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Jordan Liss: Graduate Student

Jordan Liss

Tell us about your research

My research is doing attitude estimation, attitude determination, and sensor fusion for small scale satellites also known as cube stats or data satellites. I worked on a collaboration project with the Engineering Division of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View to come up with a standardized testing facility for testing the attitude determination and control system on cube stats in a simple and flexible fashion, where we have a camera tracking system that looks for changes on the satellite system. Then we check to see how accurate our sensors and actuators on the sensors are with verification from the camera. I also implemented two different versions of an attitude determination system on a cube stat test platform which worked pretty well.

Tell us about your experience at BSOE

Students here understand the balance of work and play. I enjoy talking and interacting with people here. People are more willing to collaborate and talk about their projects and be open about the things they’re doing. They're happy to teach you concepts they've learned because they’re excited about the work they’re doing. At BSOE, people aren’t likely to keep their research secret and they want to be able to collaborate with others. I enjoy this aspect of the school because if we work together, we can move the field further as a group than as just one person.

I’ll miss Santa Cruz quite a lot. There’s a lot of mindfulness in this town and that means when you leave campus, that’s not the only place you can be intellectual, you can also be an intellectual downtown, or in a cafe, or at a bar and no one will judge you for being an intellectual, which is great. I wish I would have tried to come here for my undergrad studies.

What’s next?

I’m going to work for an aerospace company in San Diego. I’ll be a firmware engineer. I’m working on a lot of projects that I don’t know about in detail yet. I’m confident I’m ready to work in industry. I spent lots of time learning lots of concepts that I felt less than totally sure about and so I just took that extra step to make sure I really understood them. Because the best thing to do is if you come to a problem, you don’t necessarily have to come up with the right answer right away but if you know what tools to use, you’ll be set. So I just made sure to sharpen my tools while I’m here. The thing about research is that you learn about a lot of different concepts, and you’re constantly challenging yourself, so something I learned is I really like learning new material, making sure I’m challenging myself intellectually and grad school definitely showed me how to do that and now I feel like I can do that for the future.

What do you like to do for fun?

I met a lot of graduate students who became my friends and I hope to keep in contact with them. They’re people who like talking about nerdy topics while socializing, like how to approach an image-processing problem or sharing research ideas. I go mountain biking or surfing occasionally down by Pleasure Point. I like tinkering with projects. I set up a solar system in my apartment and connected it to a battery bank and that charges an electric bike which I also made. It’s a nice closed-loop system. I learned a lot about rapid prototyping using the laser cutter, making PCBs, doing design and making products from scratch. I was enjoying my projects so much that I was doing them at home. I have an Instructables website where I teach people to make an electric bike from scratch, picture frames from recycled wood and I also make bike repair tutorials.

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Degree Program: 
Ph.D., Computer Engineering
Place of Birth: 
Los Angeles
Undergraduate Institution: 
UC San Diego
Graduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz
Gabriel Elkaim