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Summer 2017

From the Dean

The College of Engineering is bringing a heat that rivals this summer's record-setting temperatures. In addition to testing the performance of cross-laminated timber panels in earthquake simulations and teaching robots to have a personality, our faculty and students are winning awards, educating the community, and conducting groundbreaking research.

As we look forward to welcoming our community back to campus in the fall, I am excited about the momentum we have and look forward to what we will accomplish together in the 2017-2018 academic year. Stay tuned for more exciting news from the College of Engineering.

Go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
('83 Oregon State, Civil Engineering)
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University


Seismic experiments test performance of cross-laminated timber structure
Engineering researchers are putting an innovative two-story structure made of cross-laminated timber panels through a series of seismic tests to determine how it would perform in an earthquake. The tests, funded by the National Science Foundation, are being conducted at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure at University of California San Diego site. By shaking the 22-foot-tall structure, the researchers will produce data that can be used in the design of a new generation of wood-frame high-rises. "Just for reference, the shake-table motions on one of the tests are calibrated to what is expected to occur in a magnitude 9.0 subduction earthquake zone event in Seattle," said Andre Barbosa, assistant professor of structural engineering, who is leading the test of the building's horizontal elements with Christopher Higgins, professor of structural engineering, and Arijit Sinha, associate professor of renewable materials in the College of Forestry. More… (see also KTVZ, SINA English, Wood Business, Science Daily)

Faculty & Staff

Temes receives University Researcher Award
Gabor Temes has been selected by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), in consultation with the Semiconductor Research Corporation, to receive the 2017 University Researcher Award. Established in 1995 by the SIA, this award recognizes lifetime research contributions to the U.S. semiconductor industry by university faculty. More…

Natarajan receives DARPA Young Faculty Award
Arun Natarajan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award for research focused on reducing the power consumed by wireless radios operating at millimeter-wave frequencies. These sparsely used frequencies support high data rates, but wireless communication between users at these frequencies can be easily blocked by physical barriers like walls. Natarajan's research objective is to build efficient and intelligent repeaters to extend the range of the wireless link which can improve overall power consumption and radio costs.

Combating programmer’s block
Just as writers can encounter writer's block, programmers can face "programmer's block." Heather Knight, assistant professor of computer science and core member of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute, has compiled a list of strategies to help programmers overcome programmer's block. More…

Brown advanced to ASCE Fellow
Shane Brown, associate professor of civil and construction engineering, has been elected to Fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), an honor held by only 3 percent of ASCE members. Fellows are selected for celebrated professional contributions.

Tips for teen drivers
Katharine Hunter-Zaworski, associate professor of civil and construction engineering, offered tips for teen drivers in a WalletHub article on the best and worst states for teen drivers. More…

Teaching robots to be kind
Heather Knight, assistant professor of computer science and core member of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute, talks about making robotic devices more charismatic at Cannes Lions Innovation. More…

Targeting cancerous tumors with 3-D modeling and simulation
The National Science Foundation's Science 360 Radio airs an episode of the College of Engineering's podcast, "Engineering Out Loud" featuring work done by Eugene Zhang, associate professor of computer science, and Yue Zhang, associate professor of computer science, to target cancerous tumors with 3-D modeling and simulation.

Sharing expertise on electrical systems resilience
In collaboration with Portland State University, College of Engineering faculty members Ted Brekken, Jinsub Kim, and Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez held a one-day course for power systems engineering professionals to discuss electrical systems resilience needed to address the threat of Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes and tsunamis. More…


Student/industry collaborations provide leading-edge experiential learning
Using an example from the College of Engineering, eCampus News discusses the benefit of industry connections in higher education. Engineering students teamed up with Puralytics to design a large-scale water filtration system, allowing the students to gain valuable real-world experience.

Rocketry team competes in Spaceport America Cup
The American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics club participated in the Spaceport America Cup in June, winning the Team Sportsmanship Award. Nancy Squires, advisor to the club, believes that, in addition to exposure to aerospace companies from across the country, participating in these events provides students with valuable hands-on experience, a collaborative team experience, and professionalism. More… (see also Space.com)

Civil engineering student receives travel award
Cooper Frantz-Geddes, a student pursing a civil engineering degree, is the recipient of a Generation Study Abroad Excellence and Travel award offered by Education New Zealand. He will receive a $2,000 travel stipend to cover airfare to and from New Zealand, where he will be attending the University of Canterbury this fall. More…

Improving the efficiency of autonomous underwater vehicles
Dylan Jones, Ph.D. student in robotics, and Geoff Hollinger, assistant professor of robotics and core member of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute, have found a way for autonomous underwater vehicles to navigate strong currents with greater efficiency, allowing more time to gather data. "With autonomous underwater vehicles, you can get months-long monitoring. And a way to extend those vehicles' missions is through smarter planning for how they get from one point to another," said Jones, who is the lead author on the study. More… (see also XinhuaNet and R&D Magazine)

Computer science students receive national award
Three Oregon State University students working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory received the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Startup Allocation based on their senior design capstone project. Computer science students Taylor Alexander Brown and Heidi Ann Clayton worked with finance student Xiaomei Wang on the senior design project called Coal and Open-pit surfacing mining impacts on American Lands (COAL). The team also won the CH2M HILL Multidisciplinary Collaboration Award at the 2017 Undergraduate Engineering Expo. More…

Engineering students selected for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association All-Academic Team
Baxter Call, a junior in environmental engineering; Glenn Miller, a sophomore in mechanical engineering; Nathan Smith, a senior in civil engineering; and Liam Kucey; a senior in civil engineering, were among the eight Oregon State rowers selected to the 2017 Intercollegiate Rowing Association All-Academic team.  More…

Catching the first glimpse of the eclipse
College of Engineering students are among a team who will be on board a research vessel hoping to capture the first glimpse of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse via a high-altitude balloon. More…


Aquaharmonics adds another $5M for prize-winning energy device
After winning a $1.5 million Wave Energy Prize, alumni Alex Hagmuller ('09) and Max Ginsburg ('10) of AquaHarmonics have been awarded up to $5 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding to enhance and test their energy-converter concept in the ocean. More…


Computer science faculty receive $6.5M DARPA grant
Eight computer science professors in Oregon State University's College of Engineering have received a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense's DARPA to make artificial-intelligence-based systems like autonomous vehicles and robots more trustworthy. "Ultimately, we want these explanations to be very natural – translating these deep network decisions into sentences and visualizations," said Alan Fern, principal investigator for the grant and associate director of the College of Engineering's Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) InstituteMore… (see also Scientific American)


New R&D hub aims to bolster Oregon manufacturing
Oregon State University has teamed up with Portland State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology, and some of the biggest manufacturing names in the Northwest, for a new research and development collaboration aimed at boosting Oregon's manufacturing sector. The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center, located in Scappoose, Oregon, will focus on developing advanced metals manufacturing technologies. More…


College of Engineering launches robotics institute
The College of Engineering has launched a new robotics institute called the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute to advance the theory and design of robotics and artificial intelligence. The institute is committed to exploring the impact of robotics and AI on individuals and society through its three principal impact areas: academics, research, and deployed systems and policy.  More… (see also Oregonlive)

In Memoriam

Don Tykeson, businessman and philanthropist
Businessman and philanthropist Don Tykeson recently passed away at the age of 90. Tykeson, who amassed a fortune in Oregon's broadcasting industry, was passionate about giving back to education and the arts. A gift from the Tykeson Family Charitable Trust in 2010 established the Tykeson Faculty Scholar in Energy Systems Engineering, the first endowed faculty position at OSU-Cascades, and helped launch the Energy Systems Engineering degree program. More…

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