Annual Report and Summary
Strategically, the department continues to pursue long-term goals of sustained excellence in research and teaching. Increasing undergraduate enrollment is still a high priority, though many recruitment activities still could not be carried out. We will offer a new robotics summer enrichment programs and we will continue active outreach to all accepted students with targeted phone calls. The robotics engineering undergraduate degree was approved and the program received 65 applications and 37 students were accepted – in line with expectations. We expect around 20 students in our first class of students this Fall. The new robotics degree has the potential to double the number of undergraduate students in the ECE department over the next 5 years. We hired a new faculty member, Shan Zuo, to join our robotics faculty and we hope to hire a new robotics faculty starting Fall 2023.
We continue to grow our professional education efforts with our first cohort of about 20 students completing a certificate in Grid Modernization in partnership with the Eversource Center. The department is also participating in an Ocean Engineering certificate with the ME department and the Marine Sciences Department.
Personnel changes: Rajeev Bansal and Peter Luh retired January 2021, Dee Stolstrom retired April 2022, Mary McCarthy retired June 2022, and Prof. Krishna Pattipati retired July 2022.
Retirees: Peter Luh, Rajeev Bansal, Mary McCarthy, and Dee Stolstrom
Missing from photo: Krishna Pattipati
The ECE Department is home to 27 tenured/tenure-track faculty members comprising 13 professors (several with 30+ years of service to UConn), 9 associate professors, and 5 assistant professors. The faculty includes three Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors. During 2021-2022, the faculty
- Published 126 journal papers and 167 conference papers.
- Received 8 new patents
- Received 24 grants worth $10.8M and had research expenditures in excess of $5M.
Recent external faculty honors include:
- Prof. Junbo Zhao received the 2021 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, the flagship journal in the power and energy field, as first author on the paper, “Power System Dynamic State Estimation: Motivations, Definitions, Methodologies and Future Work,”. This work has received more than 235 citations according to Google Scholar and been categorized as the Highly Cited Paper according to Web of Science since March 2021, i.e., the top 1% based on the number of citations received when compared to other papers published in the same field in the same year.
- NAE recognized Prof. Thomas Katsouleas and his collaborators for the impact that the Grand Challenge Scholars Program has made on society through the Bernard M. Gordon Prize, which recognizes trailblazers in engineering education.
- Prof. Thomas Katsouleas named 2022 Optica Fellow.
- ECE Faculty are ranked in the top 2% of engineering scholars in a study published in PLOS Biology Journal. They are: Yaakov Bar-Shalom, Ali Bazzi, Bahram Javidi, Krishna Pattipati, Peter Willett, Junbo Zhao and Shengli Zhou. Emeriti Rajeev Bansal, David Kleinman, Peter Luh and Geoff Taylor were also ranked.
- Prof. Junbo Zhao, serving as chair of the IEEE Task Force on Power System Dynamic State and Parameter Estimation, was recognized as part of the IEEE group that earned the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Technical Committee Working Group Recognition Award for Outstanding Technical Report.
- Prof. Liang Zhang is heading the UConn Industrial Assessment Center. The award is a 5-year grant with over a $3.3 million total budget.
- Prof. Yang Cao has been selected to receive $2.7 million in funding over three years from the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E to develop a lifecycle management framework to transition to a new, sulfur hexafluoride–free electrical grid.
- Prof. Junbo Zhao was recently appointed as the Technical Committee Program Chair of the IEEE PES Renewable Systems Integration Coordinating Committee . He has also been selected to serve as the next chair of the IEEE PES Connecticut Chapter.
- Prof. Junbo Zhao has been appointed Associate Director in the Eversource Energy Center Undergraduate Education.
The department offers undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering (EE), Computer Engineering (CMPE, offered jointly with the Computer Science & Engineering Department), Engineering Physics (EGPHY, offered jointly with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), and starting in Fall 2022 the department began offering an undergraduate major in Robotics Engineering (RE). Fall 2021 undergraduate enrollments were: 276 students in the EE, CMPE, and EGPHY programs. During the academic year 2021-2022, we awarded 84 B.S.E. degrees in EE in CompE, and EGPHY. Highlights of the undergraduate program include:
UConn Frost Robotics Club
- Malik Francis (CMPE ’25) was selected as a McNair Scholar.
- Quincy Heinrich (EE ‘22) and Zachary Stone (EE ‘22) were awarded a UConn IDEA grant to support their project named “Variable Pole Induction Motor and Controller.” Aaron Spaulding (EE ‘21) received a UConn SURF award for his project “Validating Machine-Learning Based Damage Prediction Models.”
- William Cryan (EE ‘23) and Thomas Cusson (EE ‘23) each received a DoD Cybersecurity Scholarship with one year of full tuition, a stipend, and an internship at NAWCWD China Lake
- Two new student clubs were formed – FROST Robotics and UConn Radio Electronics Club.
A student team composed of Zachary DiMeglio (EE ‘22), Stephen Pang (EE ‘22), and Mitchell Johnson (EE ‘22), and advised by Prof. Sung-Yeul Park, advanced to the Final Round of IFEC 2022 – IEEE International Future Energy Challenge – as one of the eight teams in the final competition. The team received a “Best Education Impact” award. Left: Stephen Pang, Zachary DiMeglio, and Mitchell Johnson
Fall 2021 graduate enrollments were 86 PhD students, 20 MS students, and 18 Meng students. During 2021-2022, 12 successfully completed their Ph.D. degrees and 16 students garnered their M.S. degrees.
- Yansong Pei, a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Junbo Zhao, was the first author of the paper “Data-Driven Distribution System Coordinated PV Inverter Control Using Deep Reinforcement Learning” which received the 2021 IEEE Sustainable Power and Energy Conference Best Paper Award. This is a collaborative work with National Renewable Energy Lab under the support by Department of Energy. Only 20 papers out of more than 1000 papers are selected for this award.
- Bendong Tan, a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Junbo Zhao, received the 2021 Outstanding Reviewer Award from the IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, the flagship journal in the power and energy field. He was recognized by his outstanding reviews with high quality and timeliness.
- Under the supervision of Prof. Krishna Pattipati, student team including Adam Bienkowski (ECE PhD student) and Hee-Seung Kim (ECE PhD student) placed third in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) S2S challenge with a third-place prize of 5000 Swiss Francs (about $5400).
- Yishu Bai and Tianyu Zhu along with their academic advisor Prof. Liang Zhang were selected to participate in the Accelerate UConn program funded by the NSF I-Corp Grant. The program’s purpose is to nurture and support UConn-based entrepreneurial teams in the process of identifying the market opportunity for, and steps necessary to transition their ideas, devices, processes, or other intellectual activities into the marketplace. The group received a $1,000 grant at the conclusion of the program.
- Prize winners from the Connecticut Symposium on Microelectronics & Optoelectronics poster competition included UConn ECE student Elisa Parent. Raja Gudlavalleti also won a prize for Best Oral Paper.
- A 1989 PhD graduate of ECE, Hemchandra Shertukde, received the IEEE Power Systems Society Transformers Committee Outstanding Service Award for longstanding commitment and participation in Committee activities. He was one of three recipients who have been an officer of 35 or more standards development activities (task force, working group, or subcommittee). Hemchandra was an advisee of Yaakov Bar-Shalom, and is currently a Professor of the EE Dept. at Univ. of Hartford.
- David Sidoti, a 2018 PhD graduate, has received the prestigious Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers Of The Year Award for Emergent Scientist. The award is one of the most prestigious civilian awards from DoD. David is currently a Computer Scientist at the Marine Meteorology Division in the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, CA.
- David Crouse (PhD ’11, coadvised by Prof Peter Willett and Yaakov Bar-Shalom) was promoted to Senior Member of IEEE.
- Robert Tomastik – BS, ECE, 1989; Ph.D., 1995, ECE was selected as a 2021 inductee of the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers.
Previous Annual Reports
Annual Report 2021
Annual Report 2020
Annual Report 2019
Annual Report 2018
Annual Report 2017