Student Spotlight

Winter 2019: Nathaniel Tucker

Featured in the Student Spotlight for Winter 2019 is Nathaniel Tucker, a second year Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of California, Santa Barbara. Nate’s main research focus is in Online optimization for electric transportation systems, and he would like to help our society become more efficient and reduce humanity’s negative impact on the environment. He received his B.S. in computer and Electrical Engineering in 2016, and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2017 from Santa Clara University.

Words from the department: "Nate’s work has been focused on online electricity demand management strategies that provide performance guarantees in sequential grid optimization problems facing high levels of uncertainty (e.g., unreliable forecasts of future renewable generation outputs or demand behavior). He is passionate about green energy and smart grid research and is a pleasure to work with." – Mahnoosh Alizadeh

Fall 2018: Daniel Lazar

Selected for the Student Spotlight nomination for Fall 2018 is Daniel Lazar, a dedicated 3rdyear Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of California, Santa Barbara. Daniel is working on mixed traffic networks under advisor Professor Ramtin Pedarsani, and his main research focus is “Control of transportation networks shared between human-driven and autonomous vehicles”. He is originally from LA and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014, before moving to Santa Barbara to work on his Ph.D. in CSP/Controls.

Words from the department: "Transportation infrastructure is entering a stage of mixed use, where some vehicles are autonomous and the rest are human-driven. Daniel has been working on a variety of problems related to mixed traffic networks including characterizing the equilibria of such networks, designing optimal control and routing policies for autonomous vehicles to achieve a better equilibrium, and studying the impact of human-driven and autonomous vehicles' interactions on network level performance. Daniel is a very passionate and dedicated student and it has been a pleasure working with him." – Ramtin Pedarsani

Spring 2018: Tim Matchen

Tim Matchen is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate working under advisor Professor Jeffrey Moehlis in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. His research focuses on developing phase models for Parkinsonian neurons as well as developing electrical control signals to alleviate the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Tim was born in Millburn, New Jersey. As an undergraduate at Princeton he interned at both Los Alamaos National Labs and Princeton’s 3D Audio Lab. Tim’s advisor, Jeffrey Moehlis, stated, "It has been a great pleasure working with Tim. His recent paper on controlling a population of neurons to achieve a clustered state is a particularly nice piece of work which suggests a novel paradigm for treating Parkinson's disease using deep brain stimulation." In his free time Tim likes to watch TV, play video games and attend local spin classes.

Winter 2018: Jorge Poveda

Jorge I Poveda is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of California, Santa Barbara working under Professor Andrew R. Teel. He was a Research Intern with the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in Cambridge, MA during the summers of 2016 and 2017. He received the 2013 CCDC Outstanding Scholar Fellowship at UCSB, and was a finalist for the Best Student Paper Award at the 56th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in 2017. Jorge’s research combines tools from robust hybrid systems, optimization, adaptive control and game theory in order to analyze and design robust feedback mechanisms for cyber physical systems. Before coming to UCSB he received his M.S and B.S degrees from the University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia where he worked in population dynamics and evolutionary game theory under the supervision of Professor Nicanor Quijano.

Fall 2017: Chitra Karanam

Chitra Karanam is a Ph.D. student working under the guidance of Professor Yasamin Mostofi in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of California Santa Barbara. She received her B.Tech and M.Tech degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2014, and her M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of California Santa Barbara in 2016. Her research is in the field of RF sensing and robotics. She is currently working on using unmanned vehicles and drones for 3D through-wall imaging with RF signals such as WiFi.

Chitra's advisor, Yasamin Mostofi, wished to say a few words about her contributions to the lab: "Chitra has been working on imaging through walls with WiFi and drones for the past couple of years in my lab. This is an extremely challenging problem at the intersection of robotics and communications. It further requires both theoretical expertise and experimental developments, a combination that may not be of interest to many students. Chitra has done great on this project, contributing to through-wall sensing fundamentals while developing the needed hardware to test new methodologies. I am proud of her accomplishments."

​​​​In Chitra’s spare time she can be found out on a local hiking trail or playing squash with friends. In her down time she likes to read and relax.