Variability Keeps The Body In Balance
By combining heart rate data from real athletes with a branch of mathematics called control theory, John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering and colleagues have devised a way to better understand the relationship between reduced heart rate variability (HRV) and health.
"A familiar related problem is in driving," Doyle says. "To get to a destination despite varying weather and traffic conditions, any driver—even a robotic one—will change factors such as acceleration, braking, steering, and wipers. If these factors suddenly became frozen and unchangeable while the car was still moving, it would be a nearly certain predictor that a crash was imminent. Similarly, loss of heart rate variability predicts some kind of malfunction or 'crash,' often before there are any other indications," he says. [Caltech Release] [Read the Paper]
Programmed to Fold: RNA Origami
Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA. "RNA origami is still in its infancy," says Rothemund. "Nevertheless, I believe that RNA origami, because of their potential to be manufactured by cells, and because of the extra functionality possible with RNA, will have at least as big an impact as DNA origami." [Caltech Release]
The Thomson Reuters compilation of the most highly cited researchers— those in the top 1%—from the period 2002–2012 include EAS professors Harry Atwater, Richard Murray, Joel Tropp, John Seinfeld, Kerry Vahala, and Paul Wennberg. Other Caltech professors were also among the top 1%—including Colin Camerer, Mark Davis, Richard Ellis, William Goddard, Robert Grubbs, Hiroo Kanamori, Jeff Kimble, John O’Doherty, and Charles Steidel. This compilation aims to identify researchers with exceptional impact on their respective fields. [Detailed information on the methodology]
Celebration of Undergraduate Research
The Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) Department hosted its first Celebration of Undergraduate Research on Friday, May 30th, 2014. Fifteen students/teams participated by presenting their research via a poster and/or demo, and prizes were awarded to the top three teams, as voted by event attendees: First Place: Social Math, presented by Jianchi Chen, Ying Yu Ho, Timothy Holland, and Kexin Rong; Second Place: The Tweet Rises, presented by Aleksander Bello, Alexandru Cioc, Victor Duan, Archan Luhar, and Louis O'Bryan; Third Place: Team Ouroboroy, presented by Moya Chen and James Macdonald.
In addition the following students were recognized for their outstanding academic excellence and/or services to CMS: Erika DeBenedictis, Kevin Chen, David Ding, Angela Gong, Max Hirschhorn, Josie Kishi, Jesse Salomon, Ben Yuan, and Mike Yurko.
Many members of the CMS community attended to learn more about the research projects, and a large numbers of undergrads came to support and celebrate their classmates' hard work. On the heels of this event's success, it has been decided that the Celebration of Undergraduate Research will henceforth be an annual occurrence in CMS."
Iris Z. Liu Wins 2014 Bhansali Prize
Iris Z. Liu, a senior student in Computer Science advised by Mathieu Desbrun and conducting research with Adam Wierman, is the recipient of the 2014 Bhansali Prize. The Bhansali Prize is awarded to an undergraduate student for outstanding research in Computer Science in the current academic year.
With increased incorporation of renewable energy in the energy grid, energy supply becomes more intermittent. As energy demands increase, demand peak periods become more problematic for energy providers. These problems of fluctuating supply and demand necessitate demand response programs. Iris’ research with Professor Adam Wierman focuses on data centers as a particularly promising industry for demand response. Through a series of simulations, she has shown that data centers provide as much (or even more) flexibility as large-scale storage when incentivized correctly. She has compared the voltage violations and generation costs of data centers versus large-scale storage, given a particular network, demands, and loads. Through this research, she was able to highlight the potential for using data centers as demand response resources.