Center for Advanced Computation and Telecommunications

2021

  • CACT students enter graduate programs and industry careers

Despite a disruptive year with Covid in 2020, CACT students successfully completed Master’s and Doctoral research and graduated in 2021.

    • Lejun Hu earned his Ph.D defending his thesis on Fault Detection in an Interconnected Water Tank System using a Particle Filter. Dr. Hu is currently a senior software engineer at Teleflex Medical Inc.
    • Arielle Joasil defended her MS thesis on Simulating the space-time trajectory of aerosol droplets. Arielle received a GEM graduate fellowship and is pursuing a Ph.D at Columbia University.
    • Habibat Olimi defended her MS thesis and is currently employed at Intel Corporation as R&D Engineer
    • Flore Stécie Norcéide received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering and is currently pursuing her Ph.D at UMASS Lowell.
    • Sarah Kamal graduated with a BS EE degree and joined the MS program at UML
    • Russ Perkins graduated with a MS EE degree and continues in the PhD program at UML
  • Chandra and Tripathy serve on Deshpande Symposium Panel
    • Engaging Students and Industry: The Co-creation of Inclusive Learning Experiences in Engineering and Entrepreneurship Education: This panel explored two student-centered models for engaging industry professionals with students to promote early learning experiences that address entrepreneurship, teamwork, communication skills and mentorship. The Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers one example of this work in action — the Eship Scholars program — for other institutions that are looking to implement solutions to support high-potential entrepreneurs from traditionally underrepresented, underserved and underfunded backgrounds. The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Research, Academics & Mentoring Pathways (RAMP) summer bridge program serves as an example of such a program in the field of engineering, with its focus on helping new female students and students of color be better prepared for the transition from high school to an undergraduate engineering degree program. Student participants from these programs will provide an overview of their experiences.  The panel  highlighted the various models of interaction between students, entrepreneurs and industry leaders that both Eship and RAMP have implemented.
  • ASEE 2021 Paper: Engaging Women Engineering Undergraduates as Peer Facilitators in Participatory Action Research Focus Groups (Tripathy, Chandra, Hsu, Li, Reichlen)
    • Nationally, the percentage of females enrolled in engineering degree pathways in four-year public universities has remained in the 15 – 20% range and that number for females who are also students of color is around 5%. With major efforts and financial resources having been applied to address this problem, there is currently a need to carefully identify and assess strategies and models that have demonstrably contributed to the persistence of women in engineering degree pathways. Among such models are the inclusion of counter spaces in STEM environments for underrepresented groups, peer mentors and mentoring opportunities as well as the students’ own agency in creating environments that promote belonging and success in the program. This study is part of a longitudinal effort that begins with a summer program offered to incoming female students in engineering majors and continues with opportunities and support for the participants to become engaged as peer mentors and focus group facilitators in subsequent years. Using the results of a survey on student experiences in engineering majors administered to all students in their junior and senior years, we analyze the responses from participants in the summer program with those from students who did not have this opportunity. We also analyze the agency of those who have participated in the summer program with respect to their engagement in mentoring, leadership roles and efforts in recruiting students and facilitating focus groups. We also use a participatory action research (PAR) approach to examine how student-driven program evaluation processes can be used to formulate action steps for program change and increase sense of belonging, personal agency, and engineering identity among engineering undergraduates
  • NSF Innovations in Graduate Education Award
  • NSF Future of Work Planning Grant Award
  • NSF S-STEM Award 
  • UML Seed Grant for Inclusive Teamwork Design
  • July-August 2021: RAMP Program moves to hybrid mode with twenty new students beginning their engineering education
  • Fall 2021: Campus back to in-person program

2020

  • Covid-19 closes campus in March 2020 and after an extended spring break we settle into virtual classes.
  • ASEE paper on RAMP program (Tripathy, Chandra, Reichlen)
    • Research investigated the application of  Participatory Action Research (PAR) for Formative Assessment of the STEM Summer Bridge Program. Student  perspectives and experiences were captured through four focus groups on topics geared towards creating psychologically safe spaces for sharing experiences, providing feedback on program activities and reflecting on personal goals, values and aspirations. 

2019

  • Thompson and Denis co-chair Special Session on Acoustofluidics at the 2019 Annual Acoustical Society of American Conference  
    • At the 169th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, a special session: Acoustofluidics: Interaction of Acoustics and Fluid Dynamic Phenomena Cochaired by Charles Thompson and Max Denis convened. The topics included Acoustic tweezers, steady streaming, and surface acoustic wave microfluidics. The following were invited Speakers: James Friend (University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA), Tony Jun Huang (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA), Sadhal Satwindar (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA), Charles Thompson (University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA), Siew-Wan OHL (Institute of High Performance Computing, Fusionopolis Way, Singapore).

Mentoring

CACT faculty and students are engaged in various mentoring activities and programs.  Back in 1998, Prof. Charles Thompson received the Presidential Award for Excellence in  Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Clinton.  Our students have been involved in many mentoring activities through the years.  In 2018, the Research, Academics and Mentoring Pathways (RAMP) to Success summer bridge program was created. Take a look
Proceedings of AT&T/UMASS Conference highlighting the role mentoring as applied in AT&T and Bell Labs doctoral fellowship programs on their 25th anniversary. Mentoring for success
A history and assessment of AT&T Labs Ph.D Fellowship programs:1972-2002
The AT&T Labs Ph.D Fellowship -35 years of mentoring women and underrepresented minorities- an update

Books Published

  • Probability and Random Processes (V. Krishnan with contribution from K. Chandra, Wiley)
    • This book examines the topics of applied mathematical functions to problems that engineers and researchers solve daily in the course of their work. The text covers set theory, combinatorics, random variables, discrete and continuous probability, distribution functions, convergence of random variables, computer generation of random variates, random processes and stationarity concepts with associated autocovariance and cross covariance functions, estimation theory and Wiener and Kalman filtering ending with two applications of probabilistic methods. Probability tables with nine decimal place accuracy and graphical Fourier transform tables are included for quick reference. The author facilitates understanding of probability concepts for both students and practitioners by presenting over 450 carefully detailed figures and illustrations, and over 350 examples with every step explained clearly and some with multiple solutions.
  • Linear and Nonlinear Control of Small-Scale Unmanned Helicopters (Raptis and Valavanis, Springer)
    • Helicopters are underactuated, highly nonlinear systems with significant dynamic coupling that needs to be considered and accounted for, during controller design and implementation. Most reliable mathematical tools for analysis of control systems relate to modern control theory. Modern control techniques are modeled-based since the controller architecture depends on the dynamic representation of the system to be controlled. Therefore, the flight controller design problem is tightly connected with the helicopter modeling.This book provides a step-by-step methodology for designing, evaluating and implementing efficient flight controllers for small-scale helicopters.
  • Nonlinear Filtering and Smoothing: An Introduction to Martingales, Stochastic Integrals, and Estimation (V. Krishnan, Dover Books) 
    • For graduate students in engineering and finance with basic knowledge of probability theory, this volume is designed to give a concise understanding of martingales, stochastic integrals, and estimation. It emphasizes applications. Many theorems feature heuristic proofs; others include rigorous proofs to reinforce physical understanding. Numerous end-of-chapter problems enhance the book’s practical value.After introducing the basic measure-theoretic concepts of probability and stochastic processes, the text examines martingales, square integrable martingales, and stopping times. Considerations of white noise and white-noise integrals are followed by examinations of stochastic integrals and stochastic differential equations, as well as the associated Ito calculus and its extensions. After defining the Stratonovich integral, the text derives the correction terms needed for computational purposes to convert the Ito stochastic differential equation to the Stratonovich form. Additional chapters contain the derivation of the optimal nonlinear filtering representation, discuss how the Kalman filter stands as a special case of the general nonlinear filtering representation, apply the nonlinear filtering representations to a class of fault-detection problems, and discuss several optimal smoothing representations.
  • Linear Systems Properties: A Quick Reference (V. Krishnan, Dover Books) 
    • This pocket book serves as an immediate reference for the various formulae encountered in linear systems, control systems, probability, communication engineering, signal processing, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetic field theory. It includes novel results on complex convolutions; clearly explains real and complex matrix differentiation methods; provides an unusual amount of orthogonal functions; and presents properties of Fourier series, Fourier transforms, Hilbert transforms, Laplace transforms, and z-transforms. Singular value decomposition techniques for matrix inversion are also clearly presented. 

Partnerships with Industry and US Air Force (2017-2018)

  • CACT faculty, graduate students and post-doc partner with National Security Information Associates at Oak Ridge, TN on the Command and Control Display Equipment Requirements Specification for the Force Protection / Integrated Base Defense Security System program office in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base. 

Probability and Random Processes

This book examines the topics of applied mathematical functions to problems that engineers and researchers solve daily in the course of their work. The text covers set theory, combinatorics, random variables, discrete and continuous probability, distribution functions, convergence of random variables, computer generation of random variates, random processes and stationarity concepts with associated autocovariance and cross covariance functions, estimation theory and Wiener and Kalman filtering ending with two applications of probabilistic methods. Probability tables with nine decimal place accuracy and graphical Fourier transform tables are included for quick reference. The author facilitates understanding of probability concepts for both students and practitioners by presenting over 450 carefully detailed figures and illustrations, and over 350 examples with every step explained clearly and some with multiple solutions.

Blended Learning with Computing

Vibes and Waves in Action, an NSF GK-12 project at CACT held a novel workshop for high school teachers on implementing Blended Learning in their teaching environment. In this 3-day workshop, teachers: (1) Learned to create lesson plans for the blended learning model of teaching, (2) Understood how to find and use a range of existing resources for blended learning activities and online materials to create the optimal learning experience for students, (3) Gained an overview and saw examples of blended learning template lessons on e-learning platform (4) Created their blended learning lessons that will be implemented in the coming school year. Examples of created lessons can be viewed on http://vibesandwaves.org.

Acoustofluidics

At the 169th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, a special session Acoustofluidics: Interaction of Acoustics and Fluid Dynamic Phenomena Cochaired by Charles Thompson and Max Denis convened. The topics included Acoustic tweezers, steady streaming, and surface acoustic wave microfluidics. The following were invited Speakers: James Friend (University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA), Tony Jun Huang (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA), Sadhal Satwindar (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA), Charles Thompson (University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA), Siew-Wan OHL (Institute of High Performance Computing, Fusionopolis Way, Singapore).

Linear and Nonlinear Control of Small-Scale Unmanned Helicopters

Helicopters are underactuated, highly nonlinear systems with significant dynamic coupling that needs to be considered and accounted for, during controller design and implementation. Most reliable mathematical tools for analysis of control systems relate to modern control theory. Modern control techniques are modeled-based since the controller architecture depends on the dynamic representation of the system to be controlled. Therefore, the flight controller design problem is tightly connected with the helicopter modeling.This book provides a step-by-step methodology for designing, evaluating and implementing efficient flight controllers for small-scale helicopters.