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    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.


    Health Research Institute Panel Is January 25, 12 pm

    Michigan Tech’s Health Research Institute (HRI) will host a panel discussion on Monday, January 25, 2021,, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

    Health research at Michigan Tech has been steadily growing for over 10 years. This growth has led to many practical uses for the technology developed.  Three researchers, Dr. Megan Frost (Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology), Dr. Bruce Lee (Biomedical Engineering), and Assistant Professor Dr. Weihua Zhou (College of Computing) will discuss their experiences with start-ups and applying their research to relevant health problems.


    Registration Open for Graduate Research Colloquium 2021

    by Graduate Student Government

    The Graduate Student Government announces that registration for this year’s virtual Graduate Research Colloquium (GRC) is now open. Due to the continuation of the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually to avoid any community spread from taking place.

    It is gearing up to be an exciting event, and we are excited to see what everyone has to present. The GRC will be held Thursday and Friday, April 1/2. The event is a great opportunity to work on your presentation skills and prepare for upcoming conferences. Students are free to give an oral presentation, a poster talk, or both. All talks will be scored by judges from the same field as the presenter, who will give valuable insight and feedback on how you to improve the presentation.

    Cash prizes are available for the top three places in both oral and poster presentations ( 1st – $300, 2nd – $200, and 3rd – $100). Registration closes at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday March 2, at 11:59 p.m. Don’t wait, register today.

    Poster presentations will take place in a pre-recorded video style. Video submission deadline is March 22, 2021. A short Q&A session will take place with judges between 4-6 p.m. on April 1st.

    Oral presentation will be a 12 minute talk followed by Q&A session. The event will be capped off with a virtual GRC awards ceremony. All participants and judges are invited to attend. The ceremony will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 2, following the close of GRC. Full information can be found on our website.


    Innovation Week is January 25-29

    by Pavlis Honors College

    Innovation Week is a celebration of innovation both on and off campus. We will host talks with alumni entrepreneurs, showcase campus innovation and interactive events.

    Learn about innovative research, new ventures, solutions to Covid-19 and education prototypes. Connect with alums, students and faculty. Drop in for one event or several!

    Register soon to receive a Google calendar invite with Zoom link.

    MTU Health Research Institute
    Monday, January 25, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/HRI_talk 

    Health research at Michigan Tech has been steadily growing for over 10 years. This growth has led to many practical uses for the technology developed. Three researchers, Dr. Megan Frost (Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology), Dr. Bruce Lee (Biomedical Engineering), and Dr. Weihua Zhou (College of Computing) will discuss their experiences with start-ups and apply their research to relevant health problems.

    Private Equity Investment for Innovation
    Tuesday, January 26, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/equity_for_innovation_talk

    Entrepreneurs exploring financing options for their innovation, future private equity investors, and current equity investors will find this panel discussion with Michigan Tech private equity experts invaluable.  

    Topics include: 

    • Private investors goals and strategies
    • The types of opportunities that investors look for
    • Business stages and when investing is appropriate
    • Terms involved
    • Exit strategies for entrepreneurs
    • Current investment trends in private investing

    Panelists include: John Rockwell, Karl LaPeer, Tom Nye, and Jeff Helminski

    Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS)
    Wednesday, January 27, 12:00 -1:00 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/APS_talk 

    Jeremy Worm of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) will provide an overview of APS LABS and discuss innovative approaches to research, education, and collaboration with industry. A panel discussion with APS LABS leadership will follow the overview.

    Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) is focused on clean power generation and nearly all aspects of mobility with emphasis on ground vehicle systems. APS LABS is a full service organization conducting fundamental research, applied research & advanced engineering, product development, and validation testing. APS LABS supports commercial partners ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, and serves in a lead, or sub-role on many government contracts with commercial partners. 

    IDEA Hub Innovation Hour
    Wednesday, January 27, 3:00 – 4:00 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/IDEAhub_talk 

    IDEA Hub leaders will share their innovative education pilot projects and approaches to address the challenges of Education in the 21st Century.

    Innovation and Collaboration at the Library Activity
    Thursday, January 28, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
    Registration: bit.ly/library_innovation 

    Join us for a fun mixer activity at the Van Pelt and Opie Library in which we’ll see first-hand how collaboration leads to innovative solutions. Libraries are inherently interdisciplinary spaces that can serve as a jumping off point for active collaboration and innovation. Join librarians Jenn Sams and Erin Matas for a speed collaboration activity designed to let you meet new people, see a problem through a different lens, and inspire innovation. They will also share highlights about how the library supports and participates in innovative activities via a Patent & Trademark Resource Center, the 3D printers, and its innovative response to Covid-19.

    Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition
    Thursday, January 28, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/HuskyInnovateBobMark

    Pitch your idea and potentially win some cash! This year, we’ll be accepting two-minute idea pitches (evaluated on uniqueness and potential impact) and four-minute business model pitches (evaluated on scalability and actionable business models.) Register to compete by January 25, or join us in the audience to watch the event. Thousands of dollars worth of prizes offered!

    Journey as an Entrepreneur with Hajj Flemings
    Friday, January 29, 12:00 -1:00 pm
    Registration: bit.ly/Hajj_Flemings_talk

    Join us for a talk with entrepreneur and author Hajj E. Flemings, Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering (‘96) alum. Hajj will share his journey as an innovator and entrepreneur. Hajj has long embraced the entrepreneurial mindset and chose Michigan Tech because he enjoyed solving problems. Hajj is the founder of Rebrand Cities, a brand strategy consulting company that serves clients such as Cadillac, Pfitzer, Walt Disney and the Detroit Lions, to name a few. Hajj authored, The Brand YU Life: Re-thinking who you are through personal brand management.

    In 2011 Hajj was featured on CNN’s documentary series, “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley”. During filming of the series, he came to a deeper understanding of the meaning of “digital divide” for communities of color and dedicated himself to creating solutions. His insight led him to become founder and CEO of Brand Camp University, an educational platform that creates technology accessibility and supports job readiness for clients in underserved communities. In parallel, he led a new global civic design initiative within Rebrand City which focuses on eradicating the digital divide by getting 10,000 small businesses online.


    Nathir Rawashdeh Presents, Publishes Research at Mechatronics Conference

    A conference paper published in IEEE Xplore entitled, “Interfacing Computing Platforms for Dynamic Control and Identification of an Industrial KUKA Robot Arm” has been published by Assistant Professor Nathir Rawashdeh, Applied Computing.

    In this work, a KUKA robotic arm controller was interfaced with a PC using open source Java tools to record the robot axis movements and implement a 2D printing/drawing feature.

    The paper was presented at the 2020 21st International Conference on Research and Education in Mechatronics (REM). Details available at the IEEE Xplore database.


    Husky Innovate Business Model Boot Camp is Today, Weds, Jan. 20

    Do you plan to pitch at the Bob Mark Business Model Competition?  

    Do you have an innovative idea that you want to develop further?   

    Are you interested in starting your own business or leading an innovative improvement project?   

    If yes, consider attending the Business Model Boot Camp – a virtual workshop, free to Michigan Tech students.

    Using the Business Model Canvas, students will work with members of the I-Corps teaching team to develop a business model for their innovation. We walk through steps involved to help you understand the relationship between your value proposition and the customers’ needs. The more clearly you understand this relationship, the better your position to launch a winning product or service.  

    If you plan to compete in the Bob Mark Business Model Competition, or if you’d like to learn how to develop a business model, this workshop is for you. There is a capacity of 15 contestants for our Bob Mark Business Model Competition. Priority will be given to those who have completed the Business Model Boot Camp.

    This event is hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.


    Summer 2021 Finishing Fellowship Nominations Open

    by Debra Charlesworth, Graduate School

    Applications for Summer 2021 finishing fellowships are being accepted and are due no later than 4 p.m., March 3, 2021 to the Graduate School. Please email applications to gradschool@mtu.edu.

    Instructions on the application and evaluation process are found online. Students are eligible if all of the following criteria are met:

    1. Must be a PhD student
    2. Must expect to finish during the semester supported as a finishing fellow
    3. Must have submitted no more than one previous application for a finishing fellowship
    4. Must be eligible for candidacy (tuition charged at Research Mode rate) at the time of application
    5. Must not hold a final oral examination (“defense”) prior to the start of the award semester

    Finishing Fellowships provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees. These fellowships are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in

    The Michigan Tech Plan. The Graduate School anticipates funding up to 10 fellowships with support ranging from $2,000 to full support (stipend + tuition). Students who receive full support through a Finishing Fellowship may not accept any other employment. For example, students cannot be fully supported by a Finishing Fellowship and accept support as a GTA or GRA.


    College of Computing Overview with Tim Havens Is Tues., Jan. 19, 7-8 pm

    Please join the College of Computing’s Tim Havens at a College of Computing Undergraduate Overview on Tuesday, January 19, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The virtual event is presented by Michigan Tech Admissions. The focus of the event is on prospective students.

    Event Details: Check out our diverse selection of majors, including Computer Network and System Administration, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics, Software Engineering, and our first-year computing undecided program, General Computing.

    Register for the live Zoom session here.

    View the University Events Calendar listing here.


    Register Now: 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium Is Friday, March 26

    The 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) will be held virtually on Friday, March 26, 2021. It requires that participants register for the event, provide an abstract, and create and narrate an electronic poster.

    This event is open to all Michigan Tech undergraduate researchers. Students wishing to participate must register online by Friday, February 5.

    The top three winners, based on judges’ reviews, will receive cash prizes for the best poster and narrated presentation combination. Winner will be announced Friday, March 26. 

    For event details, student application and resource materials, and judging information, visit the URS webpage or contact Paige Hackney.

    View and download photos from the 2019 Symposium on the Pavlis Honors College Flickr page. View the 2019 URS booklet that details all of the Symposium participant abstracts.


    Shane Mueller to Present Lecture Jan. 22, 3 pm

    The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture, by Dr. Shane Mueller on Friday, January 22, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    Mueller is an associate professor in the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors program of the Cognitive and Learning Science department. His lecture is titled, “Explainable AI, and principles for building human-centered XAI systems.”

    Mueller’s research focuses on human memory and the representational, perceptual, strategic, and decisional factors that support it. He employs applied and basic research methodologies, typically with a goal of implementing formal quantitative mathematical or computational models of cognition and behavior.

    He is also the primary developer of the Psychology Experiment Building Language (PEBL), a software platform for creating psychology experiments.

    Mueller has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and psychology from Drew University, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan. He was a senior scientist at Klein Associates Division of Applied Research Associates from 2006 to 2011. His research has been supported by NIH, DARPA, IARPA, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Army Research Institute, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and others.

    Lecture Title:

    Explainable AI, and principles for building human-centered XAI systems

    Lecture Abstract

    In recent years, Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) has re-emerged in response to the development of modern AI and ML systems. These systems are complex and sometimes biased, but they nevertheless make decisions that impact our lives. XAI systems are frequently algorithm-focused; starting and ending with an algorithm that implements a basic untested idea about explainability. These systems are often not tested to determine whether the algorithm helps users accomplish any goals, and so their explainability remains unproven. I will discuss some recent advances and approaches to developing XAI, and describe how many of these systems are likely to incorporate many of the lessons from past successes and failures to build explainable systems. I will then review some of the basic concepts that have been used for user-centered XAI systems over the past 40 years of research. Based on this, I will describe a set of empirically-grounded, human user-centered design principles that may guide developers to create successful explainable systems.