Nine faculty members join School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science – Penn State News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) welcomes nine new faculty members for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Abutalib Aghayev joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering on Aug. 15. He received his doctoral degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. He has broad research interests in computer systems, including storage and file systems, distributed systems and operating systems. He received a best paper award at the USENIX FAST conference and the Hima and Jive Fellowship in Computer Science for International Students at Carnegie Mellon University.

Mohammad Hajiabadi joined Penn State as an assistant professor on Aug. 15. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the EECS department at the University of California Berkeley. He received his doctorate from the University of Victoria in Canada. His main areas of research are foundations of cryptography.

Syed Rafiul Hussain joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as an assistant professor on Aug. 1. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University, where he also received his doctorate. Hussain’s research interests broadly lie in network and systems security. More specifically, he is interested in developing principled techniques for security and privacy investigation of emerging networks and cyber-physical systems with formal verification, program analysis, software testing, signal processing and cryptography.

Wooram Lee will join the electrical engineering department as an associate professor in January 2021. He received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2001 and 2003, and his doctoral degree from Cornell University in 2012. From 2003 to 2007, he was a research engineer at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in Korea, where he worked on optical transceivers and links. From 2012 to 2015, he was with Broadcom in California, where he worked on multi-Gbps CMOS transceivers and data converters for broadband communication in optical, copper and backplane applications. From 2015 to 2020, he was a research staff member in the RF Circuits and Systems Group at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, where he was involved with the development of high performance mmWave phased array circuits and systems and high-speed serial link transceivers for optical communication. He was also an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University from 2017 to 2020. His research interests are mmWave and Terahertz integrated circuits and systems for 5G/6G communication and ultra-high-resolution radar imaging.

Daniel López joined the School of EECS on Sept. 1 as Liang Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. López received his doctorate in physics from the Instituto Balseiro in Argentina in 1996. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, studying high-temperature superconductors. In 1998, he joined Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, as a full-time research staff member where he developed micro- and nano-machines for optical communications, imaging and quantum sensing. In 2000, he received the Bell Labs President’s Gold Award, the highest recognition award at Bell Laboratories for developing disruptive technologies with a direct impact on the business. In 2008, he moved to Argonne National Laboratory to lead the nanofabrication and devices group. At Argonne, he received the Physical Sciences and Engineering Excellence Award, and, from 2015 to 2019, he was a fellow of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. He is presently affiliated with the Physical Measurements Lab at the National Institute for Standards and Technologies (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

He has researched novel materials, micromechanics, optical microsystems and nanofabrication, with the common theme of using the interplay among mechanics, photonics and materials to advance fundamental and applied science. Some recent examples of his research include the fabrication of today’s fastest and densest spatial light modulators, the development of methods to improve the performance of oscillators using nonlinear resonators, the most precise characterization of the quantum mechanical Casimir interaction and the development of optical nanosystems incorporating metasurfaces and MEMS devices. He has authored more than 150 technical publications, holds more than 30 granted and pending patents and has given invited talks worldwide. He collaborates with the industrial sector and with researchers and educators globally.

Ying Sun will join the Department of Electrical Engineering as an assistant professor on Jan. 1, 2021. Sun is a postdoctoral researcher with the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. She received her doctorate degree in electronic and computer engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2016. 

Her research focuses on nonlinear optimization algorithms and statistical learning, with an emphasis on decentralized and collaborative inference methods over networks. She is a co-recipient of a student best paper at the IEEE International Workshop on Computational Advances in Multi-Sensor Adaptive Processing (CAMSAP) 2017. Her overview article on majorization minimization algorithms has been among the Web of Science highly cited papers since 2018.

Chunhao Wang joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as an assistant professor on Aug. 15. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his doctoral degree in computer science from the University of Waterloo in 2018. He was awarded Canada’s top graduate scholarship, the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, in 2015. His research aims to investigate the connections between quantum and classical algorithms and to find better quantum algorithmic tools related to physical systems.

Dong Xie joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as an assistant professor in August 2020. He received his doctoral degree in computer science from the University of Utah in 2020 and his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2015. Xie’s research revolves around building efficient systems to tackle large-scale data problems. In particular, his research lies in distributed database system, spatio-temporal databases, streaming systems, security and data privacy. Xie is a recipient of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship in 2018 and other awards such as the Association for Computing Machinery’s Symposium of Cloud Computing 2019 best paper runner-up.

Rui Zhang joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in July 2020. He finished his doctoral degree at Yale University. His research interest lies in various natural language processing and machine learning problems in language understanding, generation and grounding that require effective understanding of contexts. He is especially interested in interactive and executable semantic parsing, text summarization and generation, commonsense reasoning and cross-lingual document retrieval. While working toward his doctorate, he conducted research internships at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Grammarly Research and Google AI. He was a graduate student at the University of Michigan and received his bachelor’s degrees at both the University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University from the UM-SJTU Joint Institute.

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