UW Today

College of Engineering


September 17, 2015

A Q & A with Pedro Domingos: Author of ‘The Master Algorithm’

book cover image

UW CSE professor Pedro Domingos’ book “The Master Algorithm” is an essential primer on machine learning, and a popular science romp through one of today’s hottest scientific topics.. It unveils the deep ideas behind the algorithms that increasingly pick our books, find our dates, manage investments and run our lives — and what informed consumers ought to know about them.


September 8, 2015

New wearable technology can sense appliance use, help track carbon footprint

Electromagnetic radiation patterns of various appliances

A new wearable technology developed at the University of Washington called MagnifiSense can sense what devices and vehicles its user interacts with, which can help track that individual’s carbon footprint, enable smart home applications or even assist with elder care.


August 26, 2015

Lab experiments question popular measure of ancient ocean temperatures

The study looked at Thaumarchaeota archaea, which are found throughout the world's oceans. These single-celled organisms have just one membrane sac that encloses their bodies. This organism, used in the study, was collected from a tropical-water tank at the Seattle Aquarium.

The membranes of sediment-entombed archaea are an increasingly popular way to determine ocean surface temperatures back to the age of the dinosaurs. But new results show that changing oxygen can affect the reading by as much as 21 degrees C.


August 13, 2015

From protein design to self-driving cars: UW researchers win AI prize for new optimization approach

folded protein-flickr-Argonne National Laboratory_tile

UW machine learning researchers have developed a new approach to optimization – a key step in predicting everything from election results to how proteins will fold – that won a top paper prize at the world’s largest artificial intelligence conference.


August 5, 2015

How makerspaces can be accessible to people with disabilities

Photo of student in MakerSpace

UW researchers have released new guidelines to make MakerSpaces more accessible to people with disabilities, as more communal spaces with soldering irons, 3-D printers, sewing machines and other “making” tools pop up on campuses and neighborhoods nationwide.


August 3, 2015

Crystals form through a variety of paths, with implications for biological, materials and environmental research

Artist's rendition of calcium carbonate crystals.

Crystals play an important role in the formation of substances from skeletons and shells to soils and semiconductor materials. But many aspects of their formation are shrouded in mystery. Scientists have long worked to understand how crystals grow into complex shapes. Now, an international group of researchers has shown how nature uses a variety of…


UW to invest $37 million in nanofabrication lab critical to researchers, start-ups

Photo of UW students learning microfabrication techniques in the Washington Nanofabrication Facility.

The UW is investing up to $37 million in the Washington Nanofabrication Facility, which makes things for researchers and outside companies that aren’t practical, economical or possible to fabricate at commercial foundries: inconceivably tiny devices, chips made from unconventional materials that industrial factories won’t touch and devices that probe the boundaries of our universe.


July 22, 2015

Computer security tools for journalists lacking in a post-Snowden world

Journalists typing

Despite heightened awareness of surveillance tactics and privacy breaches, existing computer security tools aren’t meeting the needs of journalists working with sensitive material, a new UW study finds.


July 20, 2015

The Next MacGyver will be a woman — and a UW engineering student may invent her

Concept art for "The Mind" television proposal

Astronautics doctoral student Nao Murakami wants to invent the heir to Angus MacGyver — the 1980s television hero who inspired a generation of engineers by foiling criminals with household items like cooking oil, a shop vac or a tube sock. Only this time the engineering heroine will be a woman.


July 16, 2015

Many mobile health apps neglect needs of blind users

Screenshot of mHealth app with poorly labeled buttons

University of Washington researchers who conducted the first academic review of nine mhealth iPhone apps on the market in March 2014 found none met all the criteria that would make them accessible to blind customers. Accessibility shortcomings ranged from improperly labeled buttons to layouts that confuse built-in screen readers that assist low-vision smartphone users.


June 30, 2015

UW team programs solitary yeast cells to say ‘hello’ to one another

UW researchers have produced cell-to-cell communication in baker's yeast, a first step in learning to build multicellular organisms from scratch. The red yeast cells have been engineered to produce the plant hormone auxin, which "tells" the green cells to express a gene differently.

UW researchers have produced cell-to-cell communication in baker’s yeast — a first step in learning to build multicellular organisms or artificial organs from scratch.


June 18, 2015

Saharan silver ants use hair to survive Earth’s hottest temperatures

A Saharan silver ant offloading heat on top of dry vegetation.

An international team of researchers that includes a University of Washington electrical engineer has discovered two key strategies that enable Saharan silver ants to survive in one of the hottest terrestrial environments on Earth.


June 12, 2015

Microsoft dedicates $10M gift to new UW Computer Science & Engineering building

An early conceptual drawing of the new CSE building interior by LMN Architects. The final building design will incorporate an undergraduate commons (pictured) and instructional labs, seminar rooms, research labs, and collaborative spaces for students and faculty

Microsoft Corp. is awarding a $10 million gift to kick-start a campaign to build a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the University of Washington campus as an “investment in students who will become the innovators and creators of tomorrow,”


June 2, 2015

UW researchers scaling up fusion hopes with DOE grant

UW researchers will attempt to create a self-sustained and controlled fusion reaction with a scaled-up version of this Z-pinch device.

UW researchers are scaling up a novel plasma confinement device with a DOE grant, in hopes of producing a self-sustaining reaction to create fusion energy.


June 1, 2015

UW students use open source mapping to aid relief efforts in Nepal

Map­ping in Nepal by Open­StreetMap com­mu­nity

University of Washington civil and environmental engineering students have joined a 4,000-volunteer crowdsourcing effort to turn satel­lite imagery of Nepal into maps that aid earthquake relief efforts.


May 18, 2015

Study: 44 percent of parents struggle to limit cell phone use at playgrounds

Playground phone

A new University of Washington study finds that cell phone use at playgrounds is a significant source of parental guilt, and that caregivers absorbed in their phones were much less attentive to children’s requests.


May 7, 2015

UW researchers hack a teleoperated surgical robot to reveal security flaws

UW reseachers mounted common cyberattacks while study participants used the Raven II surgical robotic system to move rubber blocks on a pegboard.

University of Washington researchers easily hacked a next generation teleoperated surgical robot — one used only for research purposes — to test how easily a malicious attack could hijack remotely-controlled operations in the future and to make those systems more secure.


April 27, 2015

New UW app can detect sleep apnea events via smartphone

ApneaApp uses a smartphone to wirelessly detect sleep apnea events in the privacy of one's bedroom, without needing sensors or special equipment.

The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea — a disease which affects roughly 1 in 13 Americans — requires an overnight hospital stay and costs thousands of dollars. A new smartphone app developed at the University of Washington can wirelessly test for sleep apnea events in a person’s own bedroom without needing special sensors attached to the body.


April 16, 2015

Research identifies barriers in tracking meals and what foodies want

pizza-TILEjpg

University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers studied how mobile-based food journals integrate into everyday life. A new study suggests how future designs might make it easier and more effective.


April 9, 2015

Who’s a CEO? Google image results can shift gender biases

CEO Google image search results (April 2015)

A University of Washington study assesses how accurately gender representations in online image search results for 45 different occupations — from CEO to telemarketer to engineer — match reality. Exposure to skewed image results shifted people’s perceptions about how many women actually hold those jobs.


March 23, 2015

UW scientists build a nanolaser using a single atomic sheet

The ultra-thin semiconductor, which is about 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, stretches across the top of the photonic cavity.

University of Washington scientists have built a new nanometer-sized laser using a semiconductor that’s only three atoms thick. It could help open the door to next-generation computing that uses light, rather than electrons, to transfer information.


March 19, 2015

UW geologist, engineer reflect back one year later on nation’s deadliest landslide

An aerial photo of the Oso, Wash., mudslide.

A UW geologist and geotechnical engineer look back at what the past year has meant, personally and professionally, as they helped recovery efforts from the nation’s deadliest landslide in our own backyard.


March 18, 2015

New Air Force center at UW learns from animals for better flight

Yonatan Munk, a postdoctoral researcher in biology, studies how moths fly.

A new center at the University of Washington funded by the U.S. Air Force will focus on how elements in nature can help solve challenging engineering and technological problems related to building small, remotely operated aircraft.


March 10, 2015

An injectable UW polymer could keep soldiers, trauma patients from bleeding to death

a rendering of fibrin forming a blood clot using the polymer to bind.

University of Washington researchers have developed a new injectable polymer that strengthens blood clots, called PolySTAT. Administered in a simple shot, the polymer finds any unseen injuries and has the potential to keep trauma patients from bleeding to death before reaching medical care.


February 13, 2015

AAAS symposium looks at how to bring big-data skills to academia

word cloud

A session Feb. 15 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting will explore how big data scientists can find careers at universities and within academic settings.


AAAS talk: Some bilinguals use emoticons more when chatting in non-native language

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A research team has found that one group of bilingual speakers used emoticons more often when typing in their second language in casual, online communication than they did when typing in their native tongue.


February 5, 2015

New tool monitors effects of tidal, wave energy on marine habitat

From left to right: UW researchers Ben Rush, Nick Michel-Hart, James Joslin and Paul Gibbs prepare to test the monitoring device underwater in a tank on campus.

A robot developed at the University of Washington will deploy instruments to gather information in unprecedented detail about how marine life interacts with underwater equipment used to harvest wave and tidal energy.


January 19, 2015

Boeing, UW open research lab on Seattle campus

Gov. Jay Inslee learns about riveting from Boeing engineer Riley Hanson Smith, left, and Sai Krovvidi, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering, at the opening of the Boeing Advanced Research Center on campus.

The Boeing Advanced Research Center, located in the Department of Mechanical Engineering on the UW campus, will let students and faculty members work collaboratively with Boeing engineers on aircraft and spacecraft assembly and manufacturing. Four initial projects are underway at the UW, led by Boeing-employed affiliate instructors and UW engineering professors.


December 1, 2014

‘What is HCDE?’ New comics class aims to answer the question

Undergraduate students Xiangyi (Anne) Zheng, left, and Daniel Aldridge give feedback on each other's comics at a recent class.

A new class at the University of Washington is using comics to explain what, exactly, the field of human-centered design is all about.


November 20, 2014

UW undergrad’s early life challenges become a hectic schedule of opportunity

David Coven in the lab.

From starting his own company – and recruiting 11 friends to join him – and running a successful nonprofit to doing research in the lab and taking a full course load, engineering undergraduate student David Coven is an expert schedule juggler.


November 12, 2014

Moving cameras talk to each other to identify, track pedestrians

Tracking camera example

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences.


November 5, 2014

UW study shows direct brain interface between humans

An example of how the brain to brain interface demonstration would look.

University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago.


October 24, 2014

Large X-ray scanner to produce 3-D images for labs across campus

A photo of an example of a scanner.

A state-of-the-art imaging machine is coming to the University of Washington for use by researchers in a variety of disciplines.


U.S. Navy awards $8 million to develop wave, tidal energy technology

students on boat

The UW has an $8 million, four-year contract to develop technologies that can harness waves, tides and currents to power naval facilities worldwide.


October 10, 2014

Engineering lecture series focuses on technologies for the heart

2014 flyer image

The University of Washington’s College of Engineering 2014 fall lecture series will feature faculty researchers in engineering and medicine who are improving cardiac medical care with new technologies.


October 8, 2014

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

A prototype of the UW's current fusion experiment.

University of Washington engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.


October 2, 2014

UW’s Jeffrey Heer wins award to support data visualization research

A data visualization example

Jeffrey Heer, a University of Washington associate professor of computer science and engineering, has received an award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop new theories, tools and techniques for data visualization that help scientists see and understand big data.


September 30, 2014

UW students to build hybrid-electric muscle car in EcoCAR 3 contest

A Chevy Camaro

The UW is one of 16 schools invited to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co. EcoCAR 3 competition that spans four years with stand-alone contests each spring. Their challenge in this next competition is to convert a Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car.


September 22, 2014

New RFID technology helps robots find household objects

A PR2 robot successfully navigates to a medication bottle.

The University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new search algorithm that improves a robot’s ability to find and navigate to tagged objects.


September 19, 2014

Join expedition online: UW students help install cabled deep-sea observatory

octopus near instrument

UW students have had a unique experience off the coast of Washington and Oregon helping scientists and engineers complete construction of the world’s largest deep-ocean observatory.



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