Professors Chen & Lee Awarded 2012 IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Award

SCE congratulates Professors Yugi Lee and ZhiQiang Chen! They have been awarded a 2012 research grant from the IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Program. Today’s Smart Grid, as an ‘Energy Internet’, holds the promise of transforming the behavior of individuals and communities towards more efficient and greener use of electric power but currently technological gaps exist that prevent achieving such a grand vision, especially in underserved communities and public-domain facilities. Yet technologies have not yet been realized that can provide i) non-intrusive monitoring of energy consumption and behavior at multiple scales, ii) autonomous energy saving mechanisms that are transparent to general users, iii) intelligent prediction of energy costs and expenditures, and iv) evaluation of personalized experiences of smart grid-enabled life at both residence and community levels.

Their project will develop an innovative curriculum at UMKC, titled Smart Sensing and Computing for Smarter Energy. The course is designed for students with a CSEE or CME major at the advanced level of study (senior or graduate level). In the course, interdisciplinary teams and projects were developed to devise and implement novel concepts and solutions that attempt to mitigate the above technological gaps. Ultimately, we envision that the students from this class will be instrumental towards realizing smart grid-enabled smarter buildings, communities, and cities. This is the second IBM Smarter Planet award SCE faculty have received. Dr. Praveen Rao received a 2011 IBM Smart Planet Faculty Innovation Award to develop a new curriculum for health informatics, Towards Smarter Healthcare: New Healthcare IT Curriculum.

Computer Science Students Gain Real Advantage Using IBM Cloud

The IBM Academic Skills Cloud was utilized by students in two of Dr. Yugi Lee’s Fall 2011 courses, CS551 Advanced Software Engineering and CS590VC Virtual Worlds in Computing. UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering is one of fifty select universities which have access to the IBM Academic Skill Cloud. The cloud repository has access to hardware, software, and various courses including teaching guides, student guides, tests, quizzes, etc. It is ideal for teaching purposes and the results can be seen via this list of the class project videos/websites constructed by our SCE computer science students. Dr. Lee plans to continue using the IBM Academic Skills Cloud in these courses.

CSEE Monthly Student Puzzle – January Winner

Sarah Withee is the winner of the January CSEE puzzle contest. Sarah, a computer science student, is involved in the Association of Computing Machinery (treasurer), the IEEE Robotics Team (AI/Software lead developer), and the Society of Women Engineers. She is also a mentor with a First Lego League group and regularly volunteers at a homeless and near-homeless food ministry that serves over 200 meals a day.
While we received several submissions, Sarah was the first student to send in the correct answer to the January puzzle:

“Santa has several iMacs, iPads, iPhones and iPods left over from Christmas. He would like to present each of his elves with a gift set of four items from his sleigh. Examples of gift sets are a set of 4 iPods or a set containing 3 iPods and an iPad. How many distinct gift sets can he create?”

Think you know the answer? You can email Whitney Molloy to see if you are right!

John Kevern teaches new surveying applied skills course

With plans to offer the course every fall, Professor John Kevern introduced in Fall 2011 SCE’s first one credit hour surveying applied skills course. The course provides students a fundamental introduction to the elements of surveying. Basics including terminology, coordinate systems, equipment, legal descriptions, and calculations are taught in the classroom and the field laboratory sessions introduce the students to setting up basic equipment, running a level loop, and laying out a site based on plan designs. SCE students participating in the course felt it provided them practical applied skills which will help them in their engineering careers.

Professor Judy Mullins Presents Animation Workshop to 6-8 Grade Girls at Science City

Judy Mullins, Associate Teaching Professor for the School of Computing and Engineering at UMKC, and Angela Klein, Adjunct Instructor of Dual Credit at Liberty Senior High School, presented a workshop on Electronic Storytelling and Animation Using Alice at the Science Pioneers Expanding Your Horizons event for 6-8 grade girls at Science City on Jan. 20, 2012. Two sessions were attended by 40 young middle-school girls from the Kansas City area. This is the 5th year that Professor Mullins has provided an annual workshop introducing computer programming to middle school girls via the interactive Alice software program! Kansas City’s Science Pioneers organization has a long history, dating back to 1956, of promoting STEM studies and STEM careers to Kansas City’s K-12 students. UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering is proud our faculty help support their mission!

Dr. Amber Stern receives John Haddad Young Investigator Award

Dr. Amber Stern, UMKC SCE Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has received a 2012 John Haddad Young Investigator Award. Each year, the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) selects up to 10 investigators to receive a ASBMR John Haddad Young Investigator Award. The competitive award provides Dr. Stern funds to travel to the April 2012 AIMM-ASBMR meeting and present her research as part of the Young Investigator’s session. Dr. Stern’s research in mineralized tissue and osteocyte biology aims to provide mechanistic insight into changes at the cellular and molecular level of bone that contribute to the genesis of osteoporosis as it furthers our understanding of how the osteocyte responds to loading and how this response changes with age. This new knowledge will aid the identification of new biological targets for intervention and aid in designing new pharmaceuticals and/or modifying current treatment paradigms to more effectively combat osteoporosis based on a new and better understanding of the mechanisms at play.

Dr. Stern’s research aims to also provide in vitro models for researchers to use to test pharmaceutical agents for treating osteoporosis. Long term, this will help lead to the discovery of tools that focus on the mechanism underlying the development of osteoporosis at the cellular and molecular level, and within the context of bone biomechanics. The data has the potential to impact the development of genetic and pharmacologic treatments for osteoporosis that account for the biomechanics of normal bone tissue function by targeting the specific mechanisms that cause osteoporosis. Thus Dr. Stern’s research has the potential to change the current paradigm of treating the consequences of osteoporosis to treatments that may actually prevent or reverse the progression of osteoporosis by targeting and correcting the specific cellular mechanisms that become dysfunctional within osteoporotic bone.

SCE congratulates Dr. Stern on receiving a 2012 John Haddad Young Investigator Award!