Florida Institute of Technology
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department News
FALL 2014

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 declassiļ¬cation 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.


Faculty Spotlight

Longtime ECE professor, Dr. F. Ham, Retiring after Distinguished Career

Dr. Fredric M. HamDr. Fredric M. Ham, IEEE Life Fellow, SPIE Fellow and INNS Fellow is the Harris Professor of Electrical Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and director of the Information Processing Laboratory (IPL). He holds over 30 years of professional engineering experience. From 1977-1978 he worked for Shell Oil Company as a geophysicist, and from 1980-1988 he was a staff engineer at Harris Corporation in Melbourne, where he worked in the Systems Analysis Group and the Large Space Structures Controls Group. He has been at Florida Tech since 1988 where he developed methods for non-invasive glucose monitoring for diabetics (one licensed patent), highly robust neural-based classification methods for tactical infrasound applications and speaker recognition, and proactive predictive network security methods, to name a few. He has published over 100 technical papers, holds three U.S. patents and is author of the textbook: Principles of Neurocomputing for Science and Engineering, McGraw-Hill, 2001. Dr. Ham's current research interests include neural networks applications, adaptive signal processing, biosensor development for non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, speech processing and development of neural-based classification methods using infrasound for monitoring nuclear explosions to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and other tactical infrasound applications. Dr. Ham is the past president of the International Neural Network Society (2007-2008) and served on the INNS Board of Governors (2009-2011).


ECE Professor Leads Conference with Prominent Work in Spatial Domain Multiplexing

Wired Wednesday @ Viera Charter School

Professor Syed Murshid was co-editor and led a recent session on Spatial Domain Multiplexing, an area which in large part he invented. It is a novel multiplexing technique for fiber-optic communications that supports multiple channels of optical energy inside an optical fiber by confining each individual channel to a unique spatial location. The channels can operate at exactly the same wavelength or at differing wavelengths. This technique adds a new dimension to currently available multiplexing schemes and has the potential to increase the bandwidth of existing and futuristic optical fiber systems by multiple folds. At the conference, Dr. Murshid and his graduate students authored and presented six papers including the invited keynote paper. The conference was SPIE 9202, 'Photonics Applications for Aviation, Aerospace, Commercial, and Harsh Environments V,' which was held in August 2014 in San Diego, CA.


New Faculty Members Bolster Department Offerings and Research in Computer Engineering

Dr. Anthony O. SmithDr. Anthony O. Smith graduated with a Ph.D. in computer engineering in 2013 from the University of Florida where he also received his M.S. in computer engineering. He did his undergraduate studies at Clemson University. His current research interests are in the area of high performance computing, with applications in machine learning and computer vision. He actively collaborates with researchers in various other disciplines, including radar signal processing, and in the oil and gas industry. His past industry experience includes principal investigator and research scientist on various projects at Harris Corporation. Anthony currently holds 15 patents related to advanced image and signal processing algorithms. He has over 10 years of engineering experience and has been recognized for outstanding achievements in research execution and innovative technology development.

Dr. Fareena SaqibDr. Fareena Saqib earned her Ph.D. in computer engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2014. There, she carried out varied research on "Within-die variation measurement and analysis using an embedded test structure REBEL in ASIC and FPGAs." Prior to that, her research focused on "Network weather forecasting for management and analysis of global grid and internet end to end performance (MAGGIE) using ARMA/ARIMA time series." She possesses diverse experience in industry and consultant services in addition to teaching and research. Also, she has applied research experience in the use of quantitative models and information technology for improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations in the telecommunication industry and business. Her current research interests include embedded systems and design for manufacturability, data mining hardware accelerator design using FPGAs, and hardware security.


Visiting Faculty Offers Opportunities for Research Collaboration in Wireless Systems and Signal Processing

Hu JingHu Jing is an associate professor at Shanghai Dianji University, China. She received her Ph.D. degree from the HeFei University of Technology and her M.S. degree from the University of Science and Technology of China. Her research interests are machine learning and artificial neural networks. Her teaching interests are in computer network and database systems. She is currently in charge of Network Engineering at Shanghai Dianji University.

Ying ZhaoYing Zhao is an assistant professor at Shanghai Dianji University, China. She received her Ph.D. degree from Hefei University of Technology in signal and information processing. Her main research interests are digital image processing, fractal image encoding and artificial neural networks, and she teaches in the field of digital signal processing.


Connect with Fellow ECE Alumni

ECE LinkedIn Group

ECE LinkedIn Group

If you are an alumna/alumnus of our department, please join our members-only Florida Tech Electrical & Computer Engineering group on LinkedIn! There's no better way to stay in touch after your graduation. If you already have a LinkedIn account, search the group's name in LinkedIn and then join the group as a way to network with other alumni and stay updated with the newest developments in our department.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department | Florida Institute of Technology
150 W. University Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32901-6975 | Phone: (321) 674-8060 | Fax: (321) 674-8192
coe.fit.edu/ee | watkinst@fit.edu

© Florida Institute of Technology All Rights Reserved