Texas A&M Engineering News The Look College is one of the largest engineering schools in the country, ranking third in undergraduate enrollment and sixth in graduate enrollment by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in its 2011 survey. The Look College also ranked seventh in the number bachelor's degrees awarded, 13th in master's degrees awarded and 10th in doctoral degrees awarded. And our college consistently ranks among the nation's top public undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. http://engineering.tamu.edu Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Dr. Christodoulos A. Floudas Graduate Fellowship established Drew Thompson <d.thompson@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/dr-christodoulos-a-floudas-graduate-fellowship-established http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/dr-christodoulos-a-floudas-graduate-fellowship-established http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/dr-christodoulos-a-floudas-graduate-fellowship-established Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Valasek chairs 2016 AIAA Intelligent Systems Workshop at NASA Langley Jan McHarg <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/valasek-chairs-2016-aiaa-intelligent-systems-workshop-at-nasa-langley <p><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/563690/image-of-john-valasek.jpg" alt="Image of John Valasek" class="rightalign"/>Dr. John Valasek, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and director of the Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS), chaired the third intelligent systems workshop for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).  The three-day workshop is organized by the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, which Valasek has been an active member of for nine years. </p> <p>The purpose of the workshop is to develop a roadmap for advancing intelligent systems technologies into the aerospace domain. The theme of this year’s workshop was “Enabling Future Autonomy” and the objective was to identify key technology gaps and research needs for enabling autonomy in future aerospace and multidisciplinary systems. This year’s workshop was held from held from 3-5 August and brought together 165 experts from the government, industry, and academia as well as from outside the aerospace domain. </p> <p>In addition to serving as Chair, Valasek presented on UAS for precision agriculture in the Emerging Autonomy Applications panel discussion and aerospace engineering Ph.D. student Joshua Harris, who is also a member of the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, served on the workshop’s organizing committee. Dr Robin Murphy from the Department of Computer Science &amp; Engineering served as a plenary speaker, and Dr. Anthony Filippi from the College of Geosciences served as a panelist.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/valasek-chairs-2016-aiaa-intelligent-systems-workshop-at-nasa-langley http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/valasek-chairs-2016-aiaa-intelligent-systems-workshop-at-nasa-langley Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M and TEES working on multidisciplinary UAS project Jan McHarg <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/texas-am-and-tees-working-on-multidisciplinary-uas-project <p>The Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems (CANVASS), Texas A&amp;M AgriLife Research and Extension (AgriLife) and the Center for Geospatial Sciences, Applications and Technology (GEOSAT) at Texas A&amp;M University have joined together to work on a multidisciplinary project titled “Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Remote Sensing at the Texas A&amp;M Farm.”</p> <p><img width="300" height="200" src="/media/3999392/Anaconda-web.jpg" alt="Anaconda Web" class="leftalign"/>The project, led by Dr. John Valasek, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and director of CANVASS, Dr. Seth Murray, quantitative geneticist with AgriLife Research, and Dr. Michael Bishop, professor in Geosciences and director of GEOSAT, uses UAS, intelligent systems and state-of-art sensors in precision agriculture research. </p> <p>UAS is the term used to encompass what are commonly referred to as UAVs or drones. Precision agriculture is defined as the application of technology that seeks to understand a situation (site specific management) and assist in implementing decisions. Thus the value of precision agriculture is timely, actionable information for better management decisions and improved efficiencies, not more data. The use of UAS enables and enhances precision agriculture for continuously monitoring crops, inventorying animal herds and managing irrigation.</p> <p>There are three teams involved in flying the UAS for this project, the main one being led by Valasek. The CANVASS team is comprised of four pilots and 24 engineers conducting flight operations using fixed-wing UAS. Typically, one pilot and four engineers are needed for any given mission. Missions are flown on a twice-weekly basis during the crop-growing season, and usually consist of three data collection flights of between 20 to 45 minutes each. To date, 132 flights have been conducted at the farm.</p> <p>The engineers involved in flight operations include undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Aerospace Engineering.</p> <p><img width="300" height="200" src="/media/3999394/Zeke-web.jpg" alt="Zeke Web" class="rightalign"/>“As an undergrad, this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ezekial Bowden, a senior in the aerospace department. “I am able to work in a field that I am passionate about and also gain valuable flight test experience. We continue to learn and understand how different sensors can be integrated into new vehicles in order to achieve the best results possible. It’s amazing to be able to gain hands-on experience with aviation each time we conduct a data collection flight.”</p> <p>The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a Certificate of Authorization (COA) that grants Texas A&amp;M researchers permission to fly UAS over the 3,200 acre Texas A&amp;M Brazos Bottoms Farm. Located near College Station, Texas, the farm supports an array of projects for agricultural scientists. The UAS project leverages existing research and extension activities that will benefit from UAS collected data.</p> <p><img width="300" height="NaN" src="/media/3999396/Plot-401-corrected_200x207.jpg" alt="Plot 401 Corrected" class="leftalign"/>The goal of the project is two-fold: to investigate and develop new technologies that will take precision agriculture to the next level; and enable breeders to accelerate crop improvements by using UAS for high-throughput phenotyping. Utilizing an airborne hyperspectral imaging sensor, multispectral imaging sensors, a thermal infrared camera, a visible imaging camera and a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system, the researchers collect systematic surface imagery and sensor data over the farm.</p> <p>Agricultural field scientists work closely with aerospace and electrical engineers and remote-sensing and geographic information-processing scientists to aid in making timely and informed decisions regarding crop yield prediction, weed detection, irrigation management and high throughput phenotyping. </p> <p><img width="300" height="200" src="/media/3999391/Students-web.jpg" alt="Students Web" class="rightalign"/>“The value precision agriculture brings is not more data, but actionable information,” Valasek told attendees at the National Academies’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable meeting on Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Use &amp; Regulation. “Information to farmers must be timely because they need to act quickly. Crop blight and insect infestations, for example, require a same-day response. In the short term, UAS can contribute to precision agriculture by helping with research on better methods, better processes — in particular, automated data processing to provide actionable data faster — and better vehicles.</p> <p>“In the long term, the commercial aspects — crop dusting and spraying, irrigation and handling risk management — will become increasingly important.”</p> <p><img width="250" height="71" src="/media/3999395/NIR-image-of-weed-crop-species_250x71.jpg" alt="NIR Image Of Weed Crop Species" class="leftalign"/>The main objective for Valasek and CANVASS researchers Dr. Gregory Huff and Dr. Jean-Francois Chamberland, professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M, is to research new computational intelligence algorithms, long range communication and ground control techniques for autonomous UAS, in addition to new data processing techniques.</p> <p>Valasek has prescribed three goals for UAS use in precision agriculture moving forward. The first is to leverage existing UAS technology and turn it into timely, actionable information to enable new science. Precision agriculture currently uses either ground-based vehicles or satellite imagery. The ground vehicles lack the height advantage of UAS, and satellite coverage is usually several days apart and often not at the resolution needed for the science of precision agriculture.</p> <p><img width="300" height="290" src="/media/3999397/Thermal-image-of-a-cotton-field-taken-June-10-2016-cropped_300x290.jpg" alt="Thermal Image Of A Cotton Field Taken June 10 2016 Cropped" class="leftalign"/>The second goal is to develop Payload Directed Flight techniques, in which the sensor communicates directly with the autopilot and tells it when the UAS needs to be flown differently in order to collect high quality data, or to collect it more efficiently. A new airborne system that CANVASS is developing will combine a high power LiDAR sensor with a hyperspectral sensor to generate 3-D images of crops that are displayed to the user with their visible and non-visible light signatures, such as infrared. These techniques promise to transform precision agriculture and enable new significant science to be conducted.</p> <p>Finally, because there is a long history of manned aircraft in precision agriculture there is a need to address safety issues and competition concerns by developing UAS operational procedures and policies.  Right now there is uncertainty about how UAS will operate with manned aircraft, but it is clear that in the future both types of aircraft will be needed at certain times, and sometimes together. This project is working with the FAA to develop a good database and establish trust in these systems.</p> <p><img width="300" height="200" src="/media/3999393/Valasek.jpg" alt="Valasek" class="rightalign"/>Each agency/institution is essential in successfully completing this project and by producing valuable intellectual property and preliminary data that will aid in procuring additional research funding from governmental institutions and private industry. The project started in June 2015 and will continue until December 2016.  </p> <hr /> <p>Captions for photos from top to bottom:</p> <p><em>Anaconda UAS at the Texas A&amp;M University Brazos Bottoms Farm.</em></p> <p><em>Aerospace engineering student Ezekial Bowden preparing Anaconda UAS, with UAS pilot John Bowling.</em></p> <p class="p1"><em>Multispectral image of sorghum fields taken June 18, 2016 (Sentek GEMS, Lakeville, MN), courtesy of Nithya Rajan, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&amp;M University. </em></p> <p><em>Aerospace engineering students Damon Printz, Cameron Rogers and Ezekial Bowden operating the ground control station.</em></p> <p class="p1"><em>Near Infrared Image of an experimental field established with multiple weed and crop species, taken in July 2016 (Sentek GEMS, Lakeville, MN), courtesy of Muthu Bagavathiannan, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&amp;M University. </em></p> <p class="p1"><em>Thermal image of a cotton field taken June 10, 2016 (9640-P series, Infrared Cameras Inc., Beaumont, TX), courtesy of Haly L. Neely, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&amp;M University. </em></p> <p><em>Aerospace engineering professor John Valasek and students.</em></p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/texas-am-and-tees-working-on-multidisciplinary-uas-project http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/texas-am-and-tees-working-on-multidisciplinary-uas-project Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Grunlan's research featured on cover of three journals Timothy Schnettler <tschnettler@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/grunlans-research-featured-on-cover-of-three-journals <p><img width="300" height="406" src="/media/3999386/high-res-cover-for-advanced-materials-10-aug-2016-issue_300x406.jpg" alt="High Res Cover For Advanced Materials - 10 AUG 2016 Issue" class="rightalign"/>The research of Dr. Jaime C. Grunlan, the Linda &amp; Ralph Schmidt ’68 Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, has been featured on the cover of three prestigious journals —<i>Advanced Materials</i>; <i>Macromolecular Materials and Engineering</i>; and <i>Macromolecular Rapid Communications</i>.</p> <p>Grunlan’s work on biomimetic materials manufacturing was featured in <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201670204/full"><i>Advanced Materials</i></a>, which is one of the highest impact factor journals in the field of materials science.</p> <p>The abstract in the journal states: through billions of years of evolution and natural selection, biological systems have developed strategies to achieve advantageous unification between structure and bulk properties. The discovery of these fascinating properties and phenomena have triggered increasing interest in identifying characteristics of biological materials through modern characterization and modeling techniques.</p> <p>In an effort to produce better engineered materials, scientists and engineers have developed new methods and approaches to construct artificial advanced materials that resemble natural architecture and function.</p> <p>Grunlan’s flame retardant work, using carbon nanotubes to protect polyurethane foam, was featured in <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mame.201670019/full"><i>Macromolecular Materials and Engineering</i></a>, and his gas barrier work, using clay to make high barrier thin films for polypropylene packaging film, was featured in <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/marc.201670048/full"><i>Macromolecular Rapid Communications</i></a>.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/grunlans-research-featured-on-cover-of-three-journals http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/25/grunlans-research-featured-on-cover-of-three-journals Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M and UT Austin partner on solar energy research center Reeve Hamilton <RHamilton@tamus.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/texas-am-and-ut-austin-partner-on-solar-energy-research-center <p><img width="400" height="268" src="/media/3999387/solar_panels_400x268.jpg" alt="Solar _panels" class="rightalign"/>It does not require a force as powerful as the sun to get Texas A&amp;M University and The University of Texas at Austin to work together, but it certainly helps. The institutions, along with Texas A&amp;M University-Central Texas and the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station, are officially collaborating on a major solar research initiative following the awarding of a new grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).<br /> <br />The three Texas A&amp;M University System members were recently awarded a four-year, $400,000 grant from NSF to address the technical and non-technical challenges in the widespread adoption of solar energy. This Texas A&amp;M collaboration will form a research site in the NSF’s Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics, an existing research and development center that is led by UT Austin and includes other university and industry partners. The NSF grant also requires a minimum of $800,000 in private funds to help support the research.<br /> <br />“Our system is strongest when our members join forces, and this project is a great example of that,” said Texas A&amp;M System Chancellor John Sharp. “This same principle holds true for our state and all of its public universities, so this collaboration is important and very encouraging.”<br /> <br />This Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics is one of only 80 Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) supported by the NSF, which established the I/UCRC program in 1973 to encourage collaboration and develop partnerships among industry, academic and government entities. It is the only such center focused on solar research. In addition to the Texas A&amp;M and UT Austin research sites, it includes a site located at Colorado State University. Colorado School of Mines also supports the center as a partner university.<br /> <br />“This is a perfect trifecta,” said Dr. Robert Balog, a Co-director of the Texas A&amp;M site and Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M. “University faculty and students benefit from working closely with industry on application-specific problems; industry benefits from the expertise and research capabilities at the university that add value to their organization; and ultimately, society benefits because the collaboration accelerates the cost-effective commercialization of renewable energy technology and enhances education opportunities.”<br /> <br />Photovoltaic (also known as “solar”) technology produces electricity directly from the sun, which is a free source of energy. <br /> <br />“The last few years have seen a drastic drop in the commercial cost of photovoltaic cells,” Balog said. “However, the industry is still nascent and requires additional research and development to move the needle on solar-energy conversion technologies from an alternative to a mainstream energy source.”<br /> <br />The research conducted by the center is focused in four areas: photovoltaic materials, devices and manufacturing; balance of systems and photovoltaic implementation; photovoltaic integration with storage and electric vehicles; and education and societal impact of photovoltaics.<br /> <br />Despite their long-standing rivalry in athletics, Texas A&amp;M and UT Austin often work together on research papers and projects. They have numerous synergies when it comes to renewable energy and the collaboration leverages the vast expertise from institutions.<br /> <br />“The Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics has become a world-leading international portal for solar research, fostering close collaboration between academic researchers and industry partners to speed innovation, adoption of emerging solar cell technology, economic development and job creation,” said Dr. Brian Korgel, Director of the Center and the Edward S. Hyman Endowed Chair in Engineering and T. Brockett Hudson Professor of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin. “It’s fitting that our state’s powerhouse universities should work together in this way to benefit Texans and others for generations to come.”<br /> <br />“This is an astonishing center, with five universities, a Texas state agency, over 100 faculty members and over 300 students at the postdoctoral, doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s levels all working on solar energy research,” said Texas A&amp;M-Central Texas Vice President for Research and Economic Development Russell Porter, a Co-director of the Texas A&amp;M site. “And we have over 20 private companies, non-governmental organizations and government organizations providing funds to support the research. It is truly an honor to be a part of such an important, collaborative effort.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/texas-am-and-ut-austin-partner-on-solar-energy-research-center http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/texas-am-and-ut-austin-partner-on-solar-energy-research-center Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program holds final competition at NASA Jan McHarg <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/zero-robotics-middle-school-program-holds-final-competition-at-nasa <p>The Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program held its final competition on board the International Space Station (ISS) with Texas teams meeting at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Aug. 12. Zero Robotics (ZR) is a computer programming competition for middle school students where they develop programs to control SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the ISS.</p> <p><img width="300" height="248" src="/media/3999376/zero-robotics-7-web.jpg" alt="Zero Robotics 7 Web" class="rightalign"/></p> <p>The ZR Middle School Program is a five-week summer program with curriculum designed to cultivate interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).</p> <p>To compete, a team must be comprised of eight to 20 middle school students along with a primary mentor. This year, seven teams from Texas participated in the competition: Bach Springs Middle School, Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley (RGV), Boys and Girls Club of McAllen, The Mighty Tacos from Fort Bliss, Indian Spring Middle School, JBSA Lackland Youth Program and YMCA of Greater San Antonio.</p> <p>The students created, edited, shared, saved, simulated and submitted programming code in order to accomplish a given task. After several rounds of competition within the class and then within the region, the Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg RGV was selected to compete against other teams across the nation in the final championship. An astronaut aboard the ISS used the teams’ codes to conduct the championship competition in microgravity with a live broadcast.</p> <p><img width="300" height="200" src="/media/3999375/IMG_6974-web.jpg" alt="IMG 6974 Web" class="leftalign"/>This year’s competition was SpySPHERES. According to the final rules and game guide provided by MIT, matches were played between two SPHERES satellites, one controlled by code written by the team, and enemy SPHERES developed at MIT. The objective of the game was to use the robotic satellite to collect data from a defunct satellite and spy on the opponents’ satellite. Players had to take into account fuel and energy consumption when planning their code. The winner of the round was the SPHERES that received the most points from taking the best and most pictures while avoiding pictures being taken of it.</p> <p>“My favorite part of the competition was when something would happen that would make us all laugh – sometimes it would mean more work for us, but it was also more fun for us,” said Joaquin Rodriguez, a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg RGV team.</p> <p>Zero Robotics seeks to inspire the next generation of great minds by allowing them unprecedented access to space at the high school and middle school level. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to students, Zero Robotics aims to cultivate an appreciation of science, technology, engineering and math through healthy, immersive, collaborative competition.</p> <p>“I really liked writing programs for the International Space Station, it was really fun,” said Ghya Salinas, a sixth-grader on the Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg RGV team. Salinas wants to be a doctor or scientist someday.</p> <p>Dr. Greg Chamitoff and Dr. David Hyland, from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, were co-directors of the statewide program and Katharine Leysath, from the PK-12 Engineering Education Outreach office, was the statewide program manager. Aerospace engineering students from Texas A&amp;M who served as mentors for the Texas teams included Mauricio Coen, Vinicuis Goecks, Brandon Allred, Kimberly Barraza and Kaycee Dillon.</p> <p>Texas A&amp;M’s PK-12 Engineering Education Outreach, the ASTRO Center from the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Texas Partners for Out of School Time were the statewide sponsors for this third year of participation in the state of Texas. Supporting sponsors from the state included the Texas Space Grant Consortium and Fluor Corporation. National sponsors included Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Space Systems Laboratory, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Innovation Learning Center. National supporting sponsors included Northrop Grumman Foundation, the Center for Advancement of Science in Space, the European Space Agency, and NASA. </p> <p>Applications for the 2016 Zero Robotics High School Tournament are now open. To learn more about this international programming competition aboard the ISS for ninth through 12<sup>th</sup> grades, visit <a href="http://astrocenter.tamu.edu/zerorobotics/" target="_blank">http://astrocenter.tamu.edu/zerorobotics/</a>.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/zero-robotics-middle-school-program-holds-final-competition-at-nasa http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/zero-robotics-middle-school-program-holds-final-competition-at-nasa Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Gu, Liu reach new heights in cybersecurity research Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/gu-liu-reach-new-heights-in-cybersecurity-research <p>Dr. Guofei Gu and Dr. Jyh-Charn Liu in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University are developing game-changing defense approaches to beat cyber attackers in two very different, but important, aspects of cybersecurity.</p> <p><strong>Proactive Cyber Defense</strong></p> <p><img width="194" height="249" src="/media/552733/image-of-guofei-gu_194x249.jpg" alt="Image of Guofei Gu" class="rightalign"/>Gu, associate professor and director of the Secure Communication and Computer Systems (SUCCESS) Lab at Texas A&amp;M, has developed techniques to automatically uncover unknown vulnerabilities in existing software so that defenders can detect the problems ahead of cyber attackers. This technique has identified more than two dozen serious vulnerabilities in widely used software from vendors such as Google, Adobe and Microsoft.</p> <p>“Most current cybersecurity solutions are passive and reactive, focusing on known attacks,” Gu said. “The situation is becoming worse because the economic engine of profit-driven cyberattacks is quickly transforming the threat and defense landscape to favor more on attackers, as they enjoy many fundamental advantages over defenders.”</p> <p>To combat this issue, Gu and his team developed PeerPress, a prototype system with new analysis techniques that automatically extract intrinsic and harmful behaviors from malware, and then use them for active, robust and scalable malware detection.</p> <p>The team has also developed CyberProbe and AutoProbe, two new techniques that can automatically learn and extract malware’s control logic so that defenders can perform accurate and active detection of global malicious cyber infrastructures in the whole Internet IPv4 space in just a few hours.</p> <p>Gu is also heavily involved in the investigation of potential security implications of software-defined networks (SDN), which are being proposed by researchers and vendors alike as a way to serve the demand for highly flexible network infrastructures to support dynamic services on the internet or for cloud computing. One of the fundamental advantages of SDN is its centralized control plane which provides visibility of the entire network.</p> <p>He and his team have designed the first security constraint enforcement kernel for SDN controllers, FortNOX; FRESCO, the first security application development framework for SDN; and AvantGuard, the first scalable and vigilant switch flow management solution in SDN to defend against control plane saturation attacks.</p> <p>SDN controllers are designed to provide a centralized management system for the network. Gu’s research in this area also revealed and helped fix several previously unknown serious topology poisoning vulnerabilities in almost all widely used SDN controllers.</p> <p><strong>Protecting GPS Signals</strong></p> <p>Liu, professor and director of the Real Time Distributed Systems Lab, is currently working on developing algorithms to detect incorrect signals of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Not only recognizing them, but finding a way to combat these errors due to spoofing or natural interference is a central focus in the efforts he and his collaborators are pursuing. To achieve cohesiveness in GNSS signals, Liu and his team are working to create an experimental environment which supports the development of computing algorithms that are able to detect spoofing that occurs in the real world. In turn, this will allow for more reliable information to be provided by location-based applications, such as Google Maps on smartphones, that we use daily.</p> <p><img width="180" height="245" src="/media/553100/liu.jpg" alt="Image of Jyh Charn Liu" class="rightalign"/></p> <p>Liu began studying the subject when GPS spoofing emerged as a cyber physical security issue. He works alongside his students in the RTDS lab, as well as Dr. Mladen Kezunovic, Eugene E. Webb Professor, and Alex Sprintson, associate professor from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>The most challenging aspect of this topic is figuring out a way to guard the unprotected data at the unknown place and time.</p> <p>“We formulated the problem into an integrity checking problem, and we aim to develop distributed computing algorithms on the basis of the well-established theories in distributed computing,” Liu said. “We also aim to develop software based solutions, so that they can be more easily disseminated to the massive consumer market in defending against various data errors, man-made or natural causes.” </p> <p>In order to validate the defense algorithm designs, Liu and his team have replicated the GPS spoofing in a Faraday cage, where a radio frequency software defined radio coupled with open source GPS simulator manipulates a smartphone GPS receiver. </p> <p>This research has a large scope of impact including consumer general navigation such as GPS mapping, industry control, power grid sensing and control, and autonomous vehicles.</p> <p><img width="699" height="270" src="/media/3999367/liu_gps_870x336_699x270.jpg" alt="Image of Liu GPS spoofing research"/></p> <p><strong>Awards and Honors</strong></p> <p>The research conducted by Liu and his colleagues on campus and in industry has led to an award from the Department of Energy for the Development of Next Generation Cybersecurity Technologies and Tools. This award is given to projects that will enhance the reliability and resilience of the nation’s energy critical infrastructure through innovative, scalable, and cost-effective research, development and demonstration of cybersecurity solutions.</p> <p>Gu and his team in the SUCCESS lab have published their results in top computer security conferences such as the IEEE Symposium on Security &amp; Privacy, the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, and the Annual Network &amp; Distributed System Security Symposium. Their vulnerability detection work won the best student paper award at the 2010 IEEE Symposium on Security &amp; Privacy. FRESCO won the finalist for 2013 AT&amp;T Best Applied Security Paper award and their research has also won the 2013 AFOSR Young Investigator award. Additional research done by the team won the Best Paper Award at the 2015 International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, which also resulted in a U.S. patent and technology transfer to a commercial partner.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/gu-liu-reach-new-heights-in-cybersecurity-research http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/gu-liu-reach-new-heights-in-cybersecurity-research Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Electrical and computer engineering researchers receive prestigious IEEE/ACM DAC Best Paper Award Donald St. Martin <dstmartin@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/electrical-and-computer-engineering-researchers-receive-prestigious-ieeeacm-dac-best-paper-award <p><img width="163" height="248" src="/media/3999383/xin_175x266.jpg" alt="Zhan" class="leftalign"/><img width="186" height="247" src="/media/1462021/li_186x247.jpg" alt="Li" class="leftalign"/><img width="186" height="246" src="/media/1462017/sanchez-new_186x246.jpg" alt="sanchez" class="leftalign"/>Xin Zhan (left), Dr. Peng Li (center) and Dr. Edgar Sánchez-Sinencio (right), researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, received the prestigious 2016 DAC Best Paper Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Design Automation Conference (DAC).</p> <p>DAC is the world’s premier conference for design automation and methodologies for integrated circuits and electronic systems. In 2016, DAC received almost 700 paper submissions from which 16 were selected as best paper award candidates. Through a rigorous review process, the paper from the Texas A&amp;M team, “Distributed on-chip voltage regulation: theoretical stability foundation, over-design reduction and performance optimization,” received one of the two best paper awards at the conference.</p> <p>Placing multiple voltage regulators on the chip facilitates distributed on-chip voltage regulation and offers significant benefits in power supply noise suppression and energy efficiency. As an example, an IBM Power8 microprocessor integrates more than 1,000 on-chip voltage regulators. The complex interactions between the active voltage regulators and the large passive sub-network, however, may render the power delivery network (PDN) unstable, leading to design failures. While traditional stability measures such as phase margin are not applicable to regulated PDNs with a huge number of loops, a brute-force analysis of network stability is computationally intractable.</p> <p>In their paper, Zhan, Li and Sánchez-Sinencio developed a groundbreaking approach for designing large on-chip power delivery networks with distributed voltage regulation. Their approach is based on a new hybrid stability margin concept and the associated stability-checking method for PDNs with multiple distributed active regulators. They systematically investigated the theoretical foundations underpinning a localized design methodology in which the stability of the entire network can be efficiently examined and ensured through a hybrid stability constraint that is defined locally for individual voltage regulators. They developed powerful design techniques to reduce pessimism in stability analysis, which overdesigns and maximizes system performances such as load regulation and energy efficiency while ensuring the stability of the complex PDN system. This work is expected to enable distributed on-chip voltage regulation, an emerging power delivery architecture, for a broad range of energy-efficient electronic systems including microprocessors, embedded systems and smart sensors.</p> <p>Li, a professor in the department, received his Ph. D. in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a faculty member of the Texas A&amp;M Institute for Neuroscience and Texas A&amp;M Health Science Center. His research interests are in integrated circuits and systems, electronic design automation, computational brain modeling, brain-inspired computing and VLSI-based machine-learning systems. He has authored and co-authored more than 180 publications and edited two books.</p> <p>Li’s work has received four IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference Best Paper Awards, an Honorary Mention Best Paper Award from the IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, a prestigious IEEE/ACM William J. McCalla ICCAD Best Paper Award, two SRC Inventor Recognition Awards, two MARCO Inventor Recognition Awards, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the DAC Best Paper Hat Trick Award, the DAC Prolific Author Award and the DAC Top 10 Author in Fifth Decade Award. At Texas A&amp;M, he received the department’s Outstanding Professor Award and was named a TEES Fellow and a William O. and Montine P. Head Faculty Fellow by the Texas A&amp;M College of Engineering.</p> <p>Li graduated 13 Ph.D. students and 22 Master of Science students. His former associates have obtained faculty and research positions in academia and industrial labs (Michigan Tech, Cornell Medical College/Cornell University, Intel Strategic CAD Laboratories) and R&amp;D positions in the U.S. high-tech industry. He has served on the editorial boards of <em>IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits</em> <em>and Systems</em> and <em>IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II</em>. Li currently serves the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation as vice president for technical activities, has consulted for two silicon-valley startup companies and Intel Corporation and is a Fellow of IEEE.</p> <p>Sánchez-Sinencio, University Distinguished Professor and the TI Jack Kilby Chair Professor in the department, earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sánchez-Sinencio is a preeminent scholar in the areas of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits, and radio-frequency circuits and systems. His seminal contributions to the field include pioneering work in switched-capacitor circuits, continuous-time filters and current-mode filters and research on radio frequency integrated receivers. He is interested in Energy Harvesting Power Management and Sleep Medical Electronics.</p> <p>Sánchez-Sinencio has co-authored five books and co-edited another. He has been co-author on more than 400 technical papers and is a Life Fellow of IEEE. His awards include: the IEEE Guillemin Cauer Award; the IEEE Darlington Award; the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Golden Jubilee Medal; the IEEE Circuit and Systems Charles Desoer Technical Award; an honorary doctorate from the National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico; and Texas Senate Proclamation No. 373 for Outstanding Accomplishments.</p> <p>Zhan received his bachelor’s degree in electronic science and technology and his master’s degree in microelectronics and solid-state electronics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, in 2011 and 2014, respectively. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Texas A&amp;M under the advisement of Li. His current research interests include computer-aided design of very large-scale integrated circuits and optimization of on-chip regulated power delivery networks.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/electrical-and-computer-engineering-researchers-receive-prestigious-ieeeacm-dac-best-paper-award http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/electrical-and-computer-engineering-researchers-receive-prestigious-ieeeacm-dac-best-paper-award Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Electrical and computer engineering former student named editor-in-chief of IET journal Deana Totzke <deana@ece.tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/electrical-and-computer-engineering-former-student-named-editor-in-chief-of-iet-journal <p><img width="216" height="247" src="/media/3999363/shiyanhu.jpeg" alt="Shiyan Hu" class="leftalign"/>Shiyan Hu, a former student from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, was named editor-in-chief of the Institute of Technology’s (IET) newly launched journal, <em>Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory &amp; Application</em>.</p> <p>Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) include smart washing machines, self-driving cars, medical devices and smart grid meters. As the digital world becomes more than handheld, researchers seek to get a better understanding of the interface between cyberspace and the tangible elements.</p> <p>Hu is an expert in CPS and cybersecurity, and is director of Center for Cyber-Physical Systems at Michigan Tech Institute of Computer and Cybersystems. As founding editor, Hu will lead a team of associate editors who are leading experts worldwide, including several from Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, the University of Illinois, National Taiwan University and The University of Tokyo.</p> <p>In the journal they will address the close interactions and feedback loop between cyber components (such as embedded sensing systems) and physical components (such as energy systems) in a system. The CPS research topics include smart energy systems, smart home/building/community/city, connected and autonomous vehicle systems and smart health.</p> <p>Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory &amp; Application is dedicated to all aspects of the fundamental and applied research in the design, implementation and operation of CPS systems, considering performance, energy, user experience, security, reliability, fault tolerance, flexibility and extensibility. Its scope also includes innovative big data analytics for cyber-physical systems such as large-scale analytical modeling, complex stochastic optimization, statistical machine learning, formal methods and verification and real-time intelligent control, which are all critical to the success of CPS developments.</p> <p>As an elected Fellow of IET, Hu leads this journal and also chairs the IEEE Technical Committee on Cyber-Physical Systems (<a href="http://www.ieee-cps.org">www.ieee-cps.org</a>), an authoritative constituency overseeing all CPS related activities within IEEE. He has published more than 100 research papers (about 30 in the premier IEEE Transactions), received numerous awards recognizing his research impact to the field and served as associate editor or guest editor for seven IEEE/ACM Transactions.</p> <p>IET is the largest engineering society in Europe with more than 180,000 members. Visit <a href="http://digital-library.theiet.org/content/journals/iet-cps"><em>Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory &amp; Application.</em></a></p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/electrical-and-computer-engineering-former-student-named-editor-in-chief-of-iet-journal http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/electrical-and-computer-engineering-former-student-named-editor-in-chief-of-iet-journal Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST Taele elected first computer science and engineering student president of Graduate and Professional Student Council Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/taele-elected-first-computer-science-and-engineering-student-president-of-graduate-and-professional-student-council <p><img width="207" height="207" src="/media/3999362/paultaele_228x228.jpg" alt="Image of Paul Taele" class="rightalign"/>Paul Taele, Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, was recently elected to serve as the 47th president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) for the 2016-2017 academic year. Previously, Taele served as the communications officer for the Computer Science and Engineering Graduate Student Association (CSEGSA). He will be the first computer science and engineering graduate student and also the first engineering graduate student to serve as president of GPSC since 2009.</p> <p>GPSC serves as the university-sponsored government for the graduate and professional student body. In his role as president, Taele will lead the executive committee consisting of four vice presidential officers, 10 standing committee chairs and the general assembly of graduate student leader delegates spanning over 70 departments, programs and non-departmental organizations. During his term, he will also assist with high-level meetings and events alongside the university administration and his presidential counterparts in the Faculty Senate, University Staff Council and Student Government Association.</p> <p>Taele recognizes several computer science faculty members for their lasting impact on his education, including his adviser, Dr. Tracy Hammond, Dr. Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna and Dr. Aakash Tyagi.</p> <p>"Dr. Hammond has been an inspirational role model to our research lab and to the department in promoting the importance of leadership,” Taele said. “She has encouraged our lab members to actively seek service roles as student leaders such as within our department's CSEGSA.</p> <p>"Dr. Gutierrez was a tremendous guide to us when he served as our CSEGSA adviser, and taught me and the other officers how to be effective and respectful leaders. Dr. Tyagi has also been very pivotal as a wonderful mentor and taught me the importance of compassion and selfless service."</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/taele-elected-first-computer-science-and-engineering-student-president-of-graduate-and-professional-student-council http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/08/24/taele-elected-first-computer-science-and-engineering-student-president-of-graduate-and-professional-student-council Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 CST