Member Recognitions: February 2010

These IEEE members were recently recognized for their work by other organizations

5 February 2010

Three IEEE members were among the 16 researchers named 2009 recipients of Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation presented Justin Romberg, Hong Tang, and Luis von Ahn each with a research grant of US $875 000. The foundation aims to further the work of promising young scientists and engineers.

Romberg received a fellowship to develop theory, algorithms, and hardware for next-generation acquisition systems by exploiting underlying signal structures. He is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech, where he focuses on signal processing. He also is a mathematical consultant for the TV show “Numb3rs”; he checks the scripts for accuracy and plausibility.

Romberg is a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

Tang is using the grant to develop a new class of light-force devices and circuits to be used to control silicon-microchip components. The work might lead to nanodevices controlled by light rather than electricity.

Tang is a professor of electrical engineering at Yale University, where he specializes in nano-electromechanical systems, classical and quantum optomechanics, integrated quantum optics, and microfluidics nanosensor development.

He is a member of the IEEE Electron Devices Socitey.

Von Ahn says he plans to use the money to further develop a new area of computer science he established, called “human computation,” which studies how to use humans and computers to solve problems that are impossible for either to solve alone. One solution he is working on is a way to prevent automated spam messages.

In 2000 von Ahn developed the test Completely Automated Public Turing to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) for Yahoo. CAPTCHAs require Web site visitors to type in letters they see on the screen to verify that a human is accessing the site, not spamming software.

Von Ahn is a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


Fellow Chai K. Toh was awarded the 2009 Ambrose Fleming Medal for Achievements in Communications Engineering from the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He was cited for his pioneering work on ad hoc mobile network methods, which are used in tactical radios, wireless sensors, unmanned air vehicles, and robots. The medal also recognized him for laying the foundation for the next generation of mobile communications, computing, and networking. IET is a professional association based in the United Kingdom.

Toh is professor of communications networks at the University of London. Previously, as director of research in communications systems at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, in Carson, Calif., he invented associativity-based routing, a source-initiated routing protocol used in mobile communications.

Toh is a member of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems and Communications societies.


Life Fellow George E. Cook received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. The award recognizes “distinguished achievement, significant service, and excellent character.”

Cook is associate dean for research and graduate studies as well as a professor of electrical engineering. His research, which focuses on robotics and industrial automation, has earned him several U.S. and foreign patents on welding technology. One, for “through-the-arc sensing,” covers a method that’s widely used in arc-welding robots.

Cook is a member of the IEEE Robotics & Automation and Industry Applications societies.


Two IEEE Fellows were named members of the technical advisory board at Powerwave Technologies of Santa Ana, Calif. Arogyaswami J. Paulraj and Theodore S. Rappaport were selected for their roles as thought leaders in industry, government, and academia. The board provides guidance on the development of the company’s services, which include wireless coverage and capacity solutions for communications networks.

Paulraj, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, is a member of the IEEE Communications Society.

Rappaport, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, is the founding director of the school’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group. His research at the university in radio wave propagation and wireless communication system design has led to broad acceptance of the site-specific radio frequency channel modeling and design used in broadband wireless networks.

Rappaport is a member of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation, Communications, Education, and Vehicular Technology societies.

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