Paid Research Assistant Position for Computationally-keen Grad Students

Sangyoon Han, assistant professor, Biomedical Engineering, is seeking applications for a funded research assistant position from computationally-keen graduate students who can program. Dr. Han’s research is in Computational Mechanobiology.

“We are seeking candidates with outstanding programming capability who are knowledgeable in particle tracking, inverse problem, vector field operation, machine learning, and deep learning. Masters and Ph.D. students in Data Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and related disciplines are encouraged to apply. This is a funded position.”

Interested candidates are encouraged to send an e-mail to Dr. Han at sjhan@mtu.edu. Please include a brief statement of interest and CV. For more details, visit http://hanlab.biomed.mtu.edu.

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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.


Technical Paper by Nathir Rawashdeh Accepted for SAE World Congress

An SAE technical paper, co-authored by Nathir Rawashdeh, assistant professor, CMH Division, College of Computing, has been accepted for publication at the WCX SAE World Congress Experience, April 21-23, 2020, in Detroit, MI.  The title of the paper is “Mobile Robot Localization Evaluations with Visual Odometry in Varying Environments using Festo-Robotino.” 

Abstract: Autonomous ground vehicles can use a variety of techniques to navigate the environment and deduce their motion and location from sensory inputs. Visual Odometry can provide a means for an autonomous vehicle to gain orientation and position information from camera images recording frames as the vehicle moves. This is especially useful when global positioning system (GPS) information is unavailable, or wheel encoder measurements are unreliable. Feature-based visual odometry algorithms extract corner points from image frames, thus detecting patterns of feature point movement over time. From this information, it is possible to estimate the camera, i.e. the vehicle’s motion. Visual odometry has its own set of challenges, such as detecting an insufficient number of points, poor camera setup, and fast passing objects interrupting the scene. This paper investigates the effects of various disturbances on visual odometry. Moreover, it discusses the outcomes of several experiments performed utilizing the Festo-Robotino robotic platform. The experiments are designed to evaluate how changing the system’s setup will affect the overall quality and performance of an autonomous driving system. Environmental effects such as ambient light, shadows, and terrain are also investigated. Finally, possible improvements including varying camera options and programming methods are discussed.

Learn more.


Guy Hembroff Awarded CCISD Contract for CTE Cybersecurity Course

Guy Hembroff, associate professor, CMH Division, and director of the Health Informatics graduate program and the Institute of Computing and Cybersystem’s Center for Cybersecurity, is the principal investigator on a one-year project that has been awarded a $40,000 contract from the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD). The project is titled “Cybersecurity Course for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program.”

The CCISD CTE program provides courses and labs to high school-age students from Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw counties. It is intended to provide the academic background, technical ability, and work experience that today’s youth will need to succeed in today’s changing job market.

The contract funds instructor time, use of facilities, labs, and equipment, and materials and supplies. Student enrolled in the program meet on Michigan Tech’s campus for two hours per day, Monday through Friday, from September to May. 

The CTE Cybersecurity course covers topics including security architecture, cryptographic systems, security protocols, and security management tools. Students also learn about virus and worm propagation, malicious software scanning, cryptographic tools, intrusion detection, DoS, firewalls, best practices, and policy management.

Learn more about the CCISD CTE program at: https://www.copperisd.org/career-technical-education.


Kuilin Zhang Awarded $58K Contract

Kuilin Zhang (CEE/MTTI), a member of the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems, is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $58,556 research and development contract from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. The one-year project is entitled, “Leveraging Connected Highway Vehicle Platooning Technology to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Train Fleeting.”


From the ICC Director: Reflections and Goals

Dear ICC Members and Friends,

Happy New Year! As we begin the new year and the Spring 2020 semester, I wanted to offer some reflections about the 2019 and share some goals for 2020.

For the ICC, the past six months have been thrilling, to say the least. The number of new awards is far above last year, with over $2 million in new projects to-date. And ICC research expenditures are on track for a record year. Thank you to everyone for all your hard work in developing collaborations, writing proposals, winning awards, executing your exciting research, mentoring, advising, and so much more.

The launch of Michigan Tech’s new College of Computing is such a fantastic opportunity. 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.”

As the ICC is the research arm of the College of Computing, we are very much a part of the strategic vision for research in the College. This integration allows us to best utilize the finite resources of both the College of Computing and the ICC to realize the greatest return on key investments in people and resources.

To further support our members, the ICC has secured donor funding  that will make it possible to hire two key personnel in 2020. First, a search for a full-time assistant director for research development is underway. This new position will support ICC researchers as they collectively work to create and implement activities aimed at the growth and development of ICC-affiliated research and graduate programs, including pre- and post-award support, assisting with the financial processes of the institute, and helping to lead the daily administrative functions of the institute. We will also be starting a search soon for the first full-time Research Scientist in the ICC. More details on these hires will made public soon.

I’m very much looking forward to working with all of you in the new year.

Timothy C. Havens
Director, Institute for Computing and Cybersystems