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Three EECS Professors Named Miller Scholars

June 29, 2012

Three EECS professors received Miller Scholar awards for their outstanding overall achievement during the past academic year. The School of Engineering honored Professors Perry Alexander and Chris Allen and Associate Professor James P.G. Sterbenz each with an award and $4,000 fellowship.

Professor Perry Alexander

Alexander taught the undergraduate Programming Languages (EECS 662) course and the graduate Software Modeling and Analysis (EECS 755) course. They underscore his expertise in formal methods, mathematically based techniques to predict and evaluate software and hardware systems under development.

“With full knowledge that what I am about to say sounds cliche (because it is something that all great teachers possess), Professor Alexander is a great teacher because he is able to express to his students his own passion for the subjects that he teaches,” said Ph.D. student Brigid Halling. “His obvious enthusiasm shines through especially when he shows how a complicated idea can be expressed in relatively simple terms, often exclaiming, ‘Now that's cool!’. As a student of Professor Alexander, I don't just walk out of his class at the end of the semester with a letter grade… I walk out feeling like I gained some pretty cool knowledge.”

He serves as Director of KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC). At ITTC, more than 140 faculty and students create innovative technologies in telecommunications, information systems, bioinformatics, and radar. In addition to his administrative duties, Alexander conducts formal modeling for systems-level design for a number of government agencies and industry.


Professor Christopher Allen

Allen teaches the Senior Design Laboratory (EECS 501 and 502). The year-long capstone course serves as a bridge between the classroom and industry. Seniors apply what they have learned throughout their EECS coursework to solve real-world engineering problems. They design, build, and assess systems that adhere to industry standards and gain communication and presentation experience.

During weekly meetings, students would update Allen on the progress of their projects. Allen would ask questions and help students’ brainstorm solutions. His feedback would often cause students to reevaluate or tweak their plans, ultimately improving the system or device.

“What makes him a great professor is his careful integration of the roles of ‘teacher’ and ‘boss’: he's always there to help you solve your pitfalls and instill the fundamentals of the engineering process. But at the same time, he raises the expectations of responsibility and accountability to the level found in industry. This mix helps provide the much-needed transition from academia to ‘the real world’ and sets students up to adapt and succeed quicker in their career,” “said Danielle Fuller, who had Allen for Senior Design.

With expertise in lightwave/photonics systems and radar design and analysis, he is an affiliated researcher with the Center for Remote Sensing (CReSIS) and ITTC. In addition to mentoring graduate students in research, Allen taught the graduate course High-Speed Digital Circuit Design (EECS 713).


EECS Associate Professor James P.G. Sterbenz

Sterbenz teaches graduate networking and undergraduate digital design courses, including Mobile Wireless Networking (EECS 882) and Communication Networks (EECS 780) this past year. He has served as the chair or a member on more than 35 M.S. and Ph.D. committees.

His commu­nications and networking research emphasizes resilient and surviv­able networking in future Internet design and engineering. Sterbenz' group is developing flexible, programmable, reliable network infrastructure to support a more mobile, secure Internet.

He is leading the international Great Plains Environment for Network Innovation (GpENI) collaboration to build research infrastructure able to support experiments on the architecture of the Future Internet. The National Science Foundation FIND (Future Internet Design) and GENI (Global Environments for Network Innovation) programs and the EU FIRE (Future Internet Research and Experimentation) Programme are funding the ResiliNets initiative.

“Professor Sterbenz always seeks the best out of his students while challenging their status quo,” said EECS Ph.D. student Egemen Cetinkaya. “The projects he works on are stimulating and interesting, so it forces us to think out of the box constantly.  He is very supportive both at the personal and professional levels, while being cheerful and friendly.  I feel lucky to have him as my advisor.”

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