Cressler, Romberg Honored with Prestigious IEEE Medals

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John Cressler (left) and Justin Romberg

John D. Cressler and Justin K. Romberg, both faculty members from the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), have been awarded with two of the most prestigious honors presented by the IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

Cressler and Romberg were both honored with IEEE medals at the IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit (IEEE VIC Summit) and Honors Ceremony, held virtually May 11-13, 2021. Cressler was honored with the 2021 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal for a career of outstanding contributions to education in the fields of interest to IEEE. Romberg was honored as a co-recipient of the 2021 IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal for outstanding contributions in signal processing.

John D. Cressler

As the recipient of the 2021 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal, Cressler was honored “for inspirational teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.” He was recognized with this award on May 11 by IEEE President-Elect Ray Liu.

Cressler is the third faculty member from ECE to receive this honor. Previous recipients include Ronald W. Schafer (1992) and James D. Meindl (1990, while with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). The James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal was established in 1956 and is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, MathWorks, Pearson, and the IEEE Life Members Fund.

“This is a tremendous honor for John, and his commitment to teaching and mentoring — and to the success and well-being of our students – is a tremendous model for all of us to follow,” said Magnus Egerstedt, Steve W. Chaddick School Chair and Professor in ECE.

Cressler is the Schlumberger Chair Professor in Electronics and the Ken Byers Teaching Fellow in Science and Religion at Georgia Tech. He has been the associate director of the Georgia Electronic Design Center since 2015. Cressler joined the Georgia Tech ECE faculty in 2002 after spending a decade as a faculty member in the Department of ECE at Auburn University. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics at Columbia University and his B.S. degree in physics from Georgia Tech in 1984.

Cressler couples his passions for teaching and mentoring with being the leader of one of the largest, most visible, and most productive silicon-germanium (SiGe) research groups in the world. He and his colleagues have written over 700 refereed journal and conference papers, and he has graduated over 100 Ph.D. and master’s students who are now leaders in the electronics industry, academia, and government and research labs or who have started their own successful companies.

Cressler is a mainstay in the microelectronics instructional program in ECE and has introduced first-of-a-kind courses – CoE 3002 Introduction to the Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Revolution and ECE 6444 Silicon-based Heterostructure Devices and Circuits – that use textbooks that he has written and that have been adopted by other universities around the world. He also teaches IAC 2002 Science, Engineering, and Religion: An Interfaith Dialogue in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. This course is open to undergraduate students of all years and majors and has always been positively received by the students.

Cressler has received many top teaching and mentoring awards from Georgia Tech and from IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu. His goal for his Ph.D. students is to fall in love with research, while maintaining a good work-life balance, and to provide a safe place to fail and to be creative and innovative. In the classroom, Cressler believes that the keys to success are passion for what you teach, being real, being and sharing who you are and what you believe with your students, and being approachable and showing that you care.

Cressler said that teaching is his life and vocation, and he counts teaching and mentoring as his great passion in the classroom, lab, and life. “My accomplishments are best measured by the success of my students,” Cressler said. “Receiving an award for teaching and mentoring, which is something very close to my heart, means a great deal to me.”

To view Cressler’s award presentation from the IEEE VIC Summit and Honors Ceremony, please visit https://ieeetv.ieee.org/channels/communities/awards-hall-c-day-1-ieee-vic-summit-and-honors-ceremony. His presentation starts at the 6:40 mark.

Justin K. Romberg

As a co-recipient of the 2021 IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal, Romberg was honored “for groundbreaking contributions to compressed sensing.” He received this medal with his colleagues, Emmanuel Candes, who holds The Barnum-Simons Chair in Mathematics and Statistics at Stanford University, and Terence Tao, a professor of mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Romberg and his colleagues were recognized with this award on May 12 by IEEE President-Elect Liu. He is the fourth faculty member from ECE to receive this honor. Previous recipients include Thomas P. Barnwell (2014), Ronald W. Schafer (2010), and James H. McClellan (2004). The IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal was established in 1995 and is sponsored by the Kilby Medal Fund.

“This is a tremendous honor for Justin, and our amazing faculty track record in receiving this award speaks of the high regard in which our digital signal processing program is held around the world,” said Egerstedt.

Romberg holds the Schlumberger Professorship and is the associate chair for Research in ECE. He is also the senior director for the Center for Machine Learning at Georgia Tech. Romberg joined the ECE faculty in 2006 after working as a postdoctoral scholar in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Caltech for three years. He received his B.S.E.E., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University in 1997, 1999, and 2004, respectively.

Romberg, Candes, and Tao were recognized for their 2006 paper, “Robust Uncertainty Principles: Exact Reconstruction from Highly Incomplete Frequency Information,” which demonstrated that structured signal samples could be reconstructed perfectly from very few samples. The paper established the field of compressed sensing, which is considered one of the most important developments in signal processing in the last 50 years.

This paper spurred a flurry of research activities, with engineers and scientists exploring ways to use compressed sensing in a variety of applications. Compressed sensing has been used in wireless sensor networks, more efficient data aggregation, and improved data recovery, and has resulted in energy-efficient network routing protocols, reduced data transmission requirements, and improved network security.

Compressed sensing has even been used in astrological imaging and medical imaging. The first images of black holes from the Event Horizon Telescope were based on compressed sensing reconstruction methods. However, the greatest success of compressed sensing can be found in MRI imaging, where the technology is used to shorten the imaging process drastically without losing image quality.

Romberg said that one of the best things about the work in compressed sensing is how it has introduced him to ideas and people in many different areas of applied mathematics, such as harmonic analysis, optimization, and applied probability and statistical learning.

“It has been extremely rewarding to be exposed to new ideas from these fields by interacting with researchers on a common problem set,” Romberg said. “It has also been a pleasure to see how this early work was translated into different problem domains and built a strong foundation for me across disciplinary research, which is something that I have valued throughout my career.”

To view Romberg’s award presentation from the IEEE VIC Summit and Honors Ceremony, please visit https://ieeetv.ieee.org/channels/communities/awards-hall-a-day-2-ieee-vic-summit-and-honors-ceremony. His presentation starts at the 4:55 mark.

Georgia Tech Team Awarded NSF Partnerships for Innovation Grant to Change the Game for the Afterlife of Wind Turbine Blades

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Wind turbines are, by design, green solutions for the production of power. Wind turbines produce zero carbon emissions; however, the blades themselves pose an environmental challenge as they depreciate. To address this concern, the Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with Logisticus Group, was awarded the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) grant.

The PFI Program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) provides researchers from science and engineering disciplines funded by the NSF with the opportunity to take their research and technology from the discovery phase to the marketplace for the benefit of society. 

Russell Gentry, Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Architecture, serves as the project’s principal investigator (PI). The three-year grant continues Gentry’s research on the reuse of retired wind blades and builds on the proprietary technology developed as part of the Re-Wind Tripartite Research program funded by the U.S. NSF, Science Foundation of Ireland, and the Department for the Economy of Northern Ireland.  

“In our foundational NSF grants, our team demonstrated the potential for wind blade re-use and the positive environmental benefits that will come from the re-use of these amazing composite materials in civil infrastructure,” said Gentry. “This potential is embodied in the two patents we are pursuing and in the follow-on Partnership for Industry grant from NSF. The team is now advancing our hardware and software technology and has partnered with companies in the wind energy and electrical transmission industries to pilot these technologies.”

Logisticus Group joins the project as the key provider of transportation for the retired wind turbine blades. As one of the largest wind blade transporters, Logisticus Group brings supply expertise for the complex logistics of transporting decommissioned wind turbine blades, which are approximately 50 meters in length. 

"We are thrilled to partner with Georgia Tech on this project. Their team has always had a passion to conduct research and development on proprietary technology when it comes to reusing wind blades. We feel, as a company, that we need to be a part of the solution to find ways to recycle and repurpose these blades,” said Will Stephan, founder of Logisticus Group.”

Wind turbine blades are made from high-quality Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composite materials, which are not biodegradable or recyclable. Currently, turbine blades are landfilled or incinerated at their end-of-life stage. Georgia Tech and Logisticus will conduct research and development to commercialize mass-market architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) products from repurposed FRP composite of decommissioned wind turbine blades.

The team, comprised of Georgia Tech faculty, laboratory staff, and graduate and undergraduate students in architecture and engineering, will develop commercial products using Generative Design software, architecture studios, and workshops, structural and Finite element analysis, life-cycle analysis, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology, and full-scale testing of prototypes in Georgia Tech’s 20,000 sq. ft. Digital Fabrication Laboratory

“The success of our project comes from the diverse talents and viewpoints represented on the team. It’s rare to have architects, engineers, and social, geospatial and environmental scientists working on the same fundamental problem,” said Gentry. “As we move to commercialize, we are building an entrepreneurial team and linking with industry. We look forward to seeing our re-use applications implemented in the next three years.” 

Prior to receiving the NSF PFI grant, researchers at Georgia Tech developed proprietary algorithms for a tool called the “Blade Machine” and created unique testing methodologies to rapidly characterize any wind turbine blade currently in production for architectural and structural analysis and design purposes. 

This fall the team is participating in the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program with Angie Nagle from the University College Cork in Ireland and Chloe Kiernicki, Bachelor of Science in Architecture student at Georgia Tech, serving as entrepreneurial leads.  James Marlow, founding CEO of Atlanta-based Radiance Solar, is serving as the I-Corps team’s industrial mentor.

About the Georgia Tech School of Architecture

The Georgia Tech School of Architecture offers five distinct degree programs – a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, a Master of Architecture, a Master of Science in Architecture, a Master of Science in Urban Design, and a Ph.D. in Architecture.  Embedded in the heart of Atlanta and a part of a top-ranked research institution, the School of Architecture combines research, technology, and design to form a well-rounded, interdisciplinary, future-focused education as students prepare to make an impact on the built environment.  www.arch.gatech.edu

About Logisticus Group

Logisticus Group (LLC), a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), specializes in transportation logistics, project management, and technology solutions serving projects throughout North and South America. At Logisticus Group, we believe our processes, technology solutions, personnel, and business model deliver a more predictable, controlled, efficient, and expedited project. To learn more visit, www.logisticusgroup.com

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carmen.new@design.gatech.edu

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Carmen New Marketing & Event Coordinator II Georgia Institute of Technology | School of Architecture carmen.new@design.gatech.edu

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Bhatti Appointed as ECE Associate Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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Pamela Bhatti

Pamela Bhatti has been appointed as the new Associate Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), effective February 1. She succeeds ECE Professor Raheem Beyah in this position. 

"As academic faculty, we are wired to innovate,” Bhatti said. “I look forward to facilitating the nexus between our scholarly activities, industry interactions, and entrepreneurship to enhance the impact of our school, college, and institute."

In this role, Bhatti will lead the School’s support of faculty members’ entrepreneurial activities. She will also manage the programs associated with ECE’s large number of corporate partners and affiliates, and support the partnership with the School’s Advisory Board. 

Bhatti joined the ECE faculty in 2007, where she is now an associate professor. She received the B.S. degree in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989; the M.S. degree in electrical engineering (robotics) from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1993; and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering (MEMS) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2006. 

Before completing her Ph.D., Bhatti researched the detection of breast cancer with ultrasound imaging in the Department of Radiology, University of Michigan from 1997-1999. Her industry experience includes embedded systems software development at Microware Corporation in Des Moines, Iowa from 1996-1997; local operating network applications at Motorola Semiconductor in Austin, Texas from 1994-1995; and research and fabrication of controlled-release drug delivery systems at Alza Corporation in Palo Alto, California from 1986-1990.

Bhatti’s lab currently conducts research in biomedical sensors and subsystems. More specifically, her lab focuses on cochlear and vestibular neural prostheses, as well as improving coronary artery imaging. She advises both ECE and biomedical engineering graduate students in her research group, and she has mentored postdoctoral trainees and residents at the Emory School of Medicine and residents at Georgia Regents University in Augusta. 

In 2011, Bhatti received the NSF CAREER Award to focus on vestibular rehabilitation research. In 2013, she earned an M.S. degree in Clinical Research from Emory University and serves as the Georgia Tech co-director for the KL2 and TL1 training programs sponsored by the Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance (CTSA) and supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Dedicated to deepening the integration of engineering with medicine, she is currently the editor-in-chief for the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine.

Committed to translating technology to the clinical setting, in 2016, Bhatti co-founded Camerad Technologies, a company dedicated to improving throughput and quality in radiology imaging. She is also an entrepreneurship educator and coach with the I-Corps@NCATS program, as well as for the Georgia Tech CREATE-X and InVenture Prize programs.  

In ECE, Bhatti established a graduate student peer mentoring program and has served as a co-chair for the recent ECE Strategic Planning/Strategic Doing Committee. She also serves as the ECE representative on the College of Engineering Strategic Planning Committee, and she is a Grand Challenges Faculty Fellow. At the Institute level, Bhatti has been recognized for her research, education, and leadership abilities. She participated in the Provost’s Emerging Leaders Program in 2018 and received the Class of 1934 Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award in 2017. She has also been a Hesburgh Teaching Fellow in the Center for Teaching and Learning and currently serves on the Academic Faculty Senate.

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Atlanta, GA

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jackie.nemeth@ece.gatech.edu

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Jackie Nemeth

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

404-894-2906

WCP 2019 Awards Announced

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Annual faculty and student awards announced at April 25 ceremony.

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Commission Surveys What’s Next in Higher Ed

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The higher education landscape is changing quickly. Georgia Tech has been at the forefront of some of that change, including online learning and classroom methodology. Last fall, Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, appointed a commission that will help keep Tech at the forefront of education innovation.

The goals of the Commission on Creating the Next in Education include exploration of new ideas in content delivery and nurturing a culture of lifelong learning for undergraduate, graduate, and professional education learners. 

“If we are to continue to live up to our vision of defining the 21st century technological research university, then we must be nimble and lead in creating and adapting new pedagogy and technology,” Bras said. “That will make Georgia Tech and our learners the very best and an example for all.”

The 40-member education commission is co-chaired by Bonnie Ferri, associate chair for undergraduate affairs in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Rich DeMillo, executive director, Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U). Under their direction, the commission will meet over the next 18 months. Through discovery, ideation, and design phases, the members will take a look at the Institute’s current methodologies and benchmark best practices in higher education, including issues of delivery and accessibility. Ultimately, the commission will recommend pilots and projects that will move Georgia Tech towards the optimal educational enterprise for a leading technological research university of the 21st century. 

“This commission brings together a group of Georgia Tech individuals from across disciplines and educational perspectives,” Ferri said. “That approach allows for innovative ideas that span interdisciplinary, co-curricular, and design perspectives that we know will bring new, innovative ideas about the educational landscape at Georgia Tech.” 

The commission discovery groups will explore future learning needs, demographics and populations, peer institutions, partners and competitors, societal and economic influences, and future pedagogy considerations. Throughout the 18-month period, activities and events for the campus community will include town halls, featured speakers, surveys, and focus groups. 

“As an institution, we find ourselves with an exciting opportunity as the traditions of higher education are quickly rewritten, both philosophically and pedagogically,” said DeMillo. “Georgia Tech is well positioned to be a leader among our peers and define what innovation truly means to the educational experience.” 

Along with the co-chairs, Georgia Tech President Emeritus G. Wayne Clough and C21U visiting scholar Jeff Selingo will serve as advisors for the commission. 

The commission was first suggested at an October 2015 town hall on Georgia Tech’s Educational Innovation Ecosystem — an environment defined by the efforts of C21U, the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Georgia Tech Professional Education, and the Office of Information Technology.

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Atlanta, GA

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Susie Ivy
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