Logo: University of Southern California

IEEE Recognizes Seven Ming Hsieh Department Electrical Engineering Faculty

January 20, 2009 —

Three faculty members from the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering -- Shri Narayanan, Timothy Pinkston and USC President Steven B. Sample -- were recently elected Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellows, and four were named senior members.

Shri Narayanan is Andrew Viterbi Professor of Engineering, and also holds joint appointments as Professor in Computer Science, Linguistics and Psychology.  He is a member of the USC Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI), the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC), and directs the Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL).

Shri Narayanan

He received his B.E. in electrical engineering from the College of Engineering-Guindy, Anna University, Madras, India, in 1988.  He received an M.S. in 1990, an Engineer degree in 1992 and Ph.D. in 1995, from UCLA, all in electrical engineering.  From 1995 through 2000 he was at AT&T Research Labs, and joined USC in 2000.  His research is in speech and multimedia, spoken language technology systems, speech science, and human-computer interfaces.  He is also the recipient of many awards and honors for his work, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award, and election as Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. 

His citation as IEEE Fellow notes his "contributions to human-centric multimodal signal processing."

Timothy M. Pinkston joined USC in 1993, and is now Professor of Electrical Engineering. From January 2006 through December 2008, he was on leave as Lead Program Director in the Computing and Communication Foundations Division of the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF). 
Timothy Pinkston

He received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Ohio State University in 1985, and the M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University in electrical engineering in 1986 and 1993, respectively. 

His research concerns the design of high-performance communication architectures for parallel computer systems, including interconnection networks, network characterization, adaptive and reconfigurable routing algorithms, router design and implementation.  He also studies on-chip networks, opto-electronic interconnect architectures and the performance analysis, simulation and empirical analysis, formal and theoretical analysis of message blocking and deadlock. 

His awards and honors include an NSF Career Award and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering and the Minority Engineering Program of the Ohio State University. 

His citation as IEEE Fellow notes his "contributions to design and analysis of interconnection networks and routing algorithms."

Steven B. Sample came to USC in 1991, and is the 10th President of USC, holder of the Robert C. Packard President’s Chair, and Professor of Electrical Engineering. 

He earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from eight academic institutions worldwide.  He is the author of numerous patents and journal articles in science, engineering and higher education.
Sample-Ivy-updated Sized
Steven B. Sample

Under his leadership, USC conducted a national-record-setting fundraising campaign and received five gifts of $100 million or more, an achievement unmatched by any other university in the nation; was named College of the Year 2000 by Time magazine; and continues to recruit one of the most academically talented freshman classes in the nation. 

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received numerous awards from academic, civic and humanitarian organizations.  Sample has chaired a number of statewide and national groups examining the state of elementary, secondary, and higher education, co-founded the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a consortium of 34 premier Pacific Rim research universities located in 15 countries, and is a past chairman of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of the 63 leading North American research universities. 

His citation as IEEE Fellow was given for his "leadership in engineering education."

“The election of Shri Narayanan, Timothy Pinkston and Steven B. Sample as IEEE Fellows is a recognition of their accomplishments and stature in research and education,” said Alexander 'Sandy' Sawchuk, systems chair of the Ming Hsieh Department.  “This is an outstanding achievement and the faculty in our department join me in congratulating them."

IEEE Senior Members
In addition to the newly elected Fellows, four electrical engineering faculty were named IEEE Senior Members:  Todd Brun, Krishna Nayak, Michael Neely and Kostas Psounis.

Todd Brun Cropped
Todd Brun

Qualifications for this distinction are at least ten years of professional practice and five years of significant performance as exemplified by substantial engineering responsibility or achievement, publication of engineering and technical papers, books or inventions, and the development and teaching of engineering courses.

Todd Brun joined USC in 2003, and is now associate professor and associate department chair of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering-Systems.  He also has joint appointments in computer science and physics.

His technical field is in quantum communications, quantum computation and quantum information processing (QIP) in general.  These emerging fields have many applications in secure communications and in solving computationally difficult problems more efficiently than conventional computers. 

Brun has several novel accomplishments in the field of QIP, including: modeling and simulation of proposed experiments to explore the practicality and applicability of QIP theories; development of new communication protocols for QIP that use quantum entanglement principles and quantum walks as an encoding procedure; determining the effect of decoherence (noise effects) on these protocols; and addressing basic questions in QIP theory, including the notion of quantum state as an indicator of information state or physical reality.  He has been a keynote or plenary speaker at many major conferences and workshops, and has won a number of awards including: a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award and a USC Zumberge Grant for Innovation.

Krishna Nayak joined the Ming Hsieh Electrical Engineering-Systems faculty in 2003 as assistant professor.  He also has joint appointments in the USC Department of Medicine (Radiology) and Biomedical Engineering.

Nayak's area of study is in the broad field of biomedical imaging, particularly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  His research concentrates on several related themes, including: novel signal processing methods to improve image quality (resolution and signal-to-noise ratio) by compensating for high-order physical defects in the scanning systems); improving the speed and efficiency of reconstruction algorithms (for real-time video imaging of moving components of the cardiovascular system (heart, blood vessels, blood flow); and extending the applicability of MRI (developing new imaging techniques that produce high quality images without requiring invasive contrast agents). 
Krishna Nayak

He has also developed new applications of MRI, including: real-time imaging of the human vocal tract and upper airway for research in sleep apnea and vocal system modeling; new imaging techniques of the coronary arteries and myocardial perfusion for understanding blood flow dynamics near atherosclerotic plaques; and techniques to quantify body fat distribution for studies of obesity and the regulation of fat accumulation. 

Nayak has received several awards, including the USC Mellon Mentoring Award for Faculty Mentoring of Graduate Students, and the Viterbi School of Engineering Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award in 2007.  He also was a best paper finalist in two conference presentations.

Michael Neely joined the Ming Hsieh Electrical Engineering-Systems faculty in 2004 as assistant  professor, and is  a member of the Communications Sciences Institute (CSI) within the department.
Neely's research interests are in the areas of stochastic optimization and queueing theory, with applications to resource allocation and scheduling in wireless networks, ad-hoc networks, networks with mobile nodes, sensor systems, and satellite communications.  His recent work concerns the analysis and control of delay in stochastic data networks.  While algorithms to optimize energy use and throughput in networks have been studied, little work has been done on the optimization of delay (the most important parameter to the average user) due to the complex models that must be employed. 
Michael Neely

Neely’s novel approach recognizes that the solution of these difficult problems is related to optimization techniques applied to a different set of problems.  From this, energy-delay and utility-delay bounds, and adaptive, low complexity procedures to achieve them can be obtained. He was recently awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (Career) grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research on these topics.
Kostas Psounis was appointed to the Ming Hsieh Electrical Engineering-Systems faculty in 2003 as assistant professor.  He also has a joint appointment in the USC Department of Computer Science.
Psounis' research is on the mathematical foundations and theory of networks, including performance analysis, as well as more applied studies of protocol implementation and system specification.  He is known for his work on routing techniques for networks with  intermittent connectivity (such as mobile networks) that achieve near-optimal performance while avoiding excessive network loading and resource use. 

Psounis also studies the optimal performance limits of static multi-hop wireless networks that pass messages through multiple nodes, and has developed rate control and scheduling techniques for efficient use of their available resources.  A final topic is on downscaling techniques for modeling the behavior of large very complex networks (such as the Internet, or other wireless and telecomm networks). 

Kostas Psounis

Psounis received a Cisco Systems "Best and Most Compelling Presentation and Demonstration Award" at a networking workshop competition, a USC Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Award, and a Viterbi School of Engineering Innovative Research Award.

IEEE is the leading technical organization in these fields, with 39 professional societies and publication of 128 transactions, journals and magazines representing a wide spectrum of technical interests.  The organization traces its history to 1884 and has approximately 365,000 members in over 150 countries.