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Management American Style

A U.S. university teaches Western business ways to Chinese students

3 min read
Illustration: Nicholas Eveleigh
Illustration: Nicholas Eveleigh

Song Xiaoxuan was baffled when, during a lecture one morning, the visiting American professor locked out one of Song’s classmates, who had left to use the restroom. Then he realized it was all in jest. “Everyone laughed and was shocked that a professor would joke like that,” Song recalls. “In China, the professors are very earnest and serious.”

The cross-cultural camaraderie played out in a classroom in Beijing. Song, a 25-year-old electrical engineer from Heilongjiang province, and 20 other students were working toward their master’s degrees in telecommunications management from Stevens Institute of Technology, a small engineering school based half a world away. The curriculum is similar to one Stevens offers on its main campus in Hoboken, N.J., but the classes were held at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT). Two-thirds of the teaching was on campus, and for the rest, the students logged onto Web-based tutorials.

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Paying Tribute to 1997 IEEE President Charles K. Alexander

The Life Fellow was a professor at Cleveland State University

4 min read
portrait of man smiling against a light background
The Alexander Family

Charles K. Alexander, 1997 IEEE president, died on 17 October at the age of 79.

The active volunteer held many high-level positions throughout the organization, including 1991–1992 IEEE Region 2 director. He was also the 1993 vice president of the IEEE United States Activities Board (now IEEE-USA).

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Robot Learns Human Trick for Not Falling Over

Humanoid limbs are useful for more than just manipulation

3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot with a malfunctioning leg supports itself with one arm against a wall

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

Humanoid robots are a lot more capable than they used to be, but for most of them, falling over is still borderline catastrophic. Understandably, the focus has been on getting humanoid robots to succeed at things as opposed to getting robots to tolerate (or recover from) failing at things, but sometimes, failure is inevitable because stuff happens that’s outside your control. Earthquakes, accidentally clumsy grad students, tornadoes, deliberately malicious grad students—the list goes on.

When humans lose their balance, the go-to strategy is a highly effective one: use whatever happens to be nearby to keep from falling over. While for humans this approach is instinctive, it’s a hard problem for robots, involving perception, semantic understanding, motion planning, and careful force control, all executed under aggressive time constraints. In a paper published earlier this year in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, researchers at Inria in France show some early work getting a TALOS humanoid robot to use a nearby wall to successfully keep itself from taking a tumble.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!