Following is a list of the most recent articles on ITTC that have appeared in local and area publications. For a complete list of ITTC articles, please click the More News link.

We also publish a quarterly newsletter, The Link, which details events at the Center. Issues of The Link, beginning with the Winter 2001 issue, are located on our website. We hope you enjoy reading about ITTC. If you have questions or can't find a specific article, please contact us.

The University of Kansas' team, JayHackers wins first place in the CANSec Invitational Cyber-Defense Competition 2014

By Danielle Brady

LAWRENCE — The 6th CANSec Workshop and the CANSec Invitational Cyber-Defense Competition was concluded on Sunday, October 26, 2014 in KU's Nichols Hall, on a high note with The University of Kansas' team, JayHackers, winning over the four other blue teams, including students from five difference Midwestern universities. The KU team won first place in the seven hour competition, which showcased hard work amidst an intense atmosphere. The Championship involved student teams overseeing a small corporate network, maintaining all critical services and defending against external cyber attacks.

The first day of the two day workshop and competition welcomed keynote speaker, Dr. Ninghui Li, Professor of Computer Science from Purdue University. Dr. Li addresses Ron Evans Apollo Auditorium in Nichols Hall about information security and privacy notions for data publishing and analysis.

Following Dr. Li's speech, an industry panel consisting of six industry and academic specialists spoke about the current needs and expectations from future employees within the field. The necessary skills set required and current procedure education training essentials aligned with the needs of the industry with the expertise held by current students.

Fengjun Li, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas, applauds the discussion and interesting ideas communicated through both Dr. Li and the industry panel. Professor Li, a member of the gold team, which included eight professors from six different universities, served as a judge to score the blue teams representing Northwest Missouri State University & University of Arkansas, the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Kansas State University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the champions from the University of Kansas.

Over 60 people participated in the competition on Sunday, October 26th, including 30+ students on the blue teams (players), and faculty, staff and industry professionals serving on the gold teams as judges, on the red team as penetrators, and on the white team for infrastructure support. While maintaining five critical services including Web, HTTP, FTO, SSH, and CHAT for a corporate network, the blue team also needs to respond to injects given by the gold team every 30 minutes and attacks from the red team that randomly target any service in any team. The red team, comprised of six industry professionals, connected to the servers from Kansas City and Denver, CO., in an attempt to exploit the blue team's vulnerabilities by gaining credentials or access.

KU's JayHackers led the scores in the morning but fell behind in the afternoon due to all services shut down for 30 minutes, which caused a 5 points loss every minute as the scoring engine automatically checked for available services.

''We made a mistake in the beginning,'' says Chris Seasholtz, Captain of JayHackers, ''and we finally got caught by the red team.''

At the end of the seven hours, the final service score was 1667. Members of each team gained technical experience during the competition to help their future.

''After winning the Cyber-Defense Competition, their goal is to have the practice and the training required to try and attend the national collegiate cyber defense competition (CCDC),'' says Professor Li.    Click to go to Top of Page

EECS PhD student Justin Metcalf accepts a full position at the Air Force Research Laboratory

By Danielle Brady

LAWRENCE — EECS PhD student Justin Metcalf has accepted a position as a Research Electronics Engineer with the Sensors Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

''It's basically a dream job where I can pursue cutting edge research and collaborate with world-renowned experts in the field,'' Metcalf said.

Metcalf's entry into AFRL began with an internship under the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) during the summer of 2011. For 3 months Metcalf worked on the modeling of radar clutter for future cognitive based systems. He continued his PhD work in collaboration with AFRL for the next 3 years while working under his advisor, KU EECS professor Dr. Shannon Blunt.

Dr. Blunt regards Metcalf's newly awarded job placement at AFRL as a prestigious research position at one of the top institutions in the world involved with radar research.

''Government defense labs such as AFRL give students the opportunity to pursue a real dream job where they get to work on exciting problems alongside many of the biggest names in the field. This is a very rewarding career path for students,'' says Blunt, who speaks from experience as he spent the first three years of his research career at the Radar Division of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Since starting at KU, Metcalf's master's research on radar-embedded communications focused on the development of covert communication methods that could 'hide' among radar echoes from the surrounding environment. For this work, Metcalf was awarded the EECS Richard and Wilma Moore Award for best Master's Thesis in 2012.

Metcalf's PhD research stems from his summer at AFRL and addresses radar detection under adverse conditions.

''Detecting the things you are interested in is not necessarily the hard part. It's not detecting everything else that you don't care about that is really difficult. It's essentially a needle in the haystack kind of problem – where the needle is unfortunately rather hay-shaped,'' says Blunt.

Metcalf is working on techniques to reduce these false alarms by borrowing from the statistical signal processing and machine learning disciplines. Metcalf has also had the opportunity to participate in other projects including radar transmitter design, radar tomography, and space-time adaptive processing.

''I would advise new graduate students to take advantage of all the opportunities here [at KU],'' Metcalf said. ''Don't focus solely on your research, but also learn about what your fellow students are doing. Exposure to topics across your own discipline, as well as across other disciplines, can lead to new and exciting ideas.''

After completing his bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Kansas State University in 2006, Metcalf worked for two years at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas. Realizing it would require an advanced degree to get into the truly interesting work, Metcalf came to the University of Kansas in 2008 to start graduate school in Electrical Engineering.

Metcalf starts at AFRL in mid-November as a full time civilian employee of the Air Force and expects to defend his PhD dissertation in January.    Click to go to Top of Page

Researchers developing algorithms to detect fake reviews

From KU News -- 10-20-2014
By Mike Krings

LAWRENCE — Anyone who has conducted business online – from booking a hotel to buying a book to finding a new dentist or selling their wares – has come across reviews of said products and services. Chances are they've also encountered some that just don't seem legitimate. Researchers at the University of Kansas are developing algorithms and computational models to detect fake online reviews to improve commerce for consumers and businesses and to improve credibility of social media.

Hyunjin Seo, assistant professor of journalism, and Fengjun Li, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, have won a KU strategic initiative grant to develop interdisciplinary models to detect fake or dishonest reviews that are misleading, untrue or do not meet Federal Trade Commission guidelines for online commerce. Fake reviews can be damaging to businesses, consumers and the sites that host them. As the Internet has evolved, so have the number and kinds of fake reviews.

''The most fundamental part of this project is to develop a more trustworthy social media experience, because that's such a big part of how we get information and make decisions as consumers and businesses,'' Seo said. ''If credibility and trust are not there, it can harm all sides.''

The research team will develop algorithms to improve the speed of collecting data from millions of reviews posted on sites such as,,,, and others. They will then develop computational models to detect fake reviews and assess trust in online communities based on the data they collect. People create fake reviews for various reasons, often to generate enthusiasm for their product or to post negative reviews of their competition's goods or services. Consumers write fake reviews for a number of reasons, including personal grudges or positive reviews for a business they have a connection to. Researchers will make semantic analyses of the millions of reviews they collect, searching for common language that might out a review as dishonest, and tracking the amount of interaction users have on review sites to determine whether someone is a legitimate contributor.

''Studies in this area are rather fragmented in that they tend to focus mainly on discipline-specific aspects,'' Seo said. ''We are hoping to develop computational models that take into account interactions between sociological, psychological and technological factors.''

The research will help inform policy as well as commerce. The Federal Trade Commission has guidelines in place addressing how businesses and consumers use social media. Online endorsements and reviews must be truthful and not misleading; reviewers and marketers are required to disclose any relationships that might effect their judgment and so on. New media and technologies have given people new ways to skirt the regulations, and the research findings will help address such efforts. There are regulations and penalties for deceptive or improper online marketing, but there are still many gray areas, the researchers said.

''Machine learning methods are typically used in detecting fake reviews. The existing work considers various features such as rating distortion, the sentiment of the reviews, bursts in time domain and more,'' Li said. ''However, the machine learning-based solution highly depends on the features extracted from suspicious activities, and the adversaries may perform the attacks in a more deliberate way and mask the traces carefully to evade from the detection. Therefore, it is important to develop more robust detection algorithms.''

In addition to analyzing data and developing models that social media and online review sites can use to improve their services, the researchers will hold workshops on cybersecurity and digital literacy for policy makers, develop a course in computational journalism and seek additional funding from leading online review sites in the United States, China and South Korea.

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Engineers work on better real-time wireless data transmission

From KU News -- 10-03-2014
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — Glitches, delays or crashes on mobile devices can thwart attempts to watch the latest viral video, catch a big game or conduct a video chat. Not only are attempts to wirelessly access real-time events frequently plagued with problems, viewing such events seem to rapidly drain an inordinate amount of battery life from a smartphone or tablet.

Researchers at the University of Kansas School of Engineering are working to solve both issues in hopes of enabling more seamless video and data usage on a wireless device. Lingjia Liu, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is leading the effort and has secured a one-year, $122,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to begin work on the project. NSF will evaluate the progress on the research after the first year, then will determine whether to fund an additional two years of work.

''Through our research, we hope to discover how much of a power boost is actually needed for instantaneous data transmission, and we hope to find the optimum power level to ensure maximum energy efficiency that sends data without any delay,'' Liu said.

The project centers on a level of data transmissions known as ''delay-sensitive.'' Those are the snippets of communication that consumers expect to receive instantaneously, such as phone calls, video chats and live sporting events. Delay sensitive transmissions typically send data in the 20- to 50-millisecond range. Anything longer than that and users notice they're not receiving information in real time. For communications that are delay-insensitive – such as web browsing or email – users typically accept a delay of a few seconds. Information is not expected instantaneously.

Liu said that improving energy efficiency for data transmission has been studied for years, but typically on delay-insensitive communications.

''We're attacking an area where not much research has been done. There's really no clear methodology to analyze this. That's what we’re trying to develop,'' Liu said. ''It's not an easy task, because power consumption on a smart phone is multifaceted. We're focusing on one critical area that's received little attention to this point.''

The project involves graduate students conducting research on a theoretical level and undergraduates working on the potential for implementing the technology.

''There's a fundamental limit on energy efficiency – you can't improve beyond a certain level. But we want to find algorithms that pinpoint the limit with the hope that eventually we can apply it on practical wireless devices,'' Liu said.

Erik Perrins, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a collaborator on the project, said smartphone users should be excited by the potential of the research, since it deals with two key issues: maximizing battery life and maximizing data rates.

''We are paying special attention to a certain kind of wireless traffic, two-way video, because right now wireless system designers are making educated guesses about how to allocate resources to deal with this traffic,'' Perrins said. ''As this kind of delay-sensitive traffic becomes more and more prevalent, solid design rules are needed, which is exactly what our research aims to deliver.''

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KU radars provide critical remap of glaciers tied to sea level rise

From KU News -- 09-22-2014
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — Researchers at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets based at the University of Kansas have unlocked important new details below the ice in key areas of Greenland and Antarctica that will reshape how scientists forecast changes to sea level. Data collected through radar systems created at KU provide the first-ever detailed maps of the subsurface conditions on prominent and scientifically important glaciers on opposite sides of the Earth.

The CReSIS team successfully gathered data on the depth, topography and conditions at the base of two glaciers that are critical to monitoring and predicting sea level rise, Jakobshavn Glacier in west Greenland and Byrd Glacier in east Antarctica. CReSIS's findings are published online as the lead article in the latest issue of the Journal of Glaciology, the world’s leading publication on the study of ice and natural phenomena that involve ice.

''Bed topography is very important to understanding and modeling of speedup of glaciers like Jakobshavn,'' said Prasad Gogineni, distinguished professor in the KU School of Engineering and director of CReSIS. ''Models that accurately represent the processes causing this speedup of fast-flowing glaciers are essential to predicting the behavior of ice sheets in a warming climate.''

Jakobshavn Glacier is the fastest flowing glacier on Earth and drains about 7.5 percent of Greenland’s ice. It’s approximately one-third as wide as the Grand Canyon, but just as deep, and Jakobshavn is about one mile below sea level at its deepest point. Byrd Glacier is one of the most confined Antarctic ice streams and in recent years has been flowing about 15 percent faster than its historical average. The glaciers have several characteristics in common, such as the discharge of large amounts of land-based ice into the sea, channels with extremely deep beds, and rough, crevassed surfaces.

At Byrd Glacier, CReSIS researchers discovered a sub-glacial trench approximately 1.8 miles below sea level. The CReSIS team also revealed that data collected in the late 1970s on Byrd Glacier's depth, which served as the basis for all computations on the ice sheet's behavior, were off by more than half a mile in some areas. That means computer models now need a complete overhaul due to the very different bed topography discovered by CReSIS researchers.

''Gathering data to construct these maps is extremely challenging for glaciers like Jakobshavn because they contain warm ice near the bed and their surfaces are very rough due to crevassing. The signal from the ice bed, already weak due to the warm temperature of the ice near the bed, is often also masked by signals reflected by the rough ice surface; this is known as surface clutter. It takes extremely high-sensitivity radars to capture the weak signal and advanced post-processing to extract it from the surface clutter,'' Gogineni said.

CReSIS collaborated with the University of Arkansas on image processing of radar echograms to bring out weak echoes.

''Without long-term support from the National Science Foundation and NASA to improve radars and develop techniques to extract information, CReSIS could not have sounded Jakobshavn and other key glaciers,'' Gogineni said.

Established by the NSF Division of Polar Programs in 2005, CReSIS has made great strides in research and fieldwork concerning changes in ice sheets and their effect on sea level rise. The Center has been a key participant in NASA's Operation Ice Bridge, which is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown.

KU serves as the lead institution of CReSIS, which is composed of six additional partner institutions: Elizabeth City State University, Indiana University, the University of Washington, The Pennsylvania State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Association of Computer and Information Science Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions. CReSIS researchers collaborate with scientists, engineers and institutions around the world.

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Engineering faculty studying security of cloud computing

From KU News -- 09-16-2014
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas researchers have received a multimillion-dollar Department of Defense grant designed to build user trust and confidence in the security of cloud computing and to develop techniques that ensure projects run as predicted, without interference.

Perry Alexander, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), is the principal investigator on a four-year, $2.7 million grant. EECS Associate Professors Prasad Kulkarni and Andy Gill serve as co-investigators on developing the program, known as ArmoredSoftware.

According to Forbes Magazine, businesses spend an estimated $13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services. More than half of U.S. businesses are phasing out expensive IT equipment for pay-as-you-go service. It reduces costs and offers greater flexibility in response to changing needs. As more government agencies and businesses rent computing power, software and storage over the Internet, they need tools to verify trustworthiness and integrity.

ArmoredSoftware evaluates programs for abnormal behavior, like those exhibited by viruses and spyware, and takes actions to protect itself and data. Whether that action is reporting the compromised program, migrating to a new infrastructure, or simply ignoring the work order will depend on the threat level, Alexander said.

Alexander likens the security concerns to feeling unsafe while walking in a city. There are many options: hail a cab, move to the other side of the street, call for help or run to safety. It is about finding the best solution for each particular situation.

''We can't perform a physical check on servers thousands of miles away. We need to do that across the network by building a trustworthiness assessment into the hardware and software infrastructure,'' said Alexander, who leads KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC).

Through ArmoredSoftware, KU researchers are developing techniques for appraising operating environments and running software. The goal is to create an environment that permits a trusted exchange of information on any server in the cloud.

Computing power combined with convenient access has led to email, bank accounts and other private data stored in the cloud. It also offers smaller companies and research organizations access to high-performance computing resources, spurring economic development, Alexander said. While the cloud makes it easier for users to view information from any device, the central data storage makes the cloud an appealing target.

''There is nothing magic about what we call the cloud – we are sharing resources to reduce cost. However, when we put computations and data in the cloud, we trust it to protect our interests,'' Alexander said. ''ArmoredSoftware allows our cloud processes to protect themselves by autonomously assessing their environment. KU and ITTC are privileged to continue working with DoD on this important research.''

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Pioneering KU radar researcher to be honored Aug. 6 at ceremony

From KU News -- 07-31-2014
By Kevin Boatright

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will honor one of its own with a dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, for the Richard K. Moore Conference Room in Nichols Hall. A brief presentation will be followed by the unveiling of a plaque and a reception. The public is invited to attend.

At the time of his death in 2012 at age 89, Moore was widely recognized as a pioneering researcher in the field of radar remote sensing of the earth. During more than 30 years on the electrical engineering faculty, he founded the interdisciplinary Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) and advised more than 100 graduate students.

Moore's career began in the 1940s as a radar engineer for RCA and an electronics and radar officer in the U.S. Navy. He received a bachelor of science degree from Washington University in St. Louis and did graduate work there and at Cornell University after leaving the service. He received a doctorate from Cornell, where his dissertation was his invention of a very low frequency antenna for submarines. He taught at the University of New Mexico from 1951 to 1962.

Moore came to KU as the Black & Veatch Distinguished Professor and remained until his retirement in 1994. His research resulted in scientific instruments being placed aboard NASA and other agency satellites for collecting data and improving understanding of the oceans and the atmosphere.

Moore received the Australia Prize for Science and the Remote Sensing Award from the Italian Center in 1995. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a life Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the recipient of several awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and from KU.

Speakers at the ceremony will include Mary Lee Hummert, interim vice chancellor for research; Michael Branicky, dean of the School of Engineering, Glenn Prescott, former chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Donnis Graham, a longtime RSL office manager and editor.

Those who wish to attend the ceremony are encouraged to RSVP at Nichols Hall is located on West Campus at 2335 Irving Hill Road. It is home to KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center and the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets.

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NASA grant will help KU researcher reveal polar ice details

From KU News -- 07-23-2014
By Jill Hummels

LAWRENCE — Researchers working to measure and predict sea level rise based on changes to ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will soon have a new tool to use in their assessments.

Jilu Li, assistant research professor with the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the University of Kansas, received a three-year $299,178 grant through NASA's New Investigator Program to provide a complete subsurface map at the point where the ice meets bedrock for Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Li's team will utilize ice sheet data collected by CReSIS and KU researchers over the past two decades to piece together the maps.

''We've collected all this data, but to this point, no one has integrated all of it to provide a basal condition map,'' Li said. ''When combined with what we already know about ice sheet thickness and ice bed elevations, this should improve the understanding of the overall dynamics of the ice sheet and help better predict future changes.''

The condition at the base of an ice sheet varies from solid ice, to melting ice, to flowing water and has a major impact on the speed of the ice flow. The faster the ice flows, the more it affects sea level rise.

''These maps essentially provide a more accurate picture of the full boundary conditions of an ice sheet,'' Li said. ''It means more information is available to researchers as they utilize computer modeling to predict ice flow. The more that's known about the entire boundary conditions of an ice sheet, the more accurate those models will be.''

Li's research was one of only 21 projects selected for funding from a pool of more than 131 proposals.

CReSIS, which was established by the National Science Foundation in 2005, has made great strides in research and fieldwork concerning changes in the ice sheets and their effect on sea level rise. Data collected by the Center were instrumental in developing a new, highly detailed map of the bedrock of Greenland. CReSIS data were also essential to the discovery of a mega-canyon buried under miles of ice in Greenland. Portions of the canyon are twice as deep at the Grand Canyon.

KU serves as the lead institution of CReSIS, which is composed of six additional partner institutions: Elizabeth City State University, Indiana University, University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Association of Computer and Information Science Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions. CReSIS researchers collaborate with scientists, engineers and institutions around the world.

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Math professor elected director of international organization

From KU News -- 06-19-2014
By Gloria Prothe

LAWRENCE — Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, professor of mathematics and courtesy professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Kansas, has been elected the program director of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Activity Group on Control and Systems Theory. SIAM is an international community of more than 13,000 individual members. Almost 500 academic, manufacturing, research and development, service and consulting organizations, government and military organizations worldwide are institutional members.

''I am proud and honored to be elected by my fellow scientists to represent the field that spans beautifully and powerfully science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and most especially the University of Kansas in this international mathematics community,'' Pasik-Duncan said.

The SIAM Activity Group on Control and Systems Theory (SIAG/CST) fosters collaboration and interaction among mathematicians, engineers and other scientists in those areas of research related to the theory of systems and their control. It seeks to promote the development of theory and methods related to modeling, control, estimation and approximation of complex biological, physical and engineering systems.

As the program director, Pasik-Duncan will be the general chair of the SIAM Conference on Control & Its Applications, a biennial conference that will be held for the first time outside of the United States, July 8-10, 2015, in Paris.

Pasik-Duncan has served the SIAM community in many capacities as a member of several committees, including the Master Program Committee and Steering Committee, Organizing Committee for the 1994 and 1996 SIAM Annual Meetings, chair of the Program Committee for the 3rd SIAM Conference on Control, SIAM Prize Committee, Organizing Committee for the 1995 SIAG/CST Meeting and program director of SIAG/CST.

Pasik-Duncan's research is focused on stochastic adaptive control, system identification and estimation, stochastic analysis and modeling, and on STEM education. She has an established record of promoting awareness of the importance of control and systems theory, increasing the visibility of women in control and advocating for interdisciplinary research and education. Pasik-Duncan is a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and a Fellow of IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control).

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Nineteen students receive summer Undergraduate Research Awards

From KU News -- 06-02-2014
By Dyan Morgan

LAWRENCE — Nineteen University of Kansas students have received Undergraduate Research Awards. The recipients receive $1,000 to fund their faculty-mentored research and creative projects, which represent departments from across campus and explore a wide range of topics.

Students apply for the award by writing a four-page research proposal under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Proposals are evaluated on the merit of the applicant's proposal, the applicant's academic record, and a recommendation letter from the faculty mentor.

Increased interest in the UGRAs this academic year resulted in a highly competitive selection process, with around 50 percent of proposals receiving funding. ''We continue to be impressed by the quality and quantity of Undergraduate Research Award proposals,'' said John Augusto, assistant vice provost. ''We are pleased that so many undergraduate students at KU are taking part in research, as we know it is a transformative educational experience.''

The UGRA competition is coordinated by the Center for Undergraduate Research and funded by a partnership among the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Office of Research, Undergraduate Studies and the Office of the Provost.

Students receiving awards for the summer of 2014 are listed below in alphabetical order.

Cameron Arnold, a freshman from Topeka majoring in petroleum engineering: ''Measuring Rheological Properties of CO2 Foam for Enhanced Oil Recovery,'' mentored by Reza Barati, chemical and petroleum engineering.

Taylor Atkinson, a sophomore from Owatonna, Minnesota, majoring in biochemistry: ''Click, Click, Cyclize: Amino Ester-Derived ?-Ketosultams via Dieckmann Cyclization of the Corresponding Methylsulfonamides,'' mentored by Paul Hanson, chemistry

Thomas Boatright, a freshman from Lawrence majoring in interdisciplinary computing: ''Surface Antenna Construction for Antarctic Neutrino Detection,'' mentored by Dave Besson, physics & astronomy

Hannah Boyd, a junior from Tulsa, Oklahoma, majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology: ''Click beetles of the Kosñipata Valley, Peru (Coleoptera: Elateridae),'' mentored by Caroline Chaboo, ecology & evolutionary biology and KU Biodiversity Institute

Elizabeth Brock, a senior from Kansas City, Kansas, majoring in applied behavioral science: ''Side Effects of Vicarious Positive Reinforcement,'' mentored by Pamela Neidert, applied behavioral science

Ashley Farris, a junior from Wichita majoring in biochemistry: ''Self-Assembled Liposomal Nanostructures as a Vehicle for Gene Delivery,'' mentored by Michael Detamore, chemical & petroleum engineering

Haley Fetters Crouch, a junior from Overland Park majoring in industrial design: ''Discovery of Materials, Culture, and Traditions of Products in Peru,'' mentored by Lance Rake, industrial design, and Caroline Chaboo, ecology & evolutionary biology and the KU Biodiversity Institute

Jamie Fuller, a senior from Wichita majoring in anthropology: ''A Place to Find Our Voice: Public Space and Protest in Dakar, Senegal,'' mentored by Kathryn Rhine, anthropology

Nadia Hamid, a junior from Lawrence majoring in chemistry: ''Exploring the role of lysosomal trapping in defining the duration of action of B2-agonists used in the treatment of COPD and asthma,'' mentored by Jeff Krise, pharmaceutical chemistry

Clint Jensen, a senior from Gladstone and Kansas City, Missouri, majoring in psychology and film & media studies: ''The role of analogical transfer in categorical learning: Evidence from pupillometry,'' mentored by Evangelia Chrysikou, psychology

Brendan Martin, a senior from Bonner Springs majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology: ''The Effect of a Deep Water Algae Belt (DCM) on Benthic Invertebrate Distribution,'' mentored by James Thorp, ecology & evolutionary biology and Kansas Biological Survey

Kristin Miller, a senior from Leawood majoring in applied behavioral science and communication studies: ''Increasing Young Children’s Compliance with Essential-Routine Procedures: Acquisition, Maintenance, and Generalization,'' mentored by Pamela Neidert, applied behavioral science

Paige Miller, a junior from Leawood majoring in biochemistry: ''Survey of Mosquito Diversity in Peru,'' mentored by Caroline Chaboo, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the KU Biodiversity Institute.

Kathryn O'Nele, a senior from Lenexa majoring in chemistry: ''Palladium and Iridium Catalyzed Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation via Radical Decarboxylation,'' mentored by Jon Tunge, chemistry

Samuel Parrilla, a junior from Kansas City, Missouri, majoring in music composition, music education and music theory: ''Contributing to the Modern Wind Ensemble Repertoire,' mentored by Forrest Pierce, music theory & music composition

Mia Phillips, a junior from Lawrence majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology: ''The Influence of Resource Distribution on Space Use in Little Scrub Island Ground Lizards,'' mentored by Rafe Brown and Douglas Eifler, ecology & evolutionary biology and the KU Biodiversity Institute

Julia Reynolds, a sophomore from Knoxville, Tennessee, majoring in history of art: ''Representations of the Magdalene in Medieval Sculpture,'' mentored by Susan Earle, Spencer Museum of Art, and Mary Klayder, English

Quincy Wofford, a sophomore from Lee's Summit, Missouri, majoring in interdisciplinary computing: ''Radiowave Neutrino Detection with the Long Wavelength Array,'' mentored by Dave Besson, physics & astronomy

Yichi Zhang, a senior from Wuhan, China, majoring in psychology: ''Sleep Disruption as a Mediator between Test-taking Anxiety and Exam Performance,'' mentored by Nancy Hamilton, psychology.

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Hundreds attend to celebrate award-winning undergraduate research

From KU News -- 04-30-2014
By Nicole Perry

LAWRENCE — More than 325 people attended the University of Kansas' 17th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium to hear student presenters share the results of their research and creative projects. The event took place April 26 in the Kansas Union; 107 students presented their projects, representing 25 departments across campus.

''We had the largest event in the 17-year history of the Symposium,'' said John Augusto, assistant vice provost. ''We are thankful for the instructors that encouraged their students to attend and find out more about research, as well as for the high number of faculty members who attended to support their students.''

Student presenters prepared for the Symposium by attending workshops with staff from the Center for Undergraduate Research and working with their research mentors to refine their oral presentations, poster presentations and performances. Faculty and graduate student judges selected 20 presentations to receive Outstanding Presentation Awards, listed below. Individual recipients of the Outstanding Presentation Awards were recognized at the Symposium Banquet on Saturday night and will receive a $50 award.

KU's Undergraduate Research Symposium is sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Office of Research. The full list of student presenters can be found on the Center's website.

The 2014 Outstanding Presentation Award winners:

Mackenzie Bloom, ''Improving Transfection Efficiency via Nucleofection with Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Concentration''; mentor: Michael Detamore, chemical engineering. Bloom is from Superior, Colo.

Joel Bonner, ''Bringing the Intellectual and Personal Benefits of Epic Literature to Children''; mentor: Giselle Anatol, English. Bonner is from Lawrence.

Maggie Boyles, ''Women of the Yiddish Stage''; mentor: Renee Perelmutter, Slavic languages & literature. Boyles is from Les Brouzils, France.

Mugabi Byenkya, ''No Man’s Land: An analysis of the sustainability of Uganda’s national parks system''; mentor: Byron Caminero-Santangelo, English, environmental studies. Byenkya is from Kampala, Uganda.

Nicholas Colbert, ''First Texans Museum - Dancing Informs Design''; mentor: Kapila Silva, architecture. Colbert is from Overland Park.

Jeffery Durbin, ''The Role of Morphemes in Novel Compound Recognition''; mentor: Robert Fiorentino, linguistics. Durbin is from Fort Scott.

Cori Fain, ''Effects of ethynylestradiol on sea urchin embryonic development: adverse effects at relevant oceanic concentrations''; mentor: Paulyn Cartwright, ecology & evolutionary biology. Fain is from Roeland Park.

Ashley Farris, ''A Comparison of Two Polymers for Application in 3D-Printed TMJ Implants''; mentor: Michael Detamore, chemical and petroleum engineering. Farris is from Wichita.

Jamie Fuller, ''Exploring Discrepancies between Development Discourse and Social Realities in Dakar, Senegal''; mentor: Kathryn Rhine, anthropology. Fuller is from Wichita.

Hannah Jayne, ''Sex Education of the U.S. Military: A Rhetorical Analysis of WWII Propaganda''; mentor: Rachel Vaughn, women, gender & sexuality studies. Jayne is from New Prague, Minn.

Clint Jensen, ''Considering the Impact of Analogical Associations on Learning''; mentor: Evangelia Chrysikou, psychology. Jensen is from Gladstone, Mo.

Ruben Medina, ''Youngsters' Perceptions of the Motivational Climate in Their Recreational Exercise Classes''; mentor: Mary Fry, health, sport & exercise sciences. Medina is from Osage City.

Adam Miltner, ''How MAB-5 Drives Posterior Migration of the Q Neuroblasts in the Model Organism Caenorhabditis elegans''; mentor: Erik Lundquist, molecular biosciences. Miltner is from Lawrence.

Seth Polsley, ''Control System Based on Electromyography''; mentor: James Rowland, electrical engineering & computer science. Polsley is from Ottawa.

Elisa Rombold, ''First Texans Museum''; mentor: Kapila Silva, architecture. Rombold is from Junction City.

Kayla Sale, ''Evolutionary History Underlies Plant Physiological Responses to Global Change since the Last Glacial Maximum''; mentors: Joy Ward, ecology & evolutionary Biology, Perry Alexander, electrical engineering & computer science. Sale is from Olathe.

Merritt Schenk, ''Behavioral Science Goes to the Arcade: A Translation of the Generalized Matching Law to Predict and Analyze Human Performance in a Simulated Environment''; mentor: Derek Reed, applied behavioral science. Schenk is from Great Bend.

Bryce Tappan, ''Reactivity and Photoluminescence Studies of Mercaptoazulenes and Their Complexes with Gold (I)''; mentor: Mikhail V. Barybin, chemistry. Tappan is from Brookings, S.D.

Christina Baker, Joseph Keusenkothen, Sam Oberkrom, Will Penner, & Reuben Worthington, ''Where We’re Going We Don't Need Roads... We Need Bike Paths!''; mentors: Johannes Feddema & Shannon O'Lear, geography. Baker is from Coppell, Texas. Keusenkothen is from St. Louis. Oberkrom is from Shawnee. Penner is from Prairie Village.

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Researcher's computing testing could help identify toxic compounds

From KU News -- 04-11-2014
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — Researchers at the University of Kansas School of Engineering are working on a new way to identify in advance whether a chemical could be toxic. Jun 'Luke' Huan, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, uses an advanced computational method to analyze vast volumes of data on chemical compounds and determine which ones are more likely to cause complications in humans in small doses.

Based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Toxic Substances, Huan estimates there are more than 100,000 chemicals that have not undergone simple toxicological experiments. A vast majority of these chemicals pose little or no threat to humans, especially in small doses. His research seeks to identify potential threats in a faster and less costly way than traditional methods.

''Testing toxicity of chemicals is expensive and time-consuming. It takes a lot of resources and creates ethical questions because traditional testing methods involve animal testing,'' said Huan, who is director of the Bioinformatics and Computational Life Sciences Laboratory at the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center. ''The statistical algorithm we've developed helps identify which chemicals the EPA should prioritize and which ones are likely to be toxic so those can be tested first.''

Huan's research on predicting the potential toxicity of chemical compounds was published in 2013 in the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics and was featured in a July 2013 article in R&D Magazine. It was conducted as part of a five-year, $500,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, awarded in 2009 to further his work in bioinformatics. Bioinformatics harnesses computer analysis to learn more about complex biological information, especially molecular genetics and genomics.

As Huan's team collects and screens data on chemicals, they're working to create an open database that could serve as a valuable resource to any researcher interested in examining potential threats.

''We're trying to establish a platform so anyone can send us information, download data and access it freely. We're hoping to create a platform to help promote additional research,'' he said.

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Professor wins NSF award for software development

From KU News -- 04-10-2014
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas professor has received one of the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members.

Andy Gill, assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, earned an Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The National Science Foundation, which issues the awards, supports new faculty who have shown exceptional promise in teaching and research. Gill received a five-year, $521,000 award to develop software that explores tradeoffs in the design of high-performance computing (HPC) systems.

''I am delighted to receive this award,'' Gill said. ''The CAREER funding will allow KU to investigate new ways of writing high-performance systems, building bridges between existing tools that will allow a wider range of programmers to develop high-performance solutions. We want high-performance computing to be accessible to nonspecialists, not just computer scientists and computer engineers.''

Designers are reaching the limits of miniaturization. It is much harder to continue making smaller, faster processors for computers, smartphones and other electronic devices. Instead, researchers are linking computers together to create powerful research platforms. If used efficiently, the new approach offers enormous computing power. These multiple cores, or computers, crunch data in a fraction of the time it would take using individual desktop computers.

HPC allows complex problems to be solved in hours or days rather than years because its processes different parts of a problem simultaneously. It does not solve a problem in a step-by-step fashion but rather works in parallel. Using HPC resources, researchers are attempting to solve complex problems, such as the causes of autism and climate change.

Gill said an efficient HPC platform can run much faster than one slowed down by disorganized processes. His project, 'CAREER: Filling the Gaps in Domain-Specific Functional-Based Solutions for High-Performance Execution,' will create software to make efficiency more accessible in high-performance computing. Just as power steering makes it easier for drivers, the KU software will allow designers to easily assess whether they are getting the maximum performance out of the hardware.

To boost performance, researchers must consider a series of tradeoffs in power, memory and storage. For example, it is sometimes more efficient to use only a few cores rather than the thousands available, because for some problems, communication among cores costs more that the computations themselves. Gill compared the proposed tools to using Google Maps, where users easily compare the costs of walking, taking the bus or driving a car to reach their destination. In much the same way, the KU tools will allow programmers to compare many different ways of using computing resources to complete complex tasks. By quickly comparing solutions, users can spend more time focusing on what a program does, rather than how it is executed, Gill said.

In addition to using surfaces like GPUs and FPGAs on established problems, KU graduate and undergraduate students will use the software to test their hardware/software designs for international competition. For the first time, students will enter the Formal Methods and Models for System Design (MEMOCODE) contest. Previous student competitions include locating millions of sequences in the human genome and extracting 3D information from digital images, with teams having a month to create the best possible high-performance solution.

''The problems posed by MEMOCODE are an ideal test bench for our ideas. This is a great opportunity to compete against others and gain objective feedback about how our tools perform in practice,'' Gill said.

In 2013, Gill received a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance. He gave a series of lectures on his research at leading Scottish universities.

He has earned multiple teaching awards at KU. Graduating EECS seniors selected him for the Harry Talley Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009. The following year, he was an honoree at the Celebration of Teaching Reception hosted by the Center of Teaching Excellence.

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Antartic trench named for professor and researcher

From KU News -- 04-02-2014
By Jill Hummels

LAWRENCE — A section of Antarctica now bears the name of a University of Kansas professor and alumnus.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names announced it has registered the 'Gogineni Subglacial Trench,' which acknowledges the contributions of School of Engineering Distinguished Professor Prasad Gogineni. The subglacial trench sits in proximity to landmarks with highly recognized names such as the Darwin Mountains and the Queen Elizabeth Mountain Range.

Gogineni leads the NSF Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, headquartered at KU. The center develops new technologies, such as ice-penetrating radars, and computer models to measure and predict the response of sea level change to the mass balance of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Gogineni and his research team identified the characteristics of the trench, hidden by ice approximately 3 kilometers thick, that now bears his name.

''Dr. Gogineni is a truly distinguished researcher who has advanced the boundaries of human knowledge,'' Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. ''One of KU's missions is to make discoveries that change the world, and Professor Gogineni has been key to advancing that mission. His work is providing new insights in fields vital to understanding our planet, so it is a unique and fitting honor that his achievements will be recognized in this way.''

Gogineni earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from KU in 1984 and after working as a research engineer at KU was hired as a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1986. He said he has been involved in research that develops radars and remote-sensing tools to measure various conditions of polar ice since his student days.

''This recognition of Professor Gogineni's accomplishments is particularly well-deserved,'' said Joe Heppert, associate vice chancellor for the KU Office of Research. ''Data on ice sheet dynamics collected by the KU Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets research team, which Dr. Gogineni leads, has been instrumental in re-writing our understanding of our polar regions. His years of hard work and innovative research are worthy of a tribute of this magnitude.''

This isn't the first major honor for Gogineni, who received NASA's Terra Award in 1998 for exceptional scientific and technical service to the agency and KU's Louise Byrd Graduate Educator Award in 2002. Later that year, he spent several months in Tasmania on loan as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

'All of us in the School of Engineering are so proud to hear about this new accolade,'' said Dean of Engineering Michael Branicky. 'Dr. Gogineni's legacy isn't just that his pioneering research has changed what people know about polar ice, but that he's also led so many KU students to new levels of achievement. As both a KU faculty member and a School of Engineering alumnus, he's a great example of the excellence KU shares with the world.''

One of the students he advised, Carl Leuschen, now teaches as an associate professor in the EECS department and works closely with Gogineni as deputy director at CReSIS.

''One thing I remember was his willingness to spend long nights in the laboratory to get projects working correctly, whether it be a radar system or a computer simulation,'' Leuschen said. ''Prasad has been instrumental in advancing radar technology and optimizing systems for remote sensing of ice sheets. His dedication to his work, students and colleagues has enabled us to sound and detect this trench. I am very pleased with him being honored by having the trench named after him as he has made significant contributions to his field.''

CReSIS, which was established in 2005, has made great strides in research and fieldwork concerning changes in ice sheets and their effect on sea level rise. Data collected by the center were instrumental in developing a new highly detailed map of the bedrock of Antarctica. CReSIS data were also instrumental in identifying a mega-canyon buried under miles of ice in Greenland. Portions of the canyon are twice as deep at the Grand Canyon.

KU serves as the lead institution of CReSIS, which is composed of six additional partner institutions: Elizabeth City State University, Indiana University, University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Association of Computer and Information Science Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions. CReSIS researchers collaborate with scientists, engineers and institutions around the world.

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Grant could aid in effort to bolster computer performance

From KU News -- 04-02-2014
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — Turning powerful graphics cards that increase the speed and performance of video games into reliable processors for high-performance computing has earned a University of Kansas researcher a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) award.

Xin Fu, an assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), has received a $430,000 NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The five-year grant supports junior faculty members who have shown exceptional promise in teaching and research.

''I am honored to receive this award,'' Fu said. ''This grant will help me develop tools to assess the reliability of next-generation throughput processors integrated with emerging technologies. That assessment will then lead to predicting, detecting and, finally, tolerating various types of errors. The end result will be that a wide range of disciplines will be able to use throughput processors for their data processing needs.''

Complex 3D images were overwhelming computer resources, leading to decreased overall performance. To ease the strain, researchers developed a Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) to build images and manage other large efforts. GPUs consist of smaller, more efficient cores designed to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, known as parallel processing. Further advancements were needed, however, to improve performance and energy efficiency, so new technologies were added to GPU systems that were not necessarily reliable.

With her CAREER Award, Fu is developing tools to assess reliability in GPUs integrated with emerging technologies, such as non-volatile memory (NVM). Leaked power can account for nearly 50 percent of a chip's power consumption, according to EE Times. To create more energy-efficient computers, researchers started adding NVM to GPUs for its low rate of unintended power leaks. Fu's work will start with an assessment of the reliability of the data that these new integrated GPUs produce.

Since each new technology has positive and negative impacts on reliability, Fu will develop vulnerability models to asses for three kinds of reliability errors: particle-strike soft errors, aging-effect hard errors and manufacturing process variations. These models will lead to the prediction of errors in new GPU systems and the creation of lightweight error detections techniques. Finally, the error detection techniques will lead to designing systems that are fault-tolerant, or more reliable, at a lower cost.

''It is critical to harness novel technologies' benefits and overcome their shortcomings on reliability to develop robust, high-performance and energy-efficient GPU processors,'' Fu said.

Once Fu's work on this proposal is done, she hopes to benefit numerous real life applications by leveraging these advanced processing technologies. The varied fields of finance, medicine, biology, aerospace and geology could all benefit from faster and more reliable data computation. On a more general level, reliable chips are critical to large-scale growth in supercomputing.

Fu came to KU in 2010 after graduating with her doctorate in computer engineering from the University of Florida. She also is a recipient of Kansas NSF EPSCoR First Award and NSF Computing Innovation Fellow (CIFellow). She has taught courses in digital design, computer architecture and computer organization. She conducts research at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center.

Her CAREER Award marks the second for the department this spring. EECS Assistant Professor Andy Gill also received a CAREER Award for his functional programming.

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Graduate students to showcase research at Capitol

From KU News -- 02-12-2014
By Damon Talbott

LAWRENCE — Thirteen University of Kansas graduate students from the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses were selected to showcase their research projects for state legislators and the public at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit. The event will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in the second-floor rotunda of the state Capitol in Topeka.

The KU representatives will join graduate students from Kansas State University and Wichita State University at the event. The Capitol Graduate Research Summit is intended to raise awareness of the graduate programs at KU, KUMC, K-State and Wichita State and to highlight the importance of graduate students' research at state universities.

Michael Roberts, dean of graduate studies, noted that KU will be represented by graduate students from a variety of disciplines. ''The students who will be presenting exemplify the range of research being conducted by graduate students at KU. The research that our graduate students conduct provides lasting benefits to our state and nation.''

Presentations will cover a range of topics, from using cell phones to expand the delivery of social services to targeted treatments for cancer. Bioengineering doctoral student Lindsey Ott is researching a tissue-engineered product to improve pediatric airway surgeries.

Following the presentations, awards funded by BioKansas will be presented to two projects from each campus. BioKansas was founded in 2004 by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute to unify Kansas' bioscience industry, academic research institutions and economic development organizations. Its goals are to enhance the state's business and research climate in the state, and to work with leaders across the state to attract and retain bioscience talent, companies and funding.

The presenters are listed below by area of graduate study, hometown, and titles of their research presentations.

See more online.
– Emily Beck, doctoral student in bioengineering; Manhattan; ''Decellularized Cartilage Hydrogels for Cartilage Tissue Engineering.'' Video of Beck's work is available here.
– Bliss O'Bryhim, doctoral student in molecular and integrated physiology; Lenexa; ''Tyrosinase Activity is Associated with Increased Severity of Oxygen-Induced Retinopathy via Modulation of Dopaminergic Signaling.''
– Cara Busenhart, doctoral student in nursing; Overland Park; ''The Opportunity to Act Like a Nurse: A Qualitative Analysis of Perceived Impact of Simulation on Professional Role Transition.''
– Yufei Cheng, doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science; Weichang, China; ''Telecommunication Network Vulnerability and Geodiverse Routing Protocol.'' Video of Cheng's work is available here.
– Brittany Hartwell, doctoral student in bioengineering; Ames, Iowa; ''Cellular Response to a Novel Multivalent Polymeric Immunotherapy for Multiple Sclerosis.'' Video of Hartwell's work is available here.
– Charles Christopher Jehle Jr., medical student; Overland Park; ''Alcohol Use Disorder in Burn Patients.''
– Sharmin Kader, doctoral student in architecture; Mohammadpur, Bangladesh; ''Development of Hospice Environmental Assessment Protocol (HEAP): A Post Occupancy Evaluation Tool for Hospice Building Facilities.''
– Margaret Lloyd, doctoral student in social work; Kansas City, Kan.; ''The Disparate Impact of Alcohol, Methamphetamine and Other Drugs on Family Reunification after Foster Care in Kansas.''
– Lindsey Ott, doctoral student in bioengineering; Mulvane; ''Biomaterial Device for Repairing the Pediatric Airway.'' Video of Ott's work is available here.
– Greta Stamper, doctoral student in audiology; Jacksonville, Fla.; ''Auditory Responses in Normal-Hearing, Noise-Exposed Ears.''
– Cynthia L. Taylor, doctoral student in counseling psychology; Kansas City, Mo.; and Benjamin Rutt, doctoral student in counseling psychology; Marshfield, Wis.; ''Evaluation of Text4baby Promotional Efforts in Finney County and State Level Replication.''
– Kristin Watt, doctoral student in cell biology and anatomy; Overland Park; ''Investigation of the Roles of RNA Polymerase Subunits Polr1c and Polr1d in Craniofacial Development ad the Pathogenesis of Treacher Collins Syndrome.''
– Yan Xia, doctoral student in molecular biosciences; Lawrence; ''Designing Small Molecule Inhibitors of RNA-binding Proteins by Mimicry.''

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Garmin co-founder makes $1M gift for School of Engineering

From KU News -- 01-30-2014
By Lisa Scheller

LAWRENCE — Dr. Min Kao, of Garmin International Inc., has made a $1 million gift through the Kao Family Foundation to support programs and scholarships at the University of Kansas School of Engineering. Half of the gift will create the Min H. Kao Engineering Design Studios, and half will establish the Garmin Excellence Scholarship in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In addition, a mentorship program will be established between KU engineering students and engineers at Garmin.

Dr. Kao is co-founder and executive chairman of Garmin Ltd., with U.S. headquarters located in Olathe. He earned a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

This gift adds to Dr. Kao's past support for the KU School of Engineering, which exceeds $500,000 to date in scholarships.

''I am delighted to support the University of Kansas in its mission to educate its students and to encourage engineering and technology innovation,'' said Dr. Kao. ''Ensuring a highly-skilled engineering workforce is vital to the future of Garmin, the state of Kansas and our nation as a whole.''

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said, ''This substantial gift helps KU educate future leaders and represents a deepening of our relationship with Dr. Kao and Garmin.''

Dean of Engineering Michael Branicky said, ''Dr. Kao’s gift supports our students and our goal to provide more top quality engineers to Kansas industry. We are excited by the many opportunities a gift of this magnitude affords.''

Glenn Prescott, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said, ''Dr. Kao's generous support of the studios will strengthen our capstone experiences for students, enhancing learning and industry readiness. Capstone courses require seniors to use their full knowledge as they design a project prior to graduation, and are critical to a graduate's early success in the workforce. Providing a state-of-the-art workspace, such as these design studios, will be a definite advantage.''

The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university's $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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Professor represents women in engineering at international workshop

From KU News -- 12-17-2013
By Gloria Prothe

LAWRENCE — Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, professor of mathematics and courtesy professor of electrical engineering and computer science, attended the roundtable UNESCO/IGU Workshop on Women in Africa and the Arab States at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris earlier this month as a representative of IEEE Women in Engineering.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the world's largest technical professional association advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. It publishes technical journals, sponsors conferences, develops technology standards and supports the professional interests of more than 425,000 members worldwide.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Gas Union hosted the workshop to identify the socioeconomic, cultural and educational constraints for women in engineering in Africa and the Arab States. The Roundtable on Women in Engineering in Africa will examine science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational policies, curricula, teacher training and female participation. The Roundtable on Women in Engineering in the Arab States will discuss the factors preventing women from entering the workforce in greater numbers despite the large percentage of engineering students that are women.

Bozenna Pasik-Duncan is a Fellow of IEEE and has been recently elected a member of the IEEE Women in Engineering Committee after six years of serving as the liaison from the IEEE Control Systems Society. IEEE Women in Engineering is the largest international professional organization dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists and inspiring girls around the world to follow their academic interests to a career in engineering.

Pasik-Duncan is the founder and first chair of the IEEE CSS Standing Committee on Women in Control. During her vice presidency for membership activities in the organization, she played an instrumental role in increasing the number of female fellows of IEEE. She has served in many leadership capacities in the organization, including several terms as chair of Technical Committee on Control Education, a member of IEEE-USA Communication Committee and a member of the Board of Governors of IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology as the Liaison from IEEE CSS. She has been featured in many articles, including the interview with her in the December Issue of the Control Systems Magazine.

Bozenna Pasik-Duncan is also a Fellow of the International Federation of Control as one of four female fellows among 147 fellows of IFAC. She is an advocate for women in STEM fields internationally. She is the founder and faculty sponsor of the KU Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics, and she is a member of the KU Women Hall of Fame.

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University announces New Self Graduate Fellows

From KU News -- 10-28-2013
By Sharon Graham

LAWRENCE — Six doctoral students have been selected to receive the University of Kansas prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship as they begin the 2013-2014 academic year. The 30 current Self Graduate Fellows are among 146 students who have benefited from the fellowship since it was established.

Self Graduate Fellowships are four-year awards to new or first-year doctoral students who demonstrate leadership, initiation and a passion for achievement. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees, provides a $29,500 annual payment to new fellows, and includes a unique development program. The Fellow Development Program provides general education and training in communication, management and leadership to assist Self Graduate Fellows in preparation for future leadership roles, complementing the specialized education and training provided in doctoral programs.

The fellowship's mission is to identify and recruit exceptional doctoral students who demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields of study and society as a whole.

Madison ''A'' and Lila Self of Hinsdale, Ill., launched and permanently endowed the Self Graduate Fellowship in 1989, motivated by their strong belief in the vital importance of developing leadership for tomorrow. Madison Self, who died in January of 2013, was a 1943 KU graduate in chemical engineering. Lila Self is a native of Eudora and attended KU with the class of 1943.

The new Self Graduate Fellows are:

Theodore 'Ted' D. Harris, ecology and evolutionary biology, has been tied to water his whole life. Early on, it was through elite-level competitive swimming and sailing. Now, he is connected through research related to pollution of freshwater – a topic about which he is passionate. The reason: ''Life as we know it depends on access to clean freshwater.'' Harris first explored the interconnectedness of water and life as an undergraduate. He earned a Bachelor of Science in fisheries and wildlife as well as a Bachelor of Science in forestry and a minor in biology, 2009, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. During that time he was a U.S. National, U.S. Open and U.S. Olympic Trial qualifier in swimming. He also received Big 12 Conference Academic First-Team honors. As he pursued a master's degree in natural resources, 2012, from the University of Idaho-Moscow, Harris pursued his research on a global scale. He focused on potential management strategies designed to reduce the occurrence of toxic blooms of cyanobacteria, which result from human-induced nutrient pollution of surface waters. He worked with 10 researchers and data from 2,073 lakes around the world to see if the results of his research could be applied to aquatic systems worldwide. His research will ultimately help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make progress toward recovering Willow Creek Reservoir in Oregon from toxic algae blooms. Harris worked as a GTA and GRA at the University of Idaho, and most recently worked as a hydrologic technician for the Geological Survey in Lawrence. Harris intends to devote his professional career to conducting research that identifies issues that cause degradation of freshwater resources. Through hard data and hard work, he wants to help develop policies aimed at improving the stewardship, management and protection of surface water.

Harris is the son of Cheryl Muich and Howard Harris, Greenville, Ill. He is a graduate of Greenville High School.

Brittany N. Krutty, developed an early interest in physics.

''The Universe turned out to be altogether more beautiful and complex than I had imagined. Of course I chose to major in physics,'' she said.

As an undergraduate at KU, Krutty worked with the nuclear physics research group. During two summer and winter breaks Krutty was able to work at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research Center in Geneva. She also spent time at the Large Hadron Collider tunnel working on hardware and electronics. As a result of her work at CERN, Krutty was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship in 2012. Krutty has also been involved in numerous community projects, including serving one year as president of KU Habitat for Humanity and president and secretary of KU WeTeach. She has served as a student ambassador for the KU Honors Program, been involved in the KU wakeboard club and been an active participant in intramural sports. Krutty received numerous awards as an undergraduate, including the J. Michael Young Opportunity Award, Undergraduate Research Award, Watkins-Berger Scholars Award and the Robert J. Dole Public Service Scholarship. Krutty wants to focus on astronomy in her doctoral studies, and she hopes to eventually apply her knowledge to a government laboratory and ''inspire awe in people by introducing them to the marvels of science, technology, engineering and math.''

Krutty is the daughter of Katherine and Daniel Krutty, Olathe. She is a graduate of Olathe Northwest High School.

Michelle McWilliams, molecular and integrative physiology at the KU Medical Center, has taken advantage of life's classrooms to shape her future. College, volunteer work, internships and a stint in industry helped shape her desire to work in drug development. McWilliams worked in her hometown of Reno, Nev., for several years in behavioral and occupational therapy. Her patients were individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who suffered from chronic medical conditions. She learned that often there were few, if any, effective medical therapies for these patients. Their ''diseases and conditions are largely overlooked because they are considered benign conditions.'' She saw treatments that ''are inadequate yet widely accepted as good enough.'' Those experiences motivated her to continue her pursuit of a career in biomedical sciences. Two years at Santa Cruz Biotechnology in Paso Robles, Calif., gave her research experience in an industrial setting prior to joining the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences at KU Medical Center in 2012. McWilliams received her bachelor's degree in biology from the University of San Diego in 2008. She received awards and scholarships, including the SBC Foundation Scholarship, the USD Trustee Scholarship, the College Board AP Scholar Award and the Pagini Memorial Scholarship. Her work at KUMC is focused on small molecule drug development to treat uterine fibroids, a chronic health condition that affects almost 25 percent of all women, and yet receives little attention from companies and policymakers. McWilliams hopes to make a difference for people suffering from chronic and neglected conditions through her work in biomedical drug development.

McWilliams is the daughter of Carol Ann Everling, Houston, and Thomas Everling, Reno, Nev. She is a graduate of Bishop Manogue Catholic High School, Reno.

Andrea L. Nuckolls, neurosciences, KU Medical Center, studied biology and psychology, worked as a nanny and volunteered at a psychiatric center when her end goal became clear to her. An ardent observer of personality and behavior, she realized she wanted to be a neuroscientist. She could then learn about the evolution of the human brain and how it usually enables normal cognitive processes. While pursuing her bachelor's degree in psychology at Rockhurst University, 2011, in Kansas City, Nuckolls added courses in biology and chemistry. She worked at the KU Alzheimer and Memory Program and interned with the American Journal of Bioethics and the Joshua Center for Neurological Disorders. As she realized she was on the right path, she received a number of awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award and the Ignatius of Loyola Award. Nuckolls' goal is to conduct research in brain-behavior relationships that will provide insight into what causes devastating brain disease, and to investigate the efficacy of various treatments and preventive measures. In her words, ''The process of aging is inevitable, and many of us have a great chance of developing a neurodegenerative disease. It is imperative that we understand the science behind these processes more completely.''

Nuckolls is the daughter of Tammy Nuckolls of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Craig Nuckolls of Rome, Ga. She is a graduate of Lee's Summit North High School.

Joseph M. Siegel, chemistry, intends to finish a doctoral degree in chemistry at KU so that he can become a leader in analytical chemistry research.

As Siegel says, ''Through research, chemists continue to astound the world with the creation of new technology and techniques.''

Siegel began his graduate work at KU after working for Monsanto in Creve Coeur, Mo., where he provided analytical support for the chemistry research and development division and assisted with metal corrosion research. Siegel received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, 2011, from Truman State University. While an undergraduate at TSU, Siegel discovered – and enjoyed – research. That led to a summer of undergraduate research at Michigan State University, where he worked in a lab studying bloodstream complication during disease onset using microfluidic technology. At TSU Siegel was awarded the Presidential Leadership Scholarship, was the assistant manager of Bulldog Biodiesel, served as a teaching assistant and was president of the chemistry honor fraternity. During his first year at KU Siegel was awarded the Carl and Catherine Chaffee Scholarship, the Bailey Memorial Scholarship and has served as treasurer of the chemistry graduate student organization.

Siegel is the son of John and Tracy Siegel, St. Louis. He is a graduate of Parkway South High School.

Michael T. Stees, electrical engineering and computer science, likes the idea of using programs to solve interesting problems. In Stees' area of computer science, that means using functional programming to find solutions to interesting and complex situations. His interest in problem solving extends to the human side as well. As an undergraduate at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill., Stees worked as a head resident for a residence hall. He helped students and staff members adjust and also thrive. Stees also served as an orientation leader, vice president of the computer science club and a lab assistant while at Monmouth. The university awarded him the Robert Minteer '66 Prize – awarded to a student in physics, math or chemistry who maximizes potential and exemplifies Monmouth College's values. Stees was also able to participate in an NSF-funded REU program in the summer of 2012 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. Stees received his Bachelor of Arts in computer science from Monmouth College in 2013. In the future he hopes to work in the private sector where he can ''challenge the design of current products and the thinking behind future products by bridging the gap between theoretical and applied computing.''

Stees is the son of Betty Pechin of Plainfield, Ill., and Guy Stees of Durango, Colo. He is a graduate of Plainfield High School Central Campus in Plainfield.

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Graduate researcher honored for wireless communication paper

From KU News -- 10-22-2013
By Michelle Ward

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas researcher Ehsan Hosseini has been selected as the winner of the Best Graduate Student Paper Award at this week's International Telemetering Conference (ITC) . He will receive a $1,000 monetary award and recognition at the ITC opening ceremony for his research on synchronizing bursts of data transferred between base stations and aircraft traveling at Mach speeds over thousands of miles.

''The most important aspect of wining the best paper award is the recognition of my work by researchers outside of KU. The conference has a large number of attendees from industry, and this reassures me that my Ph.D. research is useful to industry. Its theoretical aspects have already been published in scientific journals,'' said Hosseini, a doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS).

Hosseini conducted research under the direction of his adviser, EECS Associate Professor Erik Perrins, a leader in the field of wireless communications. Perrins is leading a Department of Defense (DoD) project to help build a new communication framework to support advanced testing of airborne vehicles, including DoD and NASA systems.

''KU has established itself as a leader in wireless communications. We have won this paper award three out of the last five years,'' Perrins said.

The integrated Network-Enhanced Telemetry (iNET) program, the first substantial upgrade to flight-testing in 50 years, will permit two-way communication and the transmission of greater amounts of data during flights. Telemetry deals with the automatic transmission and measurement of data from remote sources, such as airborne vehicles. A key upgrade of iNET will be its ability to transmit data in bursts (or packets), rather than being continuously streamed. This allows time-sensitive information to be sent immediately, giving evaluators a more efficient, flexible communication network. But a short burst is more difficult to synchronize between a transmitter and receiver.

The synchronization problem can be compared to the way in which a person positions a printed page. The reader must first orient the page correctly – using known markings such as the text itself as a guide – before reading can commence. Some of the page is 'wasted' on blank spaces and punctuation, but these are necessary in order to communicate clearly.

In a similar fashion, the receiver must lock onto a burst transmission and orient it correctly–using a known data message called a preamble. Because the preamble 'wastes' space that could otherwise be used for the message, the preamble needs to be as short as possible. Perrins' team has identified the most efficient preamble possible, and Hosseini’s paper describes the algorithms that are used to lock onto this preamble.

This is the third Best Graduate Paper Award at ITC for KU students in the last five years. Perrins' graduate student Gino Rea won in 2009 for research on the hardware design of a demodulator for forward error correction codes, which allow the receiver to detect and correct errors in weak transmissions. Two years later, EECS graduate students Kamakshi Sirisha Pathapati, Nguy?n Ng?c Trúc Anh and Justin P. Rohrer, under the direction of EECS Associate Professor James P.G. Sterbenz, won for their paper on resilient, reliable networks that could transmit large amounts of test data.

ITC is an annual forum and technical exhibition sponsored by the International Foundation for Telemetering, a nonprofit corporation that promotes the professional and technical interests of the telemetering community by sponsoring conferences, educational activities and technical publications.

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NSF grant to boost KU's life sciences computing power

From KU News -- 09-18-2013
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — A three-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will provide a boost to computational life sciences research at the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center. The award – which comes with $200,000 from KU, bringing the total to $700,000 – provides funds to purchase computer hardware that's expected to accelerate data analysis and computer modeling for researchers in fields such as genetics, chemistry, biophysics, ecology, evolutionary biology, materials research and pharmaceutical sciences.

Jun 'Luke' Huan, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the bioinformatics and computational life sciences laboratory at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), is the principal investigator on the project. His team will oversee the installation of the new hardware and ensure the system functions smoothly.

''So much research in science and engineering is data-intensive. Enhanced data processing and storage capability enables researchers to run more elaborate cyberexperiments in a shorter amount of time, which means challenges are solved quicker,'' Huan said.

The hardware purchase will cover three areas: storage, computer servers and graphics processing units. It will be housed at KU's Advanced Computing Facility in Nichols Hall, which opened early in 2013 through a $4.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

''We're fortunate to already have a wonderful facility in place that can immediately handle the addition of this new hardware,'' Huan said. ''That means installation will be fast, and we should be up and running in just a few months.''

Huan is working with four KU professors as co-principal investigators: Justin Blumenstiel, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Ilya Vakser, professor of bioinformatics and molecular biosciences and director of the Center for Bioinformatics; Krzysztof Kuczera, professor of chemistry and molecular biosciences; and A. Townsend Peterson, distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

''We're proud of the interdisciplinary nature of the project. With computer science as the backbone, we'll be providing the computing power for research in a wide-range of fields such as biology, ecology, genetics, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, pharmaceutical science and several others,'' Huan said.

KU Medical Center investigators are frequent users of ACF. Huan said the grant further strengthens the connection between KU and KU Medical Center by improving the computing facility to process big genomics data. The project also meets two key goals set out in the university strategic plan.

''This effort speaks to the goals of Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge and Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures. We're thrilled to undertake this interdisciplinary research effort and expect to see some exciting outcomes,'' Huan said.

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KU to host international symposium on ice sheet sensing technology

From KU News -- 09-04-2013
By Kevin Boatright

LAWRENCE — As the world's glaciers and polar ice sheets continue to vanish, advanced technology for the study of this global change – and the resulting rise in sea level – is more important and more sophisticated than ever before. The multi-partner Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) , headquartered at the University of Kansas, is a recognized world leader in this critical field of study.

For that reason, the International Glaciological Society has chosen Lawrence as the site for its International Symposium on Radioglaciology, to take place Sept. 9-13 at KU. Nearly 100 researchers from more than 30 universities and research institutes around the world will gather to discuss the latest technological innovations in radar and signal processing techniques for investigating glaciers and polar ice sheets. The symposium is sponsored at KU by CReSIS, the School of Engineering, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the KU Center for Research Inc., NASA and the National Science Foundation.

''This area of scientific research is becoming more urgent each year,'' said Prasad Gogineni, director of CReSIS and the Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. ''The symposium is a rare opportunity to share technical findings and the latest knowledge with colleagues from many countries. It's also a chance for researchers to explore potential collaborations in person, and it's a terrific showcase for CReSIS and KU.''

Among the countries represented at the symposium are Denmark, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Norway, China, Japan and Chile.

Richard Alley, a renowned geologist and the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, is the keynote speaker for the symposium. He is a member of the National Academies of Science and author of a prize-winning book, ''The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future.'' His research has ''provided key data and interpretations helping demonstrate that regional to global climate changes larger than any experienced by agricultural or industrial humans have occurred repeatedly, in decades to as little as a single year, and helped reveal mechanisms and the possibility of recurrence.''

Other featured speakers include:
–Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, professor, Centre for Ice and Climate, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
–Jay Zwally, project scientist, Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) Mission, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
–Richard Hindmarsh, glaciologist, Science Programmes, British Antarctic Survey
–David Crandall, assistant professor, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University.

Participants will make oral presentations throughout each day of the symposium. More than 30 research posters will also be on display. Topic areas for the talks and posters include: –Radars and signal processing techniques for sounding and imaging of polar ice sheets
–Recent radar observations and results over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets –Using radar observations to improve ice sheet models
–Quantifying ice physical properties and basal conditions with radar techniques –Validating radar measurements with seismic observations and modeling techniques –Quantifying the geometry of temperate and debris-covered glaciers.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to attend a professional development forum, in conjunction with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, on the opening night of the symposium. This forum will provide young scientists who have an interest in glaciology, remote sensing and remote sensing platforms an opportunity to discuss career information and employment strategies, and explore potential research collaborations.

The International Symposium on Radioglaciology will take place in the Kansas Memorial Union. During their stay in Lawrence, participants will also enjoy local excursions and a closing night banquet at the Adams Alumni Center. Complete symposium information is available online.

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KU research plays role in Greenland canyon discovery

From KU News -- 08-30-2013
By Jill Hummels

LAWRENCE — Researchers at the University of Kansas played a significant role in providing data that reveal the existence of a massive canyon buried under miles of ice in Greenland. The discovery appears in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The article, authored by Jonathan Bamber at the University of Bristol in England, maps a canyon in Greenland that is 470 miles long and twice as deep in places as the Grand Canyon. Because the ice sheet is as much as two miles thick, it had gone unnoticed for millennia.

Prasad Gogineni, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science at KU and director of the NSF Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), said that data collected by radars developed at KU and used in earth science missions funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA over the past two decades were essential to researchers being able to reveal this geological feature. Data collection has picked up in recent years with the KU-designed Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS), a critical instrument addition to NASA's ongoing Operation IceBridge missions as well as to ongoing NSF polar studies. Students, staff and faculty affiliated with CReSIS were involved in collecting and processing much of the data used in the research paper, and additional data products, Gogineni said.

CReSIS, which is headquartered at KU, develops ice-penetrating radars and unmanned aircraft to study changes in earth's polar ice sheets. The data collected by KU researchers and CReSIS partner institutions are used by KU and others around the world to better predict climate change and the effect melting ice sheets have on sea level.

For interviews contact CReSIS Deputy Director Carl Leuschen, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, 785-864-7723,

For more information about CReSIS, go to

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NASA fellowship will help KU student develop better polar ice radar

By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — A three-year, $90,000 NASA fellowship will allow a University of Kansas School of Engineering graduate student to design tools that will help more precisely predict future sea level rise based on the impact of climate change on the polar ice sheets.

Theresa Stumpf, a doctoral student in electrical engineering at KU's Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) from Wentzville, Mo., was awarded a fellowship to NASA's Earth and Space Science Program to conduct research on a new type of ice penetrating radar designed to gather data from a much wider area and provide a much clearer picture of the conditions where the ice meets bedrock. Much of the data used by the scientific community, particularly Greenland data, are gathered with radars developed by CReSIS at KU and flown on aircraft over the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. These data represent images and information from the surface of the ice sheet to the bedrock.

The formal name of Stumpf's NASA fellowship application is 'Ultra-Wideband, Wide-Swath Radar Imaging of the Ice-Bed Interface for Generating Fine Resolution Bed Topography and Quantifying Basal Conditions.'

''That essentially means that the ice sheets are mapped out over a very wide swath, providing more accurate and abundant data about the conditions at the bedrock. Current information on that is very sparse,'' Stumpf said. The conditions where the ice meets rock at the bottom of the ice sheet – whether it's solid ice, melting ice or water – have a major influence on the speed of the ice flow to the oceans. The faster the ice flows, the more it affects sea level rise.

''Another important aspect of wide-swath imaging is that you can collect this data in a single pass from the aircraft,'' Stumpf said. ''You don't have to fly multiple lines over the same area and then piece the data together to get fine resolution. You're getting it in just one pass and that’s the objective.''

Data used by CReSIS have traditionally been gathered solely from the area directly beneath the aircraft. Stumpf's research will analyze data from three separate antennas that gather information from a much wider patch of ground. While it can be more challenging to filter out interference and convert data to an accurate map, once Stumpf interprets all the information, the result can provide a more thorough and revealing picture of the conditions beneath the surface.

''Detailed descriptions of hydrological channels below the ice allow scientists to make more accurate predictions about future sea levels'' Stumpf said.

She says the outstanding work done on ice sheet research at KU over the years certainly helped earn her the NASA fellowship.

''They recognize the University of Kansas, here in the heart of the country, as a true leader in ice sheet research, and our track record and reputation definitely put me in a position to do research that I think a lot of other graduate students wouldn’t have the opportunity to do. I'm excited to see what we can do,'' Stumpf said.

Video on Stumpf's project can be viewed here.

KU serves as the lead institution for the National Science Foundation-funded CReSIS, which incorporates the strengths of six additional partner institutions: Elizabeth City State University, Indiana University, University of Washington, The Pennsylvania State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Association of Computer and Information Science Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions. In addition to this core group, CReSIS collaborates with several international institutions and industry partners.

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Students, faculty honored at School of Engineering ceremony

From KU News -- 06-20-2013
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Engineering awarded degrees to nearly 350 students at the school’s graduate recognition ceremony May 18 at Allen Fieldhouse. Degrees went to nearly 300 undergraduate and 50 graduate students, with special honors going to 10 seniors and five faculty members.

Mary Adams, Rolla, Mo., the outstanding senior in architectural engineering, was also the recipient of the Sammie and Carl Locke Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the School of Engineering for 2013.

The other outstanding seniors:
–Sydney Autry, Mantorville, Minn., petroleum engineering
–Amir Bachelani, Olathe, aerospace engineering
–Dakota Henke, Olathe, electrical engineering
–Ben Hofmeier, Wichita, engineering physics
–Christopher Novosel, Columbia, Mo., civil engineering
–Keeler Russell, Wichita, computer engineering
–Joseph Sandt, Kansas City, Mo., mechanical engineering
–Michael Tabone, DeSoto, computer science
–Emma Watson, Wichita, chemical engineering

In addition to commemorating the achievements of the graduating class, several faculty members were lauded for their academic, research and service endeavors.

Shah Keshmiri, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, was selected by engineering students as the Gould Award winner for Outstanding Undergraduate Educator. Keshmiri received recognition for his lasting impact on the students he teaches and for showcasing astounding dedication as a mentor and educator. Students praised him for his strong desire to see students succeed, so much so that he's been known to teach an extra class session for just one student.

Engineering students named David Petr, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, as the Gould Award winner for Outstanding Undergraduate Adviser. Petr was praised for his willingness to take time to talk with students and his keen interest in the well-being of their learning and development.

Prajna Dhar, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, was selected by a School of Engineering faculty committee to receive the Miller Professional Development Award for Research. Dhar's research focuses on furthering the understanding of respiratory diseases, including work on the effects of inhaled carbon nanoparticles on lung function. She received a Leading Light Award from KU in March for earning more than $1 million in research funding during the previous fiscal year.

A committee of School of Engineering faculty selected Adolfo Matamoros, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, as the winner of the Miller Professional Development Award for Service. Matamoros has been highly involved in the work of the American Concrete Institute. He has also organized technical programs for ACI, the American Institute of Steel Construction, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the NSF-supported National Earthquake Engineering Simulation Program.

Jim Rowland, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was selected by a faculty committee to receive the 2013 John E. and Winifred E. Sharp Professorship. Rowland is known for his passion for engineering education. In addition to his significant teaching contribution to the department and the school of Engineering, Rowland invests time and effort in improving engineering education across the nation. He has served as a member and chair of many engineering education organizations, and his work has been recognized by numerous organizations outside of KU.

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Final faculty research-sharing set for today

From KU News -- 04-19-2013
By Emily Ryan

LAWRENCE — The final Red Hot Research session of the year, intended to bring together University of Kansas scholars from all disciplines, will begin at 4 p.m. today in the The Commons at Spooner Hall.

The format of these sessions is inspired by Pecha Kucha, which features short, slide-based talks that introduce audiences to a topic. Each installment will feature six faculty members, speaking for six minutes each. Audience members are encouraged to connect with the speakers (and each other) during breaks. The sessions are intended to provide faculty members with a venue for cross-disciplinary partnering and exploration.

Presenters are as follows:
Sherrie Tucker, professor of American Studies: "Improvisation, Bodies, and Difference"

Marie Grace Brown, assistant professor of history: "Documenting Desire"

Norman Akers, associate professor of visual art: "Border Crossing"

Dennis Domer, project director, architecture, design and planning: "Intergenerational Communities"

Gary Minden, professor of electrical engineering & computer science: "Energy."

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Department awarded NSF undergraduate summer research funding

From KU News -- 03-28-2013
By Nicole Perry

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology has been awarded funding for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program through the National Science Foundation. The program, titled ''Models in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics,'' will bring undergraduate students to KU's campus for 10 weeks to provide professional training and hands-on experiences as undergraduate researchers.

The first group of students will arrive in Lawrence in May. Primarily biology and mathematics majors, these students will participate in independent biology research under the supervision of a KU faculty member in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Areas or research include the evolution of development, speciation, global climate change, plant physiological ecology, population dynamics, ecological genetics, animal behavior, population genetics, quantitative trait evolution, phylogenetics and systematics. Student participants will gain experience in reading and discussing the scientific literature, formulating and testing hypotheses, and data analysis. At the conclusion of the program, participants describe their research in an oral presentation and a poster presentation.

''We are very excited about the breadth of diversity among students that have applied to the program,'' said REU program director Jennifer Gleason. ''These students are going to have a unique opportunity to both test and build models within their field of studies. All of the mentors and their labs are going to have an exciting summer working with them.''

The EEB REU program joins four others at KU funded by the National Science Foundation: Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Chemistry, the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CRESIS) and Molecular Biosciences. REU programs at KU primarily accept students from other universities; KU undergraduate students can view a list of REU opportunities on the NSF's website.

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Provost's lecture to address compressed data structures

From KU News -- 03-11-2013
By Gavin Young

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Vitter will present his inaugural lecture as a Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, in Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union.

Vitter's inaugural lecture is titled 'Finding your Way in a Compressed World' (compressed title: ''&W$!h'').

The lecture is free and open to the public. The tradition of inaugural lectures at KU was established in 1981 to enable distinguished professors to share their scholarship and research.

Vitter's research deals with the algorithmic aspects of organizing, compressing and communicating massive amounts of information. In this talk, Vitter discusses recent breakthroughs in the field of compressed data structures, in which text documents are stored in compressed form but without the need to uncompress the documents in order to search them. These approaches allow search in a more general form than done by Google and other search engines.

''From the beginning of my graduate studies, I’ve always been fascinated about the challenge of how to exploit data without falling prey to it,'' Vitter said. ''The growing proliferation of data — what we now call 'big data' — offers numerous avenues to extract new knowledge and make connections we were not able to previously.''

Vitter began as provost and executive vice chancellor at KU in July 2010. Before coming to KU, he held a similar post at Texas A&M University from 2008 to 2009. From 2002 to 2008, he served as the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science and Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University. He has served as distinguished professor and faculty chair at Duke University and on the faculty at Brown University.

Vitter earned his B.S. with highest honors in mathematics in 1977 from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in computer science under Professor Donald Knuth in 1980 from Stanford University. He also earned an MBA in 2002 from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

He has been elected a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has been named a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, a Fulbright Scholar and an IBM Faculty Development Awardee. He has more than 300 book, journal, conference and patent publications.

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Michael Branicky named dean of KU School of Engineering

From KU News -- 02-27-2013
By Gavin Young

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Engineering has celebrated several achievements recently, including completion of the new Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center and groundbreaking for the second phase of the Learned Engineering Expansion. The latest cause for celebration is today's announcement of new Dean of Engineering Michael Branicky.

Branicky currently serves as professor and chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland. He will join the School of Engineering as dean on July 1.

He replaces Stuart Bell, who served as dean for 10 years prior to joining Louisiana State University as provost and executive vice chancellor last August. Albert P. Learned Distinguished Professor Stan Rolfe has been serving as interim dean and will continue in that role until July 1.

''I am very excited that we will have a leader of Michael’s caliber and energy to assume the helm of the School of Engineering,'' Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Vitter said in announcing the appointment. ''KU Engineering has made great progress under Dean Bell's tenure and is now positioned with Michael's leadership to move to even higher levels of excellence and visibility. Michael is the ideal choice to take KU from being the highest-ranked program in the state to becoming one of the highest-ranked public programs in the nation.''

Branicky has served as a faculty member at CWRU since 1996 and as department chair since 2010. He is a past program manager at the National Science Foundation, where he was awarded the Director's Superior Accomplishment Award, the highest directorate-level award at NSF. More recently, he served as an external expert to NSF for the National Robotics Initiative.

''I am looking forward to leading the school during a period of growth and expansion of its reputation and excellence,'' said Branicky. ''I am eager to work with our faculty and students to pursue goals that take their research, teaching, scholarship and leadership in the field to the next level.''

Branicky holds undergraduate and master's degrees in electrical engineering and applied physics from CWRU. He earned his doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 1995. His academic record includes more than 100 journal and conference articles and more than $7 million in external awards.

''The KU School of Engineering is poised to become a national leader as it continues to implement the Building on Excellence initiative,'' said Branicky. ''I look forward to working with each of the programs to maintain high quality in education while continuing to elevate and expand our research.''

A search advisory committee, led by Ken Audus, dean of the KU School of Pharmacy, conducted a nationwide search for the new dean. The committee was aided by Jerry Baker of Baker and Associates of Marietta, Ga.

''The KU community is grateful for the hard work and dedication of Dean Rolfe, Dean Audus and the search committee during this period of transition for the School of Engineering,'' said Vitter.

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KU Adavanced Computing Facility expands research capactiy, increases energy efficiency

From KU News -- 02-19-2013
By Kevin Boatright

LAWRENCE — Researchers at the University of Kansas now have access to a new facility capable of supporting 24 times more high-performance computing power, thanks to completion of a two-year renovation and improvement project funded by a $4.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Advanced Computing Facility, located in Nichols Hall, began operation last fall and will be dedicated formally at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. A brief ceremony will be followed by a ribbon-cutting and reception. The featured speaker will be Jeff Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. He also is the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

According to Perry Alexander, director of KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, the ACF replaces a much smaller system that was running at full capacity and couldn't be expanded. ''The ACF will serve an exceptionally diverse range of researchers from all KU campuses'' he said, ''including chemists, biologists, pharmaceutical scientists and engineers. It also provides a more energy-efficient and sustainable solution to KU's expanding high-performance computing needs.''

For example, the new facility recovers heat generated by the computing hardware to supplement the Nichols Hall boilers, significantly reducing the consumption of natural gas in the building. In addition, when outside temperatures fall below 45 degrees, the chilled water plant compressors are powered down, and a passive ''dry cooler'' supports equipment cooling. This reduces electricity consumption dramatically.

The ACF project provides a major expansion of floor space dedicated to higher-performance computing, adding 32 new high-density hardware racks. In addition, to ensure reliability, the project included a 1,500-kilowatt emergency backup generator, a 500-kilowatt modular uninterruptable power supply and a complete retrofit of the Nichols Hall electrical distribution panels.

''The project ties in closely to KU's Bold Aspirations strategic plan,'' said Alexander. ''One of the four themes is 'Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge,' while one of the six goals is 'Developing Infrastructure and Resources.' The ACF addresses both priorities.''

Funding for the ACF came from the National Center for Research Resources at NIH as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project was led by Luke Huan, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Bioinformatics and Computational Life Sciences Laboratory at ITTC. The project received additional support from the KU Office of Research and Graduate Studies and KU Information Technology.

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The Commons to host debate on 'Our Technology, Our Future'

From KU News -- 02-11-2013
By Emily Ryan

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a Dartmouth College philosophy professor will present a debate this month on the growth of technology and its implications for privacy and the outsourcing of decision-making to artificial intelligence.

The Commons will sponsor the debate, titled Data & Democracy: Our Technology, Our Future, which will be 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in The Commons. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.

Perry Alexander, KU professor and director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, will debate James Moor, Dartmouth College professor of intellectual and moral philosophy. Moor will begin the debate by presenting a Conditional Dystopian outlook for the future; Alexander will present the counter-argument from a Utopian perspective.

Moderated by Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute, the debate will include one rebuttal from each side. The second portion of the event is reserved for questions and will rely heavily on audience participation.

Data & Democracy is the 2012-2013 programming theme at The Commons. For more information about this event or other Data & Democracy programming, visit The Commons online.

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Grant to aid advances in remote sensing tools for climate change

From KU News -- 01-31-2013
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — A team of researchers from the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the University of Kansas has received a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to develop technology that better maps and tracks the conditions within glaciers and at the bottom of fast-flowing ice sheets.

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering Shawn Keshmiri will lead efforts on the nearly $200,000 one-year grant. The project will enable engineers at KU to develop two small, unmanned aerial systems (UASs) that can be equipped with dual low-frequency sounding/imaging radars. CReSIS research focuses on predicting future sea level rise based on the effect of climate change on the polar ice sheets. Key to this effort is creating accurate and detailed maps of the glaciers, from their surface to the bedrock.

''We believe that this partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will enable us to expand the use of unmanned aerial systems technology and dramatically improve Arctic observing capabilities,'' Keshmiri said. ''By providing the resources to build small UASs that can be equipped with miniaturized HF/VHF radar sounders, the foundation will enable us to take the first step toward testing distributed sensors in coordinated flight in order to better measure and characterize the impact of climate changes on fast-flowing glaciers.''

The research conducted at CReSIS meshes with the mission of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

''The Foundation is eager to understand more about climate and polar ice change. We believe the development of new technologies is critical to creating that new knowledge,'' said Susan Coliton, vice president of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. ''The proposal from Dr. Keshmiri will give us insight by studying those glaciers that are the most difficult to measure, and this work, if successful, could be transformative to the field.''

The KU research aims to solve challenges that arise when using radar to collect data from a fast-flowing glacial surface or from the bottom of a temperate glacier, which are glaciers that remain at melting point from surface to base throughout the year.

''These new vehicles have the potential to decrease operational cost and reduce the environmental impact of remote sensing compared to current methodology,'' Keshmiri said. ''The support of the foundation will not only enable us to develop the technology necessary to produce a new generation of ice sheet models, it will also enable us to test platforms envisioned to use less fuel and produce fewer emissions in the process.''

The unmanned aerial systems will enable researchers to study two particularly challenging aspects of a glacier. At the surface, fast-flowing glaciers are heavily crevassed, extremely rough, and contain debris and water. Throughout the entire depth of temperate ice sheets, water pockets exist. Both conditions scatter radar signals, which mask weak echoes from the ice bed, leading to incomplete or inaccurate imaging from the bedrock.

Because the radar signal is scattered by conditions within a glacier and at the surface, radars must be designed to overcome two types of scatter. This means they must use a narrow antenna beam in intersecting lines along the surface, and they must operate at low frequencies. This can only be accomplished with multiple unmanned aerial systems operating in a synchronized group.

''Support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will enable our interdisciplinary teams in radar sensor and unmanned airborne platform development to pursue a higher risk, but potentially transformative approach to polar remote sensing,'' said Rick Hale, associate professor of aerospace engineering and associate director of technology at CReSIS. ''The potential is truly exciting, and the challenge is grand.''

CReSIS was established by the National Science Foundation in 2005 with the mission of developing new technologies and computer models to measure and predict the response of sea level change to the mass balance of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Data collected through CReSIS technologies have helped uncover a massive canyon buried under miles of ice in Greenland and provided an updated, more detailed topographic map of Antarctica under its blanket of ice.

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded over $475 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The foundation's funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, click here.

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Initative opportunity for students to develop technology for NASA

From KU News -- 01-27-2013
By Michelle Ward

LAWRENCE — A new initiative that brings research into the classroom is giving seniors at the University of Kansas a chance to develop technology for NASA. The program, which pairs undergraduates with a graduate student mentor, will expose students to advanced research while giving them opportunities to contribute to the state of the art.

Robert Knight, a graduate student in electrical engineering, received a $500 grant from KU's Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program to supervise a team of students in designing and building hardware for new collision-avoidance radar. Knight is part of the team working on the NASA-funded 'Multichannel Sense-and-Avoid Radar for Small UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)' project, which alerts autonomous UAVs to buildings and other potential hazards.

Christopher Allen, professor electrical engineering and computer science, serves as principal investigator on the project.

''The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] currently requires a pilot of a UAV to maintain line-of-sight contact with the aircraft, which limits their use in research and commercial endeavors. Our sense-and-avoid system is designed to provide the UAV with situation awareness and to reduce the need for a ground-based pilot, thus giving greater autonomy to UAVs and help the market grow,'' Allen said. ''The GRC program will allow undergraduates to gain real-world research experience while completing critical components of our project. It is a win-win for the department.''

Allen teaches the Senior Design Laboratory, and Knight serves as the graduate teaching assistant for the capstone course. The two were looking for ways to integrate EECS research into students' semester-long final projects when they discovered the GRC program. The pilot KU program provides funding for Knight to help develop a research project and to advise students throughout the semester, allowing undergraduates to delve into more demanding research projects.

''The senior design lab has always been a project-based class; however, most of these projects are disconnected from existing cutting-edge research within the department,'' Knight said. ''The GRC grant supports one-on-one interaction with students and gives them the opportunity to participate in a large-scale project.''

This spring, seniors Ned Howard, Brittany Limones Kenneth McChesney and Kelly Rodriguez will develop a prototype transmitter and receiver, which must be small enough and light enough to work on newer, smaller UAVs. The transmitter will send out a wireless signal that bounces off nearby objects and is reflected back to the receiver to detect nearby objects and their position, avoiding airborne collisions.

McChesney, who will join Northrop Grumman, a leader in the production of UAVs, after graduation, says the NASA project gives him the opportunity to get a head start on his career. Having had Knight as a GTA, McChesney knows he will be a great resource and adviser for the team. He is looking forward to being part of a large research endeavor.

''This experience is valuable because it simulates how work in engineering is done outside of academia. A company would assemble a team to work together to solve a problem, and ultimately develop a functioning device,'' McChesney said. ''I am very excited for the opportunity to work on a project that has the potential to innovate UAVs at such a large scale. This is a very impressive project for senior-level undergraduate students to be working on and shows how the EECS department is continually enhancing the program.''

At the end of the semester, Allen and Knight will assess how the project went and look to find new ways to bring leading-edge EECS research projects into the capstone course.

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KU Radar research provides significant input to climate study in Nature

From KU News -- 01-24-2013
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — A collection of breakthrough discoveries that provide new details on changes in the Earth's climate from more than 100,000 years ago made possible in part by a team of researchers from the University of Kansas is featured in the most recent issue of one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals.

The Jan. 24 issue of Nature contains an article on the findings from a deep ice core drilled in northern Greenland, at a camp known as the North Greenland Eemian Ice (NEEM) drilling camp. Research at the drill site is led by the Center for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, which partners with the KU-led Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS).

''It's great that this paper got accepted in such a prestigious publication,'' said Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, leader of the Center for Ice and Climate. ''It shows what a great team of researchers we have assembled and how valuable these findings are.''

Research at the NEEM site centers on climate data contained in layers of ice 1.5 miles deep, brought to the surface in 3-foot chunks through a hollow, 4-inch-wide tube during parts of three summers from 2008 to 2010. Data being analyzed reveal key information about global temperatures, sea-level rise and changes to polar ice sheets during what is known as the Eemian period, which began about 130,000 years ago and ended about 114,000 years ago. The period bridged two ice ages and is known for warm temperatures worldwide.

''From the findings within the ice core samples, we now know the Eemian period was four to eight degrees warmer than today. We already knew it was warmer, but an eight-degree spike is higher than we realized. We've never had data this clear or accurate,'' said Dahl-Jensen.

Beyond the information contained within the small samples of ice brought to the surface for further study, Dahl-Jensen's group relies on radars designed by KU's CReSIS team to geographically extend these results for modeling larger areas of the ice sheet.

''The first and most important parameter to modeling an ice sheet is knowing where the bedrock is, and the radar from CReSIS detects that beautifully,'' Dahl-Jensen said. ''The radar detects a lot of internal layering and provides a clear picture of climate transitions over time. By analyzing these images, we can determine the conditions and the age of the ice over a large area.''

The Nature article praises KU's CReSIS team, noting:

''The consistency of the radar images and deep ice core results at NEEM is a breakthrough result, and it demonstrates that radar imaging can now be used to predict folded ice layering. This opens the potential for a systematic reconstruction of the Eemian Greenland ice sheet layering from new radar imaging. Assimilation of such data in ice sheet models should lead to much improved histories of the configuration of the ice sheet in the past, improving our ability to predict the future evolution of the ice sheet.''

A commitment to innovation has fueled CReSIS' success in remote sensing.

''We have substantially improved the sensitivity and capability of radars used to sound ice and image the ice bed at CReSIS over the last few years, and this is resulting in data that are very useful for a wide range of glaciological studies, including the interpretation of ice cores,'' said Prasad Gogineni, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Gogineni serves as director of CReSIS, which was established at KU by the National Science Foundation in 2005.

Analysis of the radar images shows a vast majority of the ice layers are undisturbed, flowing smoothly from year to year for centuries, but the radar soundings occasionally return distorted images from deep within the ice. Ice core samples taken at NEEM reveal the distortion in the radar images corresponds to ice layers mixing, which occurs when temperatures rise.

''From the ice core studies, we learned that the ice that's broken is from the warming during the Eemian period,'' Dahl-Jensen said. ''We also discovered ice crystals from this period are much larger (approximately 1 inch) than those present when it's much cooler and the ice flows smoothly. Those ice crystals are less than (a tenth of an inch).''

As layers of snow accumulate year after year on the glacial surface, they pile up and compact, transforming to solid ice about 230 feet below the surface. Sealed within the ice throughout layers that date back thousands of years are miniscule air bubbles that provide a remarkably clear snapshot of the atmospheric conditions at the time of each year's snowfall. Using this data, researchers can accurately gauge changes to the overall ice sheet.

''About 128,000 years ago (at the outset of the Eemian), the ice was about 650 feet higher than it is today. About 122,000 years (peak temperatures during the Eemian), the ice was about 425 feet lower than today,'' a drop of nearly a quarter of a mile, Dahl-Jensen said. ''That tells us there was about 6,000 years of intense heat.'' Elevation changes also reveal new information about Greenland's impact on sea level rise during the Eemian period. The Greenland ice sheet saw an overall reduction of 5 to 10 percent, which Dahl-Jensen suspects would lead to about a 6 1/2-foot rise in the sea level.

''We know from other observations that during this period, sea levels were actually 20 to 30 feet higher than today. So this tells us indirectly that Antarctica must have contributed at least 16 to 23 feet of sea level rise. Smaller glaciers in total don’t have enough volume to account for more than 2 feet of sea level rise, so Antarctica appears to have a played a bigger role,'' Dahl-Jensen said.

Nature was first published in 1869 and is one of the most cited interdisciplinary3 scientific journals in the world.

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KU announces Undergraduate Research Award winners

From KU News -- 01-18-2013
By Nicole Perry

LAWRENCE — Fifty-eight University of Kansas students will work on research projects funded by the Undergraduate Research Award program this semester.

The Undergraduate Research Award, or UGRA, program has been around KU for over 20 years, said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. This class of recipients will be the first class awarded by the Center for Undergraduate Research. As impressive as the students’ research proposals are, what is as equally impressive is the number of outstanding mentors involved with these projects.

The research awards are funded by a partnership between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Research and Graduate Studies, and the Office of the Provost. Proposals were selected on the merit of the applicant's proposal, the applicant's academic record, and the recommendation from a faculty member who is familiar with the applicant and the proposed project.

Students receiving awards are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, high school, brief description of the project and faculty mentor.

Isaac Cook , junior majoring in computer science; Olathe South High School; development of an automated public transit tracking system to improve system efficiency and rider satisfaction; research mentor: Gary Minden , Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Jason Bates , junior majoring in chemical engineering; Shawnee Mission East High School; Mesoporous Solid Acid Catalysts for Alcohol Dehydration, the development of a process to reduce our reliance on petrochemicals by deriving chemicals from plant-based biomass; research mentor: Bala Subramaniam , Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

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KU scientists key in uncovering Greenland aquifer

From KU News -- 01-07-2013
By Cody Howard

LAWRENCE — A hidden aquifer the size of Ireland recently discovered within the ice layers of a glacier in Greenland could hold the key to better understanding how annual melting at the ice surface could affect sea level rise.

The Dec. 22 issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature details the existence of a significant amount of melt water stored in old compacted snow, known as firn. Radar technology developed by researchers at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the University of Kansas played a key role in identifying and confirming the previously undetected pool of water within the ice sheet. Richard Forster, professor of geography at the University of Utah, led the research project. Four KU researchers were cited as contributing authors.

Discovery of the aquifer could provide more details on how much melt water from firn-covered regions is partitioned into runoff and flows into the sea and how much is left behind in the ice sheet to refreeze. This, in turn, provides a bigger-picture look at how much annual surface heating could contribute to sea level rise.

The Nature article details how in April 2011, researchers stumbled upon the existence of vast amounts of water pooled below the glacial surface. The discovery happened during routine work drilling cores in the ice to measure the thicknesses of annually accumulating snow layers.

Forster and his colleagues were surprised to hit water 10 meters deep on their first drill, so they packed their equipment and moved a few miles in search of a spot that was solid ice. After hitting water a second time, they turned to thousands of radar images of the ice from the surface to the bed gathered by CReSIS. These data helped determine the size of the subsurface layer of water, which ranges from five to 50 meters deep across an area of nearly 850 kilometers of southern Greenland.

The article also makes the case for further research and additional measurements of Greenland's unexplored interior regions.

KU's contributing authors are Prasad Gogineni, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science and CReSIS director; Carl Leuschen, associate professor of electrical engineering and CReSIS deputy director; John Paden, associate scientist, and Cameron Lewis, graduate research assistant.

Nature was first published in 1869 and is one of the most cited interdisciplinary scientific journals in the world.

CReSIS was established by the National Science Foundation2 in 2005 with the mission of developing new technologies and computer models to measure and predict the response of sea level change to the mass balance of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Data collected with CReSIS technologies have helped uncover a massive canyon buried under miles of ice in Greenland and provided an updated, more detailed topographic map of Antarctica under its blanket of ice.

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EECS Researchers Win Best Paper Award at International Workshop

By Michelle Ward

EECS Associate Professor James P.G. Sterbenz and graduate students Dongsheng Zhang, Santosh Ajith Gogi, Dan Broyles, and Egemen Çetinkaya received the Best Paper Award at the International Workshop on Reliable Networks Design and Modeling (RNDM'12) earlier this month in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Their paper, "Modelling Attacks and Challenges to Wireless Networks," explores how mobile ad-hoc networks (MANETs) respond to attacks and challenges to normal operations. MANETs are built spontaneously as wireless devices connect and form improvised networks. These self-organizing and self-optimizing networks do not require fixed infrastructure, making them ideal for military operations, disaster recovery missions, and networking in remote environments.

EECS researchers have created the Wireless Challenge Simulation Module (WCSM) to evaluate network performance and dependability. They have modeled a wide range of challenges to multiple network components, from malicious attacks that target specific critical nodes to large-scale disasters that disable an area of the network. By better understanding network vulnerabilities, researchers will build more robust and resilient networks.

A second EECS paper, "Topology Connectivity Analysis of Internet Infrastructure Using Graph Spectra," placed in the top 10 as well. Çetinkaya, graduate student Mohammed Alenazi, alumnus Justin Rohrer (Ph.D. EE ’11) and Dr. Sterbenz presented their analysis of the evolution of communication networks across the continental United States. With 90 percent of Americans living within five miles of the National Highway System (NHS), the physical fiber network closely follows the NHS. The interconnectedness of critical infrastructures must be considered when designing and modeling future networks.

"I'm delighted that our students are doing outstanding work, which is receiving international recognition for our ResiliNets research group, ITTC (Information and Telecommunication Technology Center), EECS, and KU", said Dr. Sterbenz, who served on the RNDM’12 steering and technical program committees.

Both papers will be published in a special issue of Springer's Telecommunication Systems.    Click to go to Top of Page

Researcher Joins ITTC Effort to Build More Reliable Software

By Michelle Ward

Neil Sculthorpe began a two-year post-doctoral research position with ITTC's Functional Programming Group this spring. He joined the Haskell Equational Reasoning Model-to-Implementation Tunnel (HERMIT) project. ITTC investigator Andy Gill's group is working to dramatically reduce all-too-common bugs and glitches that occur in current software. Finding ways to reduce errors could potentially save billions of dollars annually.

"Neil is a welcome addition to our team. He brings a depth of theoretical understanding of the fundamental ideals behind the construction of high-assurance software. The HERMIT project will build on his previous work and allows us to use the combination of software engineering and mathematics to make the evaluation of software more manageable," said Dr. Gill, who received a $500,000 NSF grant this fall for HERMIT. "When you are building large systems with millions of lines of code, finding errors can be very difficult. Unreliable software then hurts companies' reputations and costs them customers."

HERMIT mathematically, or formally, analyzes each step of development, providing rigorous connections between system requirements and the programming details of real applications. While system requirements and programs are typically written in two different computer languages and often evaluated in a third, HERMIT provides a common foundation that generates evidence that the description and action match. These continuous checks and balances make it much harder for errors to be introduced.

Dr. Sculthorpe, who received his Ph.D. in Computer Science this past summer from the University of Nottingham, will focus on worker/wrapper transformation. This is a verification technique for connecting specifications to efficient implementation. He says a major goal of the project is to make applying transformations as painless as possible, allowing the HERMIT tool to be used by non-expert users.    Click to go to Top of Page

Kulkarni Receives Teaching Excellence Award

By Michelle Ward

EECS Assistant Professor Prasad Kulkarni won the Harry Talley Teaching Excellence award at the Department's Graduation Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Thursday night. Graduating EECS seniors vote for the professor who has contributed significantly to their education and has developed a strong rapport with them.

"Professor Kulkarni is a great professor because he is as kind as he is intelligent. He knows what he is talking about and he makes a real effort to keep his students involved in class," said EECS senior Drew Manderfeld. "He possesses the rare quality of putting as much effort into teaching as he wants us to put into discovery and learning.

EECS senior Jason Gevargizian does not remember a teacher ever learning students' names as quickly or working as hard to involve all students in lectures as Dr. Kulkarni. Gevargizian had him for Compiler Construction (EECS 665), which was a course developed by Dr. Kulkarni to address the design and construction of translators for programming languages.

"Dr. Kulkarni is not only responsive to his students but also tailors his responses to meet our needs. He is incredibly dedicated to helping his students improve and succeed," said Gevargizian, who was so impressed by Dr. Kulkarni's enthusiasm for his research in software security and efficiency that he has begun conducting research at ITTC.

EECS senior Jason Eslick notes how Dr. Kulkarni takes time to learn about students' goals and future plans and offers them helpful advice. He provides undergraduate research opportunities, allowing students to apply what they are learning to real-world challenges. Dr. Kulkarni treats his students with respect and positive encouragement, says Eslick, who has conducted research under his direction in ITTC's Computer Systems Design Laboratory.

"Professor Kulkarni is a great teacher both in the classroom and out of the classroom," said Eslick. "I think most students have great respect for Professor Kulkarni because he is a very effective teacher who cares about students. Professor Kulkarni knows his subject field very well, and can effectively convey concepts. He presents relevant material and assigns meaningful, worthwhile assignments."

In 2010, Dr. Kulkarni received one of the most prestigious National Science Foundation honors given to junior faculty members. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award supports junior faculty who excel at integrating teaching and research. Dr. Kulkarni's research focuses on building more secure and better performing software systems. Security and Performance (EECS 700), introduced in the Fall 2009 semester, incorporates his research and gives students opportunities to investigate security, protection, and performance aspects on modern software and hardware. Additionally, Dr. Kulkarni's work forms the basis of Compiler Construction and Virtual Machines (EECS 700).

Dr. Kulkarni joined EECS in the fall of 2007. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Florida State University in 2003 and 2007, respectively.    Click to go to Top of Page

IBM, KU to Empower Researchers with World-Class Supercomputing

From KU News -- 04-27-2012
By Michelle Ward

The University of Kansas will partner with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. to help advance supercomputing at KU, the school announced today.

The IBM Shared University Research (SUR) award includes five compute blades, a large memory blade, a graphical processing unit blade, two storage servers and 72 terabytes of disk storage to the renovated Bioinformatics Computing Facility. The KU award builds on a donation earlier this year of three IBM BladeCenter chassis to the BCF.

The BCF renovation is being funded through a $4.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The BCF, which is set to open this summer, will greatly enhance the computing capabilities of the university, giving researchers a 20-fold increase in computing power to support investigations ranging from biology and disease to national security and climate change.

"At most universities, researchers work department-by-department or individually to get the computing resources they need," said Perry Alexander, director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, which houses the new BCF. "The BCF unites university resources and provides an outstanding staff to maintain a secure, energy efficient, world-class computing facility. Now, KU researchers can spend less time managing computational resources and more time conducting scholarly work."

IBM's Shared University Research Award program strives to connect researchers at universities with IBM Research, IBM Life Sciences, IBM Global Services and IBM's development and product labs.

The KU-IBM partnership will develop new hardware and software approaches to modeling and simulations of complex real-world systems. Researchers will be able to process and analyze huge volumes of structured and unstructured data, share their findings, explore new approaches and store the results of their research. Advanced systems modeling will enable more accurate predictions and large-scale analyses that incorporate data from multiple disciplines into a single framework with the goal of accelerating scientific breakthroughs.

IBM Systems and Technology Group University Alliances Executive Keith Brown sponsored the award to help the University of Kansas expand its High Performance Computing capabilities.

"We are pleased to help provide KU with the computational framework needed to develop and evaluate a hybrid computing cluster that is optimized for a number of simulation paradigms," said Brown. "Modeling cell processes and structures, predicting the impact of climate change on biodiversity and exploring massive data sets using visual and analytical techniques are examples of how HPC technology can be used to achieve our goals of helping to create a Smarter Planet."

Gerald Lushington, director of KU's Molecular Graphics and Modeling Laboratory, uses the BCF in developing computational methods able to extract information from voluminous medical and chemical research.

"Laboratory instruments for studying problems in molecular biology and medicine have grown incredibly sophisticated very quickly, to the point where they produce such huge volumes of useful data that we need very powerful computers to meaningfully analyze data," Lushington said."The renovated BCF in Nichols Hall provides the high performance computing hardware necessary to do this work, and the IBM SUR grant will deliver a valuable infusion of computing power for these calculations."    Click to go to Top of Page

Evans Named to Computing Community Consortium

By Michelle Ward

Joseph Evans, the Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, has been appointed to a three-year term the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council.

"I am extremely honored by this appointment. The work of the CCC is critical to the future of computing research," said Evans.

The CCC includes 18 leaders of the computing research community from industry, government and academia. The council directs and oversees the operations of the CCC, which provides scientific leadership and vision to computing research and future large-scale computing research projects. It helps identify major research opportunities and establish grand challenges for the computing field. It also creates venues for community participation in developing a vision for computing research and in launching new research activities.

His ITTC research includes cognitive wireless networking, networked information systems architecture, and adaptive systems.

Evans has served as director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) and as director of Research Information Technology at KU, and as a program director at the National Science Foundation. He has been a researcher at the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory, Olivetti & Oracle Research Laboratory, USAF Rome Laboratories, and AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has co-founded several companies, including a network gaming company acquired by Microsoft in 2000 that formed the foundation for Xbox Live, and a defense-oriented venture acquired by General Dynamics in 2010 which developed TIGR, a tactical information system used worldwide by the US Army.

For more details, please see the CCC Press Release    Click to go to Top of Page

Blunt Wins International Engineering Award

By Michelle Ward

Separating the wheat from the chaff (in an electromagnetic sense) has earned a University of Kansas professor an international engineering award.

ITTC researcher Shannon Blunt will receive the prestigious Fred Nathanson Memorial Radar Award on May 9 during an awards ceremony in Atlanta. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society selected Blunt for the highly competitive honor that each year recognizes one researcher under the age of 40 for outstanding contributions to the field of radar.

"Shannon's work is a shining example of the power of cutting-edge engineering. He continues to break new ground in the development of radar and electromagnetic signals and is truly deserving of this recognition. We are proud to see him honored with this award," said Dean of Engineering Stuart Bell.

"Given the past recipients of this award and the numerous other deserving candidates, I am deeply honored to stand among them," said Blunt."I continue to be amazed at the wide array of new technologies being developed to sense the world around us, and I am absolutely thrilled to get to play a part in it."

As a pioneer of waveform diversity research, Blunt has created innovative techniques to "deconstruct" signals that vary in time, frequency and space to tease out desired information. He says it is a little bit like listening for whispers in a crowded room. Enhanced sensitivity to signals of interest is one of the fundamental goals of radar research.

"I regard him as one of the up-and-coming young stars of the radar community," said Hugh Griffiths, president of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society and a professor at University College London. "In terms of his stature as a result of this work, I can say that he has a truly international reputation. He has made some significant contributions in the new subject of Waveform Diversity--indeed, he is regarded as one of the flag-bearers in this subject."

The broad scope of signal processing, his area of research, allows Blunt to explore a variety of related problems. For example, while researchers have traditionally looked at ways to minimize interference, Blunt actually developed a new form of high-speed covert communication that exploits the "crowded room" of radar echoes to embed hidden signals. This new form of communication, developed under a U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Award, may provide soldiers in harm's way a new means to communicate safely.

Blunt also recently teamed with researchers from the Hogland Brain Imaging Center (HBIC) at the KU Medical Center to explore new methods for brain imaging. Leveraging a technique he had previously developed for radar antenna arrays, Blunt and KU Med researchers created the patent-pending Source Affine Image Reconstruction (SAFFIRE) algorithm to enable more accurate generation of magnetoencephalography (MEG) images, which can be used to detect abnormalities in brain function and could aid in the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

"Dr. Blunt has established himself as an expert and valuable resource on a diverse array of radar-related research topics that may benefit from advanced signal processing," said KU Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Moore, who pioneered the field of radar remote sensing of the environment and founded the KU Radar Systems and Remote Sensing Lab, for which Blunt is the current director.

After receiving his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri in 2002, Blunt worked at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., before coming to KU in 2005. He has received the Harry Talley Teaching Excellence Award in 2008 and the Miller Professional Development Award for Research and Bellows Scholar Award from the School of Engineering in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He served as general chair for the IEEE Radar Conference in 2011 that for the first time took place in Kansas City.    Click to go to Top of Page

KU Innovation Boosts Performance of Solar Panels

From KU News -- 04-04-2012
By Brendan Lynch

Imagine a sheet of chicken wire only one carbon atom thick, and you have a good idea of graphene. The material is the focus of intense research across the world because of its unique properties of electrical conductivity, flexibility, optical transmittance and chemical inertness. Scientists who showed how to make graphene with ordinary Scotch tape recently scored the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Judy Wu, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas, believes graphene will lead to high-efficiency, ultrathin solar panels that will be cheaper to build than current models.

Now, Wu's research group in KU physics, in collaboration with Professor Rongqing Hui's group at the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, has made a breakthrough with the material. They've developed a technique for attaching a layer of metal nanoparticles to graphene, vastly improving graphene's capacity to soak up sunlight and re-emit it in a much-condensed form due to "plasmonic resonance," a critical step toward high-efficiency solar cells that drastically improves their light absorption.

"We made it in a very simple way, heating a very thin layer of silver on graphene, which dissolves to create a nanoparticle array," Wu said. "It's so straightforward, you can readily commercialize it. It's very low-cost."

Wu's findings are published in the current issue of the journal Advanced Materials, a top-notch international journal in materials research, and also featured on the cover of the March issue of Advanced Optical Materials, which is the journal's quarterly forum for the publication of the best work in the field of materials science dealing with all aspects of light-matter interactions.

Wu's technique to make "plasmonic" graphene further boosts the material's great potential to revolutionize optoelectronics of all kinds.

"At the interface of metal and graphene, a stream of electrons is injected into the graphene, which can enhance its conductivity by 400 percent," the KU researcher said. "Also, the metal nanoparticles improve graphene's ability to absorb and re-emit light."

Aside from improving performance, Wu's plasmonic graphene has the potential to make solar cells much cheaper to produce and purchase.

"For solar cells and most optoelectronic applications, you want to use less material," said Wu. "But current solar cells use a lot of material -- 40 percent of solar cell's cost is material. So if you want to reduce costs, you can immediately reduce the cost of material -- and now you can go thinner. Imagine solar cells as thin as a piece of paper, flexible and lightweight."

Beyond applications in solar-power generation, Wu sees graphene as a promising replacement for indium tin oxide, or ITO, in transparent conductors that are critical to all touchscreens, displays and LEDs.

"Long-term use of ITO has severe limitations," said Wu. "Indium is scarce and consequently becomes prohibitively expensive as demand for solar cells increases. It was $600-800 per kilogram recently."

Wu's group now is exploring ultrathin solar cells on plasmonic graphene and use of plasmonic graphene in photodetectors.

This research was jointly funded by ARO, NSF and the NSF EPSCoR Kansas Center for Solar Energy Research. Wu collaborated on the work with KU researchers Guowei Xu, Jianwei Liu, Qian Wang, Rongqing Hui, and with researchers Zhijun Chen and Victor A. Maroni from Argonne National Laboratory.    Click to go to Top of Page

KU Art Exhibit Honors Turing's Life, Impact


Cryptograph: An Exhibition for Alan Turing is organized in conjunction with the many celebrations taking place around the world in honor of the centenary of Alan Turing (1912-1954), the brilliant British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist.

The exhibition is co-sponsored by and was conceived in consultation and collaboration with KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center and the Biodiversity Institute. It will run from March 24 to July 20 in Gallery 318 North.

Turing's world-changing innovations include the Turing Machine, a conceptual machine that builds on the notion of the algorithm and lays the foundation of modern computing. As a cryptanalyst during World War II, Turing's breakthroughs in logic allowed him to decipher the German encrypting device known as the Enigma Machine, which was used extensively in communication between German U-boats. Turing was also deeply involved in the idea of "Machine Intelligence," and he developed a test for artificial intelligence that is still in use today. Late in his career Turing became fascinated with the field of mathematical biology, a field that explores the mathematical underpinnings of morphogenesis, the origins and evolution of biological form.

The exhibition, which draws from the permanent collections at the Spencer, displays works that resonate with the kinds of questions that drove Turing's research: finding meaning in patterns, and finding connections between mathematics and computing, intelligence and natural form.

Please go to the Spencer Museum of Art page for more information on the exhibit.    Click to go to Top of Page

New Tool Helps Students Learn 3D Modeling

By Michelle Ward

EECS Associate Professor James Miller always warns students in his Introduction to Computer Graphics course about the difficulty of their first 3D assignment. But students, being students, often ignore this warning. Starting well after office hours, exasperated students go online for help, only to find examples using advanced features that add to their confusion, says Miller, co-director of ITTC's e-Learning Design Lab (eDL).

To prevent blurry eyed, frustrated students from handing in incomplete assignments, Miller developed an easy-to-use, interactive tool, Metaview, that can run on any computer using Java Web Start. Metaview is packaged with a variety of self-test features and built-in 3D models to demonstrate major concepts.

The inspiration for Metaview came after Miller saw Tinker toys being used to show the relationships among the horizontal, vertical, and depth components in 3D models. He thought if the example could be more flexible and be embedded in a powerful interactive framework that it could help students master the skills needed to create 3D models in medicine, architecture, engineering, animation, and other fields. Metaview does this, allowing students to better understand connections between models and programming constructs.

Miller has solicited anonymous student feedback from multiple Introduction to Computer Graphics courses. While the feedback has been positive, it exposed a few bugs that have been corrected and led to usability improvements in Metaview and a related website.

Work continues on Metaview. eDL researchers are developing a version that is compatible with computer tablets and other new smart, portable devices. To better understand the mathematics of lighting models, Miller is building tools that will allow interactive placement of light sources.

The work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation.    Click to go to Top of Page

Liu Selected as Editor for TWireless

By Michelle Ward

Lingjia Liu, an assistant professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been invited to serve as an editor of the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications (TWireless).

"Dr. Liu is an outstanding researcher in the fields of fundamentals and applications of cellular and ad-hoc networks," said Andreas Molisch, a professor in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Engineering at the University of Southern California, who nominated Liu for the position. "On top of that, he has experience in both industry and academia. I am sure he will greatly contribute to ensuring the quality of the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications."

First published in 2002, TWireless has grown into one of the most prestigious journals in the area of communications. It has an acceptance rate below 30 percent and its 2.18 citation index is higher than nearly all other journals that focus on communications. TWireless is ranked first in telecommunications and seventh in the field of electrical and electronic engineering among all IEEE journals, according to Eigenfactor Score.

At KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), Liu is developing technologies that will enable future wireless systems and networks to support heavy traffic, while providing reliable and secure service for time-sensitive and data-intensive applications, such as streaming video and web conferencing. By increasing the efficiency of wireless communication, more users and applications will be able to use the increasingly crowded spectrum.

Liu was selected as one of the New Faces of Engineering in 2011 by the National Engineers Week Foundation Diversity Council. He has more than 10 journal publications, 20 conference papers and 30 U.S. patent applications along with numerous technical contributions to major wireless standards.

He has served as a technical program committee member of leading international conferences in telecommunications including the IEEE International Conference in Communications and IEEE Global Communications Conference. In addition to TWireless, Liu serves as an associate editor for EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking and Wiley's International Journal on Communication Systems.

Prior to joining KU in the fall of 2011, Liu spent more than three years in the Dallas Technology Laboratory of Samsung Electronics. He led work on downlink multi-user MIMO, coordinated multipoint transmission and heterogeneous networks for 3GPP LTE/LTE-Advanced standards. He received the Global Samsung Best Paper Award in 2008 and 2010 and has more than 10 essential intellectual property rights (IPRs) in 4G standards such as 3GPP LTE/LTE-Advanced and IEEE 802.16m.    Click to go to Top of Page

Perrins Named Area Editor

From KU News -- 02-14-2012
By Michelle Ward

Erik Perrins, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, has accepted an invitation to serve as an area editor for the IEEE Transactions on Communications. His duties include assigning papers to the 13 editors within the modulation and signal design area, monitoring their performance and assisting the editor-in-chief.

"Erik is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of modulation and signal design for telecommunication systems. He has served as an editor for several years and has done an excellent job in this capacity," said Robert Schober, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia, who nominated Perrins for the position. "This made him a natural choice when the position of area editor became vacant."

Perrins' research expertise is in wireless communications. He recently received a Department of Defense research grant to help develop new communications architectures for flight test telemetry --measuring at a distance. By simultaneously allowing multiple tests to take place over hundreds of square miles, the integrated Network Enhanced Telemetry program is a significant upgrade in aircraft testing. He conducts research at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center.

He also helped build a communication system able to transmit large amounts of scientific and operational data while adhering to severe size, weight and power constraints needed for future space missions. Perrins' team developed miniaturized hardware for the NASA project.

Prior to area editor, Perrins served for four years as an editor for the journal.    Click to go to Top of Page

Noise Hides Covert Communication Signals

By Michelle Ward

ITTC researchers have developed a new form of high-speed covert communication that leverages existing radar emissions.

EECS Associate Professor Shannon Blunt collaborated with EECS Associate Professor Erik Perrins and graduate students Justin Metcalf and Casey Biggs on the development of an intra-pulse radar-embedded communication approach. The specially designed covert signals achieve the right trade-off between communication performance and interception avoidance. For example, the system may allow soldiers behind enemy lines to send secure messages by hiding signals among the echoes generated by a nearby high-powered radar. Intended receivers would have sufficient prior knowledge to recover the hidden signal, while eavesdroppers would be unaware of the signal's existence.

Such technology traditionally employs hundreds to thousands of radar pulses to insert covert signals. However, by inserting information into the echoes from each individual radar pulse, the ITTC approach has the potential to increase the data rate by orders of magnitude.

The work, funded by a U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Award that Dr. Blunt received in 2007, culminated in the December publication of "Performance Characteristics and Metrics for Intra-Pulse Radar-Embedded Communication" in the prestigious IEEE Journal of Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC).    Click to go to Top of Page

Researchers Refine a Powerful Laser Microscope for Biomedical Use

From KU News Service -- 01-12-2012
By Brendan Lynch

Researchers from the University of Kansas are building a smaller, cheaper and more flexible fiber-laser microscope that could revolutionize biomedical and clinical work.

Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy already is a proven and powerful technology for peering into cells to observe lipids, proteins and DNA. But the lasers involved in CARS microscopy are complex and pricey, available only to top research institutions with deep pockets.

The KU project, headed by Carey Johnson, professor of chemistry, aims to simplify the tool and make using it faster and more economical. The goal is to bring the technology down in cost, and within reach of medical clinics and biomedical researchers.

"CARS has been around for a long time, but it's been developed based on $300,000 laser systems that take up large optical tables," Johnson said. "It's not a very usable method of microscopy for everyday clinical use-- it requires a very specialized lab and a system that's not portable."

By contrast, the simplified CARS system that Johnson is developing with ITTC investigator Rongqing Hui, a fiber-optic expert and KU professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is based upon a single fiber laser and could fit inside a shoebox.

"This laser source would be much smaller, and much less expensive than the kinds of laser sources being used now for this kind of laser microscopy," said Johnson. "We hope to make it much more accessible."

Because every molecule vibrates at a unique frequency, CARS can identify unique molecules by reading those frequencies with laser beams.

"We pass two different wavelengths of light straight through the sample, and the CARS process creates a third wavelength, where the strength of that signal depends on the vibrations of the molecule," Johnson said."If the difference between frequencies of the two beams that we send into the sample match its vibrational frequency, that amplifies the signal, and we look for that amplification in the output beam."

The collaboration could usher in low-cost CARS microscopy and put the powerful tool in the hands of more clinicians and researchers.

"It's important because we can look at the cells as they are," said Johnson. "We don't have to treat them with a dye, or a stain or some kind of label that would make them fluoresce. Currently, one has to go through extra steps to have cells genetically make something that fluoresces. This method avoids that."

Funded by $156,000 from the National Institutes of Health, the instrument-making project will take three years and should result in a prototype fiber-optic laser microscope by 2014.    Click to go to Top of Page

KU to Host International Software Engineering Conference

By Michelle Ward

Nearly 200 of the world's leading experts on software engineering will gather at the University of Kansas next month to exchange research on the development of more efficient, reliable and secure software systems during the 26th Annual IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering.

Perry Alexander, director of KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) and general chair of the conference, said local and regional industry practitioners would be able to attend tutorials on advanced software engineering techniques, participate in specialized workshops, and see tool demonstrations and paper presentations at the main conference. Those interested in participating should go to for more information.

The conference, hosted by ITTC and KU Continuing Education, will be Nov. 6-11 at The Oread. It is sponsored by two professional societies: the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

According to Alexander, there will be significant attention given to disseminating cutting-edge research in techniques for automating software synthesis, testing, analysis and development processes. The conference will present information through technical papers, special sessions, tutorials, workshops and a student poster session. Anyone interested in software engineering will find an activity of interest at the conference, Alexander said.

"It is a thrill to have so many of my research colleagues in Lawrence for the conference. The attendees are among the top minds in the world in software engineering, and I hope local industry will take advantage of the opportunity to interact with them," said Alexander, a professor in electrical engineering and computer science.

Keynote presentations will take place Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Ian Witten, professor of computer science at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, will present "Wikipedia and How to Use It for Semantic Document Representation," explaining how to enhance information retrieval and connection within the rich resource. The following morning Matthew Dwyer, a professor of computer science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will deliver "Unifying Testing and Analysis through Behavioral Coverage" that will offer techniques and tools to better assess the correctness of software systems.

Participants from KU include EECS Professor Arvin Agah, who will co-chair the Tutorials Track, and Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center Director Leonard (Kris) Krishtalka, a professor of vertebrate paleobiology, who will deliver a keynote address.

For more information, visit the conference site online.    Click to go to Top of Page

Gill Receives $500,000 NSF Grant

By Michelle Ward

Technology being developed at the University of Kansas will make it easier and cheaper to build highly dependable, secure software, potentially saving billions of dollars annually.

Andy Gill, an assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), recently received a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant to streamline tools for the development of high assurance computer systems. The innovative support tools will provide greater transparency and scrutiny when building critical components for large complex systems, dramatically reducing the all-too-common bugs and glitches that occur in current software.

When programmers build software, they first must determine how it will be used and then how it will function. They should then evaluate the software to ensure the description and function match, but this step is cumbersome and expensive. All too often, crude testing methods are used instead, inadvertently neglecting to test critical corner cases that later result in bugs in real-world deployment. A National Institute of Standards and Technology study found that software defects cost the economy $60 billion annually and account for 80 percent of software development costs.

Gill is building the Haskell Equational Reasoning Model-to-Implementation Tunnel (HERMIT) to improve software correctness. HERMIT mathematically, or formally, analyzes each step of development, providing rigorous connections between system requirements and the programming details of a real application. While system requirements and programs are typically written in two different computer languages and often evaluated in a third, HERMIT provides a common foundation that generates evidence that the description and action match. These continuous checks and balances make it much harder for errors to be introduced, and HERMIT's precise documentation style allows any pesky bugs to be caught early in the process.

"When we are talking about building large systems with millions of lines of code, finding errors can be very difficult. Unreliable software hurts companies' reputations and costs them customers," said Gill, who conducts his research at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC). "HERMIT uses new ideas from software engineering and mathematics to make the evaluation of high-assurance software development more manageable."

As well as helping with software development, Gill hopes HERMIT can be customized for developing hardware solutions. Gill gave an invited talk at the NSA-sponsored High Confidence Software and Systems conference in Maryland last year about the precursor to HERMIT that generated a hardware-based signal decoder. Collaborating with EECS Associate Professor Erik Perrins on the implementation of a system that helps correct naturally occurring errors in noisy transmissions, Gill applied the HERMIT rules by hand, leading to an efficient design and a more reliable decoding system.

Before joining the KU faculty, Gill was involved in the successful commercialization of technology developed in academia. Gill was a principal project scientist for the PacSoft research group in the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology. Together with colleagues from PacSoft and other academic institutions, Gill commercialized a software engineering method that led to a software engineering firm with 40 employees. Gill hopes to repeat this success with HERMIT.    Click to go to Top of Page

Google seminars help KC small businesses set up websites

From Kansas City Star -- 08-30-2011
By Scott Canon

Google wants your business to go online.

Whether your mom-and-pop caters to Millennials or to Mom and Pop, the search engine company argues that you're either on the Web or you're out of it.

So today and Thursday the company is running seminars in Kansas City and giving away free websites - hosted by Intuit Inc. for a year at no cost - to the more than 1,000 mostly very small businesses expected to attend its welcome-to-the-Internet clinic.

The company says that 97 percent of Americans look online for the services and stuff they buy. Yet a Google/Ipsos survey found nearly two in three U.S. businesses have no home on the Internet.

"They're digitally invisible," said Scott Levitan, Google's director of small-business engagement. "They won't show up on the map, and they will have no chance of getting that call."

He says Google's research shows that small companies don't bother with setting up websites because they think it's too hard, too costly and too time-consuming.

So Google is attacking that perception by telling businesses they probably can have decent-looking, if minimalist (three pages), websites up and running after an hour at the clinic. After the free year is over, keeping the websites alive will cost about $7 a month.

Google has similar events scheduled in September in Iowa. It already put on sessions in Vermont and Texas this summer, drawing mostly outfits with fewer than 10 employees. Those entrepreneurs, Levitan said, were generally surprised at the ease of planting their flags on the Internet.

The company has a special interest in moving this market's businesses onto the Web because it has promised to string fiber-optic lines to virtually every home and business in Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., and deliver Internet speeds 10 to 100 times faster than are available to most Americans. Details about the project remain sketchy, but Google has said it will fire up the service for some customers in early 2012.

That super-fast Internet and this week's "Kansas City Get Your Business Online" seminars feed into Google's motivation to move more commerce to the Internet. After all, that's where it makes its billions.

"Ultimately, Google wants your experience with the Internet to be with one of their offerings," said Josh Olson, a technology sector analyst at Edward Jones & Co. "The more they're able to control that, the more they're able to enhance the relevance of their ad model."

Google insists it's not using the sessions to promote its online business products--the Google Apps line of Internet-based programs that range from email to word processing to electronic spreadsheets. Rather, Levitan said Google benefits from more businesses online driving more consumers online. That in turn provides more chances to expose people to Google's ads. The more businesses listed on Google Places, for instance, the more likely consumers will use the device.

Still, the sessions will include how-to programs on Google's AdWords program that produces advertising based on the words used in an Internet search. And small businesses might be especially attracted to so-called cloud services offered by Google. They allow the smallest of businesses--those with fewer than 10 employees--to get computer programs for free and larger firms to essentially rent rather than buy software applications.

"It's like outsourcing anything. You're looking to gain efficiency," said Victor Frost, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Kansas.

Such cloud applications could prove particularly useful for small businesses that can't afford information technology staff, he said, but they might also make it more difficult to shift that strategy when a company grows.

For small businesses such as Dumit Rug Cleaners in Kansas City's Waldo area, a free website could be just the thing.

Todd Dumit and Paula Tarwater run the business with their father, Dave Dumit. Dave Dumit's father, Henry Dumit, started the business in 1929. Of course, in the beginning there was no Internet. But in recent years Tarwater has felt negligent for not using a website to promote the company's specialty of cleaning area rugs.

"It was kind of intimidating," she said.

But after a Google representative visited her shop and signed her up to attend today's seminar, Tarwater said, "I'm kind of excited."

That, said Intuit product manager Megan Bhattacharyya, offers a chance to introduce small businesses to her company's online products.

"People think getting online is this really, really scary process," she said. "It doesn't have to be."

Getting online has been critical for Janay Andrews, who makes wedding dresses from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and silk hemp. Andrews now sells dresses to people around the world. She's the subject of a Google video about the powers of a website for small businesses.    Click to go to Top of Page

Agah Earns Teaching Excellence Award

By Michelle Ward

ITTC investigator Arvin Agah received a surprise visit from KU Provost Jeffrey Vitter and other dignitaries who presented him with a Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and a $7,500 check during his Mobile Robotics course on Tuesday.

ITTC graduate student Marianne Jantz, who had Agah for Software Engineering (EECS 448) as an undergraduate, is now taking his Mobile Robotics course.

"Dr. Agah's classes are always extremely enjoyable," Jantz said. "He has the ability to impart his knowledge and expertise, while keeping his students both interested and smiling."

Andrea Valdivia had Agah for Software Engineering in 2008. Students worked in small teams to develop a Nintendo DS game, which she said was a great conversation starter during internship interviews. Valdivia said the career-oriented course showcased Agah's strong industry background and his passion for software development.

"Professor Agah's Software Engineering class was one of my favorites at KU! It was an extremely hands-on course that gave students a flavor of what it is like to develop solutions for real-world scenarios," said Valdivia who graduated in May and is working at the Goldman Sachs world headquarters in New York."His enthusiastic teaching has made a lasting impression on me and certainly countless others."

Mark Calnon has returned to KU this fall to begin his doctorate work under the direction of Agah. As an EECS graduate student in 2008, Calnon and other students wanted to participate in the Space Robotics Challenge. Agah created a special topics course for the students and helped them write grant proposals to fund the project and present it at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

"Professor Agah has a true desire to see his students succeed. Whether assisting students with their research or encouraging students to participate in educational outreach, Professor Agah is always willing to spend as much time and effort as necessary to provide his students with opportunities to grow both academically and personally," Calnon said.

The Kemper fellowships recognize 10 outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in their 16th year, the awards are supported by an annual gift of from the William T. Kemper Foundation (Commerce Bank, trustee) and matching funds from KU Endowment. Agah is the eighth EECS professor to receive a Kemper award.

Agah joined the EECS faculty in 1997. He spearheaded the new Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Computing program and served as associate chair for graduate studies from 2005-2009. He conducts artificial intelligence and robotics research at ITTC.    Click to go to Top of Page

Austin Receives Department of Defense Scholarship


Increasing the security and maintainability of computer systems has earned a University of Kansas graduate student in computer science a prestigious Department of Defense (DoD) scholarship.

Evan Austin, of Shawnee, will receive a $38,000 annual stipend, full tuition and fees, book allowance and health insurance through the Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program. Austin, who will graduate with a master's degree in computer science in August, will begin his doctorate studies in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) this fall.

"Evan has worked very hard and we're all very proud of him," said Stuart Bell, dean of engineering. "The home-grown talent at the KU School of Engineering continues to excel at the highest levels of scholarship and research. This award is a great honor and the work he's completing at KU will play an important role in the security of the information technology we all rely on."

SMART recipients receive paid summer internships and postgraduate employment within the DoD. The program, which aims to bring highly trained civilian scientists and engineers to Defense facilities, requires a year of employment in return for each year of scholarship.

"Beyond the generous financial benefits attached to the award, the SMART program provides years of invaluable experience at a DoD research facility," Austin said. "When I look at the incredible new professors EECS has gained over the last few years, I notice many are finding immediate success based on the contacts and confidence that they developed working at government research labs. I'm hoping that this opportunity will provide me with a similar foundation that I can build upon for success."

Current verification software does not provide sufficient automatic processing, creating a slow and cumbersome inspection process. Austin is developing formal reasoning tools that will allow researchers to build models that will evaluate the security, reliability, maintainability and other importance facets of their hardware/software design. His tools are aimed at expediting the generation of trustworthy large-scale systems, such as smart grids and telecommunication networks.

Austin conducts research at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) under the direction of Perry Alexander, Sharp Professor of EECS and ITTC Director.

"Evan is an exceptionally talented researcher and a wonderful member of my laboratory," Alexander said. "The SMART fellowship suits him quite well, and I believe the experience he will gain working with the DoD will benefit him greatly when he starts his academic career. This fellowship is great for Evan and great for ITTC and KU."

Austin earned an undergraduate degree with honors in computer science from KU in 2008. In 2010, he won a Paul F. Huebner Memorial Award for outstanding graduate teaching. He was the graduate teaching assistant for the C++ programming course (EECS 138).

This is the third EECS/ITTC student to receive a SMART fellowship since its creation in 2005. Alumni Jamie Jenshak and Mike Wasikowski received SMART scholarships in 2006 and 2008, respectively.    Click to go to Top of Page

ITTC Investigator Honored with Steeples Service to Kansas Award

From University Relations -- 06-02-2011
By Kristi Henderson

A University of Kansas mathematics professor and ITTC researcher whose outreach efforts have affected thousands of students in Kansas is the 2011 recipient of the Steeples Service to Kansas Award.

Bozenna Pasik-Duncan was honored for her accomplishments at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate recognition ceremony May 22.

Don Steeples, the Dean A. McGee Distinguished Professor of Applied Geophysics, and his wife, Tammy, established the award in 1997 to honor Don Steeples' parents, Wally and Marie Steeples, and to recognize outstanding service by KU faculty to other Kansans. The award provides recipients with $1,000 and an additional $1,000 base adjustment to their salaries.

Thousands of students in grades K-12 have benefited from mathematics classes, workshops and competitions established by Pasik-Duncan.

In 1994, she started teaching mathematics classes four times a week in a Lawrence elementary school on top of her regular teaching load at KU. In just two years, the students won 17 awards at Kansas Regional Math Contests.

She has since expanded her contributions. She has organized and implemented Mathematics Awareness Month at KU for 17 years, which has received accolades from the governor and the Lawrence City Council. The mathematics competitions that are part of this program have attracted more than 1,000 students from about 90 Kansas schools in kindergarten through 12th grade in the past five years alone.

She has also established a partnership in mathematics education between local elementary schools and KU and an annual mathematics workshop for 5th and 6th graders in Lawrence and participates in about three workshops a year for high school teachers of mathematics and science in the United States and abroad.

Pasik-Duncan has been a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics since 1984. She has been honored with several of KU's most prestigious accolades, including the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence; the Frank B. Morrison Award for distinguished teaching; induction into the KU Women's Hall of Fame; and the distinction of being the first mathematics professor to receive the HOPE teaching award since it was established in 1959.

Funds for the Steeples award are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.    Click to go to Top of Page

Oguna Receives Class of 1913 Award

By Michelle Ward

EE senior Angela Oguna received the Class of 1913 award, which is given to a senior man and woman whose intelligence, devotion to studies and personal character give promise of usefulness to society. Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success, and Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle, associate vice provost for Student Success, presented the award during Senior Design Lab II.

"I am both honored and humbled to receive this award. It is the result of a lot of hard work, which is complemented by the support I have received from my family, friends and my mentors," Oguna said. "My academic advisor [EECS Professor James Roberts] was very supportive when I transferred to KU, and he played an integral role in ensuring I got off on the right foot. The guidance I received on my first undergraduate research assignment at the Information and Telecommunications Technology Center (ITTC) equipped me with essential technical skills, in addition to widening my KU network. When I finally graduate, it will be with appreciation for the opportunities that have been made available to me and the confidence that I made the most of my time here at KU."

Since arriving from Nairobi, Kenya, as a transfer student in 2008, Oguna has garnered a number of prestigious honors. Last spring she became first KU student to win a Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, which encourages women to excel in computing and technology and become active role models and leaders. She was named - one of the outstanding scholars in America - at the 2009 National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention and later that year won a national Chrysler Foundation Scholarship from the Society of Women Engineers.

Oguna has been on the Dean's Honor Roll every semester since transferring KU in 2008 and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society. This fall she received the Tau Beta Pi Record Scholarship, named for 1929 KU graduate Leroy E. Record.

Oguna is a mentor to incoming freshmen as an ambassador for the School of Engineering and is the president of the KU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). In support of the NSBE mission of increasing the number of minority engineers, Oguna volunteered at Central Junior High School's after-school program this fall and last month helped judge the Vex robotics competition during the Kansas City Youth Technology Fair.

This month Oguna received a KU undergraduate research award (UGRA). The award is supporting the collection of detailed information about real-time energy use and cost, allowing consumers to make more informed decisions about their consumption. The independent research will help in the integration of Smart Grid technology for small-scale consumers. The effort was initially funded by the American Public Power Association Demonstration of Energy-Efficient Developments (DEED) grant that Oguna received last spring.

A 15-member selection committee comprised of students, faculty and staff, selects Chancellor Student Award winners from university-wide nominations. Recipients will receive special recognition during the Commencement Ceremony on May 22.    Click to go to Top of Page

KU's excellence in radar research cited in selection to host distinguished conference

From The Oread -- 03-07-2011

In recognition of its accomplished history and continued excellence in radar research and development, KU was selected to lead the most distinguished conference within the field.

The 2011 IEEE Radar Conference will be held for the first time May 23-27 in Kansas City, and its theme,"In the Eye of the Storm," acknowledges the unpredictable Midwestern weather and the importance of radar in tracking severe storms. Nearly 500 leading scholars and industry practitioners from 24 countries will address how radar can measure climate change, support civil applications such as air traffic control, and advance technology to protect military personnel. The conference will take place at the Westin Crown Center. The IEEE is the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology.

"It's a great honor for KU to serve in this capacity," said Shannon Blunt, a faculty researcher at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) and general chair of the conference.

ITTC Associate Director James Stiles will serve as the general co-chair. ITTC researcher Christopher Allen and KU alumnus Nathan Goodman, now an associate professor at the University of Arizona, are the technical chairs. Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Moore, who pioneered the field of radar remote sensing of the environment, is the honorary chair.

Allen, Blunt and Stiles are part of the Radar Systems and Remote Sensing Lab at ITTC. The breadth of the lab's research runs the gamut from the development of hardware systems for measuring the environmental phenomena to the theoretical investigation of futuristic sensor modalities. Over its more than 40 year history, the lab's research has been supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation and multiple agencies within the Department of Defense.

The conference falls under the purview of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology with more than 400,000 members. The 2011 IEEE Radar Conference is sponsored by the Kansas City Section of the organization and its Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, along with technical involvement from the group's Microwave Theory and Techniques Society and Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society.    Click to go to Top of Page

ITTC Student Research Selected for Capitol Graduate Research Summit


ITTC doctoral student Brian Cordill was among the 33 graduate students from KU, Kansas State, and Wichita State who were selected to present their research and how it benefited Kansas to elected officials and the public on Feb. 17.

"I was pretty excited when I heard I was selected for the summit. It's not every day you are able to present your research to the Board of Regents and members of the Legislature," Cordill said. "I think the work we're doing can have a pretty big impact on Kansas businesses."

Jumbo jetliners to single-engine airplanes are now being made from a wafer-thin, granite-tough plastic material, known as carbon composite, which reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 percent. While composites offer greater durability and design flexibility, they can't protect sensitive electronic equipment like their aluminum counterparts. Metal provides a natural shield from weather, military, and other high-power radar signals that can jam equipment and cause other problems through electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Currently, manufacturers are unable to conduct EMI tests until a prototype is built, making changes costly and difficult. But under the direction of ITTC investigator Sarah Seguin, Cordill is using electromagnetic modeling software to identify possible EMI problems in the design phase. He compared virtual findings with physical measurements to ensure the accuracy of the software. The software was developed in collaboration with Mark Ewing, chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and director of the Flight Research Laboratory, at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC).

"EMI is a pretty wide-open problem with a lot of research focused on identifying and fixing problems, but what companies really need now is a way to bring down cost," said Cordill, who graduated with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 2007. He attended the University of California-Los Angles for graduate school before returning to KU for his Ph.D.

The research was funded by the Aircraft Design and Manufacturing Research Center (ADMRC), a consortium of university and industry partners who address the technology needs of aircraft manufacturers and subcontractors.    Click to go to Top of Page

KU Hires Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

From Lawrence Journal World -- 01-10-2011
By Andy Hyland

As she comes to Kansas University, Julie Goonewardene is all about helping turn faculty ideas into marketable ideas.

And those who worked with her at Purdue University say she's one of the best around at it. Those former colleagues include KU's Provost Jeff Vitter, who worked with her as a former dean of sciences at Purdue.

Goonewardene (it's pronounced goon-WAR-den) came to Purdue in 2005 after working with three different start-up companies.

She has worked at the Purdue Research Foundation in several roles, including as director of business development.

Goonewardene will start work at KU next week as associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. She will work with both the Lawrence and KU Medical Center campuses.

She said she has a passion for helping faculty members be as successful as possible with start-up companies, including helping them with business plans and introducing them to potential investors.

"There is nothing in the traditional faculty career path that trains them to become an entrepreneur," she said.

Dan Raftery, a chemistry professor at Purdue, said he leaned on Goonewardene when establishing his business, Matrix-Bio, which features a diagnostic screening to help with early detection of breast cancer.

He knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur when the business began in 2006, but didn't know some of the basics, he said.

Goonewardene gave him advice and direction, including shaping his business plan, tempering his expectations and finding angel investors.

"She has a very, very broad network," Raftery said. "She's one of the best-connected people in the state. It's going to be a real loss for Purdue and a real gain for Kansas."

Goonewardene said, after taking her last venture-capital based software company public, she began to see the opportunities available for working with faculty members.

"I come from an academic family," she said. "My father and several of my cousins are professors. I care a great deal and have a great admiration for what happens at a university."

One area of focus at KU will be bringing in many different disciplines of the university to help with entrepreneurship. People skilled in communications, she said, can help new businesses communicate effectively with the public.

Raftery said at Purdue, Goonewardene helped him connect with business students who contributed to his business plan.

Purdue has long been plugged into entrepreneurial opportunities- its decades-old Purdue Research Park on campus is home to more than 140 companies and employs more than 2,700 people.

The park has been a good source of high-quality jobs in the area, and keeps talented students employed in the city of West Lafayette, Ind., especially with Indianapolis looming nearby, Raftery said.

And entrepreneurial opportunities such as the ones Goonewardene offers can help retain quality faculty, too, he said.

When companies successfully license technologies, it can be a financial boon for both the university and the inventor, Goonewardene said. But often, it means more than that, she said. In the case of Raftery's Matrix-Bio, his potential new screening for breast cancer could save a mother, a daughter or an aunt. And helping people accomplish that type of goal is her real passion, she said.

She said she was looking forward to coming to KU, where she said she sees great opportunities for entrepreneurial success in KU's strong pharmacy and engineering programs, as well as other areas.

"I think KU's a little bit of a well-kept secret," she said. "I think in this central part of the country, we tend to be a little modest. We'll probably boast a little more about KU than we have in the past."    Click to go to Top of Page

Agah Receives ING Excellence in Teaching Award

From University Relations -- 11-08-2010
By Michelle Ward

ITTC investigator Arvin Agah, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Kansas, received the 2010 ING Excellence in Teaching Award during the home football game on Nov. 6.

"Professor Agah always finds challenging projects that force students to think for themselves and truly learn the material to succeed. His role is often a mentor who guides students toward success but never simply hands them the solution," said Richard Stansbury, who had Agah as a professor and adviser as an undergraduate, graduate and doctoral student at KU. Stansbury, who finished his doctorate in 2007, is now an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Highlights from Agah's classroom projects include a robot sumo wrestling competition in which student teams developed, built and programmed a robot able to force fellow classmates' robots outside a 5-foot wide "wrestling mat." He refereed the 72-match round robin tournament that was the final project for his Robot Intelligence course in 2008. Agah's students won first place in the multi-university Cerner Corporation Software Design Competition in 2006. The Software Development Lifecycle course required students to develop software that could present, collect and analyze patient information on a specialized PDA for health care providers.

Christopher Gifford, who earned a doctorate from KU in 2009, had Agah as faculty adviser for the Space Robotics Challenge held at the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. The robotic system received multiple awards for its low-cost design and standout information processing and mapping capabilities. When Gifford and fellow graduate students came to Agah about the challenge, he created a special projects class for them. Gifford says Agah's attention to the needs and interests of his students is part of what make him a great teacher. His guidance and support was instrumental to the success of the KU robotics team.

"Professor Agah's courses are always hands-on, enabling the students to work on real problems and find real solutions," said Gifford, now an information systems analyst at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "He puts an emphasis on the material as well as the experience, which becomes valuable when moving on to life beyond the classroom."

KU graduate Shannon Skoglund is among the Perceptive Software staff that is co-teaching a graduate course on software engineering with Agah.

"I'm very impressed with Professor Agah's willingness to reach out to companies in the area and try innovative ways of teaching a class," Skoglund said."I think the real-world exposure is both rare and very valuable in a university setting."

Agah was associate chair for graduate studies for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 2005 to 2009. During his time as associate chair, Agah oversaw a number of graduate students who were nominated for and received prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowships.

This is the eighth year that the ING award has recognized outstanding teaching on the Lawrence campus. The global financial institution offers banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to more than 85 million clients.

"I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this award," Agah said.    Click to go to Top of Page

New ITTC Annual Report is Online

By Michelle Ward

We are recognizing students and their efforts throughout this year's Annual Report . At ITTC, our students apply what they are learning in the classroom to research. They gain practical experience by conducting experiments, analyzing data, and performing other necessary, but sometimes tedious, research. Critical to the success of ITTC, students are often our unsung heroes.

Not to be outdone, ITTC faculty researchers earned top honors. ITTC investigator Jun "Luke" Huan spearheaded a $4.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. It will provide a 20-fold boost in computing power to ITTC's Bioinformatics Computing Facility. Huan was highlighted last year for receiving a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. This year ITTC researcher Prasad Kulkarni received the prestigious CAREER award to support his ongoing efforts to integrate teaching and research. At ITTC, Kulkarni is building more secure and better performing software systems.

Technology maturation and commercialization are natural outgrowths of innovative ITTC research. This maturation process allows us to prepare roll-out ready technologies. It is not enough to create transformative technologies; we need to get them into the hands of Kansas businesses and entrepreneurs. ITTC also offers applied research, technical consulting, product development, and other services to assist Kansans with IT challenges and opportunities.    Click to go to Top of Page

Researchers Earn Grant to Digitize Massive Encyclopedia of Invertebrates

By Michelle Ward

University of Kansas researchers have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a searchable online database and library that links the 50-plus volumes of the "Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology," an important resource on climate change, evolution and other biodiversity research.

"Treatise" classifies all known extinct and living invertebrates (creatures without backbones), which make up 95 percent of the animal species. Finding new ways to electronically extract, analyze and store this authoritative compilation will lead to greater understanding of mass extinctions, evolutionary recoveries and current environmental threats. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from KU's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Paleontological Institute will create the Invertebrate Paleontology Knowledgebase to transform data management.

"IPKbase will help researchers more easily connect the dots," said Xue-wen Chen, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and principal investigator of IPKbase. "The amount of information is overwhelming, and we are developing tools to help them mine data. By developing a fast and flexible online information repository, we will enable greater access to critical information."

KU researchers will develop a three-step process for IPKbase to handle the highly complex and immense "Treatise" data. Computational tools will extract and integrate images, text and numerical data. For example, image-based searches would allow paleontologists to compare photographs of a newly discovered fossil with known images. New data analysis, modeling and visualization techniques will discover patterns and provide meaningful interpretation. Finally, IPKbase would index information for easy retrieval and sharing.

James Miller, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Luke Han, Bo Luo and Brian Potetz, all assistant professors of EECS, will be co-investigators on the project. Paul Selden, the Gulf-Hedberg Distinguished Professor of Invertebrate Paleontology, director of KU's Paleontological Institute and editor of the "Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology," will be a co-investigator as well. They will conduct the research at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center.

"After half a century of scholars compiling and benefitting from this important repository of knowledge, today's researchers will have greater access to its knowledge through its digital presence and the incredible data mining techniques which our computer scientist colleagues are developing," Selden said. "This project will allow students of paleontology, young and old, and researchers in related industries, move forward on a variety of problems of concern to mankind."    Click to go to Top of Page

Carpenter's Presentation is Available Online


Anne Carpenter, director of the Imaging Platform at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, discussed the CellProfiler software she co-developed on Wednesday in Nichols Hall. Her talk was part of the ITTC Distinguished Lecture Series.

Slides from "Extracting Rich Information from Biological Images" are now available online.    Click to go to Top of Page

Creator of cell imaging software to speak at KU

From University Relations -- 09-16-2010

Anne Carpenter, director of the Imaging Platform at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, will discuss the CellProfiler software she developed to better understand healthy gene function and genetic causes of diseases at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Apollo Room in Nichols Hall.

Carpenter's talk is part of the Information Telecommunication and Technology Center Distinguished Lecture Series."Extracting Rich Information from Biological Images" is free and open to the public.

"We are honored to have Dr. Carpenter visit," said Xue-wen Chen, director of ITTC's Bioinformatics and Computational Life Sciences Lab."Her work in cell image analysis software is pioneering a new research field. Dr. Carpenter is a perfect addition to our Distinguished Lecture Series, continuing our commitment to bring top-notch scientists to ITTC."

CellProfiler simultaneously processes thousands of images, automatically measuring the shape, location, texture and hundreds of other features within each cell. The software can uncover subtle differences or changes, isolate individual objects, such as nuclei, and compare data sets. CellProfiler produces results from large-scale experiments in hours compared to months of tedious, error-prone inspection by humans.

CellProfiler received Bio-IT World's Best Practices Award for IT and Informatics in 2009. The software's point-and-click format allows researchers--even those without a background in computer science--to easily customize and automate data collection for experiments. Carpenter developed CellProfiler after being unable to find commercial software that could analyze cell images. The free open source software debuted in 2005.

Carpenter received her doctorate in cell biology from Purdue University in 2003. In 2008, she was elected a fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences and featured in a PBS special, "Bold Visions: Women in Science and Technology." She was named a "Rising Young Investigator" by Genome Technology in 2007. In addition to a Novartis post-doctoral fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Foundation, Carpenter received a L'Oreal USA 2006 Fellowship for Women in Science, which recognized five female scientists considered to be leading researchers in the early phase of their careers.    Click to go to Top of Page

Functional Language Expert to Speak at KU


Simon Thompson, a professor of Logic and Computation at the University of Kent, will discuss the refactoring tool, Wrangler, that he created for the Erlang programming language at 1 p.m. on Monday, September 27, in the Apollo Room in Nichols Hall. Thompson's talk, "Improving your Erlang programs and tests with Wrangler," is free and open to the public.

Improving the design of a program without changing its behavior-known as refactoring-is critical to development. Wrangler allows much more efficient and reliable interactive refactoring of Erlang programs. Currently, it supports a small number of basic Erlang refactorings, including renaming of variables, functions and modules. Embedded in the Emacs editing environment, Wrangler uses functionalities provided by Distel to manage the communication between tools and Emacs.

An expert on functional languages, Thompson focuses on program verification, type systems, and software tools for functional programming languages. His team has built the HaRe tool for refactoring Haskell programs and is developing Wrangler to do the same for Erlang. Thompson has an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University and a D.Phil. In mathematical logic from Oxford University.    Click to go to Top of Page

Provost to Chair Panel at Premier Computer Science Conference

From University Relations -- 07-20-2010
By Jill Jess

Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas, is participating this week in three panels at the premier leadership conference in computer science.

Vitter, who is also an ITTC investigator and professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will chair a panel titled "Guidelines for Coordinating Faculty Recruitment" at the Computing Research Association biannual conference in Snowbird, Utah. The panel seeks to identify healthy hiring practices for the benefit of both departments and faculty candidates.

At the conference, Vitter also will join panels titled "Understanding and Using Graduate Program Rankings in Computer Science," which deals with the long-awaited and controversial National Research Council ratings, and "Managing Up-Partnering with Your Dean," a mentoring session for department chairs and heads.

The Computing Research Association is an organization of more than 200 North American academic departments of computer science, computer engineering and related fields; laboratories and centers in industry, government and academia engaging in basic computing research; and affiliated professional societies. CRA’s mission is to strengthen research and advanced education in the computing fields, expand opportunities for women and minorities, and improve public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing and computing research in our society.

Vitter has more than 280 book, journal, conference and patent publications, primarily on the algorithmic aspects of processing massive amounts of information. He is a Guggenheim fellow and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was named a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and won a Fulbright scholarship.    Click to go to Top of Page

International Foundation for Telemetering names KU a partner university

By Michelle Ward

There is no way (yet) to wirelessly network multiple aircraft traveling at Mach speeds over vast areas, but University of Kansas researchers are developing technologies to address this challenging situation.

In recognition of KU's efforts to improve the science of telemetering--measuring at a distance--the International Foundation for Telemetering has donated $60,000 to KU and named it a partner university.

A nonprofit organization, IFT promotes the professional and technical interests of the telemetering community by sponsoring conferences, educational activities and technical publications.

"This partnership will help KU strengthen opportunities for some of the best young minds out there," said Stuart R. Bell, dean of KU's School of Engineering. "I'm pleased that IFT sees the value and promise of the work being conducted here."

KU's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will use the initial donation to award three IFT Fellowships to graduate students, purchase equipment for labs and senior design projects and support students traveling to conferences to present their research. As one of only six partner universities of IFT, KU can present additional gift requests and proposals at the annual meeting of the IFT Board of Directors, which KU will host next year.

"We are extremely honored to form this partnership with the IFT," said Erik Perrins, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who detailed KU's telemetry-related programs at the IFT board meeting last month. "We have been involved with the IFT and the larger telemetry community for the past five years and we look forward to having a synergistic relationship with them for many years to come. We are excited to host the IFT board next spring and let the board members see our engineering programs up close."

During the IFT board meeting last month at New Mexico State University, Perrins highlighted a trio of telemetry-related projects at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center. The first is a NASA deep-space communication system that Perrins is helping build that must transmit large amounts of data but is subject to severe size, weight and power constraints. The second project, led by EECS Associate Professor James P.G. Sterbenz with Perrins as a co-investigator, is a wireless networking system that is specially designed for highly dynamic aircraft. This system will give test ranges new capabilities to conduct multiple tests simultaneously, instead of staggered over time.

In the third project, Perrins and Andy Gill, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, are developing hardware prototypes of a system that will locate and correct errors that naturally occur in a noisy transmission. This system uses a technology known as forward error correction, and in this project can correct errors even in weak signals that approach the theoretical limit, known as the Shannon capacity. Forward error correction technology has numerous other applications, including digital storage media and wireless cellular systems. The hardware prototypes are being implemented using efficient hardware description languages that Gill developed at KU, which greatly reduce the amount of engineering effort needed to produce the final design.

For more than four decades, IFT has sponsored the International Telemetry Conference, with a large portion of its proceeds going to partner universities. Electrical engineering and computer sciences students at KU have won best paper awards the past three years at the conference. In 2009, Gino Rea won first place in the graduate student paper contest. The previous year, doctoral student Justin Rohrer was the first student to win the overall best conference paper award. Prashanth Chandran won second place in the graduate student paper contest in 2007.    Click to go to Top of Page

ITTC Bioinformatics Computing Facility to Receive Extreme Makeover

By Michelle Ward

Today's computationally intensive research depends upon High Performance Computing (HPC) hardware to allow researchers to sequence genomes and peer into molecules. This vast computing power generates scientific breakthroughs with, unfortunately, a lot of unused heat.

A University of Kansas computing facility dedicated to life sciences research will enable a 20-fold boost in computing power thanks to a $4.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the new design will utilize the heat generated from the computing hardware to supplement the building's heating infrastructure.

"This is a superb example of a win-win," said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "Investigators on the cutting edge of biological research will have much more robust computing at their command and see that their research is energy efficient and sustainable--a priority for our campus."

KU researchers will renovate more than 3,500 square feet of computing space and 2,400 square feet of support space. A sophisticated computer-rack cooling system will shuttle heat from computing equipment into the Nichols Hall boiler room, resulting in an expected 15% reduction in building natural gas use. Additionally, when outdoor temperatures drop below 45 degrees, a "dry-cooler" will kick in, slashing electricity consumption by allowing cooling compressors to be powered down.

KU's Bioinformatics Computing Facility, housed at the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center in Nichols Hall, will be updated and expanded through an NIH Recovery Act Limited Competition: Core Facility Renovation, Repair and Improvement grant.

"We are confident that the renovated core facility will prove to be an exemplary centralized computational resource," said Jun "Luke" Huan, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who spearheaded the project. "It is well-positioned to meet the ambitious data analysis needs of KU biomedical research and to dynamically respond to future computational challenges."

Examples of research projects conducted at ITTC's bioinformatics cluster include prediction of the misfolding of proteins that contributes to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases; sequencing of genomes; data mining of emergent chemical genomics databases; and development of approaches to uncover interactions between genes and proteins.

Such advanced biomedical research pushes computer systems to their limit.

"The existing BCF is running at capacity and cannot be expanded further," said ITTC Acting Director Perry Alexander. "It supports more than 50 research projects and 10 core service laboratories. Researchers from across KU participated in this proposal. It was a university-wide effort to increase high-performance computing capacity for an exceptionally diverse collection of researchers, ranging from life sciences to engineering, while focusing on sustainability and energy efficiency."

For researchers across KU, the renovations also will increase access to computational resources by improving network connectivity between the facility and the rest of the Lawrence campus, the KU Medical Center and external organizations.

ITTC, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Research and Graduate Studies, Molecular Graphics and Modeling Laboratory, K-INBRE Bioinformatics Core, Biodiversity Institute, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Design & Construction Management and Information Technology all contributed to the winning grant proposal.    Click to go to Top of Page

Oguna Wins Google Scholarship

By Michelle Ward

Angela Oguna, a junior in electrical engineering, is the first University of Kansas student to win a prestigious Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. The $10,000 scholarships were awarded to 32 exceptional female undergraduate and graduate students in computer science and related technical fields.

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and Google created the highly competitive scholarship to encourage women to pursue careers in computer science and technology and to become leaders and role models. Scholarship recipients and finalists are invited to participate in all-expenses-paid networking retreat at Google this June.

"All of us in the School of Engineering are proud of Angela and the potential she already is bringing to bear at KU and abroad," said Stuart Bell, dean of engineering."I’m confident she will continue to make great achievements throughout her career."

Since transferring to KU in 2008, Oguna has collected an array of honors. She was named "one of the outstanding scholars in America" at the 2009 National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention. She also won a national Chrysler Foundation Scholarship from the Society of Women Engineers. Oguna has been on the Dean’s Honor Roll every semester and has received regional and University accolades for her research. Additionally, she serves as an engineering ambassador, meeting with prospective students visiting campus and alumni.

"I am definitely ready for senior year now. This award alleviates a considerable financial burden," said Oguna, of Nairobi, Kenya. "I am grateful for the support that I have received from my family, my friends and my mentors who have been instrumental in my success at KU."

At KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), Oguna tests sensors that monitor cargo transported by rail cars. The theft detection system provides stakeholders with greater visibility, security and accountability of their goods. ITTC researchers are working with KU’s Transportation Research Institute and KC SmartPort, an economic development group, to develop secure, efficient transportation corridors throughout Kansas City.

"Angela is a highly motivated student. She has taken the initiative on a number of projects and activities during the past few years," said Gary Minden, director of ITTC's Communication and Networking Systems Lab."Her motivation and initiative are complemented with a solid engineering foundation."

This spring Oguna was selected for an American Public Power Association Demonstration research grant. The Energy-Efficient Developments (DEED) program sponsors research related to improving efficiencies and lowering the cost of services provided by publicly owned electric utilities. Oguna’s research will generate details information about real-time energy use and cost. As a result, consumers will be able to make more informed decisions about their consumption. Her industry sponsor is the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.    Click to go to Top of Page

Positive Experience Keeps Arnett at KU for Grad School

By Michelle Ward

While Austin Arnett visited and was accepted to Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, he chose to attend the University of Kansas. It is a decision he would make all over again. In fact, he is. Arnett, who is graduating with honors in EE this May, will begin graduate school at KU this fall. He will focus on radar systems as he pursues a master’s degree in EE.

"It has been a really good experience, which is why I am coming back," says the El Dorado native. "My professors have been a great resource."

Arnett points to KU’s outstanding facilities, especially Eaton Hall with its state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories. Among his favorite classes were EECS 622 (Hardware Design) and EECS 502 (Senior design Lab). The former introduces the fundamentals of radio transmission systems, including wireless communication devices and radar. Arnett designed a radio transmission system to meet a given specification. In the Senior Design Lab, Arnett says students must use pieces of each core class to build a system. His team is designing and building an ultrasonic location and tracking system that uses a speaker to transmit two ultrasonic tones at known frequencies. They process the signals from each receiver and use the difference in phase information of each received signal to locate its exact position.

He says KU was the "best and most affordable option" for him. He received a Summerfield Scholarship as well as renewable scholarships from Garmin, EECS and the School of engineering. An interest in math, science and problem solving led him to EE. Radios and radar have become focus areas for Arnett.

At KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), Arnett is conducting research on radar-embedded communication for his honors project. There is a great need for a reliable covert communication system for soldiers in hostile territory. Too often, eavesdroppers can intercept messages. EECS Assistant Professor Shannon Blunt is developing technology that will enable soldiers’ messages to"piggyback" on existing radar signals. Current covert communication of this type requires hundreds of radar pulses to convey just one communication symbol thus resulting in very low data rates. In contrast, Blunt’s team embeds a communication symbol into each individual radar pulse. Preliminary results suggest the potential for operation at data rates 1,000 times faster than current radar-embedded communication systems while offering at least the same level of security.

"I am looking into the practical implementation of radar-embedded-communication (REC) theory. Up to now, there have only been computer simulations done to evaluate and test REC ideas," says Arnett. "I am using an actual radar system in ITTC’s Radar and Remote Sensing Lab (RSL) to implement and explore challenges faced during implementation."

"I have been very impressed with Austin’s willingness to go after an unconventional problem," says Blunt, Arnett’s advisor. "He has also demonstrated the ability to work independently towards a solution. These are the hallmarks of a good researcher."

In addition to being an honor student, Arnett was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and KU Bowling Team. He served as president during the 2009-2010 bowling season. He notes that KU is a huge campus with numerous clubs and activities. Arnett says it is important to find things you enjoy and get involved.

"Be proactive and do things ahead of time," says Arnett when asked what advice he would give to students. "Managing your time is important."    Click to go to Top of Page

KU research centers developing variety of marketable technologies

From Lawrence Journal World -- 04-25-2010
By Andy Hyland

Their work can range from how strokes affect senior citizens to trying to better predict Kansas crop yields.

Research and associated surveys being done at several of Kansas University’s research centers often benefit the state and region -- and are beginning to take an economic development focus in some areas, as well.

The research centers serve as organizations within KU to bring together researchers interested in the same general field of research, though many times from different academic disciplines.

In the case of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, researchers are being tasked not only to develop new technologies, but also to push those technologies out into the marketplace, said Perry Alexander, the center’s interim director.

"It changes the game," Alexander said. "University researchers, we’re not usually thinking about money. That’s not our mindset. We’re thinking about new knowledge."

The center is currently working on a wide variety of information technology issues, including one that Alexander said is playing a growing role nationally-- information assurance. Namely, ensuring that secure data and information is protected from unwanted intruders.

Not only is it useful in matters of national security, Alexander said, but also has applications for everything from keeping a student’s grades confidential to protecting a patient’s medical records.

The center employs a staff person who helps connect with companies and tries to market the technology, though Alexander admits it can be a difficult process. But when it works, it works well, with money flowing to the company, to KU, to ITTC and to the researcher who discovered the technology.

"When we do this, it’s a win for everybody," Alexander said.

At Kansas Geological Survey, researchers are working on a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to work on issues related to carbon dioxide sequestration near Wellington. The technology would look to harness harmful carbon dioxide gases from energy development and store it underground.

Rex Buchanan, interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey, said the technology is still in its early stages. "If (carbon dioxide) sequestration ever comes to pass, it’ll come to Kansas in a big way because of its energy and mining operations," he said. "We’ll just be better at what we’re already doing."

The geological survey is partnering with industry firms like Wichita-based BEREXCO Inc. and Bittersweet Energy Inc. to support the project.

Kansas Biological Survey, too, features some research that’s being tested in the marketplace. Jude Kastens, an assistant research professor at the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing program, uses satellite imagery to create a detailed crop forecast for the state and the nation.

Kastens’ crop mapping tools are being tested in the open market. Armed with 21 years of data to support his forecasting, Kastens is working with an outside company to determine whether his models will sell.

He said he hopes the data will continue to be one more piece of information for farmers to weigh when they make their business decisions.

"In the big picture, we’re just trying to give people a feel for where they’re going to be come harvest time so they can make better marketing decisions," he said.    Click to go to Top of Page

Oguna Finishes Third in Student Paper Contest

By Michelle Ward

Angela Oguna, an ITTC undergraduate research assistant, has placed third in the student paper contest at the IEEE Region 5 Annual Business Meeting and Student Contests, held April 16-18 in Grapevine, Texas.

She won $200 and received an all-expense-paid trip to Grapevine for the competition.
Oguna was part of a team of researchers that tested sensors as part of the Transportation Security SensorNet (TSSN) project. The sensors monitored cargo transported by rail cars. Before TSSN, information vacuums occurred en route. The theft detection system provides stakeholders with greater visibility, security and accountability of their goods. ITTC researchers also analyzed the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) signal coverage along a railroad track in Kansas City, Mo. Oguna’s paper, "Transportation Security Sensor Network: Sensor Selection and Signal Strength Analysis," describes their testing and results. Gary Minden, Director of ITTC’s Communication and Networking Systems Laboratory, led the research.

The Region Student Papers Competition encourages the development of technical communication skills. The competition includes an oral presentation and written paper related to aspects of subjects relevant to the IEEE. Competitions occur at the local, area and regional levels. Universities from 12 Midwestern states make up Region 5.    Click to go to Top of Page

Expert on data mining to speak at KU

By Michelle Ward

Finding patterns and relevant information within data can help prevent diseases, combat terrorism and pinpoint business trends. A leader in data mining research will visit the University of Kansas to discuss the analysis of large data sets.

Jiawei Han, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois, has begun analyzing immense interconnected networks--from the human genome to credit card transactions--to better locate treasures hidden within data networks. He will present "Mining Heterogeneous Information Networks by Exploring the Power of Links" at 3 p.m. Friday, April 16, at the Apollo Room in Nichols Hall. The talk is sponsored by the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center.

According to the Economist, the information management industry is growing 10 percent a year, roughly twice as fast as the software business as a whole. The industry is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion. Data mining was initially used to detect fraud and waste. Today, retailers, health care companies and financial institutions analyze large data sets to find ways to reduce costs and increase sales. Credit cards, frequent shopper cards and other profiling information provide mountains of data on shopping patterns and trends.

By examining data from the Web and other sources, counter terrorism officials help identify money transfers and communications among suspected terrorists.

"Professor Han is a leader and a pioneer researcher in data mining and database fields,"said Xue-wen Chen, director of ITTC’s Bioinformatics and Computational Life-Sciences Laboratory, who was instrumental in bringing Han to KU. "His work has been instrumental in many areas, including knowledge discovery in databases, object-oriented databases, spatial databases, text and Web mining, bio-data mining and social networks."

Han will discuss link-based information integration, truth validation, clustering and integrated clustering and ranking during his talk. He will introduce recent research and explain ongoing studies that include object distinction analysis, veracity analysis and RankClus: integrated clustering and ranking.

Han has more than 400 journal and conference publications in data mining, data warehousing, database systems and information network analysis. He is the founding editor-in-chief of Association for Computing Machinery Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data. Han is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers.    Click to go to Top of Page

Radio frequency study holds key to groundbreaking brain research

From University Relations -- 04-05-2010
By Cody Howard

Researchers from the University of Kansas are using a mathematical tool in a new way that could have important implications in the treatment of those with epilepsy.

Originally, the mathematical algorithm known as SAFFIRE (Source Affine Image Reconstruction) was designed to pinpoint the location of radio frequency signals. But researchers from the KU School of Engineering and the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at the KU Medical Center are using those same equations to analyze data of the brain in groundbreaking ways.

The research improves how data from Magnetoencephalography, known as MEG, is interpreted. MEG measures the infinitesimal magnetic fields generated by brain activity. The readings of those fields then are used to detect abnormalities in brain function and to assist researchers in identifying how various parts of the brain work.

The MEG innovation is built upon research funded by a $330,000 Department of Defense grant designed to help the U.S. Navy improve radar sensitivity. In the course of the research, a team led by Shannon Blunt, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, worked to define the precise location of a specific RF signal.

"As we looked into this, we developed a mathematical structure to solve the problem, and it worked really well," Blunt said.

A colleague introduced Blunt to Mihai Popescu, a research assistant professor with the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center, since both were working on signal processing problems. Their conversation turned to the problems with interpreting data from MEG.

"The drawback with MEG to date is that there are not generally good ways of taking the data collected and generating that resulting image of brain activity," Blunt said."It’s a really hard problem to solve. We actually took the approach that we had used for RF sensors and tried it out. We had to alter it some, but we ended up with an approach that worked well on real MEG data."

Apart from assisting research studies, the new method of reading MEG data could help in the treatment of those with epilepsy. About 30 percent of epilepsy patients don’t respond well to medication.

"When that happens, the doctor might opt for surgery to work on areas that trigger the seizures," said Popescu. "So the patient can have an MEG test at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center, where we record brain signals for 30 to 60 minutes. We analyze the MEG data and identify those brain areas responsible for seizures."

The information is key in pre-surgical planning and can help doctors avoid a more invasive technique to confirm the data revealed through the algorithm, Popescu said.

The algorithm has been tested on data from previous studies but has not yet moved on to clinical trials with patients. In the meantime, Blunt and Popescu continue to work to unlock the mysteries around the process.

"Our solution depends on the presumed knowledge that we have a ‘perfect’ electromagnetic spatial model of the head," Blunt said. "However, this perfect knowledge is impossible in reality. So the next step is to compensate for our ignorance. We have an approach that does this now, which is why the SAFFIRE algorithm works at all on real data, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better."

The SAFFIRE approach is patent pending.    Click to go to Top of Page

Kulkarni Wins NSF CAREER Award

By Michelle Ward

ITTC investigator Prasad Kulkarni has received one of the most prestigious National Science Foundation honors given to junior faculty members. The multiyear Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award will support Kulkarni's ongoing efforts to build more secure and better performing software systems.

"These highly selective grants are awarded to junior faculty members who are considered to be academic leaders of the future. Prasad is a dedicated researcher and highly deserving of this honor, and his work is critical to our national prominence in cyber security," says Perry Alexander, Acting Director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC). "Additionally, we are delighted to have three researchers in the last four years receive CAREER awards. Our younger faculty members are being recognized for their pioneering research and effective integration of scholarship and teaching."

At ITTC, Kulkarni is developing a more secure and efficient framework for virtual machines (VMs), which ensure compatability between applications and the devices running them. Cell phones, PDAs and computers are among the billions of devices that have VM software running Internet programs and applications. To limit the cost and start-up time, current VMs apply only basic security checks. Devices are then left vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software that can corrupt and steal private data?from passwords to address books.

Kulkarni’s new VM framework will slice out the security management and program monitoring tasks and perform them simultaneously with the main program. The framework will reduce the overhead of monitoring and security tasks and allow more secure and efficient execution of future programs.

"This new framework will allow developers to provide new and more expensive security checks while minimizing the performance penalty incurred at runtime," says Kulkarni. "Our approach will employ program slicing to construct only the program state required for each security task. The proposed framework will naturally exploit the anticipated growth in the number of processing cores on a chip to run individual program slices concurrently with each other and with the main program thread."

Kulkarni received his bachelor's in computer engineering from Poona University in 2001 and earned a master's and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Florida State University in 2003 and 2007, respectively.    Click to go to Top of Page

Peck Wins NSF Fellowship

By Michelle Ward

A University of Kansas doctoral student in computer science has been awarded a $30,000 National Science Foundation fellowship through its Graduate STEM in K-12 Education (GK-12) program. GK-12 supports partnerships between future scientists and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers to improve Fellows’ teaching and communication skills, advance STEM education in middle schools and provide role models for younger students.

Megan Peck will bring innovative, cutting-edge ideas from computer science and math into area middle school classrooms. In collaboration with partner teachers, she will develop interactive demonstrations and other projects aimed at igniting student interest in scientific study and careers.

"I’m very grateful for the fellowship and looking forward to the challenge of incorporating some basic computer science and math that I've learned into the middle school curriculum," says Peck, who graduated with distinction in computer engineering from KU in 2006 and started work on her doctorate the following semester. "I believe opportunities to interact with and learn from different groups will make me a much more effective educator."

"This is a perfect fellowship for Megan," says her advisor, Perry Alexander, Acting Director of ITTC. "She is an excellent theoretical computer scientist and wants to be an educator. After being a teaching assistant for several years, this is a logical next step in her preparation for an academic career."

Steven Case, Director of the KU Center for Science Education, says Peck will help close the gap between what scientists know and what the public understands about science. Science teaches students to observe, test and collect evidence before making conclusions. People can use science to become better critical thinkers and problem solvers. Science must be taught in a way that allows students to integrate this thought process into their daily lives.

"Megan is an ideal candidate for helping us build this bridge between scientists and the public," says Case, who is coordinator of KU GK-12. "A graduate of Lansing High School, Megan is someone whom students will identify with. She is smart and articulate and understands that we must find new ways to capture and challenge students’ natural curiosity about the world around them."

Additionally, the fellowship supports Peck’s research in the Computer Systems Design Lab at ITTC. Different vocabulary and engineering processes hamper communication among functionality, power and other subsystems within complex electronics. Rosetta software allows designers to better understand how these components interact, enabling faster and more accurate production. Peck’s research focuses on mathematical applications to better define components’ interactions within Rosetta software.    Click to go to Top of Page

Mason Earns KU Employee of the Month

By Michelle Ward

On February 23, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Danny Anderson presented ITTC Network Specialist Wesley Mason with the KU Employee of the Month Award at Nichols Hall. Mason joined ITTC in 2005.

ITTC investigators say Mason is the go-to guy when they are in need of innovative solutions to computer or networking problems. Researchers are always impressed at how fast Mason solves their problems, according to Michael Hulet, ITTC senior network system administrator. Hulet adds that Mason has saved ITTC tens of thousands of dollars by implementing free open source software over commercial products. Mason’s latest project was Zimbra, an open source server software that incorporates e-mail, calendar information, file storage, web management and other applications. Hulet says a comparable commercial product would have been cost prohibitive for ITTC.

"Maintaining such cutting-edge knowledge demands many extra hours of study," says Hulet. "He mainly does this activity on his own time since he is usually helping ITTC users much of the day."

A MacGyver of sorts, Mason once rigged a temporary core network switch, which connects all ITTC computers, out of spare parts. This allowed ITTC researchers and staff continued access to network resources. Mason diagnosed the problem with the main core network switch, ordered the replacement parts and fixed the switch with minimal downtime to the Center.

Mason has even been involved in some after-hours heroics. The aptly named cold room, which houses millions of dollars of equipment, must remain at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the computers to function optimally. A leak in the air conditioning unit was causing liquid to drip on a compressor, creating smoke and shutting down the air conditioner. This triggered several alarms. Mason rushed over to Nichols Hall, quickly found the cause of the smoke and took decisive action to save the equipment. He also stayed to assist the fire department and make sure there were no more issues.

KU departments and organizations call on Mason for his technical expertise in networking and computers. He is always willing to share his technical expertise with others, says Hulet. Mason recently served on a project to centralize several computing clusters around campus. His expertise has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of this software.    Click to go to Top of Page

Deavours Serves as Technical Chair for International RFID Conference

By Michelle Ward

ITTC Research Associate Professor Daniel Deavours is the Technical Program Chair for the 2010 IEEE International Conference on RFID (radio frequency identification) in April. The emerging tracking technology enables greater visibility. Monitoring the location and conditions of assets, inventory and more, companies can reduce operational costs and optimize business processes.

Deavours points out that the conference boasts a high degree of academic and industry involvement and participation, which is in step with the ITTC mission.

He is overseeing the peer review process. He ensures that submitted papers receive proper review, stimulates discussion among reviewers and reaches out to additional experts when necessary. With input from reviewers, Deavours decides what papers will be accepted for the conference.

He also serves as a member on the general organizing program committee. He led the effort to start a poster session to include early stage research that may not be ready for the main conference.

For more information, go to IEEE International Conference on RFID

   Click to go to Top of Page

Fokum Invited to Participate in Google Forum

By Michelle Ward

EECS doctoral student Daniel Fokum was one-of-75 students selected to participate in Google’s inaugural Graduate Researchers in Academia of Diverse backgrounds (GRAD) Computer Science Forum, held Jan. 21-23 in Mountain View, CA. Designed to build and strengthen networks among emerging computer scientists, the event featured round table discussions along with technical talks from Google researchers and those within academia.

"Coming from a group that is typically underrepresented in computer science, I was inspired to see this diverse group of researchers," says Fokum who is from Cameroon, West Africa. "I exchanged business cards with a number of participants and have already received a few e-mails. While an important networking event, the forum also highlighted the importance of diversity."

Fokum underscores this point with the story of T.V. Raman, a Google engineer who is blind. As traditional buttons on telephones are replaced by virtual buttons on touchscreens, blind people lose the ability to locate buttons through standard placement. Raman developed software for the new Android phone that enables the first point touched on a screen to become the "5" key. From there, a swish to the right would get a "6" or a down and left movement would access a "7'key. The system resets when users take their finger off the screen.

Google engineers selected Fokum and other participants for their academic excellence and leadership in computing. As part of his dissertation research at KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), Fokum has helped develop the Transportation Security SensorNet (TSSN). TSSN integrates hardware, software and sensors to enable real-time monitoring of goods en route and alerts authorized individuals of tampering. Victor Frost, Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor of EECS, serves as the principal investigator on the collaborative project. In addition to his research, Fokum teaches the Introduction to Digital Logic Design lab, EECS 140, this spring.

Fokum earned his M.S. in Computer Science with an emphasis in Networking at the University of Missouri - Kansas City in 2005 and B.A. in Computer Science from Park University in 2000.    Click to go to Top of Page

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