College of Computing Welcomes Six New Faculty Members

The Michigan Tech College of Computing welcomed six new faculty members this fall to the Departments of Applied Computing and Computer Science.

College off Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick says the new hires reflect the fast growth of the new College, which was launched July 1, 2019.

“We are thrilled to welcome these six talented new faculty members,” Minerick says. “Even amid the challenges we are all facing, our proactive recruitment and retention activities are making a difference.”

Assistant Professor Briana Bettin, Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. She is also an affiliated assistant professor for the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department. Bettin’s research interests include user experience; human factors; human-computer interactions; mental models; information representation; rural digital literacy; education, engagement, and retention; and digital anthropology. Bettin is a member of the ICC’s Computing Education Center.

Assistant Professor Sidike Paheding, Applied Computing, has a Ph.D. in eelectrical engineering from University of Dayton, Ohio. Prior to joining Michigan Tech Paheding was a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University Northwest. His research interests include image/video processing, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and remote sensing. Paheding is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Assistant Professor Junqiao Qiu, Computer Science, has a
Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from University of California Riverside. His research focuses on parallel computing, programming systems, and compiler optimization. Qiu is a member of the ICC’s Center for Scalable Architectures and Systems.

Assistant Professor Ashraf Saleem, Applied Computing, has a Ph.D. in mechatronics engineering from DeMontfort University, UK. He comes to Michigan Tech from the electrical and computer engineering department at Sultan Qaboos University, where he served the mechatronics engineering program. Ashraf will be on campus starting in the spring 2021 semester.

Saleem’s research interests are in autonomous systems, vision-based unmanned vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, control of Piezoelectric actuator, and servo-pneumatic systems.

Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. He has been teaching at the college level for 10 years, and has over 20 years of industry experience. Ureel is also coordinator of the College of Computing Learning Center. Ureel is a member of the ICC’s Computing Education Center.

Ureel’s research focuses on a constructionist approach to introductory computer science that leverages code critiquers to motivate students to learn computer programming. His
areas of expertise include software engineering, computer science education, and intelligent tutoring systems.

Assistant Professor Brian Yuan, Applied Computing and Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from University of Florida. His areas of expertise include machine learning, security and privacy, and cloud computing. Yuan is a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity and Center for Data Sciences.


Paper by Yakov Nekrich Accepted for ACM-SIAM SODA21 Symposium

A paper by Associate Professor Yakov Nekrich, Computer Science, has been accepted for the 61st ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms 2021 (SODA21), which will take place virtually January 10-13, 2021.

Nekrich is sole author of the accepted article, “New Data Structures for Orthogonal Range Reporting and Range Minima Queries.” An extended version of the paper is available for download on ArXiv.

The annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA) is an academic conference in the fields of algorithm design and discrete mathematics. It is considered among the top conferences for research in algorithms.


Paper Abstract

In this paper we present new data structures for two extensively studied variants of the orthogonal range searching problem.
First, we describe a data structure that supports two-dimensional orthogonal range minima queries in O(n) space and O(logεn) time, where n is the number of points in the data structure and ε is an arbitrarily small positive constant. Previously known linear-space solutions for this problem require O(log1+εn) (Chazelle, 1988) or O(lognloglogn) time (Farzan et al., 2012). A modification of our data structure uses space O(nloglogn) and supports range minima queries in time O(loglogn). Both results can be extended to support three-dimensional five-sided reporting queries.

Next, we turn to the four-dimensional orthogonal range reporting problem and present a data structure that answers queries in optimal O(logn/loglogn+k) time, where k is the number of points in the answer. This is the first data structure that achieves the optimal query time for this problem. Our results are obtained by exploiting the properties of three-dimensional shallow cuttings.


The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) is an international community of 14,500+ individual members. Almost 500 academic, manufacturing, research and development, service and consulting organizations, government, and military organizations worldwide are institutional members.


What Lies Ahead: Cooperative, Data-Driven Automated Driving

Kuilin Zhang

Associate Professor Kuilin Zhang, Civil and Environmental Engineering and affiliated associate professor, Computer Science, was featured in a recent article on Michigan Tech News. The article appears below. Link to the original article here.


By Kelley Christensen, September 28, 2020.

Networked data-driven vehicles can adapt to road hazards at longer range, increasing safety and preventing slowdowns.

Vehicle manufacturers offer smart features such as lane and braking assist to aid drivers in hazardous situations when human reflexes may not be fast enough. But most options only provide immediate benefits to a single vehicle. What if entire groups of vehicles could respond? What if instead of responding solely to the vehicle immediately in front of us, our cars reacted proactively to events happening hundreds of meters ahead?

What if, like a murmuration of starlings, our cars and trucks moved cooperatively on the road in response to each vehicle’s environmental sensors, reacting as a group to lessen traffic jams and protect the humans inside?

This question forms the basis of Kuilin Zhang’s National Science Foundation CAREER Award research. Zhang, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University, has published “A distributionally robust stochastic optimization-based model predictive control with distributionally robust chance constraints for cooperative adaptive cruise control under uncertain traffic conditions” in the journal Transportation Research Part B: Methodological.

The paper is coauthored with Shuaidong Zhao ’19, now a senior quantitative analyst at National Grid, where he continues to conduct research on the interdependency between smart grid and electric vehicle transportation systems.

Vehicle Platoons Operate in Sync

Creating vehicle systems adept at avoiding traffic accidents is an exercise in proving Newton’s First Law: An object in motion remains so unless acted on by an external force. Without much warning of what’s ahead, car accidents are more likely because drivers don’t have enough time to react. So what stops the car? A collision with another car or obstacle — causing injuries, damage and in the worst case, fatalities.

But cars communicating vehicle-to-vehicle can calculate possible obstacles in the road at increasing distances — and their synchronous reactions can prevent traffic jams and car accidents.

“On the freeway, one bad decision propagates other bad decisions. If we can consider what’s happening 300 meters in front of us, it can really improve road safety. It reduces congestion and accidents.”Kuilin Zhang

Zhang’s research asks how vehicles connect to other vehicles, how those vehicles make decisions together based on data from the driving environment and how to integrate disparate observations into a network.

Zhang and Zhao created a data-driven, optimization-based control model for a “platoon” of automated vehicles driving cooperatively under uncertain traffic conditions. Their model, based on the concept of forecasting the forecasts of others, uses streaming data from the modeled vehicles to predict the driving states (accelerating, decelerating or stopped) of preceding platoon vehicles. The predictions are integrated into real-time, machine-learning controllers that provide onboard sensed data. For these automated vehicles, data from controllers across the platoon become resources for cooperative decision-making. 

CAREER Award 

Kuilin Zhang won an NSF CAREER Award in 2019 for research on connected, autonomous vehicles and predictive modeling

Proving-Grounds Ready

The next phase of Zhang’s CAREER Award-supported research is to test the model’s simulations using actual connected, autonomous vehicles. Among the locations well-suited to this kind of testing is Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center, a proving ground for autonomous vehicles, with expertise in unpredictable environments.

Ground truthing the model will enable data-driven, predictive controllers to consider all kinds of hazards vehicles might encounter while driving and create a safer, more certain future for everyone sharing the road.

Tomorrow Needs Mobility

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.

Kuilin Zhang

About the Researcher: Kuilin Zhang

  • Data-driven optimization and control models for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs)
  • Big traffic data analytics using machine learning
  • Mobile and crowd sensing of dynamic traffic systems
  • Dynamic network equilibrium and optimization
  • Modeling and simulation of large-scale complex systems
  • Freight logistics and supply chain systems
  • Impact of plug-in electric vehicles to smart grid and transportation network systems
  • Interdependency and resiliency of large-scale networked infrastructure systems
  • Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks (VANETs)
  • Smart Cities
  • Cyber-Physical Systems

Guy Hembroff Presents Invited Talk at Bahiana Medical School, Brazil

Associate Professor Guy Hembroff, director of Michigan Tech’s Health Informatics graduate program, presented an invited virtual talk to physicians, residents, and medical students at the Bahiana Medical School, Salvador, Brazil, on September 25, 2020.

Hembroff spoke about, “The Challenges and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence in Disease Prevention and Monitoring.”

BAHIANA (Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health) is a private, nonprofit, educational, cultural, scientific and healthcare institution. Its main purpose is “teaching, research and the spread of knowledge and special services in the fields of health, science and culture in general.” Learn more here.


College of Computing, CNSA Program Focus of HostingAdvice Article

The College of Computing and the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) are the subjects of an article published today (Sept. 2, 2020) on HostingAdvice.com, a website and blog that educates visitors to the site about the world of web hosting.

The article, for which College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick was interviewed, provides a close look at the new College, its well-established Computer Science and Software Engineering degree programs (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.), new Cybersecurity and Mechatronics undergraduate programs, as well as faculty research and the ICC.

Special emphasis is placed on the Computer Network and Systems Administration undergraduate degree program, in which students prepare for careers as network and computer systems administrators, commonly referred to as a “sysadmins.”

Read the full article here.

“Our readers know that a lot goes into finding the best providers of shared, dedicated, and virtual private servers,” said Sean Garrity, managing editor at HostingAdvice.com. “The article provides information about how to prepare if you want to to break into the industry as a professional, not just a consumer.”


Bo Chen’s Research on COVID-19 Prevention Method to be Published in IEEE IoT Magazine

A paper authored by Michigan Tech Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science, and Data Science master’s student Shashank Reddy Danda, has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Internet of Things Magazine special issue on Smart IoT Solutions for Combating COVID-19 Pandemic. The special issue will be published in September 2020.

The paper focuses on Chen’s research of COVID-19 prevention through the leveraging of computing technology. The project is currently supported by a Michigan Tech College of Computing seed grant, and external funding for further development is being pursued.

Chen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity.

Download a preprint of the paper here.

Abstract:
Recently, the impact of coronavirus has been witnessed by almost every country around the world. To mitigate spreading of coronavirus, a fundamental strategy would be reducing the chance of healthy people from being exposed to it. Having observed the fact that most viruses come from coughing/sneezing/runny nose of infected people, in this work we propose to detect such symptom events via mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, smart watches, and other IoT devices) possessed by most people in modern world and, to instantly broadcast locations where the symptoms have been observed to other people. This would be able to significantly reduce risk that healthy people get exposed to the viruses. The mobile devices today are usually equipped with various sensors including microphone, accelerometer, and GPS, as well as network connection (4G, LTE, Wi-Fi), which makes our proposal feasible. Further experimental evaluation shows that coronavirus-like symptoms (coughing/sneezing/runny nose) can be detected with an accuracy around 90%; in addition, the dry cough (more likely happening to COVID-19 patients) and wet cough can also be differentiated with a high accuracy.

Bo Chen is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. His areas of expertise include mobile device security, cloud computing security, named data networking security, big data security, and blockchain.

Shashank Reddy Danda is an MS student in Data Science. He is currently working as a research assistant in MTU Security and Privacy (SnP) Lab under the supervision of Dr. Bo Chen.

IEEE Internet of Things Magazine (IEEE IoTM) is a publication of the IEEE Internet of Things Initiative, a Multi-Society Technical Group.


SOSSEC / US Army ERDC Award to Study Adaptive AI

Dr. Timothy Havens, College of Computing, and Dr. Anthony Pinar, Electrical and Computer Engineering, have been awarded a two-year, $428,707 project by the SOSSEC Inc. / U.S. Army ERDC to investigate “Modeling and Algorithm Development for Adaptive Adversarial AI for Complex Autonomy.”

The project will study how autonomous systems operate in complex and unstructured environments, focusing on sensing, processing, and decision-making capabilities.

Havens and Pinar are members of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystem’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.

Tony Pinar is a lecturer and senior design coordinator in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department.

The SOSSEC Consortium was specifically formed to address the needs of the Department of Defense (DoD). It was founded on a simple concept: that collaboration, innovation, and cooperation among a broad spectrum of industry, academia and non-profit entities vastly improves the products and services delivered to its clients, according to the organization’s website.

The mission of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), an integral component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is to help solve the nation’s most challenging problems in civil and military engineering, geospatial sciences, water resources, and environmental sciences for the benefit of the Army, the Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and the public good, according to the organizations’s website.

The Institute of Computing and Cyberersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences through six research centers in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems, for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

The ICC’s 55 members represent more than 20 academic disciplines at Michigan Tech. Member scientists are collaborating to conduct impactful research, make valuable contributions in the field of computing, and solve problems of critical national importance.

ICC’s Center for Data Sciences (DataS) focuses on the research of data sciences education, algorithms, mathematics, and applications. DataS fosters interdisciplinary collaborations by bringing together diverse faculty and students from varied disciplines to discover new knowledge and exciting research opportunities in the field of data sciences.


$243K DURIP Award will Multiply Michigan Tech Research Capabilities

Dr. Timothy Havens (ICC), Dr. Andrew Barnard (GLRC), Dr. Guy Meadows (GLRC), and Dr. Gowtham (IT/ECE) have been awarded an Office of Naval Research DURIP grant titled, “Acoustic Sensing System and High-Throughput Computing Environment and Threat Monitoring in Naval Environments Using Machine Learning.”

The $243,169 award will fund procurement of new high throughput computing and underwater acoustic sensing systems for use by researchers at Michigan Tech.

The Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) supports universities through awards meant to build the infrastructures necessary for relevant, high-quality Navy research.

We believe that these resources will considerably multiply our capability and productivity in assisting the U.S. Navy, and DoD at large, to move forward on numerous fronts. We have excellent resources, but lack some infrastructure capabilities to make a leap in theory and applications.

Timothy Havens, Director, Institute of Computing and Cybersystems

Havens says that the award supports two active U.S. Navy projects in particular, “ONR Graduate Traineeship Award: Multi-Modal, Near-Shore, Ice-Covered Arctic Acoustic Propagation Measurements and Analysis (ONR #N00014-18-1-2592)” and “Localization, Tracking, and Classification of On-Ice and Underwater Noise Sources Using Machine Learning (US NSWC #N00174-19-1-0004).”

“With this new equipment we can begin to conduct more detailed, realistic, and repeatable sensor/target experiments, and facilitate expansion of current research into related areas of interest to the DoD, such as deep learning with digital phased arrays and persistent, distributed sensing with sensor arrays,” Havens notes.

“The equipment will significantly enhance Michigan Tech capabilities for six other Department of Defense (DoD)-funded projects as well, including NGA, SPAWAR, and DARPA awards,” he adds.

Finally, through graduate student participation in the research, and collaboration with the undergraduate SENSE Enterprise at Michigan Tech (Strategic Education through Naval Systems Experiences), the equipment will augment Navy STEM education and future workforce development.

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.

Andrew Barnard is director of the Great Lakes Research Center,
associate professor, Mechanical Engineering—Engineering Mechanic, and Faculty advisor to the undergraduate SENSE Enterprise.

Guy Meadows is director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory, the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, and a research professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Gowtham is director of research computing for Michigan Tech’s Information Technology department; an adjunct assistant professor, Physics; a research associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; and an NSF XSEDE Campus Champion.

The Institute of Computing and Cyberersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences through six research centers in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems, for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

The ICC’s 55 members represent more than 20 academic disciplines at Michigan Tech. Member scientists are collaborating to conduct impactful research, make valuable contributions in the field of computing, and solve problems of critical national importance.

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) provides state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics. Faculty members from many departments across Michigan Technological University’s campus collaborate on interdisciplinary research, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.

One of the GLRC’s most important functions is to educate the scientists, engineers, technologists, policymakers, and stakeholders of tomorrow about the Great Lakes basin. The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach provides K–12 student, teacher, and community education/outreach programs, taking advantage of the Center’s many teaching labs.

The GLRC also contains a lake-level marine facility and convenient deep-water docking, providing a year-round home for Michigan Tech’s surface and sub-surface fleet of marine vehicles.



Chee-Wooi Ten’s Research Is Subject of Advisor News Article

Associate Professor Chee-Wooi Ten, Electrical and Computer Engineering, was cited in the article, “Reports Summarize Engineering Study Results from Electrical & Computer Engineering Department (Premium Calculation for Insurance Businesses Based On Cyber Risks In IP-based Power Substations),” published August 11, 2020 in Advisor News.

Ten is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) at Michigan Tech and the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

The paper emphasizes a framework of premium calculation for cyber insurance businesses by modeling potential electronic intrusion with steady-state simulation results and its direct hypothesized impacts, according to the article, citing a NewsRx press release.

The article discussed Ten’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Cyber-Physical Systems grant, “CPS: Medium: Collaborative Research: An Actuarial Framework of Cyber Risk Management for Power Grids.” Assistant Professor Yeonwoo Rho, Mathematical Sciences, is co-PI on the award. The three-year $349K project was awarded in August 2017. Read the abstract and view additional CPS and ICC research projects here, . View the award at NSF.com.

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, founded in 2015, promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

It works to provide faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation.

Advisor News is published by InsuranceNewsNet, which describes itself as on the forefront of communicating breaking news and original insights to the industry. With thousands of news sources and hundreds of original articles, the site provides premium content typically only available through proprietary news outlets.


Yu Cai is PI of 2-year NSA GenCyber Project

Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, is the principal investigator on a two-year project that has received a $99,942 grant from the National Security Agency (GenCyber). The project is titled, “GenCyber Teacher Camp at Michigan Tech. “

Lecturer Tim Van Wagner (AC) and Assistant Professor Bo Chen (CS, DataS) are Co-PIs. Cai will serve as the camp director, Tim Van Wagner as lead instructor.

This GenCyber project aims to host a week-long, residential summer camp for twenty K-12 STEM teachers in 2021 at Michigan Tech. Target educators are primarily from Michigan and surrounding states.

The objectives of the camp are to teach cybersecurity knowledge and safe online behavior, develop innovative teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content, and provide professional development opportunities so participants will return to their home schools with contagious enthusiasm about teaching cybersecurity.

The GenCyber camp will be offered at no cost to camp participants. Room and board will be provided. Teacher participants will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities.

Read about the 2019 Michigan Tech GenCyber camps for teachers and students here.