September 3-8, 2013


September 3, 2013

Faculty News

Research & Grants:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) has been awarded a three-year, $307,672 NSF research grant for his research “Active Dynamic Continuum Tails for Maneuvering and Stabilizing Legged Robots.” This research will study methods of dynamic modeling, task planning algorithms, and design paradigms of biomimetic intelligent robotic tails to enable robust dynamic stabilization and agile maneuvering of legged mobile robots moving at high speeds.  The research will impact applications from search and rescue, to reconnaissance, to exploring hazardous and dangerous environments in which robots must move effectively in unstructured terrains.

Prof. Xiuzhen (Susan) Cheng (CS) has received a three-year $201,443 NSF grant titled “Privacy-Preserving Data Collection and Access for IEE802.11s-Based Smart Grid Applications.”  Prof. Cheng is the PI on this collaborative project with Prof. Kemal Akkaya of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The objective of the project is to develop novel mechanisms for securing data collection and communications in smart grids while preserving user privacy based on partially or fully Homomorphic encryptions and/or attribute-based access control.

Profs. Tian Lan, Howie Huang and Suresh Subramaniam (all of ECE) have received a three-year $407,968 NSF grant titled “Reliability as a Service (RaaS) in Cloud Computing.”  Their proposed research will develop a novel framework for providing reliability as an elastic, transparent service that can be customized and accessed by all customers in cloud computing.  Enabling RaaS may present an additional source of revenue and a significant value to existing cloud services.

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) and his doctoral student Wael Saab presented a peer-reviewed conference paper (full article with full review) at the Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE2013). The paper was co-authored with his recently graduated doctoral student Paul Moubarak and a former undergraduate student, Eric Alvarez. The paper citation is: Moubarak, P., Alvarez, E., Ben-Tzvi, P., “Reconfiguring a Modular Robot into a Humanoid Formation: A Multi-Body Dynamic Perspective on Motion Scheduling for Modules and their Assemblies,” Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE2013), Madison, WI, August 17-21, 2013, pp. 699–704.

On August 27, Prof. Michael Keidar (MAE) gave an invited talk, titled “Plasma-based synthesis of nano particles,” at the IV International Conference on Plasma Nanoscience, held in Monterey, CA.  On August 28, he gave an invited seminar at NASA Ames Research Center.  The seminar was titled “Micro-cathode arc thruster for nanosatellites.”

Other News:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) has been invited to serve as an associate editor of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s conference editorial board for the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2014).  ICRA is the flagship conference in robotics and automation and continues to be the most prestigious in this area.

Prof. Rachael Jonassen (EMSE part time faculty) served on a NOAA Sea Grant proposal panel for North Carolina on August 27 in Raleigh, NC.  Sea Grant is NOAA’s primary university-based program in support of coastal resource use and conservation.

Student News

MAE doctoral student Kenan Cole and her advisor, Prof. Adam Wickenheiser, attended the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, held August 19-21 in Boston, MA.  Kenan presented the paper “Impact of Wind Disturbances on Vehicle Station Keeping and Trajectory Following.”

ECE doctoral student Hatem ElBidweihy gave a speech at the Graduate Student Welcome Ceremony to more than 300 incoming graduate students. Hatem was nominated by the SEAS Graduate Admissions Office, and his speech was selected by the Office for Student Engagement.

CS graduate student Nima Keivan and Prof. Gabriel Sibley published an article titled “Realtime Simulation-in-the-loop Control for Agile Ground Vehicles” in the conference Towards Autonomous Robots, 2013, held August 29 in Oxford, UK.

The Micro-propulsion and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MpNL), led by Prof. Michael Keidar (MAE), participated in the 27th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, held August 10-15 in Logan, UT.  MAE doctoral student Samudra Haque presented dual operational prototype hardware examples of his research focus, “Micro-Cathode Arc Thruster (µCAT) Subsystem for In-space Propulsion of Small Satellites,” and explained to audiences its applicability for space missions and its technology readiness level for testing in the 2013 GWU/NASA Ames Research Center investigative project, “Micro-Cathode Arc Thruster PhoneSat Experiment.”

Micro-propulsion and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MpNL) students have successfully completed, for the first time ever, a full integration and testing of a prototype 3-channel Micro-Cathode Arc Thruster (µCAT) subsystem at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC).  This was specifically engineered for the ARC Center Innovation Fund 2013 award project, “Micro-Cathode Arc Thruster PhoneSat Experiment.”  The project was intended to explore the viability of enabling the innovative Google Nexus SmartPhone-powered series of small spacecraft to have full attitude and orbit correction capabilities.  Three of these spacecraft were flown and operated in space in April 2013 onboard the Antares launcher by Orbital Sciences from Wallops Flight Facility, VA.

Team Capitol DC’s Harvest Home was highlighted in an August 28 InTheCapital article, “AU, Catholic, GW Students Team Up to Create One-of-a-Kind Energy Efficient Home.” It was also highlighted in the September 1 article, “Harvest Home Demonstrates Renewable Energy and Helps Veterans,” on
Like Team Capitol DC on Facebook:
Follow @TeamCapitolDC on Twitter:

Other News

In September, the SEAS Office of Graduate Admissions will be recruiting at the Biomedical Engineering Society annual conference in Seattle, WA, and at QS World Grad Fairs in Mexico City, Bogota, Lima, Lagos, Nairobi, Kiev, and Moscow.

The SEAS Office of Graduate Admissions has recently hired two new employees, Ms. Chalvonna Smith and Ms. Courtney McClain.  Ms. Smith has been hired as the new employer development coordinator for graduate students, and Ms. McClain is the new career development fellow for graduate students.  Inquiries about these new positions should be directed to [email protected] or to Adina Lav.

Guest Vignette

“Opportunities for Safer Chemical Decision Making”

Chemical innovation and commerce has been an integral part of our economic and industrial success; however, ensuring the safety of public and occupational health in view of the many ways we are exposed to these chemicals is hotly debated.  The key American statute in the regulation of chemicals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), has been criticized widely for being ineffective in promoting public welfare while being subject to capture by corporate interests.  Whatever one believes about the various critiques of TSCA, its ineffectiveness can hardly be questioned: of 65,000 chemicals existing before the TSCA was passed, only 200 have received partial testing, and 5 have been at least partially regulated.  In commerce today, there are at least 80,000 chemicals.  Clearly, chemicals regulation needs a new approach to avoid gridlock and reduce the cost of regulation, while continuing to encourage innovation and protect public safety.

Dr. Royce Francis of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering is studying the role of new applications of the regulatory process called alternatives analysis in reforming American chemical regulations. In addition, Dr. Francis is the subgroup leader of an industry-academic partnership hosted by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Health and Environmental Sciences Initiative (HESI) to study decision making challenges in alternatives analysis, especially its relationship to risk analysis, and ways to explicitly address tradeoffs among risk outcomes attributable to the value judgments encoded in safer chemical selection.  At GW, Dr. Francis is collaborating in this work with Prof. George Gray of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the School of Public Health and Health Services.  Their research will contribute to this ongoing public discussion on such factors as health organizations’ priorities’ impact on promulgated health risk values, and the role of evidence synthesis in supporting “new,” “voluntary,” or “collaborative” approaches to chemical regulation.  (Provided courtesy of Prof. Royce Francis of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering)

SEAS Events

CS Colloquium: “A Year of Teaching and Coordinating MOOCs: A Positive View without Hyperbole”
Speaker: Dr. Dan Grossman, University of Washington
Tuesday, September 17
12:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

CEE Seminar: “Assimilation of Satellite Observations into Land Surface Models”
Speaker: Gabriëlle J.M. De Lannoy, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Friday, September 20
10:30 am
Dean's Conference Room, Tompkins Hall

MAE Seminar: “Modeling Inelastic Behavior of Metals at Multiple Scales for Multiple Purposes”
Speaker, David L. McDowell, Georgia Institute of Technology
Monday, November 25
736 Phillips Hall

Entrepreneurship & Other Events

DC I-Corps, a new, NSF-supported program designed to foster, grow and nurture an innovation ecosystem in the Mid-Atlantic Region, is now accepting applications for its fall cohort, beginning on October 7. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis up until that date. Apply here.

Teams with GW professors, post-docs, or graduate students AND GW-owned intellectual property may also be eligible for $5,000 commercialization grants. For more information on these grants, please contact Jim Chung.  I-Corps is a joint effort by GW, the University of Maryland, and Virginia Tech.

SEAS Entrepreneurship Course: SEAS 6200 - Launching Technology Ventures

The course's purpose is to explore lean startup management practices and learn how to develop a complete business plan. Startups usually fail due to lack of customer demand, not product development problems. These new ventures burn through their capital, wasting money on engineering and marketing before discovering they have built a product no one wants. LTV will explore lean startup practices and focus on the integration of marketing and engineering functions and emphasize MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Register today! For more information, e-mail the instructor, Mr. Richard Stroupe.

GW Institute of Nuclear Studies and the Nuclear Policy Talks: “The Physical Sciences Division of CEA and Perspectives for Stronger International Cooperation: Focus on the ITER Project and Fusion Energy Research”
Speaker: Dr. Gabriele Fioni, Director of the Physical Sciences Division of the CEA, France
Thursday, September 5
8:30 am
736 Phillips Hall
Information provided courtesy of Prof. Philippe Bardet

Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute: “The Lives of Others”—Free Movie Screening and Panel Discussion|
Saturday, September 7
5:30 – 8:30 pm
Betts Theater, Marvin Center
“The Lives of Others” won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and is a political thriller and human drama about life in a surveillance state.  Right after the film, there will be a short multidisciplinary panel discussion on cybersecurity, privacy in the age of Big Data, and state and commercial surveillance.

10th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning
The George Washington University
Thursday and Friday, October 24 and 25
Information provided courtesy of Prof. Michael Stankosky