Monthly Archives: March 2012

SCE Volunteers at First Robotics Competition in KC!

Continuing its tradition of outreach to our Kansas City K-12 community and promoting STEM studies, UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) actively supports and participates in FIRST Robotics goals and objectives. SCE’s Dean Kevin Truman was instrumental in the creation of the KC STEM Alliance, a collaborative regional network which includes PLTW and FIRST funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Currently as the KC STEM Alliance’s Board Chairman, Dean Truman is a passionate advocate and fund raiser for the KC STEM Alliance.

Dean Truman’s enthusiasm is matched by our SCE students including engineering students Tim Gitau, Clement Lumanyika, and Matthew Mohler who mentored three FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams as they prepared for the March 1 – March 3, 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition at Hale Arena in KC. The FRC’s practice field during the competition was manned by engineering student Ben Heaivilin who volunteered as the FRC Practice Field Coordinator. Ben was joined by volunteers Matthew Mohler and SCE staff member Debby Dilks. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) student chapter officers and engineering students George White, Dejon Slaughter and Kingsley Kantanka visited with many FRC teams serving as FRC ambassadors. SCE Director of Student Affairs Whitney Molloy worked many long hours as a member of the Greater KC Regional Planning Committee for FIRST Robotics to help ensure the competition’s success. SCE is proud to join Kansas City teachers, parents and our educational and business engineering, technology and science communities in the support of STEM studies and STEM careers! [More photos can be viewed here.]

Student/Faculty team (Todd Gardner & Cory Beard) win IEEE ComSoc Best Paper Award

Ph.D student Michael Todd Gardner and SCE faculty Dr. Cory Beard were awarded the “CQR Best Paper Award” at the International Communications Quality and Reliability (IEEE CQR) Workshop for their research paper, Evaluating Geographic Vulnerabilities in Networks. It was one of three papers chosen for this honor at the May 10-12, 2011 workshop held in Naples, Florida. The paper described their research into understanding geographic vulnerabilities in networks where events like floods, hurricanes, etc. can cause disruptions for network devices in a geographic area of impact. If particular combinations of network devices fail, entire parts of a network can become disconnected. In describing the aim of the research, Ph.D. student Mr. Gardner says, “the overall goal is to develop resilient networks for applications like emergency response in disasters and mission critical applications like air traffic control and military uses”.

The student/faculty team is continuing its work in collaboration with SCE Professor of Computer Science Dr. Deep Medhi, on a recent paper, Avoiding High Impacts of Geospatial Events in Mission Critical and Emergency Networks using Linear and Swarm Optimization, presented at the 2012 IEEE Second International Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support (CogSIMA). The work extends the research described in the first paper by investigating optimization based approaches and methods to add new nodes to networks to reduce the vulnerability of networks to geographic events.

Paper Cititations:
Gardner, M.T.; Beard, C.; , “Evaluating Geographic Vulnerabilities in Networks,” Communications Quality and Reliability (CQR), 2011 IEEE International Workshop Technical Committee on , vol., no., pp.1-6, 10-12 May 2011.

M. T. Gardner, C. Beard, D. Medhi; , “Avoiding High Impacts of Geospatial Events in Mission Critical and Emergency Networks using Linear and Swarm Optimization”, Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support (CogSIMA), 2012 IEEE Second International Multi-Disciplinary Conference on , 6-8 Mar. 2012

SCE Students Receive Graduate Assistance Funds

SCE congratulates our graduate students, Vida Ferdowski, Xuan Liu and Swathi Soni, who were awarded funding by the UMKC Women’s Council which for 41 years has annually provided UMKC women graduate students’ access to research and/or travel funding via the Graduate Assistance Fund (GAF) awards. The awards are competitive and a maximum of $2000.00 may be requested. A luncheon honoring the 2012 Graduate Assistance Fund recipients and donors was held on March 13, 2012. SCE attendees included our GAF awardees and their faculty recommenders. Pictured here are Dr. Deep Medhi, Xuan Liu, Dr. Ken Mitchell, Vida Ferdowsi, Dr. Yugi Lee, Swati Soni, Dr. Kevin Truman, Dean of SCE.

Vida Ferdowsi, a Ph.D student in telecommunications and computer networking, was awarded a travel grant to present her paper Time-slot and Channel Assignment Algorithms in OFDM/TDMA Wireless Mesh Networks at the Consumer Communication and Networking Conference (CCNC’2012) in Las Vegas, Nevada this January 2012.

Xuan Liu, a Ph.D. student in telecommunications and computer networking, received funding to travel and conduct research at the University of Tokyo in Japan to study the design of Corelab, a network testbed developed by Professor Nakao’s research group. It provides a virtual network environment with good isolation and flexibility to support both wired and wireless virtualization experiments. Ms. Liu also worked with Professor Shingo Ata’s Research Lab Team at Osaka City University on a US-Japan trustworthy Internet of the future joint project. Her visit to Japan was supported by a grant from National Science Foundation and UMKC’s Women’s Council’s Graduate Assistance Fund.

Swati Soni, a Masters student in Computer Science (software engineering), received funding to present her paper, SmartApps Framework for Smart Energy, at one of two upcoming conferences, the 13th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks, WoWMoM 2012, held in San Francisco and/or the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) conference held Baltimore in October 2012. The annual conference is sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and is the world’s largest gathering of women in computing.

GPN appoints Deep Medhi to Cyberinfrastructure Committee

Great Plains Networks(GPN) has appointed Dr. Deep Medhi, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, to its Cyberinfrastructure Committee. Each state is allowed two members on the committee. Appointment is made by the state’s executive council member Gary Allen, Vice President of Information Systems for the University of Missouri. Dr. Gordon Springer, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the other member of Cyberinfrastructure Committee. The Great Plains Network is a consortium of universities in the Midwest, partnering to connect our members to the National Research & Education infrastructure, including Internet2, and to facilitate the use of advanced cyberinfrastructure across the network.

Kevin Truman Welcomes Latinos of Tomorrow to UMKC

Seventy (70) Latinos of Tomorrow (LOT) students from area high schools and community colleges were welcomed to UMKC by Kevin Truman, Dean of UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering on March 3, 2012. Emphasizing the importance of post-secondary education to achieve professional and personal goals, Dean Truman talked with the students and their families about UMKC’s student centered environment, broad range of academic programs including several professional programs and how our urban environment has fostered and embraced student diversity.

LOT is a youth program of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Collaborative which provides college preparation and retention programs that are integrated with academic opportunities, community service and fundraising opportunities. Every member is required to serve on one of the LOT Committees—Education; Fundraising; Programming; Outreach, etc. UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences is proud to be the community host for LOT’s ScholarshipFest program, helping students understand college planning, admission and scholarship processes and timelines. This is the sixth ScholarshipFest for LOT members. Students attending the ScholarshipFest and Essay/Resume/Financial Literacy Workshops complete the year with an average of $8,600 in scholarship funding from private sources in addition to the post-secondary automatic financial aid awarded students who meet application deadlines with the appropriate merit and need.

2012 SCE Mr. Engineer selected at E-week Party

Over 150 SCE students, faculty, staff and alumni turned out for the end of E-Week Party and Mr. Engineer Competition held February 24, 2012 at 810 Zone. Food was provided by the SCE Student Council. The Mr. Engineer contest was organized and sponsored by Society of Women Engineers. The 2012 Mr. Engineer, Taylor Christmas, impressed the judges with his drum solo and an original engineering rap he wrote. In addition to the Mr. Engineer award, prizes were awarded for winners of the week’s E Week activities. E-Week 2012 has come and gone…but not without leaving behind some well-planned competitive events, memories, bonding, and of course…all of our big winners! We thank our SCE student council for organizing this year’s on-campus E-week events.


Deep Medhi receives two prestigious UMKC awards

Professor Deep Medhi has been recognized by UMKC for his outstanding graduate mentoring; he is the 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring recipient, UMKC’s highest honor to a faculty member with a long-established career at the University who has made significant contributions to higher education through exceptional mentoring of graduate students. Dr. Medhi, an internationally known computer networking and telecommunications SCE faculty researcher, has also been recognized for his exceptional research career as the 2012 N.T. Veatch Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity awardee, the highest research award on campus given annually to a single faculty member. Please join us in congratulating him for being recognized for his continued pursuit of excellence in teaching, mentoring and research; he is truly an asset to UMKC and SCE. The faculty and staff awards ceremony is March 12, 2012. Last year Dr. Deep Medhi received (earned) the title of Curators’ Professor for his outstanding career as a researcher. We proudly note that Dr. Medhi is the first and only faculty member on campus to have the distinction being a curators’ professor, and awarded both these awards.

SCE Professor Reza Derakhshani’s Research Licensed

A new start-up company, EyeVerify, is utilizing UMKC SCE Professor Reza Derakhshani’s eye-vein biometrics research to develop a biometric personal authentication software module able to identify a cell phone device user. According to the Silicon Prairie News article, Kansas City startup EyeVerify sees opportunity in the whites of your eyes, “Derakhshani, in tandem with Arun Ross at West Virginia University, discovered and patented the core concept of eye-vein biometrics” and “EyeVerify has since acquired an exclusive license to the patent and related IP. Derakhshani, Ross and their teams continue to be engaged and are advancing the science behind EyeVerify.”

SCE Students, Faculty and Staff in the Community

Two SCE student organizations, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), recently engaged with area high school students promoting STEM studies and STEM careers. Dr. Ceki Halmen, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, and NSBE members demonstrated to students from Bishop Hogan High School the importance of materials and materials testing in civil engineering. SWE members discussed engineering and college preparation with students at William Chrisman High School. Debby Dilks, long-time SCE staff member, and several SCE students served as volunteers and judges at the 2012 FIRST LEGO League Regional Championship. The event featured 35 teams comprised of 350 elementary and middle school students from Kansas and Missouri. SCE is proud of its outreach tradition and each year its students, faculty and staff are involved in a wide variety of community outreach activities.

SCE hosts Bridge Building Contest Sponsored by WC MSPE

25 local high schools students participated in the 30th annual Bridge Building contest on February 11, 2012. The contest is organized by the Western Chapter of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers and sponsored by UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering. Each student designed and built their basswood bridge prior to the contest. On the day of the event they tested their bridge to failure by loading them with sand filled buckets suspended from the bridge. The bridge could weigh no more than 25 grams, and had to span 300 mm. The students’ score was an efficiency ratio determined by the weight of the failure load divided by the weight of the bridge. The maximum load that was held by a bridge this year was 11.7 kilograms or 26 pounds. The top two winners have been selected to represent the Missouri Western Region at the International Bridge Building Competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada this April. We congratulate 1) first place winner Justin Hamilton of Princeton High School whose bridge had an efficiency ratio of 481. Jan Schroder is Justin’s teacher and mentor; 2) second place winner Tyler Rock of Grandview High School whose bridge had an efficiency ratio of 228. Andy Leech is Tyler’s teacher and mentor; and 3) third place winner Devin Purvis whose bridge had an efficiency ratio of 164. Jane Schroder is Devin’s teacher and mentor; The Bridge Building Chairman, John Balling, of Burns & McDonnell, will present this year’s winners and instructors their trophy plaques and prizes.