In The News

This monthly summary includes excerpts from Illinois in the News, a daily service provided by the University of Illinois News Bureau and other media search tools. This collection of recent stories focuses on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.

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December 2017 media appearances

Wired In Dawn Haken

News-Gazette (Dec. 24) -- Each week, staff writer Paul Wood chats with a high-tech entrepreneur. This week, meet University of Illinois student Dawn Haken, a Champaign Central graduate and junior majoring in electrical engineering. 

Jian Peng Makes Breakthrough in Protein Prediction Using Deep Learning

HPC Wire (Dec. 20) -- Jian Peng, NCSA Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Illinois and graduate student, Yang Liu, Department of Computer Science, have discovered a major breakthrough in protein structure predictions using deep learning data processed by NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputer published in Cell Systems journal.

UI engineering professor named as interim dean

News-Gazette (Dec. 20) -- Engineering Professor Tamer Basar, director of the Center for Advanced Study, has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Baseball Physics

Deadspin (Dec. 18) -- Statcast, a system that uses cameras and radar to track baseball players and the baseball, offers nearly limitless possibilities for baseball analysis by producing an incredible amount of raw data, some of which is packaged into specific metrics designed by a team of people at Major League Baseball Advanced Media. But the data is kept private.“(MLBAM) might be able to reach better metrics more quickly if the data were all publicly available. There would be an army of amateurs out there – very talented amateurs, I might say – that would work on developing their own metrics,” says Alan Nathan, a professor emeritus of physics at Illinois.

Wired In: Trudy Kriven

News-Gazette (Dec. 17) -- ach week, staff writer Paul Wood chats with a high-tech entrepreneur. This week, meet WALTRAUD (TRUDY) KRIVEN, a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois who's CEO of KeaneTech LLC.

Mystery microwave weapon

Daily Mail (Dec. 13) --  In August, American and Canadian diplomats working in Havana reported hearing sounds that were believed to be a mysterious sonic weapon. Doctors termed the sounds 'directional acoustic phenomena', and even noticed brain changes in those hearing it. In a study in the IEEE Microwave Magazine, Professor James Lin, an expert in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, suggests that microwaves produced the sounds. Also: Infosurhoy (Dec. 14)

UI's 'CS + X' degrees add up on many different levels

News-Gazette (Dec. 10) -- The "CS + X" program — which just added two new options, in the Department of Crop Sciences and the School of Music — grew out of the incredible demand for computer science degrees and the increasingly vital role of data and computing in "just about every area one could imagine," said Lenny Pitt, head of the computer science department.

Mantis shrimp are the inspiration for this new polarized light camera

Digital Trends (Dec. 10) -- Thanks to Mother Nature’s inspiration, we may now have a camera that can improve early cancer detection and potentially help us better understand underwater phenomena. “The animal kingdom is full of creatures with much more sensitive and sophisticated eyes than our own,” said Viktor Gruev, a University of Illinois professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-author of the new study. “These animals perceive natural phenomena that are invisible to humans.”

Physics Breakthrough: New form of matter, Excitonium, finally proved to exist after 50-year search.

Newsweek (Dec. 9) -- After 50 years of theories and thwarted attempts, scientists have finally proved the existence of a new form of matter. The never-before-detected condensate is called excitonium, a name first coined in the 1960s by Harvard theoretical physicist Bert Halperin. Halperin is now 76. Peter Abbamonte, the physicist responsible for the discovery, recently saw him at a party; Halperin was, apparently, excited. Also: Futurism (Dec. 10), New Atlas (Dec. 10), International Business Times (Dec. 10), The Indepdent (Dec. 12)

Can a machine be creative?

Christian Science Monitor (Dec. 8) --￿ How does one articulate a nebulous concept like ￿good￿ to a machine? ￿Machine learning is good at generating and evaluating variations,￿ says Ranjitha Kumar, a computer science professor at Illinois. ￿(But) you don￿t really understand the problem definition, the constraints or the criteria for goodness until you￿ve built a bunch of things and tried them out.￿￿

The 80s Software Program That Made Email Famous

Motherboard (Dec. 6) -- In early 1997, two applications were in the process of taking over the internet, and both had roots in the U. of I. One of those applications, Netscape, became a bedrock of how we surf the World Wide Web. The other, Eudora, put a graphical twist on email.

Artificial Intelligence

Wired (Dec. 5) -- Machine learning software is not going to replace human expertise, says William Paul King, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois who was not involved in the research of a team seeking to alter an alloy to make it compatible with a 3-D printer. The team had to tell the algorithm explicitly what chemical properties they were looking for. “It required significant expertise from them,” King says.

Wired In: Samuel Walder

News-Gazette (Dec. 3) -- Each week, staff writer Paul Wood chats with a high-tech entrepreneur. This week, meet recent University of Illinois graduate and Trala founder SAMUEL WALDER, whose app helps violin and viola players learn music faster and make fewer errors by tracking practice time and providing instant feedback. It took home the top $15,000 prize among startups on the non-university tech track at the 17th annual Cozad New Venture Competition.

Beyond Bitcoin: What￿s the Next Big Cryptocurrency?

HowStuffWorks (Dec. 1) --￿Andrew Miller is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and associate director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies & Contracts. He thinks the bubble talk is irrelevant. What's more important is that investor speculation is fostering rapid innovation, creating hundreds of "really exciting experiments" in the form of new cryptocurrencies, each with unique functionalities.

Fuel cells

New York Times (Nov. 30) -- After “trying to make a really uninhabitable planet habitable,” says K. R. Sridhar, who once worked on a Mars project at NASA, “I was thinking, ‘I can do something to make this planet a little more sustainable.’” Trained as a mechanical engineer in his native India, Sridhar arrived at the lab after getting a doctorate at Illinois. 

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