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSB
Title: "Monte Carlo Denoising"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, April 17, 2019; 6:00 PM (pizza and refreshments), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; Speaker's home page; Brief report on the talkImage for Pradeep Sen's April 17, 2019, talk (Disney/Pixar)



March 2019 speaker: Dr. Walter L. Whipple

Affiliation: Independent consultant; Several IEEE positions, including former Chair of IEEE CCS
Title: "Job Shopping for Fun and Profit: A Step-by-Step Guide to Temporary Assignments in the Gig Economy"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, March 20, 2019; 6:00 PM (pizza, salad, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site


February 2019 speaker: Dr. Behrooz Parhami

Affiliation: Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSB
Title: "Promoting Technological Literacy through Mathematical and Logical Puzzles"
Date/Time: Wednedsay, February 20, 2019; 6:00 PM (pizza, salad, beverages), 6:30 PM (talk)
Venue: Rusty's Pizza (large meeting room), 5934 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
Links: Event page on IEEE CCS Web site; PDF slides; Speaker's home page
Image for Behrooz Parhami's February 20, 2019, talk