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    New Funding from the Federal Railroad Administration

    Pasi Lautala (CEGE/MTTI) is the principal investigator (PI) on a project that has received a $380,705 other sponsored activities contract from the Federal Railroad Administration.

    The project is titled “Railroad Crossing Vehicle Warning (RCVW) Application Demonstrations with Connected Vehicles.”

    Kuilin Zhang (CEGE/MTTI/ICC-CPS) and John Velat (CEGE/MTTI) are co-PIs on this potential two-year project.


    Michigan Tech Submits Record Number of Concept Papers to Federal Railroad Administration

    by Pasi Lautala

    Thomas Oommen (GMES, ICC), Ricardo Eiris, (CEGE, ICC), and Beth Veinott (CLS, ICC) are among eight Michigan Tech researchers who have submitted a a record number of eight concept papers for proposed research projects with the Federal Railroad Administration.

    The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requested that Michigan Tech submit a record number of eight concept papers for proposed research projects as part of their 2021 Broad Agency Announcement.

    In addition, Tech is a subcontractor for two more concept paper proposals. The paper submittal was coordinated by the Rail Transportation Program and the range of topics speaks to the diversity of Michigan Tech’s expertise applicable to the rail transportation. The PIs are looking forward to FRA decisions on how many of these papers advance to full proposals.

    Each of the 10 projects had a different principal investigator (PI), representing six university departments/institutes and several more co-PIs.

    The project titles and their PIs include:

    • Hyper- and Multi-spectral Sensing and Deep Learning for Automated Identification of Roadbed Condition, (PI, Thomas Oommen, GMES).
    • Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) for Weld Enhanced Cast Steel Coupler Knuckles (PI, Paul Sanders, MSE).
    • IoT Assisted Data-analytics Framework Enables Assessment of Location Based Ride Quality (LBRQ) (PI, Sriram Malladi, MEEM).
    • RailStory: Using Web-based Immersive Storytelling to Attract the Next Generation of Young Women in Rail (PI, Ricardo Eiris, CEGE).
    • A Risk Informed Decision-Making Framework for Coastal Railroad System Subjected to Storm Hazards and Sea Level Rise (PI, Yousef Darestani, CEGE).
    • Rail Corridor Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) Framework, Factors and Models to Support Project Evaluation and Multi-Modal Comparisons (PI, Pasi Lautala, CEGE).
    • Development of Infrared Thermography for Effective Rail Weld Inspection (PI, Qingli Dai, CEGE).
    • Enabling Longer-distance, AI-enabled Drone-based Grade Crossing Assessment in Potentially GPS Denied Environments (PI, Colin Brooks).
    • Multi-Site Simulation to Examine Driver Behavior Impact of Integrated Rail Crossing Violation Warning (RCVW) and In-Vehicle Auditory/Visual Alert (IVAA) System (PI, Elizabeth Veinott, subcontract with Virginia Tech).
    • Evaluation of Non-traditional Methods of Reducing Emissions in Short Line Railroad Operations (PI, Jeremy Worm, subcontract with ASLRRA).



    Michigan Tech Joins PSERC

    By Kimberly Geiger, College of Engineering, June 8, 2021

    Michigan Technological University has joined the Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC) — a collaboration of university and industry members.

    “We are very pleased to be members of PSERC, where our researchers can combine efforts with other members to creatively address key challenges in creating a modern electric energy infrastructure,” stated Janet Callahan, dean of Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering. “Michigan Tech will be the 13th university in the partnership, and will bring three new industry partners into PSERC,” she added.

    Those partners are DTE, Consumers Energy and Hubbell. The full list of member universities is available on the PSERC website.

    “The overall goal of joining PSERC is to catalyze transdisciplinary research by teaming up with other institutions and relevant industry partners for national grant competition,” said Chee-Wooi Ten, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech. Ten will serve as Michigan Tech’s PSERC site director.

    Started as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC), PSERC began in 1996 and was first led by Cornell professor Robert J. Thomas, and then Vijay Vittal of Arizona State University. Today PSERC is directed by Kory W. Hedman, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Arizona State University. 

    PSERC member expertise includes power systems, applied mathematics, complex systems, computing, control theory, power electronics, operations research, nonlinear systems, economics, industrial organization and public policy. 

    Michigan Tech brings much to the research collaborative, said Callahan, particularly in key areas of power systems engineering, social sciences and, most importantly, computing involved heavily in data science and cybersecurity. Cross-disciplinary interaction will be encouraged and expected, for example, with the University’s Department of Applied Computing where Ten holds an affiliated faculty position and where Hubbell is a member of the departmental industrial advisory board.

    Membership in PSERC will enable Michigan Tech to apply for seed grants together with other PSERC universities. Ten envisions Michigan Tech faculty members submitting seed grant proposals annually. “PSERC membership will enable Michigan Tech to go beyond its traditional research boundaries,” he said. “Historically, power area research at Michigan Tech focuses on the metering of electrical loads met by generation. We’ll see more opportunities that involve the intersection of new cross-disciplinary areas.”

    PSERC grants can also fund graduate student research, noted Callahan. “Any faculty member at Michigan Tech can submit proposals, but this is especially good news for assistant professors and other new faculty members seeking to establish a research program,” she said. “This aligns with our institutional Tech Forward initiatives and University vision to grow to 10,000 students, especially our graduate student population.”

    Members of PSERC typically meet in person three times per year with the PSERC  Industrial Advisory Board (IAB). This meeting provides a regular opportunity to build new and productive partnerships among faculty and students from other PSERC universities as well as with industrial partners.

    “These meetings are unparalleled, a regular opportunity to meet and mingle with energy researchers from other PSERC institutions. We’ll be able to brainstorm and discuss possible collaborations,” said Ten. “I am also very pleased to work with Kory Hedman, the new director of PSERC.”

    “While we are now part of the PSERC ecosystem that allows us to submit proposals, the work has only just begun,” Ten concluded. “I am looking forward to working with our PSERC members and creating value with Michigan Tech’s research strengths.”

    View the original article here.

    Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.


    Cooperative Eco-driving Automation Improves Energy Efficiency, Safety on City Streets

    by Kelley Christensen, University Marketing and Communications

    Connected and automated vehicles, which can interact vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and between vehicles and roadway infrastructure like traffic signals and stop signs (V2I), promise to save energy and improve safety. In a new study published in Transportation Research Part B, Kuilin Zhang (CEE/CS) along with Shuaidong Zhao ’18, now a senior quantitative analyst at National Grid, propose a modeling framework for V2V and V2I cooperative driving. Cooperative driving helps cars and their drivers safely and efficiently navigate.

    The framework uses an eco-driving algorithm that prioritizes saving fuel and reducing emissions. The automated algorithm calculates location-based traffic control devices and roadway constraints using maps and geographic information. Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.

    Kuilin Zhang is a researcher with the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ (ICC) Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.


    Biocomputing, Digital Health Focus of New Research Center


    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) and the Health Research Institute (HRI) have established the Joint Center of Biocomputing and Digital Health (BDH).

    The new research institute was co-founded by HRI member Jingfeng Jiang (BME) and ICC member Jinshan Tang (CC).

    The mission of Joint Center of Biocomputing and Digital Health (BDH) is to conduct research, develop innovative solutions, and provide educational opportunities in the area of biocomputing and digital health, thereby enhancing Michigan Tech’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality researchers and students, elevating Michigan Tech’s presence in developing technologies for healthcare delivery, and increasing knowledge sharing in the global community.

    Jingfeng Jiang is a professor with the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research interests are in biomechanics, automated control of ultrasound scanning including the use of 3D printing technology, image and signal processing, non-invasive assessment of biomechanical properties of soft tissues, and computer aided analyses of cardiovascular flow.

    Jinshan Tang is a professor in the Department of Applied Computing. His research interests are in image processing and pattern recognition, biomedical imaging and medical image analysis, and medical informatics and intelligent medical diagnosis systems. Tang is a member of the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) creates and supports an arena in which faculty and students work collaboratively across organizational boundaries in an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation.

    The Health Research Institute (HRI) aims to establish and maintain a thriving environment that promotes translational, interdisciplinary, and increasingly convergent health-related research and inspires education and outreach activities.

    Please contact Jingfeng Jiang (jjiang1@mtu.edu) with questions.


    Emily Zhang Is ME-EM Graduate Seminar Speaker

    by Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics

    The next virtual Graduate Seminar Speaker will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 25) via Zoom.

    Lan (Emily) Zhang (ECE) will present “Augmenting Radio Environments for better Wireless Ecosystems.”

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


    Lan Zhang, ECE, to Present Lecture Jan. 15, 3 pm

    Assistant Professor Lan “Emily” Zhang, Electrical and Computer Engineering, will present her lecture, “Augmenting Radio Environments for Better Wireless Ecosystems,” on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., via online meeting.

    The lecture is hosted by the Michigan Tech Department of Computer Science. Zhang is a member of the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) research group of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

    Zhang’s research interest span the fields of cyber-physical systems, distributed machine learning, wireless communications, and cybersecurity. In her talk, she will discuss a series of studies leveraging smart-surfaces, e.g., meta-surfaces or reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs), to augment radio environments for various purposes.

    Lecture Abstract

    In the last several decades, wireless technologies have become well-established to fight against propagation obstacles. Most conventional efforts are focused on optimizing end devices, such as transmitters and receivers, in order to adapt to the given transmission environment for better communications. However, the recent rapid convergence of the cyber and physical worlds (Cyber-Physical Systems or CPSs) presents unprecedented challenges to the wisdom of conventional design. Given ever-growing service demands, as well as the diverse wireless application scenarios, it is critical to adaptively augment the radio environments in a cost-effective way, while maintaining the aesthetic nature of living environments.

    In her talk, Zhang will discuss a series of studies leveraging smart-surfaces–e.g., meta-surfaces or reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs)–to augment radio environments for various purposes. Specifically, she will focus on three promising areas for enhancing the throughput and reliability of wireless communications, mitigating the physical-layer security threats, and facilitating wireless sensing activities. Both model-based and learning-based methods will be used for theoretical and practical analysis.

    Biography

    Dr. Lan Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech. She received a Ph.D. degree in computer engineering from the University of Florida in 2020, and M.S. and B.Eng. degrees in telecommunication engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in 2016 and 2013, respectively.

    Zhang has served as a technical program committee member for several respected conferences, such as NeurIPS-SpicyFL 2020 and the 2020 IEEE IFOCOM poster/demo section. She has also served as reviewer for leading journals, such as IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and IEEE Transactions on Wireless Computing.

    Lan Zhang, ECE


    Sun Named to Lou and Herbert Wacker Professorship in Mechanical Engineering

    by Office of the Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs

    Ye “Sarah” Sun (ME-EM) has accepted the Lou and Herbert Wacker Professorship in Mechanical Engineering, which was created to retain and attract high-quality faculty who are at the top of their profession, can excite students to think beyond the classroom material, and knows how to integrate their research into the classroom.

    Sun was chosen for this position as she is recognized as a rising star and outstanding researcher in the area of wearable sensors, systems, and robotics and a respected member of the smart health community.

    In recognition of her innovative research in wearable sensors, Sun’s NSF CAREER award was selected for presentation to congressional offices in April 2019.

    Sun is the director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

    Among her research honors is the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Research Award on “System-on-Cloth: A Cloud Manufacturing Framework for Embroidered Wearable Electronics.”

    Sun will use this recognition and support to enhance her research in wearable and soft robotics. Her goal is to develop flexible textile robotics by leveraging the physical understanding and modeling of textile materials and dynamics and the recent advances of morphological computing.

    Textile robotics are not only able to enhance human capabilities via wearable design but also achieve autonomous locomotion. The controllable structures of textiles directly provide a unified platform that is capable of integrating sensing and actuating into textile robotics itself. The positioning support will be used to recruit graduate students and to set up the manufacturing platform.


    Sarah Sun to Present ME-EM Graduate Seminar Dec. 3, 4 pm

    by Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics

    The next virtual Graduate Seminar Speaker will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 3) via Zoom. Sarah Sun (ME-EM) will present “E-Logo: Embroidered Wearable Electronics.”

    Sun is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and an affiliated associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech since 2014.