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Department of Electrical Engineering
271 Marshall W. Alworth Hall
1023 University Dr.
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN 55812
Phone: (218) 726-6147
Fax: (218) 726-7267

UMD Electrical and Computer Engineering
271 MWAH, 1023 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812
Telephone: 218-726-6147
FAX:  218-726-7267
Editor: Shey Peterson


On behalf our students, staff, and faculty, it is my pleasure to highlight the latest Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering activities, strengths, and recent accomplishments. It has been a while since we have had an opportunity to prepare our "ECE Circuit Board" newsletter. Rest assured, the Department has been very active in all aspects of our educational mission.

We welcome two professors over this last year, DR. DEBAO ZHOU as a 3M McKnight Visiting Professor, and G. LEE ZIMMERMAN as a visiting Professor. Professor TAEK KWON is on sabbatical leave for one year to pursue his transportation research. Dr. Kwon will resume his teaching duty next fall. Mr. TOM FERGUSON continued his second-year term as a 3M McKnight Visiting Professor teaching the "Energy Conversion Systems" course this semester and will offer a new Honors Seminar course "Renewable Energy" next spring. Professor PAUL WEBER started his new two-year term as assistant professor this fall, as a lab instructor for "Electronics I" while teaching "Computer Architecture" this semester and will teach "Multiprocessor Based System Design" and "Microcomputer System Design" next spring. The ECE Department is now in preparation for the upcoming ABET re-accreditation in Fall 2009. Professor CHRIS CARROLL and myself are compiling the materials and writing the ABET Self-Study Report. Our graduate program continues to grow. I know you will share my pride in the accomplishments of our undergraduate and graduate students; of which samples are highlighted in this newsletter.

Please keep in touch with our department. Not only do we care about where you are and where you are going, we also need to follow your progress as an important part of the accreditation process. Jot us a quick note and let us know what’s happening. Please send information to the Department via email or snail-mail. I welcome you to visit the Department the next time if you have a chance to come to Duluth.


Amazingly, I have been an Associate Dean for 1½ years and I still remember Ohm’s Law (I think, is it I=V/R or I = VR) and which end of a soldering iron to hold. The most challenging task was having to move offices - twice. It is unbelievable how much stuff you can collect over my many years as past ECE Department Head.

Over the last year, I have been part of the team setting up the new Civil Engineering program. This included hiring faculty and a Department Head. Fifty freshmen started this fall. The new CE building construction started a month ago and is scheduled for completion in 2010. We have the Swenson family and the State of Minnesota to thank for this excellent addition to our engineering infrastructure. We have over 800 students studying in UMD engineering programs.

I have also been working in areas including industrial liaison to expand internship and coop opportunities and collaborative research projects. Space assessment and planning, program and curriculum planning and coordination at both the undergraduate and graduate levels have also been major focus areas.

Duluth was a testing site for the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam last April. Our students in all disciplines did exceptionally well on this national examination. It was interesting working with the NCEES folks in Atlanta trying to address blizzard contingencies which almost resulted in a cancellation. I had just enough battery left in my cell phone to make it happen. Many thanks to the UMD Facilities Management for clearing a parking lot and access to our test site when hat classes were cancelled. All went well but it was a "new one" for NCEES. Only in Duluth…

A major responsibility for this current academic year is coordinating the ABET re-accreditation effort for the College. We are proud that all of our programs have been accredited since their inception. ECE, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering, as well as the College, are working on their assessment and self study documents in preparation for a Fall 2009 visit by the ABET evaluators. In addition, Computer Science is now also under the ABET accreditation aegis. Civil Engineering will come up for accreditation when they have the first graduates; scheduled for 2012. This accreditation effort will involve our faculty, students, members of the ECE Industrial Board, and other private and public sector employers.

There are many other exciting projects under study at the College level with an impact on engineering and I will report on these in upcoming ECE Circuit Board issues. Oh yes, I am still holding a piece of chalk as I taught electronics last year and continue teaching the Introduction to ECE course.


Dr. DEBAO HOU joined us as 3M McKnight Visiting Professor in January 2008. Before joining the faculty, he was with Georgia Tech Research Institute as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Zhou received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Production Engineering in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and the Bachelor of Engineering degree from Tsinghua University, China. He taught the "Linear Systems & Signal Analysis" course last spring and is teaching "Control Systems" this semester. His research interests are robotics, bio-system modeling, system dynamics, and control.


Dr. LEE ZIMMERMANN has rejoined us this Fall as an adjunct assistant professor teaching "Digital System Design" and will teach "Electronics I" next spring.


Dr. Jing Bai’s current research focuses on the design and modeling of novel nanostructured optoelectronic devices, especially lasers and photovoltaic devices. Her research aims to resolve the entangled physics in the device operation and further optimize the design for better performance. The research is multidisciplinary in nature spanning several areas in electrical engineering, such as semiconductor physics, optics and photovoltaics. Her current research topics include: (1) nonradiative carrier transitions in intermediate band solar cells (IBSCs); (2) effects of array disorder in quantum dot superlattice solar cells; (3) multi-mode performance of quantum-cascade lasers with high Kerr nonlinearity. Dr. Jing Bai was awarded the Grant-in-Aid research grant from the Graduate School of University of Minnesota for the period from July 2008 to Jan 2010.


Progress continues on a proposal to create a center for energy on the UMD campus. A steering committee of faculty, representing most of the colleges on campus, was formed this past spring to guide the creation of a formal proposal that will seek approval before the end of 2008. The center would interface with other centers and institutes within the University of Minnesota, and would address all aspects of energy. ECE 5995, Energy Conversion Systems, has been offered again this Fall Semester. A new course in renewable energy, ECE 1501, will be offered Spring 2009, as a freshman honors course. Both of these courses are a sign of the growing importance of energy to UMD and society in general.


Prof. Marian S. Stachowicz participated in the International conference related to the 50th Anniversary Jubilee of the East Kazakhstan State Technical D. Serikbayev University, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Republic of Kazakhstan, during 9/22/2008 and 10/1/2008. He delivered congratulations letters from Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin, Dean of the SCSE James P. Riehl and Director of the International Education Office Alice Gail Bier to Rector Dr. Galimkair Mutanov. He presented several lectures for graduate students and faculty and presented an invited plenary lecture "COMPUTING WITH WORDS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF UNCERTAINTY" at the conference. He promoted the graduate programs from UMD and explored opportunity to extend cooperation between both universities.


My current research focuses on designing mixed-signal Delta-Sigma converters for high-bandwidth applications and developing computer- aided design methods for system-level optimization of analog and mixed-signal systems. Another research topic I am working on is to design hardware co-processors for vehicle tracking to improve accuracy and real-time operation. The project is currently supported by Northland Advanced Transportation Research Laboratory.


Top Row – Left to Right: Jared Sweet – UMD Engineering Scholarship, Anders Mattson–Robert J Marchetti Engineering Scholarship, Yizhao Zhuang-Minnesota Power Leadership Engineering Scholarship, Matthew Roberts–Thor A. Gustafson Scholarship, Matt Hinnenkamp–Donald F. Mowbray Engineering Scholarship, David Marcaccini – Thor A. Gustafson Scholarship, Ryan Bezdicek – Great Lakes Transmission Academic Engineering Scholarship, Calvin Kwok Tang – UMD Engineering Scholarship

Bottom Row – Left to Right: Jared Schramel – Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Scholarship, Jeron Smith – Enbridge Energy Partners LP Academic Engineering Scholarship, Andrew Stone – Hibbing Taconite Academic Engineering Scholarship, Elyse Frederick – Mary Ann and Jerry Ostroski Engineering Scholarship, Chelsea Hanson – Barr Engineering Company Academic Engineering Scholarship, Laura Stoerzinger – Minnesota Power Leadership Engineering Scholarship, Bryan Thorsell – UMD Engineering Scholarship Not pictured:, Calvin Behling – Noramco Academic Engineering Scholarship, Dana Engebretson – Erin Swieringa Memorial Scholarship


Coordinated for ECE by Stan Burns, Engineering Day last fall was very successful with over 100 regional area high school students participating. We have had three ECE undergraduate students Jason Staab, Anders Mattson, and Joliot Chu assist an East High School student team in a state robotics competition. Working with the high schools and their students is very important to UMD.


Fall 07 UROP Calvin Behling participated in the UROP program under the guidance of Dr. Marian Stachowicz with his project "Smart Wallet for the Blind and Visually Impaired" Joen Fook Chu completed a UROP project, "Energy Recycling to Extend Laptop Battery Life" under the supervision of Dr. Imran Hayee.

Buddhika Maitipe worked with Dr. Mohammed Hasan on his project "Analyzing the Effectiveness of Digital Speech Enhancement as an Input Signal of a Hearing Aid".

Tom Soldner is working with Dr. Glenn Nordehn of the UMD School of Medicine on his project titled "DISIR–SOIR"

Yizhao Zhuang, assisted by Dr. Jiann-Shiou Yang, has completed his project "Energy Efficiency Analysis and Design of a Hybrid Powered Autonomous Vehicle"

Spring 08 UROP Astrit Fetahi worked with Dr. Scott Norr on his UROP project,"Efficiency of Maglev Technology"

In ECE 4951, Senior Design students mentored by Paul Weber and Scott Norr split up into three project teams, each focusing on a distinct area. The team of Ryan Gerou, Sang Xiong, Eric Branson, and Chris Sandberg completed a functional design of a Steer-by-Wire go kart and modeled the reliability of the system as well as other more complex designs. The team of Jason Staab, Brian Stangler, Scott Ewen, and Mike Arndt created the drive control for a hybrid vehicle. Lastly, the team which comprised Eric Mislivec, Tom Pielow, Sean Anderson, and Calvin Tang constructed a small-scale model of a magnetic levitation train.

The VLSI class ECE 4311 is a senior elective that is open to both seniors and graduate students. In Fall 2007, two representative course projects were FIR Filter for DSP by J. Chu and C. Bristow, and an 8-bit CPU by J. Staab, S. Ewen, and B. Chen. All projects were designed using TSMC 0.25?m process in Cadence.


Fall 2007: B.S.E.C.E.

Matthew Bieniek, Andrew Maiko, Joshua Demenge, Edward Simon, Andrew Fernando, Ryan Verhulst, Charles Haupert, Ryan Wilmot, Toan Le, Natham Wirkkula

Spring 2008: B.S.E.C.E.

Michael James Arndt, Scott Michael Ewen, Dinesh Kshatri Baniya, Ryan Michael Gerou, Eric Stanley Barnard, Eric John Mislivec, Eric Gregory Branson, Matthew D Verreaux, Joen Fook Joliot Chu, Sang Kao Xiong

Spring 2008: M.S.E.C.E.

Tim Delf

Summer 2008: M.S.E.C.E.

Yi Zheng


Salman Butt Salman Butt is now working with Dr. Jing Bai as a graduate research assistant starting in summer 2008. His research topic is the analysis of the band structure of quantum dot superlattices for photovoltaic application. Salman is supported by the Grant-in-Aid research fund from the Graduate School in the University of Minnesota.

Hairong Chang Hairong Chang was a graduate student who started in Fall 2006 and is currently a 2nd-year graduate student. Since May 2008, she has been in an intern with QualComm Inc. Her research work focuses on system-level simulation of clock jitter effects in continuous-time Delta-Sigma modulators.

Peng Li Peng Li is a graduate student who just joined the department in Fall 2008. Mr. Li will work on FPGA implementations of vehicle tracking algorithms.

Matthew Webb, who graduated in June 2007, finally got his Delta-Sigma modulator design for WCDMA fabricated thanks to the generous support of MOSIS, the ECE department and SCSE. A photo of the chip is shown below:

Mr. Yi Zheng was a graduate student who started in Fall 2006 and graduated in August 2008 after successfully defending his master thesis titled "Design of a Hardware-based Vehicle Tracking System". Currently, Mr. Zheng is a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech.


Circuits, especially analog circuits, manufactured with today's nano-meter technology suffer from process parameter variation effects. Previous research was done on statistical analysis of analog circuits considering parameter variations. In the proposed project, "Statistical Design of Analog Integrated Circuits." Dr. Hua Tang will extend this research to statistical design of analog circuits. He was awarded a Chancellors Small Grant for this research for use by Spring 2008.


J. Bai and D. S. Citrin, "Enhancement of Optical Kerr Effect in Quantum-Cascade Lasers with Multiple Resonance Levels", Optics Express, vol.17, no.16, pp. 12599-12606, August, 2008.

J. Bai and D. S. Citrin, "Design of Nonlinearity-Enhanced Quantum Cascade Lasers", Optical and Quantum Electronics, vol. 40, no. 2-4, pp. 191-195, March, 2008. J. Bai and D. S. Citrin, "Harmonic-Resonance Enhanced Third-Order Nonlinear Susceptibilities in Quantum-Cascade Lasers," Proceedings of SPIE, vol. 6997, Strasbourg, France, April 7-11, 2008.

Dr. Christopher Carroll, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, attended the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA, during June, 2008, and presented the paper "Innovative Lab Station Using the Freescale ‘HCS12 Microcontroller and Dragon Development Board." Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, forming the Ohio River, which then flows westward past Dr. Carroll’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH. After attending the conference, Dr. Carroll drove back from Pittsburgh to Duluth with his wife, Jeanne, and made several stops along the way. The route back added six more states to the list of states that he and his wife have visited together since they met in 2000, bringing the total to 34 states.

C. Carroll has been selected to receive the 2008 "Outstanding Educator" award from the North Midwest Section of ASEE. This award identifies an educator in the section (including Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and upper Michigan) who is recognized by colleagues as having contributed significantly to the educational mission addressed by ASEE. He will receive the award at the regional ASEE conference at the University of Wisconsin Platteville in October, where he will present the paper "Innovative ‘HCS12 Microcontroller Lab Station Using Limited Lab Resources."

Marian S. Stachowicz, Adilbek N. Karaguishiyev, "Preliminary Algorithm for Intelligent Diagnosis System", Proc. of the 8th International Conference on Active Noise and Vibration Control Methods, MARDiH 2007, Krasiczyn, Poland, June 11 - 14, 2007.

Marian S. Stachowicz, Adilbek N. Karaguishiyev, "Colors for Intelligent Diagnosis System", Proc. of the 8th International Conference on Active Noise and Vibration Control Methods, MARDiH 2007, Krasiczyn, Poland on June 11 - 14, 2007.

Marian S. Stachowicz, "Fuzzy Sets Theory and Mathematical Modeling", 8 th International Carpathian Control Conference, ICCC-2007, High Tatras, Slovak Republic, May 24 - 27, 2007, invited workshop. Marian S. Stachowicz, "Digital Fuzzy Sets Theory and Multivalued Logic: A Comprehensive Overview", The 10th IASTED International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Control - Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, November 19-21, 2007, Keynote Speaker

Marian S. Stachowicz, "Computing with Words", The 10th IASTED International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Control - Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, November 19-21, 2007, invited tutorial. H. Chang, H. Tang, "Efficient System-level Statistical Design of Analog Systems via Variance Minimization", Proc. of IASTED International Conference on Circuits and Systems, Kona, HI, August 18-20th, 2008.

Y. Zheng, H. Tang, "Towards a Hardware-based System for Real-Time Vehicle Tracking", Proc. of IEEE Intelligent Vehicle Symposium (IV’08), June 4-6th, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 2008.

H. Chang, H. Tang, "A Simple Technique to Reduce Clock Jitter Effects in Continuous-time Delta-Sigma Modulators", Proc. of IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS’08), Seattle, WA, May 23-26th, 2008.

M. Webb, H. Tang, "Analog Design Retargeting by Design Knowledge Reuse and Circuit Synthesis", Proc. of IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS’08), Seattle, WA, May 23-26th, 2008.

Paul J. Weber and Scott R. Norr attended the Energy, Economic, and Environmental Conference (E3 2007) on November 27, 2007 in Minneapolis, MN. The conference focused on renewable energy research and technologies, and was an opportunity for networking and education. Paul and Scott attended sessions on Advancements in Solar Energy Materials, Advanced Storage Technologies for Wind Energy, and Plug-in Hybrids and the Vehicles of Tomorrow. In addition, several useful contacts were made for the spring Senior Design Workshop (ECE 4951) class that Paul and Scott co-taught entitled "Energy Conservation in Transportation."

Paul J. Weber and Scott R. Norr co-taught a Senior Design Workshop (ECE 4951) class entitled "Energy Conservation in Transportation" during the Spring 2008 semester. In the class, students studied emerging technologies that had the potential to greatly reduce the environmental impact of transporting people. At the start of the class, recitations and labs focused on providing students with the necessary control design, team management, and communication tools needed for their projects as well as exposing them to broader environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues within the context of energy and transportation.

Paul J. Weber presented a paper entitled, "Modeling of the Human Body Using a Generalized Stochastic Petri Net" at the IASTED Modelling and Simulation 2008 Conference. The conference was held in Quebec (City), Canada on May 26th - 28th. The work was completed by Buddhika R. Maitipe and mentored by Paul as an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) project in Spring 2007. The paper presented the research work of generating a stochastic model of the human body in a similar manner as the analysis of a fault-tolerant electro-mechanical system. The research provided insight into the effectiveness of such modeling and its potential usefulness in objectifying the health assessment of a person and providing dependability metrics for synthetic organs.

J.-S. Yang, "A Model-Free Approach to Special Events Traffic Signal Timing Control," Control and Intelligent Systems, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 137-143, 2008.

Debao Zhou and Gary McMurray, "Modeling of Blade Sharpness and Compression Cut of Biomaterials", accepted for publication in October 2008 by Robotica.

Harvey Lipkin, Wayne Daley, Jomkun Munnae, Debao Zhou, Gary McMurray, "Endoscope Geometrical Analysis and Kinematic Control", in the ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Las Vegas, NV, September 4, 2007 - September 7, 2007.

Debao Zhou, Jonathan Holmes, Wiley Holcombe and Gary McMurray, "Automation of Bird Shoulder Joint Deboning", in Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics, September 4-7, 2007, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Debao Zhou, Jonathan Holmes, Wiley Holcombe, Sean Thomas and Gary McMurray, "Design of a Fresh Meat Packing Robot for Working in Washdown Environment", in Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics, September 4-7, 2007, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

Harvey Lipkin, Jomkwon Munnae, Gary McMurray, Debao Zhou, Wayne Daley, "Endoscope Kinematics", in Proceedings of the 12th World Congress in Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM2007), June 17 -21, 2007, Besançon, FRANCE.

Debao Zhou, Jonathan Holmes, Wiley Holcombe, Kok-Meng Lee and Gary McMurray, "Automation of Bird Front Half Deboning Procedure: Design and Analysis", in Proceedings of the 12th World Congress in Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM2007), June 17 -21, 2007, Besançon, FRANCE.

Debao Zhou, Gary McMurray, "Formulation of the Relationship between Tension Loading Rate and Internal Stress for Uni-Axel Bio-Materials", in Proceedings of the 18th IASTED International Conference on Modeling and Simulation (IASTED MS 2007), May 30 - June 1, 2007.

Gary McMurray, Debao Zhou, Wayne Daley, Jomkwun Munnae, Harvey Lipkin, "Image-Based Motion Control for the Bending Section of A Colonoscope", in Proceedings of the 18th IASTED International Conference on Modeling and Simulation (IASTED MS 2007), May 30 - June 1, 2007.

If you would like to make a donation to support the efforts of the ECE Department and/or for scholarships , you may send your contributions to: 

Ms. Tricia Bunten                      
UMD/CSE Development Director
148 Engineering Building
1303 Ordean Court
Duluth, MN  55812-3025

Please note "ECE Department" on your check.



Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Minnesota Duluth
271 MWAH, 1023 University Drive
Duluth, MN  55812
Telephone:  218-726-6147
Fax:  218-726-7267
Web Site:

ECE Interim Department Head

Dr. Jiann-Shiou Yang

Information about the MSECE Degree Program

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Last modified on 07/12/13 11:11 AM
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