Jump to Navigation


Engineers want to turn your living room into a wireless charging station

Wireless power transfer schematicA team of engineers from the UW, Duke University, and Intellectual Ventures’ Invention Science Fund has moved a step closer to liberating us from those pesky power cords and bulky battery chargers. In a paper posted on arXiv, the researchers explain how flat-screen technology could be used to build a wireless power transfer system right into a wall or ceiling that is capable of efficiently charging a variety of devices in a room.

According to UW CSE and Electrical Engineering professor Matt Reynolds, “There is an enormous demand for alternatives to today’s clunky charging pads and cumbersome cables, which restrict the mobility of a smart phone or a tablet. Our proposed approach takes advantage of widely used LCD technology to seamlessly deliver wireless power to all kinds of smart devices.”

Reynolds and his colleagues propose a flat, reconfigurable antenna made of metamaterial that would gather and focus electromagnetic energy to recharge devices within its line of sight. Unlike existing, magnetic near-field systems, this new approach would not require close proximity to a charging station in order to achieve efficient power transfer.

“The ability to safely direct focused beams of microwave energy to charge specific devices, while avoiding unwanted exposure to people, pets and other objects, is a game-changer for wireless power,” Reynolds said. “And we’re looking into alternatives to liquid crystals that could allow energy transfer at much higher power levels over greater distances.”

In addition to Reynolds, the research team includes David Smith, Vinay Gowda, Okan Yurduseven, Stéphane Larouche and Yaroslav Urzhumov of Duke University’s Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics, and Guy Lipworth of Intellectual Ventures.

Read the UW news release here and the research paper here.

October 24, 2016

UW CSE’s Thomas Rothvoss profiled in UW Today

Thomas RothvossUW Today has published a great article on newly-minted Packard Fellow Thomas Rothvoss, a professor in UW CSE’s Theory group and the UW Department of Mathematics. In it, Rothvoss explains how his research at the intersection of computer science and mathematics aids in the design of more efficient algorithms for analyzing complex datasets — and how the fellowship will aid him in advancing this research working alongside his students.

From the article:

“‘This is really a problem of optimization,’ said Rothvoss. ‘Let’s say you have a lot of objects of different weights and sizes — and boxes to pack them in. You want to optimize the packing process, grouping the objects into the smallest number of boxes as possible as quickly as possible.’

“It could be possible to write an algorithm to perform this calculation and produce a plan for packing the objects in boxes, Rothvoss said. But, the scenario is so complex that the algorithm would be sluggish and inefficient.

“‘A better approach is to recognize these limitations and come up with algorithms that approximate an ideal answer,’ said Rothvoss. ‘Find an efficient algorithm that gets you close to that optimum. That’s my specialty.'”

The Packard Fellowship is designed to enable early-career researchers like Rothvoss to focus on his research and to take risks. From the sounds of it, he plans to take full advantage of the freedom that comes with the award.

“‘Basically, this means for the next five years that I can spend less time writing grants and more time doing research with my students,’ said Rothvoss. ‘And that is wonderful news.'”

Read the full story here, and read our previous blog coverage here.

Congratulations again to Thomas on this fantastic achievement!

October 21, 2016

Seattle Times: Job recruiters work to woo UW computer science students

Zillow recruiters talk to students at UW CSE“Daphna Khen happily described her normal workday to a prospective Zillow job candidate Thursday at the University of Washington …

“Yes, there are many opportunities to learn different skills. Senior engineers offer ‘office hours,’ and everyone Khen asks is happy to help out troubleshooting any issue.

“Job seekers at the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) recruiting fair generally don’t ask Khen about salary or vacation days or health benefits. They’re more interested in how she likes her job and the projects she works on.

“Many know their degrees all but guarantee them a job with high pay and good perks, but they really want to know if they’ll like it.

“Hundreds of UW computer science students attended the packed recruiting fair Thursday, one of two this week where companies set up colorful booths to market their job openings.”

Read the full article here.

Photo credit: Johnny Andrews/The Seattle Times

October 20, 2016

It’s UW CSE’s autumn recruiting day for established companies!

recruitingThank goodness the fire marshal is otherwise occupied!

Many thanks to the companies recruiting today, and on Tuesday. And thanks to our Industry Affiliates and local alums for the great turnout at our Open House on Wednesday evening. (See our previous post about the Madrona Prize and People’s Choice Award.)

October 20, 2016

Madrona and UW CSE recognize student innovation

Matt McIlwain, Mehrdad Hessar, Hank Levy, Ed Lazowska

Mehrdad Hessar accepts the 2016 Madrona Prize

Each year as part of our Industry Affiliates meeting, UW CSE welcomes alumni and friends to a celebration of student research and its potential for impact. Our annual open house, which was held last night, features good food, great company, and terrific posters and demos that showcase an impressive variety of projects from the CSE labs.

The event also features the Madrona Prize, an award from our friends at Madrona Venture Group that recognizes student research with commercialization potential, and the People’s Choice Award, which is, as the name suggests, a chance for our guests to select their favorite projects.

Matt McIlwain of Madrona awarded the 11th annual Madrona Prize to “The Next Big Leap in Backscatter Communication,” presented by CSE postdoc Vamsi Talla. This project builds on previous backscatter research in the Networks & Mobile Systems Lab that enables battery-free devices to communicate by pulling power out of the air.  The team, which also includes EE Ph.D. students Mehrdad Hessar and Bryce Kellogg, CSE professor Shyam Gollakota, and CSE and EE professor Josh Smith, demonstrates with its latest project that backscatter can work over distances of up to 1 kilometer, with potential applications in agriculture, home sensing, and smart medical devices.

Below is a complete run-down of the award winners and runners up who were recognized during last evening’s festivities.

2016 Madrona Prize

Winner: The Next Big Leap in Backscatter Communication (Electrical Engineering Ph.D. students Mehrdad Hessar and Bryce Kellogg; CSE postdoc Vamsi Talla; CSE professor Shyam Gollakota; CSE and EE professor Josh Smith)

Runner up: PipeGen: Data Pipe Generator for Hybrid Analytics (CSE Ph.D. student Brandon Haynes; CSE professors Alvin Cheung and Magda Balazinska)

Runner up: Just Say NO to Paxos Overhead: Replacing Consensus with Network Ordering (CSE Ph.D. students Jialin Li, Ellis Michael, Naveen Kr. Sharma, and Adriana Szekeres; CSE professor Dan R. K. Ports)

Runner up: Programming by Examples for Industrial Data Wrangling (CSE Ph.D. student Alex Polozov; Sumit Gulwani and the PROSE team at Microsoft)

Yasaman S. Sefidgar

Yasaman S. Sefidgar explains her research at the open house

2016 People’s Choice Award

Winner: Situated Tangible Robot Programming (CSE researcher Yasaman S. Sefidgar; EE undergraduate Prerna Agarwal; CSE professor Maya Cakmak)

Runner up: When the White Coats Leave: Unsupervised Decoding of Long-term, Naturalistic Human Neural Recordings with Automated Video and Audio Annotations (CSE Ph.D. student Nancy Xin Ru Wang; Jeff Ojemann of Seattle Children’s Hospital; UW CSE professors Ali Farhadi and Rajesh Rao; UW biology professor Bing Brunton)

Runner up: TummyTrials: Using Self-Experimentation to Detect Individualized Food Triggers (CSE Ph.D. students Ravi Karkar, Jessica Schroeder, and Daniel Epstein; CSE postdoc Laura Pina; CSE staff member Jeffrey Scofield; CSE professor James Fogarty; HCDE professors Julie Kientz and Sean Munson; Duke University professor Roger Vilardarga; Jasmine Zia of UW Medicine)

Read Madrona’s press release here, and check out the complete list of posters and demos here. Congratulations to all of our winners, and huge thanks to our friends at Madrona and to all of our alumni and friends who came out to support student research!

October 20, 2016

Popular Science selects DNA data storage as “Best of What’s New” in 2016

DNA imageResearchers in the Molecular Information Systems Lab, a partnership between the UW and Microsoft Research, have been recognized for their efforts to develop a DNA-based data storage system with a “Best of What’s New” Award from Popular Science. The annual awards highlight the game-changing technologies that will shape the future. The MISL team — led by UW CSE professor Luis Ceze, CSE and EE professor Georg Seelig, and Microsoft researchers Karin Strauss and Doug Carmean — won in the software category for having set a new world record for the amount of digital data successfully stored and retrieved using strands of DNA.

This is not the first time a UW CSE project has been recognized: last year, UW CSE and EE researchers earned a Best of What’s New Award for Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) in the engineering category.

Read about the latest award winners in Popular Science here and the UW Today story here. Learn more about the DNA data storage project by visiting the MISL website here.

Congratulations to the entire MISL team!

October 20, 2016

Great evening turnout for Sift Science’s Jason Tan

2006 UW CSE alum Jason Tan, co-founder and CEO of Sift Science, packed the house on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a great discussion with students about career paths. (Was it Jason, or was it the Dick’s burgers? Probably both …) UW CSE Industry Affiliates continues today …jason

October 19, 2016

It’s startup recruiting day for UW CSE Industry Affiliates

And it’s crazy!startup-recruiting

October 18, 2016

Introducing the K-12 Computer Science Framework

k12cs_badge-logo_purple-150x150UW CSE enthusiastically joins in supporting the K-12 Computer Science Framework, announced on October 17.

The Association for Computing Machinery, Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, the Cyber Innovation Center, and the National Math and Science Initiative partnered with states, school districts, and the computer science education community in creating the Framework, which promotes a vision in which all students critically engage in computer science issues, approach problems in innovative ways, and create computational artifacts with a personal, practical, or community purpose.

Learn more from the new K12CS website here. Check out the video here. One-pager here.

October 17, 2016

GeekWire on UW CSE’s Chris Diorio and Impinj

chrisGeekWire writes:

“Not many startups launch out of university research, endure two economic recessions, persevere through a slow-to-develop market, and finally file for a successful initial public offering — all while maintaining 75 percent of its original founding team 16 years later.

“But that’s the Impinj story.

“Founder and CEO Chris Diorio spoke at the 9Mile Labs Demo Day on Thursday afternoon in Seattle, discussing how Impinj got off the ground and sharing some leadership advice he’s picked up after helping lead the Seattle-based maker of Radio Frequency Identification technology since 2000…

“It’s been quite the journey for Diorio, who founded Impinj in 2000 with fellow researcher Carver Mead. He recounted traveling to California to meet Mead in Silicon Valley and taking the startup leap. After the founders decided to launch a company, Diorio told Mead he was worried about his job as a computer science professor at the University of Washington.

“‘Don’t worry, you’ll get a company started in 18 months and be back at the university — just take a short leave, nothing to it,’ Mead told Diorio.

“’16 years later, we IPO’d,’ Diorio, who is still an associate professor at the UW, recalled on Thursday. ‘Carver was at the ceremony and I asked him about those 18 months. He said, ‘what’s an order of magnitude among friends?””

Read more here.

October 15, 2016

Older Posts »