Category: Students

Nordic Skiers Honored for Academics

by Calvin Larson, Director of Athletics Communication

The Nordic ski teams had 18 Huskies named to the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association (USCSCA) All-Academic Team. Among the academic team members if Mechatronic student Aleksi Leino, Mechatronics.

The list of Huskies includes every member of the men’s team. The teams combined for a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average with 10 skiers earning 4.0s during the fall semester.

To qualify for the award, a student-athlete must maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA. In 2021 because membership in the three conferences spans all divisions in the NCAA and not all institutions competed in winter sports due to the pandemic, the normal requirement of participation in one of three NCAA Regional competitions was waived.  

  • Patrick Acton, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Josh Albrecht, Mechanical Engineering
  • Brad Baas, Mechanical Engineering
  • Johanna Craig, Business
  • Mitch DeLong, Management
  • Reid Goble, Biological Sciences
  • Tres Green, Accounting
  • Cedric Keller, Management Information Systems
  • Olivia Laven, Engineering Management
  • Aleksi Leino, Mechatronics
  • Anabel Needham, Environmental Engineering
  • Mark Ousdigian, Mechanical Engineering
  • Skylar Patten, Engineering Management
  • Somer Schrock, Mechanical Engineering
  • Henriette Semb, Engineering Management
  • Henry Snider, Mechanical Engineering
  • Aiden Truettner, Chemical Engineering
  • Adam Witkowski, Economics

A record 428 student-athletes from 28 institutions that compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, the Central Collegiate Ski Association and the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association were named to the National Collegiate All-Academic Ski Team Tuesday by the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association.


Human Factors Grad Student Wins Hackathon, Cites Pandemic for Opportunity

One Michigan Tech graduate student found a silver lining of the pandemic-driven shift to remote study: the ability to gain experiences previously prevented by distance. And “gained experience” is an understatement, as Brooke Poyhonen recently was on the winning team in the Texas Health Care Challenge, an online hackathon that sought solutions to problems in health care.

The winning project, from Team WatsonCares, focused on women’s postpartum health and proposed a suite of services for new mothers:

  • A natural-language chatbot, powered by IBM Watson’s AI, to answer patient questions about both mental and physical health
  • A community feature allowing postpartum women to support one another
  • Deep informational and support resources

Poyhonen said the team came together because after hearing initial “problem pitches,” in which existing teams outline the projects they want to tackle, some were uninterested in the originally pitched ideas. So they created their own team. “Ideally, we want the chatbot to be personalized to the patient’s history,” she said. “And we wanted to create a safe space for women to talk to each other.”

Poyhonen will complete her accelerated M.S. in applied cognitive science and human factors this spring. She earned a B.S. in psychology from Michigan Tech in 2020. Both degrees are offered by the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department in the University’s College of Sciences and Arts.

The Texas challenge is normally on-site only, and she appreciated the chance to participate and urges other students to seek out similar opportunities. “It was great to meet people from around the country and work with a team on a real-world goal,” Poyhonen said. “It’s a great networking opportunity and gives me a concrete project to discuss in interviews. It was just so rewarding.”

The team’s prize included $120,000 in credits toward IBM products and services, a smaller cash award, and temporary office space with a Dallas venture capital firm. Poyhonen is working with team members on the project as a start-up while also pursuing other opportunities.

She got her first taste of hackathons over the winter in the Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Grand Challenge, run by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The challenge was to help the up to 90% of sonographers who develop disorders such as occupational overuse syndrome. Her team, which included a sonography mentor, an engineering student and two sonography students, created the Air Buddy, a device to help sonographers apply pressure to a probe with reduced physical stress. Poyhonen’s team won first place after judges deliberated for an entire week after the month-long window for teams to work on the problem.

Kelly Steelman, interim chair of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences Department, said hackathons are great supplements to classroom experiences. “I commend Brooke for taking the initiative to seek out design challenges as a way to build her portfolio of experiences and hone the skills she’s learned in our program,” Steelman said. “Brooke took advantage of opportunities through outside organizations, but we also offer hack-a-thons right here on campus.”

She said Husky Innovate is currently planning their inaugural hack-a-thon as part of an initiative to grow the human-centered design community at Michigan Tech. For more information on this, contact Lisa Casper.

Dr. Steelman is a member of the Human-Centered Computing research group of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

Michigan Tech’s graduate program in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors teaches students how to apply principles of psychology to the design and evaluation of human-technological systems. Steelman said Beth Veinott, director of the Center for Human-Centered Computing, frequently reinforces for students that, “If you get the psychology right first, you design the right system, it is easier to train, and people are more likely to adopt it.”


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.”

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.


Register for Michigan Tech’s Design Expo, which takes place Thursday, April 15

by Pavlis Honor College

Now’s the time to register to attend Virtual Design Expo, the annual Enterprise and Senior Design project showcase at Michigan Tech.

Once again, for the second time ever in its 21-year history, Design Expo will take place virtually. We’ve excitedly taken lessons learned from last year’s first virtual Expo and fused it with new ways of connecting to make the 2021 Design Expo more engaging and safe to attend in real-time!

Design Expo puts our undergraduate student innovators and their corporate and community sponsors and faculty advisors front and center.

Every year, teams showcase their solutions to complex, real-world and life-changing challenges. Teams compete for thousands of dollars in cash awards—and receive priceless, well-deserved recognition. 

Guests and judges will need to register in order to attend by April 9. 

This year’s event will happen in multiple segments online via Zoom and Gatherly. 

Monday, April 12

  • Noon — Remote, asynchronous viewing and judging of team videos opens on the Design Expo website, mtu.edu/expo.

Thursday, April 15

  • 11 to 11:30 a.m. — Opening remarks via live Zoom webinar
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Synchronous event with student teams begins: take part in real-time interaction/Q&A with students using Gatherly
  • 3 to 3:30 p.m. — Presentation of Awards via Zoom live webinar
  • 3:30 p.m. — Virtual Design Expo 2021 concludes

RQE: Tino Moore, Computer Science

Tino Moore, a Department of Computer Science graduate student, will present his RQE lecture on Friday, April 9, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.

Lecture Title

Poor Man’s Trace Cache: Static Trace Construction via Instruction Replication

Lecture Abstract

We introduce a novel variable-length branch delay slot architecture called Poor Man’s Trace Cache (PMTC). PMTC constructs instruction traces in static code via instruction replication into variable size delay slots at assembly time. All unconditional direct and select conditional direct control transfer instructions are provided a variable size delay slot. Delay slots, and the traces they contain, extend to the next cache line boundary, ensuring traces are fetched along with the control transfer instruction that initiated the trace. Branch, jump and return instruction semantics as well as fetch unit architecture are modified to utilize traces in delay slots when unused fetch slots are available. PMTC yields the following benefits: (1) Average fetch bandwidth increases as the front end can fetch across taken control transfer instructions in a single cycle. (2) The dynamic number of instruction cache lines fetched by the processor is reduced as multiple non contiguous basic blocks along a single path are encountered in one fetch cycle. (3) Replication of a branch into delay slots along multiple paths yields path separability for the branch which positively impacts branch predictor accuracy. PMTC mechanism requires minimal modifications to the processor’s fetch unit and the delay slot insertion algorithm can easily be implemented within the assembler without compiler support.


Kay Oliver, Academic Advisor

Kay Oliver is the academic advisor for all College of Computing graduate-level majors, as well as the undergraduate majors in the Applied Computing department (CNSA, EET, Cybersecurity, Mechatronics).

Chances are good that you’ve met Kay. Here’s a bit of background about her education and career.

Oliver has an M.A. in educational technology from Michigan State University and a B.S. in physics from Western Michigan University with Michigan Tech coursework in Chemistry.

For more than 20 years she worked with the Department of Defense Education Activity, a government agency responsible for K-12 education of children of American citizens working internationally for the DoD and the US Military.

For most of that time she was responsible for the professional development of teachers with education technology. Now she continues her commitment to student success by working with students and professors to help our MTU students find their path through the College of Computing.

Oliver has had the privilege of living in Pisa, Italy, Bitburg, Germany; and PyeongTaek, South Korea, but she is pleased to return to her roots in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula where she enjoys sailing, kayaking, biking, and skiing.

Make an appointment to talk with Kay here.