News & Events


Professor Yue Receives Bloomberg Data Science Grant


Yisong Yue, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is a recipient of the Bloomberg Data Science Research Grant Program. The program aims to support cutting-edge research in the broad field of machine learning, including specific areas such as natural language processing, information retrieval, machine-translation and deep neural networks. Professor Yue has proposed to study an alternative notion of interpretability, which he calls “dynamic interpretability”. The goal of dynamically interpretable models is to make predictions that are interpretable, rather than have the model itself be explicitly interpretable. With this alternative goal, one can circumvent much of the inherent tension between accuracy and traditional “static” interpretability, and move one step closer to interpretable production-strength models.[Bloomberg release]

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122nd Commencement Ceremony


Caltech’s 122nd commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 10, 2016. The commencement speaker was surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande, MD, MPH. He reminded the graduates that, “today, you become part of the scientific community, arguably the most powerful collective enterprise in human history. In doing so, you also inherit a role in explaining it and helping it reclaim territory of trust at a time when that territory has been shrinking.” He also cautioned them and explained, “the mistake … is to believe that the educational credentials you get today give you any special authority on truth. What you have gained is far more important: an understanding of what real truth-seeking looks like. It is the effort not of a single person but of a group of people—the bigger the better—pursuing ideas with curiosity, inquisitiveness, openness, and discipline.” [The Mistrust of Science]

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Microseismicity and Large Earthquakes


Nadia Lapusta, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and Caltech alumnus Dr. Junle Jiang, have linked the patterns of microseismicity to the depth extension of large earthquakes, both through modeling and observationally. They argue that fault segments which do not have concentrated microseismicity at the bottom of the seismogenic zone must have had deeper, larger earthquakes than currently believed. A number of segments on the San Andreas fault appear to fall into that category. The potential for such deeper earthquakes in the future would imply higher seismic hazard. [Science article] [KPCC coverage] [New Yorker Article]

Tags: Nadia Lapusta Junle Jiang MCE research highlights alumni

Winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The student winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special dinner with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Rachel P. Galimidi received the prize in Biotechnology for her work with Professor Pamela Bjorkman aimed to further understand the mechanism of HIV evasion of the humoral immune response. Junle Jiang was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Nadia Lapusta which used probabilistic inversion tools to understand the deep-ocean trench generated tsunamis that occurred during the subduction-zone earthquakes in Japan and Chile. Yinglu Tang working with Dr. Jeff Snyder received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her work on thermoelectric skutterudites for mid-temperature applications such as automotive waste heat recovery. The second winner in this category was Changhong Zhao who worked with Professor Steven Low to study the control and optimization of modern electric power systems. The winner of the prize in Nanotechnology was Gustavo Rios whose research involves development of a modular, scalable, nanofabricated neural probe system for dense 3-D electrophysiology to study animal brains. Rio’s graduate advisor was Professor Thanos Siapas. The prize in Entrepreneurship was given to Anton A. Toutov who was advised by Professor Robert Grubbs. His research interests lie in using fundamental chemistry to development radically new, sustainable ways to make everyday chemical products and generate clean energy.

Tags: Rachel P. Galimidi Pamela Bjorkman Junle Jiang Nadia Lapusta Yinglu Tang Jeff Snyder Changhong Zhao Steven Low Gustavo Rios Thanos Siapas Anton Toutov Robert Grubbs MCE APhMS CMS EE CNS MedE honors

Professor Vaidyanathan Receives Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching


P. P. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Electrical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2016 Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize is awarded to an EAS professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. A nomination for Professor Vaidynathan read, “he has been an incredibly talented, dedicated, consistent, and responsible teacher throughout his career at Caltech. He is simply a great teacher who not only does a great job of conveying pertinent and important material to the students, but also spends the time to convey the thought process.” One of the students in his course stated, “this is one of the best-taught courses at Caltech. Period. That's especially nice since signals and systems are such important topics. He is a great professor and lecturer. His lectures are extremely well-organized, and you never leave a lecture not understanding the concepts he discussed.”

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Roarke Horstmeyer Wins Charles Wilts Prize


Roarke Horstmeyer, advised by Professor Changhuei Yang is the winner of this year’s Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis “Computational microscopy: turning megapixels into gigapixels.” The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

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Smaller Chips May Depend on Vacuum Tube Technology


A recent New York Times article featured Caltech alumnus, Gordon Moore (PhD ’54), and the research of Professor Axel Scherer on ultrasmall vacuum tube as a candidate to replace the transistor. [Read the article]

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Jomela Meng Receives 2016 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award


Jomela Meng, a graduate student working with Professor Tim Colonius, is a recipient of the 2016 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Her research leveraged direct numerical simulations to investigate the fundamental flow physics associated with single droplet aerobreakup. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

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Simon Lapointe Receives 2016 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award


Simon Lapointe, a graduate student working with Professor Guillaume Blanquart, is a recipient of the 2016 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. As part of his doctoral research, he performed numerical simulations to study premixed hydrocarbon flames at high turbulence intensities.  The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

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Lidan Yu Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Electrical Engineering student Lidan Yu, mentored by Professor Michelle Effros, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She enjoys the breadth and depth of the Electrical Engineering program at Caltech. Over the summer she will be working on a behavioral economics project with Professor Colin Camerer supported by the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

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Division of Engineering and Applied Science