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    ICC Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Doina Caragea, Kansas State University

    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems will present a Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Doina Caragea on Friday, October 29, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. Dr. Caragea is a professor and the Michelle Munson-Serban Simu Keystone Research Scholar in the Computer Science department at Kansas State University. Her talk is itiled, “Mining Social Media to Aid Disaster Response.”

    Join the Zoom lecture here: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/81088119467

    Dr. Caragea has expertise in machine learning and data mining, with applications to data intensive problems in recommender systems, text analytics, security informatics, and bioinformatics. In recent years, she has focused on semi-supervised and domain adaptation algorithms, under the assumption that labeled data for a domain of interest is limited, if available at all.

    Lecture Title: Mining Social Media to Aid Disaster Response

    Lecture Abstract: Disaster-affected communities are increasingly becoming the source of big (crisis) data during and following major disasters. At the same time, big data have the potential to become an integral source of information for response organizations, as they can help enhance the situational awareness and facilitate faster response where it is most needed. Despite such benefits, the challenges presented by big data preclude organizations from using them routinely. Manually sifting through voluminous streaming data to filter useful information in real time is inherently impossible. We study machine learning solutions to help emergency response organizations deal with the overload of relevant information, and improve situational awareness and crisis response. Our proposed machine learning solutions have the potential to transform the way in which crisis response organizations operate and, in turn, to provide better support to the victims of disasters in a timely fashion.

    Speaker Bio: Doina Caragea, Ph.D., is a Professor at Kansas State University. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of machine learning and data science, with applications to crisis informatics, security informatics, and bioinformatics. Her projects build upon close collaborations with social scientists, security experts and life scientists, and aim to provide practical computational approaches to address real-world challenges. Dr. Caragea received her PhD in Computer Science from Iowa State University in August 2004, and was honored with the Iowa State University Research Excellence Award for her work. She has published more than 150 refereed conference and journal articles. She has a strong track record of extramural funding, with $12M+ total funding as PI, co-PI or senior personnel from NSF and industry.

    Please note that this lecture was originally scheduled for October 22, 2021.


    Graduate Research Assistant Position

    Dr. Sidike Paheding, Applied Computing, is seeking a fall 2021 graduate student to assist with a research project. Details are below.

    • Pay rate: $15/hour, 10 hours/week
    • Employment dates: September 2021 through December 2021. An extension is possible.
    • Basic requirements: Experience in Unity development platform and Virtual/Augmented Reality.
    • Desired: Knowledge in machine learning/AI is a plus.

    Sidike Paheding, Ph.D.
    spahedin@mtu.edu
    EERC 417

    Assistant Professor, Dept. of Applied Computing
    Affiliated Assistant Professor, Dept. of Computer Science
    Affiliated Faculty, Center for Data Sciences, and Computational Science & Engineering
    College of Computing, Michigan Technological University


    Chen Zhao to Presnt Proposal Defense Monday, July 26, 3 pm

    Graduate student Chen Zhao will defend his dissertation proposal for the PhD in Computational Science and Engineering Monday, July 26, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. via online meeting.

    Zhao’s dissertation advisor is Dr. Weihua Zhao, Applied Computing; his research topic is Deep Learning for Medical Image Segmentation using Prior Knowledge and Topology.

    Join the Zoom meeting here: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/85266979905


    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).



    Guy Hembroff Presents Invited Talk at HIMSS Meeting

    On May 18, 2021, Dr. Guy Hembroff, Applied Computing, presented an invited talk at a meeting of Michigan’s Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Dr. Hembroff discussed his work developing a trusted framework architecture designed to improve population health management and patient engagement.

    The talk demonstrated his team’s work in the development of accurate geo-tagged pandemic prediction algorithms, which are used to help coordinate medical supply chains to care for patients most vulnerable to COVID-19, an innovation that can be extended to help improve general population health management.

    The framework of the pandemic prediction architecture, which aggregates longitudinal patient health data, including patient generated health data and social determinants of health, is a holistic and secure mHealth community model. The model can help Michigan residents overcome significant barriers in healthcare, while providing healthcare agencies with improved and coordinated population management and pandemic prediction.

    The architecture’s machine learning algorithms strategically connect residents to community resources, providing customized health education aimed to increase the health literacy, empowerment and self-management of patients. The security of the architecture includes development of unique health identifiers and touch-less biometrics capable of large-scale identity management.

    Dr. Guy Hembroff is an associate professor in the Applied Computing department of the Michigan Tech College of Computing, and director of the Health Informatics graduate program. His areas of expertise are network engineering, medical/health informatics, biometric development, intelligent medical devices, data analytics, and cybersecurity.

    The event was sponsored by HIMSS and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM).

    A mission-driven non-profit, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS) is a global advisor and thought leader supporting the transformation of the health ecosystem through information and technology, according to the organization’s website.


    ICC Researcher Profile: Tony Pinar


    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) is pleased to welcome Tony Pinar as a member. Pinar’s primary research interests are in applied machine learning and data fusion.

    A lecturer in Michigan Tech’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department, Pinar holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech. His previous positions include research engineer for Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power System Research Center and electrical design engineer for GE Aviation. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society.

    Pinar’s teaching interests include machine learning, signal processing, and electronic design. Included among the classes he teaches are Electronics, Electronic Applications, Probability—Signal Analysis, and Control Systems I.

    “Teaching is like a puzzle where one may have to take a difficult concept, reduce it to digestible pieces, and deliver them to fresh minds in a way to maximize understanding and insight,” Pinar says. “That challenge is what drives me to be a better teacher.”

    Pinar believes that to be a good teacher one must understand the topics very well and he strives for the most effective delivery. “This keeps me on my toes, forces me to constantly identify holes in my knowledge, and drives me to continuously strive to learn new things,” he explains.

    On research, Pinar says it is rewarding to work on open-ended and novel problems that are in their infancy and at the cutting edge of today’s technology.

    “It is also exciting to me to watch the cutting edge move forward, see what sticks and what doesn’t, and observe how the direction(s) of the field evolve,” he adds. “I’m very new to this domain so I haven’t been able to observe it for long, but I am looking forward to witnessing the future of the field.”


    Graduation Celebration Friday

    by Mark Wilcox, University Marketing and Communications

    Michigan Tech is celebrating the accomplishments of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who completed their degrees by the end of the spring 2021 semester. Despite the lack of a formal ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, more than 600 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in a physically distanced celebration tomorrow (April 30) throughout the afternoon.

    The Graduation Celebration website shines a spotlight on the graduating class and provides links for graduates, their families and friends, and the community. Graduates and alumni can share their favorite memories and view profiles created by the Class of 2021.

    Among the undergraduates, 99 will graduate cum laude, 116 magna cum laude and 68 summa cum laude. In the Graduate School, there will be 31 doctorates awarded, along with 203 Master of Science degrees, 46 graduate certificates, 27 Master of Business Administration degrees, two Master of Forestry degrees, five Master of Geographic Information Science degrees, and 46 graduate certificates.

    The Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC will conduct a joint commissioning ceremony at 7:30 a.m. Saturday (May 1) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Eleven cadets will be commissioned as officers in the Air Force and five cadets will be commissioned as officers in the Army. Due to limited seating, a livestream ceremony will be available via Zoom.

    One of the highlights of Michigan Tech’s traditional commencement ceremony is an address by a member of the graduate class. Even without a formal ceremony, remarks by this year’s student speaker, Tanner Sheahan, can be viewed on the Celebration Messages page of the Graduation Celebration website.

    Sheahan, a chemical engineering major from Bay City, Mich., is enthusiastic about the message he’ll share with his class. “I love writing, and I think I have a knack for telling stories. I had fun — this has been a great experience,” he said.

    Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Sheahan’s internship last summer was conducted virtually, but it had a very positive outcome. “The situation really opened up extreme doors and led to a job as a sales operations manager at Nalco Water, an Ecolab Company in Naperville, Illinois,” he said.

    University President Rick Koubek congratulated MTU’s newest alumni. “On behalf of Michigan Tech’s entire faculty and staff, we wish you the very best in your future endeavors and trust you will do great things with your degree from Michigan Tech,” said Koubek. “Congratulations again on this tremendous accomplishment.” 

    Read more about tomorrow’s celebration in yesterday’s Tech Today.