Archives—May 2019

Tim Havens Is Co-author of Article Published in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems

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

Citation: M.A. Islam, D.T. Anderson, A. Pinar, T.C. Havens, G. Scott, and J.M. Keller. Enabling explainable fusion in deep learning with fuzzy integral neural networks. Accepted, IEEE Trans. Fuzzy Systems.

Abstract: 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. Specifically, most neural fusion approaches are ad hoc, are not understood, are distributed versus localized, and/or explainability is low (if present at all). 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. We also put forth an improved ChIMP (iChIMP) that leads to a stochastic gradient descent-based optimization in light of the exponential number of ChI inequality constraints. An additional benefit of ChIMP/iChIMP is that it enables eXplainable AI (XAI). Synthetic validation experiments are provided and iChIMP is applied to the fusion of a set of heterogeneous architecture deep models in remote sensing. We show an improvement in model accuracy and our previously established XAI indices shed light on the quality of our data, model, and its decisions.

Timothy Schulz Named 2019 University Professor

Timothy SchulzThe Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs has announced that Dr. Timothy Schulz (DataS), professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a 2019 University Professor.

The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time. University Professors will not exceed 2% of the total number of tenured and tenure-track faculty at Michigan Tech. This year, two professors were awarded the title of University Professor. The second recipient is Dr. Kathleen Halvorsen, professor of Natural Resource Policy in the Department of Social Sciences.

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award are notified in mid-May. Additional details regarding the award and selection procedures can be found on the provost’s website:

Soner Onder To Present Invited Talk

Soner OnderDr. Soner Onder (CS, SAS) will present an invited talk titled “Program semantics meets architecture: What if we did not have branches?” at a workshop organized in honor of the 80th birthday of Prof. Yale Patt of University of Texas, Austin. Prof. Patt is a prominent researcher with decades of accomplishments in Computer Architecture.

The workshop, titled “Yale:80 in 2019, Pushing the Envelope of Computing for the Future,” will take place July 1-2, 2019, in Barcelona, Spain. The workshop is organized by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Barcelona Supercomputing Center, and sponsored by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of Spain, among others.

Yu Cai is PI on $82K NSA/NSF Grant

Yu CaiYu Cai (TTEC/ICC) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $82,416 Other Sponsored Activities Grant from the National Security Agency/National Science Foundation. The one-year project is titled, “Innovation GenCyber Learning Experience for High School Students Through Storytelling + Teaching + Gaming + Doing.” Bo Chen (SCS), Guy Hembroff (TTEC), and Tim Van Wagner (TTEC), are co-PIs.

Zhen Liu is PI on Michigan DoT Project

Zhen LiuZhen Liu (CEE/MTTI) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $90,418 contract with Michigan Department of Transportation. This project is titled “Improved Calculation of Scour Potential in Cohesive Soils and Scour Susceptible Rock.” Brian Barkdoll (CEE) and Stan Vitton (CEE) are co-PI’s on this 14-month project.

Free Cybersecurity Summer Camps

GenCyber LogoMichigan Tech will offer two non-residential, week-long GenCyber camps this summer. The first camp is for local middle school and high school students (grades 7-12) and will be held the week of June 17. The second camp is for local K-12 STEM teachers and will be held the week of August 12.

Explore the world of cybersecurity with experts in the field through fun, real-world learning experiences. Camp activities include hands-on exercises, interactive lectures, games, career exploration, and campus tours.

All camp activities will be offered at no cost to camp participants. Visit to learn more and register.

Funding of the camps is provided jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Power Grid, Powertrain and the Models that Connect Them

Bo ChenGraduate students Chong Cao and Joe Oncken work with researcher Bo Chen (CPS/ME-EM) in the Intelligent Mechatronics and Embedded Systems lab. In the lab, they develop Simulink models for smart city technology — and show how the models shift into real-life testing.

“We develop and validate the controls in our process using a simulation first,” Cao explained, to which Oncken added: “Simulink is just an on-computer simulation software that’s all visual — you put building blocks together — and make an entire model of an electric car, the electrical grid.”

Bo Chen is the Dave House Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. Joe Oncken is PhD Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics; Chong Cao is a PhD Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Read the full story on Unscripted. 

Yu Cai Is PI on NSA Project

Yu CaiYu Cai (SoT/ICC), is principal investigator on a project that has received a $87,895 other sponsored activities grant from the National Security Agency for the project “Innovative GenCyber Learning Experience for K-12 Teachers Through Storytelling + Teaching + Gaming + Doing.” Bo Chen (CS), Guy Hembroff (SoT), and Tim Van Wagner (SoT) are Co-PIs on this project.

Williams Seed Grant Funds Virtual Keyboard Research

Siva Krishna Kakula and Zachary GaravetBy Karen Johnson, ICC Communications Director

What if an everyday surface, like a table, could be transformed into a rich, interactive surface that can remotely operate things like computers, entertainment systems, and home appliances?

That’s what Michigan Tech Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) researchers Keith Vertanen and Scott Kuhl set out to do with a $44K seed grant from Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Paul Williams ’61.

Vertanen, assistant professor of computer science, and Kuhl, associate professor of computer science, are members of the ICC’s Center for Human-Centered Computing, which integrates art, people, design, technology, and human experience in the research of multiple areas of human-centered computing. They were assisted in this research by PhD candidate Siva Krishna Kakula, Computer Science, and undergraduate Zachary Garavet, Computer Engineering.

The team’s research goals were threefold: to create machine learning models that can precisely locate a user’s taps on a surface using only an array of inexpensive surface microphones; demonstrate the feasibility and precision of the models by developing a virtual keyboard interface on an ordinary wooden table; and conduct user studies to validate the system’s usability and performance.

The researchers are working on a related technical conference paper to present to their peers. Their outcomes included a prototype virtual keyboard that supports typing at rates comparable to a touchscreen device; possibly the first-ever acoustic sensing algorithm that infers a continuous two-dimensional tap location; and novel statistical models that quickly adapt to individual users and varied input surfaces.

Further, their results, hardware, and data sets can be applied to future collaborative work, and were used in the researchers’ $500K National Science Foundation proposal, “Text Interaction in Virtual and Augmented Environments,” which is under review.

Future applications of the research include enriched interactions in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), compared to existing vision-only based sensing; and on-body interaction, like using your palm as an input surface.

Vertanen and Kuhl plan to continue this research, working to improve the accuracy of tap location inference, build richer interactions like swiping or tapping with multiple fingers, develop wireless sensor pods that can be quickly and easily deployed on any flat surface, and explore the display of virtual visual content on surfaces via Augmented Reality smartglasses.

View a video about this research at Download a summary of the research from the ICC website at

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