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  • CTF, Great Lakes Security Conference is April 16-18

    The Michigan Tech RedTeam, the Michigan Tech Networking and Computing Student Association (NCSA), and University of Michigan’s WolvSec will host the Great Lakes Security Conference from April 16-18, 2021.

    The virtual conference will include talks from industry professionals and a Capture the Flag (CTF) competition in which students can win prizes.

    Find more information at https://glsc.tech.

    View the schedule of speakers here.

    CTF registration begins April 10, with the CTF competition from April 16, 6:00 p.m. to April 18, 6:00 p.m. Team are limited to 10 people. Categories include Reversing, PWN, Web Application Exploitation, Cryptography, and Miscellaneous Challenges.

    The Great Lakes Security Conference is hosted by three student-run organizations: the Michigan Tech Networking and Computing Student Association (NCSA), the Michigan Tech RedTeam, and WolvSec of the University of Michigan.

    The Great Lakes Security Conference is sponsored by GRIMM, Lockheed Martin, Amazon AWS, Aunalytics, and PolyVerse.

    Our Stories: Dr. Nathir Rawashdeh

    This is part of a series of short introductions about College students, faculty, and staff. Would you like to be featured? Send a photo and some background info about yourself to computing@mtu.edu.

    Dr. Nathir Rawashdeh, Assistant Professor, Applied Computing

    • Affiliated Assistant Professor, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Years teaching at Michigan Tech: 2
    • Years teaching overall: 12
    • Member, Data Sciences research group, Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC)
    • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Kentucky, 2007
    • MS, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2003
    • Faculty Profile

    Classes Dr. Rawashdeh Teaches

    • Programmable Logic Control (PLC)
    • Digital Electronics
    • Analog Electronics
    • Image Processing
    • Automatic Control Systems
    • Instrumentation and Measurement

    The “coolest” class you teach, and why:

    Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), because every factory in the world is controlled by PLCs.

    The importance of your class topics to the overall understanding of Computing and your discipline: 

    Computing is the way of the future. And in all disciplines we rely more and more on sophisticated design, modeling, and control software. The Digital Electronics course is key to the overall understanding of computer systems. We discuss the building blocks of computers, and programmable logic controllers apply computing solutions for automation programming and industrial communication.

    Your teaching philosophy: 

    • I believe in the social connection between teacher and student because it enables them to learn from each other, and more than just technical material and information.
    • In today’s changing world, courses and delivery methods must be constantly updated to maximize learning in a wide sense. When teaching online, I always turn on my camera and teach from the classroom.
    • I interact actively with students, and when I see that they need a break I tell them a story from my professional or personal experience. In the labs, I am almost always engaged with students, helping them solve problems.

    Labs you direct and their general focus:

    • In the Programmable Logic Controllers labs (for introductory and advanced level courses), students learn how to program industrial controllers and interface with sensors and actuators.
    • In the Digital Electrics lab, students learn the building blocks of computers and program FPGA boards, which is the fastest programmable hardware possible.

    Research projects in which students are assisting: 

    • An ECE PhD student is working on sensor fusion for autonomous driving in the snow.
    • I plan to hire a graduate student this summer to implement indoor simultaneous location and mapping of a mobile robot.
    • Recently, an undergraduate EET student helped me build a virus sterilizing mobile robot that uses ultraviolet light. Read a news article, view photos and a YouTube video here.
    • In personal research, I also work on image analysis and industrial inspection research.

    Other cool things your students are doing:

    • Recent senior design projects include a gesture controlled robotic arm and a PID control system based on a levitating ball.
    • See more projects on my lab website: https://www.morolab.mtu.edu/students.

    Interests beyond teaching and research:

    • I am married and have four children. The eldest is studying Environmental Engineering at Tech.
    • I like cars and ground robots, painting, swimming, and playing soccer.
    • I speak three languages and have lived in four countries, in each for over a decade.

    1010 with … Dr. Alex Sergeyev, Applied Computing


    Are you a high school student, current undergraduate student, or a recent BS graduate? Are you are interested in robotics, automation, and controls?

    You are invited to spend one-zero-one-zero—that is, ten—minutes with Dr. Aleksandr Sergeyev on Thursday, April 15, from 4:30 to 4:40 p.m. EST.

    “If you’d like to learn more about the Mechatronics and the BS and MS programs at Michigan Tech, please join this 1010 conversation,” Professor Sergeyev urges.

    Join the Zoom meeting here.


    Dr. Sergeyev is a professor in the Applied Computing department and director of the Mechatronics graduate program. He also directs the FANUC Certified Industrial Robotics Training Center at Michigan Tech.

    He will discuss his research, the Applied Computing department, and the Mechatronics BS and MS programs. He will answer questions following his presentation.

    Michigan Tech is a pioneer in Mechatronics education, having introduced a graduate degree program in 20xx, and a bachelor’s program in Fall 2019.

    “Mechatronics is an industry buzzword synonymous with robotics, controls, automation, and electromechanical engineering,” Sergeyev says.

    In his presentation, he will discuss Mechatronics in general, explain what the degree has to offer, job opportunities in Mechatronics, and some of the research he is conducting in this field.

    In Spring 2021, a Mechatronics Playground was opened on campus. The hands-on learning lab and industry-grade equipment was funded by alumnus Mark Gauthier of Donald Engineering, Grand Rapids, MI, and other major companies.

    A common degree in Europe, China, Japan, Russia, and India, advanced study in Mechatronics is an underdeveloped academic discipline in the United States, even though the industrial demand for these professionals is enormous, and continues to grow.

    Sergeyev’s areas of expertise are in electrical and computer engineering, physics, and adaptive optics, and his professional interests include robotics. He is principal investigator for research grants totaling more that $1 million. He received both his MS and PhD degrees at Michigan Tech, in physics and electrical and computer engineering, respectively.

    We look forward to spending 1010 minutes with you!

    A Mechatronics student operates a robotics arm.

    Call for Manuscripts: Fault Tolerance in Cloud/Edge/Fog Computing

    Call for Manuscripts:

    Special Issue on Fault Tolerance in Cloud/Edge/Fog Computing in Future Internet, an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

    Informational Flyer

    https://blogs.mtu.edu/computing/files/2021/04/ali-ebnenasir-call-for-papers-032521-sm.pdf

    Deadline

    April 20, 2021

    Author Notification

    June 10, 2021

    Website

    mdpi.com/journal/futureinternet/special_issues/FT_CEFC

    Collection Editors

    Keywords

    • Fault tolerance
    • Cloud computing
    • Edge computing
    • Resource-constrained devices
    • Distributed protocols
    • State replication

    Topics

    Including, but not limited to:

    • Faults and failures in cloud and edge computing.
    • State replication on edge devices under the scarcity of resources.
    • Fault tolerance mechanism on the edge and in the cloud.
    • Models for the predication of service latency and costs in distributed fault-tolerant protocols on the edge and in the cloud.
    • Fault-tolerant distributed protocols for resource management of edge devices.
    • Fault-tolerant edge/cloud computing.
    • Fault-tolerant computing on low-end devices.
    • Load balancing (on the edge and in the cloud) in the presence of failures.
    • Fault-tolerant data intensive applications on the edge and the cloud.
    • Metrics and benchmarks for the evaluation of fault tolerance mechanisms in cloud/edge computing.

    Background

    The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought a new era of computing that permeates in almost every aspect of our lives. Low-end IoT devices (e.g., smart sensors) are almost everywhere, monitoring and controlling the private and public infrastructure (e.g., home appliances, urban transportation, water management system) of our modern life. Low-end IoT devices communicate enormous amount of data to the cloud computing centers through intermediate devices, a.k.a. edge devices, that benefit from stronger computational resources (e.g., memory, processing power).

    To enhance the throughput and resiliency of such a three-tier architecture (i.e., low-end devices, edge devices and the cloud), it is desirable to perform some tasks (e.g., storing shared objects) on edge devices instead of delegating everything to the cloud. Moreover, any sort of failure in this three-tier architecture would undermine the quality of service and the reliability of services provided to the end users.

    Scope

    Theoretical and experimental methods that incorporate fault tolerance in cloud and edge computing, which have the potential to improve the overall robustness of services in three-tier architectures.

    Manuscript Submission Information

    Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website (https://www.mdpi.com/user/login/). Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form (https://susy.mdpi.com/user/manuscripts/upload/?journal=futureinternet).

    Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

    Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page.

    Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript.

    The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English.

    Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

    Q and A with College of Computing Dean Dennis Livesay

    Michigan Tech News, published 4:47 p.m., March 29, 2021
    By Cyndi Perkins

    Increase enrollment. Promote diversity and inclusion. Grow the research portfolio. Michigan Technological University’s newly arrived College of Computing Dean Dennis Livesay shares present priorities and future goals.


    Dennis Livesay, Dave House Dean of the Michigan Tech College of Computing, began his work at the University in February and made the move to Houghton in March.

    In the midst of settling in and setting up — from his campus office to the large portions of his home dedicated to LEGO — Livesay (pronounced Lev-eh-see), shares the journey that brought the inaugural Dave House Dean of the College of Computing to this point in life and career, and the journey he expects current and incoming students will embark on as he guides the College of Computing (CC) into the future by building on its current success.

    A CC First

    Livesay is first to hold the Dave House Deanship in the College of Computing, a reinforcement of the University’s commitment to computing. The gift from alumnus Dave House ’65 recognizes that computing is central to all disciplines and central to the future of Michigan Tech.

    Q: You just arrived in Houghton. What’s your first impression of campus and the Keweenaw?

    DL: I absolutely love it! Michigan Tech was the original draw, but I simply love the region. My family and I enjoy the outdoors. We can’t wait to explore.

    Q: As an adult fan of LEGO (AFOL), you might be interested to know that numerous Michigan Tech folks are involved in FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics teams here in the Keweenaw. What kind of community activities are you and your family interested in, for both learning and fun?

    DL: We’re huge fans of LEGO! My son, Maxwell, who’s 10, loves to play LEGO — when he’s not playing video games — and he and my wife Lauren did LEGO Mindstorms as well. Max’s school [in Kansas] has a great Mindstorms robotics program in the middle school, but not for his grade. So Lauren formed the team, learned the system and coached the team. It was a great experience for everyone because they were learning together through the journey.

    We’re also a hockey family. Maxwell played travel hockey in Wichita, and I started playing a little over six months ago. We’re both wingers — he’s pretty good, but I suck (laughing). We’re big-time St. Louis Blues fans. Our last vacation was across eastern Canada, following the Blues from Toronto to Ottawa to Montreal. It was at the start of last year’s season when they were the defending Stanley Cup champions. We had a blast!

    Other hobbies are outdoor activities. Lauren and I both used to race bicycles. She still rides quite a bit, but I moved on to running. We love to hike and (car) camp. And all of us are looking forward to learning how to ski.

    Q: Is there anything about the local area you’d like to know more about? What sparks your curiosity here in the Keweenaw?

    DL: Learning about cross-country skiing tops my list. I can’t wait to get started.

    Q: That’s the perfect segue to your current priorities for the College of Computing, including increased enrollment. Can you give us an if-then statement on each of the CC’s undergraduate degree programs to help a future Husky think through choice of major?

    DL: Computer Network and System Administration: If you want to create and manage the next generation of powerful, widely accessible and secure computing and networking infrastructure for enterprise and industrial applications, then computer network and system administration is the field for you.

    Computer Science: If you love problem-solving and want to use that talent to create computing solutions, then a CS major can give you the foundation for a career creating computing solutions in a wide range of application areas.

    Cybersecurity: If you feel the calling to do something about escalating threats in cyberspace and to protect America’s computing and computer network resources, then consider opportunities in cybersecurity, where there is a critical need for your skills.

    Electrical Engineering Technology: If you like to work with your hands as well as your brain, and want to design, implement and maintain the next generation of electrical systems for industrial control and automation, then our electrical engineering technology program is the right fit for you.

    Mechatronics: If you want to be part of the future of manufacturing, which lies in technologies that bring together mechanical systems, electrical systems and intelligent computing and control, then you will find a home in the exciting, highly valued field of mechatronics.

    Software Engineering: If you dream of writing software applications or managing software projects that delight the user, then a software engineering degree will give you the skills and knowledge you need.

    General Computing: If you’re not sure what your specific computing interests are yet, then general computing is the place to explore different options that will help you decide where you want to focus.

    Q: A three-time dean who comes to MTU from Wichita State, your path to your current profession was not entirely linear or predictable. What can students who are still figuring out their place in the academic and professional world learn from your experiences?

    DL: Be curious. Be open to new experiences. Be willing to take chances. And most importantly, follow your passions. My training is fairly typical for a chemist, but my career has been anything but. I was always looking for ways to connect different topics and disciplines, leading to novelty and important technological advances. This role is a perfect example of that. I was very content at Wichita State and wasn’t looking to leave. With that said, I love computing and one of my biggest passions is advancing it on a broad institutional scale. This position affords me the opportunity to do that, which is why I leapt at it.

    Q: One of the earliest ways you reached out to students was a personal letter asking them to share their experiences with diversity and inclusion so you can find out what’s working and what needs to change to make the College of Computing a place where everyone feels welcome and can thrive. Have students contacted you? What did you learn and what plans do you have moving forward to achieve this goal?

    DL: A few students have contacted me, but not as many as I would like. What I have learned is that our students love Michigan Tech, but admittedly too many have experienced bias and racism. To expand and elevate the discussion, we — faculty, staff, and soon students — are starting a process I call Forward Together. It will be an ongoing College-wide discussion of our challenges, opportunities and aspirations, ultimately leading to a strategic plan. Diversity and inclusion will be a fundamental theme throughout, along with student success, research and industry engagement. In fact, I’ve dedicated our first structured Forward Together group discussion to diversity and inclusion issues. I want us to move the needle here quickly.

    Q: What role do faculty, graduate students and programs, and undergraduate research play in growing the College of Computing’s research portfolio?

    DL: Great question! Michigan Tech is a public research university and knowledge discovery is a critical aspect of what we do. For example, PhD programs are the engines of innovation and knowledge creation which support our unique mandate to advance the industry of the state. Moreover, our research successes draw in a world-class faculty and create new opportunities for students. I think the most compelling reason for an undergraduate student to attend a research university like Michigan Tech is that they, too, can be involved in the process of creating new knowledge. It dramatically deepens the student experience and emphasizes learning in a way that reading from a book cannot.

    “One of the things that has struck me the most during my time at Tech so far is the passion and dedication of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Everyone is dedicated to achieving the promise of the College of Computing, and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of that — because the future needs Michigan Tech!” Dennis Livesay, Dave House Dean of the College of Computing

    Q: Beyond the core of the College’s six undergraduate degree programs and five graduate degree programs, you’ve said that you want to prepare students and researchers across campus and disciplines with the computing skills they need. Whether it’s health care data, sound design, corporate IT or climate change modeling, most modern systems have a computing aspect. What does a holistic, campus-wide approach look like?

    DL: (Laughing) I wish I knew! In all seriousness, we need to partner with our colleagues in engineering, business, social sciences and everything else to make sure that Michigan Tech graduates have the digital skills needed going forward. For example, in finance, the divide between the traders and analysts versus IT is shrinking. In the past, when an analyst needed new info, he or she would have to submit a request for a new report and wait on IT to create it. Companies that have embraced digital transformation have the analysts write the code themselves, meaning they expect their functional groups to also have a high degree of computing expertise. This is the future of business, and ultimately all disciplines.

    Another great example is the importance of digital engineering to the design process. Data and computing are ever-present in engineering — digital tools and modeling are as important as physical models. Michigan Tech is way ahead of the curve on this already, and we look forward to partnering with the College of Engineering to strengthen this Tech differentiator.

    Q: Disruption is a word that gets thrown around a lot in regard to the ongoing data revolution and equipping students to meet the challenges of the future. What does disruption mean to you — is it what we do or what we’re responding to?

    DL: I think a lot about disruption and the disruptive innovation theory developed by Clayton Christensen. But I’m actually more focused on digital transformation — a related but distinct idea. History is full of disruptive technologies that obsoleted earlier ones, whereas digital transformation is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

    A lot has been said about the 4IR, but to me the two most salient hallmarks are a flattening of the spaces and the ubiquity of computing and data. The 4IR will be characterized by a convergence of technologies, especially as related to distinctions between the physical and digital worlds. As computing and data become more powerful, there is less and less need for the physical. New designs will be approved based solely on digital models and when physical resources are needed, they themselves will compute and generate data that is shared via the Internet of Things.

    Fundamental concepts of computing and data science will be intertwined in all aspects of the economy and workforce. Everyone will have to have some baseline fluency in computing, cybersecurity, data and privacy, and AI, in the same way that everyone currently needs to be able to use Word, Excel and the internet.

    “I can’t understate the depth of this convergence that will happen soon, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it will look like over the course of our current students’ lifetime.” Dennis Livesay, Dave House Dean of the College of Computing

    Q: Michigan Tech consistently ranks high statewide and nationally in computing-related degree programs. What do rankings mean to you?

    DL: I’m of two minds regarding rankings. On one hand, rankings are very important to recruitment of faculty, staff and students, and can lead to new opportunities to partner on projects with groups outside the University. On the other hand, I never chase rankings simply for the sake of rankings. My goal is for us to do work that matters — to have a transformative impact on our students and external partners. Using that as our guiding principle, the results of our good work will make the state — and the world — a better place, and the rankings will follow.


    Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

    PhD Defense: Jinxiang Liu, Monday, April 12, 1-3 pm

    PhD candidate Jinxiang Liu, Computer Science, will present his PhD Defense on Monday, April 12, 2021, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

    The title of Liu’s dissertation is, “Prediction of Coincident Peak Days in Electricity System: A Case Study for Classification on Imbalanced Data.”

    Join the Zoom meeting here.

    Dissertation Abstract

    To guarantee sufficient electricity supply for its highest demands, many regional organizations surcharge their customers during coincident peaks (CPs), a time of highest demand across the system or region of interest. Therefore, the accurate prediction of these coincident peaks would be helpful not only for companies to ensure sufficient generation is available, but also for customers who may try to avoid electricity consumption and consequent additional cost.

    This dissertation focuses on the prediction of the top five coincident peak days (5CPs) in a year. We used classification models to solve this imbalanced prediction problem (around 1.3\% for positive cases) by classifying the next day as 5CP days or non-5CP days.

    We analyze six sets of actual historical data from different regions of Canada and the United States. We explore the effect of forecast accuracy on 5CP days prediction through four cases: I – knowing tomorrow’s power demand and weather condition exactly (an oracle), II & III – knowing some information about tomorrow (an oracle + increasing noise), and IV – no knowledge of future.

    We proposed a three-phase model to predict 5CP days: first, clustering is applied to filter some negative cases, second, an all convolutional neural network that estimates the probability of being a 5CP day for the remaining cases is learned, and third, an adaptive method is used determines thresholds.

    This three-phase model exhibits promising performances with the highest mean recall of 1.00, mean precision of 0.56, and mean F1 score of 0.72. Finally, we explored the use of a few-short learning framework to this problem. A triplet network is implemented for the 2-way-5-shot classifications. The prediction results have the highest mean recall of 1.00, mean precision of 0.67, and mean F1 score of 0.79.

    Paul-222: How to Make a Better Robot

    Written by Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing

    Assistant Professor Nathir Rawashdeh, Applied Computing, has developed a mobile robot disinfector with the help of a seed grant from Michigan Tech alumnus and donor Paul Williams ’61 EE.

    Rawashdeh is looking to develop this idea further and is searching for collaborators, such as those studying human-centered computing and intelligent algorithms. And he’s looking for public facilities interested in helping test the Paul-222 robot, including libraries, grocery stores, and health clinics.

    Read about this timely research below.

    “Building a multidisciplinary robot like this, one that contains mechanical, electrical, and computational components, is an example of applied mechatronics at work.”

    Nathir Rawshdeh, Applied Computing

    Some Background: (UV)-C Light

    Airborne microbial diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis, and now the new corona virus, represent major public health challenges. Ultraviolet (UV)-C light, discovered more than a century ago, effectively inactivates these types of pathogens in minutes by damaging the virus’s DNA. It has been studied widely and is used in applications like water treatment and preventing the spread of pathogens in hospitals.

    And UVC light is safe when used correctly. However, its widespread use in public settings is limited because it is harmful to human skin and eyes and it has been shown to cause cancer.

    There are many UV-based surface and air disinfecting systems out there, and they typically use the germicidal UVC 254 nanometer light. And while it is easily obtained, low cost, and very effective, UVC 254 nanometer light is harmful to humans and can be used only when a space is vacant.


    A Safer Alternative: Far-UVC Light

    Recently, experiments have been performed on the shortwave length of 222 nanometer, also knows as Far-UVC light.

    “Far-UVC 222 nm light, on the other hand, efficiently inactivates bacteria and it doesn’t hurt humans,” Rawashdeh explains. “But it’s expensive and difficult to acquire, although as the technology is used more, I expect it will become less costly.”

    Researchers began focusing on Far UVC in the last decade, and it was recently shown to effectively kill viruses and pathogens. (Nature, 2020). The shorter 222 nm wavelength cannot penetrate the tear layer of the eye or the outer dead-cell layer of skin, so it cannot reach or damage living cells in the body. And because Far-UVC is safe for skin and eyes, the products can run constantly, continuously killing pathogens like viruses and bacteria without worry about human exposure.

    “Far-UVC light has a been shown to be incapable of penetrating the outer dead-cell layer of human skin or the tear layer in the eye, so it’s not a human health hazard,” confirms Rawashdeh. “Continuous very low dose-rate Far-UVC light in indoor spaces is a promising and safe tool to reduce the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases.


    Paul-222: An Opportunity for Innovation

    Only a few manufacturers are currently producing Far-UVC products, and Rawashdeh believes the time is right to develop this disinfection technology further.

    “Today’s robots are just carts, they drive into room to irradiate it, then leave the room,” says Rawashdeh,” They don’t have the intelligence for detecting humans or deciding what to disinfect. Several companies are now developing intelligent disinfection robots, but I am convinced that the 254 UVC will remain too dangerous, and that the application of the 222 nm wavelength is much more suitable”.

    Rawashdeh has developed what he calls “Paul-222”, a tele-operated mobile robot disinfector with first-person-view and two wavelengths: a standard 254 nanometer UVC light side and a 222 nanometer Far-UVC side, as a prototype to compare the disinfection efficiency of the two technologies relative to power requirements, radiation intensity, and disinfection times.

    “The next version of this prototype will be an autonomous and collaborative robot,” says Rawashdeh. “It will be aware of human presence and disinfect while the room is occupied. This doesn’t exist today.”


    Designed and Built at Michigan Tech

    The prototype was designed and built at Michigan Tech during the COVID-19 quarantine in summer 2020.

    There was an emergency call for Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) seed grant proposals in May 2020 to address COVID-19, and Rawashdeh had only two weeks to apply. But in less than a month, he had won the funding—as did several colleagues in the College of Computing—received access to the funds, and started building and testing.

    “This was a very generous gift from Paul Williams through the ICC,” Rawashdeh said.

    Rawashdeh completed the disinfector as a solo project while the labs were closed for group work, with help from EET undergraduate Austin Kucharski, who helped build the remote-control components.

    Thorough testing has confirmed the effectiveness of both sides of the unit. The UVC side kills the coronavirus in ten seconds at a distance of three feet, while the Far-UVC side needs three minutes. The disinfector can be recharged simply by plugging it into an electrical outlet.

    Rawshdeh oversees the Mobile Robotics Lab, which pursues work in mobile robots, depth sensing, robot environment simulation, image analysis, thermal imaging, sensor fusion, electrical engineering and control. Visit the lab’s website at www.morolab.mtu.edu.


    The Prototype

    Paul-222 is a prototype, which means that it is composed of a mix of off-the-shelf parts and materials. For instance, a camping battery powers the lights and electronics, and the oscillating light bar in the front of the unit is an automotive accessory. A separate battery powers the motion of the unit, and the first-person-view is based on a wireless backup camera and screen system for RVs. One of the reflecting fixture backsides is a metallic automotive dash cover.

    Safety was an important consideration in the design of the disinfector. A camera in the front of the unit provides first-person view for remote operation. Flashing lights alert those in the vicinity, and remote operation means it can be controlled from a distance only when it’s safe.


    Searching for Collaborators

    Rawashdeh is looking to develop this idea further and is searching for collaborators, such as those studying human-centered computing and intelligent algorithms. And he’s looking for public facilities interested in helping test the Paul-222 robot, including libraries, grocery stores, and health clinics.

    “There will likely be a next pandemic, and such robots can be deployed at outbreak hot spots” Rawashdeh says. “Fighting pathogens will continue to be a priority.”

    Rawashdeh plans to present his invention at a future technical conference. He also expects to demonstrate the protype at future campus events and technology exhibits.

    Watch a video demonstration of the disinfecting robot.


    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems

    Rawashdeh is a member of the Center for Data Sciences (DataS) research group of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) focuses on the research of data sciences education, algorithms, mathematics, and applications.

    “The ICC is always encouraging and supporting us to write proposals and collaborate,” Rawashdeh says. “The results of this research are a great example of what the ICC can do in a short time. I’m grateful to Paul Williams, the ICC, and ICC director Tim Havens for their support.”


    Visit with Dean Livesay … In Person!

    Dr. Livesay’s drop-in office hours are canceled Friday, May 1 and Friday, May 8, as the Dean will be traveling.

    College of Computing Dean Dennis Livesay holds open drop-in office hours every Friday from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., when classes are in session.

    And starting Friday, March 19, you can meet with Dean Livesay in person!

    Drop-in office hours are now both virtual and in-person.

    Stop by Rekhi Hall Room 217, or link to the virtual meeting here: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/81989002979

    Please note that the virtual meeting link has been changed.

    All faculty, staff, and students who wish to chat with Dr. Livesay are invited to “stop in” to this weekly Zoom meeting. Appointments are not needed.

    Summer Youth Programs (SYP): Topics in Computing

    With extensive safety planning and health precautions underway, Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs plans to offer in-person programs for summer 2021. Programs run weekly from June 21-August 7, 2021.

    Registration is now open for 2021 Summer Youth Programs. Many classes are already full, but there are plenty more to choose from

    Interested in computing-related classes? Below are SYP programs of particular interest.

    Explore the SYP website and see all SYP classes here.

    Computing Programs
    Class NumberTitleAdditional Cost RequiredSeats AvailableGradesWeek
    51400App and Web Development: Designing for Humans129 – 11July 18 – July 24
    51890Coding for the Internet of ThingsSee Course Details129 – 11July 11 – July 17
    51678Coding for the Internet of ThingsSee Course Details129 – 11June 20 – June 26
    52422Introduction to Computational Physics159 – 11June 20 – June 26
    51204Introduction to Video Game Programming126 – 8June 27 – July 03
    51541Video Game Programming79 – 11July 18 – July 24
    Engineering Programs
    Class No.Class TitleAdd’l CostsSeats Avail.Grade LevelDates of Class
    52409AI & Machine LearningNone89-11July 18 – July 24
    52199The Gaming Industry Wants You!None69-11June 27 – July 3
    52410Intro to the Perfect MachineNone76-8July 18 – July 24
    52412The Perfect MachineNone209-11July 11 – July 17
    51909Electrical and Computer EngineeringSee Course Details79-11June 27 – July 3
    52092Electrical and Computer EngineeringSee Course Details119-11June 20 – June 26
    51190Electrical and Computer EngineeringSee Course Details59-11July 11 – July 17
    Scholarship Programs
    51435Women in Computer Science (WICS)None179-11June 27 – July 3
    Science and Technology Programs
    52199The Gaming Industry Wants You!None69-11June 27 – July 3

    ICC Distinguished Lecture: Alina Zare, Univ. of Florida, April 16

    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems will present a Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Alina Zare on Friday, April 16, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    Her talk is titled, “Multiple Instance Learning for Plant Root Phenotyping.”

    Dr. Zare is a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at University of Florida. She teaches and conducts research in the areas of pattern recognition and machine learning.

    Join the virtual lecture here.

    Lecture Title

    Multiple Instance Learning for Plant Root Phenotyping

    Lecture Abstract

    In order to understand how to increase crop yields, breed drought tolerant plants, investigate relationships between root architecture and soil organic matter, and explore how roots can play in a role in greenhouse gas mitigation, we need to be able to study plant root systems effectively. However, we are lacking high-throughput, high-quality sensors, instruments and techniques for plant root analysis. Techniques available for analyzing root systems in field conditions are generally very labor intensive, allow for the collection of only a limited amount of data and are often destructive to the plant. Once root data and imagery have been collected using current root imaging technology, analysis is often further hampered by the challenges associated with generating accurate training data.

    Most supervised machine learning algorithms assume that each training data point is paired with an accurate training label. Obtaining accurate training label information is often time consuming and expensive, making it infeasible for large plant root image data sets. Furthermore, human annotators may be inconsistent when labeling a data set, providing inherently imprecise label information. Given this, often one has access only to inaccurately labeled training data. To overcome the lack of accurately labeled training, an approach that can learn from uncertain training labels, such as Multiple Instance Learning (MIL) methods, is required. In this talk, I will discuss our team’s approaches to characterizing and understanding plant roots using methods that focus on alleviating the labor intensive, expensive and time consuming aspects of algorithm training and testing.

    Speaker Bio

    Dr. Zare earned her Ph.D. in December 2008 from the University of Florida. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Florida in 2016, she was a faculty member at the University of Missouri.

    Zare’s research has focused primarily on developing machine learning and pattern recognition algorithms to autonomously understand and process non-visual imagery. Her research work has included automated plant root phenotyping using visual and X-ray imagery, 3D reconstruction and analysis of X-ray micro-CT imagery, sub-pixel hyperspectral image analysis, target detection and underwater scene understanding using synthetic aperture sonar, LIDAR data analysis, Ground Penetrating Radar analysis, and buried landmine and explosive hazard detection.

    Michigan Tech Is #2 Among Michigan Top-Rated Online Colleges

    Michigan Tech is #2 on a list of 30 Michigan colleges and university top be ranked among the 2021 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Michigan by EDsmart.org, a nationally recognized publisher of college resources and independent rankings.

    This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

    Draper, UT — (SBWIRE) — 04/05/2021 — EDsmart’s ranking of the Best Online Colleges in Michigan is the most comprehensive and well-rounded to date. The ranking includes only fully accredited schools. Rankings are based on affordability, academic quality, student satisfaction and student outcomes according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.

    “It is important to recognize the colleges and universities that go above and beyond,” said Tyson Stevens, managing editor of EDsmart. “Our goal is to highlight these schools and their commitment to higher education.”

    “The Best Online Colleges in Michigan ranking allows students to compare accredited schools and find those that best fit their education interests and career goals,” said EDsmart’s spokesperson. “Beyond providing affordable education, a college is not successful if it does not graduate its students, which is why EDsmart rankings place a high value on outcomes, including graduation and retention rates, and post-graduation earnings.”

    The rankings and data were produced for EDsmart, a leading higher education research organization. All evaluated data was gathered from IPEDs, U.S. Department of Higher Education, College Scorecard, Payscale.com, school websites, and other reputable sources.

    The rankings have been published at https://www.edsmart.org/accredited-online-colleges/michigan/

    About EDsmart
    EDsmart reviews publicly available data to produce independent ranking assessments of various educational programs, in addition to student guides and resources. The site is regularly updated by a committed team of writers and researchers, who produce college rankings and resources that will help prospective and current college students get into, pay for, and thrive at the college of their choice.

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/5027522#ixzz6rpZeNZGM


    GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp Is July 19-23

    by Yu Cai, College of Computing

    A GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp for K-12 teachers will be held at Michigan Tech during the week of July 19 – 23. Participants will learn cyber hygiene and fundamental security knowledge including email phishing, password management, and cyber ethics. Participants will also learn how to develop lesson plans to teach cybersecurity in K-12.

    This is a residential camp (commuting optional), and is offered at NO COST to all participants. Room and board is included. Each teacher participant will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities. Camp activities will count for 25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH).

    Click here for more information and to apply. The application deadline is May.

    Funding for the camp is provided jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an award led by Yu Cai and Tim Van Wagner from the College of Computing.


    ECE Master’s Defense: Chinmay Rajaram Kondekar

    by Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Electrical Engineering Master’s candidate Chinmay Kondekar (advisor: Aleksandr Sergeyev), will present his master’s defense at 11 a.m. Tuesday (April 13) via Zoom

    The title of his presentation is “Integration of Robotic and Electro-Pneumatic Systems Using Advanced Control and Communication Schemes.” 


    Graduate Research Colloquium 2021

    by Graduate Student Government

    This year’s Graduate Research Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Government was hosted virtually due to COVID restrictions. There were in total 48 presentations — 17 poster presenters and 31 oral presenters.

    Poster presentations took place in a pre-recorded video style and the oral sessions were hosted live via Zoom. You can watch all the poster videos and recordings for the oral sessions here. Each presentation was scored by two judges from the same field of research.

    Participants were able to gain valuable feedback from these judges before presenting their research at an actual conference. It was stiff competition amongst all presenters. Following are the winners for each of these sessions.

    Of the many presentations were the following by two graduate students affiliated with the College of Computing.

    Simulating the Spread of Infectious Diseases
    Meara Pellar-Kosbar, Data Science

    This simulation is designed to show how a fictional viral illness could spread among people in a virtual room. Over the course of the virtual simulation, a number of automatic simulated people called subjects will move about an adjustable virtual grid. During this time, subjects will come into contact with each other and with item cells in the virtual room. Subjects will be exposed to this fictional virus via contact with other subjects, items, and via the air when within a certain distance of a contagious subject. The viral counts of each subject will be tracked and shown as the simulation runs, showing how the actions of the subjects’ affects their viral counts.

    Cultural Competence Effects of Repeated Implicit Bias Training
    Karen Colbert, Social Sciences

    Karen Colbert is a PhD student in the Computational Sciences and Engineering department.

    Abstract: Diversity training literature suggests that mandatory and recurrent sessions should maximize training efficacy, but research has primarily focused on single, brief training sessions that are often voluntary. Michigan Tech is one of few universities to implement required and repeated diversity training for all faculty who serve on search, tenure, and promotion committees. The goal of this study is to evaluate the training’s effectiveness, as well as to fill the gap in research on mandatory recurring diversity training. To do this, we anonymously surveyed faculty members on their knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to content from the Diversity Literacy program and scored responses to create a single composite score for each participant. We hypothesized that composite Cultural Competency Score (CCS) would be higher for faculty who 1) have taken more refresher trainings, and 2) completed training more recently. This study included 130 total respondents (large sample), 69 of whom provided their Diversity Literacy completion information anonymously through Human Resources (small sample). Composite CCS did not differ significantly by frequency of training, H(2)=3.78, p=.151. CCS did differ significantly by years since last training, F(2,63)=4.436, p=.016. Results from both large and small groups showed no statistical significant relationship between CCS and faculty committee service. CCS was negatively correlated with years employed at Tech in both the large (r=-0.363, p=0.002) and small (r = -0.258, p=0.01) samples. This relationship between low CCS and longer employment at Tech may additionally be related to the Diversity Literacy program’s implementation in 2010. Qualitative responses were also collected regarding training material that faculty found most memorable (N=102) and most confident to put into practice (N=93).

    View all the Research Colloquium abstracts here.