Joshua Pearce on Solar Energy

Joshua Pearce
Joshua Pearce

West Baton Rouge solar plant with 197,000 panels begins construction: Entergy Louisiana to purchase its power

Some 197,000 solar panels capable of powering thousands of homes are going into one of the largest solar plants to be built in Louisiana on a 560-acre site near Port Allen.

“The economies of scale has finally kicked in,” said Joshua Pearce, director of the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology lab. “Utilities are actively putting in large-scale solar farms because it’s now a low enough cost. When costs first came down, large industry jumped on it first and now utilities are catching up.”

Read more at The Advocate, by Kristen Mosbrucker.


Advancement Acknowledges the Recent Passing of Dedicated Alumnus Jim Klungness

James Klungness
James Klungness

James A. (Jim) Klungess passed away on July 16, 2019. Jim graduated from Michigan Tech in 1949 with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. After graduation, he returned to the Iron Mountain area where he established himself as a business leader. He, along with a partner, built Iron Mountain’s first cable TV system and went on to found Cable Constructors Inc. (CCI), which specialized in constructing cable TV systems both regionally and nationally.

Jim was recognized by Michigan Tech on several occasions. In 1990 he was awarded the Board of Control Silver Medal. He was inducted into the Electrical Engineering Academy in 1997 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus award by the Alumni Association in 1998. In 1999 he was Tech’s spring commencement speaker and was presented an honorary doctorate degree.

He was an extremely good friend of the University lending both his time and energy to numerous initiatives. He served three consecutive terms on the Michigan Tech Fund Board attaining Life Trustee status in 2002. He was co-chair for the campaign to fund the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and served on Tech’s International Advancement Advisory Committee in 2003.

Jim, along with his wife, Verle (who passed away in 2004), were very generous with their philanthropic dollars investing in numerous University programs over the years. These include the Annual Fund, the Rozsa Center, and cultural and international initiatives. In 1991 they established the James A. Klungness Endowed Scholarship to assist Iron Mountain-Kingsford area students attending Michigan Tech. They were members of the Hubbell Society, as well as charter members of the Second Century Society.

View Jim’s full obituary online.

By Michigan Tech Advancement.


Timothy Havens at IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens

Timothy Havens (CC/ICC) was General Co-Chair of the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems in New Orleans, LA, June 23 to 26. At the conference, Havens presented his paper, “Machine Learning of Choquet Integral Regression with Respect to a Bounded Capacity (or Non-monotonic Fuzzy Measure),” and served on the panel, “Publishing in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.” Three additional papers authored by Havens were published in the conference’s proceedings: “Transfer Learning for the Choquet Integral,” “The Choquet Integral Neuron, Its PyTorch Implementation and Application to Decision Fusion,” and “Measuring Similarity Between Discontinuous Intervals – Challenges and Solutions.”


NSF Funding for Zhuo Feng

Zhuo Feng
Zhuo Feng

Zhuo Feng (ECE/ICC) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $500,000 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. This potential three-year project is titled, “SHF: Small: Spectral Reduction of Large Graphs and Circuit Networks.”

Extract

Spectral methods are playing increasingly important roles in many graph and numerical applications. This research plan will investigate a truly-scalable yet unified spectral graph reduction approach that allows reducing large-scale, real-world directed and undirected graphs with guaranteed preservation of the original graph spectra.

The success of the proposed research will significantly advance the state of the arts in spectral graph theory, electronic design automation (EDA), data mining, machine learning, as well as scientific computing, leading to the development of much faster numerical and graph-based algorithms.

The algorithms and methodologies to be developed will be disseminated to leading technology companies such as EDA software and network companies for potential industrial adoptions. Spectral graph reduction algorithms/software packages will also be made available to other researchers through collaborations.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Cyber-physical Security Workshop July 30-31, 2019

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University is pleased to announce a two-day workshop on cyber-physical security for power infrastructure and transportation to be held July 30-31, 2019 on Michigan Tech’s campus.  Experts from industry and the academy will share information on current threats and countermeasures to protect power infrastructure and transportation systems.

Registration protocols will support 13 hours of continuing education for professional license holders.

The workshop includes the following list of speakers and topics:

Secure Operations Technology,  Mr. Andrew Ginter from Waterfall Security
Bottom-up Electrical Vehicle Forecasting, Dr. Pedram Jahangiri, National Grid
Assessing and Evaluating Risk of Passenger Rail Transportation Systems, Mr. Loel Langill, AECOM
Cyber Insurance for Power Grid, Prof. Chee-Wooi Ten, MTU
Security for System Wide Power Control and Protection, Mr. Koji Yamashita, MTU
Emerging Threats and Case Studies, Prof. Yu Cai, MTU
Interdependency Between Grid and Transportation, Prof. Wencong Su, U-Mich-Dearborn

A more detailed schedule and more information about the speakers and topics can be found at Cyber-physical Security Workshop Info.

The cost of the conference is $1500; Alumni can register at the discounted price of $1200 by using promotional code MTUALUMNI on the registration form.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Magnuson Hotel Franklin Square Inn under “MTU CPS Conference.”  The rate for the conference is $99 per night for single occupancy; $104 a night for double occupancy. To make a reservation under this block, call 906-487-1700 by July 8.

For information on area attractions, contact the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce.

If you have any questions, please contact the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at 906-487-2550 or email ece@mtu.edu.

 



Kunle Olutomilayo Leads Outreach on True African Story

Kunle Olutomilayo
Kunle Olutomilayo

On May 15, 2019, eight students from the African Students Organization (ASO) chapter of Michigan Tech went to Dollar Bay High School to share a perspective of African history and culture that is often misrepresented or ignored by Western media.

Meeting a class of middle and high school students, Kunle Olutomilayo (PhD student, ECE), president of ASO, opened the floor with introductory remarks. Highlighting the historical significance of Africa to human existence. ASO’s interaction with the Dollar Bay School involved an exposition of West African naming practices, a telling of Asante folklore, a video showing different places in all 54 African countries, and a lesson on some facts about the African continent that are rarely pointed out.

Tolu Odebunmi (PhD student, Humanities) explained how the pronunciation of names worked in Yoruba, one of several languages in Nigeria. By referring to the tonal nature of Yoruba pronunciation, Tolu explained how names were significant in most African cultures. Of particular interest was the meanings attached to names and how the circumstances surrounding the birth of a child could dictate the name that was given to a child. For example, some ethnic groups in Ghana name their children based on the day of the week that a child is born.

While the video served as a means to retell the African story, the lesson led by Alfred Owusu-Ansah (PhD student, Humanities) highlighted rarely mentioned issues; Alfred pointed out how the world’s oldest university was established in 859 C.E. in Morocco by a woman. He also pointed out other firsts, like the first successful heart transplant was achieved in South Africa. In encouraging the students to explore the rich diversity of Africa, he suggested that they could read Nobel Laureates like Wole Soyinka of Nigeria or Nadine Gordimer of South Africa; or follow great scientists like Sameera Moussa (a renowned nuclear scientist) of Egypt, and Philip Emeagwali of Nigeria, who built the fastest computer of the time in 1989.

After the lesson students were invited to ask questions. This led to what was perhaps the climax of the day when a very bright student asked: “We hear that Africans are corrupt, how true is that?” Alfred pointed out that corruption does exist at different levels in the different countries in Africa; the same way that corruption exists at different levels in all countries in the world. Alfred highlighted the importance of checks and balances in any system of governance that seeks to minimize corrupt practices, which is as true for Africa as it is for North America. This led to a conversation on the cultural differences between African countries and the United States of America. It was clear that both Africans and Americans had a lot of respect for each other and were eager to learn new things. Ending the interaction with a song, the president of ASO sees this interaction as one of many that can help both Africans and the people of the great Upper Peninsula understand each other better.

by Bello Adesoji | African Student Organization.


Havens and Pinar Publish on Fusion in Neural Networks

Timothy Havens (ECE/ICC) and Anthony Pinar (ECE) coauthored the article, “Enabling Explainable Fusion in Deep Learning with Fuzzy Integral Neural Networks,” which was accepted this month for publication in the journal IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

DOI: 10.1109/TFUZZ.2019.2917124

Extract

Information fusion is an essential part of numerous engineering systems and biological functions, e.g., human cognition.

Fusion occurs at many levels, ranging from the low-level combination of signals to the high-level aggregation of heterogeneous decision-making processes.

While the last decade has witnessed an explosion of research in deep learning, fusion in neural networks has not observed the same revolution.

Herein, we prove that the fuzzy Choquet integral (ChI), a powerful nonlinear aggregation function, can be represented as a multi-layer network, referred to hereafter as ChIMP. An additional benefit of ChIMP/iChIMP is that it enables eXplainable AI (XAI).

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens
Tony Pinar
Tony Pinar

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter Two

EE4800 Poster
Figure 1: EE4800 course poster.

Michigan Tech’s new course in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is the topic of a series of columns in I-Connect 007. The second column “Better to Light a Candle” Chapter Two—Introduction to PCB Fabrication,” by Marc Carter, features an interview between Marc Carter, Christopher Middlebrook (ECE), and the students in the PCB manufacturing class.

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter Two—Introduction to PCB Fabrication

Editor’s Note: This column is part of a series on a new university course in PCB manufacturing at Michigan Technological University. Marc will chronicle the progress of this class, interview the guest lecturers, introduce the students, etc. The interview with students was also edited for clarity.

In my first column, I reported on a grassroots effort being started to prepare the next generation of printed circuit board (PCB) “experts.” A fortunate alignment of academia, the industry, resources, and concerned, well-seasoned board geeks came together to pass on PCB experience to the next generation through a very practical design, build, assemble, and test opportunity at Michigan Technological University (MTU). I also shared the thoughts of a few of the many people that were key players in getting this effort started.

As a reminder, “EE4800: Printed Circuit Board Fabrication” is a hands-on class intended to give engineering undergraduate students an introduction to the basics of printed circuit design, fabrication, and assembly, which started on January 14 of this year. A high-level overview of the course, it’s approach, and goals can be seen in the poster shared at several events at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 in San Diego, California (Figure 1).

Read more at I-Connect 007, by Marc Carter.

Related:

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter One—Prepping the Next Generation


Awards presented at ECE Spring 2019 Senior Banquet

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering held its Spring 2019 Senior Banquet on Thursday, April 18. Sam Solverson was the winner of the 2019 ECE Departmental Scholar Award, given to a senior who best represents student scholarship at Michigan Tech. This outstanding student is considered excellent not only by academic standards, but also for participation in research scholarship activity, levels of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and communication skills.

Sam Solverson, 2019 ECE Departmental Scholar, pictured with Dan Fuhrmann, former ECE chair.

Sam was nominated by instructor John Pakkala. “He took an informal, voluntary, but strong leadership role in the Fall 2018 Design Fundamentals course. I have witnessed his good work in both Chamber Choir and in Wind Symphony. And his GPA is hard to beat!” Associate professor Roger Kieckhafer says, “ In EE 3173, he scored THE highest grades in the class. He even installed Quartus on his own laptop (which makes him a braver man than me). In EE-4173 and EE-4737, he is currently scoring a perfect 100% in both classes. He has installed IAR Workbench on his laptop and is purchasing the eZ430 development hardware. He found a typo in one of my lectures, because he actually read the datasheet in the references. I think Sam completely embodies the best that we can ask for in a student.” Academic advisor Judy Donahue noted, “He’s been very helpful with ECE recruiting events – all of them! And he is a member of the Aerospace Enterprise.”

2019 ECE Woman of Promise, Katelyn Rhue, pictured with Glen Archer, ECE interim chair.

The 2019 ECE Woman of Promise was awarded to Katelyn Rhue.  The goal of this program is to recognize women at Michigan Tech who go “above and beyond” what is expected of them in terms of being a well-rounded student – one who has demonstrated academic achievement, campus and community leadership, good citizenship, creativity, etc. In short, women who exemplify the early-on criteria that would be considered when selecting future inductees to the Presidential Council of Alumnae.  he departments’ Women of Promise are recognized at the annual Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA) Induction Ceremon/Luncheon held during the Fall semester. Recipients are also invited to other PCA activities where they have the opportunity to provide input on a variety of topics.

Katelyn was nominated by assistant professor Jeremy Bos. Jeremy noted, “Katelyn is the current student director of Robotics Systems Enterprise. Last semester Katelyn was assistant director and took on as her management project a RSE team bonding activity. Katelyn organized and executed the event so that the enterprise was involved and included; we had nearly 100% participation. During the actual event, she facilitated the activities and made sure they were actually social. This is Katelyn’s third management position in RSE having started as outreach coordinator. In every position she has been the example to her peers on how to do the job. Katelyn is a natural leader and the ideal candidate for the Woman of Promise award.”

2019 Carl S. Schjonberg Outstanding Undergraduate Student, Lucas Simonson, pictured with Dan Fuhrmann, former ECE chair.

The 2019 Carl S. Schjonberg Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate student who exemplifies a dedication to learning and a commitment to the University. Professor Schjonberg was a faculty member in the Electrical Engineering Department from 1936 to 1970. He contributed significantly to the growth and development of the department and was dedicated to the education of electrical engineering students. This endowed award was established by his wife as a memorial to his long and dedicated career as an educator. This year, the award was given to Lucas Simonson.

The Hard Surface Disinfectant Prethread and Automation Team, winner of the 2019 Larry Kennedy Industry Innovation Award. Pictured from left to right, Trever Hassell, advisor; Chris DeWidt, Jacob Erickson, Clinton Andrews, Stefan Koerner. Missing from photo: Drew Wilkerson

The ECE External Advisory Committee (EAC) is a collection of volunteers from many different industries whose goal is to ensure the ECE academic program is aligned with industry to produce graduates companies would want to hire. Each year at their spring meeting, the EAC members observe ECE’s senior design and enterprise team presentations and poster displays and select a team that best meets or exceeds specific criteria related to today’s industry needs. The Larry Kennedy Industry Innovation Award is given to the senior project that shows the highest level of project management, applied engineering and application to industry. Larry Kennedy served on the EAC for many years and succumbed to illness while serving as chair.

This year’s Larry Kennedy Industry Innovation Award went to The Hard Surface Disinfectant Prethread and Automation Team, advised by Trever Hassell, ECE Academic Advisor and Instructor.  Members of the team include Chris DeWidt, Jacob Erickson, Clinton Andrews, Stefan Koerner and Drew Wilkerson.

HKN Professor of the Year Award winner Kit Cischke (left) presented by HKN president Warren Kretteck (right)

Each year, the Eta Kappa Nu Honors Society (HKN) polls the ECE student body to select the winner of the Professor of the Year award within the ECE Department. This fun event at the end of the Spring semester allows ECE students the opportunity to thank and encourage outstanding ECE faculty. The award is presented at the Spring Senior Banquet.  The 2019 HKN Professor of the Year was awarded to Kit Cischke – again! Kit also won HKN Professor of the Year in the 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2015-2016 academic years.  Says Warren Kretteck, HKN president, “Kit is an exceptional professor who always breaks down difficult information in a way that is easy to understand and fun to learn. I have had him for a few classes  and it is no surprise that he has won the Professor of the Year Award before. With the way he teaches and his involvement in the department, you can tell he is dedicated to student learning.”