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]

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Highly Cited


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]

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Harry Atwater CMS ESE Paul Wennberg John Seinfeld Joel Tropp Kerry Vahala Richard Murray

Coding Breakthrough Could Accelerate Mobile Network Speeds


Tracey C. Ho, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and colleagues’ research on stateless data transmission using Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC) promises higher network speeds with an elegant mathematical approach to data error correction and redundancy. They have shown that data could be transmitted without link layer flow control bogging down throughput with retransmission requests, and also the size of the transmission can be optimized for network efficiency and application latency constraints. [Networkworld Blog]

Tags: CMS Tracey Ho research highlight

Celebrating with Professor Carver Mead


Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. Professor Mead is best known for his pioneering work on VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s, which made it possible to greatly increase the number of transistors placed on a single semiconductor chip. It is no exaggeration to say that the computer era we live in would not have been possible without VLSI technology. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was. "There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," Mead says. [Caltech interview] [Share Your Memories] [ENGenious article]

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Engineering and Art


Students in Professor Hillary Mushkin’s new media arts seminar (E/H/Art 89 New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries) have put on a unique exhibition highlighting art and engineering. The course provides a platform for an expanded understanding of engineering and an active, project-based engagement with art history. [List of all projects]

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Tags: EE research highlights MCE CMS Hillary Mushkin

Building Artificial Cells Will Be a Noisy Business


Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, explains, "I tend to think of cells as really small robots. Biology has programmed natural cells, but now engineers are starting to think about how we can program artificial cells. When I program my computer, I can think entirely in terms of deterministic processes. But when I try to engineer what is essentially a program at the molecular scale, I have to think in terms of probabilities and stochastic (random) processes. This is inherently more difficult, but I like challenges. And if we are ever to succeed in creating artificial cells, these are the sorts of problems we need to address." [Caltech Release]

Tags: research highlights health CMS Erik Winfree

25th Anniversary of First Asynchronous Microprocessor


Twenty-five years ago, in December 1988, Professor Alain J. Martin's research group at Caltech submitted the world’s first asynchronous (“clockless”) microprocessor design for fabrication to MOSIS. MOSIS is the oldest integrated circuit foundry service and one of the first Internet services other than supercomputing services and basic infrastructure such as E-mail or File Transfer Protocol. Professor Alain describes this landmark project in his recent paper "25 Year Ago: The First Asynchronous Microprocessor."

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Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience


A recent New York Times' Science article about a new computing approach based on the nervous system mentions Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. The new processors used in this approach consist of electronic components that can be connected by wires that mimic biological synapses. Because they are based on large groups of neuron-like elements, they are known as neuromorphic processors, a term credited to Carver Mead, who pioneered the concept in the late 1980s. [New York Times Article] [ENGenious Article about Carver Mead]

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Senior Spotlight


Computer Science Senior Judy Mou has been working with K. Mani Chandy and Julian Bunn to develop an Android phone and tablet application that could be used to keep communities informed about crisis situations, such as local earthquakes, fires, and pollution hazards. Her application, called a situational awareness application, combines this hazard information with dynamically updated, individualized content, such as traffic on the user's commute, campus events, or news feeds that the user has subscribed to. "The test-case for the application that she is building is whether her classmates and housemates use the application," Chandy says. "She knows that she is building something valuable, and she's excited about it. That's one of the things I like best about working with her." [Learn More]

Tags: research highlights CMS Kanianthra Chandy Julian Bunn Judy Mou

Stephen Wolfram Receives Caltech 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award


Stephen Wolfram (PhD '80 in Theoretical Physics) has been recognized by Caltech with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute, for his contributions to the fields of computation and physics. Drawing upon his research and discoveries, Wolfram created Mathematica, now considered a standard software-language environment for scientific, technical, and algorithmic computation and software development.  [Caltech Release]

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