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    Computer Science Faculty, Students Awarded Best Poster at ITiCSE


    Department of Computer Science faculty and students presented two posters, a paper, and chaired a session at the 26th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE), conducted online June 26 to July 1, 2021.

    “A Visualization for Teaching Integer Coercion,” a poster presented by James Walker with Steven Carr, Ahmed Radwan, Yu-Hsiang Hu, Yu Chin Cheng, Jean Mayo, and Ching-Kuang Shene, was one of three posters that received the conference’s Best Poster Award.

    The poster describes the Expression Evaluation (EE) visualization tool. The tool is designed to aid students in understanding type conversions that take place implicitly in C. Understanding type conversions is essential to avoid Integer errors in C which continue to be a source of security vulnerabilities.

    An additional paper and poster were presented at the conference, below. Dr. Linda Ott chaired a conference session on Students: Diversity.


    Poster: Modeling the Growth and Spread of Infectious Diseases to Teach Computational Thinking by Meara Pellar-Kosbar, Dylan Gaines, Lauren Monroe, Alec Rospierski, Alexander Martin, Ben Vigna, Devin Stewart, Jared Perttunen, Calvin Voss, Robert Pastel and Leo Ureel II

    The poster discusses a simulation model developed to teach middle school students about the spread of infectious diseases augmented with affordances to help students develop computational thinking skills. The simulation was partially developed as a Citizen Science project in the courses CS4760 and CS5760, User Interface Design and Human Computer Interaction.

    Presentation: Frozen in the Past: When it Comes to Analogy Fears, It’s Time For Us to “Let it Go” by Briana Bettin and Linda Ott

    This position paper describes a fundamental difference in attitudes toward the use of analogy in the computer science education community versus other STEM education communities. Additionally, it provides suggestions for how to address concerns in the CS education research community in order to advance research into the use of analogy in computing education

    The 26th annual conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE) was sponsored by ACM, the ACM Special Interest Group on Computing Education (SIGCSE), the ACM Europe Council, and Informatics Europe.


    Virtual Poster Session at the 2021 Alumni Reunion

    by Graduate Student Government

    The Graduate Student Government (GSG) is pleased to announce a hybrid poster presentation session at Alumni Reunion 2021, which will be held Aug. 6.

    Due to the ongoing pandemic, GSG has decided to combine physical posters with prerecorded presentations from participants. This has been decided to keep in mind the health and safety of everyone who is going to be a part of this event, since the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.

    The Alumni Reunion poster presentation session is a continued tradition designed to increase interaction between graduate students and MTU alumni. It is a unique opportunity for graduate students to share their research work and expand network connections. This event is also a great opportunity for students to work on their presentation skills and prepare for upcoming conferences. Alumni will be able to give valuable insight and feedback on the videos that appeal to them.

    Participation is open to graduate students from all departments. The event will consist of elevator-pitch-style poster presentations, with physical posters and prerecorded presentations by participants. This hybrid setup will allow alumni to take a closer look at the physical posters and everyone to view the video presentations for the respective posters. Registration closes on July 16 at 11:59 p.m. Limited seats only. Don’t wait — register today.

    Detailed instructions and guidelines for recording your presentation will be sent out to you once you have registered. Alternatively, you will also be able to find the instructions on the GSG website. The deadline for participants to submit their presentation videos is July 30.

    For more information, please contact Shreya Joshi at gsg-research@mtu.edu.


    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).



    Mechatronics Machining System Topic of New Video


    Michigan Tech Professor Alex Sergeyev and Chinmay Kondekar, ’21 (M.S. in ECE/Mechatronics) discuss the Mechatronics degree programs and Kondekar’s final system design project, in a new video produced by the Applied Computing department. Watch the video below.

    The system machines patterns on blocks of foam using various robotic attachments, a tricky manufacturing process to program and one of the more challenging applications for an industrial robot.

    The interconnected system is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process. Correct dimensions are assured using machine vision, and by transporting the workpiece between different stations.

    A number of industrial applications are employed by the system, and most industrial robotic work cells have similar control and communication layouts. Manufacturing system layouts like this one are commonly found in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Other potential applications include use in data acquisition and analytics, cybersecurity, and future projects requiring interconnected systems.

    Read a blog article about Kondekar’s final master’s program project.

    Watch the video.

    Mechatronics at Michigan Tech

    Learn more about Mechatronics.


    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.


    Guy Hembroff Presents Talk to Digital Health Startups


    Dr. Guy Hembroff presented a talk to representatives of a number of digital health startup companies May 20, 2021, as part of an event hosted by the the HealthSpark program of 20 Fathoms, an entrepreneurial-focused member organization in Traverse City, Michigan.

    The startup companies, in many U.S. locations, are being mentored by 20 Fathoms members.

    Dr. Hembroff is an Associate Professor of Applied Computing and director of the Health Informatics Master of Science degree program at Michigan Tech.


    Dr. Hembroff’s talk, “Cybersecurity and Privacy + X: Best Practices for Health Startups,” was designed to help startup companies gain awareness of and plan strategically for the cybersecurity and privacy elements of their company, affiliations with vendors, and the rights and protections of consumers.

    Talk topics included an overview of data security and privacy, web security, scams and fraud detection and protection, mobile device security, network security, incident response, digital health data integration and interoperability, and protection from ransomware attacks.


    The HealthSpark program is Traverse City’s digital health accelerator. The organization advances innovation and facilitates solutions that will resolve today’s challenges in rural healthcare. A community-focused initiative, HealthSpark work sto bring world-class healthcare solutions to rural patients through the advancement of digital technology.

    20Fathoms is a membership organization for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, tech professionals, creatives, and other innovators in the the Traverse City, Michigan, region.

    Led by a team of experts who have walked-the-walk, we provide services, resources, support, and a robust network to help our members accelerate both their careers and businesses, according to the 20Fathoms website.


    MTRAC Advanced Computing Hub Requesting Proposals

    The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Advanced Computing Technologies Innovation Hub, hosted at Wayne State University, has opened a Request for Proposal period lasting until Aug. 31.

    Commercialization-focused MTRAC grants provide funding to address the “valley of death” and guidance from an experienced oversight committee comprised of venture capitalists, seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts. Eligible technologies include cognitive technologies, immersive technologies, cybersecurity, internet of things, industry x.o, blockchain and next-generation computing.

    If you have questions about specific project eligibility or the proposal process, please reach out to Nate Yenor at nryenor@mtu.edu

    For additional information about the program, please visit Wayne State’s MTRAC Advanced Computing Technologies web page.


    Soner Onder Awarded NSF RD Grant

    Soner Onder (CS/ICC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $149,996 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    The project is titled “IRES: Track I: Collaborative Research: Supporting FSU and MTU Student Research with NTNU Faculty on Automatic Improvement of Application Performance.”


    SnP Lab Student Research Assistant Position


    The Security and Privacy Lab is looking for an hourly-paid Research Assistant. The student will work on IoT security, mobile security, or cloud computing security.

    The student is expected to be:

    • 1) Eager to solve problems
    • 2) Familiar with operating systems
    • 3) Familiar with system programming (C is preferred)

    If you are interested, please send your resume to Professor Bo Chen (bchen@mtu.edu), Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science.

    Dr. Chen’s website: https://cs.mtu.edu/~bchen
    SnP Lab website: https://snp.cs.mtu.edu

    Dr. Bo Chen and students in the SnP lab


    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.