October 3-9, 2011


October 3, 2011

Faculty News


Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) has received a 15-month, $100,000 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office to support a research project entitled "Autonomous Symbiosis of Robotic Locomotion and Manipulation." The project will investigate development and implementation of algorithms for autonomous function of mobile robots over irregular terrains, such as automating the process of climbing/descending stairs, obstacles, and manipulating objects simultaneously. The automation of these capabilities, and others, will alleviate the burden of the remote operator (e.g., soldier, policeman, rescue team) whose role can eventually be reduced to supervision and monitoring, rather than full command. Feasibility studies will be performed for applications, such as search and rescue missions, neutralization, reconnaissance, and high-risk missions (e.g., military, police).

GW was recently awarded a two-year, $170,843 grant from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative proposal with the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii, Manoa.  Entitled "Teaching Strategic, Operational, and Defensive Cybersecurity to the Next Generation from Sea to Shining Sea," the project makes available through videos, notes, and ultimately instructor guides GW's required Seminar for CyberCorps students that highlights Federal and industry experts.   It develops a cyber security library of content that is part of a comprehensive approach to teaching strategic, operational, and defensive cyber security.  This material will first be provided to two partner institutions and, ultimately, to the entire national CyberCorps community.  The principal investigators for this project are Profs. Lance Hoffman, Shelly Heller, and Costis Toregas, all of CS.  The principal instructor involved is Lecturer Mischel Kwon of CS.

Prof. Zoe Szajnfarber (EMSE) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from NASA for this fiscal year. The title is "Strategies for encouraging innovation at NASA through organizational design and technology investment." Prof. Szajnfarber and her students will be working closely with the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA headquarters and with the Office of the Chief Technologist for Science and Technology at the Goddard Space Flight Center, and they will be drawing on her past research at NASA to develop new R&D evaluation metrics and identify feasible institutional levers to encourage innovation.  

Books & Papers:

Prof. Hermann Helgert (ECE), together with Adjunct Professor Sayed Hussein and doctoral student Harry Shaw, published the paper "Genomics-Based Security Protocols: From Plaintext to Cipherprotein" in the International Journal on Advances in Security, Vol. 1&2, September 2011.

"Stick-slip Friction and Energy Dissipation in Boundary Lubrication," a paper by Prof. Yongsheng Leng (MAE) and his postdoctoral scientist Yajie Lei, was published in the American Physical Society journal Physical Review Letters, Vol. 107, Issue 14. A description of the research findings is available on the GW website.

Prof. Adam Wickenheiser (MAE) recently published a paper in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures.  The paper, titled "Design Optimization of Linear and Non-Linear Cantilevered Energy Harvesters for Broadband Vibrations," discusses the optimization of material and geometric properties of piezoelectric devices for harvesting energy from broad-spectrum vibration sources.  This special issue of the journal consists of selected articles from the ASME 2010 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems (SMASIS), Symposium on Modeling, Simulation and Control.

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Adam Wickenheiser (MAE) and his graduate student, Christopher Blower, attended the ASME 2011 Conference on Smart Materials Adaptive Structures & Intelligent Systems held September 18-21 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Prof. Wickenheiser presented the following papers: 1) Adam Wickenheiser and Timothy Reissman, "Generalized Eigensolution to Piecewise Continuous Distributed-Parameter Models of Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters Using the Transfer Matrix Method;" and 2) Vishak Sivadas and Adam Wickenheiser, "Small-Scale Wind Energy Harvesters from Flow-Induced Vibrations."

Mr. Blower presented: Christopher Blower and Adam Wickenheiser, "The Development of a Closed-Loop Flight Controller for Localized Flow Control and Gust Alleviation Using Biomimetic Feathers on Aircraft Wings."

At the conference, Prof. Wickenheiser also chaired a session on "Energy Harvesting Circuits & Feedback Systems" and a session on "Active Materials Applications: Sustainability Challenges." In addition, he sat on the Organizing Committee for a Guest Symposium on Sustainability.

Other News

Students who are interested in participating in the SSPI Mid-Atlantic Chapter's 2nd Engineering Student Project Competition on Space Systems are encouraged to read the chapter's invitation letter to find out more about the competition's requirements and deadlines.

Guest Vignette

Her on-going mission: to explore strange new innovations, to seek out new organizational systems, to boldly go where no researcher has gone before.  This is the mission of Assistant Professor Zoe Szajnfarber (EMSE), who has been awarded an initial $100,000 grant from NASA for this fiscal year.

NASA's mission is to push the limit of the possible. This requires the continuous development of new, better, and more precise technologies, subsystems and systems. Yet, despite a rich legacy of impressive technological accomplishments, in recent years, the ability of government space agencies to deliver on their promises has increasingly been called into question. Although multiple acquisition systems and organizational structures have been tried, there remains a fundamental lack of understanding of how new technology development can and should be encouraged in this unique market structure and product context. The new Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT), with its responsibility for direct management of NASA's Space Technology programs and for coordination and tracking of all technology investments across the agency, represents an opportunity to improve NASA's innovation performance. However, not all change is necessarily positive, and if the hope is to control the system better, we first need to understand it better. The goal of this research is to develop that requisite understanding, bringing insights from the fields of organizational behavior, economics, and technology innovation management to bear on challenges facing the OCT.

Prof Szajnfarber's grant is titled, "Strategies for encouraging innovation at NASA through organizational design and technology investment." Along with her students, she will be working closely with NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist at headquarters and at the Office of the Chief Technologist for Science and Technology at the Goddard Space Flight Center, drawing on her past research at NASA to develop new R&D evaluation metrics and identify feasible institutional levers to encourage innovation. (Provided courtesy of Prof. Julie Ryan, chairman of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering)

SEAS Events

ECE Seminar: "Implantable Medical Wireless Data Telemetry"
Erdem Topsakal, Mississippi State University
Wednesday, October 5
2:00 - 3:00 pm
640 Phillips Hall

NEW DATE: "Dare to Dream"
A talk by SEAS alumna Anousheh Ansari
Thursday, October 27
3:00 pm: Refreshments; 3:30 - 4:30 pm: Talk
405 Marvin Center

Entrepreneurship Events

Entrepreneurship Open House 
Monday, October 3
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Kogan Plaza 
No RSVP required

ICSB Research and Policy Conference: The Latest Research on Business Creation 
October 6-8
Duques Hall 
The conference is free for GW students and faculty

Entrepreneurship Office Hour
Friday, October 7
1:00 - 2:00 pm
2033 K Street NW, Suite 750

Dolphin Tank - a friendly forum to get actionable feedback and advice on your business ideas
Tuesday, October 18
6:00 - 8:00 pm
650 Duques Hall

Dissertation Defenses

Name of Student Defending: Sergio de Cosmo
Title of Dissertation: "Decision Support Tool for Mass Fatality Victim Identification"
Advisor: Prof. Joe Barbera
Wednesday, October 26
1:00 pm
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120

Name of Student Defending: Deena Sara Disraelly
Title of Dissertation: "Volunteerism through Social Networks for Community-Based Preparedness and Emergency Response"
Advisor: Prof. Greg Shaw; Co-advisor: Dr. John Harrald
Thursday, October 27
9:30 am
1776 G Street, Conference Room 120