ECE team wins Dell innovation contest | Duke Kunshan University

ECE team wins Dell innovation contest

January 22, 2020

A team of first-year graduate students in Duke Kunshan’s electrical and computer engineering (ECE) program has emerged victorious in the Dell Women in Technology-Innovation Stars Competition, winning first prize for its work on heterogenous data centers.

The competition, which lasts nearly two months, encourages female engineering students to pursue their career dreams and speak up for technological innovation. Though both men and women can compete, teams must be led by female students. 

Five teams, hailing from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Duke Kunshan and Shanghai University of Science and Technology, competed. Three teams advanced to the final round, including two from Duke Kunshan.

In the final challenge, each team chose from topics provided by Dell Technology Group’s China Research Institute and had to deliver a final presentation at the end of three weeks. One team from Duke Kunshan chose “heterogeneous data centers” while the other chose “simplified operations.”

Heterogeneous data centers evolve from many generations of servers and hardware configurations. Large IT companies such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba have to develop strategies to deal with the resulting variances in processing speeds and capacities and need to improve productivity.

The team formed by Siting Su, Zhening Zhang and Yilin Li proposed ideas for optimizing the existing heterogeneous data center software from both the operating system level and the execution framework level.

Xiaozhao Liu and Wei Xue’s group chose to research simplified operation. It compared the advantages and disadvantages of mainstream smartphone authentication methods and then implemented its own identity authentication through visual stimulation and eye movement tracking using iOS components and iPhone’s True Depth camera.

The review committee, composed of 10 senior experts from the Dell China Research Institute, evaluated each team’s performance on research quality, innovation ability, teamwork, technology application and understanding of the technology.

In January, Su, Zhang and Li’s team received the first prize Innovation Star, while Liu claimed the Presentation Star award.

Liu expressed gratitude to Dell for the mentorship and advice on professional development that its experts provided over the course of the competition. She said the encouragement shown to female programmers by a well-known technology company like Dell had made her feel even more determined to develop her skills and become an excellent engineer.

This is a reprint of an article originally published by Duke Pratt School of Engineering.