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Research at small university

Research at small university

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Research at small university

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  1. Research at small university Ognjen Kuljaca Department of Advanced Technologies Systems Research Institute Alcorn State University SWAN 06

  2. Outline • Problems • Solutions • Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) SWAN 06

  3. Problems • Small number of students (about 3000) – small pool of quality students to help with research • Undergraduate institution – no grad students • Can’t do what you want – have to adapt to environment and find interesting projects • Culture – teaching institution that wants to go to research, but does not have infrastructure, culture and faculty evaluation based on research work SWAN 06

  4. Problems • Small number of students (about 3000) – small pool of quality students to help with research • How to pay students (culture is to give them scholarships, so once they got it there is not much incentive to work outside regular student obligations) • If you have to go through scholarships, you don’t get to choose, financial aid office makes their picks • If you have to go through limited number of positions available at Department level, the same problem – jobs are given by financial aid office based on need, not merit SWAN 06

  5. Problems • Undergraduate institution – no grad students • Undergrads can do something but not much • Only way to get people to work is to get some people in post-doc or research positions • The usual departmental structure does not support such positions, there are places for faculty and instructors only. SWAN 06

  6. Problems • Can’t do what you want – have to adapt to environment and find interesting projects • When you negotiate, there are relatively good existing labs, but need modernization • Fund are promised for modernization • When you talk with Vice-president for research about funds (let’s do robots, vehicle control, neural networks and other sexy stuff he tells “Look young man, we raise pigs here” (actually they do more, but are interested in support for their strong agricultural program, not starting completely new activities with uncertain outcomes) SWAN 06

  7. Problems • Culture – teaching institution that wants to go to research, but does not have infrastructure, culture and faculty evaluation based on research work • Infrastructure – you want to write a grant proposal or work with local industry – there is no financial lines in existing departmental budgets to support such activities – if you get money, you can’t spend it • Culture – we do teaching, so every expense from Department budget not connected with teaching work has to be explained to administration – average time to do things varies between forever and never-ending • Can’t get money for research needs and trips (guys who only teaching complain that they are pushed back – and they are right in many cases) SWAN 06

  8. Solutions • Necessary conditions • Have faculty interested in growth and research (Department chair and 3 faculty out of 10 total) • Establish research entity so that research money is channeled through that entity and not troguh the Department • Why new entity? • With the new entity, there is a possibility to have money reserved for planned activity, employ students at will and have post-doc and research positions available • Such entity provides the administration framework to solve all the problems, excerpt finding the research topics to secure support form institution SWAN 06

  9. Solutions • Step 1 • 2004 early – after a lot of beers, sweet tea and chicken wings a proposal for research entity is submitted to University – new entity is called Systems Research Institute - SRI - (not precise name by plan – nobody can tell you that something you want to do does not fall under definition of your institute – helps with internal politics issues) • Since we don’t ask for any initial money, University and MS Institute of higher learning approve the new entity in early 2005 • SRI Director is Department Chair, associates are faculty interested in research work, SRI has it’s own budget line and can employ people almost at will SWAN 06

  10. Solutions • Step 2 – find the initial money • Applying to federal grants – not much success initially, lack of experience and institutional size • However, look also in your backyard • Backyard not so small, one of two Nissan factories in USA is based in MS, merely two hours drive from Alcorn (that is next door in MS, state is definitely not overpopulated) • After some more beers, sweat tee and chicken wings, Nissan wants to look nice, so they give $30,000 per year to pay students to work on projects (that should have been done through Alcorn’s Foundation office, but we keep them on need-to-know basis, they do not need to know) SWAN 06

  11. Solutions • Step 2 – find the initial money • Look for regional needs • Undeveloped area, high unemployment • Shipyard in New Orleans is interested in having enhanced their ultrasound images of welds and have people trained to read them • Write the proposal to DOL, will train people and generate jobs, DOL gives 1 mil grant in early 2005 • So, SRI is here, it has budget line and it has money in the budget SWAN 06

  12. Solutions • Step 3 – find the people • Look at the university – university gets HBCU-UP grant to improve students performance in math, science and technology – grant is originally done to support only math and chemistry students – more beer, sweat tee and chicken wings and our department students get in the program – more student workers we choose and pay from these funds • Find faculty and researchers – DOL grant pays image processing research – a piece of luck – there is an opening since some old faculty left so we get one image processing guy in faculty position and four more on short term contract from DOL funds (early 2005) • However, there are no people to help start with control activity and setting up the labs – go to old friends and ask for help – ask Frank can he borrow a smart student for a semester or two to work as visiting instructor – Frank helps and Mr. dang comes to Alcorn • With image processing people, we work on new grant proposal to DOD TATRC for CAD system to process filmed mammograms and organize a database of breast cancer cases (Summer 2005) • TATRC approves and grants 2.6 mil for 2.5 years (funds include six new full time research positions, funds for students and post-docs) SWAN 06

  13. Solutions • Setbacks • Foundation finds out about Nissan funds and takes the management – less funds for us, but still we get some money for students • Katrina hits – shipyard sails to Gulf of Mexico and suffers from Titanic syndrome • So, what to do with DOL grant. • PIGS ARE BACK (AND COWS ALSO) • well, those of us who are meat eaters know what is a good steak or schnitzel – juicy, but not much fat – what animal scientist says, you don’t want outside fat but you need intramuscular fat (which also is not saturated, so not so unhealthy) • so, the problem is how to grow pigs or cows that will have fat like that (and these can be sold for much more money) • So, DOL grant officer is asked for changed of the scope of the grant and extension – which is granted since the original beneficiary of the grant is at the bottom of the see – more image processing people, money saved from TATRC grant – more research and post-doc positions SWAN 06

  14. Solutions • In meantime • We all know that setting up new administrative units and having grant proposals funded takes time • A lot of energy goes into these things, but, something had to be done in meantime • So, do what you can • Try to get pipeline form high school to get more quality students – write small teaching grant to NASA-it goes through, $150.000 for one year – use the grant to place students in Army ERDC center in Vicksburg – new contacts, allow us to compete for DHS funds • DHS for MS has particular interest in chemical sensors development – adopt new chemical faculty into SRI, help her with grant proposal, granted in fall 2006, $950.000 for two years – we have a small piece, but great working relationship and we are competing together for more SWAN 06

  15. Solutions • In meantime • Work with people you know and try to get some research topics and funds from them (in my case, go back home, work with my former company, research on power systems control – not much money, but sustains activity) • Work on cooperation with other departments and schools (Agriculture, pigs and cows • Go to local industry (propose to Nissan to start working on Condition Based Maintenance, they refuse, but give you small project to network their robots, then to built small database for error codes) SWAN 06

  16. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Personnel for SRI • 3 PhD’s 50% percent of time in image processing • 1 PhD 50% percent of time in control • 1 PhD 50% percent of time in chemistry (coat sensors development) • 1 full time software engineer • 1 full time computer networking and busines administration person (MS in computer science and MBA) • 6 new people hired in last 4 months • Still looking for one faculty position in control systems, 6 research positions or post-docs in image processing, 3 research positions or post-docs in control and sensor development, 4 research positions or post-docs in software engineering SWAN 06

  17. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Development of a Knowledge Base to Support Detection and Diagnosis and Research in Mammography (funded by DOD TATRC –just started) • Goal: This project focuses on development and implementation of a Computer Aided Detection (CAD) and Diagnosis (CADx) system with a searchable database (both by images as in content based searches as well as by metadata stored as text) to support mammography in clinical practice as well as in research. • So, where is control or neural networks in there? SWAN 06

  18. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Development of a Knowledge Base to Support Detection and Diagnosis and Research in Mammography (funded by DOD TATRC –just started) • Diagnosis or risk assessment depend on the results of mammogram and risk factors (age, race, weight, occupation, number of children, pregnancies carried out or aborted etc.) • Many factors, so, how to find the correlations • Statistics was helpful, but it really does not give the good models SWAN 06

  19. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Development of a Knowledge Base to Support Detection and Diagnosis and Research in Mammography (funded by DOD TATRC –just started) • Possible solution: neural network identification and modeling that will take into account all these factors together with mammogram results SWAN 06

  20. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Development of a Knowledge Base to Support Detection and Diagnosis and Research in Mammography (funded by DOD TATRC –just started) SWAN 06

  21. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Image processing techniques to access intramuscular fat in cows and pigs (funded by DOL) • Goal: This project focuses on development and implementation of ultrasound measurement of intramuscular fat in cows and pigs. • So, where is control or neural networks in there? SWAN 06

  22. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Image processing techniques to access intramuscular fat in cows and pigs (funded by DOL) • Control of ultrasound beam frequency and power (develop the sensor, medical ultrasound sensors are to expensive and are tuned to work for humans, not animals) SWAN 06

  23. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Image processing techniques to access intramuscular fat in cows and pigs (funded by DOL) • Amount of fat depends on breed, food, placement of the animals, weather, and many other factors. Animal scientists know what they want, but they cannot find the correlation between these factors. So, developing the neural network, or fuzzy logic or expert system to guide decision during the raising of the animals will help to achieve the quality and cut down cost. This is our next goal out of this project aimed to obtain funding form DOL and USDA SWAN 06

  24. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Advanced control of power systems (funded by Croatian ministry of Science, cooperation with Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia) SWAN 06

  25. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Advanced control of power systems (funded by Croatian ministry of Science, cooperation with Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia) • All parameters can and do change. How to control efficiently? • NN control scheme SWAN 06

  26. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Advanced control of power systems (funded by Croatian Ministry of Science, cooperation with Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia – lead institution) SWAN 06

  27. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Hydro turbine governors (funded by HEP and World Bank, cooperation with Brodarski Institute – lead institution • Simplified turbine governor scheme SWAN 06

  28. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Hydro turbine governors (funded by HEP and World Bank, cooperation with Brodarski Institute – lead institution • Simplified turbine governor scheme in Laplace domain SWAN 06

  29. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Hydro turbine governors (funded by HEP and World Bank, cooperation with Brodarski Institute – lead institution • Problem: there are nonlinear jumps at certain frequencies • Solution: we used describing function to find the conditions when such nonlinear jumps can happen and then we used fuzzy controller to avoid this conditions (we don’t have formal proof yet, but stuff works in practice) SWAN 06

  30. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Nissan Condition Based Maintenance • Problem: Automobile assembly factory with several hundreds of robots. • Maintenance : Usual way. Close the line and do regular check-ups. 90% of things are fine. Waste of time and resources. • Alternative: network the robots, fill the data in database, design expert system to predict possible problems and do maintenance work only when needed. • Proposed to Nissan, but rejected (we have world class engineers, what you peasants from MS can do better?) • Are your robots networked? No. Well, let us try do that SWAN 06

  31. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Nissan Condition Based Maintenance • So, go slow. Use Nissan grant money for students to design and deploy wireless network for their robots. Nothing fancy, just basic networking, two undergrads did it during the summer SWAN 06

  32. Current Research Areas at SRI (where are we now) • Projects • Nissan Condition Based Maintenance • Network is here, data can be read, so, they want to have a small database where technicians can read error codes and also write their own solutions to problems. • No problem, pilot is done and checked with Nissan and it goes to test run in January • Should it go through (and it will), the hardware and software base for condition based manufacturing is placed • Late 2007, we start installing the software for data collecting and archiving . • Where is the control? Well, to predict the place and time of fault, NN, or Fuzzy Logic, or expert system or some kind of combination of these will be needed. SWAN 06

  33. That’s all folksdon’t have a cool picture to finish, but have a suggestion:MAKE FRANK DO IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR SWAN 06