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Engineering

Carolina Parada (Photo Raymond Yuen/Nvidia Corporation)
Winter 2018

Making artificial intelligence smart

It’s not a simple thing to get a car to see what we see.

“The world is very complex. That’s what makes vision for self-driving cars a challenge. There are millions of scenarios and millions of contexts,” says Carolina Parada (’04, ’06 MS Elec. Eng.) from her home in Boulder, Colorado.

A senior manager for Nvidia, a company probably best known in the video gaming community for its top-shelf graphics cards but with a strong presence in the machine learning market, Parada and her team are working on machine perception, a key piece of getting self-driving cars safely on the
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Illustration of baseball as atom nucleus
Summer 2018

Physics at the bat

Today’s baseball game, brought to you by Physics Unlimited, is a blockbuster contest between the famous Mathematical Physicists and Washington State University’s own Oblique Collisions.

As the Oblique Collisions take the field, Ernest Rutherford, the renowned English physicist, is first up for the Mathematical Physicists. Better known outside physics circles for his cricketing skills, Rutherford is quite the hitter, though usually of particles much smaller than baseballs.

Indeed, in describing the collision of an alpha particle—better known as the nucleus of a helium atom, two protons and two massive neutrons—with a gold atom, Rutherford had this to say: “It was as if you fired a … » More …

smart home
Spring 2018

Smart tech in senior living communities

Roschelle “Shelly” Fritz, assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, studies how “smart-home” technology can monitor the health and safety of senior citizens from afar. She’s part of an interdisciplinary team that includes WSU engineering professor Diane Cook and WSU psychology professor Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe.

Fritz ran an innovative pilot study that deployed health sensors in five homes at senior living community Touchmark on South Hill in Spokane.

Read more about Fritz’s work with smart health sensors at WSU Vancouver in “Technology with a human touch.”

First Words
Spring 2018

Forged by fire

The intricate mastery of Japanese swordmaking relies on a smith’s deep understanding of fire, metal, and techniques to control both. Each unique sword shimmers with thousands of layers from the folding of the metal, a work of art in steel. That steel, though, traditionally comes from an iron-rich sand full of impurities, pounded and blended by the smith. A smith then uses a secret mix of water, clay, ash, and other ingredients over the blade as they once again plunge the sword into fire to create a keen edge. Only when the blade glows a certain color is it quenched in water.

Humans have learned … » More …