An interdisciplinary group of researchers, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen (Civil Engineering), Dr. Yugyung Lee (Computer Science), and their graduate students, Jianfei (Max) Chen (Electrical Engineering) and Feichen Shen (Computer Science), at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering have developed a new approach for reporting damaged infrastructure: a smartphone-based application geared towards real-time damage quantification and collaborative decision making. According to the ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the GPA for the infrastructure’s condition and performance is currently rated at a D+. In addition, the monetary investment needed to repair the infrastructure to maintain a functional state (that is, to get a grade of B) is $3.6 trillion by the year 2020. Such a tremendous investment demands a critical need – innovative and rapid technologies for civil infrastructure condition assessment. Different from a Google Street View application, the app seamlessly integrates mobile imaging, interactive analytics, and cloud computing, all processed in the real time.
Fourteen students and their two accompanying professors from Jazan University in Saudi Arabia left for home after a five-week summer program held here at SCE. Designed to be both intellectually and culturally enriching, the program included the students learning about software methods and tools from Professor Yongjie Zheng, mobile apps and cloud computing from Professor Yugi Lee, and about big data from Professor Praveen Rao. They then created their own app for Jazan University with the help of the Kansas City-based RareWire app creation studio. UMKC’s Applied Language Institute provided the students English instruction for two hours each day. In addition, students and faculty ventured beyond campus to visit and tour Cerner, Garmin and Sprint and enjoy local attractions such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Royals and Starlight Theatre. SCE Continuing Education Director Christina Davis, managed the program including preliminary discussions with Jazan University, curriculum, and program logistics. For more details, see the UMKC Today article “Students from Saudi Arabia Study at UMKC School of Computing and Engineering.”