Category: GLRC

Article by Tim Havens Published in Acoustical Society Journal

Timothy Havens, the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, has co-authored a paper recently published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Volume 50, Issue 1.

The paper is titled, “Recurrent networks for direction-of-arrival identification of an acoustic source in a shallow water channel using a vector sensor.” Havens’s co-authors are Steven Whitaker (EE graduate student), Andrew Barnard (ME-EM/GLRC), and George D, Anderson, US Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC)-Newport.

The work described in the paper was funded by the United States Naval Undersea Warfare Center and Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) (Grant No. N00174-19-1-0004) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) (Grant No. N00014-20-1-2793). This is Contribution No. 76 of the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University.


Conventional direction-of-arrival (DOA) estimation algorithms for shallow water environments usually contain high amounts of error due to the presence of many acoustic reflective surfaces and scattering fields. Utilizing data from a single acoustic vector sensor, the magnitude and DOA of an acoustic signature can be estimated; as such, DOA algorithms are used to reduce the error in these estimations.

Three experiments were conducted using a moving boat as an acoustic target in a waterway in Houghton, Michigan. The shallow and narrow waterway is a complex and non-linear environment for DOA estimation. This paper compares minimizing DOA errors using conventional and machine learning algorithms. The conventional algorithm uses frequency-masking averaging, and the machine learning algorithms incorporate two recurrent neural network architectures, one shallow and one deep network.

Results show that the deep neural network models the shallow water environment better than the shallow neural network, and both networks are superior in performance to the frequency-masking average method.

Citation: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 150, 111 (2021); Whitaker1,b)Andrew Barnard2George D. Anderson3, and Timothy C. Havens4

New NSF Project to Improve Great Lakes Flood Hazard Modeling

Thomas Oommen, Timothy C. Havens, Guy Meadows (GLRC), and Himanshu Grover (U. Washington) have been awarded funding in the NSF Civic Innovation Challenge for their project, “Helping Rural Counties to Enhance Flooding and Coastal Disaster Resilience and Adaptation.”

The six-month project award is $49,999.

Vision. The vision of the new project is to develop methods that use remote sensing data resources and citizen engagement (crowdsourcing) to address current data gaps for improved flood hazard modeling and visualization that is transferable to rural communities.

Objective. The objective of the Phase-1 project is to bring together community-university partners to understand the data gaps in addressing flooding and coastal disaster in three Northern Michigan counties.  

The Researchers

Thomas Oommen is a professor in the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences department. His research efforts focus on developing improved susceptibility characterization and documentation of geo-hazards (e.g. earthquakes, landslides) and spatial modeling of georesource (e.g. mineral deposits) over a range of spatial scales and data types. Oommen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Tim Havens is associate dean for research, College of Computing, the
William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. His research interests include mobile robotics, explosive hazard detection, heterogeneous and big data, fuzzy sets, sensor networks, and data fusion. Havens is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Guy Meadows is director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory (Great Lakes Research Center), the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, and a research professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department. His research interests include large scale field experimentation in the Inland Seas of the Great Lakes and coastal oceans; nearshore hydrodynamics and prediction; autonomous and semi-autonomous environmental monitoring platforms (surface and sub-surface); underwater acoustic remote sensing; and marine engineering.

Himanshu Grover is an asssistant professor at University of Washington. His research focus is at the intersection of land use planning, community resilience, and climate change.

About the Civic Innovation Challenge

The NSF Civic Innovation Challenge is a research and action competition that aims to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities.