News & Events


Conventional Computers Can Learn to Solve Tricky Quantum Problems


There has been a lot of buzz about quantum computers and for good reason. The futuristic computers are designed to mimic what happens in nature at microscopic scales, which means they have the power to better understand the quantum realm and speed up the discovery of new materials, including pharmaceuticals, environmentally friendly chemicals, and more. "Normally, when it comes to machine learning, you don't know how the machine solved the problem. It's a black box, but now we've essentially figured out what's happening in the box through our mathematical analysis and numerical simulations." says Hsin-Yuan (Robert) Huang, a graduate student working with John Preskill, Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics; Allen V. C. Davis and Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair, Institute for Quantum Science and Technology (IQIM). [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS John Preskill Hsin-Yuan (Robert) Huang

Laser Light Offers New Tool for Treating Bone Cancer


Of the many ways to treat cancer, the oldest, and maybe most tried and true, is surgery. The goal is to remove all of the cancerous tissue while preserving as much of the surrounding healthy material as possible. "It's very hard to grow bone, so if you cut out bone, you basically lose it," says Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering; Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair; Executive Officer for Medical Engineering. A new diagnostic imaging technology developed by researchers at Caltech is offering surgeons the ability to make cuts 10 times more precisely, allowing them to preserve as much as 1,000 times more healthy tissue and to give patients easier recoveries. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights MedE Lihong Wang Rui Cao Samuel Davis Yilin Luo Yide Zhang

New Photonic Chip "Squeezes" More out of Light


Electronic computing and communications have come a very long way since the days of radio telegraphy and vacuum tubes, with consumer devices now containing levels of processing power and memory that would be unimaginable just a few decades ago. "The quality of the quantum states we have achieved surpasses the requirements for quantum information processing, which used to be the territory of bulky experimental setups," says Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Alireza Marandi

Ask a Caltech Expert: Yaser Abu-Mostafa on AI and Finance


Can AI Predict Economic Downturns? There has been a symbiotic relationship between financial institutions and the artificial intelligence community since the 1980s. That's when the field of neural networks started in earnest. Although there was lots of activity, we can see in hindsight that neural networks did not reach their full potential owing to the lack of computational resources and lack of abundant data. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Yaser Abu-Mostafa

Mimicking Termites to Generate New Materials


Inspired by the way termites build their nests, researchers at Caltech have developed a framework to design new materials that mimic the fundamental rules hidden in nature's growth patterns. "We thought that by understanding how a termite contributes to the nest's fabrication, we could define simple rules for designing architected materials with unique mechanical properties," says Chiara Daraio, G. Bradford Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Chiara Daraio MCE

Tweaking Turbine Angles Squeezes More Power Out of Wind Farms


A new control algorithm for wind farms that alters how individual turbines are oriented into the wind promises to boost farms' overall efficiency and energy output by optimizing how they deal with their turbulent wake. "Individual turbines generate choppy air, or a wake, which hurts the performance of every turbine downwind of them," says John O. Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering. "To cope with that, wind farm turbines are traditionally spaced as far apart as possible, which unfortunately takes up a lot of real estate." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE John Dabiri alumni Michael Howland

New Research "UNCOVERS" Hidden Objects in High Resolution


Imagine driving home after a long day at work. Suddenly, a car careens out of an obscured side street and turns right in front of you. Luckily, your autonomous car saw this vehicle long before it came within your line of sight and slowed to avoid a crash. This might seem like magic, but a novel technique developed in the laboratory of Changhuei Yang, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute, could bring it closer to a reality. "We can see all the traffic on the crossroads with this method. This might help the cars to foresee the potential danger that one is not able to see directly." explains electrical engineering graduate student Ruizhi Cao. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Changhuei Yang MedE Ruizhi Cao

A Quantitative Snapshot of the Human Impact on the Planet


Caltech researchers have developed a database containing global data on how humans have impacted the planet. The Human Impacts Database is designed to be accessible to scientists, policymakers, and everyday citizens. "In my view, the root to understanding is numeracy: once you have the numbers, it becomes clear what the problems are, which things are significant, and which things are less so," says Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics, Biology, and Physics. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights alumni Rob Phillips Griffin Chure Rachel Banks

New Optical Switch Could Lead to Ultrafast All-Optical Signal Processing


One of the major limitations of optics-based systems at present is that, at a certain point, they still need to have electronics-based transistors to efficiently process the data. Now, a team led by Alireza Marandi, assistant professor of electrical engineering and applied physics at Caltech, has created an all-optical switch. Such a switch could eventually enable data processing using photons. Device nanofabrication was performed at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights KNI Alireza Marandi Rajveer Nehra Saman Jahani Luis Ledezma Arkadev Roy Qiushi Guo Ryoto Sekine Robert Gray

Improving Aircraft Design with Machine Learning and a More Efficient Model of Turbulent Airflows


Turbulent airflows are chaotic and unpredictable: consider the bumps and jolts one might experience during an airplane flight encountering turbulent air. With increased knowledge of turbulent airflows, airplane designs could become safer, more resilient, and ultimately more fuel efficient.  H. Jane Bae, Assistant Professor of Aerospace, has developed a way to use machine learning to further improve the design process. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT H. Jane Bae