IEEE News – Mar. 2008

Georgia School Wins IEEE-Sponsored Best Essay Award at Future City Competition National Finals
WASHINGTON (22 February 2008)–
Queen of Angels Catholic School of Roswell, Ga., won the Best Essay Award at the National Engineers Week Future City Competition National Finals on Wednesday.

The IEEE sponsored the essay competition, which featured the 36 Future City regional-winning  middle school teams that advanced to the finals at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

The team included students Joel Anderson, Elliott Brewer and Reed Scott, teacher-sponsor Peggy DeGance and engineer-mentor Catherine Anderson. IEEE-USA President Russ Lefevre presented each team member with a plaque.

Teams competing at the Future City finals had to write an essay as part of the overall judging.  This year’s topic was “Keeping Our Future City’s Infrastructure Healthy: Using Nanotechnology to Monitor City Structures and Systems.”

Queen of Angels’ city, “Makt Stad” — Swedish for “Power City” — is set in 2215. Its water system uses nanosensors to monitor for disease-causing bacteria, e.g., e-coli, salmonella and giardia; toxic contaminants like cyanide, thallium and xylenes; harmful living organisms such as plankton; and bioterrorism agents, namely “botulism, smallpox, anthrax, plague, viral hemorrhagic fevers and tularemia.”

If the intake filters get clogged and water flow decreases by five percent, “the nanosensors will activate a filter cleaner and e-mail a cleaning report to the system controller.” The water is suctioned into a holding tank, where magnetic nanobots are added to heat the contaminants until they are eradicated.

The students then described the role engineers played in designing the water filtration system:  “Mechanical engineers designed the pipe system, holding tanks, filters, and the nanobot delivery/magnetic retrieval system. Electrical engineers designed the power grid for the plant. They also worked with chemical engineers to design the chemical sensors. Robotic engineers manufactured the nanobots that heat up the contaminants. Computer engineers computerized the entire system, minimizing human intervention.”

To read the entire Queen of Angels’ essay, go to http://www.futurecity.org/alumni_profiles_maktstad.htm.

The Future City Competition, conceived in IEEE-USA offices in 1992 and staged for the first time during Engineers Week 1993, is designed to encourage the future generation of engineers. Seventh and eighth grade students create their own vision of a future city, working first on computer and then constructing three-dimensional scale models.

More than 1,100 schools and 30,000 students from across the United States competed during the 2007-08 season. Pilot programs are underway in Egypt, Sweden and Japan. A spin-off, “Future Cities 2020,” has started in India.

Heritage Middle School of Westerville, Ohio, won the overall competition for their future city, “Ra.” See www.futurecity.org or www.eweek.org for additional information.

For more on the early history of the program, visit http://www.todaysengineer.org/2008/Feb/FCC.asp.

Iowa School Wins IEEE-USA National Engineering Award
WASHINGTON (22 February 2008) —
Harding Middle School of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the IEEE-USA Best Communications System Award during the National Engineers Week Future City Competition National Finals on Wednesday. The award was presented to Harding at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill for the most “efficient and accurate communications system.”

The team included students Emily O’Brien, 13; Courtney Strait, 13; and Stephanie Wenclawski, 14; engineer-mentor Gary Bishop; and teacher-sponsor Jean Oberbroeckling. Bishop is an IEEE member who works for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids.

The Future City Competition, which IEEE-USA introduced to Engineers Week (EWeek) in 1993, is designed to encourage the future generation of engineers. Seventh and eighth grade students create their own vision of a future city, working first on computer and then constructing three-dimensional scale models. More than 1,100 schools and 30,000 students from across the United States competed during the 2007-08 season. Pilot programs are underway in Egypt, Sweden and Japan. A spin-off, “Future Cities 2020,” is underway in India.

Harding earned its trip to Washington by winning the Iowa regional competition last month. Its city, “Celestial,” is set in the Amazon rainforest in 2074.

Celestial’s communications system features “xMax,” which the students described in their city brochure as providing “a fast, non-line of sight connectivity between a user and a cell tower. … Because xMax utilizes single cycle modulation, it requires significantly less radio frequency (RF) energy.”

The system also features “Smart Home Programming,” which can be activated from a cellular device to turn on your lights and heat, turn off your water system, notify you in case of a problem in your home, and contact a worker to make the necessary repairs.
IEEE members Amarjeet Basra of Annandale, Va., and Ananthram Swami of Silver Spring, Md., selected Harding from among the 36 teams that competed at the finals. The judging was done Monday.

“We were impressed that they thought about non-line of sight issues, energy and propagation range,” Swami said. “Plus, they had built-in redundancy.”

Basra complimented the students on their thorough presentation. “They had good ideas and presented them well,” he said. “All three students participated and they were able to answer all the questions.”

IEEE-USA President Russ Lefevre presented each team member with a plaque.  The students will each later receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond. Harding also won the People’s Choice Award, an honor voted on by all the Future City National Finals students.

Heritage Middle School of Westerville, Ohio, won the overall competition for their future city, “Ra.” See www.futurecity.org or www.eweek.org for additional information.

When the first Future City Competition was staged, about 600 students and 175 schools participated across five regions. For more on the early history of the program, go to http://www.todaysengineer.org/2008/Feb/FCC.asp.

Mike Andrews, chair of the Future City Advisory Board and coordinator of the Phoenix region, is one of many IEEE members who hold leadership roles within Future City. The other IEEE-member regional coordinators are: Sonya Hutchinson (Alabama region), Dan O’Malley (Northern California), Osama Mohammed (Florida), Todd Hiemer (Oklahoma), Jean Eason (North Texas), Zafar Taqvi (Houston) and Karen Pavletich (Washington State).

IEEE-USA RECOGNIZES WINNERS OF ONLINE ENGINEERING VIDEO SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION  FOR UNDERGRADUATES
Undergraduate engineering students from three universities have been recognized by IEEE-USA for their winning entries in the organization’s first “How Engineers Make a World of Difference” online engineering video scholarship competition.  On 21 February, during Engineers Week,  IEEE-USA Communications Vice President Paul Kostek announced the winners of $6,000 in scholarship awards: first prize ($2,500) to  Ben Toler and Emile Frey of Louisiana Tech University, Ruston; second prize ($2,000)  to Yilin Pei of the University of Florida, Gainesville; and third prize ($1,500) to Samuel Chanjaplammootil, Kevin Hooper and Michael Jaco of Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

The three winning entries were deemed most effective in reinforcing for an 11-to-13-year-old audience how engineers are “cool” and improve the quality of life. The three-judge panel included: Andrew Quecan and Suzette Presas, electrical engineering graduate students and IEEE student members at the University of South Florida, Tampa; and Nate Ball, a mechanical engineer and host of PBS’ “Design Squad.” IEEE-USA will launch its ’08-’09 online engineering video scholarship competition in September. To view the winning entries, go to http://www.ieeeusa.org/communications/video_competition/

Tennessee Congressman to be Honored for Science, Engineering and Technology Leadership
WASHINGTON (4 March 2008)–
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) will receive the 2008 George E. Brown Jr. Science, Engineering and Technology Leadership Award today for his leadership and commitment to ensuring that the United States remains a global leader in science and innovation.

Gordon, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, will be honored at a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building (rooms B339-340)from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30.

Gordon has been a tireless champion of the need to invest in America’s future through strong federal funding for science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and education. He was the lead House negotiator for the “America Competes Act” (H.R. 2272), authorization legislation that is designed to help the United States maintain its global leadership in science and technology. It was signed into law on 9 August 2007.

Gordon’s award coincides with the 50th anniversary of what is now the House Science and Technology Committee. Stunned by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, the United States realized the need for a firm commitment to scientific and technological research and development. Formation of the committee was a key part of what was has become a great American success story: federal funding for science and technology research and education that has spurred innovation, created jobs and kept America on the leading edge of scientific discovery.

The George E. Brown Jr. Science, Engineering and Technology Leadership Award is presented annually by the Science, Engineering and Technology Work Group (SETWG) to members of Congress who are effective advocates of federal investment in science and technology. It is named for the late Rep. George E. Brown Jr., a longtime member of Congress who made outstanding contributions to federal support for science and technology over his distinguished congressional career.

The award is presented each year in conjunction with SETWG’s Congressional Visits Day (CVD), the preeminent yearly event during which hundreds of scientists and engineers from around the country come to Washington for two days of briefings and visits to their members of Congress. More than 250 people are expected to participate in 2008 CVD events (4-5 March). Visit www.setcvd.org for more information.

SETWG, of which IEEE-USA is a member, is an information network of professional, scientific and engineering societies, higher education associations, institutions of higher learning and trade associations. It is concerned about the future vitality of the U.S. science, mathematics and engineering enterprise. See www.agiweb.org/cvd/setwgrst.html

Dallas Engineer Recognized as the IEEE/IEEE-USA’s ‘New Face of Engineering’
WASHINGTON (5 March 2008) —
Dr. Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, a mixed-signal design engineer with Texas Instruments in Dallas, is the IEEE/IEEE-USA’s 2008 “New Face of Engineering.” He is one of 14 young engineers recognized for this international honor.

The New Faces of Engineering is sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations and government agencies. The program  highlights the vitality, diversity and rich contributions of engineers under 30. Each engineering society’s top choice must hold an engineering degree, be employed as an engineer from two to five years, and have worked with projects that significantly affect public welfare or further professional development and growth.

Mukhopadhyay, 26, pioneered the development of ultra-high-data-rate wireless systems that can transfer data at greater than five gigabits (or billion bits) per second. Using current wireless data transfer rates of around 100 megabits (or million bits) per second, it takes minutes to download music or video onto an iPod. By comparison, using Mukhopadhyay’s innovations, a 17-gigabit DVD can be downloaded in less than three seconds.

He is presently contributing to expanding Texas Instruments’ business in disk drive technology to develop the industry’s fastest read/write speeds, error-free data transfer and improved energy efficiency.

Mukhopadhyay earned his bachelor of technology degree with honors from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharangpur, West Bengal, India, in 2002. He added a master’s (2004) and doctorate (2006) from Georgia Tech in electrical and computer engineering. He was only 25 when he earned his Ph.D.

Mukhopadhyay is a member of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society and the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. He has published more than 20 technical papers (three invited) in IEEE journals and conferences and holds eight patents (issued and pending). His picture and bio appeared with the other New Faces of Engineering in a full-page ad in USA Today on 18 February. See http://www.eweek.org/site/Engineers/newfaces2008/index.shtml

An ad hoc committee of IEEE members Vern Johnson of Tucson, Ariz.; Paul Kostek of Seattle; Kiki Ikossi of Alexandria, Va.; and Lee Stogner of Taylors, S.C., selected Mukhopadhyay as the IEEE/IEEE-USA’s New Face.

The committee’s other top choices were Thomas Ainsworth, who works for the Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach, Calif.; Jason Karns (Westinghouse Electric Co., Monroeville, Pa.); Lukas Kunz (Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz.); and Laleh Samani (Motorola, Fort Worth, Texas). Their bios are available at http://www.eweek.org/site/Engineers/newfaces2008/IEEE.shtml

For more on all the 2008 “New Faces” honorees, go to http://www.eweek.org/site/News/Eweek/2008_newfaces.shtml