Campus: CSU Chico -- September 05, 2001

CSU Chico Electrical Engineering Students Win International Competition

California State University, Chico electrical engineering students have won an international design competition for their work reducing electromagnetic interference created by newer, faster computers or high-speed digital circuits.

The annual contest is hosted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Student teams representing 37 universities from seven countries competed in the field of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). The 2001 IEEE EMC Symposium was held in Montreal Aug. 14-18.

The winning team members were CSU, Chico graduate students Cyndi Abundabar, Richard Chairez and Gaurav Khalsa. The adviser of the winning team was Hede Ma, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. The students attended Professor Ma's graduate class, ECE 357 Electromagnetic Compatibility, in the spring 2001 semester.

Chairez represented the team at the symposium and received the Best Student Design Award from the president of the IEEE EMC Society. More than 1,000 guests from United States and around the world attended the award ceremony.

The team's contest entry was titled, "EMC Compliance in PCB (printed circuit board) Design." The students also submitted a research paper, "Methods for Reducing EMI in a Switching Regulator Circuit." Chairez presented the paper on behalf of the team at the symposium.

"Winning the competition was extremely impressive when you consider the caliber of the competition," said Larry Wear, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department. "The judges particularly complimented the students on the fact that their sophisticated analysis was done without a supporting government or research grant."

Wear said research into EMC is particularly important because of the proliferation of faster computers. He said new computers can create electrical interference and act like miniature radio transmitters. The CSU, Chico students came up with a way to reduce electromagnetic radio signals transmitted by a switching regulator.

For winning the international competition, the CSU, Chico team received a $900 award, reimbursement for traveling expenses and the registration fee for one student to present the team's paper at the annual conference.

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