Seshu Desu Joins UMass Amherst to Head Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering

AMHERST, Mass. - Seshu Desu has joined the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts as the new department head for the electrical and computer systems engineering (ECE) department. His appointment was announced by Dean Joseph I. Goldstein. As the new head of ECE, Desu said, "We are aiming to be in the top 20 in the country in teaching and research for both undergraduate and graduate ratings."

Desu earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Andhra University in India, a second master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, and his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Upon completing his degrees, Desu worked in industry for seven years, joining Bell Laboratories and working with semiconductor technology, then working for General Electric in the optical technology division. From there, Desu spent 10 years as a faculty member at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

His current research is in thin films technology, advanced semiconductor memories, and new materials and processes. Regarding thin films technology, Desu said that materials are often used "in bulk forms, and that’s not very efficient." A thin film technology, since it uses less material, is more efficient and costs less, and would be used with products such as "a solar cell, or a coating on a window," he said.

His research in advanced semiconductor memories, especially non-volatile computer memory, affects any technology with a computer chip so that the device ? computer, cellular phone, VCR ? will be able to "remember" previous programming even in the absence of any power. To give a very basic example, that would mean no more blinking "12:00" on the VCR. Even without an outside power source or battery, the chip would "remember" the time and any other programming. His third area of research is in new materials and processes that are needed for future high-performance computer chips.

Desu was the principle editor of the Journal of Materials Research for three years; he is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Electroceramics and he is an active senior member of the American Ceramics Society. His research has been funded by the Department of Defense and private industries such as Sharp Microelectronics in Japan and Samsung in Korea.