Tag Archives: NSF

Vijay Kumar Receives Curators’ Professorship


Vijay Kumar, Professor of Computer Science, has received a Curators’ Professorship effective this Fall 2014.  As stated on the awards webpage, “It is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri.  It is awarded to a select few outstanding scholars with established reputations.”    Dr. Kumar is a nationally and internationally-known scholar, specializing in information security, wireless and mobile computing and database systems research with particular emphasis related to cyber security and wireless data dissemination.

His Curators’ Professorship recognizes his lifetime research achievements and his continued research impact as demonstrated by a recent National Science Foundation (NSF) award for his project, A Logic-based Security Framework for Wired and Mobile Perimeter, which examines security through dynamic firewalls.  Dr. Kumar’s prior NSF grants include serving as PI with Co-PI Dr. Margaret Dunham from Southern Methodist University.  He has also received research grants from AFRL (Air Force research Lab) to work on driverless cars, HP laboratories for data warehousing, St. Luke’s research foundation on medical informatics and UMRB on main memory database systems. These grants were related to projects on information security through firewall, data dissemination on wireless channels and mobile computing. Dr. Kumar has authored five technical books which are published by Prentice Hall, John Wiley, and Kluwer.

Our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Vijay Kumar.  We are very proud of him and of his achievements and look forward to learning more about the results of his current research.  His distinguished career has spanned 43 years with 30 of them as a computer science professor at UMKC and our School of Computing and Engineering.

Blast Blind Simulation contest draws contestants worldwide

SCE Professor of Civil Engineering Dr. Ganesh Thiagarajan’s National Science Foundation (NSF) award (# CMMI 0748085, PI: Ganesh Thiagarajan) funded a Blast Blind Simulation Contest that attracted 40 worldwide entries. Continue reading

Dr. Chen presents at two NSF sponsored conferences

Dr. ZhiQiang Chen obtained two travel grants to attend the 1st USUCGER Early Career Conference and the 14th GENI Engineering Conference from July 8~ July 11, both at Boston and sponsored by National Science Foundation. Dr. Chen presented his research methods and findings in identifying soil-structure-interaction effects using geotechnical centrifuge data during the USUCGER conference. While attending the GENI conference, Dr. Chen explored the potential with other leading researchers for the next-generation GENI-based disaster response with the conjunct use of remote sensing, real-time computing and muti-physics modeling.

About USUCGER: The United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER) was founded in 1985 to provide advocacy for the continued development and expansion of high quality geotechnical engineering research and education by US academic institutions

About GENI: GENI is a virtual laboratory at the frontiers of network science and engineering for exploring future internets at scale, and is also the backbone of the recently announced national initiative ‘US Ignite’.

UMKC programs offer STEM Career Challenge for Veterans

Military veterans building credentials for future careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields found new tools for job search success this June through UMKC. Kansas City Building an Alliance for New Careers in STEM (KC-BANCS), a joint project of the UMKC Institute for Human Development and the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, hosted the June “Veterans in STEM Career Readiness Challenge.” The challenge was a series of events and workshops designed to boost veterans’ preparedness for job searches, taking them to the next level of professional self-presentation, personal branding, and networking know-how. Participants learned how to program an online portfolio, a new trend that is being called the next generation of the traditional resume. Website and “eportfolio” specialists guided veterans from start to finish in one session. June challenge veterans also had access to a closed networking event, called STEM Talks, with STEM industry representatives incorporating facilitated speed-networking, free professionally photographed headshots for personal use, a business-level etiquette dinner, and a full-day expert-packed event on June 21st.

The Veterans in STEM June Challenge was open to any veteran or military service member, whether attending college or not. The program was completely free. For more information: Read our article in the KC Star. Watch coverage about us on NBC local news.

Kevin Z. Truman General Co-Chair for NSF Think Tank

UMKC’s Dean Kevin Z. Truman and Director of Research Dr. Ronda Jenson served as general co-chairs for the Transition STEM –Think Tank– a veterans’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education think tank – sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Kansas City on July 27-28, 2011. Kevin Truman is the Dean of the School of Computing and Engineering and Dr. Ronda Jenson is the Director of Research at UMKC’s Institute for Human Development, The invitation-only event convened national leaders to help veterans with service-connected disabilities transition into post-secondary science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The Think Tank was the first of its kind and was featured in the Association of University Centers on Disabilities News and in NSF Discoveries. See the Transition Stem website for more details on the objectives and goals of the Think Tank and the NSF funded KC-BANCS grant which sponsored the Think Tank.

Praveen Rao Awarded NSF funding

SCE’s Praveen Rao, Assistant Professor  in Computer Science, has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to pursue a 3 year (July 2011 to June 2014)  project titled Scalable RDF Query Processing Using a Cloud Infrastructure.  Professor Rao is the Principal Investigator for this project. In recent years, RDF technologies have become increasingly important in domain-specific applications. These technologies provide the ability to reason over semantic data and are highly appealing in domains such as WWW, healthcare, defense and intelligence, biopharmaceuticals, and so forth.

Because of the rapidly growing size of RDF datasets, it is vital to develop new techniques for RDF data management.  Several companies have started worrying about hitting the “trillion triples” mark and are designing RDF stores on shared-nothing clusters.   Meanwhile, cloud computing is emerging as a new paradigm for next generation software and services. The ability to acquire a large number of computing and storage resources on-demand enables massive parallel processing of data. Today, it is easy and cheap for anyone with a credit card and access to the Internet to rent computing resources (e.g., servers, storage, network bandwidth) from a cloud provider and run software and deploy applications. Motivated by these trends, this project called RiC (RDF in the Cloud), will address the problem of massive RDF data management in a cloud, by developing novel techniques — algorithms and data structures — for storing, indexing, and query processing. 

The grant funding was awarded by NSF’s Division of Information & Intelligent Systems (IIS) under the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) at NSF.  This project will engage both undergraduate and graduate students, including women. The project website is currently under construction.

Mohammad Kia is one of four finalists

Mohammad Kia, Ph.D. student in Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research at UMKC SCE is one of four finalists in the “Grand Challenge Competition to Predict In Vivo Knee Loads”.  The competition was sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and National Science Foundation (NSF).  Mohammad will present his findings at the June 2011 ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference.   The winner of the competition will be announced after the four finalists give their presentations at the June conference.  Dr. Trent Guess, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is Mohammad’s faculty advisor.

UMKC SCE professor, Daniel Leon-Salas, receives NSF CAREER Award

Daniel Leon-Salas, an assistant professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering (SCE), recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to support his research on hybrid energy-harvesting image sensors.
Digital cameras use millions of pixels to capture images, but about 90 percent of those pixels are discarded when images are compressed and stored in memory. Through Leon-Salas’ image-sensing paradigm, 90 percent of a camera’s pixels could generate solar energy for the camera instead. Depending on the environmental conditions, the camera could reconfigure its pixels to generate solar energy or to act as light sensors that optimize the balance between image quality and energy consumption. “The pixels can harvest ambient energy and, thus, can operate unattended for extended periods of time,” Leon-Salas said. “This type of camera will be useful in scenarios where replacing the batteries is very costly or even impossible – for example, space exploration or surveillance.”

The NSF CAREER Award also will support outreach activities, including a design competition and a workshop for middle- and high-school students. In the workshop, students will learn about electronic circuits and renewable energy. NSF’s CAREER Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

In addition to Leon-Salas, two other SCE professors have received NSF CAREER Awards in the past several years. Ganesh Thiagarajan, an associate professor and director of Graduate Studies for Civil Engineering, received an award (2008-2013) to investigate the response of reinforced concrete structures to blast and impact loadings. Cory Beard, an associate professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, received an award (2002-2007) to develop and investigate mechanisms for supporting emergency and high-revenue Internet users, differentiated services-capable networks and networks that use connection-oriented mechanisms. From http://www.umkc.edu/news/news-release.asp?id=990 (UMKC Public Relations)

Dr. Greg King & Dr. John Kevern funded by NSF for exploratory Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has approved $40,000 for an Early Concept Grant for EAGER: Improving Pedestrian Safety Using Pervious Concrete to Reduce Slip-Related Falls, beginning January 2010.  This one-year project will provide support for one graduate student and enable the PI’s, Dr. Greg King and Dr. John Kevern, to advance their concept in an effort to seek additional, more extensive funding in the future.

Pervious concrete is becoming a widespread stormwater management tool, especially in cold climates, for its ability to reduce stormwater volume and quantity of pollutants contained therein. Some large municipalities such as Minneapolis and Chicago have begun installing entire pervious concrete roads to help manage flooding. The high permeability of this pavement makes melting snow and ice much less likely to refreeze and form surface ice. Less surface water, coupled with its open surface texture, may result in a much safer pavement under adverse winter conditions. Slipping and falling is a concern both for actual and perceived mobility, particularly among older adults. Pervious concrete is likely to provide a safer walking surface by reducing incidences of falling, thereby helping maintain the independence and mobility of older adults and lowering hospital and insurance costs for everyone.

The expertise at UMKC in concrete material and biomechanics, will allow characterization of pedestrian biomechanics and comparison between traditional and pervious concrete pavements. The surface characteristics of the pavement types will be characterized in the Human Balance and Ambulation Research Laboratory at UMKC under dry and icy conditions using force sensors and motion capture equipment. This interdisciplinary research will determine how pervious concrete impacts pedestrians in comparison to traditional pavement.