Lectures & Workshops

Engineering Lecture Series

Each spring and fall, the Engineering Department at SSU presents a series of colloquia on a wide range of engineering topics and trend of technologies. The talks are generally very high-level and designed for the general audience. The Engineering Colloquium was established in Fall 2006 and was initially sponsored by former Agilent Technologies (now Keysight Technologies) and local industries.

Days & Dates: First and Third Thursday of every month
Zoom ID:
https://SonomaState.zoom.us/j/87287592076, Passcode: 2009A
and/or Cerent Engineering Science Complex, Salazar Hall 2009A, Campus Map
Lecture: 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. including Q &A

Attendance is open to students, faculty and staff of SSU and other members of the community, in general. A parking permit is required to park on campus, and is available for $5.00 at machines in the parking lots. Talks are otherwise free.

For more information, please contact the Engineering Department at (707) 664-2030 or engineering@sonoma.edu.

The Coming 6th Generation (6G) of Mobile Wireless

Roger Nichols

Mr. Roger Nichols
6G Program Manager
Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA

Thu, 02/01/2024

Abstract: The first commercial 5G deployments were in March of 2019 - now almost 5 years ago--and the path to 6G is well under way. It is without a doubt that 6G will be evolution and revolution beyond 5G, but its territory is still rife with speculation. However, some of the differences are already clear. Not only is the technology going to be different, the change in commercial and government approach to commercial wireless systems has changed in a dramatic fashion. This talk will cover a little of what remains to be realized from the original 5G vision and what to expect from the work on 6G in the coming decade.

Bio: Mr. Roger Nichols is an acknowledged subject matter expert in mobile wireless communications design and measurement technologies. He has 39 years of engineering and management experience at Hewlett-Packard, Agilent, and Keysight spanning roles in R&D, marketing, and manufacturing. With experience in mobile wireless technology on all five previous generations, he has been directing Keysight’s 6G program since its inception in 2019. He is a member of the FCC Technological Advisory Council and is also the strategic director of Keysight’s work in wireless standards. Roger holds a BSEE from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Engineering Challenges in Quantum Computing

Clayton Crocker

Dr. Clayton Crocker
Technical Business Development Lead
Quantum Engineering Solutions (QES), Keysight Technologies, CA

Thu, 02/15/2024

Abstract: Quantum computing has the potential to play a key role in future solutions to simulation, optimization, and machine learning problems. To realize this potential though, a number of technological hurdles must be overcome. In this lecture we will discuss what a quantum computer is, as well as many of the engineering challenges facing superconducting quantum computers.

Bio: Dr. Clayton Crocker received a PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland in 2018 for work on trapped ion quantum computing and ion-photon quantum networks. Since then, Clayton has been a member of the Quantum Engineering Solutions (QES) group at Keysight Technologies where he has worked on software and control systems for quantum computing groups around the world.

Photovoltaic Microinverters and Energy Storage Systems, 2024

Mark Baldassari

Mr. Mark Baldassari
Director, Codes and Standards
Enphase Energy, CA

Thu, 03/07/2024

Abstract: The presentation will cover how solar photovoltaic cells convert solar energy into usable power. The effects on energy production due to insolation (sunlight) and temperature. Simple solar systems covers traditional string inverters versus modern microinverters and discusses the safety benefits. Energy storage is discussed starting with the why storage is needed for several applications. A simple single line diagram is presented showing how PV and energy storage can be incorporated into a home. A quiz is presented to test the audience on the major topics presented.

Bio: Mr. Baldassari has over 40 years’ experience in engineering and product development and over 16 years with Enphase Energy, where he holds the position of Director, Codes and Standards. Currently, he actively participates in several Codes and Standards development groups both internationally and domestically. He is involved with the development of the National Electrical Code, product safety standards with Underwriters Laboratory, and international installation and safety standards. Mr. Baldassari has a bachelor’s degree in electrical and Electronic Engineering from California State University Sacramento.

Artificial Intelligence Techniques for Design and Knowledge Discovery in Nanophotonics

Ali Adibi

Dr. Ali Adibi
School of ECE, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Thu, 03/14/2024

Abstract: A survey of the new artificial-intelligence (AI)-based approaches for analysis, design, optimization, and knowledge discovery in electromagnetic nanostructures will be presented. Recent advances in using both deep-learning (DL) techniques and machine-learning (ML) techniques and their application to practical problems will be covered. These techniques will not only enable more efficient designs of the electromagnetic nanostructures (e.g., metasurfaces), but also provide valuable insight about the physics of light-matter interactions in such structures. Details of the training process for these algorithms as well as the challenges and limitations of these techniques for different classes of nanostructures will be discussed. Knowledge discovery using these techniques includes the study of feasibility of a certain response from a given nanostructure and comparing the roles of different design parameters to facilitate the training process.

Bio: Ali Adibi is the director of Bio and Environmental Sensing Technologies (BEST) and a professor and Joseph M. Pettit chair in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. His research group has pioneered several structures in the field of integrated nanophotonics for information processing, sensing, and quantum photonic applications. He is the author of more than 230 journal papers and 550 conference papers. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nanophotonics, and the nanophotonic program track chair of the Photonics West meeting. He is the recipient of several awards including Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, Packard Fellowship, NSF CAREER Award, and the SPIE Technology Achievement Award. He is also a fellow of OSA, SPIE, and AAAS.

Spiking Neural Networks: Learning Algorithms and Hardware Acceleration

Peng Li

Dr. Peng Li
ECE Department, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

Thu, 04/04/2024

Abstract: Spiking neural networks (SNN), a class of brain-inspired models of computation, are well equipped with spatiotemporal computing power critical for a wide range of applications. Moreover, recent advancements in neuromorphic computing have led to large-scale industrial neuromorphic chips with promising ultra-low energy event-driven data processing capability. Nevertheless, major challenges are yet to be conquered to make spike-based computation a competitive choice for real-world applications. In this talk, first, I will present techniques for tackling major challenges in training complex SNNs by developing biologically plausible learning mechanisms and error backpropagation (BP) operating on top of spiking discontinuities. Second, SNN hardware accelerators, which provide an efficient dedicated computing platform for processing spiking workloads, will be discussed.

Bio: Peng Li received the Ph. D. degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003. He is presently a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests are in integrated circuits and systems, electronic design automation, brain-inspired computing, and applied machine learning. Li’s work has been recognized by an ICCAD Ten Year Retrospective Most Influential Paper Award, four IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference (DAC) Best Paper Awards, and best paper awards from ICCAD, ICCD, and ASAP, among other distinctions. A Fellow of the IEEE, he served as the Vice President for Technical Activities of IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA).

Satellite communications Basics: From Orbits to Modulation (2024)

Ian Furniss

Ian Furniss
Hardware R&D Engineer
Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA

Thu, 04/18/2024

Abstract: Satellite communications experience many unique challenges in closing the link budget and providing reliable and resilient data throughput. These challenges range from overcoming the vast distances to managing atmospheric perturbations to generating unique modulations that are both spectrally and power efficient. In this discussion we will briefly cover these various topics including some modulation basics and dive into some of the only communications standards that exist for satellite communications and why they are used to overcome these challenges. This will lead to a brief introduction of some test and measurement solutions that enable these challenging networks to be created and maintained from concept to launch.

BIO: Ian is currently a Hardware R&D Engineer for Keysight Labs, helping develop and validate industry leading technologies for new signal analysis products. Prior to this Ian was an Applications Development Engineer in Keysight’s Space and Satellite Solutions group, focused on helping commercial and government entities accelerate their missions in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellation new space race. Ian’s areas of expertise spans signal analysis and generation, particularly tackling design and test challenges in Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite Second Generation Extended (DVB-S2X), DVB - 2nd Generation Return Channel via Satellite (RCS2), custom Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), and 5th Generation Non-Terrestrial Networks (5G NTN) at frequencies from Ku- and Ka-band through V- and W-band and beyond.