ECE life with COVID-19

This page features a look into ECE life under the specter of COVID-19.

August 26, 2020

Less than 1 week until classes!

Many students will be studying from home and online, but others are here on campus, getting their lab kits and PPE kits.

Here’s a peak inside the kits (this one is from EECS 215):

eecs 214 lab kit

Here’s a student picking up her kit:

Student with a bag of lab supplies
Student picking up a lab kit to facilitate working at home

May 26, 2020

Faculty can start to do some research at long last

Zetian Mi entering GG  Brown

Prof. Zetian Mi walks into the G.G. Brown Building on May 26, 2020.

As an experimental researcher with a lab, he was among the first wave of individuals granted access to College of Engineering buildings during the pilot phase of building reopening across the University of Michigan.

Right inside the doors, all entering the building completed an online questionnaire, and had their temperature taken, which is happening here to Prof. Jessy Grizzle.

May 11, 2020

Professor of the (Unprecedented) Year

Fred Terry
Fred Terry.

Prof. Fred Terry was voted the 2020 Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Professor of the Year in ECE by EECS students. It was the semester all classes went completely online March 16 with just 2 days notice due to COVID-19.

Prof. Terry was in the middle of teaching the required introductory course for all electrical and computer engineering majors, EECS 215, Introduction to Electronic Circuits. It was a course he’s taught many times in the past.

In past years, the award was presented as a surprise at the last class of the semester. This year, Prof. Terry received the news at a faculty meeting held on Zoom.

Professors congratulate Prof. Terry on Zoom
Professors congratulate Prof. Terry on his Professor of the Year Award on Zoom during a recent faculty meeting.

“Honestly, I’m kind of choked up,” said Fred when he heard the news. “I’m very happy. I was working really hard through this mess to keep them [EECS 215 students] going.”

Read more >

May 2, 2020

Forever Go Blue!

The cancellation of all in-person commencement activities was particularly difficult for the campus community. To celebrate and honor the Class of 2020, the university created significant digital programming, and ECE created our own individualized content including video messages from the faculty, a digital EECS graduation booklet, an article full of student submissions about their memories of U-M, and more.

Faculty and Staff of ECE congratulate the Class of 2020!

ECE Graduation Webpages

U-M Commencement Site

April 23, 2020

Isolating in A2

Gerdov went through the entire story last week over a Zoom call from his off-campus residence in Ann Arbor. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is still here, choosing to stay instead of going home and potentially putting his parents and his 81-year-old grandmother, Faina, at further risk of catching the virus.

“My parents risked everything to come here,” he said. “Relative to the hardships and adversity they faced, with only $100 to their names and language barriers, the lifestyle we had was pretty normal.”

EE undergrad Alex Gerdov, a member of the University of Michigan gymnastics team, spoke to about how COVID-19 has impacted his and athletic pursuits. Read the full article here.

April 21, 2020

Thank you, medical workers!

Members of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan extend our sincerest thanks to the heroic medical workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to participating in individual and collective efforts to help address the pandemic, we offer these messages of thanks and hope to the medial community. #HailToTheFrontLine

April 6, 2020

Earth Day online

In preparation for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, which will be officially celebrated on April 22, 2020, U-M was going to put on a big symposium in its honor. Due to COVID-19, alternative arrangements became necessary, so U-M created instead an online Teach-Out course, available on U-M’s website and on Coursera and FutureLearn.

The Teach-Out features an intergenerational and interdisciplinary conversation about what sustainability means across different sectors, disciplines, and lived experiences. Themes include global sustainability efforts, climate change, environmental justice, and more.

Prof. Johanna Mathieu, who specializes in power and energy, participated in the virtual Teach-Out. She explained the future of a sustainable power grid, including the challenges associated with integrating renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. You can view her segment below.

March 30, 2020

Ford to Build 50,000 Ventilators at Michigan Auto Parts Plant


Just up road from where many commute to work at the University of Michigan, Ford Motor Company’s Rawsonville Components Plant has announced they will build about 50,000 ventilators over the next three months. They are partnering with GE Health in the life-saving effort. [press release]

Thanks for the efforts of the ECE industrial community!

“By providing direct financial support to organizations on the front lines of the pandemic, we hope to help enable these groups to continue supporting vulnerable populations and meeting educational needs,” said Rick Wallace, KLA CEO and ECE Alum! [news release]

“Analog Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADI), a leading global high-performance analog technology company, today announced a series of actions to support the global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by expediting production of its healthcare technologies that can help fight COVID-19. These include critical measurement and control technologies that are used in medical equipment essential for diagnostics and treatment for COVID-19 patients, such as ventilators, respirators, diagnostic test systems, infusion pumps, patient monitors as well as in imaging systems, such as CT scanners and digital x-ray.” [press release]

We heard about this today from Prashanth Mahendra-Rajah, ECE alum and new member of the ECE Council. To quote Prashanth, this is “just a small example of where double E’s are in the Covid fight.”

March 25, 2020

David Laleyan
Doctoral student

“Having my doctoral defense in my living room is something I never expected. Luckily the streaming app worked without major issues!”

David’s PhD abstract can be found here.

David Laleyan (bottom) with members of his committee, including his advisor, Prof. Zetian Mi

March 24, 2020

Brave New World

As of 12:01am, all Michigan residents are required to shelter-in-place by order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, joining about 20 other states with similar orders.

Students, faculty, and staff reflect on how life has changed these past few weeks (it seems longer). They share their thoughts, worries, and hopes.

Rob Giles
Senior Computing Consultant

“My daughters both work in the ICU at St. John Hospital in Detroit. This is Courtney. It’s been very stressful so I was happy to see her smiling!”

Jonathan Wong
ECE Undergrad

“I think my biggest fear is finding out what to do over the summer. Now that we are basically in a recession there will probably not be anymore internships. I really want to do something over the summer, be it an internship or research, so I would love some resources on things that are still running. And, if else, what other things I can do over the summer.”

Tarun Kumar
ECE Master’s student

“Working on projects at night and found even the moon is in self quarantine 😀 #clearsky #shotonnote10+”

Saakshi Narula
ECE Master’s student

“It’s become dull, we’re always at home. I love staying at home. But some days it gets very depressing, without family and without seeing people too, just the flatmates. So I try bringing in some happiness…talk to people, eat good food, and I’m going to watch a movie this week! The picture is something I stuck on our door and asked my flatmates to participate, just to make sure we be happy even in this isolation. So far so good…we write our blessing down on this paper each night!”

March 23, 2020

Meeting the new co-workers

As students, faculty, and staff adjust to studying and working at home, many have to adjust to the demands of their new co-workers. Lots of treats, pats, and toys are requisitioned.

Anthony Wohlfeil
ECE undergrad

“Quarantine isn’t so bad with my new study buddy.”

Maggie Cooney
ECE undergrad

“Moving home and having online classes has been a bit of an adjustment, and it’s a little disappointing that my project team has had to halt our work for the semester. But, on the bright side, I don’t have to cook anymore, and I’m spending a lot of time with my kitty. She is loving the online lectures!!! I hope everyone stays safe!”

Isha Bhatt
ECE undergrad

“I was really missing my favorite standing desk in the Duderstadt, so I turned my desk at home into a standing desk. The circumstances around you may change drastically, but there are small steps you can take to adapt smoothly to those changes 😁.”

Chris Puzzuoli
EECS Web Software Developer

“Like most of you, I am adjusting to the WFH lifestyle. My new supervisor, Maxwell, is kind of a micromanager though. He likes to make sure I take breaks to throw him his bone every now and then.”

Rob Giles
Senior Computing Consultant

“My cat is inspecting these arduino compatible robot chassis that we’ve been assembling for EECS 373 final projects, and then giving up on the whole thing.”

Bobbi Scheffer
EECS Instructional Laboratory Support

“It is weird being at home and everything being so empty. I think it is important that we all stay connected! Kirby has been a good helped/distractor when I need a pick me up :)”

March 19, 2020

First 2 remote PhD defenses

ECE had not one, but TWO remote defenses at the exact same time on Thursday, March 19. Both sailed through – with just one day to make the switch from live to remote!

Yunus Emre Sahin Defense

Yunus Sahin presented his research on “Coordination of multirobot systems under temporal constraints.” His advisor is Prof. Necmiye Ozay, and he was joined on the call with his committee members and more than 40 virtual attendees. Sahin is investigating how multirobot systems can change our lives by increasing efficiency or decreasing costs in many applications, ranging from warehouse logistics to constructions. They can also replace humans in dangerous scenarios, such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster cleanup.

Hongki Lim defense

Hongki Lim

Hongki Lim (who clearly enjoyed Sava Restaurant pre-shut down days) presented his research on “Quantitative image reconstruction methods for low signal-to-noise ratio emission tomography.” He is working on an imaging method that could lead to personalized treatment of cancer.

His advisors are Jeff Fessler, the William L. Root Collegiate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Yuni Dewaraja, a research professor of radiology.

Prof. Fessler said, “the world changed a lot in the week leading up to his defense. But he kept his cool and prevailed.”

March 19, 2020

Hiring during a pandemic

Qualcomm CEO and ECE alum Steve Mollenkopf is helping this Fortune 500 company weather the storm of COVID-19. One thing not being put on hold, but switching to remote like much of the world, is hiring!

Source: CNBC

March 18, 2020

Labs about to close!

Faculty and students have been notified that research may soon cease until further notice, so be prepared.

Computer off limits

March 17, 2020

Faculty miss the students

Prof. Pallab Bhattacharya misses his students so much he’s filled the space with some friendly faces. Somewhere, the real students are learning all about Semiconductor Optoelectronics Devices and their role in data storage, the Internet, high-performance computers, displays, image sensors, lighting and solar cells.

Bhattacharya class

March 16, 2020

Remote Life

All University of Michigan classes through the end of the term will be conducted remotely. Students are encouraged to return home, but are also welcome to stay on campus.

Countless events are postponed or cancelled.

Cancelled Teach In event

Most staff begin to work from home.

where am I sign

March 12, 2020

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Classes are canceled today and tomorrow to allow faculty and students to adjust to the switch to online learning to commence on Monday, March 16.

Normally hustling and bustling, the halls and classrooms of the EECS building are eerily silent.

EECS Classroom

February 11, 2020

The World Health Organization dubs the mysterious new viral outbreak as COVID-19, short for coronavirus disease 2019.

January 21, 2020

First U.S. case of deadly mystery virus confirmed

December 31, 2019

The disease impacting China was officially identified as an outbreak by the World Health Organization China Country Office.