MIE SPRING FACULTY NEWSLETTER
WHAT IS THE MIE FACULTY UP TO THIS SPRING?
A wide array of exciting projects and activities!
First, some medical applications
Robert Gao received a one-year grant from the
UMass-Baystate Medical Center Collaborative Research Grant (CBR)
program to support his work on numerical and experimental evaluations
of "lumbar spine fixation" techniques. Collaborators
of this research are two surgeons from the Baystate Medical Center
and New England Orthopedic Surgeons.
Industrial Engineering Ph.D. student Brian Nathanson
and Prof. Richard Giglio are achieving success in developing a
summary statistic, which can help physicians assess the status
and guide treatment of critically ill patients in intensive care
units. Typically, 20 or more physiological measurements are taken
on critically ill patients, and physicians are the first to admit
they suffer from information overload. There are standard procedures
for combining physiological information but they, along with most
intuitive approaches, tend to rate patients as improving if their
measurements are close to normal. Yet very ill patients are not
normal, and it is common for patients exhibiting some extreme
values to recover, while others with mostly normal measurements
recover more slowly or die. Rather than using classical statistical
techniques, the UMass researchers are employing Data Envelopment
Analysis, a technique developed by Operations Research analysts
for assessing the productivity of complex systems with multiple
inputs and outputs. Rather than look to the norm as ideal, DEA
seeks to identify "efficient" units. For an ill patient,
one input (of many) might be pulse rate while one output (of many)
might be the amount of oxygen in the blood. So rather than worry
about the absolute value of pulse rate, one would attempt to see
how efficiently the patient was converting his pulse rate to oxygen
in the blood, and how that efficiency was changing as time progressed.
Unlike existing measures based on common statistical techniques,
DEA does not assume that one response is ideal. Rather it recognizes
that there may be more than one way for a patient to effectively
deal with trauma. Furthermore, in identifying "efficient"
patients, the DEA procedure offers clues about how to improve
the status of "inefficient" patients, something not
offered by any of the procedures currently in use. Working with
Dr. Thomas Higgins, the Head of Critical Care Medicine at Baystate
Medical Center and a Professor at Tufts Medical School, Brian
Nathanson and Prof. Giglio have tested their procedure on two
sets of patients, one suffering from septic shock and the other
from head trauma. In both instances the DEA methods outperformed
other techniques, a result which was reported at a critical care
conference. Patients who were relatively "efficient"
and whose efficiencies were improving through time were more likely
than others to survive, even though these efficient patients often
had physiological measurements far from the norm. A concept paper
was submitted to a Division of the National Institutes of Health
and the reviewers called it "one of the most interesting
approaches they had seen in some time". The Umass/Baystate
team was encouraged to submit a proposal, which is now under review.
Engineering at work to aide the autistic and
Sundar Krishnamurty and Robert Gao have been
working with the "Community
Resources for People with Autism" in Easthampton, MA, to
develop a "Smart
Pressure Sleeping Bag" (SPSB) that provides deep pressure
stimulation to children with autism. Autism is a neurological
disorder that occurs in approximately 1 in 500 children. Clinical
research has shown that applying deep pressure to an autistic
child creates a calming effect, which in turn helps the child
in learning, communication, and social interactions. The sleeping
bag under development aims at helping autistic children to comfortably
fall asleep by providing uniform and regulated deep pressure stimulation,
based on the child's own GSR (Galvanic Skin Response) feedback.
Robert Gao, John Ritter, Don Fisher, Sundar
Krishnamurty, and Janis Terpenny are continuing work on grants
from the National Science Foundation and a Public Service Endowment
Grant from the University of Massachusetts on "Senior Design
Projects to Aid the Disabled". Faculty and students continue
to work closely with the Lemelson Assistive Technology Development
Center (LATDC) at the Hampshire College and the Adaptive Design
Services (ADS) in Northampton. New community partners this year
include the Universal Access Program under the Massachusetts Department
of Environmental Management and Community Resources for People
with Autism (see website at http://mielsvr2.ecs.umass.edu/at/home.htm).
Results of this work will appear in a paper that will be presented
by Janis Terpenny at the ASEE Conference held in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, June 24-27, 2001.
Understanding how we visualize objects
Ian Grosse, Sundar Krishnamurty, Larry Murch,
Dean Poli and Don Fisher together with graduate students in this
department (Hasmik Mehranian, Matthew Romoser, Anand Sampath,
and Dileep Sathyarayana) and faculty and graduate students in
Psychology and Computer Science are working on the second year
of a three-year research project funded with monies from the National
Science Foundation and the General Electric Fund. Last year, they
found that engineering undergraduates have particular difficulty
rotating three-dimensional objects. Such skills are needed to
solve a broad range of problems in science, mathematics and engineering.
Here in our department, the skills are critical to problem solving
in manufacturing (stamping and die casting), engineering drawing,
and kinematics. This year, the faculty and graduate students have
constructed a number of computer-based tutors designed to teach
undergraduates the basic visualization skills that they need in
their courses. These tutors are now being evaluated and can be
viewed on the web site (http://mielsvr2.ecs.umass.edu/vsr/). Weekly
meetings are held at noon every Friday. A symposium will again
be held in the third week of May. Any interested faculty or graduate
students are more than welcome to attend.
Testing material performance
Karl Jakus, along with Jeff Knox of Kollmorgen
who spends several days a month on campus, a graduate student,
Premal Shah, and two undergraduates, Rene Robert and Justin Piccirillo,
had great success in testing submarine periscope seal performance
for the Kollmorgen Corporation. The project involved the construction
of a test apparatus that measures the required torque to turn
the seal as a function of lubricant pressure, clamping pressure
that holds the two halves of the seal together, and rotational
speed and direction. The first seal tested provided very interesting
information about the mechanism of lubrication under the different
operating conditions. Recently they installed a computer based
data acquisition system that greatly improves the resolution of
the experiments. Currently, they are waiting for the delivery
of the second seal.
And investigating mass customization in traditional
Ana Muriel has recently been awarded a three-year
GOALI grant from NSF for the project "Capacity and Flexibility
Planning in a Make-to-Order Environment". This is a collaboration
with Ebru Bish (Virginia Tech ) and Stephan Biller (Enterprise
Systems Lab at General Motors). Many manufacturers, including
GM, are considering a shift towards make-to-order production in
order to allow consumers to customize their products (in a similar
fashion as Dell successfully does in the personal computer business).
In this new environment, companies need to increase their flexibility
to absorb the variability in demand, which was previously buffered
by final goods inventory. Three different levers of flexibility
can be pulled to handle the demand variability: (1) manufacturing
flexibility, resulting from being able to build different products
in the same plant at the same time, (2) price flexibility, i.e.,
dynamically changing price over time, and (3) delivery time flexibility,
i.e., offering financial incentives for customers who are willing
to wait longer for their products. The research team is studying
the impact of each of these levers on capacity decisions and on
the overall performance of the supply chain to aide traditional
manufacturers in their transition towards mass customization.
Part of this work will appear as a chapter "Impact of Manufacturing
Flexibility on Supply Chain Performance in the Automotive Industry"
in the upcoming book "Supply Chain Structures: Coordination,
Information and Optimization" edited by David Yao and Jeannette
The Human Performance Laboratory has a new
Associate Director, Professor David Noyce in the Department of
Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Noyce is very active
in the field of human factors and transportation. He is doing
pioneering work in the areas of signalization and safety. Research
on the driving simulator continues full steam ahead. Massport
just finished funding a study of the signs at Logan International
Airport and wants to pursue additional work (done in collaboration
with Professors Shuldiner and Hancock). The Massachusetts Highway
Department and the Federal Highway Administration are funding
research on signage in the tunnel sections of the Central Artery
(Big Dig) in downtown Boston (done in collaboration with Professors
Duffy and Upchurch). The National Cooperative Highway Research
Project is funding research on signalized left turn intersections
(Professor Noyce). And work will soon be underway with the Governor's
Highway Safety Bureau (studies of the effect of low levels of
alcohol on driving behavior), the Massachusetts Highway Department
(studies of the efficacy of centerline rumble strips) and the
Vermont DOT (studies of the adequacy of bicycle lanes of different
Professor Deshmukh and his students in the FARMS
Lab have been focusing their research on developing distributed
systems for design and control of complex systems. In 2000-2001,
there were four active projects in the laboratory, Multi-Agent
Diagnostics (NSF), Multi-Agent Architecture for Design (NASA),
Negotiation Tool-Kit for Agents (DARPA, in collaboration with
Professor Vic Lesser of Computer Science), and Emergent Organizational
Structures in Scalable Enterprises (NSF, in collaboration with
Professors Ana Muriel, Vic Lesser and Judy Whipple).
Individual Faculty News
Kourosh Danai presented two papers at the International
Mechanical Engineering Congress in Orlando in November 2000. The
papers were entitled: "Fault Diagnosis of an Internal Combustion
Engine with embedded Radial Basis Function Modules," (by
Gan, C., Danai, K., and Rizzoni, G.), and "A Knowledge-Based
Tuning Method for Injection Molding Machines," (by Yang,
D., Danai, K., and Kazmer, D.). He also chaired a session on Intelligent
Systems at the Congress.
On the teaching front, Professor Deshmukh offered
"IE.COM - Introduction to Information Engineering" for
freshmen first time in Fall 2000. Students worked in teams to
develop new product/process/service concepts, and convert these
ideas into business plans. He is also working with Professor David
Kazmer and Associate Dean Dennis Hanno of Isenberg School of Management
to develop a business minor for engineering students.
Don Fisher was appointed to the Committee on
Human Factors, a standing committee at the National Academy of
Sciences. And he continues to serve on a study section of the
National Institutes of Health.
Robert Gao was co-organizer and co-chairman of a workshop on "Built-in-Test
(BIT) Technology for Smart Sensors and Systems", held on
November 16, 2000, at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. BIT has
been widely applied for the design and testing of mixed-signal
electronic and electromechanical systems, such as system-on-a-chip
or sensor integrated machine tools. The workshop reviewed the
current status of BIT research, standards, and applications, and
discussed issues on how to promote its future growth in industry/government
Jim Manwell just returned from the Second International
Workshop on Transmission Systems for Offshore Wind Farms, which
was held in Stockholm, Sweden. Offshore wind energy is a concept
that was actually invented at UMass in the early 1970's by Prof.
William Heronemus (now retired). The concept has not yet been
implemented in the US, but it is now one of the fastest growing
sources of electricity in northern Europe, with a number of projects
already producing power and thousands of megawatts expected to
come on line in the next few years. Development of such projects
has been giving engineers of all types a plethora of interesting
Blair Perot has recently acquired two large
PC cluster supercomputers. One machine contains 128 Intel Pentium
III 800 Mhz processors and is a shared resource for faculty members
in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics
and Computer Science. It is the result of a $250,560 Major Research
Instrumentation grant from NSF written by Prof. Perot. A second
60-processor machine (also 800 Mhz Pentium III) has been installed
in the Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
for dedicated use. This PC cluster, which will total 150 processors
by the summer of 2001, was the result of a Office of Naval Research
DURIP grant for $136,539. See attached pictures. Prof. Perot has
recently received a three-year, $287,402 grant from the Office
of Naval Research to develop a kinetic theory of turbulence and
apply it to turbulence modeling and simulation.
David Schmidt received a faculty Research Grant
for "Development of a Spray Test Code."
The project will allow him to test new numerical methods for spray
simulation. He will look at issues of accuracy and convergence
and investigate how spray models should best be constructed.
Janis Terpenny is continuing work with Telaxis
Communications on a project titled "Improving Engineering
Processes and Productivity Through Knowledge Capture and Reuse".
Web hosted solutions are being developed to facilitate design
processes and knowledge reuse and sharing. Work in design methodology
and representation for next generation design systems is expanding
with representation and protocols for knowledge exchange being
developed in a project with Apprentice Systems, Inc. (http://www.apprenticesystems.com/).
In addition, Professor Terpenny was an invited participant in
an NSF sponsored workshop on "e-Product Design and Realization".
Based on this workshop Professor Terpenny is now collaborating
in a grant proposal for an NSF industry/university cooperative
center. Professor Terpenny and co-PI Beverly Woolf in Computer
Science have been awarded a grant through the Commonwealth Information
Technology Initiative (CITI) for a new course entitled "Intelligent
and Integrated Design Systems". The objective is to bridge
the gap between engineering and information technology education
in the area of design (see http://mielsvr2.ecs.umass.edu/mie597/index.html).
Professor Terpenny is also continuing work on an NSF sponsored
project in collaboration with Professor Sullivan at Virginia Tech
and GE Industrial Systems on a Virtual Classroom for Economics
of Engineering Design (see http://mielsvrs.ecs.umass.edu/virtual_econ/).
The virtual classroom includes modular course materials as well
as projects with industry based on real-world open-ended problems.
Results of this work will appear in a paper that will be presented
by Professor Terpenny at the ASEE Conference held in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, June 24-27, 2001.
Professor William Goss will retire from the
MIE Department at the end of this spring semester after more than
30 years of college teaching. Of course, he wasn't always interested
in teaching. Following his Bachelor's degree he had a signing
bonus with the Washington Senators but unfortunately threw out
his pitching arm before he even finished spring training. He then
went on to graduate school, worked for Pratt & Whitney and
taught in the Engineering Schools at UConn and VPI before coming
to UMass. In the 1970's he, along with Paul Shuldiner in Civil
Engineering, started the free campus bus system that many of us
enjoy today. He now acts as an international expert in the field
of fenestration, which deals with the energy loss through doors
and windows. In his area of research he has served on national
and international committees traveling all over the globe in what
seems like an innumerable string of sabbatical leaves. Not surprisingly
he built an energy-efficient home here a few years ago which incorporated
the latest in window technology along with super insulation. The
house gets his heat from ground water using a heat pump and is
so air tight that it can use an air-to-air heat exchanger warming
incoming air with the heat from the air exhaust. Sadly that house
in now on the market because his future plans include residence
in Florida in the winter and Cape Cod in the summer spending more
time in community service.
David Kazmer will be leaving the university
to focus on his passion of engineering practice. He will take
up a position as Director of Research at a machinery supplier
to the plastics industry.
Rosa DeRamus Motley was awarded a full year
fellowship from the New England University Transportation Center.
She is studying ways to improve signage at Logan International
Airport in Boston.
Mimi Pabon Gonzalez recently was awarded her
Ph.D. and received offers to join both the faculty of the University
of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and the Puerto Rico Technical University.
Anand Sundaram, the first of Professor Muriel's
students to graduate, will be taking up a consulting position
in the Supply Chain Consulting branch of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
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