Three UCLA Engineering Faculty Members Elected to the National Academy of Engineering for 2008

Three faculty members of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest professional distinctions awarded to an engineer.

M.C. Frank Chang, professor of electrical engineering, Yahya Rahmat-Samii, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and William W-G Yeh, distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering are among 65 U.S. members and nine foreign associates who were elected in 2008 and announced by the academy today.

“Bill, Frank and Yahya are truly outstanding scholars and engineers and they are richly deserving of this special honor,” said Vijay K. Dhir, UCLA Engineering Dean. “They each have made world-changing contributions to their respective fields are we are delighted that their exemplary careers have been recognized with membership in the National Academy of Engineering.”

Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education. Established in 1964, the academy shares responsibility with the National Academy of Sciences for advising the federal government on questions of policy in science and technology.

UCLA Engineering now includes 22 affiliated faculty who are members the National Academy of Engineering. With three members elected this year, UCLA along with Harvard University and UC Berkeley, had the most new members among institutions for 2008.

Mau-Chung Frank Chang
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the High Speed Electronics Laboratory

Frank Chang has made seminal contributions in the fundamental discovery, technology development and commercialization of III-V based Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors (HBTs) and Field-Effective Transistors (FETs) for RF/wireless communications. His pioneering work in realizing mass-produced GaAs HBT integrated circuits and power amplifiers has enabled modern 2G and 3G wireless communications that require sophisticated modulations for high data rate and high output power to cover a wide area with minimum battery power consumption. These systems, including GSM/CDMA/UMTS/LTE/WiMax mobile phones and WLAN systems, cannot be realized at low cost without using GaAs HBT power amplifiers of high efficiency and high linearity.

“When I started to work on this technology, people said that GaAs integrated circuits would only be a technology for the future,” Chang said. “I am blessed that I had the opportunity to participate in its development phase with a group of distinguished engineers, and carry this through all the way to its production and commercialization. I’m proud to say that in everyone’s pocket, there is more than one HBT device working for their personal benefit for communications.”

Chang’s work also solved HBT reliability issues and cleared the way for its mass production. While at Rockwell, he led the monumental technology transfer from its Science Center to its Product Division (now Conexant and Skyworks), and led the technical development between Rockwell and Kopin to establish a world-wide commercial supply of MOCVD (Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition) HBT epi-materials with low costs and high reliability.

Additionally, he has several pioneering contributions in high-speed integrated circuit development, including the world’s first multi-giga-sample-per-second ADC/DAC for digital radar receivers and direct digital frequency synthesizers. He invented on-chip multi-carrier RF-interconnect for CMP (chip microprocesseor) inter-core communications beyond the baseband and holds a world record on CMOS oscillation at 324GHz.

In early 1990’s, his team mass-produced GaAs HBT power amplifiers to enable the deployment of the first commercial CDMA handsets in Hong Kong and South Korea, and then over the world. This GaAs HBT technology has evolved into today’s billion-dollar industry. In the last decade, 4 billion GaAs HBT power amplifiers have been shipped. In 2007, 95% of the 1.2 billion mobile phones and 200 million WLAN units in use were equipped with GaAs HBT power amplifiers. Chang’s contribution in HBT power amplifier development was recognized by IEEE’s David Sarnoff Award in 2006. His research in stress induced FET performance enhancement has inspired derivative applications in GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMTs) and super-scaled CMOS devices. His development of broadband data converters has opened doors for implementing digital radar receiver and direct conversion radios. His invention of RF-interconnect enables re-configurable and multiple-access global communication among multi-core processors with higher aggregate data rate beyond the baseband and low latency with speed-of-light data transmission.

Chang has authored more than 250 technical papers and 11 book chapters, edited 1 book, and holds 20 U.S. patents. He was honored with Rockwell’s Leonardo Da Vinci (Engineer of the Year) award in 1992 and named a Fellow of IEEE in 1996. He received the National Chiao-Tung University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997, and National Tsing-Hua University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002. He was the editor for IEEE Transaction on Electronic Devices in 1999-2001, a guest editor for the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits in 1991 and 1992, and for the Journal of High Speed Electronics and Systems in 1994.

Chang received his BS in physics from National Taiwan University, his MS in materials science from National Tsing Hua University, and his PhD in electrical engineering from National Chiao-Tung University, Taiwan, R.O.C.

In 1979, he joined the UCLA Materials Science and Engineering Department as a post-doctoral fellow under professor Alfred S. Yue. After his career in industry, he returned to UCLA in 1997 as a faculty member of the Electrical Engineering Department.

Yahya Rahmat-Samii
Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Northrop Grumman Chair in Electromagnetics

Yahya Rahmat-Samii has made pioneering research contributions in diverse areas of satellite and ground station communication antennas, personal communication antennas including human interactions, wearable and implanted antennas for communications and biotelemetry applications, antennas for remote sensing and radio astronomy applications, advanced numerical and optimization techniques in electromagnetics including genetic algorithms and particle swarm optimization, frequency selective surfaces and electromagnetic/photonic band gap structures, meta materials, novel integrated and fractal antennas, near-field antenna measurements and diagnostic techniques, electromagnetic theory.

Many of these designs are currently used on cell phones, planetary spacecraft looking for the origin of the universe and life, earth observation satellites and satellite dishes.

“I am very proud of the fundamental work that my group at UCLA Engineering and I have undertaken over many years in advancing the art, science and engineering of antenna designs for space, earth observation and personal communication applications,” Rahmat-Samii said. “This is a great honor to have these contributions recognized. And it is my utmost aspiration to continue to tackle frontiers in engineering and science and not be scared if I fail. In our next attempt we will for sure discover something new!”

Rahmat-Samii has been a member of the UCLA Engineering faculty since 1988.
Before that, he was a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the summer of 1986, he was a guest professor at the Technical University of Denmark (TUD).

Rahmat-Samii has authored and co-authored more than 750 technical journal articles and conference papers, 25 book chapters and three books. He is also the holder of several patents. He has been editor and guest editor of many technical journals and book publication entities. He has also served as the Chairman and Co-Chairman of several national and international symposia and presented plenary talks.

Rahmat-Samii has been involved with IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society for many years in several different capacities, including as the society’s president in 1995 and its vice-president in 1994 in addition to serving as the IEEE Distinguished Lecturer. He was elected as a fellow of IEEE in 1985. He was one of the directors and Vice President of the Antennas Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA) for three years. He is a full member of Commissions A, B, J and K of the United States National Committee of The International Union of Radio Science (USNC/URSI.) and has been elected as a member-at-large of the organization for two terms and more recently as the Chair-elect.

His honors include the 2007 Chen-To Tai Distinguished Educator Award of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society; the 2006 NASA Board Award, the 2005 International Union of Radio Science Booker Gold Medal; election as a Foreign Member, The Royal Flemish Academy of Science and the Arts in 2001; Honoris Causa Doctorate, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain in 2001; the 2000 AMTA Distinguished Achievement Award; the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the Distinguished Alumni Award, ECE Department, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the IEEE Antennas and propagation Harold A. Wheeler Best Applications Prize Paper Award in 1991 and again in 1994.

At UCLA, he was the chair of the Electrical Engineering Department from 2000 to 2005 and was a member of the university’s Graduate Council for three years.

Rahmat-Samii received his MS and PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his BS, with the highest distinctions, from the University of Tehran, Iran, all in electrical engineering.

William W-G Yeh
Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

William Yeh pioneered the development of large-scale optimization models that utilize systems analysis techniques to plan, manage, and operate several of the nation’s large-scale water resources systems. The methodology as well as the algorithms that he developed for the real-time operation of complex, multiple-purpose, multiple-reservoir systems have been adopted in the US and throughout the world, most notably in Brazil, Canada, Korea, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China. Additionally, Yeh pioneered the development of nonlinear inverse algorithms for parameter identification in groundwater hydrology. He founded the field of inverse modeling in subsurface hydrology. The methodologies and algorithms that Yeh developed for parameter estimation have been widely adopted in groundwater modeling.

“Upon reflection I consider myself the beneficiary of both nurturing surroundings and exceptional people, and attribute any accomplishments in large part to them,” Yeh said. “I am particularly grateful to my students for the mutual exchange of ideas over the years. I hope they have learned from me, and I know I have become a better scholar and person because of them.

Yeh’s work has earned him distinction nationally and internationally. In 1989, he received the American Geophysical Union’s Robert E. Horton Award, now known as the Hydrological Sciences Award. In 1993, Yeh was elected a Fellow of the AGU. In 1994, Yeh received the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Julian Hinds Award. In 1996, Yeh was awarded Honorary Membership by the ASCE for his “distinguished career as a scholar in education and private practice in the fields of water resources engineering and groundwater hydrology.” Finally, in 1999, Yeh received the Warren A. Hall Medal from the Universities Council on Water Resources for his “unusual accomplishments and distinction in the water resources field.”

Yeh has made major contributions to the profession through his service to ASCE and AGU, including serving as Editor of the ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management (1988-1993). Yeh earned his PhD from Stanford University. Since joining UCLA in 1967, Yeh has served on the UCLA faculty in several capacities, including twice as Department Chair (1985-1988 and 2002-2007). In 1975 he received the UCLA Engineering Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. To date, he has graduated 48 PhD students. Many of his former PhD students are now successful teachers, researchers, and practicing engineers at various distinguished institutions and industries in the United States and abroad.

About the National Academy of Engineering
The mission of National Academy of Engineering is to promote the technological welfare of the nation by gathering the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession. The NAE is the portal for all engineering activities at the National Academies, which along with the NAE include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. The National Academy of Engineering includes 2,227 U.S. members and 194 foreign associates.

Main Image: Chang, Rahmat-Samii, and Yeh. Photo by Don Liebig.