Category: Announcements

“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. 

Jim Keller to Present ICC Distinguished Lecture October 30

Dr. James Keller, recently retired Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the EE/CS department at University of Missouri, Columbia, will present his lecture, “Soft Streaming Classification,” on Friday, October 30, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., via Zoom online meeting.

The talk is an Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ (ICC) Distinguished Lecture Series event.

Join the meeting here.


A Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Keller recently received the IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award for his “fundamental work on fuzzy pattern recognition, fuzzy clustering, and fuzzy technologies in computer vision.” He holds a number of additional professional and academic honors and awards.

Lecture Abstract

As the volume and variety of temporally acquired data continues to grow, increased attention is being paid to streaming analysis of that data. Think of a drone flying over unknown terrain looking for specific objects which may present differently in different environments. Understanding the evolving environments is a critical component of a recognition system.

With the explosion of ubiquitous continuous sensing (something Lotfi Zadeh predicted as one of the pillars of Recognition Technology in the late 1990s), this on-line streaming analysis is normally cast as a clustering problem. However, examining most streaming clustering algorithms leads to the understanding that they are actually incremental classification models.

These approaches model existing and newly discovered structures via summary information that we call footprints. Incoming data is routinely assigned crisp labels (into one of the structures) and that structure’s footprints are incrementally updated; the data is not saved for iterative assignments.

The three underlying tenets of static clustering:

  1. Do you believe there are any clusters in your data?
  2. If so, can you come up with a technique to find the natural grouping of your data?
  3. Are the clusters you found good groupings of the data?

These questions do not directly apply to the streaming case. What takes their place in this new frontier?

In this talk, I will provide some thoughts on what questions can substitute for the Big 3, but then focus on a new approach to streaming classification, directly acknowledging the real identity of this enterprise. Because the goal is truly classification, there is no reason that these assignments need to be crisp.

With my friends, I propose a new streaming classification algorithm, called StreamSoNG, that uses Neural Gas prototypes as footprints and produces a possibilistic label vector (typicalities) for each incoming vector. These typicalities are generated by a modified possibilistic k-nearest neighbor algorithm.

Our method is inspired by, and uses components of, a method that we introduced under the nomenclature of streaming clustering to discover underlying structures as they evolve. I will describe the various ingredients of StreamSoNG and demonstrate the resulting algorithm on synthetic and real datasets.

Kanwal Rekhi to Receive Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction

A Michigan Tech alumnus with a long history of philanthropy and support of students will receive the University’s highest honor.

At its meeting, Friday, (Oct. 8, 2020), the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees approved awarding the Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction to Kanwal Rekhi. The native of Punjab, in what was then British India (now Pakistan), earned a master’s in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech in 1969. In the more than half a century since his time on campus, MTU has never been far from Rekhi’s thoughts … and generosity.

After leaving Michigan Tech, Rekhi worked as an engineer and manager before becoming an entrepreneur. In 1982, he co-founded Excelan a company that made Ethernet cards to connect PCs to the fledgling Internet. Excelean became the first Indian-owned company to go public in the U.S. In the early 90s, he became a venture capitalist investing in more than 50 startups and sitting on the board of directors of more than 20 companies.

In the past few decades, Rekhi has been a tireless supporter and benefactor to Michigan Tech. He developed and funded the Rekhi Innovation Challenge a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation. He provided major funding for the Silicon Valley Experience, an immersive tour during spring break of San Francisco area companies that includes meetings with entrepreneurs and Michigan Tech alumni, and is a sponsor of the 14 Floors Entrepreneur Alumni Mentoring Sessions.

“Kanwal and his accomplishments epitomize the values we share as an institution. His passion for Michigan Tech is unparalleled and he is most deserving of this award,” said Rick Koubek, President.

While the Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction is Michigan Tech’s highest honor, it is far from the first recognition the University has given Rekhi. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Board of Control Silver Medal, an honorary Doctorate in Business and Engineering, and was inducted into the Electrical Engineering Academy.

Additionally, every student who has walked the Michigan Tech campus in the past 15 years has passed the Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Computer Science Hall, dedicated in April of 2005.

The Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction is bestowed on individuals associated with the University who have exhibited especially distinguished professional and personal accomplishments. It is named for 1931 Michigan Tech alumnus Melvin Calvin, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for unraveling the biochemical secrets of photosynthesis. The series of biochemical reactions Calvin identified is known as the Calvin Cycle.

Chee-Wooi Ten’s Research Is Subject of Advisor News Article

Associate Professor Chee-Wooi Ten, Electrical and Computer Engineering, was cited in the article, “Reports Summarize Engineering Study Results from Electrical & Computer Engineering Department (Premium Calculation for Insurance Businesses Based On Cyber Risks In IP-based Power Substations),” published August 11, 2020 in Advisor News.

Ten is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) at Michigan Tech and the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

The paper emphasizes a framework of premium calculation for cyber insurance businesses by modeling potential electronic intrusion with steady-state simulation results and its direct hypothesized impacts, according to the article, citing a NewsRx press release.

The article discussed Ten’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Cyber-Physical Systems grant, “CPS: Medium: Collaborative Research: An Actuarial Framework of Cyber Risk Management for Power Grids.” Assistant Professor Yeonwoo Rho, Mathematical Sciences, is co-PI on the award. The three-year $349K project was awarded in August 2017. Read the abstract and view additional CPS and ICC research projects here, . View the award at NSF.com.

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, founded in 2015, 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.

It works to provide faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation.

Advisor News is published by InsuranceNewsNet, which describes itself as on the forefront of communicating breaking news and original insights to the industry. With thousands of news sources and hundreds of original articles, the site provides premium content typically only available through proprietary news outlets.

Yu Cai is PI of 2-year NSA GenCyber Project

Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, is the principal investigator on a two-year project that has received a $99,942 grant from the National Security Agency (GenCyber). The project is titled, “GenCyber Teacher Camp at Michigan Tech. ”

Lecturer Tim Van Wagner (AC) and Assistant Professor Bo Chen (CS, DataS) are Co-PIs. Cai will serve as the camp director, Tim Van Wagner as lead instructor.

This GenCyber project aims to host a week-long, residential summer camp for twenty K-12 STEM teachers in 2021 at Michigan Tech. Target educators are primarily from Michigan and surrounding states.

The objectives of the camp are to teach cybersecurity knowledge and safe online behavior, develop innovative teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content, and provide professional development opportunities so participants will return to their home schools with contagious enthusiasm about teaching cybersecurity.

The GenCyber camp will be offered at no cost to camp participants. Room and board will be provided. Teacher participants will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities.

Read about the 2019 Michigan Tech GenCyber camps for teachers and students here.

Kelly Steelman Presents at ASEE

Kelly Steelman, interim department chair and associate professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, presented her paper, “Work in Progress: Student Perception of Computer Programming Within Engineering Education: An Investigation of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors” at the 2020 ASEE Virtual Conference, June 22-26, 2020.

Co-authors of the paper are Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF), Kay Tislar (CLS), Charles Wallace (CC), Nathan Naser (GMES), Briana Bettin (CS) and Leo Ureel (CS), all from Michigan Tech.

Abstract
Although most engineering faculty and professionals view computer programming as an essential part of an undergraduate engineering curriculum, engineering students do not always share this viewpoint. In fact, engineering students—especially those outside of computer and electrical engineering—may not realize the value of computer programming skills until after they have graduated and advanced in their career (Sterian, Dunne, & Blauch, 2005). Failure to find value in computer programming may have negative consequences for learning. Indeed, engineering students who do not view programming as interesting or useful show poorer performance on tests of programming concepts than students who do (Lingar, Williams, and McCord, 2017). This finding is consistent with theories of technology acceptance (e.g., Davis, 1989, Venkatesh, et al., 2003) that emphasize perceived usefulness as a key determinant of attitudes toward a technology and subsequent use or disuse of it. Accordingly, to better support student learning, engineering coursework should include specific interventions that emphasize the utility of programming skills for a career in engineering. Intervention effectiveness, however, may depend in part on the characteristics of the individual learners, including their prior programming experience, their openness to new experiences, and their beliefs about the nature of intelligence. The purpose of the current work is to understand engineering students’ attitudes toward and experiences with computer programming as well as to assess the relationship between their attitudes and experiences and their mindset toward their own intelligence. 101 engineering students participated in the study as part of a general education psychology course. Participants completed a computer language inventory and three surveys. The first survey inquired about students’ computer programming experiences and attitudes (Hoegh and Moskal, 2009). The second survey posed questions related to different aspects of openness to experience (Woo et al., 2014): intellectual efficiency, ingenuity, curiosity, aesthetics, tolerance, and depth. Finally, the third survey probed participants’ beliefs about the nature of intelligence and whether it is fixed or can be developed (Dweck, 1999). This paper will present the results of these surveys and explore the correlations among the various scales. The implications for engineering education interventions will be discussed.

Download the paper here.

Citation
Steelman, K. S., & Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Tislar, K. L., & Wallace, C., & Manser, N. D., & Bettin, B. C., & Ureel, L. C. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Student Perception of Computer Programming within Engineering Education: An Investigation of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . https://peer.asee.org/35683

Tim Havens Gives Talk at Los Alamos National Lab

Dr. Timothy Havens presented the lead talk at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s ISR-2 Seminar Series on Advancing Toward Modern Detection and Estimation Techniques for Multi-Sensor Scenarios, presented online July 9, 2020.

Tim Havens is associate dean for research for the College of Computing, director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC), and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems.

The talk, “Explainable Deep Fusion,” described Havens’s sensor fusion systems research that seeks to combine cooperative and complementary sources to achieve optimal inference from pooled evidence.

Havens specifically discussed his innovations in non-linear aggregation learning with Choquet integrals and their applications in deep learning and Explainable AI.

Michigan Tech Produces Best Software Engineers in U.S.

Michigan Tech ranks 5th on a list of 13 non-ivy league schools that produce the best software engineers in the U.S., recently published by DesignRush.

The demand for software developers is steadily increasing, with 21% expected growth from 2018 to 2028. To help industry meet this need, DesignRush has published a list of non-ivy league schools that produce the best software engineers in the U.S.

  1. University of California, Irvine
  2. Stevens Institute of Technology
  3. California Polytechnic State University
  4. Iowa State University
  5. Michigan Technological University
  6. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  7. The University of Texas at Dallas
  8. Drexel University
  9. Auburn University
  10. Miami University
  11. Grantham University
  12. University of Louisiana Lafayette
  13. Robert Morris University

DesignRush.com is a B2B marketplace connecting brands with agencies. DesignRush features the top agencies around the world, including the best Digital Agencies, Software Developers, Logo Design, Branding, Digital Marketing, Website Design, eCommerce Web Design Companies and more.

Moving to Final Step of Return to Campus Plan

by MTU Flex Task Force

On Monday, July 27, Michigan Tech will enter the final step of our Return to Campus Plan. Step Three concludes our return to campus and marks our transition to the Health and Safety Levelssystem that we will maintain from the fall semester forward.

Beginning July 27, we plan to resume campus operations at the level at which Michigan Tech will function when students return. Previous expectations outlined in Steps One and Two remain in effect, including enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols. Of course, those who need to work from home due to health concerns are encouraged to do so, using either a flexible work agreement with their supervisor or a COVID-19 accommodation

Please remember that all those who come to campus are required to submit the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form. This form can also be found on the MTU Flex Portal. Employees must remain six feet apart while working. While working indoors, employees who can medically tolerate them must wear protective face coverings unless working alone in their office with the door closed. If you are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, please reach out for an appropriate COVID-19 accommodation.

If you are returning to campus as an employee, you must complete the online COVID-19 trainingwithin seven days of your return to campus. All employees returning prior to the fall semester must have training completed no later than August 26, 2020. 

If you have questions about this transition, please visit the Fall 2020 Return to Campus Three-Step Plan page on the MTU Flex website. Information about the Health and Safety Levels can be found in the website’s Campus Operations section.