2013 CoE Towner Prize for Outstanding Graduate Students

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Each year the College of Engineering awards the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement to an outstanding graduate student (Master's or Ph.D.) in each degree program. The following students received the award in 2013 based on their participation in research, leadership, and academic performance.


Mads Almassalkhi Mads Almassalkhi

Mads is a doctoral student in the Electrical Engineering:Systems degree program. His research area is optimization and model-predictive control in power systems. He is advised by Prof. Ian Hiskens.

He has presented his research at numerous conferences, including the IEEE American Control Conference, the Power Systems Computation Conference, and the IEEE Control and Decision Conference. For a period of three weeks in 2011, he spent time at Lund University as an invited scholar at the Workshop on Dynamics, Control and Pricing in Power Systems.

Mads is currently a technical consultant for the company Root3 Technologies and helped develop an algorithm that improves the efficiency of Central Utility Plants. The algorithm is currently saving the University of Chicago more than $100K annually. 

Mads co-founded the ECE Graduate Student Council and serves as an executive member.


Alex Hollowell Andrew Hollowell

Andrew is a recent graduate of the Electrical Engineering master's degree program. In his short time here, he co-authored two journal articles and wrote a master's thesis on nanoimprint lithography for the fabrication of subwavelength optical devices. His advisor was Prof. Jay Guo.

One of his papers, Angle-Insensitive Structural Colours based on Metallic Nanocavities and Coloured Pixels beyond the Diffraction Limit, by Yi-Kuei Ryan Wu, Andrew E. Hollowell, Cheng Zhang & L. Jay Guo, Nature, Scientific Reports 3, article 1194, February 1, 2013, has received international attention. [read the U-M press release]

Andrew is currently working at Sandia National Laboratories in the area of photonic microsystems. While at Sandia he earned the 2009 R&D 100 award for a retinal implant project. In his spare time he regularly volunteers his time in academic and non-academic settings.


Alex Hollowell Mehrzad Samadi

Mehrzad is a doctoral student in the Computer Science and Engineering program. His research interests lie in the area of computer architecture and compilers. He is advised by Prof. Scott Mahlke.

Since coming to Michigan in 2009 to work on his doctorate, he has co-authored four published papers that have been presented at conferences including the IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA) and the International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS). He also completed an internship at Microsoft Research where he helped to design and develop a new compilation system for CUDA programming on the E2 dynamic multicore system.

Mehrzad is currently working on designing a new dynamic/static compilation system for future heterogeneous architectures. The goal of this research project is to enable widespread use of different commodity processors and computing components, such as GPUs, in heterogeneous systems.