PSPICE – a Powerful Research Tool for ECE Students and Faculty
The SPICE software program is the industry standard for circuit simulation, and PSPICE is a PC version available from Cadence Inc. PSPICE is ideal for circuit design and development and can be a powerful tool for research, because it allows new ideas to be quickly explored. Cadence provides free downloading of its popular OrCad simulation software suite containing PSPICE, but the ECE department acquired the much more powerful commercial version. This version allows a much wider variety of circuit schematics to be easily simulated with well over 200 nodes.
PSPICE provides DC analysis while simultaneously sweeping temperature and voltage values or even sweeping parametric values of circuit components. AC analysis can be performed either in the time or frequency domains. Transient, S-parameter, noise and distortion analysis are also readily available. PSPICE is limited only by the complexity of device models available, and the ECE department's commercial-grade software comes with many libraries full of models.
The software was introduced into the course ECE 5331, IC Computer-Aided Analysis, to expose graduate students to research using the commercial-grade version of PSPICE, often for the first time. While the course focuses on the numerical engine that makes SPICE tick, the students get to exercise many of the capabilities of the software. So far this semester, they have made Bode plots of Op-Amps, examined at several transistor current mirrors, and explored various small circuits. When they leave this course, they will have the capability of simulating almost any circuit and bias conditions.
Intel Supports ECE Department with Galileo Development Boards
Through a proposal by Drs. Kozaitis and Otero, the ECE department was awarded 30 Intel Galileo development boards to further enhance the computer engineering program. The winning proposal was selected from among many proposals submitted worldwide. The new microcontroller boards will enable ECE students to obtain hands-on experience with Intel Architecture (IA) Arduino boards featuring the new Intel Quark. It will enhance the department's educational and research efforts in the areas of embedded systems, wireless sensor and multimedia networks, and the Internet of Things.
The Quark SoC X1000 Application Processor is a 32-bit Intel Pentium-class system on a chip. It's the first board based on Intel architecture designed to be hardware and software pin-compatible with Arduino shields designed for the Uno R3. The Galileo board is also software compatible with the Arduino Software Development Environment. In addition to Arduino hardware and software compatibility, the Galileo board has several PC industry standard I/O ports and features that expand native usage and capabilities beyond the Arduino shield ecosystem. A full-sized mini-PCI Express slot, 100Mb Ethernet port, Micro-SD slot, RS-232 serial port, USB Host port, USB Client port, and 8MByte NOR flash each come standard on the board.
Outstanding Showing of ECE Students in the IEEE SoutheastCon Competition
(Back row – left to right): James Kearney, Sensor Holder CAD designer; Anthony King, Project Manager/Base Programming/Mechanical/Electrical; Michael Wells, Object Recognition Team; Sam Knight, Base Movement Lead; Michael Stratton, Object Recognition Lead; Will Cirillo, Mechanical; (Front row – left to right): Kelsey Dejesusbanos; Jonathan Dudley, LED start-up grid; Jacob Bowers; (not pictured: William Nichols, Object Recognition Team)
A group of IEEE students from Florida Tech placed sixth out of 50 registered in the annual robotics competition at IEEE SoutheastCon's conference, and first out of 15 teams from Florida. The competition is focused on a robot autonomously firing a Nerf dart at a target from three random firing positions and then navigating to the finish area. Teams had two minutes in each round to complete tasks and were judged on speed and accuracy.
National Science Foundation Supports AMALTHEA Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Photo: 2013 AMALTHEA REU Program participants, from left to right: Jean Michel Rouly (George Mason University), Halley Weitzman (University of Maryland, College Park), Dillon Rose (Florida Institute of Technology), Shraddha Singh (University of Texas, Austin), John Karlen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Robert Colgan (Columbia University), Jacob Chen (University of Maryland, College Park), Haidar Khan (State University of New York, New Paltz), Matthew Kishe and David Gutierrez (both from Florida State University)
The National Science Foundation supported Florida Tech as a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in 2013 and will do so again in 2014. The activity supported will be Advances of MAchine Learning in THEory & Applications, AMALTHEA, (amalthea-reu.org), which is a 10-week summer experience for undergraduate engineering or science students. Every year, the program advertises nationwide to recruit 10 undergraduate participants who are hosted at Florida Tech for the 10-week period. During their stay, the students take part in research focused on the theory and applications of machine learning under the mentoring of Florida Tech graduate students and Florida Tech faculty mentors, Drs. G. C. Anagnostopoulos (ECE), G. B. Tenali (Mathematical Sciences), E. Ribeiro (Computer Sciences) and A. Peter (Engineering Systems). Videos of last year's research highlights can be found on the program's YouTube channel at goo.gl/A6nQBe.
Visiting Professors Aid in Power Research
Wan Junhong is an associate professor at Shanghai Dianji University. She has degrees from Shanghai Jiaotong University and East China University of Science and Technology and majored in electrical automation. Her research and teaching interests are in analog, digital and power electronics technology. She is especially interested in discussions and further exchanges with faculty concerning research and teaching methods at Florida Tech.
Yuqing Shang is an associate professor at Shanghai Dianji University. His main research interests are in the field of power system automation technology, distributed smart grids and protection optimization algorithms. He teaches in the area of power electronics and power system protection. In addition, he is in charge of Electrical Engineering and Automation at Shanghai Dianji University and has developed professional training programs for this area.
Electrical and Computer Engineering Seminar Series
Dr. Sungjin Park, a 2003 Ph.D. graduate of electrical engineering and the 2010 College of Engineering Alumni Award winner, donated $10,000 to be used for ECE seminars hosted in the name of his previous advisor, Dr. Ham. This ECE seminar series will be known as "The Fredric M. Ham Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series" and will feature prominent researchers in the field.
Upgrade to Electronics Laboratory
The new Cadence software and other applications such as Matlab and MutiSim are running on new computers in the ECE department's undergraduate electronics lab. The Windows 8.1 based machines use 4th generation 4-core i7 processors and 32Gb of memory to handle the demanding tasks required for circuit simulation. The new computers allow students and researchers to use modern tools.