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JRI Seniors Emerge from Research, Moving on to Exciting College Careers

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Each year, JRI students graduate from the research program. In this way, 2011 is no different. However, this year, the students graduating from the Jisan Research Institute have achieved greatly, and together are one of the more successful graduating classes at JRI. The success of the students shows in their research achievements at JRI, as well as the schools they will be attending in the fall.

This year, the students of the Senior Class have, together, contributed to five different research publications including three in entropic energy devices and two in swarm engineering. The seniors, some of whom have been at JRI since 2006, have literally grown up at JRI, and have not only taken on some of the hardest research projects in JRI history, but have literally watched JRI grow from a computational-only research lab to a mixed research lab combining research in renewables and computation.

James Park joined the Jisan Research Institute in 2006, when he was fresh out of seventh grade and just about to enter eighth. James' first research project, undertaken with two other students, attempted to create a new kind of radiometer based on other technology under development at JRI. While the team succeeded in producing the radiometer, several technical limitations prevented the project from completing in a satisfactory way. While many students in similar positions have left the Institute out of disappointment, James and his group instead turned to another, safer project in swarm engineering.

James and his group took on a project initially examined by JRI graduate Hamik Mukelyan, who later attended Caltech. The project involved the development of a swarm that had two castes of agents. The group was able to demonstrate that the use of two castes was superior to any single caste swarm on a particular kind of foraging task. The swarm was implemented in software, and the group published their work in the First International Conference on Swarm Intelligence. The paper can be found here.

Miji Kim joined Roget You and his research group just after the summer of 2009. Roger and his group had just finished developing the first prototypical entrochemical refrigeration unit, with a refrigeration capacity of between three and six degrees Celcius. Miji quickly became a strong driver in the effort to experimentally characterize the performance of the device and then document its performance. The research was completed, and the paper describing this work was published in 2010 in the Renewable Energy Conference held in Yokohama Japan in 2010. The paper may be obtained here.

In the past year, Calvin Chau and Young Hong headed up a last minute effort to develop a distllation device based on the entrochemical effect. The device, originally envisioned by Dr. Sanza Kazadi, Chief Scientist at the Institute, is capable of utilizing the spontaneous process known as the entrochemical effect in which a thermal gradient is spontaneously generated in a system comprising two reservoirs of water. The effect can generate a temperature gradient spontaneously, and the group used this effect in a device that distills water using this temperature gradient. The implications are significant, as the device is the first distillation device capable of carrying out distillation without using traditional forms of energy (fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewables such as wind, direct sunlight, wave energy, etc.). A poster presenting this work was presented at the WRRC 2011 conference, and won the Best Research Poster award. The research was also presented at the Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment.

In addition to these significant achievements, the students attained colleges with an unusally strong acceptance. Several students faced choices between top colleges. One student found herself choosing between Harvard University, MIT, and Columbia University while another student found himself choosing between Cornell University, Princeton University, and Stanford University. All Seniors went to top universities with world-class programs. The eleven students are planning to attent MIT (1), Caltech (1), Cornell Univ. (3), U. Penn. (1), UCLA (2), UC Berkeley (2), and Princeton Univ. (1). JRI extends our best wishes and hopes for our graduates, who are joining an extremely distinguished alumni.

Additionally, JRI has received notice that JRI alumni Dr. Daniel Choi and Dr. Paul Hwu graduated from Northwestern University Medical School and Loma Linda Medical School, respectively earlier this year. Daniel is heading to the East Coast to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey University to do an orthaepedic surgery residency while Paul is coming back to LA to Cedars Sinai.

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