Approximately 40 graduate students in the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering's electrical and computer engineering department (ECE) presented their work at the department’s first Graduate Research Conference held recently at the Texas Learning and Computation Center, more commonly known as “TLC2” (pronounced TLC-squared) in the Phillip Guthrie Hoffman building. Seventy-eight people attended the internal conference, including 51 graduate students and 27 faculty members.
The purpose of the one-day conference was to promote research activities and encourage interaction within the electrical and computer engineering department by creating a forum for the exposition of graduate-student research.
“The idea was to give graduate students the opportunity to present their technical work in front of their peers, which is always a good experience, and also to make faculty and graduate students aware of other research that was going on in the department,” says professor Len Trombetta, one of four ECE faculty members who helped organize the event.
Trombetta, who handled local arrangements for the conference, says the department is hoping to do the event annually. The conference was implemented in part by the graduate students and was formatted to simulate a professional conference. It began with opening ceremonies, and included a plenary session, parallel technical sessions, a catered breakfast, luncheon, a reception, an awards ceremony and a dinner banquet.
Professors David Jackson, Nicolaos Karayiannis and Dmitri Litvinov were assisted by graduate students Ramya Chakravarthy, Chimnay Darne, Chris De Young, Lingli Hu, Chidiogo Madubike, Parekh Vishal, Diana De La Rosa-Pohl, and Qingkai Yu.
“We had it at TLC2,” Trombetta says. “They have fantastic facilities. Part of their charter is to do things like this, to help campus groups host technical conferences, and they did a wonderful job.”
Graduate student Chidiogo Madubike says she gained new skills from the conference. “Participation in this conference has given me more confidence in my ability to effectively communicate to a group of professionals the objectives, procedures and the results of my research,” she says. “Since I was also a part of the organizing committee, I was able to observe and appreciate what it meant to put on such an event.”
Opening ceremonies were kicked off by talks from Arthur C. Vailas, vice chancellor for research and intellectual property management for the UH System and vice president for research at UH, and by Dean of the UH Cullen College of Engineering Raymond W. Flumerfelt, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Endowed Chair. Awards ceremonies were led by Haluk Ogmen, chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering.
Two best paper awards were claimed by Barry Craver (advisor, Jack Wolfe) and Alpay Koc (advisor, Haluk Ogmen). Murat Aydin (advisor, Haluk Ogmen) claimed the most prestigious award, which was given in memory of Urvish Medh, a former graduate student. Winners were determined using student evaluation forms.