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    New NSF Project to Improve Great Lakes Flood Hazard Modeling

    Thomas Oommen, Timothy C. Havens, Guy Meadows (GLRC), and Himanshu Grover (U. Washington) have been awarded funding in the NSF Civic Innovation Challenge for their project, “Helping Rural Counties to Enhance Flooding and Coastal Disaster Resilience and Adaptation.”

    The six-month project award is $49,999.

    Vision. The vision of the new project is to develop methods that use remote sensing data resources and citizen engagement (crowdsourcing) to address current data gaps for improved flood hazard modeling and visualization that is transferable to rural communities.

    Objective. The objective of the Phase-1 project is to bring together community-university partners to understand the data gaps in addressing flooding and coastal disaster in three Northern Michigan counties.  

    The Researchers

    Thomas Oommen is a professor in the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences department. His research efforts focus on developing improved susceptibility characterization and documentation of geo-hazards (e.g. earthquakes, landslides) and spatial modeling of georesource (e.g. mineral deposits) over a range of spatial scales and data types. Oommen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

    Tim Havens is associate dean for research, College of Computing, the
    William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. His research interests include mobile robotics, explosive hazard detection, heterogeneous and big data, fuzzy sets, sensor networks, and data fusion. Havens is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

    Guy Meadows is director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory (Great Lakes Research Center), the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, and a research professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department. His research interests include large scale field experimentation in the Inland Seas of the Great Lakes and coastal oceans; nearshore hydrodynamics and prediction; autonomous and semi-autonomous environmental monitoring platforms (surface and sub-surface); underwater acoustic remote sensing; and marine engineering.

    Himanshu Grover is an asssistant professor at University of Washington. His research focus is at the intersection of land use planning, community resilience, and climate change.

    About the Civic Innovation Challenge

    The NSF Civic Innovation Challenge is a research and action competition that aims to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities.


    College of Computing Overview with Tim Havens Is Tues., Jan. 19, 7-8 pm

    Please join the College of Computing’s Tim Havens at a College of Computing Undergraduate Overview on Tuesday, January 19, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The virtual event is presented by Michigan Tech Admissions. The focus of the event is on prospective students.

    Event Details: Check out our diverse selection of majors, including Computer Network and System Administration, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics, Software Engineering, and our first-year computing undecided program, General Computing.

    Register for the live Zoom session here.

    View the University Events Calendar listing here.


    HCC Research Expo 2020

    An Immersive Exploration of Research Across Campus

    The ICC’s Human-Centered Computing group (HCC) will host its 3rd annual HCC Research Expo, November 12-13, 2020, in conjunction with World Usability Day 2020.

    VR-Huskies, an exciting virtual social platform that leverages 360-degree panorama technology, is the venue for the 48-hour event. Projects, brief research talks, and lab tours will be available on demand for attendees to browse at leisure. The immersive experience will be available from Thurs., Nov. 12, at 9:00 a.m. too Fri., Nov. 13, at midnight.


    The HCC Expo concludes with a keynote lecture from leading accessible computing and design researcher Dr. Richard E. Ladner on Friday, November 13, at 1:00 p.m., via online meeting. Read more about Dr. Ladner here.

    The aim of the annual HCC Expo is to showcase the interdisciplinary HCC research happening across campus, and to provide a a forum for Michigan Tech students to explore HCC research opportunities, tour labs, and engage in virtual discussions.

    The Human-Centered Computing research group investigates a wide range of 21st century human-centered computing challenges, engaging faculty from computer science, psychology, engineering, and other Michigan Tech departments.


    About VR-Huskies

    VR-Huskies Virtual Social Space

    VR-Huskies is an active research project led by new faculty member, Assistant Professor Ricardo Eiris, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and sponsored by the College of Engineering. It is a custom implementation of Mozilla Hubs®, an open-source platform which creates custom dynamic representations of information.

    Participants can enter the VR-Huskies site with minimal effort, interacting with up to 25 others as they explore the latest research developments in human centered computing at Michigan Tech. Registration is not required. VR Huskies is accessible on any device, including head-mounted displays, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

    Eiris says that the goal of VR-Huskies is to deliver in-depth learning in a multitude of contexts, such as field trips, outreach events, and entrepreneurial activities, while engaging students in opportunities to apply critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

    Expected outcomes of the project include the implementation of a virtual learning environment in which Michigan Tech students can socially interact with STEM experiences and visit remote locations that are typically impossible to reach.

    Ricardo Eiris received his Ph.D. in Design, Construction, and Planning from the University of Florida in August 2020. He is an educator and a researcher exploring the dynamics and implications of human-technology interactions within construction and engineering.


    Founded in 2015, the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems.

    The Center for Human-Centered Computing (HCC) focuses on the research and development of novel interfaces for human-agent interaction, assistive technologies, intelligent health, computational modeling, and examining trust and decision making in distributed systems.

    The Center is directed by Associate Professor Elizabeth Veinott, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, a cognitive psychologist who focuses on research in decision making and learning using serious video games.


    Accessible Computing Expert Dr. Richard Ladner to Present Keynote November 13

    The ICC’s Center for Human-Centered Computing invites the Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and students to a keynote lecture by leading accessible design expert and research scientist Dr. Richard E. Ladner on Friday, November 13, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., via online meeting.

    His talk, “Accessible K-12 Computer Science Education,” is the final event of HCC’s Husky Research Celebration, a showcase of interdisciplinary HCC research through a series of virtual lab tours, virtual mini talks, and lectures presented in a 360-degree virtual space. More details here.

    Ladner is a Professor Emeritus in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, where he has been on the faculty since 1971.

    His current research is in the area of accessible computing, a subarea of human-computer interaction (HCI). Much of his current research focuses on accessible educational technology.

    Ladner is principal investigator of the NSF-funded AccessComputing Alliance, which works to increase participation of students with disabilities in computing fields. He is also a PI of the NSF-funded AccessCSforAll, which is focused on preparing teachers of blind, deaf, and learning disabled children to teach their students computer science.

    Lecture Title: Accessible K-12 Computer Science Education

    Lecture Abstract: For the past twelve years there has been rapid growth in the teaching of computer science in K-12 with a particular focus on broadening the participation of students from underrepresented groups in computing including students with disabilities. Popular tools such as Scratch, ScratchJr, and many other block-based programming environments have brought programming concepts to millions of children around the world. Code.org’s Hour of Code has hundreds of activities with almost half using block-based environments. New computer science curricula such as Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles have been implemented using inaccessible tools. In the meantime the United States has about 8 million school children with recognized disabilities which is about 16% of the K-12 student population. It is generally not the case that these students are adequately served by the current K-12 computer science education or any of the block-based programming environments.

    In particular, the approximately 30,000 blind and visually impaired children are left out because only a few educational tools are screen reader accessible. In this talk we address this problem by describing two programming environments that are accessible: the Quorum Language and Blocks4All. The Quorum Language, created by Andreas Stefik, is a text-based programming language whose syntax and semantics have been created to be as usable as possible using randomized controlled trials. The language is not at all intimidating to children. For younger children, Lauren Milne created Blocks4All a block-based programming environment that can be used by anyone including children who are blind or visually impaired. Blocks4All uses a touchscreen platform similar to ScratchJr and takes advantage of the fact the blind children already know how to use touchscreen devices using their built-in screen readers. The challenge for the future of K-12 computer science is to be more inclusive to all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability status.

    Founded in 2015, the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems, for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

    The Center for Human-Centered Computing (HCC) focuses on the research and development of novel interfaces for human-agent interaction, assistive technologies, intelligent health, computational modeling, and examining trust and decision making in distributed systems.

    The Center is directed by Associate Professor Elizabeth Veinott, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, a cognitive psychologist who focuses on two main areas of research: decision making and learning using serious video games.


    Innovative, Active, Effective. Introducing Sidike Paheding, Applied Computing

    Be Innovative. Be Active. Be Effective. This is College of Computing Assistant Professor Sidike Paheding’s teaching philosophy.

    New to the Department of Applied Computing this fall, Paheding’s teaching interests include digital image processing and machine learning. This academic year he is teaching SAT3812 Cyber Security I.

    A member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’s Center for Data Sciences, Paheding’s research seeks to develop novel AI-driven technologies. His primary interests are image/video processing, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and remote sensing.

    Paheding comes to Michigan Tech from Purdue University Northwest, where he was a visiting assistant professor in the ECE department Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral research associate and assistant research professor in the Remote Sensing Lab at Saint Louis University from 2017 to 2019.

    Paheding is an associate editor of the journals, Signal Image and Video Processing (Springer) and Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), and topic editor for Remote Sensing. He completed his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at University of Dayton, Ohio.

    Computing is a part of my life.

    Sidike Paheding, Assistant Professor, College of Computing

    Active Research

    Title: Cybersecurity Modules Aligned with Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Curricula
    Sponsor: NSF
    PI at Michigan Tech
    Duration: July 2020 – June 2022
    Total Award: $159,417.00

    Research Abstract

    This project aims to serve the national interest by improving how cybersecurity concepts are taught in undergraduate computing curricula. The need to design and maintain cyber-secure computing systems is increasingly important. As a result, the future technology workforce must be trained to have a security mindset, so that they consider cybersecurity during rather than after system design.

    This project aims to achieve this goal by building plug-and-play, hands-on cybersecurity modules for core courses in Computer Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering. The modules will align with the curricula recommended by the Association for Computing Machinery and will be designed for easy adoption into computing programs nationwide. Modules will be designed for integration into both introductory and advanced courses, thus helping students develop in-depth understanding of cybersecurity as they progress through their computing curriculum. It is expected that the project will encourage more students to pursue careers or higher degrees in the field of cybersecurity.

    Recent Publications

    Sidike, P., Sagan, V., Maimaitijiang, M., Maimaitiyiming, M., Shakoor, N., Burken, J., … & Fritschi, F. B. (2019). dPEN: deep Progressively Expanded Neural Network for mapping heterogeneous agricultural landscape using WorldView-3 satellite imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment, 221, 756-772. [Impact Factor: 9.085]

    Sidike, P., Asari, V. K., & Sagan, V. (2018). Progressively Expanded Neural Network (PEN Net) for hyperspectral image classification: A new neural network paradigm for remote sensing image analysis. ISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing, 146, 161-181. [Impact Factor: 7.319]

    Sidike, P., Asari, V. K., & Alam, M. S. (2015). Multiclass object detection with single query in hyperspectral imagery using class-associative spectral fringe-adjusted joint transform correlation. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 54(2), 1196-1208. [Impact Factor: 5.855]

    Maimaitijiang, M., Sagan, V., Sidike, P., Hartling, S., Esposito, F., & Fritschi, F. B. (2020). Soybean yield prediction from UAV using multimodal data fusion and deep learning. Remote Sensing of Environment, 237, 111599. [Impact Factor: 9.085]


    “It’s Working!” — CCISD, Michigan Tech Launch New CTE Program in Mechatronics

    Michigan Tech recently launched a year-long Career and Technical Education (CTE) program for high school juniors or seniors in the area of Mechatronics. The new CTE Mechatronics program is offered through a partnership between Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD). 

    Teaming up to deliver the instruction are faculty in the Mechatronics, Electrical and Robotics Engineering Technology (MERET) program in the College of Computing, and faculty in the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) Department in the College of Engineering

    Michigan Tech faculty administering the CTE program include Prof. John Irwin, Chair of the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology, or Prof. Alex Sergeyev in the College of Computing. 

    “Students in the program will find careers in smart manufacturing fields, or they can find a pathway at Michigan Tech into undergraduate or graduate degrees in Engineering Technology, Engineering, or Mechatronics.” says Irwin.

    There are 10 students enrolled this fall 2020 from the local area school districts of Houghton, Hancock, Calumet, and L’Anse. CTE Director Shawn Kolbus expects the program to only increase in popularity. “Local business owners approached us last year wanting to get more students from the area interested in Mechatronics, CADD and Engineering,” he says. “The result was the Mechatronics program which encompasses standards from each area.” 

    The course is taught by two mechatronics professionals who possess both industry and teaching experience. One of those instructors is George Ochieze, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Mechatronics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech. “Even in difficult times during the pandemic, these young scholars show overwhelming potential to conquer the mechatronics field—a glimpse into a welcoming future in engineering,” says Ochieze.

    The second instructor, Chinmay Kondekar, will earn an MS in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2021. “Teaching for local schools is an opportunity for me to give back to people in the community who welcomed me as an international student,” says Kondekar. “I hope to create a strong interest in robotics and automation in my students. People with these skills will be the future of manufacturing and will have plenty of opportunities.”

    Program enrollment is closed for 2020, but will be available again starting in fall 2021. This spring there will be the opportunity for area sophomore and junior students to visit Michigan Tech to tour the labs and meet the instructors. Both the Applied Computing and MMET department labs used at Michigan Tech are equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and mechanical systems partially provided through generous startup funding from the CCISD.

    Mechatronics uses electromechanical systems, typically automated for the design of products and processes. Industry 4.0—sometimes called the “fourth industrial revolution”—applies various aspects of mechatronics to manufacturing enterprises. Topics in the CTE Mechatronics program include; automation, computer integrated manufacturing, high speed manufacturing, embedded systems design and controls, industrial robotics, pneumatics, hydraulics, and computer-aided design. 

    For more information please contact Shawn Kolbus, Director, Career and Technical Education, Copper Country Intermediate School District (906) 250-5353.