UD professor recognized for computational electromagnetics

Daniel Weile, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware, has been named a Fellow of IEEE for 2018. No more than one-tenth of one percent of the total voting membership of IEEE earns Fellow status in any one year.

Weile was selected for his contributions to computational electromagnetics. He writes software to explain and simulate electromagnetic waves, which are patterns of interactions between charged particles. Visible light, radio waves, and microwaves are all examples of electromagnetic waves.  Weile often focuses on waves that can be transmitted or received through antennas or are scattered from objects like cars or airplanes.

“To have the people who know the most about computational electromagnetics say that my work is important enough to be recognized in this way is a great honor,” he said.

(The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers now goes by its initials, IEEE, except in legal documents.)

Electromagnetic waves can be explained using four expressions known as Maxwell’s Equations. Often these are solved as differential equations one frequency at a time. However, Weile has a different approach. He models them as integral equations with time as the independent variable. These are called time-domain integral equations, and Weile has used them to explore a variety of problems.

Not all of his work is so esoteric, however.  For example, in a paper published in PLOS One last year, Weile used Euclidean geometry to locate objects using terrestrially based beacons, an alternative to GPS.

Using Einstein’s theory of relativity, Weile is developing a method to solve Maxwell’s Equations for waves perturbed by mechanical forces. He described the theory behind the method in the journal Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics in 2014.

“Relativity has a reputation of being this ‘out-there’ concept that doesn’t matter unless things are moving at the speed of light,” he said. But that’s not true, according to Weile’s calculations, and Einstein’s original paper. “Einstein introduced relativity to correct Newtonian mechanics so that it would be consistent with Maxwell’s Equations.” He’s working on a new algorithm to simulate movement of charged bodies in electromagnetic fields.

“Dan’s election to Fellow of the IEEE is a thoroughly well deserved honor,” said Peter Monk, Unidel Professor of Mathematical Sciences at UD. “Dan and I worked on two NSF (National Science Foundation) funded projects in computational electromagnetism to develop a new method for solving Maxwell’s equations. Dan is an innovative and original thinker who was able to spot connections between our method and other approaches in the literature that helped us to improve the method. He is a consummate coder who implemented the method very rapidly to allow us to demonstrate the utility of the scheme.  He is also a knowledgeable and enthusiastic user of mathematics which was very helpful in developing our collaboration.”

Weile has always loved crunching numbers—he double majored in mathematics and electrical engineering as an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Applied Computational Electromagnetic Society and has published more than 140 papers and conference proceedings.

Weile has shown versatility over the duration of his career, applying his expertise to a wide variety of problems. This curiosity extends to his personal life, too. In his 30s, after losing 65 pounds, Weile took up a new hobby: running. He has completed four half marathons and two marathons over the last five years.

Article by Julie Stewart