Archives—April 2019


Symposium on Computational Modeling and Image Processing of Biomedical Problems

Announcement and Call for Poster Abstracts

June 15 – June 17, 2019
Michigan Technological University Campus
Houghton, Michigan

http://pages.mtu.edu/~zhengfux/Overview.htm

Download a PDF of this announcement.

Purpose — The primary focus of the proposed interdisciplinary symposium is to provide an update on recent important contributions to computational and numerical methods in biomedical problems.

Topics — Poster presentations are solicited on (1) Novel image formation/reconstruction/processing methods and their applications in biomedical problems, (2) Novel mathematical algorithms enabling multi-scale and multi-physics simulations related to biomedical problems, (3) Scientific visualization and analytics of (BIG) biomedical data (4) Novel machine learning and statistical analysis methods and their application in (BIG) biomedical data and (5) Applications of computational modeling to significant biomedical and healthcare problems. Applying novel mathematics and modeling techniques to extract new or additional information from complex bio-medical datasets are particularly encouraged.

Meeting venue — Michigan Tech campus hosts all meeting activities. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior. The local airport is the Houghton county regional airport (code: CMX).

Meeting dates and times — Symposium registration will open at 7:00 a.m. on June 15. The technical sessions will be held on June 15 – June 17, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 PM.

Interest in attending — As soon as possible, please contact us by emailing symposium-cmipbp@mtu.edu to inform us of your interest in attending the Symposium or present a poster. Please provide your full name, affiliation, postal and email addresses and phone and fax numbers. If planning to present a poster, please also provide a tentative title and submission date for the abstract.

Abstracts — Abstracts should be submitted electronically to symposium-cmipbp@mtu.edu and must be received by May 25 for technical review by the Organizing Committee. Prospective speakers will be informed on a rolling basis regarding the acceptance of their abstracts for presentation. No specific format requirement for solicited abstract. However, abstracts should be limited to one-page.

For additional information, contact:

Prof. Zhengfu Xu, 906-487-3332, zhengfux@mtu.edu

Dr. JJ (Jingfeng) Jiang, 906-487-1943, jjiang@mtu.edu


Williams Seed Grant Funds Underwater Acoustic Communications Research

Zhaohui WangBy Karen Johnson, ICC Communications Director

Underwater acoustic communication has been in use for decades, but primarily for military applications. In recent years, private sectors such as environmental monitoring, off-shore oil and gas exploration, and aquaculture have become interested in its possibilities.

But existing research about underwater acoustic communication networks often relies on human-operated surface ships or cost-prohibitive autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). And these cost barriers can limit academic research evaluation to computer simulations, constraining research innovation towards practical applications.

Recognizing the above gap, Michigan Tech Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) researchers Zhaohui Wang, assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Nina Mahmoudian, adjunct professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, saw an opportunity to combine their areas of expertise: for Wang, underwater acoustic communications, for Mahmoudian, low-cost marine robotics and AUVs.

Also part of the research team were PhD student Li Wei, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and post-doc research engineer Barzin Moridian, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. The team also collaborated with scientists at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

With a $50K seed grant from Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Paul Williams ’61, the team took the research beneath the surface to develop a low-cost marine mobile infrastructure and investigate the challenges and possible solutions in engineering a leading-edge AUV communication network.

They broke it down into three areas: the development of low-cost, high-modularity autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs), each equipped with a collection of sensors and serving as surrogates for AUVs; equipping each ASV with an acoustic modem and implementing communication and networking protocols to facilitate underwater communication among the vessels; and conducting field experiments to collect data about the fundamental challenges in mobile acoustic communications and networking among AUVs.

The team’s outcomes included two low-cost, autonomous, on-the-water boats; an experimental data set, data analysis, and preliminary results; a technical paper presented at the 2018 IEEE OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Symposium; and a marine mobile wireless networking infrastructure for use in continued research.

Just half of their seed grant has been used, and this summer Wang and Mahmoudian will work to improve the boats and the communications system, and conduct more field research. In addition, they are planning to write two National Science Foundation proposals to take their research even further.

Download a summary of the research from the ICC website at icc.mtu.edu/downloads.

Seed grant donor Paul Williams is also the benefactor of the Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research, located on the fifth floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center. The 10,000-square-foot, high-performance computing center—the home of the ICC—was established to foster close collaboration among researchers across multiple disciplines at Michigan Tech

The ICC, founded in 2015, promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems. It provides faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation.

Five research centers comprise the ICC. The ICC’s 50 members, who represent 15 academic units at Michigan Tech, are collaborating to conduct impactful research, make valuable contributions in the field of computing, and solve problems of critical national importance.

Visit the ICC website at icc.mtu.edu. Contact the ICC at icc-contact@mtu.edu or 906-487-2518.


Tim Schulz Selected for Deans’ Teaching Showcase

Timothy Schulzby Michael R. Meyer, Director William G. Jackson CTL

College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan has selected Tim Schulz (ECE) as the final member of the 2019 Deans’ Teaching Showcase.  As a teacher he is widely acknowledged as one of the ECE departments best, with his friendly, humorous style and his devotion to his students’ learning.  But Schulz’s selection here is, according to Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann for his “leadership in using technology to deliver technical material in electrical and computer engineering.”

Starting in 2012, Schulz created a series of 10 to 15 minute videos collectively titled “Electric Circuits” and posted them on YouTube.  Though he created them with his EE2111 (Electric Circuits 1) class in mind, they are reaching a much wider audience.  In fact, one titled “Introduction to Thevenin Equivalent Circuits” has gotten more than 152,000 views.

Since that time, Schulz has also developed a phone app of randomized electric circuit problems to use in this course. He develops these aids so students can develop a mastery of the course material. As one student noted, “The videos and the infinite practice problems were the most helpful. As much as I hate to say this, the quizzes were also helpful.”

In his courses, Schulz develops from scratch his own interactive web-based approach to homework sets and quizzes, taking full advantage of the capabilities of Canvas and writing his own scripts for generating homework problems with randomized parameters. His colleagues recognize this, and some have adopted Schulz’s materials when they teach the same classes.

Most recently, Schulz has taken the lead in developing new courses for the online MSEE program with a focus on communications and signal processing, in partnership with Keypath Education, Inc. He developed and is teaching for the second time, EE5300, Mathematical and Computational Methods in Engineering, which is the entry point into the program.

His course engages students through a series of interactive MATLAB computational exercises which meet modern standards for online course delivery and are breaking new ground for the ECE Department.

Students find this approach to be very helpful. One said, “The canvas structure paired with the lecture truly was a great combination. The prep work must have been substantial but was well worth it.”

Another provides even broader praise of both Schulz and the course by saying, “The course is excellent and engaging. Overall, I think this class is a must for any student wishing to have a solid starting foundation in graduate studies in engineering. Dr. Schulz is an outstanding professor with extensive research and professional experience and I would totally recommend students to take this class.”

Schulz is currently developing the third course for the online MSEE program, EE5500  Probability and Stochastic Processes, which will be taught for the first time this summer. He agrees that developing an online course is much more rigorous then teaching face-to-face, saying “You need to do more planning of how to approach a topic.  You don’t have the ease of correcting an approach (or even an equation) in real time, so it is a much more deliberate process.”

However, this higher level of rigor is a challenge he enjoys; he’s already signed on to develop his next course, EE5521 Detection and Estimation Theory, which will be offered online for the first time sometime in 2020-2021 academic year.

Callahan emphasizes that it’s really about the technology enabling better learning. In her words, “Tim Schulz’s effective use of technology shows that student learning and satisfaction can both increase with the use of modern tools.”

Schulz will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members and is now elgible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.


Kuilin Zhang (CEE) will present “A Best-Case Rosenthal Equilibrium based Coordination Mechanism for N-person Online Routing Games of Connected and Automated Vehicles”

Kuilin ZhangMotivated by connected and automated vehicle technologies, this talk presents a best-case Rosenthal Equilibrium based coordinate mechanism for online automated routing decisions of connected and automated vehicles in a connected transportation network system.

Zhang is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Transportation Research Part E, as well as Transportation Research Board (TRB) standing committees of Transportation Network Modeling (ADB30) and Freight Transportation Planning and Logistics (AT015). Zhang’s research interests include data-driven optimization and control modeling of connected and automated vehicles, big data analytics of advanced traffic sensing data from mobile and crowdsourced sensors, interdependency and resiliency between smart grid and intelligent transportation systems, multimodal freight logistics and supply chain systems, traffic flow theory and large-scale traffic simulation, and dynamic transportation network equilibrium.


ICC Members Receive Achievement Awards at Annual Banquet

Soner Onder, Bo Chen, Kevin TrewarthaAt the annual awards banquet of the Michigan Tech Institute of Computing and Cybersysytems (ICC), on Friday, April 12, three ICC members received the ICC Achievement Award in recognition of their exceptional contributions to research and learning in the fields of computing.

Soner Önder, director of the ICC Center for Scalable Architectures and Systems and professor of computer science, was recognized for his research in next-generation architectures. Önder is principal investigator of three National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and he has three NSF grant proposals under review.

“Soner is one of our very top researchers in terms of research expenditures and new awards,” said Tim Havens, ICC director and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems. “He is also active in developing and implementing the ICC vision and activities.”

Kevin Trewartha, a member of the ICC’s Center for Human-Centered Computing, was recognized for his interdisciplinary and collaborative research at the intersection of technology and human motor movement. Trewartha is an assistant professor with a dual appointment in the departments of Cognitive and Learning Sciences and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology.

“Kevin encompasses the best of the ICC vision,” said Beth Veinott, director of the ICC Center for Human-Centered Computing and associate professor of cognitive and learning sciences.

Trewartha is co-principal investigator, with ICC member Shane Mueller, of a new, three-year, interdisciplinary and collaborative project funded by the National Institutes of Health. For this research, Trewartha and Mueller are working with UP Health Systems Portage and five graduate and three undergraduate students to investigate how technology supports earlier diagnosis of the neurodegenerative diseases.

Bo Chen, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and assistant professor of computer science, was recognized for his teaching and research in cybersecurity of mobile devices.

Chen is the co-PI of two external grants on cybersecurity from the National Science Administration, and he has submitted numerous cybersecurity proposals to NSF, NSA, Microsoft, and Google.

“Dr. Bo Chen has demonstrated achievements and contributions to the mission of the ICC since coming to Michigan Tech as a tenure-track CS faculty in fall ’17,” said ICC members Guy Hembroff and Yu Cai in their nomination, adding that during that short time, “Dr. Chen has published one book, five journal papers, and 10 conference papers, and in 2017 he was awarded a Distinguished Paper Award from the prestigious cybersecurity venue, the Annual Computer Security Application Conference (ACSAC ’17).”

Chen is the faculty coach for the MTU NCL (National Cyber League) cyber competition team, and during the fall 2018 regular season under Chen’s leadership, a Michigan Tech CS undergraduate student placed 36th out of 3,350 players in NCL cyber competition. Dr. Chen was also recently recognized for receiving an exceptional “average of seven dimensions” student evaluation score for his teaching, among additional accolades.

The ICC, founded in 2015, promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems. It provides faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation.

Five research centers comprise the ICC. The ICC’s 50 members, who represent 15 academic units at Michigan Tech, are collaborating to conduct impactful research, make valuable contributions in the field of computing, and solve problems of critical national importance.

Visit the ICC website at icc.mtu.edu. Contact the ICC at icc-contact@mtu.edu or 906-487-2518.


Kuilin Zhang Wins CAREER Award for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Kuilin Zhang
Kuilin Zhang

by Allison Mills, University Marketing and Communications

Smart traffic is more than self-driving cars. One engineer is tackling these transportation systems with an early career award grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Changing lanes, upcoming merges, blind spots — wouldn’t it be great to broadcast to other vehicles what your own car is doing and where? Well, the technology does exist, and the data-rich messages in vehicle-to-vehicle communication are less salty than the ones exchanged in human languages. But the technology needs more development before it’s ready for rush hour.

Kuilin Zhang explained the challenge is forecasting traffic, which is inherently uncertain. Zhang, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and affiliated assistant professor of computer science at Michigan Tech, is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award to improve automated driving decisions using predictive, real-time feedback within and between vehicles. The project totals $500,000 over a five-year span and puts some of Michigan Tech’s prime mobility testing facilities to use.

Read the full story.


Computer Science Workshop Held April 5-7

Explore CSR GroupMichigan Tech hosted the workshop “Exploring Computer Science Research” last Friday – Sunday (April 5-7). The workshop was one of 15 Google has sponsored in the U.S. and was organized by four CS Faculty: Leo Ureel, Linda Ott, Jean Mayo and Laura Brown; Jean Mayo and Laura Brown are members of the ICC. The workshop was for women and underrepresented groups to explore research and graduate school opportunities in computer science.

There were 26 attendees from six universities and colleges across Michigan and Wisconsin. Over the course of the weekend each student participated in a research experience, investigating a research question with a faculty mentor. Topics included:

Machine Vision – Robert Pastel, ICC Center for Human-Centered Computing

Data Science in Energy Systems – Laura Brown, ICC Center for Data Sciences

Cybersecurity and Privacy in Storage Systems – Bo Chen, ICC Center for Cybersecurity

Agent-based Simulations in Education – Leo Ureel

Human Computer Interactions: Natural Language Processing for Assistive Technologies – Keith Vertanen, ICC Center for Human-Centered Computing

After learning about and working on their research topics, the students presented out to the group. In addition to their research experiences, attendees learned about different job opportunities after graduate school, heard how to apply to graduate schools and talked to current graduate students about the graduate school experience and their research.

Guest speakers included Niloofar Gheissari and Anja Gruenheid, two Google employees, Pushpalatha Murthy, Dean of the Graduate School and Robin Hunicke, our keynote speaker from the University of California Santa Cruz and Funomena.