Archives for March 14, 2015

PerCom 2015

Our Department of Computer Science is heavily involved in PERCOM and invites all of us to participate. Sajal Das, chair, notes “Attached please find the flagship conference IEEE PerCom 2015 that we are organizing in St Louis on March 23-27. It’s part of department’s Golden Jubilee celebration which will be in AY 2015-16. Missouri S&T logo is on the conference website ”

Here is a flyer in the event.PerCom2015 – Call for Participation



Every 10 years the capstone design community conducts a detailed census/survey to capture current practices within and across engineering capstone design programs.

The 2015 Capstone Design Survey is now open and will remain so until March 20, 2015.  Please forward the link below to the capstone design point person(s) in your department/college and encourage them to participate.  We hope to capture capstone design programs within engineering/technology departments as well as those that span multiple departments.



THE NEXT MacGyver: Can you, or someone you know, create a female TV hero who will “out-MacGyver MacGyver” and use her engineering prowess to solve problems? If so, enter the National Academy of Engineering’s competition and help inspire a generation of young women to see themselves as engineers.



NEW ERA, NEW SKILLS: A new report from the National Academy of Engineering says it’s “increasingly difficult to recognize clear dividing lines between manufacturing, the production of software, and the provision of services in a company’s product offerings. . . The best bet to aid workers that have been left behind by these transformations is to advance their skills and create an effective ecosystem that continuously attracts and creates skilled jobs in all sectors of the economy.” Businesses, school districts, labor, community colleges, and universities should form partnerships to help students graduate from high school, earn an associate’s degree, and take part in continuing education in the workplace. Also, the “cost-effectiveness of degrees at U.S. universities and community colleges, should be measured, publicized, and improved.”




As many as 30 percent of proposals to the National Science Foundation are returned without review simply because researchers failed to follow instructions. Pramod Khargonekar, right, assistant director for engineering, thinks it’s time institutions took corrective action. “What we are seeing is very scary,” he told ASEE’s National Research Council. When the government was closed due to snow recently, NSF alerted authors they had extra time to fix their proposals. Half of them ignored the message.

HOT TOPICS: At NSF, they include the nexus of energy, food, and water; risk and resilience (think natural disasters and their impact on interdependent telecom and banking systems, for instance); advanced manufacturing (cyber-enabled; scalable nano-manufacturing; and advanced biomanufacturing); the brain (optogenetics and minimally invasive imaging); the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure program; optics and photonics; and clean energy.

NRT Q&As: NSF’s Research Traineeship program is holding three question-and-answer webinars: March 19 and April 9 and 10.


WIND R&D CHALLENGES: Wind could supply 10% of nation’s electricity by 2020, 20% by 2030, and 35% by 2050. Here’s some of what it will take, according to a major Department of Energy report out this week: next-generation wind plant technology for rotors, controls, drivetrains, towers, and offshore foundations; updated design standards and certification processes; new tools for the design, analysis, and certification of advanced wind plants; world-class test facilities; investment in high-risk, potentially high-reward technology innovations. Also needed: “comprehensive training, workforce, and education programs, with engagement from primary schools through university degree programs, to encourage and anticipate the technical and advanced-degree workforce” that industry will demand.

ACRONYMS APLENTY AT ARPA-E: Projects at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy include: Advance Research in Dry-cooling (ARID); Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC); Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA); Accelerating Low-Cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA); Traveler Response Architecture using Novel Signaling for Network Efficiency in Transportation (TRANSNET); GENerators for Small Electrical and Thermal Systems (GENSETS); and Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES). If you miss these deadlines (check here), the agency is still interested in Innovative Development in Energy-related Applied Science (IDEAS).

YIPPIE! The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has picked 57 Young Investigator Program (YIP) researchers. See the list.


The graphics shown here were included in presentations to this week’s Engineering Research Council conference in Silver Spring, Md. Speakers included, from top: Col. Robert J. Kraus, Air Force Research Laboratory; Lawrence Schuette of the Office of Naval Research; and Thomas Doligalski of the U.S. Army Research Office.




White House – on a good day

CYBERSECURITY R&D PRIORITIES: A newly issued budget supplement outlines a strategy of: Inducing Change – with research on Tailored Trustworthy Spaces, Moving Target, Cyber Economic Incentives, and Designed-In Security; Assuring the Mission – developing technologies to be aware of missions and threats, compute optimal assurance solutions, and implement protection as needed via mission agility or infrastructure reinforcement; Developing an organized, cohesive scientific foundation to the body of knowledge that informs the field of cybersecurity; Maximizing Research Impact – Catalyzing integration across the research themes; Accelerating Transition to Practice – Efforts to ensure adoption and implementation of the new technologies . . . so as to create measurable improvements in the cybersecurity landscape. Other sections of this document deal with R&D on health IT, Big Data, and cyber-physical systems.
SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF: The National Nanotechnology Initiative directs a third of its FY 2016 budget, or $512 million, toward foundational research, including “the development of novel nanostructured materials with mechanical, electrical, and other properties not previously possible.” This, in turn, “could lead to revolutionary applications such as more fuel-efficient lightweight vehicles, quantum computing, and novel energy conversion and storage devices; modeling and simulation coupled with experimental efforts to develop a better understanding of structure–property relationships of nanostructured materials, making possible true ‘materials by design’ at the molecular and atomic scale; basic studies of biomimetic and chemistry-based self-assembly techniques that could enable future advances in large-scale nanomanufacturing; and studies to improve fundamental understanding of the interactions between nanomaterials and biological systems, which could facilitate future medical applications of nanotechnology as well as enhanced understanding and control of its possible EHS implications.” A budget supplement notes, however, “renewed emphasis for 2014–2016 on activities aimed at promoting accelerated translation of nanotechnologies into commercial products.”
CALLOUT TO ENTREPRENEURS: The White House is planning a “demo day,” intended to “empower a diversity of entrepreneurs from around the country to launch and scale innovative companies.” Officials “want to know more about the work you and your organizations are doing to ensure that America is tapping into its full entrepreneurial potential.”



Department of Energy’s Office of Science Pat Dehmer

‘DEAR APPROPRIATORS’: It’s the time of year when the House and Senate appropriators get special requests — don’t call them earmarks — from fellow lawmakers and other interested parties. Among letters now gathering signatures is an appeal for “robust and sustained” funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, a major source of research money. The letter was circulated by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Ben Lujan (D-N.M.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), and Bill Foster (D-Ill.). Pat Dehmer, right, acting director of the office, testifies Tuesday before the House Energy and Water appropriations subcommittee.
The House letter, obtained by the American Institute of Physics’ FYI newsletter, states: “We believe that scientific research is the foundation for the innovative solutions that will enable us to overcome many of our greatest challenges – from economic stagnation and dependence on foreign energy to curing diseases and addressing threats to our national security.”
COMPETING FOR THE SAME DOLLAR: Dehmer and her supporters will be appealing to the same appropriations panels that fund the Army Corps of Engineers. As a result, they’re up against more than 40 groups seeking a major increase for inland waterways navigation. CQ reports that in the Senate, at least, “appropriators seem to have an appetite for increasing funding for inland waterway improvements.”
A BIPARTISAN PITCH FOR NSF: Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C,) and David McKinley (R-W.V.) have sent a letter to all House members urging them to support “at least $7.724 billion” — the amount in the president’s budget — for the National Science Foundation. The letter refers to this amount, a 5.2 percent increase over the current year’s tab, as “the minimum level of funding needed to ensure we have the resources to remain globally competitive.”
THE PIE WON’T EXPAND: That, at least, is the stance of House budgeteers. Reuters reports that “Republican budget proposals to be unveiled next week are largely expected to adhere to” spending caps put in place in the 2011 Budget Control Act, “keeping military and domestic discretionary spending at 2006 levels, about $1.016 trillion.” This spells more trouble between the Hill and the Obama White House. Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan says the president “will not accept a budget that locks in the sequester going forward.” Nor will he accept what defense hawks are urging — that the balance of defense and nondefense spending shift toward defense. Donovan stopped short of threatening to veto spending bills that conform to the spending caps, however, “saying those would be reviewed as they are written later this year.”