Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Our graduates are successful professionals in today's diverse, global environment, and are able to adapt to new and shifting technologies, in whatever career path they choose to pursue. This includes careers in electrical engineering through employment in industry, government or private practice, as well as careers in other engineering or professional disciplines such as bioengineering, computer engineering, business, law, or medicine. Our graduates will also pursue advanced study in electrical engineering or other engineering or professional fields.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh emphasizes educational programs that combine theory with practice in the electrical engineering field. Whether students want a broad understanding of electrical engineering, or want to place specific emphasis on interests like computers, telecommunications and signal processing, or electronics, the department offers the education that sparks great careers.

Feb
2
2016

Keeping the Electric Grid Humming

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (February 2, 2016) ... Nationwide, solar panels are contributing more and more power to the electrical grid. This can present a problem, putting the grid at risk when too much power enters the system, potentially overloading it or causing abnormal voltages. Electric utilities need better tools to monitor the impact of solar power—which is governed by many variables including cloud cover, wind speed, temperature, and a large number of small producers contributing to the system. Tom McDermott, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering within the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, is part of a multi-pronged, federally-funded $4 million effort to more quickly and accurately model the impact of solar on the grid. “We’re working on what’s really a big data application,” McDermott says of Pitt’s contribution to the project. “We want to simulate a whole year [on the grid] using random variables. We want to make the simulations run faster and remain accurate.” Speed and accuracy are vital benchmarks. When a solar generator applies to connect to the grid, the utility typically has to respond within 30 days, and it’s important to understand the potential impact of a new contributor to the system. And if peak voltage simulations are off by about 1 percent, McDermott says, there can be very negative impacts on the system, degrading the utilities’ reliability and causing significant damage to equipment. “We hope that by the end of the grant we will have created a tool that can be deployed in the commercial software space,” McDermott says. “It will allow utilities to simulate, plan, and design for these changes in the grid.” Other partners in the three-year grant are the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL); the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech); the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI); and CYME, a power software engineering company. ###
Joe Miksch, University of Pittsburgh News Services
Jan
28
2016

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers selects three Pitt Engineering students as Scholarship Plus recipients

Electrical & Computer, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (January 28, 2016) … The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)Power & Energy Society (PES) has granted IEEE PES Scholarship Plus awards to three students from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Emma Raszmann, Stephanie Cortes and Santino Fiorello Graziani will each receive $2,000 toward tuition costs. All three students plan to pursue graduate education in power engineering and are scheduled to receive their undergraduate degrees in 2016.  Pitt student applicants have had a 100 percent success rate with the PES Scholarship award. The selection committee has recognized nine Pitt students as PES scholars over the past five years, and some students have received the award for multiple years. “Based on our deep involvement in this program over the years, it is important to us that Swanson School of Engineering students are among the scholarship awardees,” said Gregory Reed, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Pitt’s Center for Energy and the Electric Power Systems Lab.  “These three students carry on a very successful tradition for us in that sense, as we have now had either new or returning awardees from Pitt every year since the inception of the PES Scholarship Plus program.” Reed was a part of the IEEE PES national committee that started the program in 2011. He continues to encourage Pitt students to submit applications and guides them through the process. He is not involved with the selection of award recipients, but he helped develop the criteria for evaluating applicants. The PES selection committee makes its decision based on academic performance; extra-curricular activities such as co-ops, memberships in professional societies and undergraduate research; demonstration of leadership and service; and an essay explaining the student’s reasons for pursuing education in electric power engineering. The committee also looks at population metrics and university density within IEEE regions to determine the amount of awards distributed each year. Pictured above: Thomas McDermott, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Stephanie Cortes, Santino Fiorello Graziani, Emma Raszmann, and Gregory Reed. ###
Paul Kovach
Nov
30
2015

ECE Non-Tenure Stream Assistant Professor Position for 2016

Electrical & Computer, Open Positions

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Pittsburgh is seeking candidates for a non-tenure stream (NTS) teaching position at the assistant professor level. The anticipated start date is September 2016. We seek a person whose primary responsibility will be teaching. This faculty member will ideally teach courses in both the electrical and computer engineering undergraduate programs. A person with a strong laboratory/electronics background is sought such that this person will be able to “spearhead” the teaching and future development of our numerous laboratory courses in circuits and measurements, electronics, signal processing, and embedded systems. Industrial experience is preferred. ECE currently has 25 full time faculty members with approximately 440 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The department offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (the latter in partnership with the Computer Science Dept.). ECE is strongly committed to a diverse academic environment and places high priority on attracting female and minority candidates. For full consideration, applications must be received by March 1, 2016, although later applications may be considered.   Please submit a CV, contact information for four references, plus a letter summarizing your teaching and research interests to: teachingece@pitt.edu. The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.  

Nov
17
2015

Pitt Project Aims to Turn World On to DC Power

Electrical & Computer

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE PITTSBURGH -In the late 1880s, Pittsburgh native son George Westinghouse (using the work and genius of Nikola Tesla) won the campaign to base the United States' electric power grid on alternating current (AC). Thomas Edison, a proponent of direct current (DC), tried to paint AC as dangerous, but as things stood at the time, an AC grid was cheaper and more efficient, could carry electricity over longer distances, and was easier to build-so it prevailed. Over the past year, with the help of a $400,000 grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh's Gregory Reed established the DC-AMPS program (Direct Current Architecture for Modern Power Systems) and has been working to bring DC technology to the forefront, as well as bringing local and regional companies, the City of Pittsburgh, and community partners into the fold. Today, Reed announced the receipt of another Hillman grant, totaling $2.5 million over three years, to build upon the initial success of the DC-AMPS program, to bring a DC power grid even closer to fruition, and to make Pitt and Pittsburgh the epicenter of an emerging DC power industry. "We want to be the place where everybody comes to benchmark DC developments and to be a leading region of research and demonstration in this emerging technological field," says Reed, director of Pitt's Center for Energy and the Swanson School of Engineering's Electric Power Systems Lab and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. "We want to draw more and more companies and end-users to the region to work with us, to be part of these important developments that are related to energy reliability and security, and to support economic development and job growth." Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher sees the grant as a boon for the University as it grows its presence in the energy field. "We are grateful for the support of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. This grant allows Pitt to build alliances across the technology community and strengthen our community and governmental partnerships," he says. "Together, we can increase our understanding of the impact of DC technology and foster an environment for students and faculty to engage in impactful research and be part of exciting developments in energy and energy technology for the benefit of our region." Reed's approach specifically addresses DC technology and is focused on finding ways to, in the not-too-distant future, upgrade the longstanding AC power grid to more of a DC grid, which he believes has become a more efficient and logical way of addressing energy-delivery needs, especially in the 21st century and beyond. "Your laptop runs on a few volts DC; it has to be converted from AC by that box, the converter on the power cord," he says. The same is the case for our high-definition televisions, most appliances, cell phones, and other consumer devices and office and business equipment, including data centers and new forms of lighting. "Very few items today require three-phase alternating current. The use and development of today's evolving energy mix, which includes more DC resources such as solar photovoltaics, as well as electric vehicles and battery storage systems, also makes the transition to DC more sensible and viable for future power-delivery needs." He and members of his lab are also advancing research into high-voltage DC systems, which present the potential of developing a commercially viable high-voltage DC grid. "Both academia and industry have made great strides in DC technology development, which will be a game changer in modernizing and securing the nation's grid," he says, "and this continued support from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation will help in furthering that goal." "We'd like to develop DC microgrids, community microgrids in residential developments, offices, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities," he added. "I've been working on this for well over a decade, and we know that DC offers a much better match between energy transmission and utilization in many applications." To achieve these ends, Reed and colleagues face several technological challenges. Reed says that his team will work to develop better power electronics conversion and control systems (like the aforementioned box on your laptop's power cord), better integration technologies for the power generated by DC microgrids, and possibly new electronic devices compatible with DC power. ### 11/12/15/klf/jm
Joe Miksch
Nov
16
2015

Duquesne Light and Pitt Partner to Advance the Electric Power Industry

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH - Today, Duquesne Light and the University of Pittsburgh's (Pitt) Swanson School of Engineering announced their intent to partner to help redefine the future of the energy landscape in the region. This strategic partnership will include projects designed to provide Duquesne Light with critical knowledge to help inform future grid design and potential new product and service offerings, while helping to enable expanded research opportunities for students and faculty in the University's energy and electric power programs.  The partnership is one of the first steps in Duquesne Light's long-term strategy to reinforce its leadership in grid infrastructure, sustainability and management, while also furthering its interest in new technologies that will be key to evolving the grid into a dynamic network that enables reliable, seamless two-way flow of power. Details of the partnership include: Design and installation of an urban microgrid at Duquesne Light's Woods Run Facility located in Pittsburgh's North Shore. With support from the Swanson School's Electric Power Systems Laboratory and its Electric Power Program, the installation will serve as a real-world laboratory to research microgrid resiliency and the integration of distributed and renewable energy resources into the electric power distribution grid, as well as other key enabling technology areas such as power electronics controllers, direct current (DC) infrastructure, energy storage systems, and smart grid technologies. Duquesne Light will make a $500,000, multi-year financial contribution to help fund electric power research, energy efficiency, laboratory facilities, and equipment at Pitt, in addition to providing the necessary expertise to interconnect any new electric power laboratory facilities to the existing electric power grid.  "Partnering with one of the most prestigious universities in the region and a leader in electric power research will accelerate the advancement of new technologies and enable the transformation of our grid," said Rich Riazzi, CEO of Duquesne Light. "Pitt brings unrivaled technical expertise and value to this partnership which, combined with Duquesne Light's 135 years of transmission and distribution experience, will help us develop the next chapter of electric power in our region." "This is a great opportunity for Pitt to work with Duquesne Light to help advance grid infrastructure and support the community," added Patrick D. Gallagher, Pitt Chancellor. "This initiative creates an environment for research faculty and students to advance research and develop new technology that will help reimagine the grid for an economical and sustainable future." While Duquesne Light built and operates the local electric power transmission and distribution grid, it also maintains a sophisticated, redundant electric "network" infrastructure that powers the City of Pittsburgh and minimizes outage frequency primarily in the downtown Central Business District. In addition, Duquesne Light has and will invest more than $2.6 billion in infrastructure and technology upgrades between 2010 and 2020, furthering its commitment to maintaining the region's critical transmission and distribution system. This is the first time that Duquesne Light is partnering with the Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering. "Pitt and the Swanson School are proud to partner with Duquesne Light to develop solutions that advance electric power distribution grid technology, and we are grateful for their support," noted Gregory Reed, PhD, Professor and Director of Pitt's Center for Energy and the Swanson School's Electric Power Initiative. "This collaboration will greatly benefit our students, who will be able to engage in hands-on research with Duquesne Light. Since the birth of the electric power industry happened in Pittsburgh thanks to innovators like George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, it's fitting that the evolution of the grid should establish a foundation here as well." About Duquesne Light Company Duquesne Light Company is a leader in the transmission and distribution of electric energy, offering superior customer service and reliability to more than a half a million customers in southwestern Pennsylvania. About Pitt's Center for Energy Established in 2008, the Center for Energy is dedicated to improving energy technology development and sustainability, including energy delivery and efficiency, advanced materials for demanding energy technologies, carbon management and utilization, and energy diversification. The Center for Energy's key goals include attracting world-class faculty to Pitt, training high-level engineers and scientists to work in key areas of energy research, facilitating technology transfer related to energy for economic development, increasing energy support, and raising the stature of our region as a leader in energy. About the Swanson School of Engineering The University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering is one of the oldest engineering programs in the United States. The Swanson School has excelled in basic and applied research during the past decade and is on the forefront of 21st-century technology, including sustainability, energy systems, bioengineering, microsystems and nanosystems, computational modeling, and advanced materials development. Approximately 120 faculty members serve more than 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students in six departments: bioengineering, chemical and petroleum engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.   ###   Pictured above: Dr. Gregory Reed, Rich Riazzi, Mark Kaplan (DLC Senior Vice President and CFO), David Fisfis (DLC General Counsel and Corporate Secretary), Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.  
Paul Kovach

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