Sommerfeld receives recognition for decades of research

February 7, 2011

The College of Technology and Innovation’s Milt Sommerfeld is adding another achievement to his vita – Faculty Achievement Research Award recipient.

Sommerfeld, professor and co-director of the Laboratory for Algae Research at ASU’s Polytechnic campus and the newly established Arizona Center on Algae Technology and Innovation, is among eight award recipients from the community and within ASU being recognized by the ASU Alumni Association, Feb. 24, at the annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner. Download Full Image

Faculty excellence is at the heart of an outstanding university. Faculty achievement at ASU is recognized at the Founders’ Day event with individual awards for contributions in research, service and teaching.

Sommerfeld is being honored for his more than four decades of research in the fields of phycology and microalgal biotechnology. One of his long-standing research interests is in exploiting algae as a promising source of feedstock for biofuels, which could lead to the development of commercially viable, renewable and sustainable fuels.

He was named by Time Magazine to its list of 50 best innovators in 2008, received the governor of Arizona’s Innovator of the Year Award in Academia in 2009 and the Arizona Award for Research Excellence from the Arizona Bioindustry Association in 2010.

In recognizing this recent achievement, Sommerfeld appreciates the work and dedication of students and fellow researchers along the way. 

“It is a great honor to receive the award, and I accept it on behalf of the many undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students who have contributed to the research over many years, as well as the creative colleagues who have shared their ideas with me and the students,” says Sommerfeld.

In addition to his research, he teaches undergraduate courses in biology, phycology and independent research, and seminars for beginning graduate students. He is currently mentoring four graduate students and 10 undergraduates who are engaged in laboratory and field research activities.

“One cannot understate the importance of faculty scholarship at a university,” says Keith Hjelmstad, university vice president and dean of the College of Technology and Innovation.  “Milt is highly respected in the college – by his fellow faculty and researchers, and by the undergraduate and graduate students who have the opportunity to work beside him in the laboratory.”

The award ceremony has been a signature event for the university for decades, and honors individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona, ASU’s predecessor institution, which received its charter from the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1885.

A special highlight of the ceremony this year will be ASU President Michael M. Crow’s acceptance of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. This award honors men who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at least 25 years prior to receiving the award for providing outstanding service to others.

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Engineering profs earn prestigious peer recognition

February 7, 2011

Two professors in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have been named Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional engineering association.

Fellow status is bestowed on institute members who have made significant contributions to their fields. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement. Download Full Image

Tolga Duman, a professor in the School of Electrical, Computing, and Energy Engineering, has been selected for contributions to coding and modulation for wireless communications, recording and underwater acoustic channels.

Guoliang Xue, a professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, has been selected for contributions to survivability and quality of service in computer networks.

Duman’s research focuses on digital communications, wireless and mobile communications, channel coding, turbo codes, coding for recording channels, and coding for wireless communications.

His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research, Seagate Corporation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Labs and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

His research on channel coding and modulation seeks to provide reliable digital transmission over communication channels by minimizing disruptions because of noise and other transmission impairments.

Duman’s work helps improve the performance of products such as cellular phones, computer hard-drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and Wi-Fi devices, as well as technologies used in defense operations such as acoustic modems for underwater communications with submarines or autonomous underwater vehicles.

Xue’s research on survivable network design – supported by the Army Research Office (ARO) – ensures fast recovery from node or link failures in a computer or communications network.  The discoveries are useful in an array of both defense and civilian applications.

His work on the quality of service routing –also supported by the ARO—is aimed at finding a routing path that can transmit a large video file with guaranteed bandwidth in the network. This enables video stored at one location to be viewed at another location in real-time with a guaranteed viewing quality.

Xue’s research has also been supported by the NSF and the U.S. Department of Energy.

In 2000, Duman received the NSF CAREER award, which recognizes young scientists and engineers emerging as leaders in their fields, and IEEE Third Millennium Medal for notable contributions to his field.

He has served as editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and IEEE Online Journal of Surveys and Tutorials. He is currently an editor for IEEE Transactions on Communications in the area of coding and communication theory and for Elsevier PHYCOM Journal.

Duman earned as master’s degree and a Ph.D.  in electrical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston. He joined the ASU faculty in 1998.

Xue has held positions at the Army High Performance Computing Research Center and the University of Vermont.  He has received an NSF Research Initiation Award and an NSF Information Technology Research for National Priorities award.

He is an associate editor for the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking and the IEEE Network magazine, as well as a past associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and the Computer Networks journal.

He served as a Technical Program co-chair of IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications in 2010 and is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Communications Society for 2010-2011. He received a best paper award at IEEE Global Communications Conference in 2007 and a best paper runner-up award at IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols in 2010.

Xue earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Minnesota in 1991. He joined the ASU faculty in 2001.

The IEEE works to support the advancement of technology, providing a source of technical information for governments around the world in its effort to serve as a catalyst for technological innovation and global market competition.

Amy Lukau contributed to writing this article

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering