Department Hosts NSF-Funded Program to Prepare Teachers for the Future of STEM Through Research
In summer 2014, the Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) department was the host of a summer research experience program for high school mathematics teachers (AEGIS RET). The AEGIS RET Program, a joint effort between Florida Tech and the University of Central Florida, aims to immerse selected high school mathematics teachers into a six-week summer research experience. During their involvement, teachers engage in Signal & Image Processing (SIP) research under the mentoring of FIT faculty and graduate students. Based on their findings, they develop SIP-themed lesson plans, which they utilize in their classrooms during the following academic year to excite high school students with applications of mathematics in real-world SIP problems.
The 2014 summer experience spanned the period of June 9 through July 18 and included Dr. William Hanna (Sebastian River High School) from the Indian River Public School District, Mrs. Jennifer Mikenas (Department Chair, Melbourne High School), Mr. Jeremy Moore (Edgewood Junior Senior High School), Mrs. Laura Springstroh (Viera High School), as well as Mrs. Becky Dowell (Titusville High School) from the Brevard Public School District and Mrs. Chinyen Chuo affiliated with the Seminole Public School District, the latter two serving as teacher mentors. The research topics revolved around image enhancement, image filtering, geometric transformations of images and image blending, and the cohort's findings were presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics (FCTM) in October 2014. This FIT effort has been supported since 2012 by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to ECE's Drs. Veton Kepuska and Georgios C. Anagnostopoulos under its Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. A more detailed account of AEGIS' objectives and outcomes is provided at aegis-ret.org.
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Immerses Students in Machine Learning
The AMALTHEA REU Program aspires to annually involve an interdisciplinary cohort of 10 undergraduate STEM students from around the nation. The students are organized into teams and engage in Machine Learning (ML) research during a 10-week summer experience, while being closely mentored by FIT graduate students and faculty. This past summer, from mid-May to mid-July, the program included Candice Schuman (dual major in Computer Science and Mathematics at La Salle University), Dan Weinand (dual major in Computer Science and Mathematics at Pomona College), Gedeon Nyengele (Electrical Engineering major at Georgia Perimeter College), Jamie Fox (dual major in Physics and Mathematics at Union University), John Talbot (dual major in Mathematics and Engineering Physics with a minor in Computer Science at Whitworth University), Nikita Belyaev (triple major in Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics at Dominican University), Sarah White (double major in Computer Science and Mathematical Decision Sciences at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Yash-yee Logan (Electrical & Computer Engineering at Georgia Perimeter College), Tabitha Beavers (Electrical Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology) and Tobin Yehle (Computer Science with minors in Astronomy and Music at the University of Utah).
The aforementioned student participants were selected from 258 applicants (3.87% acceptance rate), and the research topics pursued were: uncovering criminal networks from crime locations (supervised by Dr. Ronaldo Menezes, Computer Sciences), comparisons of automated anuran recognition approaches (supervised by Dr. Eraldo Ribeiro, Computer Sciences), diffusion-based non-linear dimensionality reduction (co-supervised by Dr. Bhaskar Tenali, Mathematical Sciences, and Dr. Adrian Peter, Engineering Systems), wavelet based density estimation for multidimensional streaming data and regression, an declassiﬁcation and interpolation of functional data (both supervised by Dr. Adrian Peter). Research outcomes of the program are routinely presented and/or published in technical venues and journals. The program is supported by an NSF grant to Drs. Adrian Peter (Engineering Systems) and Georgios C. Anagnostopoulos (ECE) under its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. More information can be obtained from amalthea-reu.org.
New Courses Bring High-Performance Computing and Hardware Design to Computer Engineering Program
To increase the research scope of the computer engineering masters program, two new courses were introduced this fall and two more will be added in the spring. ECE 5550 High-performance Computing is being taught by Dr. A Smith and covers the fundamentals of parallel scientific computing including both CPU and GPU architectures, interconnects and forms of parallel memory along with studies of established practices. In the spring semester, Dr. Smith will offer ECE 5540 Cloud Computing, which will focus on computing models, architecture, and hardware of clouds and other network-based computing systems, as well as explore the current challenges facing cloud computing. ECE 5520 Computer Architecture is currently being taught by Dr. F. Saqib and covers the evolution of computer architecture and the factors influencing the design of hardware and software elements. The course describes methods to build computer systems, analyze CPU performance and identify bottlenecks that hider performance. Dr. Saqib will offer ECE 5575 Field Programmable Gate Array Design in the spring, and that course will focus on the architecture and digital design flow processes and other technologies associated with field programmable gate arrays.
ECE Department's Entry Places as Finalist in Prestigious Cyber Seed-Hardware Competition
Dr. Fareena Saqib represented Florida Institute of Technology and participated in the Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation (CSI) Cyber Seed-Hardware Challenge competition held at the University of Connecticut in October 2014. The hardware challenge was based on the design of physically unclonable functions (PUFs) for FPGAs. Today's electronic systems are universal platforms that increasingly play a role in our daily lives and have enabled previously unimaginable applications such as the Internet of Things. These systems require secure tokens and/or cryptographic keys to provide secure authentication of devices and protect sensitive/private information. Traditionally, such tokens and keys have been stored in nonvolatile memory (NVM), but this approach has several drawbacks, including attack vulnerabilities. PUFs represent a promising alternative that overcomes many of the issues associated with NVM. A PUF is a circuit that measures the inherent and random manufacturing variations present in a device to generate a unique signature/key in response to an input. The PUF was designed jointly by Dr. Saqib and Dr. Plusquellic of the University of New Mexico and was one of the finalists.
Rare Infrasound Sensor Array Coming to Florida Tech
Infrasound waves occur at inaudible frequencies, typically ranging from 0.01 Hz to 20 Hz. Disturbances to the air from a number of natural and man-made sources produce infrasound signatures that can be detected by appropriately tuned instruments thousands of kilometers away from the generating event. These highly advantageous stand-off distances have made infrasound sensors the de facto standard for mission critical applications such as monitoring rocket launches and volcano eruptions and supporting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Given the importance of infrasound applications, Florida Tech is investing in the deployment of an infrasound sensor array. The array was obtained over several years of sustained research by the Information Processing Laboratory (IPL) under the direction of Dr. Fredric M. Ham, Harris Professor of Electrical Engineering, considered among the world's leading experts in infrasound analysis. The array's value exceeds $35,000, and its planned deployment will open a wealth of opportunities for both pedagogical investigations and funded research. The new sensor array will be jointly managed by the IPL under Dr. Ham and the Information Characterization and Exploitation Lab under the direction of Dr. Adrian Peter, Professor of Engineering Systems. Dr. Anthony Smith, Professor of Computer Engineering, will support the team. The proposed installation site is located at Florida Tech's River's Edge facility.
Industry Recognizes Wireless Center of Excellence with $132K Gift
Gladiator Innovations, LLC, announced collaboration with the Wireless Center of Excellence at FIT to offer research students the same wireless analytics technology platform used by the world's largest wireless solutions providers today. The gift, valued at $132K, will foster research opportunities that target multiple domains in wireless analytics from security services through to customer experience, big data and high-performance computing, network forensics, network performance monitoring, performance management and RAN (Radio Access Network) optimization.
Software Defined Radio Research Flies on International Space Station
Jeff White, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, Dr. Ivica Kostanic and Chris Moffatt, an engineer at Harris Corp., (shown left to right) recently visited NASA's Glenn Research Center. There, they tested preliminary code for a software defined radio that is currently flying on the International Space Station. They plan to conduct experiments with the space born hardware early next year.