Category Archives: Achievements and Awards

Keith Vertanen receives Google Faculty Research Award!

Keith Vertanen
Keith Vertanen

Congratulations Keith on receiving a Google Faculty Research Award for $47,219. The project is titled, “Less is More:  Investigating Abbreviated Text Input via a Game”.  The project will use an Android game to answer four questions:  1) What sorts of abbreviations do users think they should use? 2) How do users change their abbreviations in response to recognition accuracy? 3) Can we train users to abbreviate intelligently to help the decoder? 4) Can we improve decoder accuracy on abbreviated input?

Keith joined the department last August, and has submitted three research proposals.

Congratulations Keith!  Keep the nice work up!


Ali Ebnenasir receives nomination of University’s 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award!

Ali Ebnenasir
Ali Ebnenasir

Congratulations Ali on receiving the nomination of University’s 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award! According to the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, Ali has been chosen as one of the five finalists from among all Michigan Tech teaching faculty. Selection as a finalist automatically enrolls Ali as a member of the Michigan Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. Congratulations Ali! Thank you for your dedication to our students and your outstanding teaching performance.

Support Ali’s nomination with your comments!


Tech Alumnus Helps Create Award-winning Video Game

ABZUIn December of 2014, Steve Green was set to graduate from Michigan Technological University’s Visual and Performing Arts Department. Armed with a degree in sound design, he knew he had a good job waiting for him just a few weeks and 1,800 miles away. What he didn’t know was that the coming year would not only be exciting and rewarding for him, but for the world he was entering, the world of video gaming.

Michigan Tech’s Enterprise program, Husky Games, also gave Green experience he needed outside of the classroom.

“Husky Games was a pretty great place to mainly learn the dynamics of the game-making process and what members of a team are responsible for,” Green says. “It allowed for some great hands-on experience with source control and the programming aspect of game development.”

Christopher Plummer (VPA) says the combination of class work and Enterprise opportunities prepare motivated students for a variety of industries. “We keep looking for opportunities to expose students to video game and film experiences,” Plummer says. “The Husky Games Enterprise continues to provide valuable experiences and student support. The process of finding and working with collaborators outside of Michigan Tech continues to be essential to students’ success and develops skills students need to network and continue to develop their career after graduation.”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Mark Wilcox.

DOD-ARO Funding for Tim Havens

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens

Timothy Havens received a research grant of $285,900 for the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $983,124. The work is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense-Army Research Office. Timothy Schulz of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is the project Co-PI. Havens has a joint appointment in both Computer Science and ECE.

The project is entitled “Heterogeneous Multisensor Buried Target Detection Using Spatiotemporal Feature Learning.” The project will investigate theory and algorithms for multisensor buried target detection that achieve high probability of detection and classification with low false-alarm-rate. The primary sensors of interest are multisensor FLGPR (i.e., FLGPR plus other sensor modalities, such as thermal video or LIDAR) and acoustic/seismic systems, although the methods will be applicable to other modalities as well.

Min Song to Direct IEEE Conference Operations

Min Song
Min Song

Min Song has been appointed the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communications Society Director of Conference Operations for 2016-2017. The IEEE Communications Society promotes the advancement of science, technology and applications in communications and related disciplines. It fosters presentation and exchange of information among its members and the technical community throughout the world. The Society maintains the highest standard of professionalism and technical competency.

Razzmatazz Wins Locally in ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest

Michigan Tech hosted the Regional ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest on October 31, 2015. There were 18 teams in attendance, including 9 teams from Michigan Tech, 3 from Algoma University College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, 4 from Northern Michigan University, and 2 from Lake Superior State University.

The winning team of the local event was Razzmatazz, from Michigan Tech. They also finished 12th in the North Central region, which included over 200 teams from North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the UP, and western Ontario. They did not qualify for the world finals, but made a good showing nonetheless against top teams from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, and Iowa State University.

Tech Team Wins Programming Competition

Razzmatazz, a Michigan Tech computer programming student team, won a programming competition held at Tech on Oct. 31. Nine Michigan Tech teams competed with nine teams from three other universities: Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University and Algoma University College (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario). The competition at Michigan Tech was one of several competitions held at different sites for regional awards and a chance to participate in the world finals. Razzmatazz took 12th place regionally, which did not qualify them for the world finals, but, said Dave Poplawski (CS), “it was a good showing nevertheless, since eight of the 11 teams ahead of them were from very large Big Ten or Big Twelve schools.” Michigan Tech teams have gone to the world finals four times.

From Tech Today, by Jennifer Dovovan.

Regional ACM 2015 Teams
Contest room with 18 teams busy working on problems. Photo by Dave Poplawski.
Regional ACM 2015 Winners
Winning team from Michigan Tech, Razzmatazz. From left to right: team members John Thomas, Chris Wilkerson, and Mitch Davis; presenter Dave Poplawski. Photo by Murat Koksal.

Abhi Kantamneni Named to 40 Under 40

Abhilash Kantamneni
Abhilash Kantamneni

Abhilash Kantamneni, a PhD student in computer science, has been named to Midwest Energy News’ honor roll of young achievers, called 40 Under 40. He is one of four on the list from Michigan.

Kantamneni has led a community energy initiative that has tripled installed metered solar in Houghton County. Working with community partners, he led an application for the prestigious Georgetown University Energy Prize, a $5 million energy efficiency competition. Houghton County is the smallest, most rural and most economically disadvantaged community in the semifinals for the energy prize.

From Tech Today.

A most excellent season for ‘Abhi’

Marriage rounds out summer to celebrate

HOUGHTON – Michigan Tech grad student and volunteer energy advocate Abhilash “Abhi” Kantamneni was recognized as one of Midwest Energy News’ 2015 “40 Under 40” emerging Midwest energy leaders on Monday, for his leadership in the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team’s successful drive for the finals of the $5 million Georgetown Energy Prize and his solar power education and advocacy efforts.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Dan Roblee (subscription required).

Hearts and Hands Award for Abhi Kantamneni

Abhi Kantamneni
Abhi Kantamneni

2015 Heart & Hands of the Keweenaw Award

HANCOCK—It’s fitting that a man with a passion for promoting alternative energy should be a powerhouse in his own right. Abhilash Kantamneni, or “Abhi” as he is known locally, is this year’s winner of the Heart & Hands of the Keweenaw Award, earned for his outstanding ability to educate the public and bring people from all walks of life together to promote energy conservation and a greener vision for local energy.

A PhD candidate in Michigan Tech’s computer science program, Abhi is also the Founder/Program Director for Houghton County’s (HEET) efforts to win $5,000,000 in a national energy efficiency competition (GUEP).

The Heart and Hands Society gives the award annually to acknowledge Copper Country residents who have “given of their heart and hands in the service of peace, justice, or the environment.” The winner of the award receives a monetary award of $1,000 which is to be donated to the local charity of his or her choice. He has chosen the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, saying, “I value the strength of people starting over in a place they might not be comfortable with. I can relate to that, in a very, very small way.”

Also nominated for the award were Charles Eshbach for dedicating his adult life (50 + years) to preserving special places in the Keweenaw, Bob Strykowski, for coming out of retirement to serve his community by keeping the water supply plant in Gay operating, serving as a Trustee on the Township Board, and taking on the position as Fire Chief; and Michael and Sylvia Cooper for their devotion and dedication to preserving local history.

For more information, contact Terry Kinzel, originator of the Heart & Hands Award.

CONTACT: Terry Kinzel
PHONE: 906-482-6927
DATE: September 18, 2015