Undergraduate Research
Dr. Mai Abdelhakim

Contact: maia@pitt.edu, 1230 BEH

Background needed: Communication networks, probability theory, machine learning (preferred), cybersecurity (preferred), programming experience

Abstract: The research focuses on the design and analysis of reliable, secure, and efficient Internet of Things (IoT) networks. It includes simulating and assessing network performance, modeling faults and security threats, designing techniques for mitigating threats and securing IoT applications, and developing techniques for improving energy efficiency. Students will leverage tools from data science, including artificial intelligence and stochastic analysis, to build decision-making models for reliable and efficient IoT.

Dr. Kevin P. Chen

Contact: pec9@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9675, 1130 BEH

Background needed: AutoCAD/Solidwork, circuits, LabVIEW Programming micro-processor programming, some optic knowledge

Abstract: The focus of undergraduate research opportunities is to develop light and optical technology for sensors, display, and system. Students will work with senior graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral researchers to develop circuits board, program, and optoelectronic-mechanic systems for mobile computer (e.g. cell phone), display glass, optical fibers, and laser.

Dr. Ahmed Dallal

Contact: ahd12@pitt.edu, (412) 383-4423, 1203 BEH

Topic: Biomedical Signal Processing and Image Analysis

Background needed: Signal processing, image processing, computer vision (preferred), control theory.

Abstract: The focus of this opportunity is to study and contribute to the analysis of biomedical signals and images. Having the challenges and constraints associated with the biomedical signals, students will learn and apply state-of-the-art techniques in signal processing, image analysis, and computer vision; with the goal of achieving higher accuracy of the analysis outcomes. The students will have the chance to work on different signals and modalities (e.g., neural signals, chest X-rays, mammograms, cardiac MRIs, etc)

Dr. Samuel Dickerson

Contact: dickerson@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9675, 1130 BEH

Background needed: Printed-Circuit Board (PCB) Design, or strong desire to learn how to design boards. Experience using embedded systems or microcontrollers also desired.

Abstract: We are currently developing Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensor networks for monitoring corrosion in large scale pipe systems. We are also investigating the design and development of smart and connected health systems for monitoring the progression of Glaucoma, a common eye disease. This work is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and more details about the projects can be found here: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/Piero-Rizzo-Corrosion-Sensor/

Dr. Wei Gao

Contact: weigao@pitt.edu, (412) 383-4422, 1205 BEH

Topic: Mobile and Embedded Computing over Emerging Platforms

Background needed: embedded systems, operating systems, software design, wireless networks

Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to develop innovative system solutions to improve the performance and efficiency of emerging mobile and embedded devices, including wearables, embedded sensors, implantable medical devices, etc. We are also focusing on developing new physiological sensing modularities that precisely characterize the behavioral patterns and metrics of human bodies. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on skills on system development, hardware prototyping and software programming over practical mobile and embedded computing platforms.

Dr. Alan D. George

Contact: alan.george@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9664, 1238D BEH

Topic: Space, High-Performance, and Resilient Computing

Background needed: Digital logic and circuits, microprocessor systems, software design, and/or hardware design

Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to study and contribute to a topic in advanced computer architectures, apps, sensors, networks, systems, and/or services, often in the context of resource constraints and environmental hazards, with the goal of maximizing performance, energy-efficiency, and resilience. Students will learn and employ selected concepts, methods, and technologies in parallel, reconfigurable, dependable, and/or distributed computing, by working on a research task for next-generation spacecraft, autonomous systems, or supercomputers, in the NSF Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) headquartered in the ECE Department at Pitt.

Dr. Brandon Grainger

Contact: bmg10@pitt.edu, (412) 383-8148, 802 BEH

Topic: Electric power conversion for high power applications

Background needed: Junior standing; taken power systems analysis, electric machinery, or power conversion theory

Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity is to study and contribute to a topic in the general area of electric power conversion. Electric power conversion is equipment oriented engineering focused on the applications for designing DC/DC converters, DC/AC converters and others for higher power design. Undergraduate students would be involved in converter design (circuit topology, control, magnetics, and power semiconductor evaluation) for relevant grid based or military based power systems. Undergraduates are also encouraged to propose ideas that they might have in the context of the power engineering domain that he or she may have explored during a COOP experience for example. Students will have the opportunity to go through the traditional cycle of how to conduct research through literature review to identify problems in the power conversion space. Undergraduates will be exposed to the latest simulation platforms including ANSYS Products, Matlab/Simulink, PLECS, and PSCAD depending on the detail that is needed for analyzing the design. Once thoroughly evaluated, opportunities for prototype or experimentation could be conducted in the Electric Power Systems Laboratory in Benedum Hall or at the Electric Power Technologies Laboratory in downtown Pittsburgh under direct supervision of experienced graduate students and faculty support.

Dr. Jingtong Hu

Contact: jthu@pitt.edu, (412) 383-4424, 1208 BEH

Topic: Embedded Systems, FPGA, Non-volatile Memories, Algorithm.

Background needed: Digital logic and circuits, FPGA design, and/or micro-controllers, algorithms.

Abstract: There are two thrusts of research. The first one will be focusing on FPGA design and acceleration for algorithms such as Deep Learning. The students will learn both algorithms and how to implement these algorithms in hardware. The second thrust of research focuses on embedded systems and non-volatile memories. The students will learn how to optimize both software and hardwares to build energy efficient, secure, and small embedded systems such as battery-less wearable sensors, IoT devices, etc.

Dr. Steve Jacobs

Contact: spj1@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9667, 1207 BEH

Topic: Automated Stroke Lesion Segmentation in MRI Human Brain Volumes

Skills: Students who participate must be comfortable with Linux (Ubuntu)

Courses: Ideally, students who participate will have excelled in CoE 1501 or ECE 1563

Abstract: We are interested in evaluating and characterizing the performance of state-of-the-art algorithms for identifying damaged tissue in subjects who have suffered ischemic stroke, using structural MRI brain volumes. We also seek to understand how the performance of lesion segmentation algorithms is affected by variability in the data, including the imaging center where the data were collected, and the utility of different MRI pulse sequences.

Dr. Alex K. Jones

Contact: akjones@pitt.edu, 412-624-9666, 1128 BEH

Topic: Reliable, Secure, and Sustainable Computing and Memories

Background needed: Computer Organization, Software Design

Abstract: This research opportunity allows students to engage and contribute to activities in topics such as next generation computer architectures, hardware accelerators, software systems, and memory systems with focus areas of reliability, resilience, and fault-tolerance of both manufacturing flaws and external hazards such as radiation; security including topics like in memory encryption and homomorphic encryption; and/or sustainability including energy efficient design and manufacturing potentially examining full life-cycle analysis of processors and memories. Students will work alongside of graduate students in these areas and have access to resources in the NSF Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) and/or Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) depending on topic. Excellent students will be involved (and in some cases even lead) developing publications to top tier conference and journal publication venues based on their research contributions.

Dr. Robert Kerestes

Contact: rjk39@pitt.edu, (412) 383-5251, 1224 BEH

Topic: Smart Grid Network and Algorithm Design

Background Needed: Electric circuits, power systems fundamentals (preferred) , MATLAB and Simulink, programming in C, optimization (preferred), algorithms (preferred)

Abstract: This research opportunity is to contribute to the use, design and implementation of internet of things (IoT) devices and networks, which increase the efficiency of the modern power grid. This in turn will have an impact on the way we use energy, leading to a cleaner and more sustainable electric power infrastructure. Students will learn how to interface common household electrical loads through sensors and communications devices, and will use microcontrollers coupled with optimization methods to control the way that electrical sources and loads interact with one another. Physical implementations of these solutions will be tested in Pitt’s Electric Power Systems Laboratory.

Dr. Hong Koo Kim

Contact: hkk@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9673, 1107 BEH

Topic: Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics

Background needed: Semiconductor device theory, EM theory, and electronic circuits

Abstract: This research aims at developing novel nanoelectronic/nanophotonic devices that can be integrated into chip-scale for energy-efficient, large-bandwidth computing/communication applications. Topics include single quantum-dot light sources for quantum computing, plasmonic metamaterials and devices for on-chip photonic computing, and nano-vacuum transistors and circuits for extreme environments. Students will gain hands-on experience in: modeling/simulation of device phenomena, fabrication and characterization of low-dimensional materials and devices.

Dr. Rajkumar Kubendran

Contact: rajkumar.ece@pitt.edu, (412) 624-1397, 1129 BEH

Topic: Neuromorphic Engineering of Visual and Auditory Systems using Next-Generation Sensors and Compute-in-Memory Architectures

Background needed: Strong motivation to deliver results and curiosity to learn new things. Any one of the following skills are preferred but NOT required: Python/Matlab Programming, FPGA(Verilog/SystemC) programming, Printed-Circuit Board (PCB) Design and Testing, Cadence for IC design.

Abstract: Do you want to work with a camera that behaves like the human eye? Do you want to create your own voice assistant like Alexa, inspired by the human ear? Do you want to know how the human brain processes all the data and "perceives" useful information? The undergraduate research opportunity at the ENIGMA Lab (https://sites.google.com/view/enigmalab) allows you to explore a whole new field of engineering inspired by biology - Neuromorphic Engineering. Several short term and long term projects are available covering a broad range of topics from devices to applications. Students will learn and develop a variety of skills, based on their interests, ranging from software programming (Python/Matlab), hardware programming (Verilog/C), Embedded systems design and testing (Arduino/Opal Kelly) and IC design (Cadence). Your work will be directly integrated into full systems with interesting applications - DIY smart homes, security surveillance and self-driving drones!

Dr. Zhi-Hong Mao

Contact: zhm4@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9674, 1204 BEH

Topic: Human-machine systems and networked control systems

Background needed: Linear control systems and signals & systems

Abstract: The focus of this project is to evaluate quantitatively the capabilities of the human neural system in manual control. This project takes a comprehensive approach that synergistically combines control theory, information theory, computational neuroscience, non-invasive human experiments, and computer simulations in the study of human-in-the-loop control systems. Students will learn (i) concepts of networked control systems and neural control systems and (ii) methods for analysis, modeling, simulation, and optimal control of networked systems.

Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov

Contact: nmzivanov@pitt.edu, (412) 624-0509, 320 SCHEN, http://www.nmzlab.pitt.edu

Topic: Computational Modeling, Automated Model Generation and Analysis

Background Needed: Software design, data analysis, digital logic

Abstract: Undergraduate Engineering student needed to assist with research and code development in the Mechanisms and Logic of Dynamics (MeLoDy) Lab. The position will involve testing and analysis of model construction and simulation methods for rapid in silico experimentation. Programming experience is preferred (Python, C/C++). Research in the MeLoDy Lab focuses on computational modeling to understand mechanisms in complex dynamic systems, with applications ranging from modeling signaling pathways in biological systems to modeling interpersonal and international events.

Dr. Gregory Reed

Contact: gfr3@pitt.edu, (412) 383-9862, 815-E BEH

Topic: Electric Power Engineering projects

Background needed: basic understanding of circuits, electrical systems controls, and/or electronics (understanding of power concepts preferred):

Abstract: projects available in the general areas of electric power systems analysis and simulation, microgrid developments, renewable energy systems and integration, power electronics technologies, energy storage applications, direct current (DC) infrastructure, and similar topics. Opportunity to work within a world-class electric power laboratory with a globally recognized research group of faculty, staff, and graduate students; while performing industry-supported projects leading to practical work experiences and other benefits.

Dr. Ervin Sejdic

Contact: esejdic@pitt.edu, (412) 624-0508, 321 Schenley Place

Topic: Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

Background needed: Signal processing, advanced mathematics, programming, some hardware experience

Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to study and contribute to our ongoing efforts to develop novel medical devices.

Dr. Susheng Tan

Contact: sut6@pitt.edu, (412) 383-5978, B01/M104 BEH

Topic: Nanoscience and nanotechnology, polymers, device, surface coatings

Background needed: chemistry, physics, electricity, and/or materials science and engineering

Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to study the rheological, mechanical, and electrical properties of polymers under nanoscale confinement, with the goal of gaining insight into size effect on ultimate performance of composite materials used in electronics and power systems to guide future design of high performance, energy-saving, and sustainable insulating materials. Students will learn and employ selected concepts, methods, and technologies in nanotechnology and polymer materials science.

Dr. Feng Xiong

Contact: f.xiong@pitt.edu, (412) 383-5306, 1202 BEH

Topic: Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Nanoelectronics for Next-Generation Computing and Memory

Background needed: Motivation and curiosity to learn new things! The following skills are preferred but NOT required: LabView, Matlab, basic knowledge on semiconductor devices;

Abstract: This undergraduate research opportunity includes a broad range of topics in novel nanoelectronics, next-generation memory devices, flexible and wearable electronics, green electronics, and energy harvesting, with the emphasis on performance, energy-efficiency and scalability. Students will learn and employ in a variety of skills ranging from nanomaterial spectroscopies, device fabrications, electrical and thermal characterizations, compact models, and finite element simulations in the PI’s lab in the ECE department at Pitt.

Dr. Jun Yang

Contact: juy9@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9088, 1111 BEH

Topic: Computer Architecture

Background needed: digital logic and circuits, microprocessor systems, software programming skills

Abstract: The goal of this undergraduate research opportunity is to learn and contribute to solving critical and most relevant challenges of the state-of-the-art microprocessors, GPUs, conventional and emerging memories. Those challenges include but not are not limited to: execution performance of contemporary applications in machine learning, data analytics etc.; protecting the security of program execution in processors and memory; design challenges of emerging non-volatile memories; 3D integrated memory and circuits; power/energy optimizations; improving system reliability. Undergraduate students will have opportunity to interact with faculty advisor, graduate students and senior researchers in the group on regular basis.

Dr. Minhee Yun

Contact: miy16@pitt.edu, (412) 648-8989, 218E BEH

Topic: Bioelectronics and Nanoelectronics

Background needed: Physics 1 and Chemistry 1 required, Nanotechnology and Semiconductor Device knowledge optional

Abstract: The overall goal of the project is to develop a new innovative concept for real-time diagnostic technology, a LED-enabled biosensor based on flexible substrate. The LED-enabled flexible biosensor will be demonstrated for the detection of B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) that will serve as a window for several medical problems in Heart Failure (HF) diagnosis. The proposed research will design a novel in-situ biosensing platform and bring significant improvement of the existing biosensors. This project will provide students combined training on nanofabrication, biosensing, and OLED development.