Calit2@UCI Academic Affiliates Accrue Awards, Honors

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Oct. 19, 2006 -- UC Irvine’s Calit2 academic affiliates have amassed an abundance of awards, gifts, grants and honors recently.

Magda El Zarki , professor of computer science, has been appointed Cor Wit Chair at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Established in 2003 by the Cor Wit Foundation, the Cor Wit chair is awarded annually to international researchers in the field of telecommunications and informatics whose research focuses on the interface of technology and society. Networking is El Zarki's core research area, with particular emphasis on multimedia and wireless systems.

Microsoft Research has awarded computer science professor Pierre Baldi an unrestricted gift of $45,000. The award will be used to support machine learning research in the Baldi group and help develop the new Bren School Center for Machine Learning and Data Mining. An interdisciplinary researcher, Baldi is the director of UCI’s Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics.

His research focuses on several areas, including artificial intelligence, data mining, machine learning, bioinformatics and communication networks.

Associate Professor Cristina Lopes recently served as conference chair for Ubicomp 2006, the Eighth International Conference of Ubiquitous Computing. Ubicomp is the premier international forum for research in ubiquitous computing, bringing together designers, computer scientists, social scientists and artists. Professor Paul Dourish served as conference program chair.

Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chen Li received a Google Research Award for $37,500. The funds, renewable for a second year, will be applied to Li's research on data cleaning and string searching.

Li, who was also the recipient of a $7,000 Microsoft Research award in April, researches database and information systems, including data integration, data warehouses, data cleansing, multimedia databases and XML.

Other Calit2 affiliates receiving honors include Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, dean of  The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and professor of electrical engineering and computer science. He received an honorary doctorate from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece (NTUA), the first distinction of its kind given by NTUA in nearly 20 years.

Michael W. Berns, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor of Biomedical Engineering, as well as developmental and cell biology, and surgery, was awarded the 2006 Biomedical Optics Lifetime Achievement award at SPIE’s International Symposium on Biomedical Optics. Berns is also co-founder of UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute.

Daniel D. Gajski, The Henry Samueli “Turing” Endowed Chair in Computer Systems Design and director of the Center for Embedded Computer Systems, was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Oldenburg, Germany in recognition of his contributions to embedded systems and design science.

Payam Heydari, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is the principle investigator of a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation given to establish an infrastructure for research on broadband wireless/wireline communication circuit design. Heydari also won the 2005 Darlington Best Paper Award from the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society for his journal paper “Analysis of the PLL Jitter Due to Power/Ground and Substrate Noise.”

Hamid Jafarkhani, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and deputy director of the Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing, together with his student, Yun Zhu, received the 2006 IEEE Guglielmo Marconi Best Paper Award in wireless communications for their paper, “Differential Modulation Based on Quasi-Orthogonal Codes.” Jafarkhani was also presented with a UC Irvine Academic Senate Distinguished Mid-Career Faculty Award for Research.

Abraham Lee and William Tang, professors of biomedical engineering, and Bruce Tromberg, director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, and professor of biomedical engineering, were inducted as Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Martha Mecartney, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation, Division of Materials Research grant of $400,000 for her research on “The Role of Crystallographic Defects in Ceramic Superplasticity.” She also received a U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need award. In addition, Mecartney is the chair of UCI’s 2006-07 Academic Senate

Amelia C. Regan, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and computer science, received a 2005-06 UC Irvine Academic Senate Distinguished Mid-Career Faculty Award for Service.

Stephen Ritchie, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was appointed director of UC Irvine’s Institute of Transportation Studies , and will serve a five-year term. ITS specializes in developing state-of-the-art solutions to contemporary transportation problems.

Scott Samuelsen, professor and founder of UC Irvine’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department, and director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center , was named an American Society of Mechanical Engineers Fellow, a prestigious distinction honoring his many career contributions to mechanical engineering. He was also recognized as one of the “10 to Watch,” by the Orange County Register, which identified 10 individuals expected to help shape Orange County ’s next 100 years.

Masanobu Shinozuka, distinguished professor and chair of the civil and environmental engineering department, was presented with the American Society of Civil Engineers Robert H. Scanlan Medal in honor of his contributions to engineering mechanics. This marks the seventh distinguished award Shinozuka has received from the ASCE since the beginning of his honorary membership in 1993. He was also elected an honorary member of the Japan Association of Earthquake Engineering.

Andrei Shkel, associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of UC Irvine’s MicroSystems Laboratory, received a $1,250,000 DARPA sub-award for development of the world’s first micromachined gyroscope based on spin-polarized nuclei precession. This DARPA program, called Navigation Grade Integrated Micro Gyroscopes, supports the development of novel micro- or nano-engineered devices capable of sensing rotation rate with navigation-grade performance.

Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental EngineeringSoroosh Sorooshian was invited to join the U.S. National Committee for the International Hydrological Programme, as the civil and environmental engineering department’s committee representative. He was also appointed vice chairman of a new federal advisory committee being established by the Department of Energy to oversee, review and approve two scientific synthesis and assessment reports addressing climate change issues.