Florida Institute of Technology
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department News
FALL 2015

Dr. Saqib Organizes Special Session at European Symposium

Our society is dependent on increasingly complex, networked computer systems that are the target of unrelenting sieges against their resources, infrastructure and operability. While the reasons for such attacks may be tied to complex sociological issues, which can be either political or economic, the cause of our inadequate defense solutions lies in the lack of systematic design flow for secure, trustworthy and resilient circuits and systems. The emergence of hardware Trojans worsens the problem of trusted system design and verification. While hardware security has been under investigation for years, threats and protection methods in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are still lacking. To address these security concerns and to present system-level solutions for ensuring the trustworthiness of CPS, a special session in the European Test Symposium at Cluj-Napoca, Romania, May 25–29, 2015, was jointly organized by the University of Central Florida, New York University and Florida Institute of Technology. The session included an invited paper in the related area "Cyber-physical systems: a security perspective" which was prepared by Dr. Fareena Saqib in collaboration with other researchers. A wide span of applications was discussed in the paper presented in the session, ranging from nationwide power grids, to medium scale, such as the smart home, and small scale, e.g., ubiquitous health care systems including implantable medical devices. The special session was closely integrated into the ETS program serving as an outreach for Testing Community to solve security and trust issues.

SPIE Scholarship Awarded to ECE Ph.D. Student

Michael Finch has been awarded a 2015 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or a related field.

Finch is currently a Ph.D. student in the ECE department and advised by Dr. Brian Lail. His research interests lie in coupling of optical metamaterial with phonon resonances, which has applications in molecular detection. He also has research interest in Free Space Optical Communication through work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Finch's awards include two-time Honorable Mention in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program in 2014, a 2013 John Mather Nobel Scholar, and third recipient of the Michael Pate Optical Sciences Memorial Scholarship in 2013.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, and professional networking. SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2014. This reflects the society's commitment to education and to the next generation of optical scientists and engineers around the world.

ECE Department to Perform Research with NASA

FIT's ECE department was selected by NASA Science Mission Directorate's Earth Science Division (ESD) as one of five recipients among 19 submissions to the Rapid Response and Novel Research in Earth Science (RRNES) program. As part of the program, FIT proposed several research opportunities related to the RapidScat space-borne radar. Proposed research includes scatterometer cross-section measurement calibration, radiometric (passive) brightness temperature estimation from an active instrument, and active/passive ocean wind vector retrievals.

The RapidScat radar, built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and flying onboard the International Space Station, follows NASA's QuikScat satellite that operated until 2009. RapidScat retrieves global ocean winds to provide measurements used in weather predictions including hurricane monitoring. The primary goal of the mission is to demonstrate the agile reuse of flight hardware to host a scientific-class instrument. Science goals include serving as a cross-calibration platform for ocean wind vector observations, wind vector diurnal and semi-diurnal studies and providing data for weather forecasting including marine storms.

This is the first grant in what is expected to be a series of similar proposals by the remote sensing section of the WIreless Center of Excellence (WiCE) at the FIT's ECE department. Research will be led by Dr. Josko Zec who joined FIT in August 2015 as associate professor.

Florida IEEE Student Leadership Conference Hosted by ECE Department

IEEE students joined with Florida Tech's ECE department and the local Melbourne IEEE section to co-host a 2015 IEEE Region 3 Student Branch Leadership Training Workshop on Florida Tech's campus in October 2015. The workshop helped provide student branch leaders with the tools necessary to operate a successful student branch and focus on a set of goals, a realistic budget and branch plan for the current school year. The workshop was open to current IEEE student branch officers, IEEE students and counselors. Twenty five students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Florida and Florida Tech participated in the workshop. Also in attendance were ECE department head Dr. Samuel Kozaitis, local IEEE member representatives Ed Kirchner and Dr. Ken Gibbs, and Michael Finch, IEEE Melbourne's Student Activities Chair. The Florida Tech IEEE students also participated in Research Rules!, a STEM event that helps Brevard County middle school students formulate ideas for their science fair projects.

Robotics Showcase for IEEE Student Organizations

Florida Tech hosted three different IEEE student organizations at a Robotics Showcase presented by the Canaveral Council of Technical Societies in November 2015. They were the FIT-IEEE Student Branch, the FIT IEEE Aerospace & Electronics Systems Society (IEEE-AESS), and the IEEE honor society Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN). The FIT-IEEE group is currently building an autonomous robot that will be in the annual IEEE SoutheastCon 2016 Hardware Competition in Norfolk, VA. The students demonstrated their work-in-progress of their autonomous robot. The IEEE students hosted a technical presentations on system engineering and a talk by the local IEEE Melbourne Section. In addition, there was a technical presentation by Alex Jimenez, the Electrical Systems Engineering Group Supervisor at NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.

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.

ECE Student Describes her Experience at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory

"Going to college is merely a preparation of stepping out into the world. Doing internships is a means of gaining experience. Tie the two together and, by the time you graduate, you'll be a lot more prepared than you think. At least, that's what I'm learning about during my time here at Florida Tech.

My name is Kelsey DeJesus-Banos, and I am currently a senior at Florida Tech studying computer engineering. Over the summer of 2015, I had the most amazing opportunity to work at MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) as a summer intern. I'm here to simply talk about my experience interning at MIT LL.

MIT LL started during the Cold War in 1951 by MIT to improve air defense technologies. It has since then developed into a Department of Defense research facility now working in all kinds of fields such as cyber security, intelligence, space control, etc.

I interned in the ISR (Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) Systems and Architecture group. Our main goal as a group was to develop and evaluate system concepts based on threats such as terrorism and insurgency in our nation. Some of the tasks include analyzing and optimizing sensor capabilities, developing models and simulations, and performing field campaigns in order to update the understanding of integrated solutions. Over the summer, I had various projects to work on. The main overall project was to develop software in order to model and simulate different scenarios that would be useful in understanding and developing air defense technology for MIT LL and the U.S. Air Force.

As an intern at MIT LL, there were various benefits that will help me grow not only in my field of study but also as a person. Every week MIT LL presents seminars from the different divisions within the facility. The advantage of this is that it allows the interns to explore more about the other groups and projects available at the laboratory. I enjoyed the fact that I got to learn new information from various other research topics that I did not know about before such as communication networks and space systems. On the other hand, sometimes staff members from MIT or active duty soldiers from the USAF would come and present on their research or something that they feel strongly passionate about. As an intern, I was also given full access to any of the resources available at the laboratory and at MIT libraries. This allowed me to do the reading and research I needed to complete the project I was working on.

As far as community interaction within MIT LL, the staff members were genuinely honest and kind in every single way despite the fact that they are also the smartest people I have ever met. Their experience levels immediately surpassed mine. But, working there over the summer made me realize that the whole point of an internship was to gain knowledge and grow as a person. The staff members never hesitated to help me. It was amazing to be able to work with people who were passionate about what they do and who enjoyed helping others understand. I also met amazing students from around the country and even from right around the corner at MIT. We became friends and had a great time together from going out for sushi in Boston, decorating our office with balloons and barbecues with all of the interns in the laboratory.

Overall, I feel incredibly blessed and happy to have worked in an amazing laboratory such as MIT LL. I am also thankful to be in such a great university like Florida Tech, which has provided me with so many resources to be able to get this internship from doing research freshman year with Dr. Kepuska to challenging courses within my major. Even just talking with the department head Dr. Kozaitis, professors like Dr. Otero, and the student coordinator Ms. Cheryl Mitravich has helped me to grow and learn more about my major and passions.

Working at MIT Lincoln Lab is an experience I will never forget. It inspired me to keep moving forward in life and continue working for my dreams and goals. I also learned that I love working in my field of study. Even through challenging moments, I am dedicated to continue on and stick with it because it makes me happy to be learning. I guess the most important thing is to use your resources, aim high, never give up, follow your dreams, do what you love, always stay curious, and never stop believing in yourself."

Faculty Spotlight

New Faculty Members Improve Research and Department Offerings

Dr. Chul-Ho Lee graduated with a Ph.D. in computer engineering in 2012 from North Carolina State University. He received his M.S. in information and communications from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, and his B.E. in information and telecommunication engineering from the Korea Aerospace University, both in South Korea. Dr. Lee's master's thesis was concerned with seamless and reliable media streaming over wireless networks. His doctoral research involved mobile and social network data analysis and the design of algorithms and protocols for wireless and mobile networks. He has also worked at Samsung Electronics, where he has been developing streaming solutions on smartphones by intelligently combining LTE and Wi-Fi connections. His research interests are in networking and performance evaluation, network data analytics, social network analysis and mobile computing.

Dr. Josko Zec earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida in 1998. He received his M.S. and B.S. in electrical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and University of Zagreb, Croatia, respectively. Dr. Zec has five years of experience in satellite remote sensing when he worked on NASA and NOAA missions plus 14 years of experience in wireless cellular communication technologies when he worked for Ericsson, Optimi, and Agilent Technologies. He has worked all over the world as the technical lead for various projects related to coverage, capacity and quality optimization of cellular networks. He has published numerous journal and conference papers and contributed to a book on the multi-technology self-organizing networks. His research interests are in wireless communication technologies, satellite communications, remote sensing and antenna systems.


Dr. Mu Publishes Book Chapter on Software Defined Radio

Dr. Hua Mu published a book chapter titled "Precoder Design for Cognitive Multiuser Multi-Way Relay Systems using MSE Criterion" in Handbook of Research on Software-Defined and Cognitive Radio Technologies for Dynamic Spectrum Access and Management, from IGI Global. This book chapter discusses the design of precoders in cognitive multi-user multi-way relay systems. In such systems, unlicensed users are allowed to access licensed spectrum with only negligible inter-user interference and therefore significantly improves spectrum efficiency.

In this chapter, one possible solution of using a relay station as well as multiple antenna techniques is proposed. Precoding design in such a relay supported multiple antenna secondary network is presented based on the mean square error (MSE) design criterion using an iterative algorithm. The design objective is to minimize the sum MSE of all received signals under transmit power constraints at each secondary transmitter as well as the relay station, while the interference to primary network is nulled out or kept under a certain level. Other non-iterative solutions are also presented to strike a balance between performance and complexity.


Dr. Otero's Book on Software Engineering Design Listed in Amazon's Top 100 Best Sellers in Engineering Design

Dr. Carlos Otero's book on software engineering design has been listed in Amazon's top 100 best sellers in the category of engineering design. The textbook, which was peer-reviewed by a research engineer from MIT Haystack laboratory, provides an advanced treatment on software and pattern-based design and focuses on industry-driven design techniques that lead to high-quality systems. The textbox has been adopted and used at state universities in Florida, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Otero's research paper on engineering big data software was published in IEEE Intelligent Systems. The work was listed as the #5 most downloaded paper in IEEE Intelligent Systems, which has an impact factor of 2.34 and is consistently considered a high-quality publication avenue in ECE.


Connect with Fellow ECE Alumni

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.

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