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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

ECE NEWS
DEPARTMENT OF
ELECTRICAL & COMPUTER YEAR IN REVIEW
ENGINEERING 2009-2010

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

BRIGHT rom their freshman year to the last semester of a PhD program,

IDEAS F ECE students are active participants in a variety of invention and


innovation competitions at UW-Madisonand their efforts are being
well rewarded with cash prizes and resources to establish companies.

Recycled electrification system Undergrad competition showcases


will light up developing nations ECE student ideas and inventions
A t age 15, Dan Ludois tried to convince
his grandparents that the best way to run
electricity to a shed in the corner of their farm
I n February, ECE undergraduate students made a
strong showing at the 2010 Innovation Days, an
annual UW-Madison event that rewards innovative
was to use recycled parts from a microwave. and marketable ideas. A team including ECE senior
At the time, his grandparents werent entirely Jason Lohr (pictured, right) won fourth place in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and $1,000 for
convinced of the teenagers technical credibility, CocoStove, an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils rather than wood charcoal and
but Ludois kept the idea in the back of his could create a new industry in rural Haiti. The team also won the Younkle Best Presentation
mind for the next 10 years. award, which comes with a $1,000 prize. ECE alumnus Peter Tong (MS 65) and the Tong Family
On Earth Day 2010, Ludois and Foundation are among the competitions benefactors. Other ECE student teams included:
two of his fellow UW-Madison
ECE graduate students presented Intelliwindows, a system to open and close Variable Power Source H2 Production, a sys-
the idea, which has evolved into windows based on the tem that runs electricity into a high-pressure
an electricity system called the weather and a desired electrolyzer and then through solid-oxide
Microformer, at the second- temperature in order to fuel cells to create a baseload of energy,
annual Climate Leadership reduce air conditioning which can be converted into AC voltage and
Challenge, a campus competition costs. Invented by ECE run to the electric grid. Invented by a team
focused on combating climate sophomore Chris Beley. including ECE sophomore Tim McGowan.
change. The Microformer is designed un.me, a software suite that emphasizes Range Extending Hitch
to provide electricity to rural households in physical, social interaction and collaboration Technology, a detachable
developing countries, and the idea was rewarded between users. Invented by ECE sophomore engine-generator for
with more than $50,000 in prizes. Michael Bethencourt. plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Ludois partners, Jonathan Lee and Patricio Bright Crank, a solar cell and hand-powered Co-invented by ECE
Mendoza Araya, each have experience with engi- system made from recycled bicycle and car senior Adam Richards.
neering projects for developing countries. Lee is parts to light up bus stops. Invented by a Power StripWattmeter, a
involved in the UW-Madison chapter of Engineers team including ECE senior Alesia Casanova. device that connects to
Without Borders and has served on projects in an electrical outlet via a
Blocks Web API, an interface to allow devel-
Haiti and Rwanda. Mendoza has worked on a power strip and displays
opers to create web content
hydroelectric generator and smart grid projects in the average power usage
with a language set via a
his native Chile, which is where the Microformer of the electric devices
proxy server that can trans-
team may first implement its system. connected to the outlet. Invented by ECE
late across all existing web
(Continued on back page) and physics senior Chris Zenner.
interfaces. Invented by ECE
sophomore Tim McGowan.

ECE 1 NEWS
www.engr.wisc.edu/ece
Message from the Chair

G
reetings to all alumni and friends For those of you able to contribute finan-
John Booske, Chair
of the Department of Electrical cially, I want to thank you on behalf of the
and Computer Engineering!This 2416 Engineering Hall entire department for the important service
newsletter brings you important updates on 1415 Engineering Drive that you provide to our current and future
faculty, staff, alumni, students, and learning Madison, WI 53706 students. Because of your gifts, we have
and research initiatives. been able to sponsor many excellent students
Phone: 608/262-3840
During the past couple years, we have and faculty with scholarships, fellowships or
been engaged in a comprehensive self-study Fax: 608/262-1267 named professorships. Your generosity has
and strategic planning process. One of the ecechair@engr.wisc.edu enabled us to subsidize the costs of text-
important outcomes has been a commitment www.engr.wisc.edu/ece books, educational experience abroad, student
to the philosophy of once-a-member-always- conference travel, awards for best TAs and
a-member. Students who graduate from our instructors, and need-based financial aid.
department do not cease their relationship pleased to answer your questions or share Just as importantly, your contributions
upon leaving our doors. You become part your news in future issues. have enabled us to nurture a spirit of lifelong
of a lifelong, connected community. As our As a second step, I request the assistance community by sponsoring the formation of a
Visiting Advisory Board reminds us, alumni of every department alumnus to E-mail me a graduate student lounge, ECE undergraduate
and supporters represent an important short note answering the following biographical student events and alumni receptions around
resource of knowledge, expertise and questions. Our objective is to accumulate a the country.
experience to help us maintain the excellent diverse pool of education-to-career profiles I am incredibly privileged to be Chair of our
education and research outcomes we provide that illustrate to prospective students (under- department with such outstanding students,
with and for our students.And, we have grad or graduate) what future career options faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters. Your
adopted a renewed commitment to continue are made possible with a UW-Madison ECE individual and collective accomplishments
to serve our alumni and friends. degree. (1) What degree(s) did you obtain continue to reflect our proud traditions and
As a first step in this direction, were from our department? (2) In what ways do great reputation. Thank you for your continued
placing a greater emphasis in the newsletter on you recall and value your education at UW- enthusiasm and support for our Department
sharing news and information of likely interest Madison and the ECE department? (3) What of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
to alumni, department friends and supporters. is your current job, and how does it allow On Wisconsin!
To help us fulfill this fresh emphasis, we need you to make an impact and a difference in the
you to send us your newsor questions lives of others? (4) How did your UW-Madison
which well happily include in future issues. education prepare you to end up where you
So, please send us your news or Whatever are now? Please send your answers to Duane H. & Dorothy M. Bluemke Professor
happened to ? or How is ? Well be ecechair@engr.wisc.edu. John H. Booske, Chair

Congrats to the 2010 recipients


of prestigious Grainger awards

O
n April 8, 2010, UW-Madison
engineering faculty, staff,
students, friends and family
members gathered at the University of
Wisconsin Foundation to celebrate the
Grainger Power Engineering Award and
Fellowship recipients. The event honored
14 ECE students who are already making
contributions to their field. The awards,
Pictured (back row, from left): Syed Akhtar, Kevin Olikara, Daniel Ludois, Craig Mitchell Jr.,
sponsored by The Grainger Foundation, Benjamin Tesch, Paul White, Jeremy Bricco, Daniel Dunar, Jacob Fritz; (front row, from left)
recognize students for their academic College of Engineering Dean Paul Peercy, Micah Erickson, Anthony Di Loreto, Randy Johanning,
successes in the field of power engineering. Christopher Wolf, James Bukacek

ECE 2 NEWS
DEPARTMENT NEWS

Nanion Technologies, a bio- technologies in microsystems, nanotechnology Professor Emeritus Donald


and microtechnology company and computer vision, Jiangs team will Novotny received a 2009 Nikola
co-founded by Lynn H. Matthias incorporate elements of natural visual Tesla Award from IEEE. The
Professor Robert Blick, won systems into integrated, intelligent, micro- award recognizes Novotny
the 2009 Deutscher Gruender- imaging systems without anatomic and for pioneering contributions
preis award. Given to outstanding entre- physiological constraints. throughout the last 40 years to the analysis
preneurs in Germany, the award recognizes Specifically, they will develop spherical and understanding of AC machine dynamic
entrepreneurial role models. multi-micro-camera arrays integrating light behavior and performance in adjustable-
Nanion is a spin-off company from the field photography for panoramic videos with speed drives.
Center of Nanoscience at the University large depth of field, artificial-reflecting-super-
of Munich, Germany, that develops and position compound eyes for high-transmit- McFarland-Bascom Professor
manufactures sophisticated instrumentation tance and low-chromatic-aberration imaging Rob Nowak has been elected
for the analysis of ion channels, the pore- over a wide spectrum, and bio-inspired an IEEE fellow for contributions
forming proteins that help establish and multi-fovea coordination software for efficient to statistical signal and image
control the small voltage gradient across processing of visual information. processing.
the plasma membrane of all living cells by The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Each year, following a rigorous evaluation
allowing the flow of ions down their electro- Seed Grant provided the initial project grant. procedure, the IEEE Fellow Committee
chemical gradient. The companys automated recommends a select group of recipients for
patch clamp platforms increase the efficiency Associate Professor Zhenqiang elevation to fellow, one of the institutes most
of drug discovery and are used by pharma- (Jack) Ma received a three-year, prestigious honors. The recipients are taken
ceutical companies and leading academic $360,000 U.S. Department of from an international pool of applicants.
institutions globally. Defense grant to develop new The IEEE grade of fellow is conferred by the
near-infrared and midwave- board of directors upon a person with an
The Optical Society has infrared lasers using nanomembranes tech- extraordinary record of accomplishments in
awarded Philip Dunham Reed nologies. Traditional near-infrared (1.55 mm) any of the IEEE fields of interest.
Professor Dan Botez the lasers can only be made on III-V substrates,
Nick Holonyak Jr. Award in such as indium phosphide. Ma will work The 2009 San Diego Microgrid
recognition of his fundamental with colleagues at the University of Texas Symposium, held September
contributions to high-power semiconductor to develop such lasers on any substrates, 17-18, brought together 25
lasers including active photonic-crystal including the desired silicon substrates. organizations at the University
structures for high coherent power genera- The success will lead to the implementation of California, San Diego to
tion; single-lobe grating-surface-emitting of optical interconnects for densely packed discuss switching the San Diego electrical
distributed-feedback lasers; and high-power, silicon integrated circuits. The team also will grid to a digital smart grid by 2011. Professor
high-efficiency sources based on aluminum- develop 3-5 mm midwave-infrared lasers Giri Venkataramanan served on the steering
free technology. employing a similar principle. committee, and PhD student Patricio A.
The Nick Holonyak Jr. Award was Ma says the midwave-infrared lasers have Mendoza Araya presented at the conference
established in 1997 and recognizes significant been difficult to make but would be very useful on evolving microgrids work in Chile.
contributions to optics based on semi- for target seeking, sensing and laser radars.
conductor-based devices and optical materials, Computer Sciences and ECE
including basic science and technological Professor Luke Mawst and Professor Mark Hill received
applications. Botez joins an exceptional group Chemical and Biological a UW-Madison Kellet Mid-
of 12 past Holonyak Jr. Award recipients. Engineering Milton J. and A. Career Award and $60,000
Maude Shoemaker Professor research award supported by
Associate Professor Hongrui Tom Kuech have received a the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Jiang will lead a multi-university, two-year $330,000 grant from the Army Hill has been recognized for his research on
multidisciplinary research Research Lab to study high-efficiency tandem advancing parallel computer hardware.
program to develop biology- solar cells employing dilute-nitride materials
inspired intelligent micro- grown by metalorganic chemical vapor depo-
optical imaging systems with a four-year, sition. One goal of the project is to increase
$2 million National Science Foundation grant the efficiency of multi-junction solar cells
through the Emerging Frontiers in Research through the development of new materials
and Innovation program. With state-of-the-art to access key parts of the solar spectrum.

ECE 3 NEWS
wo ECE faculty members have received prestigious Faculty Early
T Career Development Awards (CAREER) from the National Science
Foundation. These awards, which come with four-year grants
of approximately $400,000, recognize faculty members who are at the

beginning of their academic careers and have developed creative
projects that effectively integrate advanced research and education. Boosting computer performance
with reconfigurable hardware

A
ssistant Professor Katherine Compton
is studying how to use reconfigurable
hardware, which is a form of flexible,
Low-power computers could benefit environment and U.S. economy special-purpose hardware, to implement
a wide range of computer accelerators that

A
ssistant Professor Nam Sung Kim is Kim is crafting designs and architectures boost performance and increase energy
designing low-power computing systems for low-power computing systems that efficiency.
that, if implemented on a broad scale, could address these challenges. He is Compton says the idea of her work is
could have significant environmental and developing algorithms for two strategies to similar to cooking. Chefs can make anything
economic benefits. reduce computer power consumption. The from a cookbook, but they can make a dish
When an Internet surfer opens Google and first strategy is to program machines that much faster if they memorize the recipe. A
types in a keyword, the command goes to one can process computations more efficiently. traditional central processing unit, or CPU,
of the companys U.S. data centers, which are For example, several computations must is like a chef with a cookbook; it can process
large-scale facilities with hundreds of computer be completed for every pixel displayed on anything, but its relatively slow since it
servers. In the last seven years, the utility bills a monitor or laptop screen. Each screen is processes data sequentially and has to look
to power and cool the servers and auxiliary composed of tens of thousands of pixels, up the instructions every time, even if it has
equipment at U.S. data centers increased from but a viewer would not notice if some of handled the same task before.
$15 billion to $30 billion in 2008, the last year those pixels didnt show up. Application-specific integrated circuits,
data is available. The second strategy is to reduce wasted called ASICs, are hard-coded at the factory
This cost, coupled with the amount of energy during computations. To achieve with a single memorized recipe. This hard-
electricity consumed by computers in offices this, Kim is trying to identify which sections, ware is fast because it doesnt
and homes, has consequences. To generate called blocks, of computer circuits can be need to look up the instruc-
that amount of electricity, we have to burn a turned off during certain functions. Turning tions, and it processes
lot of fossil fuels, and thats not good for the the blocks off when they are not in use data in parallel, meaning
environment, Kim says. Also, we have to rather than letting them remain on and idle it handles multiple data
perform computations for almost every aspect reduces the overall power consumption of threads simultaneously
of our lives now, and by reducing the cost the processor. like a graphics pro-
for doing these computations, our national Once the block is turned off, it takes cessing unit, or GPU.
economy could gain a competitive edge. some time to wake it back up, like it takes Reconfigurable
time to wake a computer up after putting it hardware is like a
into sleep mode, he explains. To minimize super chef who can
performance impact, or penalty, I have to quickly memorize
predict which blocks will be used and wont or re-memorize
be used in order to wake them up in time. a small set
My main objective is to hide the time of recipes. Like
penalty so users dont notice a slowdown. ASICs, the

ECE 4 NEWS
Focus on new faculty: NADER BEHDAD

W
hardware memorizes functions and performs hen Assistant Professor Nader
computations in parallel. Behdad looks at a small antenna,
Reconfigurable hardware goes beyond crickets and flies sometimes come
ASICs by loading sets of data that determine to mind. For the expert in applied electro-
which wires should be connected or discon- magnetics, insects offer a humbling reminder
nected, thereby creating different digital that, despite the best efforts of scientists in the
circuits for different tasks. For example, last 100 years, mankinds best sensors are still
the hardware could load an MP3 encoder not as sensitive as the senses of a bug.
accelerator to compress an audio file and This reminder serves as an inspiration for
then quickly Behdad, who is studying innovative approaches
switch to for developing new electromagnetic tech-
become a nologies, including small and efficient
decryption super-resolving antennas. Conventional
accelerator. approaches dictate that efficient antennas
Comptons are sized in proportion to the wavelengths
research fo- they are designed to detect. For example,
cuses on how the wireless LAN system that an iPhone can could be altered to produce different out-
a computing pick up works at a 2.4-gigahertz comes. For example, some organisms,
system deter- frequency, which translates like sharks, are evolved to detect
mines which to a wavelength measuring electromagnetic signals produced
accelerators roughly 12.5 centimeters. One way by certain fish. Perhaps, says
should be The optimal antenna to Behdad, this ability could be
loaded into pick up this wavelength is to try to mimic engineered to allow other
would be around half organisms to not only sense
hardware at
any given time. that length, or roughly
what these organisms electromagnetic waves,
Since first publishing on system-level 6.5 centimeters,
to work at optimal
are doing and come up but also transmit them for
reconfigurable hardware management in communication purposes.
2005, Compton has studied how to allocate efficiency. However, with new architectures Behdadwho joined the
the accelerators in response to, but in as cell phones and ECE faculty in 2008 after
isolation of, the rest of the computer system. other wireless based on earning his PhD from the
The CAREER award will allow her to expand devices continue University of Michigan in
her work to study the entire system and to get smaller and living 2006 and spending two
smaller, antennas are years as an assistant elec-
schedule multiple computing resources
to work in tandem with the reconfigurable becoming so small
organisms. trical engineering professor
hardware. that their efficiency is at the University of Central
In terms of the cooking metaphor, she being compromised. Florida, Orlandois taking
essentially is looking at the entire kitchen Some flies, how- advantage of the collaborative
workflow to determine how the various ever, that are only about a atmosphere at UW-Madison in
chefsin other words, the CPU, GPU and centimeter long, can detect order to explore these complex
reconfigurable hardwarecan best work the direction of sound within ideas. He is investigating various
together to most efficiently make the dish, two degrees of accuracy. To do biomedical applications for antennas,
or execute an application. this with our technology wed need including a partnership with Professor Susan
Ultimately, Compton is working to antennas that are absolutely huge, explains Hagness to study how antennas could be used
demonstrate to hardware companies that Behdad, who is considering two research in micro-systems for breast cancer detection.
reconfigurable hardware provides enough strategies for harnessing natures optimal He is also brainstorming possibilities for the
of a boost to warrant adding it to everyday design. One way is to try to mimic what these evolution lab with biologists on campus.
computing devices. organisms are doing and come up with new Who knows if it could work? Thats the
architectures based on living organisms. The problemnot knowing, he says. The question
second way is to actually try to develop an is where to start, and theres no shortage of
evolution lab. expertise here. If theres anything you want to
This lab would theoretically examine basic know, there is someone in town who knows.
cell development and how that development

ECE 5 NEWS
By Professor John Booske,
ECE department chair

FOCUS On ALUMNI Meet the ECE Visiting Advisory Board

T
he ECE Visiting Advisory Board Adrian Amelse is the general manager for the Cisco Emerging Technology
(VAB) provides a fresh view of Group, which focuses on creating solutions in new and adjacent technology
the department from interested markets. In his 13 years at Cisco, Amelse has held various marketing, manu-
individuals working and living outside the facturing and engineering roles. A Madison native, Amelse holds a bachelors
faculty and campus. We remain appreciative degree from UW-Stout and an MBA from Santa Clara University. He has
and indebted to each former and current board served on the VAB for two years. I believe strongly in helping develop the
member for this important and unselfish work. next generation of technical leaders, he says. He also remains connected
During this past academic year, the board to Wisconsin via his familys maple syrup business, Amelse Farms.
members visited campus and met with ECE
leaders, faculty, students, as well as with Steven Bartingale (BS 89) is a lab manager for track and trace solutions
college deans and development officers. They at 3M, where he is also a volunteer for the Technical Teams Encouraging
have identified several key recommendations Career Horizons for middle and high school students. He obtained his
to help the department in the next decade. electrical engineering masters degree from the University of Minnesota in
Consistent with the VABs recommendations, 1996 and joined the VAB in 2006. I want to help the department grow and
the department is pursuing a number of remain competitive, attract and retain top faculty and students, and develop
exciting new initiatives. excellent graduates, he says.
We have helped ECE graduate students
form the ECE Graduate Student Association Neena Buck (BS 79) works in the Office of Corporate Relations at the
and undergraduate students form the ECE Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to connect companies in India,
Student Leadership Council. These groups will Japan and the United States to relevant research at MIT. She has spent
participate in organizing and hosting events many years as an industry analyst, tracking and anticipating under-the-radar
and panels for new and current students. technologies and their impact on business, consumers and society.
The VAB has strongly endorsed the Most recently, she was vice president at Strategy Analytics, a market
departments plan to revise our undergraduate research and analysis firm, where she launched the companys Emerging
curriculum and specifically recommend Frontiers program. Before this, she was vice president of emerging trends at a startup that
greater student flexibility in selecting elective was acquired by Gartner. She has worked as director of marketing at Global Insight, as an
courses while maintaining technical depth in artificial intelligence researcher and software developer at IBM, and as a hardware design
the major. More experiential learning will engineer at the Delco Electronics Division of General Motors. Buck holds an MBA from the
be emphasized in the early stages of the new University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and was a PhD candidate in computer
curriculum, and students will receive more science, specializing in artificial intelligence, at Yale. She has served on the VAB for two years.
direct advising from faculty and their career
and education options. Travis Durand (BSME 80) is the F-15 chief program engineer at Boeing.
Supported by the College of Engineering, He holds a mechanical engineering masters degree from the University of
we are planning to launch a new website that Missouri and an executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
will provide greater information support for He has experience in engineering, program management, supply chain
students and Internet visitors. The website management, manufacturing and information technology. He has served
will present what it means to have a career on the VAB for two years.
in ECE, the value of an education in the UW-
Madison ECE department, news of events and Joe Eto is a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in
opportunities, and much more with the use the Environmental Energy Technologies Division, where he manages the
of video, text and graphics and an improved Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS). Eto holds
ease of navigation. The rollout of the new a bachelors degree in philosophy (1979) and a masters degree in energy
website is expected before the end of 2010. and resources (1981) from the University of California, Berkeley. Eto, who
The VABs recommendations have been has served on the VAB for two years, is connected to UW-Madison through
instrumental in guiding aspects of each of the students and faculty who work on CERTS initiatives.
these and other exciting initiatives, and we
are looking forward to their future help as we Ann Finley (BS 85) is a program manager at the Metropolitan Water District
navigate news ways of educating, institution- of Southern California, where she manages and negotiates power contracts,
ally supporting research and acquiring and performs and reviews transmission planning and interconnection studies,
using financial resources to continue delivering and markets green energy. Finley, who was on the UW-Madison swim team
some of the best learning and knowledge as a student and remains an active lifeguard and triathlon participant, is a
outcomes in the country and the world. member of several technical committees and received her masters degree in
.
ECE 6 NEWS
We would like to hear from you!
Please send us updates about your
promotions, honors, family news, etc.,
to ecechair@engr.wisc.edu
electrical engineering from the University of
Southern California in 1989. She has been or to the following address:
a licensed professional engineer in California ECE NEWS
since that year. Being one of very few Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
female ECE graduates in 1985, I feel honored 1415 Engineering Dr.
to be a part of the VAB, she says. This Madison, WI 53706
opportunity motivates me to expand upon
my outreach efforts and reflect on my expe-
riences as an engineer to encourage others,
especially student-athletes, females and
minorities, to pursue engineering careers. Miten Marfatia (MS 82, MBA 82) has more than 20 years of experience
Finley has been on the VAB for three years. in co-founding and managing hardware and software solution companies.
Currently, he is the CEO and CFO of EvolveWare Inc., a software company
Steve Frisch is senior that has developed a unique technology to automate the transformation
vice president of global of source systems to any target system. Prior to founding EvolveWare,
engineering services Marfatia co-founded Silicon Electronics and has previously worked at
at Plexus Corporation, ROLM Corporation and Pyramid Technology. Active in various community
where he is responsible organizations, Marfatia has served on the VAB for two years and says he
for five design centers remains committed to UW-Madison to help the institution receive the recognition it deserves.
located around the
world. Frisch joined Tom Nondahl (BS 73, MS 74, PhD 77) is research manager of the
Plexus in 1990 and has held various director Advanced Technology Milwaukee Labs at Rockwell Automation/Allen
and vice president positions. He obtained a Bradley, where he conducts projects in real-time Ethernet, multilevel
bachelors degree in electrical engineering inverters, motor starters, regenerative converters and permanent magnet
and technology from the Milwaukee School motor controls. Nondahl has more than 30 years of experience in electrical
of Engineering, where he has been a part- drives, motor controls and communication networks for industrial appli-
time lecturer, and a masters degree in cations. He has produced multiple technical papers and U.S. patents. He
electrical engineering and computer science has been active in the IEEE Industry Applications Society for many years
from Marquette University. I hope my and is currently serving as the president of the society. He has served on the VAB for two years.
industry experience will be able to contribute
to the future success of the college, as I
believe the success of my company and the
electronics industry hinges on the ability to IN MEMORIAM
develop well educated graduates, he says.

Jeffrey Lorbeck Several distinguished ECE alumni have passed away since summer 2009.
(BS 87, MS 88, PhD
92) is the senior vice Frederick Bartman (BS 41) Charles Gabriel (BS 72) Charles Navratil (BS 50)
president of program Stephen Basche (BS 79) Lawrence Hall (PhD 73) William Pappathopoulos
management in the QCT Clifford Bastle (BS 51) John Hart Jr. (BS 41) (BS 66)
division at Qualcomm Robert Bohn (BS 47) Owen Holtan (BS 38) Raymond Parfitt (BS 49)
Inc. He has held various Ronald Breitwisch (BS 75) Otis Ingebritsen (BS 47) Richard Pierce (BS 48)
positions in engineering, Donald Brewer (BS 47) Douglas Jeske (BS 88) Gene Reed (BS 57)
business development, program management Michael Brozek (BS 73) Gordon Kent (BS 47) William Reeve (BS 52)
and general management at Qualcomm, and Robert Derber (BS 49) Paul Ketchum (BS 38) James Slagg (BS 49)
he has experience in organizing, managing Lee Eichenseer (BS 61) George Klinge (BS 50) Milton Stenstrom (BS 49)
and leading large, interdisciplinary, multi-site Samuel Elice (BS 48) George Linn (BS 51) Walter Tolk (BS 49)
development and operations organizations. Nathan Engebretson (BS 34) Robert Medenwald (BS 48) Reinhard Vater (BS 41)
He served on the VAB in 2009 and remains Paul Fischer (BS 42) Arthur Moeller (PhD 65) Norman Volz (BS 51)
committed to help ECE maintain its quality Laverne Froseth (BS 58) Ernest Mullen (BS 58)
student experience.

ECE 7 NEWS
O
n Oct. 16, 2009, an ECE alumnus He earned a masters degree in engineering
was among eight engineering management from the Milwaukee School of
alumni honored at the colleges Engineering in 1999, graduating with honors.
annual Engineers Day, which recognizes and His business knowledge helped drive the
celebrates influential engineers. At the event, growth and profitability of Plexus, which is
Dean Foate (BS 82) received a Distinguished now recognized as an industry-leading elec-
Achievement Award. tronics manufacturing services provider with
Foates career is marked by his loyalty to revenues of approximately $1.7 billion and
a pair of colleagues and the company his the best shareholder returns among industry
father co-founded. After graduating from peers. In 2002, Foate was named president
UW-Madison, Foate and his wife, Cindy, left and chief executive officer of the company.
Foates two college roommates and closest Foate credits his engineering education at
friends for Indiana, UW-Madison for the
where Foate began
his career design-
Foate receives Distinguished Achievement Award communication and
leadership skills he
ing electronic engine and transmission his son was giving up a secure job in the needed to launch his career. He now helps
controls for Delco Electronics. However, middle of a recession to work for the small other aspiring engineers as a supporter of
it wasnt long before the pair persuaded company he had co-founded and retired FIRST, a program for children to develop
Foate to return to Wisconsin and join Plexus from. Yet Foate and his friends were technological and leadership skills. He also
Corporation. The decision was made easier determined to become better engineers and sponsors a scholarship program and created
when Foate and Cindy had a son, Jake, and leaders to grow the companyand thats a Plexus foundation to provide technology
the family moved back to Foates native exactly what they did. support to schools. Engineers have changed
Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1984, where they Foate held various leadership positions the world in everything from technology to
subsequently had a daughter, Allison. within Plexus, and when he became presi- infrastructure to communication, and engi-
Foate began working for Plexus on dent of the design and development organi- neers can make a significant impact on the
Groundhogs Day. His father couldnt believe zation, he decided to seek formal training. quality of life around the world, he says.

Andrew Hanson: Transferring entrepreneurship from classroom to company

W
hen Andrew Hanson (BS 09) met his laboratory partner for ECE 170: Hanson says he and his colleagues
Introduction to Circuits during his freshman year, he didnt realize he are open to the possibility of eventually
was meeting his future business partner. Four years and a software selling PerBlue to another software
start-up later, Hanson and his former classmate, Justin Beck company, but for now they are happy
(BS 09), are still together working on their crazy idea. running the company themselves. Either
When Hanson and Beck shared another class during their way, Hanson has acquired a strong set of
sophomore year, Hanson took the opportunity to talk to entrepreneurial skills that he credits both
Beck about his internship at Google the previous summer. to his experiences at PerBlue and as an
The two met for lunch and chatted about the gaming industry, ECE and computer sciences student.
as well as some ideas for new products. By the end of the meal, the two In addition to Parallel Kingdom, Hanson,
decided to work together on a new game, called Little Dudes, for a a native of Rochester, Minnesota, was active
couple of months. with student organizations while on campus.
By winter break that year, the pair devised a new game called Parallel He worked on the hybrid vehicle team and
Kingdom, a multi-player online role-playing game for the Google Android was very committed to the UW-Madison IEEE
and Apple iPhone. The games background is based on Google maps, robotics team software group. It was fun to
so a player in Madison can log in and wander the digital streets of the see something you were writing go out and
city, interacting with other players who also are physically based in actually move, he says.
Madison. The game is open-ended and allows players to progress Those experiences combined with his
though levels either by being friendly or hostile toward their neighbors. classes taught Hanson how to work with a
In order to market Parallel Kingdom, Hanson and Beck founded team to solve problemsskills he says have
PerBlue in summer 2008. After graduating in 2009, they worked at the company full-time and carried over to PerBlue. Additionally, Hanson
eventually hired seven others, most of who are also recent UW-Madison alumni. Parallel Kingdom advises other students interested in entre-
currently has more than 100,000 user accounts. Many players are located on the West Coast preneurship to be willing to learn about and
and in Japan, and the number of European players is also growing. tackle many different roles, from engineering
Justin and I both enjoy this a lot because its our own thing, says Hanson. In hindsight, to accounting to management.
I can see how much free time I would have had in college if we hadnt done this, but Im glad I And, of course, befriending a lab partner
spent that time working on Parallel Kingdom. never hurts.

ECE 8 NEWS
Michael Splinter
Blending engineering, business and social responsibility

that are reducing the cost-per-watt of solar excited that Wisconsin is still a place people
energy. The division has drawn national are going to learn and not be afraid of
attention and was featured in a New York challenging the status quo.
Times column in September 2009. Splinter remains connected to UW-Madison
For Splinter, developing solar-related in a variety of ways, including serving on the
equipment and technology is a valuable move University of Wisconsin Foundation Board of
for Applied Materials not only because of the Directors and previous tenures on the College
growing global market for green technologies, of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. He

N
o matter how far Michael Splinter but because of the environmental benefits. is especially interested in seeing more engi-
(BS 72, MS 74) travelseither This blending of engineering and business neering students from diverse backgrounds.
geographically or metaphorically with social responsibility represents Splinters Despite his many executive titles, Splinter
up the corporate ladderhe remains at heart general leadership philosophy. A persons ultimately still considers himself an engineer.
a Badger and an engineer. values and the practicing culture of a Engineering is about learning how to
Originally from Horicon, Wisconsin, company are incredibly important. Things problem-solve, organize and look at things
Splinter focused his graduate studies on like being close to the customer, practicing in ways that are practical and solvable, he
integrated circuits, and after receiving his mutual respect and trust in the workplace, says. And I think that kind of education was
degree he ventured to southern California to and always striving to have world-class very practical for me and has helped me
work for the Electronics Research Center at performancethese three things are high tremendously in my early years and
Rockwell International. During his 10 years on my list, he says. continues to help me today.
at Rockwell, Splinter began developing the As the industry of green technologies
interest and skills to pursue management advances, Splinter remembers his own
positions and rose to become manager of experiences as a young engineer in an
the semiconductor fabrication operations emerging field. Much like I thought when I
division. Splinter then joined Intel Corporation, was graduating that electronics, computer
where he held multiple executive roles during chips and circuits would be something I
his 20-year tenure. could make a career of, engineers can look
Since 2003, Splinter has been the chief forward to focusing on our changing energy
executive officer of Applied Materials, located landscape, he says, adding that a continued
in Santa Clara, California. Among his many focus on practical science by universities will
tasks at the nanomanufacturing company that be important in the coming decades.
develops equipment, service and software In the next 40 years, students graduating
for semiconductor chips and many other today will be facing pollution, carbon dioxide
products, Splinter is overseeing the creation and water problems, and I cant imagine a
of a new division focused on energy and the world where engineers arent going to be
environment. This new division is generating working to solve these problems in a
a variety of products focused on reducing practical, cost-effective way, he says.
the use of fossil fuels, including equipment Beyond the classroom, Splinter says hes
to vastly increase the number of solar panels also glad to see students remain engaged
manufactured each year, as well as products in social issues and activism. It makes me

P
rofessor Emeritus Ray King died February 21 at the age of 77. Born in Montrose, Colorado, co-founded KDC Technology Corporation
IN MEMORIAM

King worked his way through college as a radio announcer, earning his bachelors degrees in 1983, where he focused on developing
in electronic and electrical engineering at the Indiana Institute of Technology and his microwave instrumentation to evaluate
masters degree and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado. King began materials. Active in the Institute of Electrical
his career in academia at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1962 and joined UW-Madison and Electronic Engineers and the National
as a professor of electrical engineering in 1969. Named a Fulbright Fellow in 1973 and a guest Academy of Sciences, King held nine patents
professor at universities in Denmark and New Zealand, King focused his teaching and research and authored many professional papers. King
on various aspects of electromagnetic theory and experiments relating to propagation over is survived by his wife, Diane; two children,
non-uniform surfaces. He eventually left UW-Madison to join LLNL as a research engineer and Karl and Kristin; and three grandchildren.

ECE 9 NEWS
wo ECE faculty have achieved a nanoscale laser structure they anticipate will produce extremely inefficient since electrons transi-

T semiconductor lasers in the next two years that are more than twice as efficient as
current continuous-wave lasers emitting in the mid-infrared. The novel structure
tioning between two sub-bands emit 1,000
phonons (quantized lattice vibrations) for every
will produce lasers with more power and that are more efficient, reliable and stable, says Philip one photon. Bell Labs scientists reduced this
Dunham Reed Professor Dan Botez, who created the new structure with Professor Luke Mawst. inefficiency by creating a cascade structure
These next-generation lasers could benefit a wide range of industries, as they could be used by stacking 40 sub-band photon-emitting stages.
in biomedical devices, environmental monitoring devices, missile avoidance systems and even These stages allow one electron to be used
food packaging processes. This wide range of applications is possible because the research- to emit a photon 40 times as it sequentially
ers have all but eliminated the temperature sensitivity for lasers operating in continuous-wave moves and transitions along the cascade
mode, meaning the laser emits uninterrupted, coherent light. structure. The result is only 25 phonons are
For example, with current mid-infrared technologies emitted for every one emitted photon and
for detecting explosives, lasers can detect from then lasing action can be achieved.
only approximately 30 feet away, Botez says.
With these lasers, devices could detect
New semiconductor The problem with this type of
laser is that fixed compositions of
explosives at more like 300 feet away. laser structure could produce more the layers for a particular stage,
Also important is that the researchers
created the new laser structure via a scal-
efficient, powerful and portable sources which repeats along the cascade
structure, result in electrons
able industrial process. emitting in the mid-infrared escaping from the structure.
Imagine dropping a ball down a
How is a regular semiconductor laser built? ladder; the ball may hit the first couple
of steps, or sub-bands, but as it progresses
Researchers can harness electron movement to
along the ladder, it can veer off course and drop
produce a laser. In a free-floating atom, electrons orbit in rings
off the ladder entirely. A continuous-wave laser
closer to or farther from the nucleus, depending on how much energy the electron is carrying.
system, which operates continuously, heats
In a solid, atoms are fixed in a lattice (like a complex chain or pattern), and electrons move
up internally as electrons escape from the
in and jump between energy bands instead of between the fixed energy levels corresponding
structure, which in turn limits the emitted
to the various orbits in free atoms. In semiconducting materials, electrons can move into an
power and the overall device efficiency.
energy band, called a conduction band, which produces a current. They can also move inside
This loss of electrons, or carrier leakage,
a band called a valence band that is so jam-packed with electrons that no net current flow
has been a major barrier to increasing laser
happens. Electrons can easily be stimulated to move to the conduction bandbut to maintain
efficiency for practical applications.
equilibrium, they eventually have to return to the valence band to fill in the holes they left
behind. The electron returns to the valence band via a port or well in the conduction band,
which dips closer to the valence band in a region called the active region. As that occurs, the
A solution: Deep-well quantum cascade lasers
electron gives off its excess energy, sometimes in the form of a photon, which is a quantum of About five years ago, a process for growing
light. (A quantum of something is the smallest discrete quantity possible.) multi-layer semiconductor structures became
Electrons that spontaneously move between bands and produce light can be used for devices available for fabricating quantum-cascade
like LEDs. However, to produce a laser beam, researchers place the lattice of atoms in a cavity lasers. Called metalorganic chemical vapor
with mirrors, and the generated photons stimulate the electrons to return to the
valence band, thus releasing a photon with the same energy as the stimulating
one. The original photon and the new photon are in phase with each other and
will further stimulate the release of other photons, thus continuously amplifying
the number of photons and bouncing off the cavity mirrors. The process repeats
until the cavity reaches a threshold for oscillation and light is directed out of the
cavity in a coherent laser beam.
This is how a standard semiconductor laser works, but the problem is that
band-to-band transitions are limited to wavelengths below approximately three
microns, which correspond to transition energies of about .4 electron volts. If
the transition energies are smaller, which would correspond to longer wave-
lengths, the energy is released as heat, rather than lightmeaning traditional
semiconductor lasers have limited emitted-light wavelength potential.

A move forward: Quantum cascade lasers


To overcome wavelength limitations, scientists from Bell Laboratories
developed a laser by quantizing the energy bands, meaning they broke the
energy bands into sub-bands. As the lattice structure vibrates, it causes the
electrons to move rapidly between sub-bands, and the transitions between Botez (left)
sub-bands cause the electrons to emit energy. However, the process is and Mawst

ECE 10 NEWS
deposition (MOCVD), the process is scalable,
unlike previous crystal growth techniques Student NEWS
suited for laboratories but not manufacturers.
MOCVD involves exposing a substrate to
high heat and chemicals, causing layers to
form on the substrate in an atomic-lattice In March, PhD student Kyle Rupnow received Graduate student Harsh Sinha and under-
configuration. Unlike previous crystal-growth a competitive UW-Madison PhD capstone graduate student Mike Nichols have received
techniques, MOCVD allows researchers to award, which recognizes students across a grant from the IEEE Standards Education
fabricate cascade-laser structures with stages campus who have performed as outstanding Committee for a project titled Characterization
composed of layers of varying composition. teaching assistants throughout their tenure. of electron cyclotron resonance machine
Botez and Mawst are using the MOCVD A maximum of five awards are presented magnetic field parameters using IEEE standard
process to grow varying-composition each year; students are nominated by faculty measurement practices. IEEE will publish their
structures that prevent carrier leakage. To and selected by a campus committee. final project paper.
compensate for the added strain caused in the
structure by creating deeper (quantum) wells,
Michael Bethencourt, ECE and computer science student and founder of
they also create taller barriers. Now, rather
FreedomDesigns.org, a name-your-own-price free-lance Web design business,
than electrons escaping from the system like
is among nine UW-Madison undergraduates to earn a $2,500 Wiscontrepreneur
balls falling off a ladder, the system works
scholarship to foster their entrepreneurial skills. The awards are distributed
like a set of tiered boxes, with a ball get-
through the UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations. A computer science
ting caught at each stage. This ensures that
and computer engineering major from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, Bethencourt
electrons will efficiently produce photons
is working to create software for a collaborative graphic design program.
in every stage of the cascade structure. The
Supported by a grant from the Kauffman Foundation, the Wiscontrepreneur initiative offers a
new structure is called a deep-well quantum
variety of courses, programs, awards and activities to spur entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial
cascade laser.
thinking across the entire campus and state.
By suppressing carrier leakage, there is
about 2.5 times less heating in the device while
the laser is in continuous-wave operation,
says Botez. This is a dramatic improvement
that means the device will be almost ECE student wins 2010 Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis Jr. Achievement Award
temperature insensitive. Shortly after graduating in December 2009 with his bachelors degree
The result will be continuous-wave lasers in electrical and computer engineering, Solomon Adenle received the
that Botez anticipates will achieve at least prestigious Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis Jr. Achievement Award, which
20 percent wall-plug efficiency, which is the recognizes outstanding scholarship and community service.
electrical-to-optical power efficiency of a Adenle served for two years as the first vice president of the National
laser system. Twenty percent efficiency Society of Black Engineers-WI Black Engineering Student Society. He also
would be roughly double the current world started the diversity spring welcome event at the College of Engineering
record for practical continuous-wave quantum to welcome underrepresented students to campus. Adenle has interned at the headquarters
cascade lasers. of both General Electric and British Petroleum. Originally from Nigeria, Adenle has a long-
This new structure, coupled with the fact term dream of starting a non-profit organization dedicated to research and development
that MOCVD is a process suitable for mass of solutions to energy shortage issues in African countries.
production, means that optimized mid-infra- Adenle was presented with the award and $1,000 on Feb. 5, 2010, in Madison. Award
red lasers can become much more wide- presenters included UW System President Kevin P. Reilly, UW System Senior Vice President
spread in medicine, the military and a wide Rebecca Martin and Barbara Swan, executive vice president, general counsel and chief
variety of industries. administrative officer for Alliant Energy.
The effect will be that as you get more Solomons commitment and contributions show what one student can do to make the
continuous wave power you should also get UW experience richer both for himself and others. Students like Solomon are an inspiration
better long-term reliability and stability, be- to all of us who urge our young people to put their talents to use to improve the society they
cause these lasers will be much less sensitive will soon lead, Reilly says.
to temperature variations than conventional The award is made possible by the Alliant Energy Foundation, which established an
quantum cascade lasers, Botez says. endowment in 2007 in honor of former Alliant Energy CEO Erroll B. Davis Jr. Recipients of
Botez and Mawst are actively interested the award represent undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented minority
in commercializing the technology, which groups pursuing degrees in engineering or business, two degrees held by Davis, who now
is covered by two issued and one pending serves as Chancellor for the University of Georgia System. Recipients must be enrolled at
U.S. patents through the Wisconsin Alumni either UW-Madison or UW-Platteville, which are located in regions of the state where Alliant
Research Foundation. Energy provides energy services.

ECE 11 NEWS
is a newsletter for alumni and friends of the UW-Madison Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.
ECE NEWS Produced by: Engineering External Relations / Editor: Sandra Knisely / Design: Phil Biebl Paid for with private funds.

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Recycled electrification system


(Continued from front page)

After the earthquake that happened in Chile


[in February 2010], this is a good opportunity
for me to give back and encourage others that
things can be improved, says Mendoza.
The Microformer is based on the trans-
former inside microwave ovens. The trio put
the transformerwhich converts the 120
raya
Mendoza A
volts of electricity from standard wall outlets
athan Lee and Patricio
into 2.5 kilovolts of potential powerinto an Ludois, Jon
From left: D
a metal paint can full of mineral oil, which
cools the transformer. The team then adds
a recycled spark plug to serve as an insulator
to move power in and out of the can.
The resulting system provides enough
electricity to power a few lights, a small The Microformer was recognized as the most and find resources to help us with the business
refrigerator and other small electronics, such action-ready idea at the Climate Leadership aspects of this, says Lee.
as a cell phone charger or laptop. Essentially, Challenge, which is staged by the UW-Madison The team will form a company to fine-tune and
the Microformer can power a household in a Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and test the design, as well as begin implementing
developing country with the electricity needs the Global Environment. The award comes the system in interested communities. The
equivalent to a typical U.S. dorm room. with a $50,000 cash prize, plus funds for students plan to sell affordable online kits that
A key aspect of Microformer is the cost: a promotional trip and a one-year lease for instruct people how to build the system and
A typical U.S. transformer costs more than space in the new University Research Park maintain it safely. Eventually, the group hopes to
$1,000, but by using recycled materials, each Metro Innovation Center. Were excited to be expand to sell a variety of kits for constructing
Microformer costs only $60-$70. part of the innovation community over there renewable energy sources from local materials.

ECE 12 NEWS