Texas A&M Engineering News The Texas A&M University College of Engineering 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 college of engineering 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, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Aggies Invent creates new technology to solve pet problems Jess Rae <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/aggies-invent-creates-new-technology-to-solve-pet-problems <p>Students raced against the clock to invent new technology and innovations to help improve veterinary patient outcomes and pet life as a whole at the latest Aggies Invent. Veterinary care is constantly evolving but isn’t perfect, there are many issues veterinarians face on a daily basis that can be improved. Teams of randomly-grouped students worked together on their needs statement, giving each group a different problem to solve.</p> <p>In the mix of innovations was a version of a “FitBit” for animals, a device to record the urinary behavior and health of a cat and a 3-D printed organ to aid training veterinary students on difficult procedures. The students are given just 48 hours to brainstorm, create and present their innovation to a group of expert judges.</p> <p>First place went to Pawty Pals with their cat-tracking device that records the urinary behavior of cats to catch early warning signs of disease. This team included Miranda George, master’s student in biotechnology, Iran Ramirez, senior from civil engineering, Sarah Jacobson, senior from biomedical engineering, and Sam McDonald, a second-year veterinary student.</p> <p>Second place was awarded to Pet Steps with their improved version of a microchip used in dogs, with features such as GPS, water intake, heart rate tracking and more. Their team was comprised of second-year veterinary student Rachel Jorgensen, McCalley Cunningham, senior from animal science, Kyle Novak, senior from computer engineering in electrical engineering, and Emily Fauver, senior from multidisciplinary engineering technology, Steven Kouam Kemognie, a sophomore computer engineering in electrical engineering and Justin Campbell, a freshman engineering major. </p> <p>Third place went to 3Dorganizers. They created an easily-produced, inexpensive 3-D model of animal organs to train veterinary students on complicated and risky procedures. The team included Joseph Kishpaugh, a sophomore engineering major, Elise Luo, a senior economics major, veterinary students Gabriela De Lima and Jessica Xu, as well as Lee-Jae Jack Guo , a Ph.D. biomedical sciences student.</p> <p>The top three winning teams were awarded $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively, and will gain global exposure through Aggies Invent’s partners. The College of Veterinary Medicine, Maxim Integrated and Banfield Pet Hospital sponsored this event. The event was judged by Lorne Smith from Maxim Integrated, Dr. Adam Little from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Eleanor Green, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Corrine Mardel, and Roland Block, associate director, Engineering and Experiential Education.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/aggies-invent-creates-new-technology-to-solve-pet-problems http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/aggies-invent-creates-new-technology-to-solve-pet-problems Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Nuclear engineering former student gives back through experience Robert (Chris) Scoggins <rcscoggins@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/nuclear-engineering-former-student-gives-back-through-experience <p>With a professional career spanning more than 35 years, Matt Sunseri ’81, the president and CEO of Zeus Enterprises LLC., has had his fair share of experience in the nuclear engineering industry. Sunseri graduated from Texas A&amp;M University with a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering, and has since served in a variety of industry roles. Now he is transitioning into an advisory role with the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&amp;M, hoping students and faculty in the department will benefit from his years of experience.</p> <p>“After 35 years of being in commercial nuclear power plants I feel like it is a time to redirect my career and start giving back to the field that has provided so much for me,” Sunseri said. “I am looking forward to participating with the Nuclear Engineering Advisory Council as a part of the nuclear engineering program at Texas A&amp;M. Hopefully, sharing some of my experiences will help the program prepare future Aggie nuclear engineers for their important role in our society.”</p> <p>In his new role, Sunseri was recently able to lend his views and experience to the department during the spring meeting of the 2017 Nuclear Engineering Advisory Council, where he and other industry and academia experts provided insight and guidance to the department.</p> <p><img width="387" height="485" src="/media/4887065/sunseri.jpg" alt="Sunseri_Former Student" class="leftalign" style="float: left;"/>Sunseri’s career in industry began as a nuclear engineer performing startup testing, and progressively advanced through roles as a reactor engineering supervisor, plant manager, site vice president and chief nuclear officer, among many other positions. His last role in industry was CEO of Wolf Creek Nuclear Operation Corporation, and he currently provides management consulting services to the nuclear industry and participates on not-for-profit technical and philanthropic boards and committees. Sunseri has attributed his experience at Texas A&amp;M as important in his success.</p> <p>“When I left college, I took with me a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering, and in addition to that A&amp;M gave me a strong sense and feeling of leadership,” Sunseri said. “I not only wanted to be part of a team, I wanted to lead the team. Being an Aggie means you strive for excellence in everything that is important to you. I think it is that pursuit of excellence that brought out the leadership characteristics in me.”</p> <p>When Sunseri entered the workforce as an engineer at a commercial nuclear power plant under construction, he found that what attracted him to industry was working with people to create something new. He also discovered early on that he could make an impact as an individual contributor on a team and as team leader.</p> <p>“My influence was multiplied by the members of the team I led,” Sunseri said. “One of my greatest satisfactions in my career is seeing the pride on team members’ faces as they are recognized for whatever accomplishment we achieved together.”</p> <p>In transitioning, one thing Sunseri hopes to provide the department and its students is guidance in working within the broad range of positions that the nuclear industry has to offer.</p> <p>“My advice to nuclear engineering students or anyone starting out is to keep in mind that you will be pursuing a career, not a job,” Sunseri said. “There is a big difference between the two. A job is something that has to get done while a career becomes part of you and you a part of it. A career is personal and you shouldn’t let other people make career decisions for you--make them yourself.”</p> <p> Sunseri is also excited about the future of nuclear engineering and the possibilities that it will bring to young engineering students.</p> <p>“It would be difficult to imagine a world without the use of nuclear science and technology,” Sunseri said. “Think about nuclear medicine, smoke detectors, microwave ovens, spacecraft power supplies and many more common uses of nuclear science and technology. These things are possible because nuclear engineers bridged the gap between physical phenomena and practical need. Through our outreach we should strive to get more girls and boys involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematic programs so that we have more nuclear engineers to continue to bring to us the modern conveniences that make society and life better.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/nuclear-engineering-former-student-gives-back-through-experience http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/nuclear-engineering-former-student-gives-back-through-experience Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Former student Phil McDivitt named president and CEO of Ascend Performance Materials Drew Thompson <d.thompson@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/former-student-phil-mcdivitt-named-president-and-ceo-of-ascend-performance-materials <hr /> <p><img width="300" height="400" src="/media/4887061/ceo.jpg" alt="Phil McDivitt" class="leftalign" style="padding-right: 5px;"/>In April, <a href="http://www.ascendmaterials.com/" target="_blank">Ascend Performance Materials</a> announced that company president and chief operating officer, Phil McDivitt ’87, was promoted to president, chief executive officer and member of the board. McDivitt is a graduate of the <a href="/{localLink:8897}" title="Chemical Engineering">Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering</a> at Texas A&amp;M University, and currently sits on the department’s advisory council.</p> <p>McDivitt joined Ascend Performance Materials in April 2015 as president of the company’s nylon business, and quickly moved up the ranks. A year later he was named the president and chief operating officer.  </p> <p>“Since joining, he [McDivitt] has made important contributions to building a stronger team and culture, improving financial and operating disciplines, and creating a more dynamic commercial organization,” said Barry Siadat, chairman of Ascend Performance Materials. “As envisioned by the board at the time of his hiring, Phil has demonstrated his readiness to transition to CEO.”</p> <p>Prior to joining Ascend Performance Materials, McDivitt spent more than nine years in various roles at Celanese, a global technology and materials company, working his way up to the vice president and general manager of the company’s engineered materials business. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/former-student-phil-mcdivitt-named-president-and-ceo-of-ascend-performance-materials http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/former-student-phil-mcdivitt-named-president-and-ceo-of-ascend-performance-materials Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Fifth Smart Grid Workshop focuses on using smart grids big data Deana Totzke <deana@ece.tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/fifth-smart-grid-workshop-focuses-on-using-smart-grids-for-big-data <p><img width="261" height="301" src="/media/4887056/horsman_261x301.jpg" alt="SG Horsman" class="leftalign rightalign"/>The focus of the fifth annual Smart Grid Workshop on the Texas A&amp;M University campus was using smart grids big data. The workshop was organized by the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station’s (TEES) Smart Grid Center after receiving a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Big Data Spokes Program to extend collaboration and innovation using big data for the smart power grid area.</p> <p>The significance of smart grids big data is in the diversity of its sources, growth rate, correlations and spatiotemporal (belonging to space and time) characteristics. Big data is measured all over and monitored at a fine temporal scale in smart electric grids, but largely unexploited for its transformational impact in discovering new knowledge and solutions resulting in major <img width="321" height="214" src="/media/4887058/sg-audience_321x214.jpg" alt="SG Audience" class="leftalign"/>improvements in smart grid operation (e.g., power generation and distribution, renewable energy interfacing, transmission grid resiliency) and smart grid user necessities (microgrids, smart cities, transportation, etc.). The use of big data in implementing the automation of data analytics and data management, and the implementation and benefits of utilizing big data in advanced power grids were discussed at the workshop.</p> <p><br />As invited keynote speaker, Todd Horsman, senior director of strategy and product development at CPS Energy, discussed “Data and the Evolving Utility Business Model.”</p> <p><img width="184" height="262" src="/media/4887057/nowka_184x262.jpg" alt="SG Nowka" class="rightalign"/>During lunch, the featured speaker was Kevin Nowka, director of IBM Research in Austin, who discussed “Big Data Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities.” Panel sessions included the topics “Big Data Availability and Management,” “International Experiences: Synchrophasors BD,” “Data Analytics and Tools” and “Future Efforts.” Posters reflecting on graduate student research areas and outcomes were also presented, and participants attended focus group sessions on topics related to big data.</p> <p><img width="305" height="229" src="/media/4887059/poster_305x229.jpg" alt="Poster session" class="leftalign"/>“This event was a great start toward forming a global partnership for big data research, education and training relevant to the smart grids, which the NSF grant was awarded for,” said Dr. Mladen Kezunovic, principal investigator of the NSF grant and director of the Smart Grid Center. “We are quite happy to serve as coordinators, together with PIs <br />from Temple University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and expand the network of over 100 organizations and 200 individuals that have shown their interest so far.”</p> <p>Overall, 130 people attended the workshop, including participants from Texas A&amp;M, government and non-profit organizations and industry. For more information about the workshop, visit the Smart Grid Center’s <a href="http://smartgridcenter.tamu.edu/sgc/web/?page_id=5350" title="Smart Grid Website">website</a>. The next workshop on the topic will take place in April 2018.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/fifth-smart-grid-workshop-focuses-on-using-smart-grids-for-big-data http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/fifth-smart-grid-workshop-focuses-on-using-smart-grids-for-big-data Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST College of engineering honors outstanding alumni Amy Halbert <ahalbert@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/college-of-engineering-honors-outstanding-alumni <p><img width="520" height="313" src="/media/4887060/outstanding-alumni-new.jpg" alt="Outstanding Alumni" class="leftalign"/>The Texas A&amp;M University College of Engineering honored six alumni during the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Awards Banquet.</p> <p>Receiving the Outstanding Alumni Honor Award were Fiona McCracken Allen ’82, regional manager, Trinity River Authority; Anthony Bahr ’91, president and co-founder, WildHorse Resource Development Corporation; Dennis J. Seith ’79, chief executive officer, INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA; Emina Soljanin ’94, professor, Rutgers University; and Jimmy Williams ’83, executive director and distinguished service professor, Carnegie Mellon University.</p> <p>Receiving the Outstanding Early Professional Achievement Alumni Award was Isaac Wesley Ekoto ’06, principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Fiona McCracken Allen ‘82<br /></strong><strong>Regional Manager<br /></strong><strong>Trinity River Authority</strong></p> <p>Fiona McCracken Allen is regional manager for the Trinity River Authority and responsible for wholesale water and wastewater services for 1.4 million people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and local sponsorship of three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs.</p> <p>She began her career with the City of Arlington, Texas, in 1990 as a staff civil engineer. During her time there, she was promoted to field operations manager, assistant director of utilities, director of utilities, and in January 2005, was appointed interim deputy city manager.</p> <p>She has received several honors during her career including the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering Distinguished Graduate Award; Texas A&amp;M Engineer of the Year, Texas Society of Professional Engineers Mid Cities Chapter; Distinguished Service Award, Texas Municipal Utilities Association; and the American Council of Engineering Companies, chief judge, Engineering Excellence Awards. She has presented and co-authored papers at several state conferences as well as at the American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation national conventions.</p> <p>Allen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1982 from Texas A&amp;M. She and her husband Don have three children, Meredith, Mark and Elizabeth.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Anthony Bahr ‘91<br /></strong><strong>President and Co-Founder<br /></strong><strong>WildHorse Resource Development Corporation</strong></p> <p>Anthony Bahr is president and co-founder of WildHorse Resource Development Corporation, an independent oil and natural gas company headquartered in Houston, Texas. WildHorse is the fourth publicly traded company generated from Bahr’s private oil and gas investments in the past 10 years.</p> <p>Prior to co-founding the original WildHorse private company in 2007, Bahr was employed in a variety of management and engineering roles with private and public energy companies. He also actively manages business investments in real estate private equity, polymer technology research, commercial real estate development and construction material supplies.</p> <p>Bahr is a three-time Aggie 100 winner, with two of his companies receiving the awards in 2013, 2014 and 2016 for their ranking in the fastest-growing Aggie-owned companies. Bahr has founded or co-founded 31 companies since high school. He is a member of the Mays Business School Development Council and the Petroleum Ventures Advisory Board, an educational collaboration between the Mays Business School and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&amp;M, which he co-founded in 2015.</p> <p>Bahr received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in petroleum engineering from Texas A&amp;M, and his Master of Business Administration degree from California State University.</p> <p>Bahr and his wife Gina, have three children, Audrey, Travis and Trever.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Dennis J. Seith ‘79<br /></strong><strong>Chief Executive Officer<br /></strong><strong>INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA</strong></p> <p>Dennis Seith is chief executive officer of INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA, and has more than 37 years of experience in the petrochemical, polymer and refining industries. Prior to joining INEOS, Seith held numerous supervisory roles for more than 25 years at Amoco/BP Amoco.</p> <p>Seith received an Amoco Chairman’s Award and an Aggie 100 Summit Award. He was elected by members of the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers as a member of the executive board that governs the industry-wide advocacy association, and he was also elected treasurer. Seith was elected by industry peers into the Founders Club, an industry organization for 25-plus year contributors, and he also served as vice president for its board of governors.</p> <p>He has served as a member of the chemical engineering advisory council at Texas A&amp;M and the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Advisory Council, and he established the “Cathy and Dennis Seith ’79 Faculty Fellowship” and the “Cathy ’79 and Dennis Seith ’79 Study Abroad Scholarship” at Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>Seith received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&amp;M in 1979.</p> <p>He and his wife, Cathy ’79, have three children, Jeremy, Melissa and Thomas ‘12.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Emina Soljanin ‘94 Professor<br /></strong><strong>Rutgers University</strong></p> <p>Dr. Emina Soljanin is a professor at Rutgers University. Her research group is currently concerned with reliable, efficient and secure big data storage, as well as fast, anonymous and private data retrieval. Before joining the Rutgers faculty in January 2016, Soljanin was a distinguished member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.</p> <p>Soljanin is an IEEE Fellow and recipient of the IEEE Information Theory Society Padovani Lectureship Award. She has received paper awards from technical communities and funding grants for her research from numerous government agencies. She also served as a distinguished lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society from 2015–2016. She is a member of IEEE, the American Mathematical Society and the Association for Women in Mathematics, and serves on the external advisory committee for the National Science Foundation’s Center for Science of Information. She has been intermittently serving as a member of the board of governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society since 2009, and is currently the second vice president.</p> <p>Soljanin received her Master of Science and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Texas A&amp;M in 1989 and 1994, respectively.</p> <p>She is married to Andrea da Conturbia Rota ’94.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Jimmy Williams ‘83<br /></strong><strong>Executive Director<br /></strong><strong>Distinguished Service Professor<br /></strong><strong>Carnegie Mellon University</strong></p> <p>Dr. Jimmy Williams is executive director and distinguished service professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He previously served as vice president for global engineering at the Pall Corporation, senior director for technology development at Alcoa and director of research and development at The Boeing Company.</p> <p>He serves as president of the Western Pennsylvania board of directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and is a visiting professor for the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. He also serves on the engineering advisory boards at Texas A&amp;M, the University of Florida and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In 2001 he was named Black Engineer of the Year, and is chair-elect of the Association of Former Students board at Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>Williams earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&amp;M in 1983, his Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University and his doctoral degree from Washington University.</p> <p>He and his wife Valerie have two children, Danielle and Justin.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Isaac Wesley Ekoto ‘06<br /></strong><strong>Principal Member of the Technical Staff<br /></strong><strong>Sandia National Laboratories</strong></p> <p>Dr. Isaac Ekoto is a principal member of the technical staff in the Engine Combustion Department at Sandia National Laboratories. He serves as principal investigator of the Gasoline Combustion Fundamentals Lab, where active research of in-cylinder flow, mixing and combustion processes is performed for light-duty gasoline engines. Ekoto has worked at Sandia Labs since 2007 when he was a postdoctoral research engineer. In 2010 he became a senior member of the technical staff in the Hydrogen and Combustion Technologies Department.</p> <p>He is a recipient of the Texas A&amp;M Outstanding Young Aerospace Engineer Award; SAE Powertrain, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting Best Paper Award; and the Sandia Employee Recognition Award. He has written more than 20 refereed journal articles; several news articles; and made numerous presentations at international meetings, invited seminars and workshops.</p> <p>He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers, and serves on the academic advisory board for Texas A&amp;M’s Department of Aerospace Engineering.</p> <p>Ekoto earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Fayetteville State University in 2000 and his doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&amp;M in 2006.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/college-of-engineering-honors-outstanding-alumni http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/27/college-of-engineering-honors-outstanding-alumni Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Zachry Leadership Program collaborates with Prison Entrepreneurship Program Jess Rae <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/zachry-leadership-program-collaborates-with-prison-entrepreneurship-program <p>Former prisoners who graduated from the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) recently visited the Texas A&amp;M University College of Engineering’s Zachry Leadership Program students.  During the session, the students learned about the challenges former prisoners face, the recidivism problem and how they could use the lessons they’ve learned about business strategy to help inmates in the program develop business plans.</p> <p>The primary focus of PEP is to help prisoners focus on skills and mindsets that will aid them when they get out of prison, so they are encouraged to set up business models. Some participate in the program for practice and others make plans to launch businesses when they complete their sentences. “Students in the Zachry Leadership Program spend two semesters focusing on business skills and using their knowledge and experience to help PEP participants by being their business model advisors,” said program director Seth Sullivan.</p> <p>“This is the first interaction between the Zachry Leadership Program and the Prison Entrepreneurship Program,” said Sullivan. “The founding class, 32 students who went through an application and interview process, was the first class to be introduced to the PEP and is looking forward to future involvement with them.”</p> <p>The visit from PEP is one of the many opportunities given to students to help them broaden their thinking as leaders. Sullivan said that helping the PEP participants allows the students to reinforce their theme this semester--that engineering and business can have a positive impact on society.</p> <p>“One of the greatest themes that we have focused on is empathy,” said Melanie Enriquez, a junior electrical engineering student. “The [Prison Entrepreneurship Program] is the greatest example of an organization exhibiting unconditional love, hope and empathy.”</p> <p>Students will be donating their time and experience to PEP prisoner participants by helping with job preparation for life after prison. Enriquez said she will be participating in this program by reviewing, revising and editing papers and resumes written by PEP participants.  Their interactions with inmates are all conducted via email through an intermediary, and are anonymous.</p> <p>In addition to talking about the challenges that they face, Prison Entrepreneurship Program members shared their personal stories with the Texas A&amp;M students. “The speakers’ stories of their own, and on behalf of their friends still behind bars, made the Zachry Leadership Program students realize they were not all that far apart in their wants and goals,” said Enriquez.</p> <p>“We are looking forward to working with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program in the future,” said Sullivan. “This experience benefits the students by exposing them to new perspectives and giving them opportunities to help others. The Zachry Leadership Program is always striving to provide learning opportunities such as this one for its students.”</p> <p>Students in the program are exposed to subjects like business to broaden their horizons and help them apply their engineering degree to the real world. These students will be graduating with a degree from Texas A&amp;M and having had experiences that broaden and deepen their leadership ability further helping them post-graduation in making an impact in their communities and the world.</p> <p>The Zachry Leadership Program opened applications for the next cohort of students on April 10. Click <a href="/{localLink:25653}" title="Zachry Leadership Program">here</a> for more information and to apply.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/zachry-leadership-program-collaborates-with-prison-entrepreneurship-program http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/zachry-leadership-program-collaborates-with-prison-entrepreneurship-program Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Soljanin presents insights and challenges in maintaining reliable cloud systems Shraddha Sankhe <shraddha@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/soljanin-presents-insights-and-challenges-in-maintaining-reliable-cloud-systems <p><img width="365" height="243" src="/media/4887055/emina-soljanin_365x243.jpg" alt="Emina Soljanin" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Emina Soljanin ‘94, professor at Rutgers University, presented her research about codes for data storage system during the Leaders and Innovators Speaker Series seminar in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University.</p> <p>Soljanin discussed how coding reduces download time of large files in the cloud systems, and provided insights on increasing reliability against disk failures. Her seminar introduced a queuing framework to model multiple users requesting their data simultaneously and demonstrated the trade-off between the download time and the storage space.</p> <p class="p2">“Coding exploits the diversity and parallelism in the system better than today’s replication schemes allowing faster download,” said Soljanin. “Several problems arise in distributed computing systems when some servers are struggling to complete their tasks, and the cloud data is hot, large, changing and expanding.” </p> <p>Soljanin graduated from the electrical and computer engineering department with a master’s degree and Ph.D. in 1989 and 1994, respectively. She recently received the Texas A&amp;M College of Engineering’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a former distinguished technical staff member at Bell Labs and has spent more than 25 years participating in diverse research and business projects in areas such as power system optimization, magnetic recording, color space quantization, hybrid ARQ, network coding, data and network security, and quantum information theory and networking.</p> <p>Soljanin has served as the associate editor for <i>Coding Techniques</i> and <i>IEEE Transactions on Information Theory</i>, on the Information Theory Society’s board of governors, and in various roles on other journal editorial boards and conference program committees. She is a member of AMS and an IEEE Fellow. She served as a distinguished lecturer for the IEEE Information Theory Society in 2015 and 2016 and is currently serving as the second vice president for the society.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/soljanin-presents-insights-and-challenges-in-maintaining-reliable-cloud-systems http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/soljanin-presents-insights-and-challenges-in-maintaining-reliable-cloud-systems Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Woollands awarded 2017 Distinguished Graduate Student Award Jan McHarg <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/woollands-awarded-2017-distinguished-graduate-student-award <p><img width="200" height="303" src="/media/4887051/Woollands-and-Junkins-web.jpg" alt="Woollands And Junkins Web" class="rightalign"/>Robyn Woollands was selected by the Association of Former Students for a 2017 Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research – Doctoral. Woollands received her doctorate in aerospace engineering from Texas A&amp;M University in December. She was nominated by her advisor, Dr. John Junkins, Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering, for her significant contributions to research.</p> <p>The Distinguished Graduate Student Awards recognize the exemplary accomplishments of students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees at Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>Woollands’ research, while pursuing her doctoral degree, involved the development of software for improved satellite tracking. The software is currently being used by several industrial partners: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), the Air Force Research Laboratory, Applied Defense Solutions and Cummings Aerospace. Woollands has accepted an offer from JPL where she will work as a guidance and control engineer in the inner planets mission analysis group.</p> <p>During her graduate studies, Woollands spent two summers interning at JPL developing advanced numerical integration software to aid in the solution of numerous orbit problems. She has authored 10 peer-reviewed journal papers, has two more currently under review and another two in preparation.</p> <p>Prior to studying at Texas A&amp;M, Woollands completed her Bachelor of Science in physics and her Master of Science in astronomy from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. While at Canterbury, she was selected to attend the International School for Young Astronomers, Malaysia, and she was selected to participate in the university’s Antarctic program and traveled to Antarctica to conduct scientific experiments. Following this, she completed a Master of Science in aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota.</p> <p>Woollands was among 16 distinguished students who were recognized at an awards ceremony Monday at the Stark Galleries at Texas A&amp;M. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/woollands-awarded-2017-distinguished-graduate-student-award http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/woollands-awarded-2017-distinguished-graduate-student-award Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Coen wins Aggies Commit Fellowship Jan McHarg <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/coen-wins-aggies-commit-fellowship <p><img width="200" height="215" src="/media/4887050/Mauricio-Coen-web_200x215.jpg" alt="Mauricio Coen Web" class="rightalign"/>Mauricio Coen, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, has been awarded an Aggies Commit to Graduate and Professional Student Education Experiences Fellowship. He will use the $1,500 award to help fund expenses for the <i>A3DPT-Mars: Advantages of 3-D Printing Technology to Operations in Future Human Exploration of Mars</i> experiment, which is part of the Poland Mars Analog Simulation (PMAS) 2017.</p> <p>The Aggies Commit Fellowship aims to support high-impact learning experiences of graduate and professional students that go beyond required degree program activities. This fellowship furthers graduate and professional education by providing support and access to resources and programming not available at Texas A&amp;M, and collaborative research with senior scholars at other campuses in the United States, as well as internationally.</p> <p>PMAS 2017, organized by the Space Exploration Project Group of the Space Generation Advisory Council, is a realistic Mars simulation mission. The simulation will concentrate on research areas that will be important for a real Mars missions, and will allow scientists and researchers to test out innovative ideas in a controlled environment.</p> <p>The project consists of two teams, astronauts and flight support. A team of six analog astronauts will conduct scientific research and record their experiences for two weeks while confined in the Modular Analog Research Station in Turza, Poland, a new habitat built by Space Garden Company in the Polish mountains. In addition, they will have a three-day lunar simulation prior to PMAS in partnership with the European Space Agency.</p> <p>Fully isolated from the rest of the world, their only point of contact to Earth will be the second team at the Mission Support Center (MSC), located 530 kilometers away in the offices of ABM Space in Torun, Poland. A group of 30 international students and young professionals will make up the flight support team, supporting, supervising and analyzing the astronauts’ activities.</p> <p>Coen will be at the MSC providing support for the A3DPT-Mars experiment. “The A3DPT-Mars experiment will strive to understand if 3-D printing will bring operational advantages to human Mars exploration, and quantify the differences between the current approach to space exploration and the potential for future Mars exploration,” Coen said.</p> <p>While previous research has focused on what 3-D printing can create, this experiment will focus on testing a variety of operational scenarios, mostly centered around geological sampling. They will test scenarios by having simulated tool breakdowns during geological expeditions, which have to be repaired by the astronauts using the 3-D printer. The astronauts will also be able to print parts they think are necessary for improving their effectiveness during the mission overall.</p> <p>They will be using an exact replica of the AMF, a 3-D printer currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This will allow them to compare real ISS operations with a Mars analog simulation. This replica is being provided by Made in Space, which is providing in-kind support to the experiment. Made in Space is also providing their vast expertise with 3-D printing and operations to the <i>A3DPT-Mars</i> team.</p> <p>Coen will provide operational support to the astronauts for times when the printer stops working or they need clarification with procedures. He will also have the capability to print parts without an astronaut needing to be present. This will allow them to test the difference between Earth and Mars controlled 3-D printed operations.</p> <p>“We hypothesize that astronauts will be able to adapt more quickly to changing mission goals,” Coen said. “Crew time (astronauts’ available work time) is one of the most valuable assets in any space exploration mission, and hopefully, 3-D printing embedded in their daily operations will reduce time spent in cumbersome tasks, especially with repairs.”</p> <p>Coen hopes the experiment will pave the way to explore additive manufacturing technology to reduce space exploration costs.</p> <p>While Coen will be the one traveling to Poland this summer, the A3DPT-Mars is being put together by an international, interdisciplinary team of students that has been collaborating for about a year. They are involved in designing 3-D printed parts, testing prototypes and creating procedures. Members of the team include Coen, Benjamin Morrell (University of Sydney, Australia), Deliya Kim (KAIST, South Korea) and Michael Muller and Sophie Gruber (University of Graz &amp; Innsbruck University, Austria).  </p> <p>Dr. Greg Chamitoff, professor of practice in the aerospace engineering department, and his Aerospace Technology Research and Operations Center, are providing guidance, financial support and resources to complete this experiment.</p> <p> </p> <p>   </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/coen-wins-aggies-commit-fellowship http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/coen-wins-aggies-commit-fellowship Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST Vinayak developing interactive software to enable design of functional products Robert (Chris) Scoggins <rcscoggins@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/vinayak-developing-interactive-software-to-enable-design-of-functional-products <p>A researcher with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University is working to create the next generation of computer-aided tools for enabling conceptual design – an undertaking instrumental in catering to the ever-increasing demand for product innovation.</p> <p>Dr. Vinayak, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is developing “mixed-initiative” software interfaces that would allow human designers to collaborate seamlessly with the computer to design products that function. These software interfaces are intended to help many kinds of specialized professionals, from industrial designers and architects to prosthetic specialists, understand and take into account design constraints for a better end product.</p> <p><img width="501" height="334" src="/media/4887048/a26u3037-web.jpg" alt="Vinayak" class="leftalign"/>“Design is a key component of so many disciplines,” Vinayak said. “If you’re doing electronics, computer science, computer engineering, arts, architecture—anything—design is a common component. The designers in these cases are domain experts in their specific field who need to account for so many different constraints and needs that they may not even be aware of.”</p> <p>For example, in fitting an amputee with a new artificial limb a physician becomes an unwilling designer who, while knowing the medical constraints of the patient, is not entirely aware of the engineering aspects (the exact shape of the amputee’s limb, material selection and loads on the limb) affecting the design of the device. Making the device becomes a trial and error process for the doctor and the patient, often resulting in failed products.</p> <p>“Our goal is to make software tools that help account for mechanical information such as stresses, materials and so on, while being able to present that information to the medical professional in a language that they best understand,” Vinayak said. “This greatly improves the favorability of the outcomes for both the medical professional as the designer and the patient as the customer.”</p> <p>Another example is that of an architect who is designing the form and feel of a staircase without being completely aware of how to systematically incorporate the mechanics and kinematics of the staircase within its artistic elements. Vinayak hopes his mixed-initiative design approach will address this problem by providing designers with a computer system that participates in the design process as a partner, supplies missing information, questions the designer’s decisions and ultimately “talks” to them, working toward getting a useful and functional product.</p> <p>While the research is currently in the fundamental stages, Vinayak is hopeful about the interdisciplinary benefits it may bring.</p> <p> “As we move forward, design tools need to accommodate the experts who want to create complex functional products for their users as well as the end users who want to build useful things for themselves,” Vinayak said. “So we are doing this to empower the designer and the customer.”</p> <p><em><strong>Media contact:</strong></em> <a href="mailto:bamador@tamu.edu">Brooke Amador</a>, Communications Specialist, Mechanical Engineering</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/vinayak-developing-interactive-software-to-enable-design-of-functional-products http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/04/26/vinayak-developing-interactive-software-to-enable-design-of-functional-products Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 CST