Skip to main content

Faculty Award and Honors

Paul Siegel
Paul Siegel

Siegel Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Paul Siegel, an electrical engineering professor and the director of UCSD's Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMRR), been elected to the National Academy of Engineering "for the invention and development of advanced coding techniques for digital recording systems."

"Paul worked on finding codes that give better performance when the PRML is unscrambled by the Viterbi detector," said Jack Keil Wolf, the Stephen O. Rice Professor of Magnetics at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Jacobs School.

Siegel demonstrated that complications in a phenomenon known as intersymbol interference, or ISI, to the read process can be mitigated with signal processing. Siegel and his collaborators showed that this interference can be controlled and the Viterbi algorithm can be used to unscramble the "coded partial response, maximum likelihood," or PRML

The Viterbi algorithm and detector are named after their inventor, Andrew Viterbi, a co-founder of both Linkabit Corporation and Qualcomm Inc. In the 1970s and 1980s, Viterbi was a UCSD professor while working at Linkabit and later at Qualcomm. He is now an emeritus professor at UCSD.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Siegel was part of an IBM team that helped to revolutionize the hard disk industry through advances in signal processing. Siegel's work on signal processing systems has increased the reliability of information retrieval from hard disk drives. His patents and publications provided part of the framework for the introduction of a signal processing approach called "coded partial response, maximum likelihood" (PRML) which is used in every disk drive today.

PRML, along with the introduction of advanced heads and disks, enabled the extremely rapid growth in capacity of magnetic hard disk drives. A one gigabyte hard disk drive in 1984 cost approximately $50,000 and was the size of a small washing machine. Today, mp3 players like iPods contain drives with 30 times this capacity and these are small drives by today's standards.

For information to be stored on a hard disk, electronic signals carrying the data first travel down a wire to one of the disk's writing heads. To record this information, the write heads leak flux which results in information stored on the disk.

Retrieval of this stored information requires a read head flying very close to the disk to read the information as pulses. These pulses must be converted back to electronic signals in an ultra reliable way - and this is where Siegel's work enters the picture.

Francesco Lanza di Scalea
Francesco Lanza di Scalea

Person-of-the-Year Award to UCSD Structural Engineer

Francesco Lanza di Scalea, a Jacobs School professor of structural engineering, won the 2007 Structural Health Monitoring Person of the Year Award at the Stanford International Workshop for Structural Health Monitoring. The annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of structural health monitoring that benefit society. Lanza di Scalea, director of the Jacobs School's Nondestructive Evaluation and Structural Health Monitoring Laboratory, has pioneered a number of nondestructive monitoring techniques, including a new technique that is better able than currently used technology to find defects in steel railroad tracks, including hard-to-find internal cracks that can break under the weight of passing trains.

Marc Meyers
Marc Meyers

Materials Honor Goes to Marc Meyers

Marc Meyers, a professor of materials science in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Service Award from the Structural Materials Division of TMS (the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society). The award, presented at the Annual TMS meeting in New Orleans in March, recognizes an individual who has made a long lasting contribution to the fundamental understanding of microstructure, properties and performance of structural materials for industrial applications.

Gabriel Silva
Gabriel Silva

Silva Wins Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award

Gabriel Silva, a bioengineering professor at the Jacobs School and professor of ophthalmology in the School of Medicine, is the 2008 recipient of the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award, an honor given by the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Silva was awarded the honor "for fundamental contributions to tissue engineering in the central nervous system." The annual award recognizes exceptional accomplishment, innovative, quality research and demonstrated commitment to bioengineering to early career investigators. Silva's research focuses on the physiology and pathophysiology of cell signaling and network dynamics in the neural retina. He also is studying the process by which stem cells differentiate into neural cells, and novel applications to treat degenerative retinal disorders. The award carries special significance to Silva because it is named in honor of a colleague in the Jacobs School's Department of Bioengineering, emeritus bioengineering professor Y.C. Fung, whose research is the basis for the entire field of automotive safety design.

Robert Hecht-Nielsen
Robert Hecht-Nielsen

Confabulation Theorist Named 'Outstanding Engineer'

Robert Hecht-Nielsen, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been selected by the San Diego chapters of engineering related professional organizations, including IEEE and ACM, as Outstanding Engineer. Hecht-Nielsen, author of "Confabulation Theory" and who is based at Calit2, will receive the award Feb 22 at the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego (USD), as part of National Engineering Week. He created the Neuroscience Confabulation Laboratory at Calit2 and consults at Fair Isaac.

Chia-Ming Uang
Chia-Ming Uang

Best Teacher Award

Chia-Ming Uang, a professor of structural engineering, won the Jacobs School of Engineering's "Best Teacher Award" for the 2006-07 academic year. The award was based on student surveys

Frieder Seible
Frieder Seible

Seible Wins Bridge Research Award

Frieder Seible, dean of the Jacobs School and professor of structural engineering, won the 2007 Bridge Engineering Research Award from the Bridge Engineering Association at its annual New York City Bridge Conference. The association and the award promote and recognize the application of state-of-the-art bridge engineering technologies. Seible, chair of the California Department of Transportation's Seismic Advisory Committee, guides California's efforts to mitigate earthquake damage to its bridges. He also has developed large scale structural testing techniques, seismic assessment and retrofit of bridges, and the application of composites in civil engineering structures, including bridges.