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    Tim Havens Quoted in Enterprisers Project Article

    ICC director Tim Havens (DataS), was quoted in the story “Artificial intelligence (AI) vs. natural language processing (NLP): What are the differences?” published February 26, 2020, in the online publication, The Enterprisers Project.

    With AI, computers can learn to accomplish a task without ever being explicitly programmed to do so, says Timothy Havens, the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems in the College of Computing at Michigan Technological University and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems.

    For those who prefer analogies, Havens likens the way AI works to learning to ride a bike: “You don’t tell a child to move their left foot in a circle on the left pedal in the forward direction while moving your right foot in a circle… You give them a push and tell them to keep the bike upright and pointed forward: the overall objective. They fall a few times, honing their skills each time they fail. That’s AI in a nutshell.”

    The Enterprisers Project is a community and online publication built to discuss the evolving role of the CIO and how IT leaders drive business value in a digital world. It is a collaborative effort between Harvard Business Review and Red Hat that delivers daily analysis and advice on topics ranging from emerging technologies to IT talent. Articles in the publication are written by CIOs, for CIOs and other IT executives, who share lessons learned from innovating in true partnership with the business. 


    Dr. Kun Zhu of MISO to Present Lecture on U.S. Power Grid, March 2

    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will present a lecture by Dr. Kun Zhu on Monday, March 2, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., in EERC 501. The title of Dr. Zhu’s talk is “Power Grid Operations – Beyond Physics.

    Dr. Zhu holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Iowa State University. He has 20 years’ experience in the power industry, including 17 years at MISO, an independent, not-for-profit organization that delivers safe, cost-effective electric power across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

    Dr. Zhu’s presentation will provide a high level introduction to how regional operators manage the power grid in the U.S. He will discuss how energy markets and balancing authorities (those responsible for maintaining the electricity balance within their respective regions) manage their regions and interact with each other; differences in how energy and transmission assets are managed; and the function of Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO).

    At MISO, Dr. Zhu’s experience expands across planning, operations, and tariff administration. Currently, he is the manager of generator interconnection and chair of the SPIDER Working Group (SPIDER), a working unit of North America Electric Reliability Cooperation (NERC).  

    MISO operates one of the world’s largest energy markets with more than $29 billion in annual gross market energy transactions. 


    Two Papers by Yakov Nekrich Accepted by SoCG 2020 Conference

    Yakov Nekrich, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, has been notified that two scholarly papers he has authored were accepted by the 36th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2020), which takes place June 23-26, 2020, in Zurich, Switzerland.

    Nekrich is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

    The two papers are “Further Results on Colored Range Searching,” by Timothy M. Chan, Qizheng He, and Nekrich, and “Four-Dimensional Dominance Range Reporting in Linear Space” by Nekrich alone.

    The Annual Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG) is an academic conference in computational geometry. Founded in 1985, it was originally sponsored by the SIGACT and SIGGRAPH Special Interest Groups of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). It dissociated from the ACM in 2014. Since 2015 the conference proceedings have been published by the Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics Since 2019 the conference has been organized by the Society for Computational Geometry. (Wikipedia)

    Visit the SoCG 2020 website.


    Thomas Oommen Presents Lecture at TRB Annual Meeting

    Members of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) were active at the

    Among the many Michigan Tech students and faculty who attended and presented at the 2020 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting held recently in Washington, DC. was Thomas Oommen (GMES), who gave a lecture on “Remote terrain Strength for Mobility Characterization” at the meeting’s lectern Session 1384: Integration of Remote Sensing Techniques and Classical Instrumentation. Oommen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

    The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting was held January 12–16, 2020, in Washington, D.C. More than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world were expected to attendd.

    The meeting program covered all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops focused on the spotlight theme for the 2020 meeting: A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future.

    Learn more about the TRB.

    Read the full Tech Today On the Road article.


    Minakata, Students, Rouleau Publish Paper

    The Process Safety and Environmental Protection special issue on Advanced Oxidation Process (Elsevier), has accepted for publication a paper by associate professor Daisuke Minakata (CEE), his students Robert Zupko, Divya Kamath, and Erica Coscarelli, and his collaborator and co-PI Mark Rouleau (SS), ICC Center for Data Sciences. pictured at left with Mary Raber. Photo by Daily Mining Gazette.

    The paper concerns research supported by the National Science Foundation’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) Division.

    Grant Title: Coupling Experimental and Theoretical Molecular-Level Investigations to Visualize the Fate of Degradation of Organic Compounds in Aqueous Phase Advanced Oxidation Systems

    Grant Abstract: The lack of an overarching management plan combined with uncertainty about the adverse human health and ecological impacts of trace amounts of known and emerging organic compounds have raised public concerns about water. These issues also present major challenges to next generation water treatment utilities dealing with de facto and planned wastewater reuse. Advanced oxidation processes that produce highly reactive hydroxyl radicals are promising technologies to control trace amounts of organic compounds. Although the initial fate of hydroxyl radical induced reactions with diverse organic compounds have been studied, the mechanisms that produce intermediate radicals and stable-byproducts are not well understood. Significant barriers remain in our understanding of complex multi-channel elementary reaction pathways embedded in peroxyl radical bimolecular decay that produce identical intermediate-radicals and stable-byproducts. The model developed in the course of this research will give researchers and policy makers the ability to predict the likely chemical by-products and alternative options to provide least adverse impact on the general public who will directly consume this water or other ecological organisms who will be exposed indirectly.

    The proposed study will integrate three thrusts to discover the currently unknown fate of the three major degradation pathways. First, we will perform pulse-photolysis kinetic measurement to determine the temperature-dependent overall reaction rate constants for multi-channel peroxyl radical reactions. We will also measure the resulting byproducts using a mass spectrometry. Second, we will employ quantum mechanical theoretical calculations to determine the elementary reaction pathways and associated reaction rate constants. Third, we will then combine our kinetic measurements with our theoretical calculations to develop an agent-based model that will enable us to visualize and predict the fate of organic compounds. With explicitly assigned reaction rules and molecular behavior embedded within a simulated reaction network, the resulting agent-based model will use software agents to represent radical species and organic compounds and then simulate their interactions to predict corresponding consequences (i.e., byproducts) over time and space. Finally, experimental observations will validate the outcomes from the agent-based model.

    The Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) Division supports innovative research and education in the fields of chemical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering, and environmental engineering, and in areas that involve the transformation and/or transport of matter and energy by chemical, thermal, or mechanical means.

    View additional grant info on the NSF website.

    Find more information about the Process Safety and Environmental Protection special issue on Advanced Oxidation Process here.


    College of Computing Welcomes New Dean

    Dennis Livesay will become dean of Michigan Technological University’s College of Computing on Feb. 1, 2021.

    Livesay comes to Michigan Tech from Wichita State University (WSU), where he is dean of the College of Engineering and a full professor in both the Department of Chemistry and Department of Biomedical Engineering. Livesay replaces outgoing dean Adrienne Minerick.

    “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Livesay to the University as our next dean of the College of Computing,” said Jacqueline Huntoon, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The combination of Dr. Livesay’s prior experiences and his vision for the future of the College of Computing make him ideally suited to strengthen the College going forward.” 

    “Digital transformation is impacting every industry, including engineering and manufacturing,” said Livesay. “Computing, data, connectivity, and security are already the cornerstones of the modern economy. I look forward to working with everyone in the College of Computing, and across campus, to strengthen our efforts in these areas.”

    Livesay noted that, while he has been happy in his role at WSU, he saw the opportunity to lead Michigan’s only college of computing as one he could not pass up. “I really see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that — given MTU’s traditional established strength in engineering — aligns perfectly with my background,” he said. 

    Livesay brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education to Michigan Tech. His career began in 2000 at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he was assistant and then associate professor of chemistry. From there, he continued on to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), where he was a founding member of the Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics and developed two of UNCC’s most visible research programs: the bioinformatics and computational biology doctoral program and the Charlotte Research Scholars undergraduate research program.

    In 2016, Livesay joined WSU as dean of the Graduate School and associate vice president of research and technology transfer before becoming dean of the College of Engineering in January 2019. Livesay’s research expertise is in the area of protein family sequence, structure and function relationships, with a particular focus on understanding how physical and chemical properties vary with evolutionary divergence. He has spent his career working across disciplinary boundaries and intends to prioritize interdisciplinary work in his role as College of Computing dean.

    “The University was fortunate to attract a very strong pool of candidates during this search and I am confident that we have hired the person who will be best able to lead the College of Computing in the coming years,” said Huntoon. “I want to thank Dr. Adrienne Minerick for her tenacity and commitment to Michigan Tech. She provided outstanding leadership for the College from the day it came into existence. Because of her efforts, the College is well positioned to grow in the future.”

    Born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, Livesay was a first-generation university student. He will be joined in Houghton by his wife, Lauren, and son, Maxwell. “My family and I are rabid hockey fans,” Livesay said, “and we will be huge supporters of Michigan Tech hockey. In fact, I already have an MTU jersey that I’ve started wearing during rec league.”

    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.

    The article was originally published on November 6, 2020.


    Tim Havens Named Associate Dean for Research

    Timothy C.  Havens, the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems and the director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, has been appointed the associate dean for research for the College of Computing, effective immediately. 

    In his new role, Havens will encourage and enable research success in the College and promote collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences through research support and development, communication and marketing, advancement, and College strategy and planning.

    “Tim is highly passionate about supporting research creativity and pushing the boundaries of computational knowledge.  He also has a strong history of supporting student degree completion and growing Michigan Tech’s reputation,” said Dean Adrienne Minerick, College of Computing. “For these reasons and more, he is an outstanding individual to cultivate and grow the College of Computing via independent research, collaborative research, and large team endeavors.  I am thrilled he has agreed to lead in this exciting new era of computing at Michigan Tech.”

    In his new role, Havens will collaborate with faculty and staff in identifying and pursuing research opportunities, lead and assist with College efforts to support and secure large, externally funded research awards, and work closely with the Dean, College leadership, and other constituent groups to advance the College of Computing’s reputation, research capabilities, and impact. Havens will also work to enhance communication and relationships between other units on campus surrounding computing and related research areas and contribute to College teaching needs, among other duties.

    Havens’s overarching goals for his new position encompass developing key, sustainable resources to enable research success in the College and Michigan Tech as a whole. This includes recruitment of technical research support, mentoring for new faculty and research staff, continued development of a seminar series for distinguished visitors and rising stars, and growing donor engagement in research activity.

    “My long-term goal is to develop a flourishing, sustainable culture of creativity, innovation, and education, where research is the thread of daily eagerness to move the boundaries of knowledge and to solve hard puzzles,” Havens explained. “The product of this culture will be productive, rewarded researchers who exemplify their passion for pushing the envelope to our students, our alumni, and the greater research community.”

    Havens knows that this sounds lofty and utopic, but his hope is that someday “we will all turn to each other and say, ahhhhh, this is it! This is inspiring!”

    “During his time at Michigan Tech, Tim has proven to be a dedicated and productive researcher and—most importantly—a great collaborator,” said Peter Larson, director of research development at Michigan Tech. “It has been a pleasure to work alongside Tim this academic year in the ICC. I am confident that his leadership will be a great asset to both ICC and the College of Computing in the coming years. Tim’s collaborative nature will be instrumental in bringing teams together as we seek to expand the portfolio of computing research at Michigan Tech across new programs, new areas of research, new sponsors, and larger projects.”

    Havens has a passion both for academic research and innovation, and also for mentoring. This is why he loves being a professor, where he can do both. “I really look forward to working with all the College researchers—it’s a unique opportunity to both act as a mentor to our researchers, and also to continue my own learning experience. I’m especially eager to learn more about all the great research going on in the College and at Tech, and to help our researchers accomplish their research goals,” Havens said.

    “Those who know me well, know that I also like to put on a show. I view part of being an Associate Dean as exactly that—I really enjoy telling the stories of the College and our researchers, and cultivating the visibility of our new College. It’s an exciting time to be in computing at Michigan Tech.”

    Havens considers himself fortunate to have to have worked with several talented research mentors in his career path, starting with his experience as a master’s student at Michigan Tech, where he investigated the optical properties of the atmosphere with his M.S. advisor, Michigan Tech professor Dr. Mike Roggemann.

    Havens first job following completion of his M.S. was at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he investigated adaptive optics systems in support of the Airborne Laser program. Following that experience, he knew he wanted to be an academic researcher and a professor, so he returned to school to complete his Ph.D. at University of Missouri with advisor Dr. Jim Keller.

    “Dr. Keller is a consummate researcher and one can’t help but to catch the research bug working with him. He was and continues to be a great mentor; he made sure that I received lots of practice writing papers and proposals, talking to program managers, strategizing research projects, collaborating outside my field, all important aspects of running a research program,” Havens said.

    Havens notes that the duties of his latest gig, as director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC), are very similar to those of the Associate Dean for Research. 

    “The ICC is very much a part of the strategic vision for research in the College of Computing, as the institute acts as the research arm of the College. This integration allows us to best utilize the finite resources of both the College of Computing and the ICC to get the greatest return on key investments in people and resources,” Havens explained.

    “Launching the new College has been a wild experience so far and such a fantastic opportunity,” Havens said. “With this shift, we boldly announce that computing is a major field of study and not just an underpinning to other disciplines. I see the new College as a place of opportunity to experiment, collaborate, develop new pedagogies, and become a model for other institutions of higher learning. Our team is strong and creative, and it’s fun working on this puzzle with them.”


    Hembroff Attends KEEN Workshop

    Guy Hembroff, associate professor and director of the Medical Informatics graduate program (CC/CyberS), attended the three-day workshop, “Teaching With Impact – Innovating Curriculum With Entrepreneurial Mindset,” in Milwaukee, Wisc., this July.

    The workshop, presented by KEEN, a network of engineering faculty working to instill within student engineers an entrepreneurial mindset, introduced faculty participants to the framework of entrepreneurially minded learning (EML), which is centered on curiosity, connections, and creating value.  Hembroff and other participants identified opportunities for EML integration into existing coursework, developed a personal approach to integrating EML within the course design process, and learned how to implement continual improvement of their own EML practice.

    Visit https://engineeringunleashed.com for more information about KEEN.