ECE Expeditions goes virtual and international

Students virtually toured Soliton Tech, the National Acoustic Laboratories, and Samsung Research America to get an inside look at the life of engineers in industry.

This year, ECE Expeditions went virtual, giving students a behind-the-scenes look at the life of engineers working for Soliton Technologies (India) on February 22, 2021, the National Acoustic Laboratories (Australia) on March 3, and Samsung Research America (Silicon Valley, USA) on April 6. Students saw demos, interacted with alumni and other engineers on panels and Q&A sessions, and toured the facilities and labs.

Soliton Technologies

Soliton Technologies is a leading global provider of software solutions for design validation automation and design evaluation for the semiconductor industry. Founded in 1998 as the first NI Alliance Partner in India, Soliton is known for deep expertise in helping multi-national companies successfully scale enterprise-wide lab-standardization initiatives. Soliton is also focused on bringing the capabilities of Machine Learning to help customers better leverage their validation data.

At the Soliton Tech presentation, students spoke with alums and learned about the history of the company and current research projects.

Featured speakers included Soliton founder and current member of the Board of Directors, Ganesh Devaraj, who earned his Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. His interest today is in finding saleable ways to improve the effectiveness of engineering education in India.

Additional speakers were:

  • Uthrakumar, who is working to design system level solutions for semiconductor companies looking to develop validation automation solutions for their cutting-edge devices.
  • Ram Ganesh, who is currently working as Project Lead for Semiconductor IC Evaluation GUIs and Custom GUI services at Soliton.
  • Vishnu Prasad, who has worked in almost all of the technology groups and is currently working in the Data and Machine Learning group.

Link to recording

National Acoustic Laboratories

National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) is an Australian government-funded center that conducts research into all aspects of hearing loss, with a focus on having an impact on the field of hearing health care. It is a cross between an academic research lab and an innovation incubator and uses Silicon Valley innovation methodologies such as design thinking and lean startup MVPs.It has a diverse staff of 40 career researchers consisting of engineers, audiologists, psychologists, speech pathologists and other disciplines.

In addition to publishing influential papers on the nature and treatment of hearing loss, NAL has developed several hearing technologies that are in use worldwide: a novel beamformer being used in commercial devices to help with understanding speech in a noisy environment; NAL-NL2, the most widely used algorithm for fitting hearing aids to someone’s hearing loss; Hearlab, an EEG system used to measure speech reception in the brain; iVRA, an iOS-based system that uniquely measures the hearing ability of babies; and more recently a series of technologies based on telehealth technology.

The NAL session featured presentations on a “Day-in-the-Life” of a NAL Engineer, a technology demonstration, a discussion with U-M alumni on their career paths and advice, and a Q&A with current engineers. NAL staff member and ECE alum, Brent Edwards (MSE PhD EE:S), co-organized the event.

Link to recording

Samsung Research America

Founded in October 1988, Samsung Research America (SRA) builds upon Samsung’s 40-year history in the Bay Area. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices across the United States and Canada, SRA is engaged in researching emerging technology to create new businesses and developing core technology to enhance the competitiveness of Samsung products. They also play a key role in providing the infrastructure to support Samsung’s open innovation and university collaboration activities.

The SRA session featured a “Day-in-the-Life” presentations for a variety of research groups and a live Q&A with a panel of current engineers.


  • Sung Ho Park currently heads R&D Innovation and manages the overall SRA strategy, project planning & operation, and creative experience innovation.
  • Jilong Kuang is currently the head of the Research and Engineering Team in Digital Health Lab at Samsung Research America (SRA), with a mission to transform healthcare delivery via innovative digital technology, human centric design, and AI.
  • Yilin Shen is a research scientist and manager in AI Center at Samsung Research America (SRA). His current research interests include various artificial intelligence areas such as natural language processing, multimodal learning, on-device AI, etc.
  • Sajid Sadi is the Senior Vice President of the Think Tank Team, which specializes in developing new products and engineering full stack end-to-end solutions that can create real world impact.
  • Mike Chen is a member of the Standards and Mobility Innovation (SMI) lab’s 6G terahertz team, working with RF circuits and systems for future high frequency communications networks.

Link to recording

Expeditions; Student News