Two SU professors receive prestigious NSF CAREER Award
Two SU professors receive prestigious NSF CAREER AwardFebruary 10, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Biao Chen, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science in Syracuse University’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Britton L.T. Plourde, assistant professor of physics in The College of Arts and Sciences, have been awarded the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, NSF’s most prestigious and competitive award for young faculty members. This award recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership.
Chen’s research interest is in the general area of signal processing and communications, including the study of fundamental performance limits of various communication systems as well as the design of practical signal processing algorithms to approach the performance limits.
Plourde studies quantum coherence and vortex dynamics in nanofabricated superconducting devices. Progress in this area could advance fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics at large scales and accelerate the pace of improvements necessary for implementing quantum computers. Such computers would be capable of solving many problems that are intractable on even the most powerful classical computer. Plourde’s research focuses on fabricating these superconducting devices, cooling the circuits to low temperatures while minimizing their decoherence, and developing techniques for entangling multiple circuits together.
The NSF established the CAREER program in 1995 to help top-performing junior faculty scientists and engineers simultaneously develop their contributions and commitment to research and education. Awards typically range from $200,000 to $500,000 and are in duration from four to five years. Chen’s award is for $400,000 over five years. Plourde’s award is for $500,000 over five years.
Chen’s CAREER award will support Chen and his research group in developing theoretical foundations that will enable a novel spectrum management paradigm to address the spectrum scarcity issue in today’s wireless systems. This project intends to explore the notion of overlay transmission, where different users may co-exist within the same time and frequency band without compromising each user’s quality of service. This novel spectrum management paradigm could bring great relief to the spectrum scarcity issue.
Plourde’s award will fund research into the quantum coherent properties of vortices that are guided through nanofabricated superconducting structures. Such investigations will provide a novel approach to study quantum coherence at the scale of circuits and may help with the development of new building blocks for a quantum computer. The research project will make extensive use of the Cornell Nanoscale Facility in Ithaca, NY. In addition, Plourde will give several public lectures on quantum coherent circuits as part of an ongoing series at SU.
Chen received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University and a master’s degree in statistics and doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University. Since 2000, he has been with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at SU as an assistant professor.
Plourde earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Michigan, where he double majored in physics and music. He earned master’s degrees in physics and flute performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While he was there, he served for three seasons as second flutist in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra in Springfield. Plourde received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois in 2000. Prior to coming to Syracuse in 2005, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, where he performed experiments on quantum coherence in superconducting devices.