<![CDATA[Students Earn Prestigious Fellowships Underscoring Institute’s Leadership in AI]]> 32045 Artificial intelligence (AI) research by two Georgia Institute of Technology students has caught the attention of one of the world's leading financial services companies. 

Gaurav Verma and Yuxi Wu are recipients of 2023 J.P. Morgan AI Research Ph.D. Fellowship Awards. They are among 13 scholars being honored this year by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. for AI research projects taking on real-world challenges.

"Our goal is to recognize and enable the next generation of leading AI researchers. We want to create an environment where researchers can inspire change and make a lasting impact in our communities and across our industry," said Manuela Veloso, Ph.D., head of AI Research, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Verma is pursuing his Ph.D. in the School of Computational Science and Engineering. Working with his advisor, Assistant Professor Srijan Kumar, Verma expects to ensure safety, equity, and well-being by creating multimodal learning and natural language processing approaches to achieve better human-AI interactions.

Wu is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Interactive Computing. Empowering people regarding their privacy concerns is at the core of her research. Wu examines how cross-sector, collective action systems could better support end-user privacy. Professor Keith Edwards and Adjunct Assistant Professor Sauvik Das advise Wu.

"It's inspiring to see our students and their work being honored with these prestigious fellowships," said Irfan Essa, computer science professor and director of the Machine Learning Center at Georgia Tech.

"Georgia Tech continues to lead in AI education and research. These fellowships for Gaurav and Yuxi are evidence that we're continuing to move in the right direction."

Verma and Wu are part of a spectrum of AI research spanning Georgia Tech. To unite this broad community and ensure it continues moving in the right direction, the Institute recently established AI Hub at Georgia Tech.

"AI has a deep history at Georgia Tech, and we continue to serve as leaders in many areas of AI research and education," said Essa, interim co-director of AI Hub at Georgia Tech.

"Bringing all areas of AI under one umbrella, AI Hub at Georgia Tech will provide structure and governance as the Institute continues to lead and innovate in the burgeoning discipline of AI."

]]> Ben Snedeker 1 1690916359 2023-08-01 18:59:19 1715611733 2024-05-13 14:48:53 0 0 news Two Georgia Tech Ph.D. students are being recognized for their innovative research with J.P. Morgan AI Research Fellowships.

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2023-08-01T00:00:00-04:00 2023-08-01T00:00:00-04:00 2023-08-01 00:00:00 Ben Snedeker, Communications Manager II

Georgia Tech College of Computing

albert.snedeker@cc.gatech.edu

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671294 671294 image <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Ph.D. students Gaurav Verma and Yuxi Wu ]]> image/png 1690916372 2023-08-01 18:59:32 1690916372 2023-08-01 18:59:32
<![CDATA[New Tool Skewers Socially Engineered Attack Ads]]> 32045 "Warning! Your computer is infected with a virus. Click the button below to take immediate action!"

Online ads like this are all too familiar and often the opening salvo in personal cyberattacks that can lead to unwanted software or other malicious downloads.

Georgia Tech researchers are countering deceptive online ads with a pioneering solution designed to challenge the rising threat of online social engineering attacks by cutting them off at the source.

Trident, created by Ph.D. student Zheng Yang and his team of researchers, is an add-on compatible with Google Chrome that has proven to block these ads with nearly 100% efficiency.

Advertisements are fertile ground for scams and fraudulent schemes. While such networks may offer better pay to websites than industry giants like Google and Facebook, their advertisements often employ tactics that lure unsuspecting users into compromising situations.

“The goal is to identify suspicious ads that often take users to malicious websites or trigger unwanted software downloads,” said Yang. "Trident operates within Chrome’s developer tools and uses a sophisticated AI to assess potential threats."

The team compiled a vast dataset from over 100,000 websites to build Trident, including ten low-tier ad networks. This comprehensive data collection helped identify 1,479 instances of attacks encompassing a range of six common types of web-based social engineering attacks. These include:

The remarkable outcome of their efforts is the sustained performance of Trident. Over the course of a year, the tool consistently achieved a nearly perfect detection rate of malicious ads, ensuring users' safety by minimizing the risk of interacting with harmful content.

Impressively, this achievement came with a meager 2.57% false positive rate, demonstrating the accuracy and effectiveness of Trident's machine-learning capabilities.

TRIDENT: Towards Detecting and Mitigating Web-based Social Engineering Attacks was presented at the 32nd USENIX Security Symposium in August. Contributors to this project include Georgia Tech Ph.D. students Joey Allen and Matthew Landen, Adjunct Assistant Professor Roberto Perdisci, and Professor Wenke Lee.

]]> Ben Snedeker 1 1694183277 2023-09-08 14:27:57 1715611612 2024-05-13 14:46:52 0 0 news Georgia Tech researchers have developed Trident, a Google Chrome add-on that efficiently blocks deceptive online ads used in social engineering attacks, achieving nearly 100% accuracy in detecting and preventing malicious ads while maintaining a low false positive rate.

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2023-09-06T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-06T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-06 00:00:00 John Popham, Communications Officer

School of Cybersecurity & Privacy

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671649 671649 image <![CDATA[A graphic depicting a pop-up ad blocker for the internet.]]> image/jpeg 1694183287 2023-09-08 14:28:07 1694183287 2023-09-08 14:28:07
<![CDATA[Marta Hatzell Wins ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship Award]]> 27338 Associate Professor Marta Hatzell has won a 2024 ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship Award, which recognizes leading contributions of scientists and engineers active in the general fields of green chemistry, green engineering, and sustainability in the broadest sense of the chemical enterprise.

Hatzell, who holds joint appointments in Georgia Tech's School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was honored for her multiple contributions that drive the application of electrochemistry to enable critical systems with enhanced circularity.

The ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship awards were created to celebrate early to midcareer investigators who completed academic training no more than 10 years prior to nomination. In support of their commitment to nurture and stimulate a global community of outstanding practice. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute gave three Lectureship Awards to recognize outstanding levels of contribution from The Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Asia/Pacific.

The award recipients will be honored at a joint plenary session of the 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in their honor (June 3–5, 2024; https://www.gcande.org/).

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1706296973 2024-01-26 19:22:53 1714417288 2024-04-29 19:01:28 0 0 news The award recognizes leading contributions of scientists and engineers active in the general fields of green chemistry, green engineering, and sustainability in the broadest sense of the chemical enterprise.

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2024-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-19 00:00:00 Brad Dixon, Communications Manager, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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672885 672885 image <![CDATA[Marta_Hatzell_Portrait.jpg]]> Portrait of Marta Hatzell

]]> image/jpeg 1706298161 2024-01-26 19:42:41 1706298161 2024-01-26 19:42:41
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech’s $26 Million Partnership with National Science Foundation to Transform Fertilizer Production]]> <![CDATA[IMat Initiative Lead Q&A: Marta Hatzell]]> <![CDATA[Circular Electro-Chemistry Lab]]>
<![CDATA[Re-Wind USA Wins First Phase of DOE Prize]]> 27338 Pioneering a new recycling approach led to a big win for Re-Wind USA, a Georgia Tech research team led by Russell Gentry. The team has won the first phase of the Department of Energy's Wind Turbine Materials Recycling Prize, receiving $75,000 and an invitation to compete in the final phase.

"Our innovation for end-of-service wind turbine blades is both simple and elegant – at its core, our technology captures all the embodied energy in the composite materials in the blade," said Gentry, professor in the School of Architecture.

"The Re-Wind Network has pioneered structural recycling, the only of a number of competing technologies that upcycles the material of the blade and preserves the embodied energy from manufacturing," Gentry said.

"Little additional energy is used to remanufacture the blade and the life of the blade, typically 20 years, is extended at least 50 years. This is a win-win solution from an environmental and economic perspective."

Other methods for dealing with decommissioned wind blades involve mechanical grinding and landfilling of subsequent waste, an expensive and energy-intensive process, he said.

Team members include Gentry, Sakshi Kakkad, Cayleigh Nicholson, Mehmet Bermek, and Larry Bank, from the School of Architecture; Gabriel Ackall, Yulizza Henao, and Aeva Silverman, from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering;  and Eric Johansen, a business consultant from Fiberglass Trusses Inc.

The team is part of the Re-Wind Network, a multinational research and development network which develops large-scale infrastructure projects from decommissioned wind turbine blades. 

Re-Wind's pedestrian bridges, known as BladeBridges, have already captured media attention. Two more BladeBridges are expected in Atlanta in 2024, Gentry said. Re-Wind has also developed, prototyped, and tested transmission poles made from blade segments. The team's other proposals include culverts, barriers, and floats.

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1706719994 2024-01-31 16:53:14 1714417254 2024-04-29 19:00:54 0 0 news A pioneering a new recycling approach led to a big win for Re-Wind USA in the first phase of the Department of Energy's Wind Turbine Materials Recycling Prize, receiving $75,000 and an invitation to compete in the final phase.

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2024-01-26T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-26T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-26 00:00:00 Ann Hoevel, Director of Communications, College of Design

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672913 672913 image <![CDATA[top.re-wind.bladebridge_0.png]]> Overhead view of the Re-Wind crew doing structural testing on a decommissioned wind turbine blade bridge on an industrial lot.

]]> image/png 1706720141 2024-01-31 16:55:41 1706720141 2024-01-31 16:55:41
<![CDATA[Original article on Georgia Tech School of Architecture website]]> <![CDATA[Re-Wind Network Website]]>
<![CDATA[Energy Materials: Driving the Clean Energy Transition]]> 34760 Energy is everywhere, affecting everything, all the time. And it can be manipulated and converted into the kind of energy that we depend on as a civilization. But transforming this ambient energy (the result of gyrating atoms and molecules) into something we can plug into and use when we need it requires specific materials.

These energy materials — some natural, some manufactured, some a combination — facilitate the conversion or transmission of energy. They also play an essential role in how we store energy, how we reduce power consumption, and how we develop cleaner, efficient energy solutions.

“Advanced materials and clean energy technologies are tightly connected, and at Georgia Tech we’ve been making major investments in people and facilities in batteries, solar energy, and hydrogen, for several decades,” said Tim Lieuwen, the David S. Lewis Jr. Chair and professor of aerospace engineering, and executive director of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI).

That research synergy is the underpinning of Georgia Tech Energy Materials Day (March 27), a gathering of people from academia, government, and industry, co-hosted by SEI, the Institute for Materials (IMat), and the Georgia Tech Advanced Battery Center. This event aims to build on the momentum created by Georgia Tech Battery Day, held in March 2023, which drew more than 230 energy researchers and industry representatives.

“We thought it would be a good idea to expand on the Battery Day idea and showcase a wide range of research and expertise in other areas, such as solar energy and clean fuels, in addition to what we’re doing in batteries and energy storage,” said Matt McDowell, associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), and co-director, with Gleb Yushin, of the Advanced Battery Center.

Energy Materials Day will bring together experts from academia, government, and industry to discuss and accelerate research in three key areas: battery materials and technologies, photovoltaics and the grid, and materials for carbon-neutral fuel production, “all of which are crucial for driving the clean energy transition,” noted Eric Vogel, executive director of IMat and the Hightower Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

“Georgia Tech is leading the charge in research in these three areas,” he said. “And we’re excited to unite so many experts to spark the important discussions that will help us advance our nation’s path to net-zero emissions.”

Building an Energy Hub

Energy Materials Day is part of an ongoing, long-range effort to position Georgia Tech, and Georgia, as a go-to location for modern energy companies. So far, the message seems to be landing. Georgia has had more than $28 billion invested or announced in electric vehicle-related projects since 2020. And Georgia Tech was recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the top public university for energy research.

Georgia has become a major player in solar energy, also, with the announcement last year of a $2.5 billion plant being developed by Korean solar company Hanwha Qcells, taking advantage of President Biden’s climate policies. Qcells’ global chief technology officer, Danielle Merfeld, a member of SEI’s External Advisory Board, will be the keynote speaker for Energy Materials Day.

“Growing these industry relationships, building trust through collaborations with industry — these have been strong motivations in our efforts to create a hub here in Atlanta,” said Yushin, professor in MSE and co-founder of Sila Nanotechnologies, a battery materials startup valued at more than $3 billion.

McDowell and Yushin are leading the battery initiative for Energy Materials Day and they’ll be among 12 experts making presentations on battery materials and technologies, including six from Georgia Tech and four from industry. In addition to the formal sessions and presentations, there will also be an opportunity for networking.

“I think Georgia Tech has a responsibility to help grow a manufacturing ecosystem,” McDowell said. “We have the research and educational experience and expertise that companies need, and we’re working to coordinate our efforts with industry.”

Marta Hatzell, associate professor of mechanical engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering, is leading the carbon-neutral fuel production portion of the event, while Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, assistant professor in MSE, is leading the photovoltaics initiative.

They’ll be joined by a host of experts from Georgia Tech and institutes across the country, “some of the top thought leaders in their fields,” said Correa-Baena, whose lab has spent years optimizing a semiconductor material for solar energy conversion.

“Over the past decade, we have been working to achieve high efficiencies in solar panels based on a new, low-cost material called halide perovskites,” he said. His lab recently discovered how to prevent the chemical interactions that can degrade it. “It’s kind of a miracle material, and we want to increase its lifespan, make it more robust and commercially relevant.”

While Correa-Baena is working to revolutionize solar energy, Hatzell’s lab is designing materials to clean up the manufacturing of clean fuels.

“We’re interested in decarbonizing the industrial sector, through the production of carbon-neutral fuels,” said Hatzell, whose lab is designing new materials to make clean ammonia and hydrogen, both of which have the potential to play a major role in a carbon-free fuel system, without using fossil fuels as the feedstock. “We’re also working on a collaborative project focusing on assessing the economics of clean ammonia on a larger, global scale.”

The hope for Energy Materials Day is that other collaborations will be fostered as industry’s needs and the research enterprise collide in one place — Georgia Tech’s Exhibition Hall — over one day. The event is part of what Yushin called “the snowball effect.”

“You attract a new company to the region, and then another,” he said. “If we want to boost domestic production and supply chains, we must roll like a snowball gathering momentum. Education is a significant part of that effect. To build this new technology and new facilities for a new industry, you need trained, talented engineers. And we’ve got plenty of those. Georgia Tech can become the single point of contact, helping companies solve the technical challenges in a new age of clean energy.”

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1708534541 2024-02-21 16:55:41 1714417062 2024-04-29 18:57:42 0 0 news Energy materials facilitate the conversion or transmission of energy. They also play an essential role in how we store energy, reduce power consumption, and develop cleaner, efficient energy solutions.

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2024-02-21T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-21T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-21 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo

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673164 673164 image <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Energy Materials Day 2024]]> image/png 1708534719 2024-02-21 16:58:39 1708534718 2024-02-21 16:58:38
<![CDATA[A Clearer Image of Glaucoma]]> 35599 From Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's to cardiac arrhythmia, amyloids are linked to a number of diseases. These aggregates of proteins form in the body when a protein loses its normal structure and misfolds or mutates. And since many of these proteins are large and complicated, just how some of these mutations occur and aggregate remains a mystery — as does the creation of effective treatments.

New research on glaucoma led by Georgia Tech chemists and an alumna may help change that.

“There has been a lot of work done to understand how smaller folded proteins form amyloid aggregates, but this study helps us to understand the aggregation pathway of a larger, more complex system,” says co-first author Emily Saccuzzo. That work could one day help scientists uncover new modes of treatment not just for glaucoma, but for other diseases caused by protein aggregation, as well.

Saccuzzo started the project in 2018 as a graduate student in the Lieberman Lab in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech, and is now a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Pacific Northwest National Labs. “Emily was a summer student before she matriculated, and she established the initial feasibility of doing these experiments,” says Raquel Lieberman, professor and Sepcic Pfeil Chair in Chemistry at Georgia Tech. “I'm immensely proud of her.”

Their research team's recent findings are featured in a new paper, “Competition between inside-out unfolding and pathogenic aggregation in an amyloid-forming β-propeller," published in the journal Nature Communications.

Lieberman and Saccuzzo brought together researchers from throughout and beyond the Institute to collaborate on the study.

“This was a very multi-disciplinary project, and that's always really satisfying,” Lieberman says. “I think when you bring more people to the table, you can answer hard questions and do more than you can do on your own.”

The Georgia Tech research team includes Hailee F. Scelsi, Minh Thu Ma, and Shannon E. Hill of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Xinya Su and Matthew P. Torres of the School of Biological Sciences; Elisa Rheaume or the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences; and James C. Gumbart, who holds joint appointments in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, and School of Physics. The research team also includes Saccuzzo's co-first author Mubark D. Mebrat, Minjoo Kim, and Wade D. Van Horn of Arizona State University as well as Renhao Li of the Emory University School of Medicine.

A complicated protein

While many studies have focused on smaller proteins, called model proteins, that have established ‘rules’ and known patterns for amyloid-formation (a specialized type of protein aggregation), the protein that contributes to glaucoma is larger and more complex. This type of larger, complicated protein is relatively unstudied.

“We had known for a while that mutations in myocilin can cause the protein to misfold and aggregate, which in turn leads to glaucoma,” Saccuzzo says. “What we didn’t know, however, was the exact mechanism by which this protein misfolds and aggregates.

“The goal of this study was to determine how disease mutants are misfolded, in hopes that that would give us insight into the early steps in the aggregation pathway,” she adds.

Located at the interface between the white of the eye and the colored iris, the protein forms a tiny small ring all the way around the eye. “Every time you blink, you stretch that muscle. Every time the wind blows really strong, or you get something in your eye. Every time you rub your eye, you could be affecting this protein — even when it's not causing disease,” Lieberman says. Still, scientists aren’t sure what the protein does. “We only know what it's doing when it's causing trouble,” like glaucoma, she explains. “We don't know what its actual biological function is.”

Lieberman was initially attracted to the idea of studying the protein because she wondered if the research done on the model proteins might be applicable to the protein causing glaucoma. “The really early studies showed that it was likely similar to these model proteins that form amyloid,” Lieberman says. “I wanted to look into that because if we could show that that was true, then we could tap into the amazing resources and research done on model systems to help us combat the disease.”

An unpredictable system

“This was one of the largest amyloid-forming proteins characterized to date,” Saccuzzo says, and while the team hoped that they would find similarities to model proteins, the larger glaucoma-associated protein showed increased complexity.

“I think one of the most surprising observations that we made is that the protein itself is not at equilibrium for about 90 days after it’s made,” Lieberman adds. “One of the tenets of protein chemistry is that amino acid sequences adopt a unique structure, and that all of the information needed to fold the protein into its 3D structure is held in that amino acid sequence.”

Here, the protein was shimmying a small amount, meaning that it wasn’t at equilibrium. “There's so much more going on in the system than anyone could have imagined,” Lieberman explains. “We assume that the shape controls some of the properties, but this is another mystery of this protein.”

Because the protein is so complicated and isn’t at equilibrium, “there is a long list of the things we can’t predict,” says Lieberman, adding that it makes computer predictions difficult, along with certain experiments. “That was a moment when we thought: wow, here's this new system that people should think about. The rules might be refined to help us better understand what's going on.”

The future of protein modeling

While further research will need to be conducted in order to determine how best to treat glaucoma, the study provides a critical foundation for future studies. “What is not clear to me right now is whether we would be able to find one drug for all the people who have mutations, or if we need a specific drug for each type of mutation that we would encounter,” Lieberman says. While the research doesn’t prove that one treatment might not be effective for all, “it certainly shows that there's a lot more to this system than we ever expected.”

“Understanding what disease mutants look like at the molecular level could help pave the way for structurally-specific glaucoma therapeutics and diagnostic tools,” Saccuzzo adds.

Lieberman and Saccuzzo also underscore that the work done to understand the protein responsible for glaucoma can also be applied to other large proteins.

“At the end of the day, more proteins are not model proteins than are model proteins,” Lieberman says. “There are many more systems out there, and I suspect that there are many more proteins that can aggregate and may contribute to disease or aging that have yet to be explored. I think this research shows the value of bringing lots of different approaches to probing a complicated system to learn more about it.”

 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-44479-2

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health award numbers R01EY021205 (RLL, WVH), R41EY031203 (RLL), R01GM123169 (JCG), and R35GM141933 (WVH). EGS, HFS, and MTM were supported in part by 5T32EY007092-35.

Raquel Lieberman's research is supported by the Kelly Sepcic Pfeil, Ph.D. Faculty Endowment Fund.

 

]]> sperrin6 1 1708094528 2024-02-16 14:42:08 1711567013 2024-03-27 19:16:53 0 0 news Georgia Tech chemists are exploring the behavior of a complex protein associated with glaucoma — characterizing one of the largest amyloid-forming proteins to date. The study could lead to more treatment and prevention pathways for glaucoma, and other diseases associated with large, aggregating proteins.

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2024-02-20T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-20T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-20 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston

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673112 673113 673114 673112 image <![CDATA[A human eye - Image from Unsplash]]> image/jpeg 1708094151 2024-02-16 14:35:51 1708094079 2024-02-16 14:34:39 673113 image <![CDATA[Emily Saccuzzo ]]> image/jpeg 1708094152 2024-02-16 14:35:52 1708094079 2024-02-16 14:34:39 673114 image <![CDATA[Raquel Lieberman]]> image/jpeg 1708094152 2024-02-16 14:35:52 1708094079 2024-02-16 14:34:39
<![CDATA[Everlasting African Wildfires Fueled by Aerosol Feedback]]> 28153 Africa is on fire. It has been for thousands of years. The continent contains more than 50% of the total area on Earth that is burning, on average, and there is no sign of it stopping — indeed, the migrating, hemisphere-hopping African wildfire season is steadily increasing.

The fire is essentially feeding itself in a kind of feedback loop as aerosols, induced by the perpetual conflagration, interact with the climate. It’s a process that plays a critical role in the regulation of African ecosystems, reinforcing wildfires and paving the way for elevated fire seasons in subsequent years.

Aerosols are tiny particles that have a large impact on the Earth’s climate. They comprise a wide range of materials. Besides the human-induced air pollution that we can see (that brown smog is the interaction of light with aerosols), there are a lot of natural aerosols: salty sea spray, mineral dust, volcanic ash, and wildfire smoke.

Suspended in the atmosphere, the role of aerosols in our climate is complex. But a new study by Georgia Tech researchers demonstrates the role they play in the African wildfire life cycle. The research, published in the journal iScience, could have significant implications for understanding the impacts of fires and climate change in Africa and other regions of the planet prone to wildfire.

“We used to think that aerosols had a short-term, localized climate impact and can be effectively removed by precipitation within a week. But in this study, we’re showing that isn’t necessarily correct,” said Yuhang Wang, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and corresponding author of “Positive Feedback to Regional Climate Enhances African Wildfires.”

The Wang lab works at solving mysteries of atmospheric pollution, and the team is onto something with its latest research, revealing new clues in its study of wildfires in Africa, where the unique alternation between dry and wet seasons along the equator extends the lifespan of aerosols.

“Basically, with the combination of wildfires and fire-induced aerosols, the impact of aerosols can be longer term, extending over seasons,” said Wang, whose team invented the tool it needed to complete its investigation.

Building a Better Model

Several years ago, Wang’s lab developed the Region-Specific Ecosystem Feedback Fire (RESFire) Model to augment the existing, publicly accessible Community Earth System Model (CESM). Managed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, CESM is an open-source global climate model that provides computer simulations of the Earth’s climate system.

RESFire improves CESM’s fire simulation capability, helping researchers develop a better grasp of complex fire-climate-ecosystem interactions, “which are still not very well understood,” said Wang, whose team used its CESM-RESFire model to study aerosol feedback in Africa for the latest research.

“We found that the extension of the aerosols’ lifespan in Africa occurs through a positive feedback mechanism,” said Wang.

Aerosols can essentially give clouds a bad case of constipation, absorbing vapor from the atmosphere and reducing the growth of large cloud droplets, making it difficult for clouds to make large droplets.

“Fire aerosols are transported from burning or dry regions to wet regions,” Wang explained. “That leads to reduced precipitation and drying of fuel loads.”

The Feedback Mechanism

Identifying the fire-aerosol positive feedback mechanism in Africa sheds light on wildfire-related climate feedback globally. Other studies have shown that in some coastal areas, such as the western United States, fire smoke alters local fire weather, resulting in positive feedback. These coastal regions have distinct fire seasons, and the escalation caused by aerosol feedback doesn’t persist into the next fire season.

Africa is different. With its shifting fire regions and prevailing winds, the positive feedback affects the current season and amplifies burning in the subsequent season. And fire weather season has increased by up to 40% in Africa over the past four decades, which means there may be shifts in distribution and variability of burned areas.

“The good news is that this mechanism is self-sustaining. It even has some resilience built in,” Wang said. “The question is what happens in the presence of persistent global climate change. What we know is, the mechanism underlying this natural system of wildfires depends on the current state of the atmosphere.”

The positive feedback mechanism implies that a warmer, drier climate will likely lead to more persistent burning in Africa in the future, the researchers write, concluding, “The systematic fire-climate feedback may also be present in other fire-prone tropical regions and has significant ramifications for understanding the impacts of fires and climate change on humans and plant life.”

Citation: Aoxing Zhang, Yuhang Wang, Yufei, Zou. “Positive feedback to regional climate enhances African wildfires.” iScience.

Funding: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant 1743401). 

 

 

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1704306202 2024-01-03 18:23:22 1711475686 2024-03-26 17:54:46 0 0 news Wildfires in Africa are fueled by a feedback loop as aerosols, induced by the fire, interact with the climate. It plays a critical role in the regulation of African ecosystems, reinforcing wildfires while also paving the way for elevated fire seasons in subsequent years.

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2024-01-03T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-03T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-03 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo

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672662 672661 672662 image <![CDATA[Wildfires]]> Fires have been burning in Africa for centuries. The fires are fueled by feedback loop as aerosols interact with the climate. It’s a process that plays a critical role in the regulation of African ecosystems. Adobe iStock photo

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672661 image <![CDATA[Yuhang Wang]]> Yuhang Wang

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<![CDATA[Chen and Crittenden Awarded $100K Planning Grant]]> 27338 Civil and Environmental Engineering Professors Yonhsheng Chen and John Crittenden have received a $100K National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant, along with their co-principal investigators Kaye Husbands Fealing and Perry Yang, also from Georgia Tech, and Zhaohui Tong from the University of Florida. The ERC is a highly competitive, large, multi-year award centered on translating a research topic from the laboratory to commercialization. The ERC Planning Grant is intended to build capacity amongst a research community around a topic with the ultimate aim of elevating the quality of proposals submitted to the ERC program.

The title of this group’s proposed ERC is “Engineering Research Center for Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Systems.” The Center will investigate novel ways to integrate the functions of the cluster of urban infrastructure systems known as NEWT (nutrient, energy, water, and transportation). Integrating and optimizing these infrastructure systems will diversify, decentralize, localize, and democratize food production, processing, and distribution in urban areas where most people will live and where NEWT, and labor, resources are readily available and often wasted.

The team hypothesizes that some commodity food products can be locally grown using readily available NEWT resources in urban areas using high-tech and high productivity Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) systems. Further, they think that the resulting food products will have higher nutritional value, greater freshness, longer shelf life, greater availability, and greatly reduced environmental footprint. For this vision to be realized at commodity scale, however, a host of converging challenges must be overcome in the fields of civil and environmental engineering, CEA technology, urban planning, food safety, health and nutritional science, supply chain management, and consumer science. An Engineering Research Center will enable researchers to study how to resolve the social, political, technological, and logistical challenges involved with bringing CEA systems to market viability. This will be especially important in impoverished urban communities where food and nutritional security are compromised.

Professor Chen received a $5 million grant (link) in 2018 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the largest USDA award to Georgia Tech ever. Chen and his team are to develop and operate a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the Georgia Tech campus sewer system. This wastewater will be treated with an anaerobic membrane biological treatment process that will transform organic contaminants and pathogens into biogas while preserving the nutrients that plants use such as, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The proposed Engineering Research Center that will come from this planning process will build from this work towards commercial viability.

Prof. Yongsheng Chen is a Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he studies urban sustainability, water/energy use efficiency, sustainable biofuels with a focus on algae, and nanotechnology. Prof. John Crittenden is the Director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, GRA Eminent Scholar in Sustainable Systems, and a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he studies sustainable engineering, water treatment processes, and advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP’s).

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1568842234 2019-09-18 21:30:34 1711473562 2024-03-26 17:19:22 0 0 news Civil and Environmental Engineering Professors Yonhsheng Chen and John Crittenden have received a $100K National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant, along with their co-principal investigators Kaye Husbands Fealing and Perry Yang, also from Georgia Tech, and Zhaohui Tong from the University of Florida. The title of this group’s proposed ERC is “Engineering Research Center for Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Systems.” The Center will investigate novel ways to integrate the functions of the cluster of urban infrastructure systems known as NEWT (nutrient, energy, water, and transportation). Integrating and optimizing these infrastructure systems will diversify, decentralize, localize, and democratize food production, processing, and distribution in urban areas where most people will live and where NEWT, and labor, resources are readily available and often wasted.

Read More...

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2019-09-18T00:00:00-04:00 2019-09-18T00:00:00-04:00 2019-09-18 00:00:00 Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS

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626393 626393 image <![CDATA[Chen and Crittenden Portraits]]> image/jpeg 1568841249 2019-09-18 21:14:09 1568841249 2019-09-18 21:14:09
<![CDATA[Crittenden Awarded Clarke Prize]]> 27338 The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) announced that BBISS Director, John C. Crittenden, will be the twenty-second recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. Consisting of a medallion and $50,000 award, the NWRI Clarke Prize is given each year to recognize research accomplishments that solve real-world water problems and to highlight the importance of the continued funding for water research. Crittenden was selected as the 2015 recipient for his outstanding contributions to treating chemical contaminants in water and his leadership in addressing water demand for transportation, energy production, and domestic use in a holistic, sustainable manner. “I consider the Clarke Prize to be one of the greatest honors that one who conducts water research can receive,” said Crittenden.

With a career spanning 37 years, Crittenden has been a pioneer in the research and development of several key water treatment technologies and processes that are in widespread use today.  Crittenden and his colleagues worked with NASA to alleviate the costs of sending fresh water to the International Space Station by helping to design a water recycling system tailored to treat the impaired waters that are unique to space flight. NASA installed the system on the ISS in 2012 where it is still in use.  Also among his achievements is the 2011 textbook, Water Treatment: Principles and Design, on which he served as senior author.  Crittenden's body of work in pollution prevention and green chemistry led the American Institute of Engineers to award him as one of the 100 Eminent Chemical Engineers in Modern Times.

Crittenden is also distinguished among his peers for his vision and dedication to ensuring the sustainability of urban water resources. In 2008, Crittenden was recruited to Georgia Tech to direct the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems. BBISS was established to take a comprehensive, trans-disciplinary approach in creating technological, management, and policy strategies to ensure a sustainable future. Crittenden aims to understand water resources in context with other major urban infrastructure systems, such as energy and transportation systems. “His work in sustainability is particularly bold and innovative, and will change the way we will promote water security, enhance economic development, and alleviate concerns of wars over water,” said Joseph B. Hughes, Ph.D, P.E., DEE, of Drexel University.

The Clarke Prize will be presented to Crittenden on Friday, October 30, 2015, at the Twenty-Second Annual NWRI Clarke Prize Conference, Lecture, and Award Ceremony, to be held in Huntington Beach, California. Established in 1993, the Clarke Prize is one of only a dozen water related prizes awarded worldwide and has been distinguished by the International Congress of Distinguished Awards as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

Read more BBISS Big Ideas stories.

______________________________________________________________________________

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) was founded in 1991 by a group of Southern California water agencies in partnership with the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation to promote the protection, maintenance, and restoration of water supplies and to protect the freshwater and marine environments through the development of cooperative research work. NWRI’s member agencies include Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Irvine Ranch Water District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Orange County Sanitation District, Orange County Water District, and West Basin Municipal Water District.

John C. Crittenden, Ph.D., P.E., N.A.E, C.A.E., is the Director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems at Georgia Institute of Technology, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Environmental Technologies, and a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia.

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1449509793 2015-12-07 17:36:33 1711469939 2024-03-26 16:18:59 0 0 news The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) announced that BBISS Director, John C. Crittenden, will be the twenty-second recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. Consisting of a medallion and $50,000 award, the NWRI Clarke Prize is given each year to recognize research accomplishments that solve real-world water problems and to highlight the importance of the continued funding for water research. Crittenden was selected as the 2015 recipient for his outstanding contributions to treating chemical contaminants in water and his leadership in addressing water demand for transportation, energy production, and domestic use in a holistic, sustainable manner. “I consider the Clarke Prize to be one of the greatest honors that one who conducts water research can receive,” said Crittenden.

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2015-07-20T00:00:00-04:00 2015-07-20T00:00:00-04:00 2015-07-20 00:00:00 Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS

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472711 472711 image <![CDATA[Prof_Crittenden_Lab_Coat_319_320]]> image/jpeg 1449257190 2015-12-04 19:26:30 1475895223 2016-10-08 02:53:43
<![CDATA[American Chemical Society Honors John Crittenden]]> 27338 The American Chemical Society (ACS) held a series of symposia over three days at their recent Fall 2022 conference in Chicago “in honor of John Crittenden's long-term accomplishments in sustainability and physical chemical treatment processes for the engineered water infrastructure systems.” The symposia, entitled “Greener Strategies in Environmental Sustainability in Honor of John Crittenden,” featured 37 talks given by colleagues from institutions and companies from around the world, several of whom were Crittenden’s former students. The talks covered a wide variety of subjects which were all impacted by Crittenden’s five decades of research in topics such as adsorption, ion exchange, air stripping, advanced oxidation, membranes, sustainable urban development, urban ecology, resilient infrastructure systems analysis, sustainable community research, and sustainable engineering education.

The way that waste streams are treated has evolved markedly in the last 50 years. The primary scope of concern for waste treatment strategies started with mechanical, biological, and chemical treatment, to pollution prevention, to green chemistry/engineering, to the sustainability triangle of economic, environmental, and societal sustainability. John’s research agenda has followed, and usually anticipated, this development arc. The Honor Award for Scientific Excellence was presented to Crittenden at the ACS conference by the Division of Environmental Chemistry of the American Chemical Society “in recognition of his contributions to ‘Greener Strategies in Environmental Sustainability’ through outstanding research and publications.”

John Crittenden is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Environmental Technologies in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he continues his research and teaching. He recently stepped down as director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems which he led since 2009.

The list of presentations given in honor of Crittenden’s research and career can be found here:
https://acs.digitellinc.com/acs/live/28/page/905/2?eventSearchInput=crittenden

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1662997029 2022-09-12 15:37:09 1711468673 2024-03-26 15:57:53 0 0 news The American Chemical Society (ACS) held a series of symposia over three days at their recent Fall 2022 conference in Chicago “in honor of John Crittenden's long-term accomplishments in sustainability and physical chemical treatment processes for the engineered water infrastructure systems.” The symposia, entitled “Greener Strategies in Environmental Sustainability in Honor of John Crittenden,” featured 37 talks given by colleagues from institutions and companies from around the world, several of whom were Crittenden’s former students. The talks covered a wide variety of subjects which were all impacted by Crittenden’s five decades of research in topics such as adsorption, ion exchange, air stripping, advanced oxidation, membranes, sustainable urban development, urban ecology, resilient infrastructure systems analysis, sustainable community research, and sustainable engineering education.

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2022-09-12T00:00:00-04:00 2022-09-12T00:00:00-04:00 2022-09-12 00:00:00 Brent Verrill, Research Communications Program Manager, BBISS

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661081 661081 image <![CDATA[Crittenden ACS Award 2022]]> image/jpeg 1662997510 2022-09-12 15:45:10 1662997510 2022-09-12 15:45:10
<![CDATA[Leadership Transition in the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems]]> 27338 John Crittenden will be stepping down as executive director of BBISS effective August 31, 2022. Beril Toktay, Professor of Operations Management, Brady Family Chairholder, and Regents’ Professor, will serve as BBISS’ interim executive director. Beril said, “John took the inclusion of the word ‘Systems’ in BBISS’ name to heart at a time when large interdisciplinary research collaborations at Georgia Tech were still a rarity. The bold vision now coming out of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan 2020-2030 and the Sustainability Next strategic plan initiative can be directly linked to John’s leadership and his challenge to ‘go bigger.’ I am delighted to accept the baton and run the next leg in advancing BBISS’ mission in collaboration with the Georgia Tech sustainability community.”

John will continue as faculty member, educator, mentor, and researcher at Georgia Tech in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, maintaining his appointments as GRA Eminent Scholar in Sustainable Technologies. John has led BBISS since 2009, when the prior Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development (ISTD) was renamed in honor of Brook Byers (a Georgia Tech alumnus, sustainability advocate, and founding president of the Kleiner Perkins venture capital firm).

As a world-renowned researcher, John has made, and continues to make, critical contributions in the fields of water treatment (having co-authored the preeminent book on the subject which is used by 300 universities around the world), pollution prevention, energy harvesting technologies, the food-energy-water nexus, sustainable materials, sustainable urban infrastructure, sustainable engineering pedagogy, advanced modeling of urban systems, and urban form and policy.

Among John’s many awards and honors are: Member of the National Academy of Engineering; Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers; Member of the European Union Academy of Sciences; Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; American Institute of Chemical Engineers 100 Eminent Chemical Engineers in Modern Times; Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize from the National Water Research Institute; Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers; and the Chinese Friendship Award. The American Chemical Society will host a special symposium series to honor John’s long-term accomplishments in sustainability and physical chemical treatment processes for engineered water infrastructure systems at the Fall 2022 ACS meeting in Chicago.

As the leader of BBISS, John also fostered a dedicated team of staff, students, and faculty. The many students who have participated in sustainability research inherited his systems perspective and have carried it into their careers. He oversaw the development of several programs to support career development and collaboration, including the BBISS Graduate Fellows, the BBISS Faculty Fellows, and the Brook Byers Professors, all made possible with donations from Brook and Shawn Byers. He has been a tireless sponsor of early- and mid-career researchers, nominating them for awards and memberships on committees, and providing valuable advice. He has hosted visiting scholars from all over the world, engaging them in interdisciplinary research and the development of solutions to global sustainability challenges.

Julia Kubanek, Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research, shared the following comments: “Thank you, John, for the many programs you have initiated and the research that you have supported and inspired while leading BBISS. On behalf of all the faculty, students, and staff at Georgia Tech, I look forward to continuing to engage with you as a faculty member of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.”

Beril Toktay has made varied high-impact contributions to sustainability at Georgia Tech since she joined the Institute in 2005. She is the founding faculty director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business in the Scheller College of Business. Beril served as the co-architect and co-executive faculty director of Serve-Learn-Sustain, Georgia Tech’s campus-wide academic initiative offering students opportunities to collaborate with diverse partners on key sustainability challenges to help create sustainable communities. She was also Scheller College’s ADVANCE Professor, a role dedicated to the advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in academia. Beril is currently serving as co-chair of Sustainability Next, the sustainability and climate-focused strategic planning initiative of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan 2020-2030.

Beril is regarded as one of the most influential scholars in the field of sustainable operations management. Her research helped to introduce sustainability into the field of operations management, and she has had a significant hand in shaping its ongoing development, including serving as area editor in Environment, Energy and Sustainability for Operations Research, co-editor of the Business and Climate Change special issue for Management Science, and as department editor in Health, Environment and Society in Manufacturing and Service Operations Management (MSOM). For her pioneering role in advancing sustainable business scholarship and her leadership in building a sustainable operations community, respectively, she was elected Distinguished Fellow of the INFORMS MSOM Society in 2017 and received the MSOM Distinguished Service Award in 2018.

Beril values interdisciplinary research and education. Earlier in her Georgia Tech career, she served as the coordinator of ECLIPS (Georgia Tech Focused Research Program on Expanding Closed-Loops in Production Systems), an interdisciplinary group of faculty from management, engineering, and public policy interested in circular economy solutions. Her NSF-funded research on circular economy enterprise solutions involved collaborators from mechanical engineering and industrial and systems engineering. For her translational work in this area, she received the 2021 Sustainability Champion Award from the Global Electronics Council (formerly known as the Green Electronics Council). In 2017, Beril co-developed the Carbon Reduction Challenge program in collaboration with the Georgia Tech Global Change Program. This program challenges undergraduate student interns to identify a project that achieves significant reductions in carbon emissions and yields cost savings for their host company.

Through her role in the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, Beril has been instrumental in creating the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact, a statewide, business-led, collective action initiative aimed at achieving a just, prosperous, and sustainable transition towards net-zero carbon emissions in the state by 2050. In 2019, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce selected her as an E3 Impact Award Finalist, an award that recognizes “visionary individuals advancing sustainability in Atlanta.”

“Beril’s sustainability and business expertise as well as her experience leading teams and initiatives will ensure that BBISS remains on a strong footing and can continue to grow its impact,” said Julia Kubanek. “I’m especially excited about new ideas coming out of the Sustainability Next strategic planning effort that can contribute to the evolution of BBISS.”

Beril will lead BBISS until a new executive director is selected through a process that will be announced by the Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research later this year.

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1660771547 2022-08-17 21:25:47 1711466085 2024-03-26 15:14:45 0 0 news John Crittenden will be stepping down as executive director of BBISS. Beril Toktay will serve as BBISS’ interim executive director.

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2022-08-17T00:00:00-04:00 2022-08-17T00:00:00-04:00 2022-08-17 00:00:00 Brent Verrill, Research Communications Program Manager

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<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Ph.D. Student, GEM Fellows Alum Receives Role Model Award from SHPE]]> 35832 Carolina Colón, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech and a member of GTRI’s GEM Fellowship cohort, has been honored with the "Role Model Award – Graduate" by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). This award is part of SHPE's Technical Achievement and Recognition (STAR) Awards and will be presented at the SHPE National Convention taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Nov. 1-5.

Carolina Colón

Carolina is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Bioengineering, focusing on T-cell therapies, at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. She earned her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2022 and holds an A.A. in Engineering from Valencia College, awarded in 2019.

Originally from Puerto Rico, she moved to Florida for her last year of high school.

Research at GTRI, Georgia Tech

Carolina's research work aims to combine aerospace engineering and bioengineering to develop devices that enable the mass production of cell therapies to lower their cost and make them more accessible.

GEM Fellowship

Colón was a participant in GTRI’s GEM Fellowship program in 2022. The national GEM Consortium provides funding for graduate education through corporate sponsorships and a partnership with university partners, such as Georgia Tech. 

The National GEM Consortium is a network of leading corporations, government laboratories, elite universities, and elite research institutions that empowers qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue a graduate degree in a STEM field. GEM’s mission is to garner a talent pool of African American, Hispanic American, and Native American advanced degree-seekers in STEM fields.

Every year, GEM identifies and recruits close to 2,000 students and working professionals from underrepresented groups to participate in its program, which consists of three graduate fellowship tracks: Master of Science in Engineering, Ph.D. in Science, and Ph.D. in Engineering.

GEM also provides financial support to aspiring graduate students from underrepresented groups, allowing them to pursue their dreams without worrying about money.

Students selected into the GEM Fellowship program must complete a corporate internship during the summer and attend graduate school during the fall and spring semesters. In exchange, students are provided funding for graduate school through an agreement with their home institutions.

In the GEM Fellowship program, one of her advisors was GTRI Principal Research Engineer Jud Ready of the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory (EOSL).

Ready said that Carolina “increased teamwork and morale while creatively expanding knowledge of her lab mates’ different cultural backgrounds.”

Said Carolina of her GEM experience: "The experience I gained at GTRI will definitely last me a lifetime, and it’s something that has changed my life immensely. Thanks to all at EOSL and GEM."

Other Research Programs

Carolina’s research and professional trajectory has also been aided by her participation in multiple Georgia Tech summer research programs, including the Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CMaT), FOCUS, and SURE programs. Georgia Tech’s FOCUS program is one of the nation’s premier graduate recruitment programs designed to attract highly skilled students who have historically been underrepresented in higher education. The Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Sciences (SURE) program is a 10-week summer research program designed to attract qualified under-represented minority and women students into graduate school in the fields of engineering and science.

Woodruff School Honors

Most recently, as a new graduate student at Georgia Tech, she has been selected as the Vice President of the Woodruff School Graduate Women (WSGW) group and has already put into motion her ideas regarding Hispanic heritage, GT PRIDE, community college information sessions, etc.

The School of Mechanical Engineering has recognized her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. She is an active volunteer with student recruitment panels and represented the school at the Women of Technology Gala. The school also awarded her the Inaugural Women of Woodruff “Rising Star” award for her efforts. 

To cap it off, the Woodruff School also awarded Carolina the inaugural Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship (IRF). This honor recognized Carolina's vision of intertwining the fields of aerospace and bioengineering to create enhanced devices and enable cell therapies in the space environment for astronauts in long-term space missions.

Nada es imposible si lo intentas. (Nothing is impossible if you try.)
 -- Carolina Colón

Beyond Academia

In addition to her studies, Carolina has worked with Marriott Hotels for about ten years. When she is not in the lab, Carolina enjoys activities such as watching anime, learning languages, playing video games, and swimming.

About the Award and SHPE

SHPE is the largest association in the U.S. aimed at supporting Hispanics in STEM fields. The organization’s STAR Awards are annual honors given to individuals, companies, and government agencies that have demonstrated commitment and measurable impact in advancing Hispanics in STEM. The awards are a key feature of the annual SHPE National Convention.

Carolina has been a member of SHPE for three years. A key example of her contribution to SHPE is that, in 2022, she was invited to represent Georgia Tech College of Engineering at the SHPE national conference in North Carolina, and is reprising the same role this year as well.

Leading up to last year’s event, she helped students with graduate school applications, resumes, practice interviews, and pointers on how to land internships. At the event, she talked to many students and told/encouraged them to apply to the many programs that she has participated in, such as Georgia Tech’s FOCUS and SURE programs.

The award received by Carolina Colón reflects GTRI’s and Georgia Tech’s ongoing commitment to creating a diverse academic environment and advancing excellence in STEM fields.

Carolina Colón’s recent accolade serves as a testament to her dedication and contribution to the field of STEM. It also highlights the quality of research and academics within GTRI and Georgia Tech.

We are proud to celebrate her achievements.

Ready said about Carolina: “It seems apparent already that she is destined to be one of those ‘special’ students that go on to make an impact throughout their career in numerous areas.”

We agree—and expect to note many more achievements in the future.

 

 

Writer: Christopher Weems 
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia

Photos: Candler Hobbs
Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1698424161 2023-10-27 16:29:21 1711121430 2024-03-22 15:30:30 0 0 news Carolina Colón, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech and a member of GTRI’s GEM Fellowship cohort, has been honored with the "Role Model Award – Graduate" by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). This award is part of SHPE's Technical Achievement and Recognition (STAR) Awards and will be presented at the SHPE National Convention taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Nov. 1-5.

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2023-10-27T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-27T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-27 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672199 672200 672199 image <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Ph.D. Student, Carolina Colón]]> Carolina (third from right) with members of her GEM Fellowship cohort and members of GTRI leadership.

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672200 image <![CDATA[Carolina Colón]]> Georgia Tech Ph.D. Student, Carolina Colón]]> image/jpeg 1698423850 2023-10-27 16:24:10 1698424061 2023-10-27 16:27:41
<![CDATA[Team iManhole Wins Fall 2023 EGHI/GT Global Health Hackathon]]> 36436 Students tackled climate change in the Fall 2023 Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI) /Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) Global Health Hackathon, Nov. 11, at Tech Square ATL Social. Competing for cash prizes and a spot in GT Startup Launch, first place went to Team iManhole. The team created an integrated system that gathers real-time data from manholes and uses machine learning algorithms to predict flooding to manage traffic and evacuation routes.

“The effects of climate change are felt in every country with the brunt and burden of an unmanaged climate crises threatening to set back global health progress by eroding decades of poverty eradication and health equity efforts worldwide,” said Dr. Rebecca Martin, EGHI director of Emory Global Health Institute.  “Students are an important partner in our work as a global community to mitigate the impacts of climate change on health, safety, and security.”

The EGHI/GT Global Health Hackathon is a partner event between EGHI and CREATE-X. It provides multidisciplinary student teams from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology an opportunity to create technology-based product solutions for global health problems. The target for this fall’s event was creating solutions that address urban flooding, urban heat, or global sea level rise in densely populated, low-resource urban settings. Prizes included $4,000 and a golden ticket into CREATE-X Startup Launch for first place winners, $3,000 for second place winners, $2,000 for third place winners, and $500 each for two honorable mention winners.

“This hackathon continues to be a wonderful partnership between our two institutions that gives these talented students the platform and support to put forward solutions to the most pressing issues we face today,” Rahul Saxena, director of CREATE-X, said. “Each hackathon, I’m increasingly impressed with their ingenuity and their dedication to build something of impact.”

Check out the event program on the EGHI website and see photos from the event on the CREATE-X Flickr account. The full list of the winners of this year’s event includes:

1st Place: iManhole

An integrated system that gathers real-time data from manholes and uses machine learning algorithms to predict flooding to manage traffic and evacuation routes

Team Members: Imran Shah, Leonardo Molinari, and Jiaqi Yang 

2nd Place: Canopy

A climate-tech software platform for democratizing climate analytics using machine learning for urban development planning.

Team Members: Deesha Panchal, Kruthik Ravikanti, Vaibhav Mishra, Nicholas Swanson, Jennifer Samuel, and Vaishnavi Sanjeev

3rd Place: Floodwise

A package of effective simulations and an informed chatbot that help facilitate wise decisions during floods.

Team Members: Ansh Gupta, Dimi Deju, Mukund Chidambaram, and Sahit Mamidipaka 

Honorable Mention

Conquering Heat Islands

Process and hardware that uses excess solar power to mine crypto

Team Members: Rida Akbar, DJ Louis, Edward Zheng, Dmitri Kalinin, and Jade Bondy         

Real-Time Computational Modeling of Urban Flooding and Evacuation in Local Atlanta Communities

Integrated system to gather real-time data from manholes and use machine learning algorithms to predict flooding and optimize traffic/evacuation.

Team Members: Imran Shah, Leonardo Molinari, and Jiaqi Yang

]]> bdurham31 1 1701957929 2023-12-07 14:05:29 1711120967 2024-03-22 15:22:47 0 0 news Students tackled climate change in the Fall 2023 Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI) /Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) Global Health Hackathon, Nov. 11, at Tech Square ATL Social. Competing for cash prizes and a spot in GT Startup Launch, first place went to Team iManhole. The team created an integrated system that gathers real-time data from manholes and uses machine learning algorithms to predict flooding to manage traffic and evacuation routes.

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2023-12-07T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-07T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-07 00:00:00 Breanna Durham

Marketing Strategist

breanna.durham@gatech.edu

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672528 672528 image <![CDATA[2023FallEGHIGTHackathonWinners]]> image/png 1701958011 2023-12-07 14:06:51 1701959360 2023-12-07 14:29:20 <![CDATA[EGHI website]]> <![CDATA[CREATE-X Flickr account]]>
<![CDATA[ GTRI’s Stefan Abi-Karam Receives Esteemed FPL Community Award ]]> 35832 Stefan Abi-Karam, a member of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and a Ph.D student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, has been honored with the prestigious FPL Community Award at the 33rd International Conference on Field-Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL 2023) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abi-Karam, a Research Engineer I in GTRI's Cybersecurity, Information Protection, and Hardware Evaluation Research (CIPHER) Laboratory, was recognized for his paper titled "GNNBuilder: An Automated Framework for Generic Graph Neural Network Accelerator Generation, Simulation, and Optimization." The paper explores the intersection of hardware acceleration and applied deep learning, and delves into areas such as electronic design automation (EDA), FPGA architecture, and VLSI algorithms.

The FPL Community Award recognizes significant research contributions within the field-programmable logic community. It is awarded based on the impact and potential long-term benefits of open-source research, as assessed by peer reviewers during the conference.

Said Stefan, "I am really happy that there is community recognition for open-source academic hardware research, as this is still not the norm, or the open-source aspect is not seen as valuable in many academic research projects."

Abi-Karam's work, conducted in collaboration with Prof. Cong Hao of Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), stands out for its focus on the pragmatic aspects of engineering, automation, and co-design of high-level-synthesis-based hardware accelerators for computing graph neural networks. Stefan also received his bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech.

Stefan’s research has potential applications in various fields, including high-energy physics, where the deployment of graph neural networks in hardware.

Abi-Karam's dedication to his research and his success in blending his Ph.D. studies with his work at GTRI exemplify GTRI’s Mission's aims of Educating Future Technology Leaders and being a “People-First” environment.

This award not only recognizes Abi-Karam's individual excellence but also underscores GTRI’s and Georgia Tech's role as leaders in the field of cybersecurity and electrical and computer engineering research.

"The award itself was very unexpected since this was my first time at the FPL conference!" said Stefan excitedly and humbly. "It was also the first time I got to meet and talk to many of the other professors and students for the first time who also work in my research area as well as other areas that overlap with my work at GTRI." 

Congratulations, Stefan!

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1701106034 2023-11-27 17:27:14 1711115909 2024-03-22 13:58:29 0 0 news Stefan Abi-Karam, a member of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and a Ph.D student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, has been honored with the prestigious FPL Community Award at the 33rd International Conference on Field-Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL 2023) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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2023-11-27T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-27T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-27 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672451 672451 image <![CDATA[Stefan Abi-Karam receives the FPL Community Award]]> Stefan Abi-Karam (left) receives the FPL Community Award.

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<![CDATA[The Heart of the Matter]]> 27469 It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for Flavio Fenton to have the heart on his mind. Fenton has been fascinated by the human heart for 30 years. The professor in the School of Physics explores the physics and mathematics behind the heart — specifically, arrythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms.

“When you think about the physics of a heart, the first thing that comes to mind is the pumping action and the forcing of fluids,” he said. “But the reason it contracts is an electrical signal. There’s a lot of physiology and biology behind the function of the heart, but underneath it all, there’s so many areas of physics you can apply to it to understand how it works — and how it fails to work, like in the case of arrhythmias.”

There’s a lot to love about Fenton’s work:

His current projects involve possible advances in the amount of voltage used to treat fibrillations, and new knowledge about where in the heart to apply that voltage. He maintains collaborations with agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and a wide array of researchers and clinicians, with hopes that hospitals will eventually be able to apply what he has studied over the years to assist in better patient care and health outcomes.

“The heart has been a really fun system to study, and there’s so much that we still don’t know,” he said. “On top of that, it has a main application of directly saving lives if we can find better and safer ways to prevent and terminate arrhythmias.”

]]> Kristen Bailey 1 1707841801 2024-02-13 16:30:01 1708013971 2024-02-15 16:19:31 0 0 news It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for Flavio Fenton to have the heart on his mind. Fenton has been fascinated by the human heart for 30 years.

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2024-02-13T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-13T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-13 00:00:00 Jess Hunt-Ralston

College of Sciences

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673063 673063 image <![CDATA[Abouzar Kaboudian and Flavio Fenton]]> Abouzar Kaboudian and Flavio Fenton work on data they gathered about heart arrhythmias by studying rabbit hearts.

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<![CDATA[LISTEN: Can Math and Physics Save an Arrhythmic Heart?]]> <![CDATA[ Georgia Tech and Emory Researchers Win Award for Arrhythmia Research]]> <![CDATA[ We Heart Physics: Flavio Fenton on Cardiac Rhythms, Chaos, and a Mission to End Arrhythmias]]> <![CDATA[ Using Smartphones and Laptops to Simulate Deadly Heart Arrhythmias ]]> <![CDATA[ Maelstroms in the Heart Confirmed ]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech and Micron Collaborate to Expand Access to Engineering Education]]> 35272 The Georgia Institute of Technology today announced the signing of a master research agreement with Micron Technology, a global leader in memory and storage solutions. Under the new agreement, the two organizations will expand their collaborative efforts in providing students with experiential research opportunities and expanding access to engineering education.

“We are proud to join forces with Georgia Tech, home to some of the nation’s top programs, to expand students’ opportunities in STEM education,” said Scott DeBoer, executive vice president of Technology and Products at Micron. “This collaboration will help push the boundaries in memory technology innovation and ensure we prepare the workforce of the future.”

“We believe that when academia and industry converge, the best ideas flourish into game-changing innovations,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research at Georgia Tech. “The synergy between Micron and Georgia Tech has already been tremendously fruitful, and we are so excited for the boundless opportunities on our shared horizon.”

“The signing of the master research agreement represents a significant step towards increasing additional collaboration pathways between Micron and GT including the joint pursuit of major federal funding activities, technology transfer, student internships and technology transfer,” said George White, senior director of Strategic Partnerships at Georgia Tech.

The first project under the agreement is already underway. Saibal Mukhopadhyay, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is leading the research efforts titled “Configurable Processing-In-Memory.” This cutting-edge research will enable memory devices to work faster and more efficiently.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1707999163 2024-02-15 12:12:43 1707999770 2024-02-15 12:22:50 0 0 news The Georgia Institute of Technology announced the signing of a master research agreement with Micron Technology

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2024-02-15T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-15T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-15 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister

Research Communications Program Manager

amelia.neumeister@research.gatech.edu

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673091 673091 image <![CDATA[Micron_GT.jpg]]> From Left: George White, Julia Kubanek, Chaouki T. Abdallah, Scott DeBoer, Steve McLaughlin

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<![CDATA[The Dynamics of Deformable Systems: Study Unravels Mathematical Mystery of Cable-like Structures]]> 35599 Are our bodies solid or liquid? We all know the convention that solids maintain their shapes, while liquids fill the containers they’re in. But often in the real world, those lines are blurred. Imagine walking on a beach. Sometimes the sand gives way under feet, deforming like a liquid, but when enough sand grains pack together, they can support weight like a solid surface.

Modeling these kinds of systems is notoriously difficult — but Zeb Rocklin, an assistant professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Tech, has written a new paper doing just that. 

Rocklin’s study, “Rigidity percolation in a random tensegrity via analytic graph theory,” is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The results have the potential to impact fields spanning biology to engineering and nanotechnology, showing that these types of deformable solids offer a rare combination of durability and flexibility.

"I'm very proud of our team, especially Will and Vishal, the two Georgia Tech undergraduates who co-led the study,” Rocklin says. 

The lead author, William Stephenson, and co-author Vishal Sudhakar both completed their undergraduate studies at the Institute during the time of this research. Stephenson is now a first-year grad student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Sudhakar has been admitted to Georgia Tech as a graduate student. Additionally, co-author Michael Czajkowski is a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Physics, and co-author James McInerney completed his graduate studies in the School of Physics under Rocklin. McInerney is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan. 

Connecting the dots… with cables

Imagine building molecules in chemistry class large wooden spheres connected with sticks or rods. While many models use rods, including mathematical models, biological systems in real life are constructed of polymers, which function more like stretchy strings.

Likewise, when creating mathematical or biological models, researchers frequently treat all the elements as rods as opposed to treating some of them as cables, or strings. But, “there are tradeoffs between how mathematically tractable a model is and how physically plausible it is,” Rocklin says. “Physicists can have some beautiful mathematical theories, but they aren’t always realistic.”  For example, a model using connective rods might not capture the dynamics that connective strings provide. “With a string you can stretch it, and it'll fight you, but when you compress it, it collapses.”

“But, in this study, we’ve extended the current theories,” he says, adding cable-like elements. “And that actually turns out to be incredibly difficult, because these theories use mathematical equations. In contrast, the distance between the two ends of a cable is represented by an inequality, which is not an equation at all. So how do you create a mathematical theory when you aren't starting from equations?” While a rod has a certain length in a mathematical equation, the ends of the string have to be represented as less than or equal to a certain length.

In this situation “all the usual analytic theories completely break,” Rocklin says. “It becomes very difficult for physicists or for mathematicians.”

“The trick was to notice that these physical systems were logically equivalent to something called a directed graph,” Rocklin adds, “where different modes of deformation are linked to each other in specific ways. This allows us to take a relatively complicated system and massively compress it to a much smaller system. And when we did that, we were able to turn it into something that becomes extremely easy for the computer to do.”

From biology to engineering

Rocklin’s team found that when modeling with cables and springs, the target range changed — becoming softer, with a wider margin for error. “That could be really important for something like a biological system, because a biological system is trying to stay close to that critical point,” says Rocklin. “Our model shows that the region around the critical point is actually much broader than what models that only used rods previously showed.”

Rocklin also points out applications for engineers. For example, since Rocklin's new theory suggests that even disordered cable structures can be strong and flexible, it may help engineers leverage cables as building materials to create safer, more durable bridges. The theory also provides a way to easily model these cable-based structures, to ensure their safety before they are built, and provide a way for engineers to iterate on designs.

Rocklin also notes potential applications in nanotechnology. “In nanotechnology, you must accept an increasing amount of disorder, because you can't just have a skilled worker actually go in and put segments there, and you can't have a conventional factory machine put segments there,” Rocklin says. 

But biology has known how to lay down effective, but disordered, rod and cable structures for hundreds of millions of years. “This is going to tell us what sorts of machines we can make with those disordered structures when we're getting to the point of being able to do what biology can do. And that's a possible future design principle for the engineers to explore, at very small scales, where we can't choose exactly where each cable goes,” Rocklin says.

“Our theory shows that with cables, we can maintain a combination of flexibility and strength with much less precision than you might otherwise need.”

 

Funding: This research was funded by the Army Research Office through the MURI program (#W911NF2210219).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2302536120


Figure caption: Systems of rigid rods acquire rigidity via the addition of random additional rods and cables, as captured via a graph theory. The research team's main object of study, shown here, is structures that consist of large numbers of pores — arranged in columns and rows with cables and rods added at random.

]]> sperrin6 1 1707420101 2024-02-08 19:21:41 1707498326 2024-02-09 17:05:26 0 0 news A new theory allows researchers to create easy-to-solve mathematical models using cables, a previously challenging mathematical problem — offering key insights into the behavior of deformable solids, with applications spanning from engineering and biology to nanotechnology.

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2024-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-09 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

Editor and Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston

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673031 673031 image <![CDATA[The research team's main object of study, shown here, is structures that consist of large numbers of pores — arranged in columns and rows with cables and rods added at random. ]]> Systems of rigid rods acquire rigidity via the addition of random additional rods and cables, as captured via a graph theory. The research team's main object of study, shown here, is structures that consist of large numbers of pores — arranged in columns and rows with cables and rods added at random.

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<![CDATA[GTRI Develops Machine Learning Operations Platform to Streamline Data Management for the DoD ]]> 35832 Machine learning (ML) has transformed the digital landscape with its unprecedented ability to automate complex tasks and improve decision-making processes. However, many organizations, including the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), still rely on time-consuming methods for developing and testing machine learning models, which can create strategic vulnerabilities in today’s fast-changing environment. 

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is addressing this challenge by developing a Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) platform that standardizes the development and testing of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML models to enhance the speed and efficiency with which these models are utilized during real-time decision-making situations.   

“It’s been difficult for organizations to transition these models from a research environment and turn them into fully-functional products that can be used in real-time,” said Austin Ruth, a GTRI research engineer who is leading this project. “Our goal is to bring AI/ML to the tactical edge where it could be used during active threat situations to heighten the survivability of our warfighters.” 

Rather than treating ML development in isolation, GTRI’s MLOps platform would bridge the gap between data scientists and field operations so that organizations can oversee the entire lifecycle of ML projects from development to deployment at the tactical edge. 

The tactical edge refers to the immediate operational space where decisions are made and actions take place. Bringing AI and ML capabilities closer to the point of action would enhance the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making processes and contribute to more agile and adaptive responses to threats. 

“We want to develop a system where fighter jets or warships don’t have to do any data transfers but could train and label the data right where they are and have the AI/ML models improve in real-time as they’re actively going up against threats,” said Ruth.   

For example, a model could monitor a plane’s altitude and speed, immediately spot potential wing drag issues and alert the pilot about it. In an electronic warfare (EW) situation when facing enemy aircraft or missiles, the models could process vast amounts of incoming data to more quickly identify threats and recommend effective countermeasures in real time. 

AI/ML models need to be trained and tested to ensure their effectiveness in adapting to new, unseen data. However, without having a standardized process in place, training and testing is done in a fragmented manner, which poses several risks, such as overfitting, where the model performs well on the training data but fails to generalize unseen data and makes inaccurate predictions or decisions in real-world situations, security vulnerabilities where bad actors exploit weaknesses in the models, and a general lack of robustness and inefficient resource utilization.

“Throughout this project, we noticed that training and testing are often done in a piecemeal fashion and thus aren’t repeatable,” said Jovan Munroe, a GTRI senior research engineer who is also leading this project. “Our MLOps platform makes the training and testing process more consistent and well-defined so that these models are better equipped to identify and address unknown variables in the battle space.” 

This project has been supported by GTRI’s Independent Research and Development (IRAD) Program, winning an IRAD of the Year award in fiscal year 2023. In fiscal year 2024, the project received funding from a U.S. government sponsor. 

 

Writer: Anna Akins 
Photos: Sean McNeil 
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1705418010 2024-01-16 15:13:30 1707496664 2024-02-09 16:37:44 0 0 news The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing a Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) platform that standardizes the development and testing of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML models to enhance the speed and efficiency with which these models are utilized during real-time active threat situations to heighten the survivability of our warfighters.

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2024-01-16T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-16T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-16 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

]]>
672753 672752 672753 image <![CDATA[GTRI Machine Learning Project Leads]]> GTRI has developed a dashboard that aids in the DoD's development and testing of AI and ML models that would be utilized during real-time decision-making situations. Pictured from L to R are the two project leads, GTRI Research Engineer Austin Ruth and GTRI Senior Research Engineer Jovan Munroe (Photo Credit: Sean McNeil, GTRI).

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672752 image <![CDATA[GTRI MLOps team ]]> The MLOps team poses with GTRI Chief Technology Officer Mark Whorton (far left) and GTRI Director Jim Hudgens (second from left) after winning an IRAD of the Year award for their work on this project at GTRI's FY23 IRAD Extravaganza event (Photo Credit: Sean McNeil, GTRI).

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<![CDATA[ Georgia Tech Named Top-Ranked Public University in Energy]]> 34541 U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Georgia Institute of Technology as the top public university and No. 3 nationally in energy and fuels research. This is the first year the category has been included in the annual rankings, and Georgia Tech’s dominance reflects the dynamic research and expertise of the Institute.

“I’m thrilled to see Georgia Tech recognized for our leading-edge approach to creating sustainable energy solutions,” said Executive Vice President for Research Chaouki Abdallah. “This achievement reflects the unwavering commitment of our faculty and researchers to conducting groundbreaking research, transformative innovation, and our dedication and focus through our Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) to addressing the world's most pressing energy challenges.”

SEI integrates energy research across Georgia Tech and is one of 10 Interdisciplinary Research Institutes. Headed by Executive Director Tim Lieuwen, Regents’ Professor and David S. Lewis Jr. Chair, SEI helps connect and integrate the large Georgia Tech energy community for engagement with industry, government, communities, and nonprofits.  

 “Georgia Tech has over 1,000 researchers working on the clean energy transition across every school, college, and unit,” said Lieuwen. “I’m pleased to see the scale of our impact recognized by this ranking but also energized by the real-world impact that we are having on cleaner air, lower cost energy, and a healthier planet.”

 U.S. News & World Report ranks 47 subject areas by tabulating academic research performance such as publications and citations, and indicators for regional and global reputation. Georgia Tech was evaluated out of 319 universities, and continues its strong standing in the rankings, claiming the No. 33 spot overall in the nation and No. 10 among public schools.

]]> Tess Malone 1 1707322911 2024-02-07 16:21:51 1707489710 2024-02-09 14:41:50 0 0 news U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Georgia Institute of Technology as the top public university and No. 3 nationally in energy and fuels research. This is the first year the category has been included in the annual rankings, and Georgia Tech’s dominance reflects the dynamic research and expertise of the Institute.

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2024-02-07T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-07T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-07 00:00:00 Tess Malone, Senior Research Writer/Editor

tess.malone@gatech.edu

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672999 672999 image <![CDATA[EnergyGraphic.jpeg]]> image/jpeg 1707323181 2024-02-07 16:26:21 1707323181 2024-02-07 16:26:21
<![CDATA[Bold Move to Columbus Marks First Semiconductor Manufacturer in Region]]> 28137 COLUMBUS and ATLANTA, GA — Innovative partnering proved successful as CHIPS4CHIPS announced the locating of the first semiconductor manufacturer in the Chattahoochee Valley. Micromize, a pioneering semiconductor manufacturer specializing in energy-efficient electronics for wearables and mobile devices, has chosen Columbus as the location for its inaugural manufacturing facility. 

The move is the result of strategic partnerships between Micromize, CHIPS4CHIPS (Chattahoochee Hub for Innovation and Production of Semiconductors/C4C), and several programs at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, including its Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), its Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Center for Economic Development Research. It also signifies a collaborative effort to harness the cutting-edge innovations in semiconductor packaging available at Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology.

"Our decision to locate in Columbus was driven by several crucial factors, and we are thrilled about the opportunities that this vibrant city presents for our growth and development,” said Prashant Patil, Micromize founder and CEO. “The work of CHIPS4CHIPS in supporting the semiconductor industry is commendable, and we are excited to be part of this innovative ecosystem.”

This exciting development was announced Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Marcus Nanotechnology Center on Georgia Tech’s campus to a large group of state legislators and other state officials, a delegation of business and civic leaders from Columbus, and leadership from Georgia Tech and ATDC. The announcement is a true look at how statewide partnerships can lead to success for the Columbus region.

Micromize, a spinoff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, selected Georgia as its new home, in part, to take advantage of the semiconductor packaging expertise at Georgia Tech. The company plans to establish its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Columbus, further solidifying its presence in the state’s vibrant technology ecosystem. Additionally, Micromize will center its cutting-edge research and development on Georgia Tech's campus.

"The collaboration with Micromize is a significant milestone for CHIPS4CHIPS and the entire region,” said Ben Moser, president and CEO of United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley and chair of CHIPS4CHIPS. “This announcement marks the first of what we believe will be many to come, and we are thankful that Micromize recognizes the potential of our region for this industry. Columbus is poised for remarkable development, and we look forward to the positive impact that Micromize will bring to our community.”

The strategic relocation is expected to create significant economic opportunities in the region. Micromize will bring 20-25 jobs to Columbus through its headquarters and manufacturing facility, contributing to the local workforce, and fostering growth.

Micromize will center its Research & Development Lab at Georgia Tech’s 3D Systems Packaging Research Center, which is regarded as the world’s best for semiconductor packaging research. This partnership represents a synergistic collaboration of industry leaders, research institutions, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Micromize's move to Columbus not only underscores the city's growing prominence as a technology hub, but also highlights the collaborative efforts driving innovation and economic development in the state of Georgia.

In addition to C4C’s nationally recognized workforce development efforts, the Fort Moore Army base, and its skilled workforce, the region’s proximity to a port and airport will facilitate efficient shipping, and Columbus played a pivotal role in supporting the company by providing essential infrastructure, he said.

“Our collaboration with Georgia Tech enriches our talent pool, adds exponentially to our research and development capabilities, and access to mentorship at ATDC enhances our commercialization potential,” Patil said. “We are also proud to be part of the effort to revitalize semiconductor manufacturing in the United States, with Columbus serving as our starting point as we embark on this exciting journey of growth and innovation.”

Georgia Tech, a leader in microchips and nanotechnology research, innovation, and fabrication, provides fertile ground for Micromize's relocation. The Institute’s commitment to advancing semiconductor technology aligns with the national push at the federal level (via the CHIPS and Science Act) to bring more semiconductor production to the U.S., making it more competitive in research, development, and manufacturing.

“As the state’s technology startup incubator, we’re excited to welcome Micromize into our portfolio and to support them into the next phase of growth and expansion,” said ATDC Director John Avery.

“Microchips, semiconductor packaging, and microelectronics are critical to our national economy and national security. Micromize’s choosing Georgia as its home to grow reflects what is proving to be a successful model when business, government, and research institutions such as Georgia Tech collaborate.”

]]> Péralte Paul 1 1706111046 2024-01-24 15:44:06 1707355350 2024-02-08 01:22:30 0 0 news Innovative partnering proved successful as CHIPS4CHIPS announced the locating of the first semiconductor manufacturer in the Chattahoochee Valley.

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2024-01-24T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-24T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-24 00:00:00 About Micromize
Micromize is a leading provider of energy-efficient electronics for wearables and mobile devices. With a foundation rooted in MIT research in semiconductor packaging, Micromize is at the forefront of technological innovation, creating solutions that empower the future of electronics.

About CHIPS4CHIPS
CHIPS4CHIPS (Chattahoochee Hub for Innovation and Production of Semiconductors) is a dynamic bi-state, multi-county coalition in the Chattahoochee Valley, uniting hundreds of individuals, organizations, and businesses, as well as the public and private sector. C4C’s vision positions our region as the Southeast leader in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. C4C’s efforts will bolster the domestic semiconductor industry, contribute to regional economic growth, support national security, and reduce poverty through the creation of well-paying jobs. With the industry’s significant U.S. expansion, C4C strategically aligns with the public, business, and educational sectors to foster a skilled semiconductor value chain.

About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.

The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 46,000 students, representing 50 states and more than 150 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning.

As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

About ATDC
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, is the state’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become the longest running and one of the most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

 

]]>
Péralte C. Paul
404.316.1210
peralte@atdc.org

 

]]>
672851 672854 672855 672865 672851 image <![CDATA[Prashant Patil]]> Prashant Patil, founder and CEO of Micromize, explains to a coalition of business, civic, and military stakeholders from Columbus, Georgia and Georgia Tech leaders why he opted to relocate his company to Columbus, Georgia from Massachusetts. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

]]> image/jpeg 1706111079 2024-01-24 15:44:39 1706111998 2024-01-24 15:59:58
672854 image <![CDATA[CHIPS4CHIPS - Georgia Tech]]> A coalition of business and civic leaders from Columbus, Georgia and several programs at Georgia Tech, including ATDC, announced Jan. 23, 2024, that semiconductor manufacturer, Micromize, is relocating to Georgia from Massachusetts. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

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672855 image <![CDATA[General Buzzard]]> David Bridges, vice president of Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute, speaks with Maj. Gen Curtis A. Buzzard, commanding general of the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Moore in Columbus. Because of its skilled workforce, Fort Moore was one reason Micromize selected Georgia for its manufacturing facility. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

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672865 image <![CDATA[Richard Smith]]> Georgia House Rep. Richard Smith, (R-Columbus), chairman of the Rules Committee, discusses how the collaboration that led to Micromize coming to Columbus could serve as a blueprint for more semiconductor companies developing in or moving to Georgia. (PHOTO: Chris Ruggiero)

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<![CDATA[Researchers Leverage AI to Develop Early Diagnostic Test for Ovarian Cancer]]> 34434 For over three decades, a highly accurate early diagnostic test for ovarian cancer has eluded physicians. Now, scientists in the Georgia Tech Integrated Cancer Research Center (ICRC) have combined machine learning with information on blood metabolites to develop a new test able to detect ovarian cancer with 93 percent accuracy among samples from the team’s study group.

John McDonald, professor emeritus in the School of Biological Sciences, founding director of the ICRC, and the study’s corresponding author, explains that the new test’s accuracy is better in detecting ovarian cancer than existing tests for women clinically classified as normal, with a particular improvement in detecting early-stage ovarian disease in that cohort.

The team’s results and methodologies are detailed in a new paper, “A Personalized Probabilistic Approach to Ovarian Cancer Diagnostics,” published in the March 2024 online issue of the medical journal Gynecologic Oncology. Based on their computer models, the researchers have developed what they believe will be a more clinically useful approach to ovarian cancer diagnosis — whereby a patient’s individual metabolic profile can be used to assign a more accurate probability of the presence or absence of the disease.

“This personalized, probabilistic approach to cancer diagnostics is more clinically informative and accurate than traditional binary (yes/no) tests,” McDonald says. “It represents a promising new direction in the early detection of ovarian cancer, and perhaps other cancers as well.”

The study co-authors also include Dongjo Ban, a Bioinformatics Ph.D. student in McDonald’s lab; Research Scientists Stephen N. Housley, Lilya V. Matyunina, and L.DeEtte (Walker) McDonald; Regents’ Professor Jeffrey Skolnick, who also serves as Mary and Maisie Gibson Chair in the School of Biological Sciences and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Computational Systems Biology; and two collaborating physicians: University of North Carolina Professor Victoria L. Bae-Jump and Ovarian Cancer Institute of Atlanta Founder and Chief Executive Officer Benedict B. Benigno. Members of the research team are forming a startup to transfer and commercialize the technology, and plan to seek requisite trials and FDA approval for the test.

Silent killer

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the silent killer because the disease is typically asymptomatic when it first arises — and is usually not detected until later stages of development, when it is difficult to treat.

McDonald explains that while the average five-year survival rate for late-stage ovarian cancer patients, even after treatment, is around 31 percent — but that if ovarian cancer is detected and treated early, the average five-year survival rate is more than 90 percent.

“Clearly, there is a tremendous need for an accurate early diagnostic test for this insidious disease,” McDonald says.

And although development of an early detection test for ovarian cancer has been vigorously pursued for more than three decades, the development of early, accurate diagnostic tests has proven elusive. Because cancer begins on the molecular level, McDonald explains, there are multiple possible pathways capable of leading to even the same cancer type.

“Because of this high-level molecular heterogeneity among patients, the identification of a single universal diagnostic biomarker of ovarian cancer has not been possible,” McDonald says. “For this reason, we opted to use a branch of artificial intelligence — machine learning — to develop an alternative probabilistic approach to the challenge of ovarian cancer diagnostics.”

Metabolic profiles

Georgia Tech co-author Dongjo Ban, whose thesis research contributed to the study, explains that “because end-point changes on the metabolic level are known to be reflective of underlying changes operating collectively on multiple molecular levels, we chose metabolic profiles as the backbone of our analysis.”

“The set of human metabolites is a collective measure of the health of cells,” adds coauthor Jeffrey Skolnick, “and by not arbitrarily choosing any subset in advance, one lets the artificial intelligence figure out which are the key players for a given individual.”

Mass spectrometry can identify the presence of metabolites in the blood by detecting their mass and charge signatures. However, Ban says, the precise chemical makeup of a metabolite requires much more extensive characterization.

Ban explains that because the precise chemical composition of less than seven percent of the metabolites circulating in human blood have, thus far, been chemically characterized, it is currently impossible to accurately pinpoint the specific molecular processes contributing to an individual's metabolic profile.

However, the research team recognized that, even without knowing the precise chemical make-up of each individual metabolite, the mere presence of different metabolites in the blood of different individuals, as detected by mass spectrometry, can be incorporated as features in the building of accurate machine learning-based predictive models (similar to the use of individual facial features in the building of facial pattern recognition algorithms).

“Thousands of metabolites are known to be circulating in the human bloodstream, and they can be readily and accurately detected by mass spectrometry and combined with machine learning to establish an accurate ovarian cancer diagnostic,” Ban says.

A new probabilistic approach

The researchers developed their integrative approach by combining metabolomic profiles and machine learning-based classifiers to establish a diagnostic test with 93 percent accuracy when tested on 564 women from Georgia, North Carolina, Philadelphia and Western Canada. 431 of the study participants were active ovarian cancer patients, and while the remaining 133 women in the study did not have ovarian cancer.

Further studies have been initiated to study the possibility that the test is able to detect very early-stage disease in women displaying no clinical symptoms, McDonald says.

McDonald anticipates a clinical future where a person with a metabolic profile that falls within a score range that makes cancer highly unlikely would only require yearly monitoring. But someone with a metabolic score that lies in a range where a majority (say, 90%) have previously been diagnosed with ovarian cancer would likely be monitored more frequently — or perhaps immediately referred for advanced screening.

Citation: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2023.12.030

Funding

This research was funded by the Ovarian Cancer Institute (Atlanta), the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation, the Deborah Nash Endowment Fund, Northside Hospital (Atlanta), and the Mark Light Integrated Cancer Research Student Fellowship.

Disclosure

Study co-authors John McDonald, Stephen N. Housley, Jeffrey Skolnick, and Benedict B. Benigno are the co-founders of MyOncoDx, Inc., formed to support further research, technology transfer, and commercialization for the team’s new clinical tool for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

]]> Renay San Miguel 1 1706553383 2024-01-29 18:36:23 1707343121 2024-02-07 21:58:41 0 0 news The Georgia Tech Integrated Cancer Research Center has combined machine learning with information on blood metabolites to develop a new early diagnostic test that detects ovarian cancer with 93 percent accuracy. The team’s results are detailed in the medical journal Gynecologic Oncology.

]]>
2024-01-29T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-29T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-29 00:00:00 Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston

 

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672894 672894 image <![CDATA[Micrograph of a mucinous ovarian tumor (Photo National Institutes of Health)]]> Micrograph of a mucinous ovarian tumor (Photo National Institutes of Health)

]]> image/jpeg 1706553548 2024-01-29 18:39:08 1706553548 2024-01-29 18:39:08
<![CDATA[Diagnosing the “Silent Killer”: AI Tackles Early Stage Ovarian Cancer]]> <![CDATA[Machine Learning–Based Classifier Accurately Identifies Ovarian Cancer]]>
<![CDATA[Physics to Host Climate Talk with Former U.S. Secretary of Energy, Nobel Laureate ]]> 34528 On April 26, 2023, the School of Physics and College of Sciences at Georgia Tech will welcome Stanford University physicist Steven Chu to speak on climate change and innovative paths towards a more sustainable future. Chu is the 1997 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and in his former role as U.S. Secretary of Energy, became the first scientist to hold a U.S. Cabinet position.

About the Talk

The event is part of the School of Physics “Inquiring Minds” public lecture series, and will be held at the Ferst Center for the Arts. The talk is free and open to campus and the Atlanta community, and no RSVP is required. Refreshments begin at 4:30, and the lecture will start at 5 p.m. ET.

“The multiple industrial and agricultural revolutions have transformed the world,” Chu recently shared in an abstract for the lecture. “However, an unintended consequence of this progress is that we are changing the climate of our planet. In addition to the climate risks, we will need to provide enough clean energy, water, and food for a more prosperous world that may grow to 11 billion by 2100.” 

The talk will discuss the significant technical challenges and potential solutions that could provide better paths to a more sustainable future. “How we transition from where we are now to where we need to be within 50 years is arguably the most pressing set of issues that science, innovation, and public policy have to address,” Chu added. 

The event’s faculty host is Daniel Goldman, Dunn Family Professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Tech.

About Steven Chu

Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics and a professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology in the Medical School at Stanford University.

Chu served as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy from January 2009 until the end of April 2013. As the first scientist to hold a U.S. Cabinet position and the longest serving Energy Secretary, Chu led several initiatives including ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), the Energy Innovation Hubs, and was personally tasked by President Obama to assist in the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.

In the spring of 2010, Chu was the keynote speaker for the Georgia Tech Ph.D. and Master's Commencement Ceremony.

Prior to his cabinet post, Chu was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he was active in pursuit of alternative and renewable energy technologies, and a professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford, where he helped launch Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary institute combining the physical and biological sciences with medicine and engineering. Previously he also served as head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

He is the co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to laser cooling and atom trapping. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Pontifical Academy Sciences, and of seven foreign academies. He formerly served as president, and then chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Chu earned an A.B. degree in mathematics and a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as 35 honorary degrees.

He has published over 280 papers in atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, bio-imaging, batteries, and other energy technologies. He holds 15 patents, and an additional 15 patent disclosures or filings since 2015.

 

]]> jhunt7 1 1682030804 2023-04-20 22:46:44 1707144642 2024-02-05 14:50:42 0 0 news Physicist Steven Chu was the first person appointed to the U.S. Cabinet after having won a Nobel Prize — and the first scientist to hold a Cabinet position. On April 26, he will deliver a public lecture at Georgia Tech on climate change and innovative paths towards a more sustainable future.

]]>
2023-04-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-20 00:00:00 Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

]]>
670596 670597 670596 image <![CDATA[Steven Chu (Credit: Imke Lass/Redux)]]> image/jpeg 1682031580 2023-04-20 22:59:40 1682031580 2023-04-20 22:59:40 670597 image <![CDATA[Steven Chu (Credit: Larry Downing/Reuters)]]> image/jpeg 1682031622 2023-04-20 23:00:22 1682031622 2023-04-20 23:00:22
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech to Lead NASA Center on Lunar Research and Exploration]]> 36123 Georgia Tech researchers have been selected by NASA to lead a $7.5 million center that will study the lunar environment and the generation and properties of volatiles and dust. The Center for Lunar Environment and Volatile Exploration Research (CLEVER) will be led by Thomas Orlando, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

CLEVER is the successor to Orlando’s pioneering REVEALS (Radiation Effects on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces) center, and both are part of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) program. 

REVEALS and CLEVER look ahead to the return of humans to the moon for sustained periods — a key part of NASA’s plan for space exploration in the coming decade. Volatiles such as water, molecular oxygen, methane, and hydrogen are crucial to supporting human activity on the moon. Dust is also important since the space-weathered particles can pose health effects to astronauts and hazards to the technology and hardware.

The interdisciplinary group of researchers supported by CLEVER will study how the solar wind and micrometeorites produce volatiles, research how ice and dust behave in the lunar environment, develop new materials to deal with potential dust buildup, and invent new analysis tools to support the upcoming crewed missions of the Artemis program.

 “The resources and knowledge that CLEVER will produce will be useful for the sustainable presence of humans on the moon,” Orlando says. “We have the correct mix of fundamental science and exploration — real, fundamental, ground-truth measurements; very good theory/modeling; and engineering — an easy mix with Georgia Tech and outside partners.” 

Orlando adds that CLEVER adopts a unique perspective on the challenges of understanding how to operate on Earth’s moon. “The atomic and molecular view of processes with angstrom distances and femtosecond time scales can help unravel what is happening on planetary spatial scales and geological time frames,” he says. “We can also translate our knowledge into materials, devices, and technology pretty quickly, and this is necessary if we want to help the Artemis astronauts.”

CLEVER includes investigators from Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, the Florida Space Institute, University of Hawaii, Auburn University, Space Sciences Institute, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NASA Ames, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and partners in Italy and Germany. In addition to pursuing a blend of fundamental science and mission support, CLEVER will also emphasize the research and career development of students and young investigators, another important goal of the SSERVI system.

 

Writer: M.G. Finn

Art: Brice Zimmerman

]]> Catherine Barzler 1 1684440093 2023-05-18 20:01:33 1707144547 2024-02-05 14:49:07 0 0 news Georgia Tech researchers have been selected by NASA to lead a $7.5 million center that will study the lunar environment, and explore the generation and properties of volatiles and dust. 

]]>
2023-05-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-05-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-05-18 00:00:00 Catherine Barzler, Senior Research Writer/Editor

]]>
670844 670844 image <![CDATA[22CLEVER_GRAPHIC_1(300dpi).png]]> Research themes defining NASA’s CLEVER Center which will be led by professor Thomas Orlando.

]]> image/png 1684440904 2023-05-18 20:15:04 1684440904 2023-05-18 20:15:04
<![CDATA[IceCube Detects High-Energy Neutrino Emission from Milky Way]]> 34528 Georgia Institute of Technology Physics Professor and Center for Relativistic Astrophysics member Ignacio Taboada serves as spokesperson for IceCube Collaboration.

Our Milky Way galaxy is an awe-inspiring feature of the night sky, viewable with the naked eye as a horizon-to-horizon hazy band of stars. Now, for the first time, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory has produced an image of the Milky Way using neutrinos — tiny, ghostlike astronomical messengers.

In an article to be published June 30, 2023, in the journal Science, the IceCube Collaboration, an international group of over 350 scientists, presents evidence of high-energy neutrino emission from the Milky Way.

The detected high-energy neutrinos hold energies millions to billions of times higher than those produced by the fusion reactions that power stars.

IceCube was built and is operated with National Science Foundation (NSF) funding and additional support from the fourteen countries that host institutional members of the IceCube Collaboration. IceCube Observatory searches for signs of high-energy neutrinos originating from our galaxy and beyond, out to the farthest reaches of the universe.

A cubic-kilometer neutrino detector operating at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station observes these high-energy neutrinos, explains Ignacio Taboada, spokesperson for IceCube and a physics professor at Georgia Institute of Technology. “IceCube is truly unique,” Taboada says. “Built deep in Antarctic ice, its over 5,000 light sensors search for the flashes of blue light — Cherenkov radiation produced by neutrinos in the upper atmosphere, the Milky Way, and deep into the cosmos.”

Searching the southern sky

“What's intriguing is that, unlike the case for light of any wavelength, in neutrinos, the universe outshines the nearby sources in our own galaxy," says Francis Halzen, a professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and principal investigator of IceCube.

"As is so often the case, significant breakthroughs in science are enabled by advances in technology," says Denise Caldwell, director of NSF's Physics Division. "The capabilities provided by the highly sensitive IceCube detector, coupled with new data analysis tools, have given us an entirely new view of our galaxy — one that had only been hinted at before. As these capabilities continue to be refined, we can look forward to watching this picture emerge with ever-increasing resolution, potentially revealing hidden features of our galaxy never before seen by humanity."

Interactions between cosmic rays — high-energy protons and heavier nuclei, also produced in our galaxy, and galactic gas and dust inevitably produce both gamma rays and neutrinos. Given the observation of gamma rays from the galactic plane, the Milky Way was expected to be a source of high-energy neutrinos.

“A neutrino counterpart has now been measured, thus confirming what we know about our galaxy and cosmic ray sources,” says Steve Sclafani, a physics Ph.D. student at Drexel University, IceCube member, and co-lead analyzer.

The search focused on the southern sky, where the bulk of neutrino emission from the galactic plane is expected near the center of our galaxy. However, until now, the background of muons and neutrinos produced by cosmic-ray interactions with the Earth’s atmosphere posed significant challenges.

To overcome them, IceCube collaborators at Drexel University developed analyses that select for "cascade" events, or neutrino interactions in the ice that result in roughly spherical showers of light. Because the deposited energy from cascade events starts within the instrumented volume, contamination of atmospheric muons and neutrinos is reduced. Ultimately, the higher purity of the cascade events gave a better sensitivity to astrophysical neutrinos from the southern sky.

Machine learning in the Milky Way

However, the final breakthrough came from the implementation of machine learning methods, developed by IceCube collaborators at TU Dortmund University, that improve the identification of cascades produced by neutrinos as well as their direction and energy reconstruction. The observation of neutrinos from the Milky Way is a hallmark of the emerging critical value that machine learning provides in data analysis and event reconstruction in IceCube.

“The improved methods allowed us to retain over an order of magnitude more neutrino events with better angular reconstruction, resulting in an analysis that is three times more sensitive than the previous search,” says IceCube member, TU Dortmund physics Ph.D. student, and co-lead analyzer Mirco Hünnefeld.

The dataset used in the study included 60,000 neutrinos spanning 10 years of IceCube data, 30 times as many events as the selection used in a previous analysis of the galactic plane using cascade events. These neutrinos were compared to previously published prediction maps of locations in the sky where the galaxy was expected to shine in neutrinos.

The maps included one made from extrapolating Fermi Large Area Telescope gamma-ray observations of the Milky Way and two alternative maps identified as KRA-gamma by the group of theorists who produced them.

“This long-awaited detection of cosmic ray-interactions in the galaxy is also a wonderful example of what can be achieved when modern methods of knowledge discovery in machine learning are consistently applied.” says Wolfgang Rhode, professor of physics at TU Dortmund University, IceCube member, and Hünnefeld’s advisor.

The power of machine learning offers great future potential, bringing other observations closer within reach.

“The strong evidence for the Milky Way as a source of high-energy neutrinos has survived rigorous tests by the collaboration,” says Taboada, the IceCube spokesperson. “Now, the next step is to identify specific sources within the galaxy.”

These and other questions will be addressed in planned follow-up analyses by IceCube.

“Observing our own galaxy for the first time using particles instead of light is a huge step,” says Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, professor of physics at Drexel University, IceCube member, and Sclafani’s advisor. “As neutrino astronomy evolves, we will get a new lens with which to observe the universe.”

 

About IceCube Neutrino Observatory

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is funded and operated primarily through an award from the National Science Foundation to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The IceCube Collaboration, with over 350 scientists in 58 institutions from around the world, runs an extensive scientific program that has established the foundations of neutrino astronomy. IceCube’s research efforts, including critical contributions to the detector operation, are funded by agencies in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including NSF. IceCube construction was also funded with significant contributions from the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS & FWO) in Belgium; the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) in Germany; the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, and the Swedish Research Council in Sweden; and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund.

About Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, representing 50 states and more than 148 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

 

]]> jhunt7 1 1688060788 2023-06-29 17:46:28 1707144443 2024-02-05 14:47:23 0 0 news High-energy neutrinos — with energies millions to billions of times higher than those produced by the fusion reactions that power stars — have been detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a gigaton detector operating at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. It was built and is operated with National Science Foundation (NSF) funding and additional support from the fourteen countries that host institutional members of the IceCube Collaboration.

]]>
2023-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2023-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2023-06-29 00:00:00 Science Contacts:

Francis Halzen, IceCube Principal Investigator
Vilas Research Professor and Gregory Breit Distinguished Professor of Physics
Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ignacio Taboada, IceCube Spokesperson
Professor of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology

Press Contacts:

Georgia Institute of Technology
Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications, College of Sciences

IceCube Press
press@icecube.wisc.edu

NSF Media Affairs
media@nsf.gov

]]>
671071 671069 671070 671072 671073 671074 671071 image <![CDATA[An artist's impression of neutrino emission from the Galactic plane, and IceCube Lab at the South Pole. (IceCube/NSF. Original photo by Martin Wolf)]]> An artist's impression of neutrino emission from the Galactic plane, and IceCube Lab at the South Pole. (IceCube/NSF. Original photo by Martin Wolf)

]]> image/png 1688061107 2023-06-29 17:51:47 1688061107 2023-06-29 17:51:47
671069 image <![CDATA[The Galaxy in neutrinos (blue sky map) in front of an artist's impression of the Milky Way. (IceCube Collaboration/Science Communication Lab for CRC 1491)]]> The Galaxy in neutrinos (blue sky map) in front of an artist's impression of the Milky Way. (IceCube Collaboration/Science Communication Lab for CRC 1491)

]]> image/png 1688060931 2023-06-29 17:48:51 1688060931 2023-06-29 17:48:51
671070 image <![CDATA[Ignacio Taboada]]> image/jpeg 1688060990 2023-06-29 17:49:50 1688060990 2023-06-29 17:49:50 671072 image <![CDATA[A DOM seen from above as it descends into the array where it can start taking data. (Mark Krasberg, IceCube/NSF)]]> A DOM seen from above as it descends into the array where it can start taking data. (Mark Krasberg, IceCube/NSF)

]]> image/jpeg 1688061237 2023-06-29 17:53:57 1688061237 2023-06-29 17:53:57
671073 image <![CDATA[When a neutrino interacts with molecules in the clear Antarctic ice, it produces secondary particles that leave a trace of blue light as they travel through the IceCube detector. (Nicolle R. Fuller, IceCube/NSF)]]> When a neutrino interacts with molecules in the clear Antarctic ice, it produces secondary particles that leave a trace of blue light as they travel through the IceCube detector. (Nicolle R. Fuller, IceCube/NSF)

]]> image/jpeg 1688061318 2023-06-29 17:55:18 1688061318 2023-06-29 17:55:18
671074 image <![CDATA[An artist’s composition of the Milky Way seen with a neutrino lens (blue). (IceCube Collaboration/U.S. National Science Foundation (Lily Le & Shawn Johnson)/ESO (S. Brunier))]]> An artist’s composition of the Milky Way seen with a neutrino lens (blue). (IceCube Collaboration/U.S. National Science Foundation (Lily Le & Shawn Johnson)/ESO (S. Brunier))

]]> image/jpeg 1688062278 2023-06-29 18:11:18 1688062278 2023-06-29 18:11:18
<![CDATA[First 'ghost particle' image of Milky Way galaxy captured by scientists]]> <![CDATA[Our galaxy seen through a new lens: neutrinos detected by IceCube]]> <![CDATA[IceCube Places Constraints on Neutrino Emission from the Brightest Gamma-ray Burst ]]> <![CDATA[IceCube Neutrinos Give Us First Glimpse Into the Inner Depths of an Active Galaxy]]> <![CDATA[Ignacio Taboada Elected Spokesperson for IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Unearth 20 Million Years of ‘Hot Spot’ Magmatism Under Cocos Plate]]> 34528 Ten years ago, Samer Naif made an unexpected discovery in Earth’s mantle: a narrow pocket, proposed to be filled with magma, hidden some 60 kilometers beneath the seafloor of the Cocos Plate.

Mantle melts are buoyant and typically float toward the surface — think underwater volcanoes that erupt to form strings of islands. But Naif’s imaging instead showed a clear slice of semi-molten rock: low-degree partial melts, still sandwiched at the base of the plate some 37 miles beneath the ocean floor.

Then, the observation provided an explanation for how tectonic plates can gradually slide, lubricated by partial melting. The study also “raised several questions about why magma is stored in a thin channel — and where the magma originated from,” says Naif, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Fellow researchers went on to share competing interpretations for the cause of the channel — including studies that argued against magma being needed to explain the observation.

So Naif went straight to the source.

“I basically went on a multiyear hunt, akin to a Sherlock Holmes detective story, looking for clues of mantle magmas that we first observed in the 2013 Nature study,” he says. “This involved piecing together evidence from several independent sources, including geophysical, geochemical, and geological (direct seafloor sampling) data.”

Now, the results of that search are detailed in a new Science Advances article, “Episodic intraplate magmatism fed by a long-lived melt channel of distal plume origin”, authored by Naif and researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey at Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, Northern Arizona University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and GNS Science of Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

Zeroing in

A relatively young oceanic plate — some 23 million years old — the Cocos Plate traces down the western coast of Central America, veering west to the Pacific Plate, then north to meet the North American Plate off the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Sliding between these two plates caused the devastating 1985 Mexico City earthquake and the 2017 Chiapas earthquake, while similar subduction between the Cocos and Caribbean plates resulted in the 1992 Nicaragua tsunami and earthquake, and the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes.

Scientists study the edges of these oceanic plates to understand the history and formation of volcanic chains — and to help researchers and agencies better prepare for future earthquakes and volcanic activity.

It’s in this active area that Naif and fellow researchers recently set out to document a series of magmatic intrusions just beneath the seafloor, in the same area that the team first detected the channel of magma back in 2013.

Plumbing the depths

For the new study, the team combined geophysical, geochemical, and seafloor drilling results with seismic reflection data, a technique used to image layers of sediments and rocks below the surface. “It helps us to see the geology where we cannot see it with our own eyes,” Naif explains.

First, the researchers observed an abundance of widespread intraplate magmatism. “Volcanism where it is not expected,” Naif says, “basically away from plate boundaries: subduction zones and mid-ocean ridges.”

Think Hawaii, where “a mantle plume of hot, rising material melts during its ascent, and then forms the Hawaii volcanic chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,” just as with the Cocos Plate, where the team imaged the volcanism fed by magma at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary — the base of the sliding tectonic plates.

“Below it is the convecting mantle,” Naif adds. “The tectonic plates are moving around on Earth's surface because they are sliding on the asthenosphere below them.”

The researchers also found that this channel below the lithosphere is regionally extensive — over 100,000 square kilometers — and is a “long-lived feature that originated from the Galápagos Plume,” a mantle plume that formed the volcanic Galápagos islands, supplying melt for a series of volcanic events across the past 20 million years, and persisting today.

Importantly, the new study also suggests that these plume-fed melt channels may be widespread and long-lived sources for intraplate magmatism itself — as well as for mantle metasomatism, which happens when Earth’s mantle reacts with fluids to form a suite of minerals from the original rocks.

Connecting the (hot spot) dots

“This confirms that magma was there in the past — and some of it leaked through the mantle and erupted near the seafloor,” Naif says, “in the form of sill intrusions and seamounts: basically volcanoes located on the seafloor.”

The work also provides compelling supporting evidence that magma could still be stored in the channel. “More surprising is that the erupted magma has a chemical fingerprint that links its source to the Galápagos mantle plume.”

“We learned that the magma channel has been around for at least 20 million years, and on occasion some of that magma leaks to the seafloor where it erupts volcanically,” Naif adds. 

The team’s identified source of the magma, the Galápagos Plume, “is more than 1,000 kilometers away from where we detected this volcanism. It is not clear how magma can stay around in the mantle for such a long time, only to leak out episodically.”

Plume hunters wanted

The evidence that the team compiled is “really quite subtle and requires a detailed and careful study of a suite of seafloor observations to connect the dots,” Naif says. “Basically, the signs of such volcanism, while they are quite clear here, also require high resolution data and several different types of data to be able to detect such subtle seafloor features.”

So, “if we can see such subtle clues of volcanism here,” Naif explains, “it means a similar, careful analysis of high resolution data in other parts of the seafloor may lead to similar discoveries of volcanism elsewhere, caused by other mantle plumes.”

“There are numerous mantle plumes dotted across the planet. There are also numerous seamounts — at least 100,000 of them! — covering the seafloor, and it is anyone’s guess how many of them formed in the middle of the tectonic plates because of magma sourced from distant mantle plumes that leaked to the surface.”

Naif looks forward to continuing that search, from seafloor to asthenosphere.

 

###

Funding: National Science Foundation: OCE-0625178, U.S. Science Support Program

Citation: DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add3761

About Georgia Tech 

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.

The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, representing 50 states and more than 148 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning.

As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

]]> jhunt7 1 1686945220 2023-06-16 19:53:40 1707144441 2024-02-05 14:47:21 0 0 news A team of scientists led by Georgia Tech have observed past episodic intraplate magmatism and corroborated the existence of a partial melt channel at the base of the Cocos Plate. Situated 60 kilometers beneath the Pacific Ocean floor, the magma channel covers more than 100,000 square kilometers, and originated from the Galápagos Plume more than 20 million years ago, supplying melt for multiple magmatic events — and persisting today.

]]>
2023-06-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-06-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-06-20 00:00:00 Writer:
Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech
 

]]>
670990 670992 670991 670989 670990 image <![CDATA[Mantle plumes, shown in red, have been identified around the world. (Ingo Wölbern, via Wikimedia Commons)]]> Mantle plumes, shown in red, have been identified around the world. (Ingo Wölbern, via Wikimedia Commons)

]]> image/jpeg 1686945795 2023-06-16 20:03:15 1686945795 2023-06-16 20:03:15
670992 image <![CDATA[Samer Naif, left, with fellow researchers in the field (offshore New Zealand, for a separate research study). ]]> Samer Naif, left, with fellow researchers in the field (offshore New Zealand, for a separate research study).

]]> image/jpeg 1686946709 2023-06-16 20:18:29 1686946709 2023-06-16 20:18:29
670991 image <![CDATA[Regional topographic relief map. (Naif et al)]]> From the study: The Cocos and Nazca plates are formed at the EPR and the GSC. The Galápagos Triple Junction (GTJ) trace marks the boundary between EPR- and GSC-derived oceanic crusts. The Galápagos Plume is currently centered beneath the Galápagos Islands 200 km south of the GSC and generates two hot spot tracks, the Cocos Ridge and the Carnegie Ridge.

]]> image/jpeg 1686946437 2023-06-16 20:13:57 1686946437 2023-06-16 20:13:57
670989 image <![CDATA[A figure showing the Earth relief around the Galapagos islands, which shows the effects of the mantle plume. (Wikimedia Commons)]]> A figure showing the Earth relief around the Galapagos islands, which shows the effects of the mantle plume. The data are from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and this figure was produced in PyGMT. (Wikimedia Commons)

]]> image/jpeg 1686945657 2023-06-16 20:00:57 1686945657 2023-06-16 20:00:57
<![CDATA[Plumes of Hot Material Near Earth's Core Grease Way for Moving Slabs of Earth]]> <![CDATA[Surfacing New Clues: Water’s Impact in Undersea Earthquakes]]>
<![CDATA[As Temperatures Climb, Flying Insects Slower to Migrate to Cooler Elevations]]> 34528 This story by Jennifer Woodruff is shared jointly with the University of Colorado Denver.

In response to rising global temperatures, many plants and animals are moving to higher elevations to survive in cooler temperatures. But a new study from the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) and Georgia Tech finds that for flying insects — including bees and moths — this escape route may have insurmountable issues that could mean their doom.

The research team examined more than 800 species of insects from around the world and discovered that many winged insects are moving to higher elevations much slower than their non-flying counterparts. This is because the thinner air at higher elevations provides less oxygen for species to use. Because flight requires more oxygen to generate energy for movement than other styles of movement, such as walking, these species are migrating more slowly. 

The team’s findings were published in this week’s Nature Climate Change journal. Jesse Shaich, postbaccalaureate student at CU Denver, is also a member of the research team.

“When we think about where species will be able to live under climate change in the coming decades, we need to remember that animals are sensitive to more than just how hot or cold they are,” said CU Denver Assistant Professor of Integrated Biology Michael Moore, who led the study. 

Declining insect biodiversity has direct impact on humans

If flying insects’ native habitats get too warm too quickly, and they can’t find a suitable alternative or adapt in time, that will likely lead to their extinction. Beyond just being bad for the bugs themselves, loss of insects is bad news for humans as well. Most crop pollinators are the flying species the researchers expect to be vulnerable, and their extinction would be catastrophic to global food supply. Not only would this have implications for agriculture and food supply chains, but similar challenges are likely true for other species that need a lot of oxygen to live.

“Our earth’s biodiversity is rapidly declining, especially amongst insects. The global loss of insects will be ecologically catastrophic, so we urgently need to understand why and how this is happening,” said James Stroud, assistant professor of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech.

Broadening research on high elevation challenges

To conserve as many species as possible, researchers need to grasp the full scope of challenges plants and animals face, whether they can overcome these challenges, and to predict the locations where they can survive. High elevation environments are also difficult for new species because of the scarcity of food, stronger winds, more extreme cold snaps, and increased ultraviolet radiation.

Moore concludes, “If we want to design effective conservation strategies, we must consider a broader range of environmental factors that species need to live.” 

 

 

About Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, representing 50 states and more than 148 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

About the University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver is the state’s premier public urban research university and equity-serving institution. Globally connected and locally invested, CU Denver partners with future-focused learners and communities to design accessible, relevant, and transformative educational experiences for every stage of life and career. Across seven schools and colleges in the heart of downtown Denver, our leading faculty inspires and works alongside students to solve complex challenges through boundary-breaking innovation, impactful research, and creative work. As part of the state’s largest university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with 2,000 employees and an annual economic impact of $800 million. For more information, visit ucdenver.edu.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-023-01794-2

Acknowledgments: Support was generously provided by the University of Colorado Denver (to M.P.M. and J.S.) and Washington University in St. Louis and the Georgia Institute of Technology (to J.T.S.). Conversations with J. de Mayo, J. Grady and A. Lenard and input from three reviewers improved this study.

]]> jhunt7 1 1694467654 2023-09-11 21:27:34 1707144247 2024-02-05 14:44:07 0 0 news In response to changing climates, many plants and animals are moving to higher elevations, seeking cooler temperatures. But a new study from Georgia Tech and the University of Colorado Denver finds that flying insects like bees and moths may struggle with insurmountable issues to this escape route.

]]>
2023-09-11T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-11T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-11 00:00:00 Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech
jess@cos.gatech.edu

Jennifer Woodruff
Director of Public Relations & Integrated Media
University of Colorado Denver
Jennifer.Woodruff@ucdenver.edu
+1 (303) 315-0283

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671675 671675 image <![CDATA[A close up of bees flying into a hive on the CU Denver campus.]]> A close up of bees flying into a hive on the CU Denver campus.

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<![CDATA[From Seafloor to Space: New Bacterial Proteins Shine Light on Climate and Astrobiology]]> 36123 Gigatons of greenhouse gas are trapped under the seafloor, and that’s a good thing. Around the coasts of the continents, where slopes sink down into the sea, tiny cages of ice trap methane gas, preventing it from escaping and bubbling up into the atmosphere.

While rarely in the news, these ice cage formations, known as methane clathrates, have garnered attention because of their potential to affect climate change. During offshore drilling, methane ice can get stuck in pipes, causing them to freeze and burst. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill is thought to have been caused by a buildup of methane clathrates.

But until now, the biological process behind how methane gas remains stable under the sea has been almost completely unknown. In a breakthrough study, a cross-disciplinary team of Georgia Tech researchers discovered a previously unknown class of bacterial proteins that play a crucial role in the formation and stability of methane clathrates.

A team led by Jennifer Glass, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Raquel Lieberman, professor and Sepcic-Pfeil Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, showed that these novel bacterial proteins suppress the growth of methane clathrates as effectively as commercial chemicals currently used in drilling, but are non-toxic, eco-friendly, and scalable. Their study, funded by NASA, informs the search for life in the solar system, and could also increase the safety of transporting natural gas.

The research, published in the journal PNAS Nexus, underscores the importance of fundamental science in studying Earth’s natural biological systems and highlights the benefits of collaboration across disciplines.

“We wanted to understand how these formations were staying stable under the seafloor, and precisely what mechanisms were contributing to their stability,” Glass said. “This is something no one has done before.”

Sifting Through Sediment

The effort started with the team examining a sample of clay-like sediment that Glass acquired from the seafloor off the coast of Oregon.

Glass hypothesized that the sediment would contain proteins that influence the growth of methane clathrate, and that those proteins would resemble well-known antifreeze proteins in fish, which help them survive in cold environments.

But to confirm her hypothesis, Glass and her research team would first have to identify protein candidates out of millions of potential targets contained in the sediment. They would then need to make the proteins in the lab, though there was no understanding of how these proteins might behave. Also, no one had worked with these proteins before.

Glass approached Lieberman, whose lab studies the structure of proteins. The first step was to use DNA sequencing paired with bioinformatics to identify the genes of the proteins contained in the sediment. Dustin Huard, a researcher in Lieberman’s lab and first author of the paper, then prepared candidate proteins that could potentially bind to the methane clathrates. Huard used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of the proteins.

Creating Seafloor Conditions in the Lab

Huard passed off the protein candidates to Abigail Johnson, a former Ph.D. student in Glass’ lab and co-first author on the paper, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Georgia. To test the proteins, Johnson formed methane clathrates herself by recreating the high pressure and low temperature of the seafloor in the lab. Johnson worked with Sheng Dai, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to build a unique pressure chamber from scratch.

Johnson placed the proteins in the pressure vessel and adjusted the system to mimic the pressure and temperature conditions required for clathrate formation. By pressurizing the vessel with methane, Johnson forced methane into the droplet, which caused a methane clathrate structure to form.

She then measured the amount of gas that was consumed by the clathrate — an indicator of how quickly and how much clathrate formed — and did so in the presence of the proteins versus no proteins. Johnson found that with the clathrate-binding proteins, less gas was consumed, and the clathrates melted at higher temperatures.

Once the team validated that the proteins affect the formation and stability of methane clathrates, they used Huard's protein crystal structure to carry out molecular dynamics simulations with the help of James (JC) Gumbart, professor in the School of Physics. The simulations allowed the team to identify the specific site where the protein binds to the methane clathrate.

A Surprisingly Novel System

The study unveiled unexpected insights into the structure and function of the proteins. The researchers initially thought the part of the protein that was similar to fish antifreeze proteins would play a role in clathrate binding. Surprisingly, that part of the protein did not play a role, and a wholly different mechanism directed the interactions.

They found that the proteins do not bind to ice, but rather interact with the clathrate structure itself, directing its growth. Specifically, the part of the protein that had similar characteristics to antifreeze proteins was buried in the protein structure, and instead played a role in stabilizing the protein.

The researchers found that the proteins performed better at modifying methane clathrate than any of the antifreeze proteins that had been tested in the past. They also performed just as well as, if not better than, the toxic commercial clathrate inhibitors currently used in drilling that pose serious environmental threats.

Preventing clathrate formation in natural gas pipelines is a billion-dollar industry. If these biodegradable proteins could be used to prevent disastrous natural gas leaks, it would greatly reduce the risk of environmental damage.

“We were so lucky that this actually worked, because even though we chose these proteins based on their similarity to antifreeze proteins, they are completely different,” Johnson said. “They have a similar function in nature, but do so through a completely different biological system, and I think that really excites people.”

Methane clathrates likely exist throughout the solar system — on the subsurface of Mars, for example, and on icy moons in the outer solar system, such as Europa. The team’s findings indicate that if microbes exist on other planetary bodies, they might produce similar biomolecules to retain liquid water in channels in the clathrate that could sustain life.

“We’re still learning so much about the basic systems on our planet,” Huard said. “That’s one of the great things about Georgia Tech — different communities can come together to do really cool, unexpected science. I never thought I would be working on an astrobiology project, but here we are, and we’ve been very successful.”

Citation: Dustin J E Huard, et al. Molecular basis for inhibition of methane clathrate growth by a deep subsurface bacterial proteinPNAS Nexus, Volume 2, Issue 8, August 2023.

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgad268

Funding: National Aeronautics & Space Administration, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund

Georgia Tech co-authors included Zixing Fan, Ph.D. student, and two undergraduates, Lydia Kenney (now a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University) and Manlin Xu (now a Ph.D. student in the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program). Ran Drori, associate professor of chemistry at Yeshiva University, also contributed.

]]> Catherine Barzler 1 1695738617 2023-09-26 14:30:17 1707144244 2024-02-05 14:44:04 0 0 news In a groundbreaking study, a team of Georgia Tech researchers has unveiled a remarkable discovery: the identification of novel bacterial proteins that play a vital role in the formation and stability of methane clathrates, which trap methane gas beneath the seafloor. These newfound proteins not only suppress methane clathrate growth as effectively as toxic chemicals used in drilling but also prove to be eco-friendly and scalable. This innovative breakthrough not only promises to enhance environmental safety in natural gas transportation but also sheds light on the potential for similar biomolecules to support life beyond Earth.

]]>
2023-09-26T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-26T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-26 00:00:00 Catherine Barzler, Senior Research Writer/Editor

Institute Communications

catherine.barzler@gatech.edu

]]>
671833 671834 671835 671836 671837 671833 image <![CDATA[clathrate.jpg]]> Methane clathrate (white, ice-like material) under a rock from the seafloor of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Deposits such as these demonstrate that methane and other gases cross the seafloor and enter the ocean. Photo credit: NOAA

]]> image/jpeg 1695740419 2023-09-26 15:00:19 1695740419 2023-09-26 15:00:19
671834 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Glass.jpg]]> Jennifer Glass, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

]]> image/jpeg 1695740976 2023-09-26 15:09:36 1695740976 2023-09-26 15:09:36
671835 image <![CDATA[Raquel_Lieberman.jpg]]> Raquel Lieberman, professor and Sepcic-Pfeil Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

]]> image/jpeg 1695741060 2023-09-26 15:11:00 1695741060 2023-09-26 15:11:00
671836 image <![CDATA[Screen Shot 2023-09-26 at 11.17.25 AM.png]]> Dustin Huard, research scientist II in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

]]> image/png 1695741532 2023-09-26 15:18:52 1695741532 2023-09-26 15:18:52
671837 image <![CDATA[Screen Shot 2023-09-26 at 11.18.13 AM.png]]> Abigail Johnson, postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia and former Georgia Tech Ph.D. student

]]> image/png 1695741620 2023-09-26 15:20:20 1695741620 2023-09-26 15:20:20
<![CDATA[Study Reveals Wintertime Formation of Large Pollution Particles in China’s Skies ]]> 34434 Previous studies have found that the particles that float in the haze over the skies of Beijing include sulfate, a major source of outdoor air pollution that damages lungs and aggravates existing asthmatic symptoms, according to the California Air Resources Board.

Sulfates usually are produced by atmospheric oxidation in the summer, when ample sunlight facilitates the oxidation that turns sulfur dioxide into dangerous aerosol particles. How is it that China can produce such extreme pollution loaded with sulfates in the winter, when there’s not as much sunlight and atmospheric oxidation is slow?

Yuhang Wang, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, and his research team have conducted a study that may have the answer: All the chemical reactions needed to turn sulfur dioxide into sulfur trioxide, and then quickly into sulfate, primarily happen within the smoke plumes causing the pollution. That process not only creates sulfates in the winter in China, but it also happens faster and results in larger sulfate particles in the atmosphere.

“We call the source ‘in-source formation,’” Wang says. “Instead of having oxidants spread out in the atmosphere, slowly oxidizing sulfur dioxide into sulfur trioxide to produce sulfate, we have this concentrated production in the exhaust plumes that turns the sulfuric acid into large sulfate particles. And that's why we're seeing these large sulfate particles in China.”

The findings of in-source formation of larger wintertime sulfate particles in China could help scientists accurately assess the impacts of aerosols on radiative forcing — how climate change and global warming impact the Earth’s energy and heat balances — and on health, where larger aerosols means larger deposits into human lungs. 

“Wintertime Formation of Large Sulfate Particles in China and Implications for Human Health,” is published in Environmental Science & Technology, an American Chemical Society publication. The co-authors include Qianru Zhang of Peking University and Mingming Zheng of Wuhan Polytechnic University, two of Wang’s former students who conducted the research while at Georgia Tech. 

Explaining a historic smog

China still burns a lot of coal in power plants because its costs are lower compared to natural gas, Wang says. It also makes for an easy comparison between China’s hazy winters and a historic event that focused the United Kingdom’s attention on dangerous environmental hazards — the Great London Smog.

The event, depicted in the Netflix show “The Crown,” saw severe smog descend on London in December 1952. Unusually cold weather preceded the event, which brought the coal-produced haze down to ground level. UK officials later said the Great London Smog (also called the Great London Fog) was responsible for 4,000 deaths and 100,000 illnesses, although later studies estimated a higher death toll of 10,000 to 20,000.

“From the days of the London Fog to extreme winter pollution in China, it has been a challenge to explain how sulfate is produced in the winter,” Wang says. 

Wang and his team decided to take on that challenge. 

Aerosol size and heavy metal influence?

The higher sulfate levels in China, notably in January 2013, defy conventional explanations that relied on standard photochemical oxidation. It was thought that nitrogen dioxide or other mild oxidants found in alkaline or neutral particles in the atmosphere were the cause. But measurements revealed the resulting sulfate particles were highly acidic. 

During Zheng’s time at Georgia Tech, “She was just looking for interesting things to do,” Wang says of the former student. “And I said, maybe this is what we should do — I wanted her to look at aerosol size distributions, how large the aerosols are.” 

Zheng and Wang noticed that the size of the sulfate particles from China’s winter were much larger than those that resulted from photochemically-produced aerosols. Usually measuring 0.3 to 0.5 microns, the sulfate was closer to 1 micron in size. (A human hair is about 70 microns.) Aerosols distributed over a wider area would normally be smaller. 

The micron-sized aerosol observations imply that sulfate particles undergo substantial growth in a sulfur trioxide-rich environment,” Wang says. Larger particles increase the risks to human health.

“When aerosols are large, more is deposited in the front part of the respiratory system but less on the end part, such as alveoli,” he adds. “When accounting for the large size of particles, total aerosol deposition in the human respiratory system is estimated to increase by 10 to 30 percent.”

Something still needs to join the chemical mix, however, so the sulfur dioxide could turn into sulfur trioxide while enlarging the resulting sulfate particles. Wang says a potential pathway involves the catalytic oxidation of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid by “transition metals.”

High temperatures, acidity, and water content in the exhaust can greatly accelerate catalytic sulfur dioxide oxidation “compared to that in the ambient atmosphere. It is possible that similar heterogeneous processes occurring on the hot surface of a smokestack coated with transition metals could explain the significant portion of sulfur trioxide observed in coal-fired power plant exhaust,” Wang says.

“A significant amount of sulfur trioxide is produced, either during combustion or through metal-catalyzed oxidation at elevated temperatures.”

An opportunity for cleaner-burning coal power plants

The impact of in-source formation of sulfate suggests that taking measures to cool off and remove sulfur trioxide, sulfuric acid, and particulates from the emissions of coal-combustion facilities could be a way to cut down on pollution that can cause serious health problems.

“The development and implementation of such technology will benefit nations globally, particularly those heavily reliant on coal as a primary energy source,” Wang says.

 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.3c05645

Funding: This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 41821005 and 41977311). Yuhang Wang was supported by the National Science Foundation Atmospheric Chemistry Program. Qianru Zhang would also like to thank the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2022M720005) and China Scholarship Council for support. Mingming Zheng is also supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Peking University (7100604309).

 

]]> Renay San Miguel 1 1700169861 2023-11-16 21:24:21 1707143353 2024-02-05 14:29:13 0 0 news School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences researchers find dangerous sulfates are formed, and their particles get bigger, within the plumes of pollution belching from coal-fired power plants.


 

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2023-11-16T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-16T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-16 00:00:00 Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston

 

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672402 672403 672402 image <![CDATA[Beijing pollution (Photo Kevin Dooley, Creative Commons)]]> Beijing pollution (Photo Kevin Dooley, Creative Commons)

]]> image/jpeg 1700170529 2023-11-16 21:35:29 1700170529 2023-11-16 21:35:29
672403 image <![CDATA[Yuhang Wang]]> Yuhang Wang

]]> image/jpeg 1700170645 2023-11-16 21:37:25 1700170645 2023-11-16 21:37:25
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Study Sheds Light on Toxicity of Atmospheric Particulate Matter Pollution]]> <![CDATA[Sea Spray, Water Worlds, and the Search for Life]]> <![CDATA[Canadian Wildfire Smoke Affects Atlanta]]> <![CDATA[ScienceMatters - Season 3, Episode 5 - Clearing the Air About Aerosol Science]]>
<![CDATA[Digging Into Greenland Ice: Unraveling Mysteries in Earth's Harshest Environments]]> 35599 “You're in the middle of an ice sheet, and it’s one of the most desolate places on Earth. There are no living animals there. There are no plants there. The only animals you see are birds. They might be lost.”

That’s how Rachel Moore describes the view from the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet. “It's a really challenging environment, but it was really, really interesting to be there. I was there for nearly 50 days.”

Moore is an expert at collecting data in difficult research environments, traveling to some of the most extreme places on Earth in order to research microbes, and what hints they might give regarding astrobiology. 

“It all started in grad school, when I joined a microbial ecology lab,” Moore recalls. “I pretty quickly learned that I love to do really difficult, challenging projects. I got interested in working around fire, biomass burning and forests, and I started collecting bacteria from the air. That was a challenge in and of itself, just trying to collect these really tiny things while standing in the smoke from the forest fires. But from that I learned that I loved to go out into the environment and collect things and try to understand everything around me.”

“I have a lot of different projects, but they all connect through astrobiology,” Moore says. “I’m interested in anything that hasn't been answered yet.” Moore is also leading a project called EXO Methane, which is investigating if different Archaea could survive in Martian and Enceladus-like environments. She’s also collaborating on a project that will send a probe to Venus next year.

Moore started her postdoctoral research at Georgia Tech, and is now continuing her work as a Research Scientist in the same laboratory. “The first project I started in this lab focused around how microbes can survive a really, really dry environment,” she adds. To study this, Moore traveled to the Atacama desert in Chile — the driest place on Earth, and also one of the best analogs to the surface of Mars. “What we were interested in there is how organisms survive intense radiation and intense desiccation. And how does that change as you look at different sites in the Atacama?”

Then, this past summer, Moore traveled to another extreme environment — Greenland. “Instead of being hot and dry, Greenland is extremely cold and dry,” Moore explains. “So it was similar in some aspects, but completely different in terms of logistics and sampling methods. Because we were there in the summer, the sun never set. We were also at high elevation — 10,530 feet above sea level.”

Beneath the ice

The project was started by Nathan Chellman and Joe McConnell from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and Moore’s role this year was to investigate the microbiology component of the research. “They had been seeing some anomalies in methane and carbon monoxide in ice samples,” Moore says. “We were curious if microbes might be producing some of this, either in the ice core after it’s been sampled, or while it’s still in the glacier.”

“The microbes would not be swimming around or anything” in the ice cores, Moore explains, “but it’s possible that their metabolism is still active, and they’re potentially able to make some of the gases, like methane, in this frozen environment. Our goal was to measure these things in the environment.”

Gathering samples wasn’t easy. “We set up a lab on the glacier, and we set it up in a trench to try to keep any of the ice cores that we pulled out roughly at the same temperature as the glacier itself,” Moore says. Because of that, “weather was a huge, huge thing. Anytime it would get stormy, the wind would blow all of the snow around, and it would fill the entrance to our trench. We had to dig ourselves out several times. People would put out flags so that you could see your way back to the main house or back to your dorms.”

The team hopes that this research will give a more defined record of the past from the Greenland Ice Sheet, improving climate change predictions. Moore also notes applications in astrobiology, adding that “there are a lot of icy worlds like Mars, Enceladus, and Europa, with either an icy crust over the ocean or glaciers on the northern and southern poles.”

Moore was also able to test new technology in the field, using a tool built by Georgia Tech undergraduates alongside her advisor Christopher Carr, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. An ice melter that can be used to take and clean ice samples, the tool is a miniaturized prototype that may be able to help take measurements on Mars, or in similar remote environments in the future.

“Being able to take a tool that Georgia Tech undergraduates made to Greenland and test it on 600-year-old ice in the field was a really cool experience,” Moore adds. “We brought Starlink with us, and so I was able to video call the undergraduate team while I was testing their tool, which was really special.”

The team is now lab-analyzing ice cores that they brought back from Greenland, unraveling which microbes might be present and potentially active. “It's really interesting to see: Is this all chemistry? Is it biology based? Or is there some intersection of the two?” Moore says. “Maybe there's some chemistry or photochemistry happening, plus some biology happening. Whatever it is, we'll have to wait and see.”

 

]]> sperrin6 1 1699286969 2023-11-06 16:09:29 1707142914 2024-02-05 14:21:54 0 0 news Rachel Moore is an expert at collecting data in difficult research environments, traveling to some of the most extreme places on Earth to research microbes and better understand astrobiology. This summer, she traveled to Greenland to collect ice cores, spending nearly 50 days on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The research could improve climate change predictions, while also helping astrobiologists better search for signs of life on icy worlds.

]]>
2023-11-09T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-09T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-09 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner
Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston

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672274 672269 672270 672271 672272 672273 672275 672276 672277 672278 672274 image <![CDATA[The team snowmobiling to a remote field site.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672269 image <![CDATA[Inside the C130.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672270 image <![CDATA[Left to right, PhD student Benjamin Riddell-Young, Nathan Chellman, and Rachel Moore holding an ice core at a remote field site.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672271 image <![CDATA[Moore at the research station in Greenland.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672272 image <![CDATA[Moore pictured on her birthday, holding the final ice core.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672273 image <![CDATA[Nathan Chellman walking into the research trench over drifted snow.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672275 image <![CDATA[The collected boxes of ice cores.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672276 image <![CDATA[The team's remote field site.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672277 image <![CDATA[The research team in Greenland.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 672278 image <![CDATA[The team standing in the research trench.]]> image/jpeg 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40 1699287040 2023-11-06 16:10:40
<![CDATA[Mudskippers Could Be Key to Understanding Evolution of Blinking]]> 34541 Blinking is crucial for the eye. It’s how animals clean their eyes, protect them, and even communicate. But how and why did blinking originate? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Seton Hill University, and Pennsylvania State University studied the mudskipper, an amphibious fish that spends most of its day on land, to better understand why blinking is a fundamental behavior for life on land.

Although mudskippers are distantly related to tetrapods, the group that includes humans and other four-limbed vertebrates, researchers believed studying the fish could unlock how blinking evolved as these animals began to move on land. 

The research team, which included several undergraduates, published their findings in the paper, “The Origin of Blinking in Both Mudskippers and Tetrapods Is Linked to Life on Land,” in Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

“By comparing the anatomy and behavior of mudskippers to the fossil record of early tetrapods, we argue that blinking emerged in both groups as an adaptation to life on land,” said Tom Stewart, an assistant professor at Penn State and an author of the paper. “These results help us understand our own biology and raise a whole set of new questions about the variety of blinking behaviors we see in living species.”

Breaking Down Blinking

Mudskippers blink by sucking their eye downward into their eye socket. The evolution of this behavior did not require the evolution of a lot of new parts such as new muscles or special glands, though. Instead, mudskippers use their existing set of eye muscles in a new way.

“This is a very exciting result because it demonstrates that the evolution of a new, complex behavior can be achieved using a relatively rudimentary set of structures,” said Brett Aiello, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Agile Systems Lab and now assistant professor at Seton Hill.

Next, the research team set out to determine why mudskippers blink. In a series of experiments, they found that mudskippers blink for three main functions: to wet, clean, and protect the eye. These functions are also why humans and other land-dwelling vertebrates blink.

“We find that a single behavior can be deployed to accomplish three complex, distinct functions,” said Aiello. “These results not only help humans understand our own history, but also help us reevaluate the adaptations necessary for major transitions in the evolutionary history of vertebrates, like moving from water to land.”

Blinking isn’t just a unique research question, but also an important mechanism to understand, according to Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and author on the paper.

We all blink without thinking, and understanding why we blink is just such a beautiful puzzle right in front of our eyes,” Bhamla said. “Through our research on mudskippers and by conducting biophysical and morphological analyses, we expose how blinking serves a multitude of functions for adapting to life out of water.”

Engaging Undergraduates

To explore such open-ended questions, the researchers engaged the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program, which allows undergraduates to conduct long-term, large-scale research projects as part of their coursework at Georgia Tech.

“The structure of the VIP course empowers students to really lean on their own creativity and drive the project in the directions that are most exciting to them,” said Aiello. “It helps our students gain the ability to solve unknown problems on the ground as they arise — a lot of people become scientists to push research somewhere where nobody else has tried to go before.”

The VIP structure is inherently multidisciplinary. While Aiello is a biologist, most students were engineers and brought their respective expertise. Manognya Sripathi was a biomedical engineering major with a minor in computer science and offered her unique experience to the mudskipper problem.

“I used my computer science skills to gather raw data and analyze and plot them using programs like MATLAB or Python,” Sripathi said. “I also used engineering skills to help build the experimental equipment, allowing us to apply engineering methods to study a biological problem in a unique way.”

Moving Beyond Mudskippers

Te research didn’t just expand knowledge of mudskippers — it also contributed to each student’s future aspirations. For example, Kendra Washington’s trajectory was influenced by the two semesters she spent in the lab.

“VIP drew me closer to the programming and device areas of my biomedical engineering major and solidified why I picked up a computer science minor,” she said. “I continued to pursue that fusion through later internships and research, and now work with hemodynamic monitoring. But in a sense, I still help characterize physiology through programming.”

VIP also expanded the students’ knowledge and scientific experience that have propelled them far beyond the lab. Hajime Minoguchi, a biomedical engineering graduate, now works as a systems integration research and development engineer thanks to his experience in the class.

“Working in an interdisciplinary team like this has allowed me to learn how to understand and communicate ideas between disciplines, which allowed me to be a more well-rounded engineer,” Minoguchi said. “My work requires a thorough understanding of biology, electrical circuitry, software, firmware, mechanical interactions, and physics. This VIP experience was instrumental for me in being successful at my current job.”

The research is far greater than the sum of its parts and brings a greater understanding of evolution, noted Simon Sponberg, an associate professor in the School of Physics and the School of Biological Sciences.

“Blinking is a reflection of a bigger question,” Sponberg said. “How did major evolutionary transitions occur that enabled organisms to inhabit basically every environment on this planet? What we learned is you don't need the evolution of a lot of specialized musculature or glands; evolution can tinker with the structures that are already there, allowing them to be used in a new way and for a new behavior.”

CITATION: Aiello BR, MS Bhamla, J Gau, JGL Morris, K Bomar, S da Cunha, H Fu, J Laws, H Minoguchi, M Sripathi, K Washington,G Wong, NH Shubin†, S Sponberg†, TA Stewart. The origin of blinking in mudskippers and tetrapods is linked to life on land.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2220404120

 

 

 

]]> Tess Malone 1 1682364196 2023-04-24 19:23:16 1706800448 2024-02-01 15:14:08 0 0 news Blinking is crucial for the eye. It’s how animals clean their eyes, protect them, and even communicate. But how and why did blinking originate? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Seton Hill University, and Pennsylvania State University studied the mudskipper, an amphibious fish that spends most of its day on land, to better understand why blinking is a fundamental behavior for life on land.

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2023-04-24T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-24T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-24 00:00:00 Tess Malone, Senior Research Writer/Editor

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670616 670616 image <![CDATA[Indian Mudskipper]]> image/jpeg 1682372615 2023-04-24 21:43:35 1682372615 2023-04-24 21:43:35
<![CDATA[Craig Arndt Achieves INCOSE 'Expert' Certification]]> 35875 GTRI researcher Dr. Craig Arndt was recently awarded the “Expert Systems Engineering Professional” (ESEP) certification by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). This is one of systems engineering’s most respected and rare honors.

The INCOSE certification program distinguishes systems engineers for their skills and professionalism. There are three level of certification in the program, the ESEP being the highest level of certification. According to INCOSE, the Expert Systems Engineering Professional certification is only available to "a systems engineering leader with recognized systems accomplishments and have many years of systems engineering professional work experience."

“The ICOSE certification program is an important program to help evaluate and grow members of the systems engineering community,” said Dr. Arndt.

Craig Arndt, P.E., Ph.D., is a Principal Research Engineer in the Electronic Systems Laboratory (ELSYS) of GTRI. He also served as the Division Chief for the Human Centered Engineering Division. Dr. Arndt has had a nearly 20-year career in the private sector following a long, distinguished military career in both the U.S. Navy and the Air Force Civilian Service.

Applicants for the Expert Systems Engineering certification must pass an oral interview with a small panel of INCOSE "certification application reviewers" on the applicants’ accomplishments and expertise. Applicants must also submit at least three references, who must attest to the applicants' qualifications.

 

A Career Leading the Cutting Edge of Systems Engineering

Dr. Arndt’s accomplishments are varied and impressive:

Dr. Arndt has authored and coauthored more than 100 papers and eight U.S. patents on topics including:

Dr. Arndt’s extensive experience includes developing and leading major defense technology programs and pioneering Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) applications in defense acquisition.

When asked to identify a highlight from his career, he could narrow it down to just one:

“I have led many critical defense programs across my career -- including the development of the MRAP vehicle for the Iraq conflict, and a wide range of biometrics technologies currently in use by the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security, and intelligence communities.”

In addition to his achievements since joining GTRI in the spring of 2021, Dr. Arndt has been an influential figure in both academia and industry. His leadership roles, notably as the Director of Homeland Security programs at the MITRE Corp., and his position as a Senior Fellow at the Defense Acquisition University, underline his comprehensive expertise in the field. Recognized internationally as an expert in biometrics technologies, Dr. Arndt has played a pivotal role in shaping technology policy and cybersecurity. Dr. Arndt's career as a senior executive in technology and defense highlights his commitment to advancing these sectors.

A master’s graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, Dr. Arndt has maintained both direct and indirect ties to the U.S. military. Dr. Arndt has previously held key positions at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and as an Engineering Duty Officer in the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Arndt is currently working with the leadership of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Operational Test and Evaluation (OSD DOT&E) to implement Model-Based Systems Engineering and new knowledge management technology in the DoD test community.

Dr. Arndt’s career, which has had a profound impact on national security and technology development, is a shining example of the innovation and impact that system engineers can bring to bear and a testament to the quality of the researchers at GTRI, who “advance technology and provide innovative solutions” and “are the foremost innovators creating a secure nation, a prosperous Georgia, and a sustainable world.”

 

Writer: Christopher Weems

Georgia Tech research Institute

]]> cweems8 1 1706796420 2024-02-01 14:07:00 1706796832 2024-02-01 14:13:52 0 0 news Dr. Craig Arndt, Principal Research Engineer in ELSYS and Division Chief of the Human Centered Engineering Branch, was recently awarded the “Expert Systems Engineering Professional” certification by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). This is one of systems engineering’s most respected and rare honors.

]]>
2024-02-01T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-01T00:00:00-05:00 2024-02-01 00:00:00 672928 672928 image <![CDATA[Dr. Craig Arndt.jpg]]> Craig Arndt, P.E., Ph.D., is a Principal Research Engineer in the Electronic Systems Laboratory (ELSYS) of GTRI. He also served as the Division Chief for the Human Centered Engineering Division.

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<![CDATA[Digital Inspection Portal Uses AI and Machine Vision to Examine Moving Trains]]> 35832

Collaboration between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has led to the development of digital train inspection portals that use advanced machine vision and artificial intelligence to examine trains moving at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour to identify mechanical defects that may exist.

Machine vision technology in the portals produces images of key components located on the front and back, top, bottom, and sides of train cars, providing a 360-degree view of the complete train. Images produced by the portal are analyzed within minutes of a train’s passage, allowing any issues identified to be reported immediately.

Two train portals are currently in operation on adjacent tracks in Leetonia, Ohio, and the company plans to have as many as a dozen in service by the end of 2024. Among them will be a train portal already under construction near Jackson, Georgia, which is located south of Atlanta. 

“Norfolk Southern is deploying Digital Train Inspection Portals to enhance rail safety across the company’s 22-state network,” said Mabby Amouie, chief data scientist for the company. “The portals feature cutting-edge machine vision inspection technology developed in partnership with GTRI, which engineered the hardware, and Norfolk Southern’s Data Science/Artificial Intelligence and Mechanical teams, which built the brains behind the program.”

The machine vision portion uses 38 high-resolution cameras consisting of a mix of area and line scan cameras to photograph critical components of each rail car moving through the portals. Powerful lights comparable to those used in sports stadiums allow the cameras to take approximately a thousand photographs of each moving rail car. 

“Being able to look at the train while it’s moving at 60 miles per hour provides visibility into defects that would be difficult to see otherwise,” said Gary McMurray, division chief of GTRI’s Intelligent Sustainable Technologies Division. “You want to be able to look at a train while it’s in motion because that’s when components are stressed, and you can see other dynamic faults.”

To reduce the amount of data that must be analyzed, each camera is aimed at a specific area of the train and takes photographs only when components of interest are visible. “The high-speed cameras are strategically placed at angles to capture things that are difficult to detect with the human eye during stationary inspections,” said Amouie.

Sensors at each portal determine the speed of each train passing through and use that information to precisely control when the photographs are taken. 

“Even with a train traveling 60 miles per hour, we are able to calculate in real time when to tell each camera to take a picture,” said Colin Usher, a GTRI senior research scientist who led development of the machine vision system. “Only images of critical components are taken and the other areas of the train that are inconsequential to identifying defects are not captured. That optimizes the image capture and saves space in the computer system.” 

The images produced by the system are analyzed by artificial intelligence algorithms developed by Norfolk Southern. The algorithms were designed to provide a combination of high accuracy and very low rates of false positives. If defects are spotted, the AI systems reports them immediately.

“The computer transmits the information to Norfolk Southern’s Network Operations Center, where the data is reviewed by subject-matter experts to identify and address issues to proactively ensure the safety of rail operations,” Amouie said. “Critical defects are flagged for immediate handling.” 

The machine vision system uses image compression techniques to reduce the size of the photographs processed by computer servers located in the portals. For a single train, the data analyzed can amount to as much as 500 gigabytes. Because the inspection needs to be done quickly, the image processing is done on-site. 

The inspection portals must operate year-round in all kinds of weather conditions and in geographic locations that range from extreme heat to cold. The machine vision system therefore has to operate despite heavy vibration levels, temperature extremes, rain and snow – and to remain clean as trains pass over.

To protect the cameras, air blown over the camera lenses shields them, while air-conditioned enclosures prevent overheating of the equipment. The system operates in a tunnel structure that helps protect the equipment and control lighting, which must be consistent across the train being inspected. 

The project, which began in 2021, involved approximately a dozen researchers in four GTRI laboratories. The research built on imaging work done earlier for a variety of applications, including the food processing industry, which needed to monitor poultry on moving processing lines. 

“By partnering with GTRI, Norfolk Southern is tapping into the best in machine vision technology in any market,” Amouie said. “We chose GTRI to be a partner because they develop advanced technology solutions and large-scale system prototypes to address the most difficult problems in national security, economic development and the overall human condition.”

 

Writer: John Toon (john.toon@gtri.gatech.edu)
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia USA

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.  

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1705677285 2024-01-19 15:14:45 1706276972 2024-01-26 13:49:32 0 0 news Collaboration between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has led to the development of digital train inspection portals that use advanced machine vision and artificial intelligence to examine trains moving at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour to identify mechanical defects that may exist.

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2024-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-19 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672809 672808 672810 672809 image <![CDATA[Researchers install a high-speed camera ]]> Researchers install a high-speed camera that is part of the portal’s machine vision system. (Credit: John Toon, GTRI)

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672808 image <![CDATA[A Norfolk Southern locomotive ]]> A Norfolk Southern locomotive moves through a train portal operating near Leetonia, Ohio. (Credit: Norfolk Southern)

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672810 video <![CDATA[Digital Inspection Portal Uses AI and Machine Vision to Examine Moving Trains]]> Collaboration between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has led to the development of digital train inspection portals that use advanced machine vision and artificial intelligence to examine trains moving at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour to identify mechanical defects that may exist.

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<![CDATA[IMat Initiative Lead Q&A: Valeria Milam]]> 35272 Valeria Tohver Milam leads the Macromolecular Materials at Biotic and Abiotic Interfaces research initiative for the Institute for Materials (IMat) and the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences at Georgia Tech. In this role, she is working to build an inclusive and active community across and beyond Georgia Tech to identify emerging research directions in macromolecular materials for biological and nonbiological applications. Milam is an associate professor in Materials Science and Engineering and a program faculty member of the Bioengineering graduate program at Georgia Tech.

In this brief Q&A, Milam discusses her research focus, how it relates to materials research, and the impact of this initiative.

What is your field of expertise and at what point in your life did you first become interested in this area?

My field of expertise lies in bio-inspired materials science and engineering. Natural macromolecular components of biological systems such as cell receptors or antibodies rely on recognition-based binding events to, for example, allow a cell to take up particular nutrients or to neutralize a specific pathogen threat. Inspired by nature’s capabilities, my group’s research strives to identify and study synthetic macromolecular materials with bio-inspired compositions and self-folded structures. I first became interested in using DNA for its recognition capabilities during my postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. For the first several years as an assistant professor at Georgia Tech, my group used DNA duplexes as a temporary glue between particle surfaces. Our more recent efforts focus on finding oligonucleotides to function as ligands or capture agents for a specific biological or nonbiological target.

What questions or challenges sparked your current materials research?

Polymers or macromolecules hold a lot of promise as a class of materials for various applications. Synthetic macromolecules, however, pose a lot of synthesis and post-use challenges that can hinder the discovery and practical use of novel macromolecular chemistries. Natural polymers such as oligonucleotides and proteins, on the other hand, have their own elegant synthesis and degradation pathways. To promote discovery of novel macromolecular materials, my group uses nature’s reagents and building blocks to synthesize numerous artificial biopolymer candidates. Since we do not start with any sequence design rules, we rely on maximizing the composition diversity of these artificial biopolymers. We then test all candidates collectively to efficiently choose ones with the desired functionality.

Why is your initiative important to the development of Georgia Tech’s Materials research strategy?

One of the challenges to discovering macromolecular systems that are both novel and practical is the lack of design rules. For example, how does one choose the right number and composition of repeat units for a macromolecule that binds to a particular material surface or to a particular biological target. If you can take advantage of nature’s building blocks and enzymes, then you can explore a wide chemical combinatorial space without having to follow any prerequisite design rules. Better yet, you can then use your initial findings to come up with design rules to explore additional, possibly better macromolecular candidates. This approach to macromolecule discovery is inherently interdisciplinary since one must combine or adapt techniques and approaches developed by biologists, polymer scientists, and materials engineers. Thus, Georgia Tech is a great place to foster this interdisciplinary strategy to research.

What are the broader global and social benefits of the research you and your team conduct?

In addition to training members of our future workforce with interdisciplinary skill sets, we want to carve out a pathway to designing, synthesizing and using environmentally friendly, multiuse macromolecules with commercial promise.

What are your plans for engaging a wider GT faculty pool with IMat research?

Currently, we are primarily in the brainstorming stage. To this end, I am engaging with science and engineering faculty at GT as well as Emory. As cross-disciplinary ideas start to brew, we will work towards multi-PI funding opportunities that engage the broader GT faculty and community.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1706046889 2024-01-23 21:54:49 1706191943 2024-01-25 14:12:23 0 0 news Milam leads the Macromolecular Materials at Biotic and Abiotic Interfaces research initiative for the Institute for Materials (IMat) and Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences at Georgia Tech.

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2024-01-23T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-23T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-23 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister
Research Communications

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<![CDATA[IMat Initiative Lead Q&A: Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena]]> 34760 Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena leads the Materials for Solar Energy Harvesting and Conversion research initiative for the Institute for Materials (IMat) and Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech. In this role, he is working to create a community around solar energy harvesting and conversion at Georgia Tech. He aims to integrate photovoltaic, photodetectors, and related devices into IMaT-related research; energize research in these areas at Georgia Tech at large; and consolidate the expertise of the many research groups working on or around photovoltaics/photodetectors that will allow researchers to target interdisciplinary research funding opportunities. He is also an assistant professor and the Goizueta Junior Faculty Rotating Chair in the School of Materials Science and Engineering.

In this brief Q&A, Correa-Baena discusses his research focus, how it relates to materials research, and the impact of this initiative.

What is your field of expertise and at what point in your life did you first become interested in this area?

I am an expert in materials for energy harvesting and conversion. I first became interested in this topic when I was an undergraduate student and started thinking about the future of energy production. 

What questions or challenges sparked your current materials research?

I was born and raised in a country where fossil fuels dominate the energy production landscape, yet where renewables are readily available. Colombia is a large producer of oil but also boasts a huge potential for solar energy production. This juxtaposition always puzzled me growing up. As a researcher in this field, I want to ensure that all countries around the world have access to solar energy, by helping lower deployment cost. 

Why is your initiative important to the development of Georgia Tech’s Materials research strategy?

There is a growing need to expand our research footprint at Georgia Tech with regard to photovoltaics. This is especially important with the impact of the photovoltaic industry presence in Georgia. My initiative is focusing on galvanizing activities around photovoltaic research at Georgia Tech that can benefit our footprint globally as well as locally with industry partners.

What are the broader global and social benefits of the research you and your team conduct?

The main benefit of the research we do is to the photovoltaic industry, which we hope to engage through cutting-edge research at Georgia Tech.

What are your plans for engaging a wider Georgia Tech faculty pool with IMat research?

I am planning to organize an internal workshop, as well as a session on photovoltaics in the Next Generation of Energy Materials Symposium to be held in March 2024 at Georgia Tech. In addition, as part of my efforts to engage the Georgia Tech community at large, I am working to create a website that will connect the Georgia Tech community working towards advancing photovoltaic capabilities for future manufacturing advancements. 

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1699040085 2023-11-03 19:34:45 1706109229 2024-01-24 15:13:49 0 0 news Correa-Baena leads the Materials for Solar Energy Harvesting and Conversion research initiative for the Institute for Materials (IMat) and Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech.

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2023-11-03T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-03T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-03 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister

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672263 672263 image <![CDATA[Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena]]> image/png 1699039995 2023-11-03 19:33:15 1699040057 2023-11-03 19:34:17
<![CDATA[M87* One Year Later: Proof of a Persistent Black Hole Shadow]]> 34528 This press release is shared jointly with the Event Horizon Telescope newsroom.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration has released new images of M87*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87, using data from observations taken in April 2018.

With the participation of the newly commissioned Greenland Telescope and a dramatically improved recording rate across the array, the 2018 observations give researchers a view of the source independent from the first observations in 2017. 

“This persistence is a remarkable confirmation of our earlier interpretation that the EHT images do reveal the shadow of the black hole — and strengthens the tests of Einstein’s theories that we have performed,” says Dimitrios Psaltis, professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology who served as EHT project scientist at the time of the 2019 announcement.

Psaltis and Georgia Tech School of Physics Chair Feryal Özel are members of the EHT collaboration, and are the scientists who developed many of the theoretical tools to analyze and interpret the images.

“Modeling the image features of this black hole across observations that span many years — and comparing them to the images of the black hole in the center of our Milky Way — already provide powerful checks on our plasma models” says Özel, who led the 2022 announcement of the image of the Milky Way black hole.

New era of black hole imaging

A recent paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics presents the team’s new images from the 2018 data that reveal a familiar ring the same size as the one observed in 2017. This bright ring surrounds a deep central depression, “the shadow of the black hole,” as predicted by general relativity. Excitingly, the brightness peak of the ring has shifted by about 30º compared to the images from 2017, which is consistent with our theoretical understanding of variability from turbulent material around black holes.

“A fundamental requirement of science is to be able to reproduce results,” says Keiichi Asada, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan. “Confirmation of the ring in a completely new data set is a huge milestone for our collaboration and a strong indication that we are looking at a black hole shadow and the material orbiting around it.”

In 2017, the EHT took the first image of a black hole. This object, M87*, is the beating heart of the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 and lives 55 million light years away from Earth. The image of the black hole revealed a bright circular ring, brighter in the southern part of the ring. Further analysis of the data also revealed the structure of M87* in polarized light, giving us greater insight into the geometry of the magnetic field and the nature of the plasma around the black hole.

The new era of black hole direct imaging, spearheaded by the extensive analysis of the 2017 observations of M87*, opened a new window that let researchers investigate black hole astrophysics and allow them to test the theory of general relativity at a fundamental level.

“Our theoretical models tell us that the state of the material around M87* should be uncorrelated between 2017 and 2018,” EHT researchers explain. “Thus, multiple observations of M87* will help us place independent constraints on the plasma and magnetic field structure around the black hole and help us disentangle the complicated astrophysics from the effects of general relativity.”

Greenland Telescope

To help accomplish new and exciting science, the EHT is under continuous development. The Greenland Telescope joined the EHT for the first time in 2018, just five months after its construction was completed far above the Arctic Circle. This new telescope significantly improved the image fidelity of the EHT array, improving the coverage, particularly in the North-South direction. The Large Millimeter Telescope also participated for the first time with its full 50 m surface, greatly improving its sensitivity. The EHT array was also upgraded to observe in four frequency bands around 230 GHz, compared to only two bands in 2017.

Repeated observations with an improved array are essential to demonstrate the robustness of our findings and strengthen our confidence in our results.  In addition to the groundbreaking science, the EHT also serves as a technology testbed for cutting-edge developments in high-frequency radio interferometry.

"Advancing scientific endeavors requires continuous enhancement in data quality and analysis techniques," says Rohan Dahale, a Ph.D. candidate at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) in Spain. "The inclusion of the Greenland Telescope in our array filled critical gaps in our earth-sized telescope. The 2021, 2022, and the forthcoming 2024 observations witness improvements to the array, fueling our enthusiasm to push the frontiers of black hole astrophysics."

Remarkably similar

The analysis of the 2018 data features eight independent imaging and modeling techniques, including methods used in the previous 2017 analysis of M87* and new ones developed from the collaboration’s experience analyzing Sgr A*.

The EHT team explains that the image of M87* taken in 2018 is remarkably similar to what they saw in 2017. “We see a bright ring of the same size, with a dark central region and one side of the ring brighter than the other. The mass and distance of M87* will not appreciably increase throughout a human lifetime, so general relativity predicts that the ring diameter should stay the same from year to year. The stability of the measured diameter in the images from 2017 to 2018 robustly supports the conclusion that M87* is well described by general relativity.”

Mass matters, brightness peak

“One of the remarkable properties of a black hole is that its radius is strongly dependent on only one quantity: its mass,” says Nitika Yadlapalli Yurk, a former graduate student at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), now a postdoctoral fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. “Since M87* is not accreting material (which would increase its mass) at a rapid rate, general relativity tells us that its radius will remain fairly unchanged over human history. It’s pretty exciting to see that our data confirm this prediction.”

While the size of the black hole shadow did not change between 2017 and 2018, the location of the brightest region around the ring did change significantly, the team adds. The bright region rotated about 30º counterclockwise to settle in the bottom right part of the ring at about the 5 o’clock position.

Historical observations of M87* with a less sensitive array and fewer telescopes also indicated that the shadow structure changes yearly (Wielgus 2020, ApJ, 901, 67) but with less precision. While the 2018 EHT array still cannot observe the jet emerging from M87*, the black hole spin axis predicted from the location of the brightest region around the ring is more consistent with the jet axis seen at other wavelengths.  

“The biggest change, that the brightness peak shifted around the ring, is actually something we predicted when we published the first results in 2019,” says Britt Jeter, a postdoctoral fellow at Academia Sinica Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan. “While general relativity says the ring size should stay pretty fixed, the emission from the turbulent, messy accretion disk around the black hole will cause the brightest part of the ring to wobble around a common center. The amount of wobble we see over time is something we can use to test our theories for the magnetic field and plasma environment around the black hole.”

2024 and beyond

“While all the EHT papers published so far have featured an analysis of our first observations in 2017,” the research team adds, “this result represents the first efforts to explore the many additional years of data the EHT collaboration has collected.” In addition to 2017 and 2018, the EHT conducted successful observations in 2021 and 2022 and is scheduled to observe in the first half of 2024. Each year, the EHT array has improved in some way, either through the addition of new telescopes, better hardware, or additional observing frequencies. “Within the collaboration, we are working very hard to analyze all this data and are excited to show you more results in the future.”

 

###

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202347932 

ABOUT EHT

The EHT collaboration involves more than 300 researchers from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The international collaboration is working to capture the most detailed black hole images ever obtained by creating a virtual Earth-sized telescope. Supported by considerable international investment, the EHT links existing telescopes using novel systems, creating a fundamentally new instrument with the highest angular resolving power that has yet been achieved.

The individual telescopes involved are ALMA, APEX, the IRAM 30-meter Telescope, the IRAM NOEMA Observatory, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), the Submillimeter Array (SMA), the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT), the South Pole Telescope (SPT), the Kitt Peak Telescope, and the Greenland Telescope (GLT).  Data were correlated at the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) and MIT Haystack Observatory.  The postprocessing was done within the collaboration by an international team at different institutions.

The EHT consortium consists of 13 stakeholder institutes: the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the University of Arizona, the University of Chicago, the East Asian Observatory, Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt, Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique, Large Millimeter Telescope, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, MIT Haystack Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Radboud University, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.

The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, representing 50 states and more than 148 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning.

As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.


IMAGE:

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration has released new images of M87* from observations taken in April 2018, one year after the first observations in April 2017. The new observations in 2018, which feature the first participation of the Greenland Telescope, reveal a familiar, bright ring of emission of the same size as we found in 2017.  This bright ring surrounds a dark central shadow, and the brightest part of the ring in 2018 has shifted by about 30º relative from 2017 to now lie in the 5 o’clock position. (Credit: EHT Collaboration)

 

]]> jhunt7 1 1705597772 2024-01-18 17:09:32 1705598093 2024-01-18 17:14:53 0 0 news The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration has released new images of M87*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87, using data from observations taken in April 2018. 

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2024-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-18 00:00:00 Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

EHT Contacts

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672791 661822 658926 672791 image <![CDATA[(Credit: EHT Collaboration) ]]> image/png 1705597905 2024-01-18 17:11:45 1705597905 2024-01-18 17:11:45 661822 image <![CDATA[Feryal Özel Headshot]]> image/jpeg 1664904045 2022-10-04 17:20:45 1664904205 2022-10-04 17:23:25 658926 image <![CDATA[Dimitrios Psaltis, professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Tech.]]> image/jpeg 1655327108 2022-06-15 21:05:08 1681392301 2023-04-13 13:25:01 <![CDATA[A Sharper Look at the M87 Black Hole ]]>
<![CDATA[Partnership for Inclusive Innovation 2024 Summer Internship Applications Now Open]]> 28137 The PSI uses collaboration, diversity and forward thinking to elevate the outcomes of our communities and environment. Our competitive, immersive 12-week program brings together extraordinary cohorts of interns representing colleges and universities nationwide and communities around the world.

Interns will gain valuable experience working with local government, community, and non-profit leaders while receiving a summer living stipend of $8,000* for the 12-week internship. *The summer living stipend is paid bi-weekly at a rate of $16.66 an hour and is taxed as income.

Interns selected for positions are required to live within the community they serve and work in person at the work site indicated on the individual job description. PSI interns will be responsible for the cost of housing/food/transportation. All interns must have reliable transportation to get to their positions daily.

With a presence across the Southeast United States, the talent and diversity from these cohorts have demonstrated major feats. In just a few years, the PSI has evolved from a modest initiative to an unparalleled platform for innovation. The 2023 PSI cohort of 63 interns stands as its largest, most competitive, and most diverse group, to date.

]]> Péralte Paul 1 1705508924 2024-01-17 16:28:44 1705510265 2024-01-17 16:51:05 0 0 news The PIN Summer Internship (PSI) is now accepting student applications for the 2024 Summer cohort. Any undergrad or graduate student from any institution of higher education with a desire to work in-person on impactful, smart technology projects that are focused on creating livable and equitable communities is encouraged to apply here through Feb. 11, 2024: https://pingeorgia.org/summer_internships_overview/.

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2024-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-17 00:00:00 Péralte C. Paul
peralte@gatech.edu
404.316.1210

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672776 672776 image <![CDATA[PIN Summer Intern Class of 2023]]> In 2023, our intern cohort embarked on 35 transformative projects across 15 communities. From enhancing community resilience and digital equity to fostering economic mobility and sustainable living, their endeavors spanned a spectrum of pressing public issues. (Photo: Chris Ruggiero)

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<![CDATA[Improving Mental Health Care, with the Help of an AI Teammate]]> 35599 While increasing numbers of people are seeking mental health care, mental health providers are facing critical shortages. Now, an interdisciplinary team of investigators at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Penn State aim to develop an interactive AI system that can provide key insights and feedback to help these professionals improve and provide higher quality care, while satisfying the increasing demand for highly trained, effective mental health professionals.

A new $2,000,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will support the research. 

The research builds on previous collaboration between Rosa Arriaga, an associate professor in the College of Computing and Andrew Sherrill, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, who worked together on a computational system for PTSD therapy. 

Arriaga and Christopher Wiese, an assistant professor in the School of Psychology will lead the Georgia Tech team, Saeed Abdullah, an assistant professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology will lead the Penn State team, and Sherrill will serve as overall project lead and Emory team lead.

The grant, for “Understanding the Ethics, Development, Design, and Integration of Interactive Artificial Intelligence Teammates in Future Mental Health Work” will allocate $801,660 of support to the Georgia Tech team, supporting four years of research.

“The initial three years of our project are dedicated to understanding and defining what functionalities and characteristics make an AI system a 'teammate' rather than just a tool,” Wiese says. “This involves extensive research and interaction with mental health professionals to identify their specific needs and challenges. We aim to understand the nuances of their work, their decision-making processes, and the areas where AI can provide meaningful support.In the final year, we plan to implement a trial run of this AI teammate philosophy with mental health professionals.”

While the project focuses on mental health workers, the impacts of the project range far beyond. “AI is going to fundamentally change the nature of work and workers,” Arriaga says. “And, as such, there’s a significant need for research to develop best practices for integrating worker, work, and future technology.”

The team underscores that sectors like business, education, and customer service could easily apply this research. The ethics protocol the team will develop will also provide a critical framework for best practices. The team also hopes that their findings could inform policymakers and stakeholders making key decisions regarding AI. 

“The knowledge and strategies we develop have the potential to revolutionize how AI is integrated into the broader workforce,” Wiese adds. “We are not just exploring the intersection of human and synthetic intelligence in the mental health profession; we are laying the groundwork for a future where AI and humans collaborate effectively across all areas of work.”

Collaborative project

The project aims to develop an AI coworker called TEAMMAIT (short for “the Trustworthy, Explainable, and Adaptive Monitoring Machine for AI Team”). Rather than functioning as a tool, as many AI’s currently do, TEAMMAIT will act more as a human teammate would,  providing constructive feedback and helping mental healthcare workers develop and learn new skills.

“Unlike conventional AI tools that function as mere utilities, an AI teammate is designed to work collaboratively with humans, adapting to their needs and augmenting their capabilities,” Wiese explains. “Our approach is distinctively human-centric, prioritizing the needs and perspectives of mental health professionals… it’s important to recognize that this is a complex domain and interdisciplinary collaboration is necessary to create the most optimal outcomes when it comes to integrating AI into our lives.”

With both technical and human health aspects to the research, the project will leverage an interdisciplinary team of experts spanning clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, human-computer interaction, and information science.

“We need to work closely together to make sure that the system, TEAMMAIT, is useful and usable,” adds Arriaga. “Chris (Wiese) and I are looking at two types of challenges: those associated with the organization, as Chris is an industrial organizational psychology expert — and those associated with the interface, as I am a computer scientist that specializes in human computer interaction.”

Long-term timeline

The project’s long-term timeline reflects the unique challenges that it faces.

“A key challenge is in the development and design of the AI tools themselves,” Wiese says. “They need to be user-friendly, adaptable, and efficient, enhancing the capabilities of mental health workers without adding undue complexity or stress. This involves continuous iteration and feedback from end-users to refine the AI tools, ensuring they meet the real-world needs of mental health professionals.”

The team plans to deploy TEAMMAIT in diverse settings in the fourth year of development, and incorporate data from these early users to create development guidelines for Worker-AI teammates in mental health work, and to create ethical guidelines for developing and using this type of system.

“This will be a crucial phase where we test the efficacy and integration of the AI in real-world scenarios,” Wiese says. “We will assess not just the functional aspects of the AI, such as how well it performs specific tasks, but also how it impacts the work environment, the well-being of the mental health workers, and ultimately, the quality of care provided to patients.”

Assessing the psychological impacts on workers, including how TEAMMAIT impacts their day-to-day work will be crucial in ensuring TEAMMAIT has a positive impact on healthcare worker’s skills and wellbeing.

“We’re interested in understanding how mental health clinicians interact with TEAMMAIT and the subsequent impact on their work,” Wiese adds. “How long does it take for clinicians to become comfortable and proficient with TEAMMAIT? How does their engagement with TEAMMAIT change over the year? Do they feel like they are more effective when using TEAMMAIT? We’re really excited to begin answering these questions.

 

]]> sperrin6 1 1704380119 2024-01-04 14:55:19 1705418733 2024-01-16 15:25:33 0 0 news An interdisciplinary team of investigators at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Penn State aim to develop an interactive AI system that can provide key insights and feedback to help these professionals improve and provide higher quality care, while satisfying the increasing demand for highly trained, effective mental health professionals.

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2024-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-04 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston

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643611 672671 672672 643611 image <![CDATA[Artificial Intelligence]]> image/jpeg 1611926616 2021-01-29 13:23:36 1611926616 2021-01-29 13:23:36 672671 image <![CDATA[Rosa Arriaga]]> image/jpeg 1704380385 2024-01-04 14:59:45 1704380385 2024-01-04 14:59:45 672672 image <![CDATA[Christopher Wiese]]> image/jpeg 1704380385 2024-01-04 14:59:45 1704380385 2024-01-04 14:59:45
<![CDATA[The Fundamental Questions: Jesse McDaniel Awarded NSF CAREER Grant for Research Into New Method of Predicting Chemical Reaction Rates, Leveraging Computer Modeling]]> 35599 Our world is powered by chemical reactions. From new medicines and biotechnology to sustainable energy solutions developing and understanding the chemical reactions behind innovations is a critical first step in pioneering new advances. And a key part of developing new chemistries is discovering how the rates of those chemical reactions can be accelerated or changed. 

For example, even an everyday chemical reaction, like toasting bread, can substantially change in speed and outcome — by increasing the heat, the speed of the reaction increases, toasting the bread faster. Adding another chemical ingredient — like buttering the bread before frying it — also changes the outcome of the reaction: the bread might brown and crisp rather than toast. The lesson? Certain chemical reactions can be accelerated or changed by adding or altering key variables, and understanding those factors is crucial when trying to create the desired reaction (like avoiding burnt toast!).

Chemists currently use quantum chemistry techniques to predict the rates and energies of chemical reactions, but the method is limited: predictions can usually only be made for up to a few hundred atoms. In order to scale the predictions to larger systems, and predict the environmental effects of reactions, a new framework needs to be developed.

Jesse McDaniel (School of Chemistry and Biochemistry) is creating that framework by leveraging computer modeling techniques. Now, a new NSF CAREER grant will help him do so. The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award is a five-year grant designed to help promising researchers establish a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in their field. Known as CAREER awards, the grants are NSF’s most prestigious funding for untenured assistant professors. 

“I am excited about the CAREER research because we are really focusing on fundamental questions that are central to all of chemistry,” McDaniel says about the project.


Pioneering a new framework

“Chemical reactions are inherently quantum mechanical in nature,” McDaniel explains. “Electrons rearrange as chemical bonds are broken and formed.” While this type of quantum chemistry can allow scientists to predict the rates and energies of different reactions, these predictions are limited to only tens or hundreds of atoms. That’s where McDaniel’s team comes in. They’re developing modeling techniques based on quantum chemistry that could function over multiple scales, using computer models to scale the predictions. They hope this will help predict environmental effects on chemical reaction rates.

By developing modeling techniques that can be applied to reactions at multiple scales, McDaniel aims to expand scientist’s ability to predict and model chemical reactions, and how they interact with their environments. “Our goal is to understand the microscopic mechanisms and intermolecular interactions through which chemical reactions are accelerated within unique solvation environments such as microdroplets, thin films, and heterogenous interfaces,” McDaniel says. He hopes that it will allow for computational modeling of chemical reactions in much larger systems.  

Interdisciplinary research

As a theoretical and computational chemist, McDaniel’s chemistry experiments don’t take place in a typical chemistry lab — rather, they take place in a computer lab,  where Georgia Tech’s robust computer science and software development community functions as a key resource.

“We run computer simulations on high performance computing clusters,” McDaniel explains. “In this regard, we benefit from the HPC infrastructure at Georgia Tech, including the Partnership for an Advanced Computing Environment (PACE) team, as well as the computational resources provided in the new CODA building.” 

“Software is also a critical part of our research,” he continues. “My colleague Professor David Sherrill and his group are lead developers of the Psi4 quantum chemistry software, and this software comprises a core component of our multi-scale modeling efforts.”

In this respect, McDaniel is eager to to involve the next generation of chemists and computer scientists, showcasing the connection between these different fields. McDaniel’s team will partner with regional high school teachers, collaborating to integrate software and data science tools within the high school educational curriculum.

“One thing I like about this project,” McDaniel says, “is that all types of chemists — organic, inorganic, analytical, bio, physical, etc. — care about how chemical reactions happen, and how reactions are influenced by their surroundings.”

]]> sperrin6 1 1681837505 2023-04-18 17:05:05 1704919678 2024-01-10 20:47:58 0 0 news School of Chemistry and Biochemistry's Jesse McDaniel is creating a framework to predict chemical reaction rates, leveraging computer modeling techniques. Now, a new NSF CAREER grant will help him do so. “I am excited about the CAREER research because we are really focusing on fundamental questions that are central to all of chemistry,” McDaniel says about the project.

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2023-04-19T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-19T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-19 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

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670577 672733 670577 image <![CDATA[Chemistry Mosaic]]> image/png 1681837853 2023-04-18 17:10:53 1681837908 2023-04-18 17:11:48 672733 image <![CDATA[Jesse McDaniel]]> image/jpeg 1704919628 2024-01-10 20:47:08 1704919655 2024-01-10 20:47:35 <![CDATA[Chemistry, Chaos, Peptides, and (Infinite) Problems: Georgia Tech Researchers Pioneer New Frontiers with NSF CAREER Grants Primary tabs]]> <![CDATA[Making Medicines: Vinayak Agarwal Awarded NSF CAREER Grant for Peptide Research]]> <![CDATA[Chasing Chaos: Alex Blumenthal Awarded CAREER Grant for Research in Chaos, Fluid Dynamics]]> <![CDATA[Solving Infinite Problems: Anton Bernshteyn awarded NSF CAREER grant for developing a new, unified theory of descriptive combinatorics and distributed algorithms]]>
<![CDATA[Founder and CREATE-X Mentor Coaches on Business and Bold Moves]]> 36436 Stephanie Smith is a coach for GT Startup Launch and has mentored students in the program. She graduated from Georgia Tech in 2009 and is the founder of the company Social by Steph, which manages paid social ads for businesses and has been running for almost seven years.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

After graduating from Tech, I got an opportunity to work at a tech startup. The company's makeup was a bunch of entrepreneurs. I think I was employee number nine. They knew that this wasn't the end all, be all for any of their careers. It was just something they were doing at that time. In my mind it kind of was instilled in me, early in my career, that entrepreneurship was always an option. I knew at a certain point I wanted to have my own business. I just didn't know when it was going to be or what it was going to be.

I appreciate the flexibility that comes with entrepreneurship so that I can set my schedule. I'm not a super morning person. I may work late night. I take my laptop everywhere with me. It just comes with this level of flexibility that for me is priceless.

And this isn't always the case, but sometimes working at companies, your next step, your promotions can be at the subjectiveness of managers. It feels good to be in charge of your future and decide what's next for you.

What made you want to coach students in CREATE-X?

The last few years I've gotten into teaching people how to do paid social ads, as opposed to just me doing it for them or trying to find a way for people to be able to afford me to do it for them. So, because I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and startups and small business owners, I decided to start teaching. CREATE-X naturally went with what I was doing.

It's cool to see what types of ideas students come up with and why they even came to that idea in the first place. I know when I was in school, it wasn't about starting your own company. It was really about making the GPA so that you can get on with a company like Google. But now, it’s fostering that startup spirit.

What have you noticed about the students you mentor?

I've noticed that the teams that divvy up their tasks make the most progress. It’s eye-opening to me to see how far they can go from the beginning of the summer to the end, just by really being organized and trusting each other and dividing those tasks. I always like to see that.

What has surprised you about your mentees?

I have noticed there's been at least two that I recognized coming back for a second or third time with a new idea. It's like, “OK, my last idea didn't really go the way I wanted it to go, so I'm back again with something different.” It's nice to see that they have that opportunity to try again.

What has been something you've gotten out of coaching these students?

I am transitioning into building technology myself that teaches people how to run ads. So honestly, this has been very mutually beneficial because it's also customer discovery for me. Finding out what's confusing, what you know is the first line of information that they need to know, what seems very cumbersome versus complicated. I have been able to also learn in the process from them.

What advice would you give to someone without coaching experience but interest in it?

Just go for it. Whatever you have the experience in and the knowledge in can help these students because they're pretty much starting from ground zero. If you know you're in the spirit and you want to pay it forward because maybe some people have paid it forward for you and your career, then coaching and mentoring is always the best way to do that.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in entrepreneurship but are unsure?

Put yourself out there. I'm all about dabbling in interests. CREATE-X in general seems perfect for that because you can get the class credit as well as explore an idea that you have and get the guidance along the way to see if this is something that you want to do and put a lot of effort toward. I think it's all about exploration, and the best time to do it is when you're young, without a whole lot of responsibility.

What book, podcast, or resource would you recommend to students interested in entrepreneurship and why?

Start with Why by Simon Sinek. That book is really just about finding the reason or the purpose for what you're doing. Why am I starting this business? What does that mean for me? What does that look like in the future? Not just because you want to make money or because you want to work two hours a day, but really going behind the passion of things.

And then if I had to throw in a bonus book, it's called What Got You Here Won't Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith. I like that one because it changed my perspective a little bit. There was a mindset change that I had to do because working at different agencies, I knew exactly how to not navigate through my career there. I'm working hard, and I'm putting in the hours. I'm doing all the politics that it takes to navigate an agency world, but then when I decided to shift to entrepreneurship, it wasn't the same. What got me to one level of my career is not going to continue to get me to the next level. It's about being ready for pivots, making necessary changes, educating yourself, and doing what it takes to get to the next level and realizing that everything you've done to be successful doesn't mean it's going to continue. This has worked so far, but now it's time to change it up so that you can continue on.

 

Receive mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs as a part of your GT Startup Launch experience. Applications for the 12-week summer accelerator are open now. Apply for GT Startup Launch by March 19 and join our rich entrepreneurial network! 

]]> bdurham31 1 1704310859 2024-01-03 19:40:59 1704400063 2024-01-04 20:27:43 0 0 news Stephanie Smith, coach for GT Startup Launch and Georgia Tech alumna, encourages students to step out of their comfort zones, something she did when she founded her company, Social by Steph. Smith's company manages paid social ads for businesses and has been running for almost seven years.

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2024-01-03T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-03T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-03 00:00:00 Breanna Durham

Marketing Strategist 

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672673 672673 image <![CDATA[Stephanie Smith.png]]> CREATE-X Coach Stephanie Smith

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<![CDATA[Hollister Lab Develops 3D Printing for Soft Tissue Engineering]]> 28153 There are young children celebrating the holidays this year with their families, thanks to the 3D-printed medical devices created in the lab of Georgia Tech researcher Scott Hollister. For more than 10 years, Hollister and his collaborators have developed lifesaving, patient-specific airway splints for babies with rare birth defects. 

These personalized Airway Support Devices are made of a biocompatible polyester called polycaprolactone (PCL), which has the advantage of being approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Researchers use selective laser sintering to heat the powdered polyester, which binds together as a solid structure. Devices made of PCL have a great safety record when implanted into patients.

Unfortunately, PCL has the disadvantage of having relatively stiff and linear mechanical properties, which means this promising biomaterial has yet to be applied functionally to some other critical biomedical needs, such as soft tissue engineering. How do you make a firm thermoplastic into something flexible, and possibly capable of growing with the patient? Hollister’s lab has figured out how.

“3D auxetic design,” said Jeong Hun Park, a research scientist in Hollister’s lab who led the team’s recent study demonstrating the successful 3D printing of PCL for soft tissue engineering. An auxetic material, unlike typical common elastics, has a negative Poisson’s ratio. That means if you stretch an auxetic material longitudinally it will also expand in the lateral direction, whereas most materials will get thinner laterally (because they have a positive Poisson’s ratio).

So, an auxetic structure can expand in both directions, which is useful when considering biomedical applications for humans, whose bodies and parts can change in size and shape over time and comprise many different textures and densities. Hollister’s team set out to give usually firm PCL some new auxetic properties.

“Although the mechanical properties and behavior of the 3D structure depend on the inherent properties of the base material — in this case, PCL — it can also be significantly tuned through internal architecture design,” explained Park.

Park guided the design of 3D-printed structures made up of tiny struts, arranged at right angles — imagine the bones of very tiny skyscrapers. The team began by creating cube-shaped structures first, to test the auxetic design’s flexibility, strength, and permeability.

Flexible Behavior

Basically, an auxetic material is a network structure designed by assembling unit cells. These unit cells consist of struts and their intersecting joints, which are an important aspect of an auxetic device’s behavior. The rotation of those intersecting joints within the network, under compression or extension, causes negative Poisson’s behavior. It also enables advanced performance for a printed device, including impact energy absorption, indentation resistance, and high flexibility. 

“When you look at the numbers, based on Jeong Hun’s work, the new structure is about 300 times more flexible than the typical solid structure we make out of PCL in our lab,” said Hollister, professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, where he also holds the Patsy and Alan Dorris Chair in Pediatric Technology and serves as the department’s associate chair for translational research.

The combination of flexibility and strength in a device is particularly important here, Park said, because the ultimate goal of the research is to “apply this structure to develop a breast reconstruction implant that has comparable biomechanical properties to native breast tissue. Currently, we don’t have a biodegradable breast implantation option in the clinical setting.”

He explained that these biodegradable breast reconstruction implants serve as a kind of scaffold. The idea is, the biocompatible material (PCL) eventually degrades and is absorbed into the body, while maintaining similar mechanical properties to native breast tissue.

“We expect that native tissue will be first infiltrated into the pores of the biodegradable implant,” Park said. “Tissue volume will then increase within the implant as it degrades and eventually the device itself is replaced with the tissue after complete degradation of the implant.”

Expanding the Cellular Network

Essentially, the 3D-printed breast implant is designed to provide reconstructive support while also facilitating the growth of new tissue.

The space between those tiny struts makes all the difference for the larger device, giving it a softness and pliability that would have been impossible otherwise. Those spaces eventually can be filled with hydrogel that will help foster cell and tissue growth. 

The team’s architected auxetics also include the design of inner voids and spaces inside the struts, creating a kind of microporosity that enables the mass transport of oxygen, nutrients, and metabolites to nurture the expansion and growth of a cellular network.

Park is working with Emory surgeon Angela Cheng in submitting a grant for further research and testing of the breast implant. And the team already is adapting the technology for other applications. One of the collaborators in this research, for example, is Mike Davis, whose lab at Emory is focused on cardiac regeneration.

“Because of the great flexibility, they’re using it to reconstruct infarcted or necrotic myocardial tissue,” Hollister said.

And Park has developed an auxetic version of the pediatric tracheal splint. “The advantage there is, with this design, it can expand in two directions,” he said. “So, as young patients grow, the new device will grow with them.”

 

Video Demonstration of Auxetic Compression

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1701349302 2023-11-30 13:01:42 1704377666 2024-01-04 14:14:26 0 0 news Researchers use architected auxetics to achieve 300 times more flexibility in new 3D printing design

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2023-11-30T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-30T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-30 00:00:00 Writer: Jerry Grillo

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672478 672478 image <![CDATA[JeongHun Park]]> Research scientist JeongHun Park

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<![CDATA[Coskun Lab Pioneering New Field of Research: Single Cell Spatial Metabolomics]]> 28153 Ahmet Coskun and his collaborators plan to create a chemical atlas of all the immune cells in the human body, a 3D micromap to help clinicians navigate the complex role of the entire immune system in the presence of different diseases. 

It’s the kind of massive undertaking that would result in vastly improved precision therapies for patients. And it’s the kind of journey that starts with a single cell. Coskun and team are off to a fast start with the introduction of a new integrative technique for profiling human tissue that enables researchers to capture the geography, structure, movement, and function of molecules in a 3D picture. 

The researchers described their new approach, the Single Cell Spatially resolved Metabolic (scSpaMet) framework, in the journal Nature Communications on Dec. 13. The study builds on a technique Coskun’s team developed and described in a 2021 article, “3D Spatially resolved Metabolomic profiling Framework,” published in Science Advances. In that work, the team introduced a technique that measures the activity of metabolites and proteins as part of a comprehensive profile of human tissue samples. 

“Earlier we couldn’t achieve single-cell resolution, but with this new approach, we can,” said Coskun, Bernie Marcus Early Career Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “With this new approach, we can get spatial details of proteins and metabolites in single cells– no one else has yet reached this level of high subcellular resolution.”

He added, “We’re pioneering a new field of research with this work, single cell spatial metabolomics.”

A Bigger, Better Molecular Picture

Human tissue is spatially crowded with all kinds of stuff, so investigators need tools that can see clearly into, through, and around that multilayered biological traffic – everything, all at once, in high-definition 3D. With scSpaMet, Coskun’s team can capture single cell details such as the naturally occurring lipids, proteins, as well as metabolites (with their multiple functions, including energy conversion and cell signaling). And other details, like those provided by researchers: Intracellular and surface markers are used to label and track cell activity and behavior. 

The team broadened the scope of this study, extending its investigation beyond human tonsil tissue. 

“We showed the crucial role of immune cells in lung cancer for the study of lung cancer for the study of immunometabolism of T cells and macrophages as they interact with tumors,” Coskun said. “Then we created dynamic immune metabolic changes in tonsils as they go through germinal center reactions to give rise to the antibody-producing cells. Finally, we demonstrated the role of immune cells in the endometrium, a membrane in the uterus that might lead to conditions impacting a woman’s health.”

The wide-angled study required plenty of cross-country collaboration with other institutions, although Coskun’s lab guided the wide-angled study, integrating its expertise in bioimaging, chemistry, tissue biology, and artificial intelligence. 

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York) provided access to its endometrium tissue bank. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee) provided data from its complex metabolic imaging instrumentation, to further demonstrate how single cell spatial metabolomics imaging can generate rich data. 

The University of California-Davis provided kidney biospecimens as both fixed tissue and frozen embedded tissue, in two halves of the same sample, “so we could demonstrate the effect of tissue preparation on the sensitivity of our single cell spatial metabolomics pipeline,” Coskun said.

The team also included Thomas Hu and Mayar Allam, graduate researchers in Coskun’s lab, who guided the research as lead authors, and Walter Henderson, a research scientist who manages the IEN/IMat Materials Characterization Facility at Georgia Tech.

Considering the Whole Person's Biochemistry

The ability to generate single cell spatial metabolic profiling of individual patients can reveal a world of possibility and potential for clinicians who need to fully understand a patient’s biophysical makeup to contrive the best treatment options.

“For example, it can provide mechanisms of how immune responses can be boosted by adding dietary molecules along with immunotherapies,” Coskun said. “It can also help adjust the dose of cell-based treatments, based on the body mass index of individual patients, whether they are obese or not.”

Coskun believes this new arena of single cell metabolomics research his lab is developing will complement the field of single cell genomics, which has led to genomic medicine. His team’s comprehensive exploration and imaging of the geography of normal and unhealthy human tissues – of every single cell – can further explain cellular regulation in ways that were previously overlooked, due to the lack of technology.

He envisions a future in which a patient’s BMI, dietary habits, and exercise commitments, along with their single cell spatial metabolomic atlas of disease progression, will be analyzed all together to find optimum therapies that can work with biologics and metabolic boosting regimens, potentially increasing the survival of cancers, women’s diseases, and metabolic disorders.

“We will have opportunities to talk about spatial single cell metabolomic medicine, to stratify patients and design next-generation combination therapies with an integrated view of genes and chemical activity roadmaps, for more efficient management of cancer and other diseases,” Coskun said.

In creating their scSpaMet framework, the researchers must integrate expensive machines that live in the worlds of nanotechnology and chemistry right now. The system will require clinical-friendly optimizations to be able to run single cell metabolic imaging measurements in healthcare settings. Coskun expects the cost and user-friendliness will be improved in the near future to reach the bedside.

“When researchers achieved single cell sequencing, it was a revolutionary moment in medicine,” Coskun said. “Now, we believe single cell spatial metabolic profiling will push the medical practice into new heights.” 

This research was supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the Bernie Marcus Early Career Professorship, as well as the National Science Foundation (Grant ECCS-1542174), (Grant ECCS-2-25462), American Cancer Society, and National Institutes of Health grants (R21AG081715, R21AI173900, and R35GM151028)

Citation: Thomas Hu, Mayar Allam, Shuangyi Cai, Walter Henderson, Brian Yueh, Aybuke Garipcan, Anton V. Ievlev, Maryam Afkarian, Semir Beyaz, and Ahmet F. Coskun. “Single-cell spatial metabolomics with cell-type specific protein profiling for tissue systems biology,” Nature Communications (Dec. 13, 2023)

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1703084826 2023-12-20 15:07:06 1704377606 2024-01-04 14:13:26 0 0 news Coskun lab developed scSpaMet framework, to capture 3D images of single cell details such as the naturally occurring lipids, proteins, as well as metabolites (with their multiple functions, including energy conversion and cell signaling), in hopes of creating 3D map of all human tissues. 

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2023-12-20T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-20T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-20 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo

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672621 672622 672623 672621 image <![CDATA[spatial meta]]> Images of time in space: The top panel image shows pseudo-time single cell metabolic trajectories across distinct biogeographical regions. The dark purple represents early metabolic changes, while the bright yellow represents later metabolic activities. The bottom panel is a spatial projection of single cells’ metabolic trajectories (denoted by arrows in the dark zone and light zone regions) in tonsil tissue. Photo provided by Coskun Lab

]]> image/jpeg 1703084190 2023-12-20 14:56:30 1703084235 2023-12-20 14:57:15
672622 image <![CDATA[lead authors]]> Lead authors Mayar Allam and Thomas Hu

]]> image/jpeg 1703084247 2023-12-20 14:57:27 1703084298 2023-12-20 14:58:18
672623 image <![CDATA[Coskun photo]]> Ahmet Coskun

]]> image/jpeg 1703084315 2023-12-20 14:58:35 1703084361 2023-12-20 14:59:21
<![CDATA[AI-ALOE Brings AI-based Ecological Research Power To Local Technical College]]> 36348 During the summer, Duncan Hughes, an Environmental Technology instructor at North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) introduced his students to the web application Virtual Ecological Research Assistant, better known as VERA. It allowed students to construct conceptual models and ecological systems, as well as run interactive model simulations on the brook trout, a species of freshwater fish.

Hughes and his students sought to answer questions about reproduction and food supply, as they worked to add new complexities to the VERA application from different species of trout, circumstances, to changes. According to the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), an international effort, led by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, brook trout are found in three types of aquatic environments: rivers, lakes, and marine areas and their living requirements in these environments.

“Originally when we populated the brook trout, we noticed the brown trout shared the same life history and ecological information, but we were able to find enough information from the Encyclopedia of Life to differentiate those species,” said Hughes. “I had my students run through the process of building these components through an instructional-based format by having them manipulate some of the parameters and probabilities.”

VERA was developed by the Design & Intelligence Lab at Georgia Tech in collaboration with EOL. The technology is being used by students as an assisting tool and is publicly accessible. The data being collected from their usage is part of the research conducted at the NSF AI Institute for Adult Learning and Online Education (AI-ALOE).

“Users can jump into our program and conduct ‘what if’ experiments by adjusting simulation parameters. This is our way of providing an accessible and informal learning tool,” said Ashok Goel, director and co-principal Investigator of AI-ALOE and computer science professor at Georgia Tech. “Using VERA as an assessment tool is excellent. These students are using VERA in a way we are not.”

Goel was recently joined by Georgia Tech graduate researcher Andrew Hornback, research scientist Sandeep Kakar, and staff member Daniela Estrada at NGTC to learn more about the work in VERA and challenges Hughes and his students faced while using the application.

“The main struggle is limitation with the EOL and database,” said Hughes. “There are some species that we just can’t find, and sometimes it is glitchy and doesn’t work right away, but it is not insurmountable.”

Another challenge Hughes’ students found was not being able to find what they wanted to complete certain tasks, such as stream and environmental patterns of comparative fish ecosystems.

With that being known, AI-ALOE is working to address these issues and more to build and cater to specific student and teacher needs. At this time, the Design & Intelligence Laboratory is in the process of expanding VERA in the capability of its on-demand agent-based simulation generator, which would enable users to divide components into separate habitats.

“It was very interesting to see the results because antidotally through much research we were able to set up all these relationships and let them run the model, and the results were exactly what we would have hypothesized what they would be given those perimeters,” said Hughes.

 

The technical college has plans to introduce VERA to another classroom this semester held by Natural Resource Management instructor, Kevin Peyton.

About VERA

Interested in trying out VERA? Create an account at https://vera.cc.gatech.edu/. You can also find VERA’s user guide as well as a step-by-step tutorial at http://epi.vera.cc.gatech.edu/docs/exercise.

About AI-ALOE

The NSF AI Institute for Adult Learning and Online Education (AI-ALOE) is developing an AI-based transformative model for online adult learning through research and data collection.

About NGTC

North Georgia Technical College is a residential, public, multi-campus institution of higher education serving the workforce development needs of Northeast Georgia and part of the Technical College System of Georgia.

]]> Breon Martin 1 1666715598 2022-10-25 16:33:18 1704302705 2024-01-03 17:25:05 0 0 news During the summer, Duncan Hughes, an Environmental Technology instructor at North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) introduced his students to the web application Virtual Ecological Research Assistant, better known as VERA. It allowed students to construct conceptual models and ecological systems, as well as run interactive model simulations on the brook trout, a species of freshwater fish.

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2022-10-25T00:00:00-04:00 2022-10-25T00:00:00-04:00 2022-10-25 00:00:00 Breon Martin

AI Communications Officer

breon.martin@gatech.edu

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662560 662559 662560 image <![CDATA[Brook Trout]]> image/jpeg 1666715569 2022-10-25 16:32:49 1666715569 2022-10-25 16:32:49 662559 image <![CDATA[AI-ALOE visits NGTC for VERA update]]> image/jpeg 1666715477 2022-10-25 16:31:17 1666715477 2022-10-25 16:31:17
<![CDATA[Machine Learning Predicts Biodiversity and Resilience in the Coral Triangle]]> 36123 Coral reef conservation is a steppingstone to protect marine biodiversity and life in the ocean as we know it. The health of coral also has huge societal implications: reef ecosystems provide sustenance and livelihoods for millions of people around the world. Conserving biodiversity in reef areas is both a social issue and a marine biodiversity priority.

In the face of climate change, Annalisa Bracco, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Lyuba Novi, a postdoctoral researcher, offer a new methodology that could revolutionize how conservationists monitor coral. The researchers applied machine learning tools to study how climate impacts connectivity and biodiversity in the Pacific Ocean’s Coral Triangle — the most diverse and biologically complex marine ecosystem on the planet. Their research, recently published in Nature Communications Biology, overcomes time and resource barriers to contextualize the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, while offering hope for better monitoring and protection in the future.

“We saw that the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle is incredibly dynamic,” Bracco said. “For a long time, it has been postulated that this is due to sea level change and distribution of land masses, but we are now starting to understand that there is more to the story.”

Connectivity refers to the conditions that allow different ecosystems to exchange genetic material such as eggs, larvae, or the young. Ocean currents spread genetic material and also create the dynamics that allow a body of water — and thus ecosystems — to maintain consistent chemical, biological, and physical properties. If coral larvae are spread to an ecoregion where the conditions are very similar to the original location, the larvae can start a new coral.

Bracco wanted to see how climate, and specifically the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in its phases — El Niño, La Niña, and neutral conditions — impacts connectivity in the Coral Triangle. Climate events that move large masses of warm water in the Pacific Ocean bring enormous changes and have been known to exacerbate coral bleaching, in which corals turn white due to environmental stressors and become vulnerable to disease.

“Biologists collect data in situ, which is extremely important,” Bracco said. “But it’s not possible to monitor enormous regions in situ for many years — that would require a constant presence of scuba divers. So, figuring out how different ocean regions and large marine ecosystems are connected over time, especially in terms of foundational species, becomes important.”

Machine Learning for Discovering Connectivity

Years ago, Bracco and collaborators developed a tool, Delta Maps, that uses machine learning to identify “domains,” or regions within any kind of system that share the same dynamic. Bracco initially used it to analyze domains of climate variability in models but also suspected it could be used to study ecoregions in the ocean.

For this study, they used the tool to map out domains of connectivity in the Coral Triangle using 30 years of sea surface temperature data. Sea surface temperatures change in response to ocean currents over scales of weeks and months and across distances of tens of kilometers. These changes are relevant to coral connectivity, so the researchers built their machine learning tool based on this observation, using changes in surface ocean temperature to identify regions connected by currents. They also separated the time periods that they were considering into three categories: El Niño events, La Niña events, and neutral or “normal” times, painting a picture of how connectivity was impacted during major climate events in particular ecoregions.

Novi then applied a ranking system to the different ecoregions they identified. She used rank page centrality, a machine learning tool that was invented to rank webpages on the internet, on top of Delta Maps to identify which coral ecoregions were most strongly connected and able to receive the most coral larvae from other regions. Those regions would be the ones most likely sustain and survive through a bleaching event.

Climate Dynamics and Biodiversity

Bracco and Novi found that climate dynamics have contributed to biodiversity because of the way climate introduces variability to the currents in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The researchers realized that alternation of El Niño and La Niña events has allowed for enormous genetic exchanges between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and enabled the ecosystems to survive through a variety of different climate situations.

“There is never an identical connection between ecoregions in all ENSO phases,” Bracco said. “In other parts of the world ocean, coral reefs are connected through a fixed, often small, number of ecoregions, and if you eliminate this fixed number of connections by bleaching all connected reefs, you will not be able to rebuild the corals in any of them. But in the Pacific the connections are changing all the time and are so dynamic that soon enough the bleached reef will receive larvae from completely different ecoregions in a different ENSO phase.”

They also concluded that, because of the Coral Triangle’s dynamic climate component, there is more possibility for rebuilding biodiversity there than anywhere else on the planet. And that the evolution of biodiversity in the Coral Triangle is not only linked to landmasses or sea levels but also to the evolution of ENSO through geological times. The researchers found that though ENSO causes coral bleaching, it has helped the Coral Triangle become so rich in biodiversity.

Better Monitoring Opportunities

Because coral reef survival has been designated a priority by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Bracco and Novi’s research is poised to have broad applications. The researchers’ method identified which ecoregions conservationists should try hardest to protect and also the regions that conservationists could expect to have the most luck with protection measures. Their methodology can also help to identify which regions should be monitored more and the ones that could be considered lower priority for now due to the ways they are currently thriving.

“This research opens a lot of possibilities for better monitoring strategies, and especially how to monitor given a limited amount of resources and money,” Bracco said. “As of now, coral monitoring often happens when groups have a limited amount of funding to apply to a very specific localized region. We hope our method can be used to create a better monitoring over larger scales of time and space.”

 

CITATION: Novi, L., Bracco, A. “Machine learning prediction of connectivity, biodiversity and resilience in the Coral Triangle.” Commun Biol 5, 1359 (2022). 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-04330-8

]]> Catherine Barzler 1 1675960484 2023-02-09 16:34:44 1704302146 2024-01-03 17:15:46 0 0 news In the face of climate change, Annalisa Bracco, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Lyuba Novi, a postdoctoral researcher, offer a new methodology that could revolutionize how conservationists monitor coral. 

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2023-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2023-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2023-02-09 00:00:00 Catherine Barzler, Senior Research Writer/Editor

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665649 665649 image <![CDATA[A school of planktivorous fish sheltering around a coral on a reef in the Solomon Islands in the Coral Triangle. Photo by Mark Hay ]]> image/jpeg 1675957244 2023-02-09 15:40:44 1675971703 2023-02-09 19:41:43
<![CDATA[GTRI, Georgia Tech Use Quantum Computing to Optimize CFD Applications ]]> 35832 While quantum computing is still in its early stages, it has the power to unlock unprecedented speed and efficiency in solving complex computational fluid dynamics (CFD) problems that could revolutionize several industries, including the defense space. 

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) are exploring how the powerful processing capabilities of quantum computers can expedite CFD’s resource-intensive simulations used in aircraft design, weather prediction, nuclear weapons testing and more.  

“Through a collaboration between GTRI and Georgia Tech, we are developing an application of quantum computing to solve proof-of-principle problems in computational fluid dynamics that could streamline efficiencies and reduce costs across numerous industries,” said Bryan Gard, a GTRI senior research scientist who is leading this project.

Quantum computing offers a new way of doing computations using the principles of quantum mechanics, a science that explores the behavior of tiny particles such as atoms and photons. Computers and software that are built on the theories of quantum mechanics can process a large amount of information simultaneously and much faster than classical computers. That is because unlike classical computers, which use bits that are either 0 or 1, quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits. 

Classical bits are similar to regular on/off switches, which can only exist in one state at a time. Qubits, meanwhile, can exist in multiple states at once thanks to a property in quantum mechanics known as superposition.  

Because CFD involves complex simulations of how fluids, such as air or water, move and interact with different surfaces, classical computers often struggle with the immense number of calculations needed for such detailed simulations. The ability for quantum computers to process information in parallel could significantly speed up these simulations and produce more accurate results. 

“Say you are examining how air flows over a plane wing and you want to identify the large- and small-scale dynamics of that interaction,” explained Gard. “This type of problem would be very hard for a classical computer to handle because it wouldn’t be able to examine those large- and small-scale aspects simultaneously.” 

The team has split its research into two parts. The parts that involve linear differential equations are solved on a quantum computer and the other, non-linear parts are handled conventionally on a classical machine. 

The reason for this division is that as the problem scales up on classical supercomputers, the communication between nodes becomes inefficient, creating a bottleneck. Even though quantum computers are not yet large-scale, they can handle certain parts of the problem without facing the same communication challenges, Gard explained. 

These principles could help organizations strategically allocate resources and avoid costs associated with manufacturing and testing potentially flawed designs. In the defense realm, an example of this can be seen with designing aircraft. 

Instead of the conventional methods of building and testing structures in a wind tunnel, quantum-enhanced CFD would allow engineers to analyze stresses, assess designs and predict performance more efficiently and cost effectively. This becomes particularly relevant at high speeds, where factors such as air flows and turbulence pose additional challenges for running accurate simulations. 

“It all comes down to money, as with everything else,” said Gard. “If you could save yourself a lot of time and money by running this simulation, which you couldn't do before, then it would allow you to allocate your resources more effectively.” 

For this project, GTRI is collaborating with Spencer Bryngelson, an assistant professor in the School of Computational Science and Engineering who has expertise in computational physics, numerical methods, fluid dynamics and high-performance computing. Zhixin Song, a graduate student at Georgia Tech who is researching quantum algorithms for CFD, has also contributed.   

“This project is particularly interesting because although it is challenging, it could have outsize performance gains if one can find the right tools for the job, meaning the right quantum algorithm to solve the right fluid dynamics problem,” Bryngelson said. “GTRI and Georgia Tech have already made progress in this area, and also work well together, so it has been a good experience.” 

The project has been supported by GTRI’s Independent Research and Development (IRAD) Program, winning an IRAD of the Year award in fiscal year 2023, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). 

 

Writer: Anna Akins 
Photos: Christopher Moore 
Art Credit: Img2Go.com, Adobe 
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1704293756 2024-01-03 14:55:56 1704294145 2024-01-03 15:02:25 0 0 news The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) are exploring how the powerful processing capabilities of quantum computers can expedite CFD’s resource-intensive simulations used in aircraft design, weather prediction, nuclear weapons testing and more.  

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2024-01-03T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-03T00:00:00-05:00 2024-01-03 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

]]>
672651 672650 672651 image <![CDATA[AI-generated graphic of complex CFD simulations]]> The ability for quantum computers to process a large amount of information simultaneously could significantly speed up complex CFD simulations and produce more accurate results (Credit: AI art generator Img2Go.com).

]]> image/jpeg 1704293609 2024-01-03 14:53:29 1704293733 2024-01-03 14:55:33
672650 image <![CDATA[GT's Quantum Computing Research Team]]> The team leading this project includes, from left to right: Bryan Gard, a GTRI senior research scientist; Spencer Bryngelson, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Computational Science and Engineering; and Zhixin "Jack" Song, a Georgia Tech graduate student who is researching quantum algorithms for CFD (Photo Credit: Christopher Moore, GTRI).

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<![CDATA[Mo Li receives Humboldt Research Award]]> 35272 Mo Li, professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech, has received the Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award honors internationally leading researchers in recognition of their entire academic record to date.

The Humboldt recipients are academics whose fundamental discoveries, theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own disciplines and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

Li’s research focuses on theory and computation of disordered materials — such as glass and liquid — with an emphasis on understanding the underlying atomic structures and their relations to properties. These materials are known for the lack of long-range order, making it extremely difficult, if not possible, to determine the exact atomic structures experimentally. The missing connection between the structure and property has challenged scientists for decades.

Using computational and theoretical approaches, Li’s research is directed towards the fundamental understanding of the mechanisms, process, and structures of the materials. He has made many contributions in the topics of glass transitions, deformation localization in glassy materials, thermodynamic and statistical physics models for metastable systems and their phase transitions, and algorithm development for computations.

“Besides the honor and recognition, for which I am very grateful, the Humboldt Research Award brings a tremendous opportunity for international collaboration of basic research through the financial support and also the Humboldt network.” Li said. "The fundamental understanding enables us to carry out new experiment and computation that could lead to development of new materials that have not been possible for disordered or amorphous materials.”

In addition to the honor, the Foundation also provides financial support for Li to foster and carry out creative collaborative research in Germany. Li will work closely with colleagues in two world-class institutions in Germany: Prof. Robert Maaß at Bundesanstalt fuer Materialforschung und -pruefung (BAM) in Berlin and Prof. Jörg Weissmüller at Hamburg University of Technology in Hamburg.

They will work on how new design of microstructures in disordered materials could bring revolutionary changes to the physical and mechanical properties and how length scale and geometric and topological shapes influence the surface and interface properties of this class of materials.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1703271633 2023-12-22 19:00:33 1703271761 2023-12-22 19:02:41 0 0 news Li honored for a lifetime of research in theory and computation of disordered materials

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2023-12-07T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-07T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-07 00:00:00 Passion Thomas

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<![CDATA[ARCM Facilitates Update of Radio Control System for Army’s UH-60M]]> 35832 Using a model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach, researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are developing the software necessary to integrate new control, radio, and cryptographic capabilities into UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which are mainstays of the U.S. Army’s helicopter fleet.

The Aviation Radio Control Manager (ARCM) software will enable the sustainment of enduring fleet aircraft by employing a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) to replace obsolete, out-of-production radio equipment and set the stage for future communications suite enhancements. The reusable and adaptable ARCM software is projected to be employed on additional Army aircraft in the future, providing benefits of software reuse, potentially leveraged for future efforts.

Now in its third round of software development, ARCM is due to be flight-tested next summer and installed on the first group of UH-60M aircraft in 2025. The project, supported by the U.S. Army’s PEO Aviation in Huntsville, Alabama, will comply with the service’s Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Technical Standard, Edition 3.1.

Model-based approaches are being used across the Department of Defense (DoD) to accelerate the development of new platforms and updates to existing ones. Beyond reducing costs and getting new capabilities to warfighters more quickly, the process can streamline procurement by clearly spelling out system specifications and key interfaces.

“Model-based approaches have been a very central part of how we’ve approached ARCM, and the return on investment for ARCM generally and for the MBSEs specifically, is based largely on a business case in which you spend a little more to get the models in place and design the system to interface with multiple components,” said Scott Tompkins, a GTRI senior research engineer who leads the project. “Investments in MBSE can provide huge savings when you reuse the work for other systems and shorten the cycle times to bring new capabilities to aircraft platforms.”

In this first application, the ARCM software will facilitate three major improvements for the UH-60M: (1) replacement of the control head unit (CHU) that aircrews use to operate radio equipment, (2) replacement of an obsolete tactical communications radio, and (3) upgrade of cryptographic systems used for secure communications. The replacement radio hardware, which is being built by multiple vendors, interfaces with the aircraft’s unmodified flight management system (FMS) via the ARCM.

“The aircraft needed a new radio, but the Army doesn’t necessarily desire to change the approved and fielded Black Hawk FMS Operational Flight Program (OFP) to integrate that radio,” Tompkins said. “In this project, we are translating the radio’s interface, so they don’t have to change the main aircraft software. This will address three issues at once through software.”

Two different radios with comparable functionality will be available as options for replacing the existing ARC-201D unit. The ARCM software will make the difference between those two alternatives invisible to aircrews and other systems in the aircraft. The software will also allow transparent substitution of radio equipment on Black Hawks used by foreign nations, and it is designed for future support of alternate radio equipment used by National Guard Black Hawks for collaboration with civil defense and domestic first responder agencies.

“From the models, we generated the vast majority of the code used in the ARCM, and that code meets the FACE Edition 3.1 standard for MOSA software,” Tompkins said. “We have also deployed a development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) pipeline to support our software repository and perform automated testing of the products as part of best practices in software development and acquisition. We are also doing full end-to-end information assurance accreditation.”

Though only the UH-60M work has been performed so far, the work done on ARCM could also be used with CH-47F Chinook and AH-64 Apache helicopters, as well as the Gray Eagle uncrewed aircraft system (UAS). The Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) platforms could also take advantage of the modeling done for ARCM.

“The FACE model provides the ability to unambiguously communicate about interfaces,” Tompkins said. “We have all the contextual meaning for the data so that when we hand this over, there’s no question about what the data is and how to interpret the messages. We have captured all of that in the model.”

Beyond ensuring compatibility with existing Black Hawk systems, GTRI is also making sure the replacement interface – graphics and buttons that control the radio equipment – makes sense to the aircrews that will use it. “We recently completed another round of crew station working group meetings where we had pilots review our graphical user interface (GUI) and the functionality,” said Tompkins. “It was very encouraging, and we continue to get positive user feedback.”

GTRI is scheduled to deliver its full technical data package (TDP) to the Army in January 2024. The ARCM program will submit the software and its associated development artifacts to the Army for an airworthiness qualification to a DO-178C Design Assurance Level ‘C’ level of rigor in Q3 of fiscal year 2024. It will then be reviewed for a first test flight in early summer of that year. Once flight testing is over, ARCM and the new hardware can begin rolling out to Army units in 2025.

GTRI expects to be part of the test flights and then move on to support the development of additional capabilities, including new waveforms being developed by the radio vendors. Discussions are also underway regarding potential applications to other Army rotorcraft.

“Our goal is to have an ARCM release annually that brings new capabilities,” Tompkins said. “With software-defined radios, the vendors are constantly innovating and improving waveforms. We want to get those enhancements out to aircrews as soon as possible.”

The ARCM program has involved multiple labs within GTRI, as well as Tucson Embedded Systems, which is a FACE Verification Authority.

“We have put together a great multidisciplinary team of modelers, software developers, information assurance experts, human factors specialists, and human systems engineers,” Tompkins said. “It’s been a spectacular project – working with a wonderful team – and I’m really excited to see the first test flight.”

DISCLAIMER: This article contains views and opinions that are not official U.S. Army positions.
 

Writer: John Toon (john.toon@gtri.gatech.edu)  
GTRI Communications  
Georgia Tech Research Institute  
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

 

 

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1702648802 2023-12-15 14:00:02 1702649324 2023-12-15 14:08:44 0 0 news Using a model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach, researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are developing the software necessary to integrate new control, radio, and cryptographic capabilities into UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which are mainstays of the U.S. Army’s helicopter fleet.

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2023-12-15T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-15T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-15 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672602 672603 672602 image <![CDATA[GTRI Senior Research Engineer Scott Tompkins is shown reconfiguring an Air Ground Networking Radio (AGNR) for testing]]> GTRI Senior Research Engineer Scott Tompkins is shown reconfiguring an Air Ground Networking Radio (AGNR) for testing at a lab bench. (Credit: Sean McNeil)

]]> image/jpeg 1702648118 2023-12-15 13:48:38 1702648516 2023-12-15 13:55:16
672603 image <![CDATA[AGNR control head unit (CHU)]]> AGNR control head unit (CHU) showing the pilot vehicle interface (PVI) for the GTRI-developed Aviation Radio Control (ARCM) software. (Credit: Sean McNeil)

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<![CDATA[GTRI, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Use Wearable Sensors to Address Healthcare Worker Burnout ]]> 35832 Healthcare worker burnout, a topic that received significant attention during COVID-19, continues to pose risks for the nation’s health and economic wellbeing. 

In 2022, nearly half of healthcare workers reported feeling burned out, up from 32% in 2018, and the number of healthcare workers who intended to look for a new job increased by 33% over that same time period, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Annual burnout-related turnover costs are estimated to be $9 billion for nurses and $2.6 billion to $6.3 billion for physicians, per the U.S. Surgeon General. 

To address this challenge,­ the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing have conducted a study using wearable sensors to better understand how the interplay of workload, stress, and sleep contribute­­ to an elevated risk of burnout among healthcare workers and how to mitigate those risks going forward. 

The group recently measured real-time movement patterns of physicians and nurses in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at Children’s and collected data on their stress levels, work and sleep cycles, healthcare delivery and perceived workloads. The goal of the study is to develop a methodology that can be used by other healthcare systems across the state to minimize turnover costs by better predicting and addressing factors that trigger burnout. 

“Our ultimate goal with this project is to be able to offer our methodology framework to other healthcare systems throughout Georgia so that they can identify and address the specific challenges they are facing on a more granular level,” said Khatereh Hadi, a senior research scientist at GTRI who is leading this project. 

To measure stress, workload and sleep among the study participants, the team used actigraphy sensors developed by Empatica, a spin-off of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that designs and develops artificial intelligence (AI) systems to monitor human health through wearable sensors. 

“These sensors are among the few on the market that let you directly download the data you collect,” explained GTR Senior Research Scientist Matthew Swarts who led the sensor development aspects of this project. 

The participants also wore tags that were connected to ultra-wideband (UWB) sensor systems installed in the ceiling of the CICU to track their movements throughout their shifts. 

“Because UWB takes up more radio frequency space, it avoids interference issues that affect other technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This allowed us to have more penetration and better accuracy,” Swarts said. 

The study collected data on 40 total participants, who were evaluated over a four-week time period. The team also used the NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), a widely used assessment tool that rates perceived workload, to gather data on the participants’ workload perceptions. 

Paula Gomez, a GTRI senior research engineer who led the development of the project’s research methodology, said it was rewarding bringing the theoretical aspects of this project into practical application.

“Since GTRI is the applied research arm of Georgia Tech, it is really important for us to have access to a real-world environment to test and validate the theoretical research,” Gomez said. 

GTRI conducted this study with Dr. Michael Fundora, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s who specializes in congenital heart disease and clinical research, and Christina Calamaro, the Director of Nursing & Allied Health Research and Evidence Based Practice at Children’s and an associate professor at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. 

Fundora and Calamaro noted that current data collection methods that examine healthcare worker burnout are done retroactively and may miss certain nuances that are crucial for developing a comprehensive understanding of the issue. 

“A lot of the literature that's been done in this area looks at big data sets that, for the most part, aren’t in real time” said Calamaro. “This is one study that’s able to quantify what are the factors that may impact care at the current time and can set the stage, with the use of technology, for giving us a better measurement of what issues nurses and physicians are facing, versus going back and doing a secondary analysis of big data.” 

While burnout is commonly perceived as just affecting those experiencing it, if left unchecked, it could also lead to diminished patient care and higher mortality rates, said Fundora. 

“People talk about burnout in the sense that it's about the individual, and that's certainly important,” Fundora said. “But we conducted this study to understand how burnout also affects our patients because that's the only way I believe that we're going to get to the root of the problem.” 

Now that the data has been the collected, it will be analyzed and interpreted before potential solutions are evaluated. The team agreed that the interdisciplinary nature of the study will help them generate more impactful solutions. 

“As a physician, working on this study opened my eyes to everything I didn’t know about nurses – they are operating very sophisticated, complex equipment and nearly everything they do in the ICU has a life-or-death impact,” said Fundora. “The solution-oriented approach of GTRI also gave me a fresh perspective.” 

Calamaro added: “I think every healthcare study should have an engineer involved in some way because they see things that we as healthcare professionals don’t. It's like, I never thought of that.” 

 

Writer: Anna Akins 
Photos: Sean McNeil 
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1702646878 2023-12-15 13:27:58 1702647977 2023-12-15 13:46:17 0 0 news Healthcare professionals and researchers from Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing have conducted a study using wearable sensors to better understand how the interplay of workload, stress, and sleep contribute­­ to an elevated risk of burnout among healthcare workers and how to mitigate those risks going forward. 

]]>
2023-12-15T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-15T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-15 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

]]>
672600 672601 672600 image <![CDATA[GTRI and CHOA Research Team]]> The team leading this project includes, from left to right: GTRI Senior Research Scientist Khatereh Hadi, Children's pediatric cardiologist Dr. Michael Fundora, GTRI Senior Research Engineer Paula Gomez, GTRI Senior Research Scientist Matthew Swarts, and Children's Director of Nursing & Allied Health Research and Evidence Based Practice Christina Calamaro, who is also an associate professor at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (Photo Credit: Sean McNeil, GTRI).

]]> image/jpeg 1702646323 2023-12-15 13:18:43 1702646538 2023-12-15 13:22:18
672601 image <![CDATA[Wearable Healthcare Sensor]]> A close-up of the tags and sensors that were used to measure stress, workload and sleep among the study participants (Photo Credit: Sean McNeil, GTRI).

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<![CDATA[AI/ML Conference Helps School of Physics Launch New Research Initiative]]> 34434 The School of Physics’ new initiative to catalyze research using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) began October 16 with a conference at the Global Learning Center titled Revolutionizing Physics — Exploring Connections Between Physics and Machine Learning.

AI and ML have the spotlight right now in science, and the conference promises to be the first of many, says Feryal Özel, Professor and Chair of the School of Physics. 

"We were delighted to host the AI/ML in Physics conference and see the exciting rapid developments in this field,” Özel says. “The conference was a prominent launching point for the new AI/ML initiative we are starting in the School of Physics."​ 

That initiative includes hiring two tenure-track faculty members, who will benefit from substantial expertise and resources in artificial intelligence and machine learning that already exist in the Colleges of Sciences, Engineering, and Computing.

The conference attendees heard from colleagues about how the technologies were helping with research involving exoplanet searches, plasma physics experiments, and culling through terabytes of data. They also learned that a rough search of keyword titles by Andreas Berlind, director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, showed that about a fifth of all current NSF grant proposals include components around artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“That’s a lot,” Berlind told the audience. “It’s doubled in the last four years. It’s rapidly increasing.”

Berlind was one of three program officers from the NSF and NASA invited to the conference to give presentations on the funding landscape for AI/ML research in the physical sciences. 

“It’s tool development, the oldest story in human history,” said Germano Iannacchione, director of the NSF’s Division of Materials Research, who added that AI/ML tools “help us navigate very complex spaces — to augment and enhance our reasoning capabilities, and our pattern recognition capabilities.”

That sentiment was echoed by Dimitrios Psaltis, School of Physics professor and a co-organizer of the conference. 

“They usually say if you have a hammer, you see everything as a nail,” Psaltis said. “Just because we have a tool doesn't mean we're going to solve all the problems. So we're in the exploratory phase because we don't know yet which problems in physics machine learning will help us solve. Clearly it will help us solve some problems, because it's a brand new tool, and there are other instances when it will make zero contribution. And until we find out what those problems are, we're going to just explore everything.”

That means trying to find out if there is a place for the technologies in classical and modern physics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, geophysics, cosmology, particle physics, and astrophysics, to name just a few branches of study.

Sanaz Vahidinia of NASA’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants told the attendees that her division was an early and enthusiastic adopter of AI and machine learning. She listed examples of the technologies assisting with gamma-ray astronomy and analyzing data from the Hubble and Kepler space telescopes. “AI and deep learning were very good at identifying patterns in Kepler data,” Vahidinia said. 

Some of the physicist presentations at the conference showed pattern recognition capabilities and other features for AI and ML: 

Alves’s presentation inspired another physicist attending the conference, Psaltis said. “One of our local colleagues, who's doing magnetic materials research, said, ‘Hey, I can apply the exact same thing in my field,’ which he had never thought about before. So we not only have cross-fertilization (of ideas) at the conference, but we’re also learning what works and what doesn't.”

More information on funding and grants at the National Science Foundation can be found here. Information on NASA grants is found here

]]> Renay San Miguel 1 1698848183 2023-11-01 14:16:23 1702573880 2023-12-14 17:11:20 0 0 news Physicists from Georgia Tech and around the country shared their AI and ML research successes, and heard presentations from NSF and NASA officials on the funding landscape for proposals that include the technologies.


 

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2023-11-01T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-01T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-01 00:00:00 Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston

 

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672238 672237 672236 672238 image <![CDATA[Physicists from around the country come to Georgia Tech for a recent machine learning conference. (Photo Benjamin Zhao)]]> Physicists from around the country come to Georgia Tech for a recent machine learning conference. (Photo Benjamin Zhao)

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672237 image <![CDATA[School of Physics Professor Tamara Bogdanovic prepares to ask a question at the recent machine learning conference at Georgia Tech. (Photo Benjamin Zhao)]]> School of Physics Professor Tamara Bogdanovic prepares to ask a question at the recent machine learning conference at Georgia Tech. (Photo Benjamin Zhao)

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672236 image <![CDATA[Matthew Golden, graduate student researcher in the School of Physics, presents at a recent machine learning conference at Georgia Tech. (Photo Benjamin Zhao)]]> Matthew Golden, graduate student researcher in the School of Physics, presents at a recent machine learning conference at Georgia Tech. (Photo Benjamin Zhao)

]]> image/jpeg 1698848931 2023-11-01 14:28:51 1698848931 2023-11-01 14:28:51
<![CDATA[Wenjing Liao Awarded DOE Early Career Award for Model Simplification, Deep Learning]]> 35599 Wenjing Liao, an associate professor in the School of Mathematics, has been awarded a Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career Award for her research into how deep learning might be leveraging to make mathematical advances in achieving more efficient modeling techniques.

Liao was selected as one of the 93 early career scientists from across the country who are receiving a combined $135 million in DOE funding. The awards aim to support the next generation of STEM leaders, and identify early-career scientists whose research will have global impacts. 

Earlier this year, Liao was also selected for an National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award, one of the most prestigious grants that a scientist can receive early in their profession. 

“Supporting America’s scientists and researchers early in their careers will ensure the U.S. remains at the forefront of scientific discovery and develops the solutions to our most pressing challenges,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, adding that the funding “will allow the recipients the freedom to find the answers to some of the most complex questions as they establish themselves as experts in their fields.”

Model simplification; complex problems

Real-world applications of computer modeling often call for large, complex data simulations, which can be time-consuming and expensive, limiting their applications. Liao’s project “Model Reduction by Deep Learning: Interpretability and Mathematical Advances” focuses on a technique called model reduction, which allows researchers to reduce the size of problems computer models must solve to smaller ones that computers can efficiently solve.

Liao notes that while traditional model-reduction methods have been successful, the technique is mostly limited to low dimensional linear models, or those with fewer important features that the model can include. However, many problems found in nature are the opposite. Liao hopes that by identifying the underlying nonlinear structures in natural problems, she can broaden the application of model-reduction techniques.

To do so, her research will focus on three key questions. First, she will investigate how to leverage deep neural networks to extract low-dimensional nonlinear structures in data sets. Next, Liao will investigate how to use the nonlinear structures in model reduction. Finally, in order to better harness deep learning, Liao aims to develop new deep learning-based model reduction methods.

“This project has the potential to drive significant advances in scientific machine learning,” Liao says in her abstract. “The proposed model-reduction methods can be used to analyze large datasets and simulate complex phenomena in physics, biology, and engineering.”

]]> sperrin6 1 1696354645 2023-10-03 17:37:25 1702573834 2023-12-14 17:10:34 0 0 news Liao's research will dig into how deep learning might be leveraging to make mathematical advances in achieving more efficient modeling techniques. “This project has the potential to drive significant advances in scientific machine learning,” Liao says in her abstract. “The proposed model-reduction methods can be used to analyze large datasets and simulate complex phenomena in physics, biology, and engineering.”

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2023-10-03T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-03T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-03 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

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671931 671931 image <![CDATA[Wenjing Liao]]> image/jpeg 1696354662 2023-10-03 17:37:42 1696355018 2023-10-03 17:43:38
<![CDATA[Machine Learning Maestros]]> 34434 This feature supports Georgia Tech's presence at the International Conference on Machine Learning, July 23-29 in Honolulu. 

Honolulu Highlights | ICML 2023
Students and faculty have been focused and energized in their efforts this week engaging with the international machine learning community at ICML. See some of those efforts, hear from students themselves in our video series, and read about their latest contributions in #AI.

Georgia Tech’s experts and larger research community are invested in a future where artificial intelligence (AI) solutions can benefit individuals and communities across our planet. Meet the machine learning maestros among Georgia Tech’s faculty at the International Conference on Machine Learning — July 23-29, 2023, in Honolulu — and learn about their work. The faculty in the main program are working with partners across many domains and industries to help invent powerful new ways for technology to benefit all our futures.

One of the experts in Honolulu is Wenjing Liao, an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics. In addition to machine learning, Liao's research interests include imaging, signal processing, and high dimensional data analysis.

Learn more about the Georgia Tech contingent at the ICML here. Read more about machine learning research at Georgia Tech here.

]]> Renay San Miguel 1 1690404237 2023-07-26 20:43:57 1702573769 2023-12-14 17:09:29 0 0 news Georgia Tech's machine learning experts, including Wenjing Liao, an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics, are sharing their knowledge this week at the International Conference on Machine Learning in Hawaii.

]]>
2023-07-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-07-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-07-20 00:00:00 Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

 

]]>
671261 671261 image <![CDATA[Wenjing Liao.png]]> Wenjing Liao

]]> image/png 1690404927 2023-07-26 20:55:27 1690404927 2023-07-26 20:55:27
<![CDATA[Mathematics’ Wenjing Liao Wins NSF CAREER Award]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Partners with Atlanta Colleges on Data Science Education]]> <![CDATA[College of Sciences Faculty, Staff Honored at 2021 Diversity Symposium]]>
<![CDATA[Gauging Glaciers: Alex Robel Awarded NSF CAREER Grant for New Ice Melt Modeling Tool]]> 35599 Alex Robel is improving how computer models of melting ice sheets incorporate data from field expeditions and satellites by creating a new open-access software package — complete with state-of-the-art tools and paired with ice sheet models that anyone can use, even on a laptop or home computer.

Improving these models is critical: while melting ice sheets and glaciers are top contributors to sea level rise, there are still large uncertainties in sea level projections at 2100 and beyond.

“Part of the problem is that the way that many models have been coded in the past has not been conducive to using these kinds of tools,” Robel, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, explains. “It's just very labor-intensive to set up these data assimilation tools — it usually involves someone refactoring the code over several years.”

“Our goal is to provide a tool that anyone in the field can use very easily without a lot of labor at the front end,” Robel says. “This project is really focused around developing the computational tools to make it easier for people who use ice sheet models to incorporate or inform them with the widest possible range of measurements from the ground, aircraft and satellites.”

Now, a $780,000 NSF CAREER grant will help him to do so. 

The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award is a five-year funding mechanism designed to help promising researchers establish a personal foundation for a lifetime of leadership in their field. Known as CAREER awards, the grants are NSF’s most prestigious funding for untenured assistant professors.

“Ultimately,” Robel says, “this project will empower more people in the community to use these models and to use these models together with the observations that they're taking.”
 

Ice sheets remember

“Largely, what models do right now is they look at one point in time, and they try their best — at that one point in time — to get the model to match some types of observations as closely as possible,” Robel explains. “From there, they let the computer model simulate what it thinks that ice sheet will do in the future.”

In doing so, the models often assume that the ice sheet starts in a state of balance, and that it is neither gaining nor losing ice at the start of the simulation. The problem with this approach is that ice sheets dynamically change, responding to past events — even ones that have happened centuries ago. “We know from models and from decades of theory that the natural response time scale of thick ice sheets is hundreds to thousands of years,” Robel adds.

By informing models with historical records, observations, and measurements, Robel hopes to improve their accuracy. “We have observations being made by satellites, aircraft, and field expeditions,” says Robel. “We also have historical accounts, and can go even further back in time by looking at geological observations or ice cores. These can tell us about the long history of ice sheets and how they've changed over hundreds or thousands of years.”

Robel’s team plans to use a set of techniques called data assimilation to adjust, or ‘nudge’, models. “These data assimilation techniques have been around for a really long time,” Robel explains. “For example, they’re critical to weather forecasting: every weather forecast that you see on your phone was ultimately the product of a weather model that used data assimilation to take many observations and apply them to a model simulation.”

“The next part of the project is going to be incorporating this data assimilation capability into a cloud-based computational ice sheet model,” Robel says. “We are planning to build an open source software package in Python that can use this sort of data assimilation method with any kind of ice sheet model.”

Robel hopes it will expand accessibility. “Currently, it's very labor-intensive to set up these data assimilation tools, and while groups have done it, it usually involves someone re-coding and refactoring the code over several years.”

Building software for accessibility

Robel’s team will then apply their software package to a widely used model, which now has an online, browser-based version. “The reason why that is particularly useful is because the place where this model is running is also one of the largest community repositories for data in our field,” Robel says.

Called Ghub, this relatively new repository is designed to be a community-wide place for sharing data on glaciers and ice sheets. “Since this is also a place where the model is living, by adding this capability to this cloud-based model, we'll be able to directly use the data that's already living in the same place that the model is,” Robel explains. 

Users won’t need to download data, or have a high-speed computer to access and use the data or model. Researchers collecting data will be able to upload their data to the repository, and immediately see the impact of their observations on future ice sheet melt simulations. Field researchers could use the model to optimize their long-term research plans by seeing where collecting new data might be most critical for refining predictions.

“We really think that it is critical for everyone who's doing modeling of ice sheets to be doing this transient data simulation to make sure that our simulations across the field are all doing the best possible job to reproduce and match observations,” Robel says. While in the past, the time and labor involved in setting up the tools has been a barrier, “developing this particular tool will allow us to bring transient data assimilation to essentially the whole field.”

Bringing Real Data to Georgia’s K-12 Classrooms

The broad applications and user-base expands beyond the scientific community, and Robel is already developing a K-12 curriculum on sea level rise, in partnership with Georgia Tech CEISMC Researcher Jayma Koval. “The students analyze data from real tide gauges and use them to learn about statistics, while also learning about sea level rise using real data,” he explains.

Because the curriculum matches with state standards, teachers can download the curriculum, which is available for free online in partnership with the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), and incorporate it into their preexisting lesson plans. “We worked with SECOORA to pilot a middle school curriculum in Atlanta and Savannah, and one of the things that we saw was that there are a lot of teachers outside of middle school who are requesting and downloading the curriculum because they want to teach their students about sea level rise, in particular in coastal areas,” Robel adds.

In Georgia, there is a data science class that exists in many high schools that is part of the computer science standards for the state. “Now, we are partnering with a high school teacher to develop a second standards-aligned curriculum that is meant to be taught ideally in a data science class, computer class or statistics class,” Robel says. “It can be taught as a module within that class and it will be the more advanced version of the middle school sea level curriculum.”

The curriculum will guide students through using data analysis tools and coding in order to analyze real sea level data sets, while learning the science behind what causes variations and sea level, what causes sea level rise, and how to predict sea level changes. 

“That gets students to think about computational modeling and how computational modeling is an important part of their lives, whether it's to get a weather forecast or play a computer game,” Robel adds. “Our goal is to get students to imagine how all these things are combined, while thinking about the way that we project future sea level rise.”

 

]]> sperrin6 1 1687973953 2023-06-28 17:39:13 1702573637 2023-12-14 17:07:17 0 0 news Alex Robel, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has been awarded a $780,000 NSF CAREER grant to improve how computer models of melting ice sheets incorporate data from field expeditions and satellites. Robel will create a new open-access software package — complete with state-of-the-art tools and paired with ice sheet models that anyone can use, even on a laptop or home computer.

]]>
2023-06-28T00:00:00-04:00 2023-06-28T00:00:00-04:00 2023-06-28 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston

]]>
671064 658812 671064 image <![CDATA[Robel's open-access software package will pair state-of-the-art tools with ice sheet models that anyone can use]]> image/png 1687972518 2023-06-28 17:15:18 1687974626 2023-06-28 17:50:26 658812 image <![CDATA[Alex Robel (Credit: Allison Carter)]]> image/jpeg 1654895880 2022-06-10 21:18:00 1687974677 2023-06-28 17:51:17 <![CDATA[Chemistry, Chaos, Peptides, and (Infinite) Problems: Georgia Tech Researchers Pioneer New Frontiers with NSF CAREER Grants]]>
<![CDATA[Solving the Infinite Problems: Anton Bernshteyn Awarded NSF CAREER for Developing New, Unified Theory: Descriptive Combinatorics]]> 35599 Anton Bernshteyn is forging connections and creating a language to help computer scientists and mathematicians collaborate on new problems — in particular, bridging the gap between solvable, finite problems and more challenging, infinite problems. Now, an NSF CAREER grant will help him achieve that goal.

The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award is a five-year grant designed to help promising researchers establish a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in their field. Known as CAREER awards, the grants are NSF’s most prestigious funding for untenured assistant professors.

Bernshteyn, an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics, will focus on “Developing a unified theory of descriptive combinatorics and local algorithms” — connecting concepts and work being done in two previously separate mathematical and computer science fields. “Surprisingly,” Bernshteyn says, “it turns out that these two areas are closely related, and that ideas and results from one can often be applied in the other.” 

“This relationship is going to benefit both areas tremendously,” Bernshteyn says. “It significantly increases the number of tools we can use”

By pioneering this connection, Bernshteyn hopes to connect techniques that mathematicians use to study infinite structures (like dynamic, continuously evolving  structures found in nature), with the algorithms computer scientists use to model large – but still limited – interconnected networks and systems (like a network of computers or cell phones).

“The final goal, for certain types of problems,” he continues, “is to take all these questions about complicated infinite objects and translate them into questions about finite structures, which are much easier to work with and have applications in practical large-scale computing.”

Creating a unified theory

It all started with a paper Bernshteyn wrote in 2020, which showed that mathematics and computer science could be used in tandem to develop powerful problem-solving techniques. Since the fields used different terminology, however, it soon became clear that a “dictionary” or a unified theory would need to be created to help specialists communicate and collaborate. Now that dictionary is being built, bringing together two previously-distinct fields: distributed computing (a field of computer science), and descriptive set theory (a field of mathematics). 

Computer scientists use distributed computing to study so-called “distributed systems,” which model extremely large networks — like the Internet — that involve millions of interconnected machines that are operating independently (for example, blockchain, social networks, streaming services, and cloud computing systems).

“Crucially, these systems are decentralized,” Bernshteyn says. ”Although parts of the network can communicate with each other, each of them has limited information about the network’s overall structure and must make decisions based only on this limited information.” Distributed systems allow researchers to develop strategies — called distributed algorithms — that “enable solving difficult problems with as little knowledge of the structure of the entire network as possible,” he adds.

At first, distributed algorithms appear entirely unrelated to the other area Bernshteyn’s work brings together: descriptive set theory, an area of pure mathematics concerned with infinite sets defined by “simple” mathematical formulas. 

“Sets that do not have such simple definitions typically have properties that make them unsuitable for applications in other areas of mathematics. For example, they are often non-measurable – meaning that it is impossible, even in principle, to determine their length, area, or volume," Bernshteyn says.

Because undefinable sets are difficult to work with, descriptive set theory aims to understand which problems have “definable”— and therefore more widely applicable— solutions. Recently, a new subfield called descriptive combinatorics has emerged. “Descriptive combinatorics focuses specifically on problems inspired by the ways collections of discrete, individual objects can be organized,” Bernshteyn explains. “Although the field is quite young, it has already found a number of exciting applications in other areas of math.”

The key connection? Since the algorithms used by computer scientists in distributed computing are designed to perform well on extremely large networks, they can also be used by mathematicians interested in infinite problems.

Solving infinite problems

Infinite problems often occur in nature, and the field of descriptive combinatorics has been particularly successful in helping to understand dynamical systems: structures that evolve with time according to specified laws (such as the flow of water in a river or the movement of planets in the Solar System). “Most mathematicians work with continuous, infinite objects, and hence they may benefit from the insight contributed by descriptive set theory,” Bernshteyn adds.

However, while infinite problems are common, they are also notoriously difficult to solve. “In infinite problems, there is no software that can tell you if the problem is solvable or not. There are infinitely many things to try, so it is impossible to test all of them. But if we can make our problems finite, we can sometimes determine which ones can and cannot be solved efficiently,” Bernshteyn says. “We may be able to determine which combinatorial problems can be solved in the infinite setting and get an explicit solution.”

“It turns out that, with some work, it is possible to implement the algorithms used in distributed computing on infinite networks, providing definable solutions to various combinatorial problems,” Bernshteyn says. “Conversely, in certain limited settings it is possible to translate definable solutions to problems on infinite structures into efficient distributed algorithms — although this part of the story is yet to be fully understood.”

A new frontier

As a recently emerged field, descriptive combinatorics is rapidly evolving, putting Bernshteyn and his research on the cutting edge of discovery. “There’s this new communication between separate fields of math and computer science—this huge synergy right now—it’s incredibly exciting,” Bernshteyn says.

Introducing new researchers to descriptive combinatorics, especially graduate students, is another priority for Bernshteyn. His CAREER grant funds will be especially dedicated to training graduate students who might not have had prior exposure to descriptive set theory. Bernshteyn also aims to design a suite of materials ranging from textbooks, lecture notes, instructional videos, workshops, and courses to support students and scholars as they enter this new field.

“There’s so much knowledge that’s been acquired,” Bernshteyn says. “There’s work being done by people within computer science, set theory, and so on. But researchers in these fields speak different languages, so to say, and a lot of effort needs to go into creating a way for them to understand each other. Unifying these fields will ultimately allow us to understand them all much better than we did before. Right now we’re only starting to glimpse what’s possible.”

]]> sperrin6 1 1681873371 2023-04-19 03:02:51 1702573567 2023-12-14 17:06:07 0 0 news Anton Bernshteyn is forging connections and creating a language to help computer scientists and mathematicians collaborate on new problems — in particular, bridging the gap between solvable, finite problems and more challenging, infinite problems. Now, an NSF CAREER grant will help him achieve that goal.

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2023-04-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-04-18 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

]]>
670579 670581 670579 image <![CDATA[Mosaic Network]]> image/png 1681840456 2023-04-18 17:54:16 1681840488 2023-04-18 17:54:48 670581 image <![CDATA[Anton Bernshteyn Portrait]]> image/jpeg 1681840556 2023-04-18 17:55:56 1681840624 2023-04-18 17:57:04 <![CDATA[Chemistry, Chaos, Peptides, and (Infinite) Problems: Georgia Tech Researchers Pioneer New Frontiers with NSF CAREER Grants]]> <![CDATA[The Fundamental Questions: Jesse McDaniel Awarded NSF CAREER Grant for Research Into New Method of Predicting Chemical Reaction Rates, Leveraging Computer Modeling Primary tabs]]> <![CDATA[Making Medicines: Vinayak Agarwal Awarded NSF CAREER Grant for Peptide Research]]> <![CDATA[Chasing Chaos: Alex Blumenthal Awarded CAREER Grant for Research in Chaos, Fluid Dynamics]]>
<![CDATA[AF2Complex ‘Computational Microscope’ Predicts Protein Interactions, Potential Paths to New Antibiotics ]]> 35575 Though it is a cornerstone of virtually every process that occurs in living organisms, the proper folding and transport of biological proteins is a notoriously difficult and time-consuming process to experimentally study.

In a new paper published in eLife, researchers in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Computer Science have shown that AF2Complex may be able to lend a hand.

Building on the models of DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2, a machine learning tool able to predict the detailed three-dimensional structures of individual proteins, AF2Complex — short for AlphaFold 2 Complex — is a deep learning tool designed to predict the physical interactions of multiple proteins. With these predictions, AF2Complex is able to calculate which proteins are likely to interact with each other to form functional complexes in unprecedented detail.

“We essentially conduct computational experiments that try to figure out the atomic details of supercomplexes (large interacting groups of proteins) important to biological functions,” explained Jeffrey Skolnick, Regents’ Professor and Mary and Maisie Gibson Chair in the School of Biological Sciences, and one of the corresponding authors of the study. With AF2Complex, which was developed last year by the same research team, it’s “like using a computational microscope powered by deep learning and supercomputing.”

In their latest study, the researchers used this ‘computational microscope’ to examine a complicated protein synthesis and transport pathway, hoping to clarify how proteins in the pathway interact to ultimately transport a newly synthesized protein from the interior to the outer membrane of the bacteria — and identify players that experiments might have missed. Insights into this pathway may identify new targets for antibiotic and therapeutic design while providing a foundation for using AF2Complex to computationally expedite this type of biology research as a whole.

Computing complexes

Created by London-based artificial intelligence lab DeepMind, AlphaFold 2 is a deep learning tool able to generate accurate predictions about the three-dimensional structure of single proteins using just their building blocks, amino acids. Taking things a step further, AF2Complex uses these structures to predict the likelihood that proteins are able to interact to form a functional complex, what aspects of each structure are the likely interaction sites, and even what protein complexes are likely to pair up to create even larger functional groups called supercomplexes.

“The successful development of AF2Complex earlier this year makes us believe that this approach has tremendous potential in identifying and characterizing the set of protein-protein interactions important to life,” shared Mu Gao, a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech. “To further convince the broad molecular biology community, we [had to] demonstrate it with a more convincing, high impact application.”

The researchers chose to apply AF2Complex to a pathway in Escherichia coli (E. coli), a model organism in life sciences research commonly used for experimental DNA manipulation and protein production due to its relative simplicity and fast growth. 

To demonstrate the tool’s power, the team examined the synthesis and transport of proteins that are essential for exchanging nutrients and responding to environmental stressors: outer membrane proteins, or OMPs for short. These proteins reside on the outermost membrane of gram-negative bacteria, a large family of bacteria characterized by the presence of inner and outer membranes, like E. coli. However, the proteins are created inside the cell and must be transported to their final destinations. 

“After more than two decades of experimental studies, researchers have identified some of the protein complexes of key players, but certainly not all of them,” Gao explained. AF2Complex “could enable us to discover some novel and interesting features of the OMP biogenesis pathway that were missed in previous experimental studies.”

New insights

Using the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the team, which included computer science undergraduate Davi Nakajima An, put AF2Complex to the test. They compared a few proteins known to be important in the synthesis and transport of OMPs to roughly 1,500 other proteins — all of the known proteins in E. coli’s cell envelope — to see which pairs the tool computed as most likely to interact, and which of those pairs were likely to form supercomplexes. 

To determine if AF2Complex’s predictions were correct, the researchers compared the tool’s predictions to known experimental data. “Encouragingly,” said Skolnick, “among the top hits from computational screening, we found previously known interacting partners.” Even within those protein pairs known to interact, AF2Complex was able to highlight structural details of those interactions that explain data from previous experiments, lending additional confidence to the tool’s accuracy.

In addition to known interactions, AF2Complex predicted several unknown pairs. Digging further into these unexpected partners revealed details on what aspects of the pairs might interact to form larger groups of functional proteins, likely active configurations of complexes that have previously eluded experimentalists, and new potential mechanisms for how OMPs are synthesized and transported. 

“Since the outer membrane pathway is both vital and unique to gram-negative bacteria, the key proteins involved in this pathway could be novel targets for new antibiotics,” said Skolnick. “As such, our work that provides molecular insights about these new drug targets might be valuable to new therapeutic design.”

Beyond this pathway, the researchers are hopeful that AF2Complex could mean big things for biology research. 

“Unlike predicting structures of a single protein sequence, predicting the structural model of a supercomplex can be very complicated, especially when the components or stoichiometry of the complex is unknown,” Gao noted. “In this regard, AF2Complex could be a new computational tool for biologists to conduct trial experiments of different combinations of proteins,” potentially expediting and increasing the efficiency of this type of biology research as a whole.

AF2Complex is an open-source tool available to the public and can be downloaded here.

This work was supported in part by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (DOE DE-SC0021303) and the Division of General Medical Sciences of the National Institute Health (NIH R35GM118039). DOI: https://doi.org/10.7554

]]> adavidson38 1 1672766054 2023-01-03 17:14:14 1702573415 2023-12-14 17:03:35 0 0 news In a new paper published in eLife, School of Biological Sciences and School of Computer Science researchers show how AF2Complex, a deep learning tool designed to predict the physical interactions of proteins, is lending new insights into protein synthesis and transport — and paving the way to computationally expedite biology research as a whole.

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2023-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 2023-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 2023-01-04 00:00:00 Writer: Audra Davidson
Communications Officer
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

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657354 664288 657354 image <![CDATA[Researchers Jeffrey Skolnick and Mu Gao at the Engineered Biosystems Building at Georgia Tech. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)]]> image/jpeg 1650045007 2022-04-15 17:50:07 1650045007 2022-04-15 17:50:07 664288 image <![CDATA[Examples of protein complexes modeled by AF2Complex residing between the inner and outer membranes of E. coli]]> image/png 1672765216 2023-01-03 17:00:16 1672766090 2023-01-03 17:14:50 <![CDATA[ASCR Discovery: Computing function from form]]> <![CDATA[AF2Complex: Researchers Leverage Deep Learning to Predict Physical Interactions of Protein Complexes]]> <![CDATA[AI Tool Pairs Protein Pathways with Clinical Side Effects, Patient Comorbidities to Suggest Targeted Covid-19 Treatments]]> <![CDATA[Download AF2Complex]]>
<![CDATA[Smart Solids: Zeb Rocklin Awarded NSF CAREER for Flexible Metamaterials Research]]> 35599 Imagine materials that respond to their environment: winter jackets that become thicker as temperatures drop, shoes that return energy with each stride, and robots that adapt to better accomplish their task as they aid in space exploration. All of these ideas could be made into a reality through mechanical metamaterials, a group of flexible solids that blur the traditional definition of what a solid is. 

Understanding these metamaterials is key to “programming” them correctly, maximizing their utility.  “One of the paradigms of this research is that the material is the machine,” Zeb Rocklin, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, explains. “We're creating a material that performs the mechanical tasks that we want it to, and the processes, forces and displacements in the ways we want it to.”

A new $630,000 NSF CAREER grant will help Rocklin continue that research.

The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award is a five-year grant designed to help promising researchers establish a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in their field. Known as CAREER awards, the grants are NSF’s most prestigious funding for untenured assistant professors.

The award, for “Geometric and topological mechanics of flexible structures,” will help Rocklin continue developing a new, unified theory for mechanical metamaterials a group of structures that can flex and move, while having traditional solid components that make it easier to model. The theory could then be applied by other scientists and engineers to create responsive objects with smart fabrics that could respond to changes in environment like novel knee replacements, responsive airplane wings, and better robots.

Materials as machines

“A solid is defined by the fact that it has a shape, and if I try to change the shape it might generate patterns of stress, or if I hit it, you might hear noise, because it's vibrating,” says Rocklin. “While we often think about things in terms of solids, liquids, and gasses, a lot of the things that are very important to us are not what we think of as a conventional solid.”

Flexible solids, like clothing, robots, and even our own bodies permeate our world, and are often some of the most useful materials we encounter. “This creates this huge challenge,” Rocklin says, “because flexible solids can't always be understood using current techniques of physics. We can write down the equations, but the equations are often too hard for anyone to solve.” For example, imagine trying to predict or replicate the infinite ways a piece of paper can crumple. As a result, flexible solids are often expensive and time consuming to model.

That’s where Rocklin’s new theory comes in.

Mechanical metamaterials

By combining well-known solids with flexible properties, Rocklin hopes to create a mathematically simple theory. There are philosophical differences and limitations here,” he says, “but as a physicist, I’m looking for universal principles that can apply to a variety of things. Our technique is meant to complement the existing simulations, and it's meant to provide us more insight into these systems so that we can understand how to control them better.”

By building a theory around materials made of repeating solids connected by flexible hinges, Rocklin hopes to make a computationally inexpensive technique to predict and control the deformation of flexible structures. One example of this type of structure consists of  solid square pieces connected by their corners in a checkerboard pattern. The pieces pivot against each other at these hinged corners, allowing the structure to easily expand and contract. “These materials find a sweet spot in between simple solids that were well-characterized in the nineteenth century and the flexible objects that are just too complicated for us to fully describe,” Rocklin adds.

While the material can only deform via one method, (by flexing at the hinges) this does not mean that there is only one way the material deforms. Rather, through this one method of deformation, there are an infinite number of modes or computations that the fabric can assume, illustrating Rocklin's key insight – that a single flexible mode inevitably gives rise to a whole host of complex deformations.

“There's very simple universal math to describe how this type of material operates,” Rocklin adds. “And, when people actually make this material, it turns out that it actually looks like this, and it actually deforms in this way.”

Broad applications

As a theoretical physicist, Rocklin is focused on developing a unified theory that can be applied by experts across many fields. For example, collapsable biomedical devices like stents, which should be small when inserted, but need to expand when inside the body. Inspired by the ever-adapting wings of birds, adaptable airplane wings are also an intriguing frontier.

Rather than minute adjustments via circuitry, airplane wings could be built from these flexible solids, which could be designed to automatically adapt when given a signal from the wind. Building an antenna from materials that respond to certain electromagnetic frequencies, to optimize signal reception, is another of many possible applications for the work. 

]]> sperrin6 1 1702389447 2023-12-12 13:57:27 1702409416 2023-12-12 19:30:16 0 0 news A new $630,000 NSF CAREER grant will help Zeb Rocklin, assistant professor in the School of Physics, continue his research into developing a new universal theory around mechanical metamaterials: a group of flexible solids that blur the traditional definition of what a solid is. 

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2023-12-12T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-12T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-12 00:00:00 Written by Selena Langner

Contact: Jess Hunt- Ralston

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672552 672553 672552 image <![CDATA[A model of a mechanical metamaterial.]]> image/gif 1702389457 2023-12-12 13:57:37 1702389457 2023-12-12 13:57:37 672553 image <![CDATA[Zeb Rocklin]]> image/jpeg 1702389614 2023-12-12 14:00:14 1702389614 2023-12-12 14:00:14
<![CDATA[Three Faculty Members Appointed Carter N. Paden, Jr. Distinguished Chair]]> 35272 Three faculty members in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering have been appointed Carter N. Paden, Jr. Distinguished Chair for innovation in Material Science and Metals Processing, effective January 1, 2024.

Associate Professor Matthew McDowell, Professor Min Zhou, and Woodruff Professor Ting Zhu will hold the position for a five-year term and receive discretionary funding to support their educational and research activities.

These appointments recognize each of the three recipients for their intellectual leadership and broader impact in the field of material processing, and the ability to help the Woodruff School grow in emerging areas of importance.

“Throughout their careers, Matt, Min, and Ting have been leaders in their fields and made significant contributions to research,” said Devesh Ranjan, Eugene C. Gwaltney, Jr. School Chair. “They are highly deserving of this endowed chair position, and I know David McDowell, who held the Paden Chair until his retirement earlier this year, is proud to pass it on to his son and former long-term collaborators and mentees.”

McDowell’s research focuses on developing materials for next-generation battery systems, as well as understanding dynamic materials transformations in electrochemical energy devices. He leads the newly established Georgia Tech Advanced Battery Center (GTABC) with co-director Gleb Yushin, a professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. The new center will build community at the Institute, work to enhance research and educational relationships with industry partners, and create a new battery manufacturing facility on Georgia Tech’s campus.

Zhou's research interests concern material behavior over a wide range of length scales. His research emphasizes finite element and molecular dynamics simulations as well as experimental characterization with digital diagnostics.

Zhu's research focuses on the mechanical behavior of advanced engineering materials at the nano to macro-scale. He conducts modeling and simulations using the atomistic, continuum, and multiscale methods.

The endowed chair was made possible by Georgia Tech alumnus Carter N. Paden, Jr., IM 1951, who had a lifelong career in metals processing.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1701959812 2023-12-07 14:36:52 1702393090 2023-12-12 14:58:10 0 0 news Matthew McDowell, Min Zhou, and Ting Zhu will hold the position for a five-year term.

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2023-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-29 00:00:00 Ashley Ritchie (ashley.ritchie@me.gatech.edu)

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672529 672529 image <![CDATA[Paden Chair.jpg]]> Pictured left to right: Matthew McDowell, Min Zhou, and Ting Zhu.

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<![CDATA[New IEN Center to Research Wearable Technologies]]> 35272 A new research center in the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) will help bring together human-centered bioelectronics technology research to improve human healthcare and expand human-machine interface technologies.

The Wearable Intelligent Systems and Healthcare (WISH) Center will work to push innovation in wearable sensors and electronics technologies. Focus areas of the center will include electronics, artificial intelligence, biological science, material sciences, manufacturing, system design, and medical engineering.

“We are excited by the promise of bioelectronics improving human health and all the exciting science engineering that is required to make it a reality,” said Michael Filler, interim executive director of IEN.

WISH is directed by W. Hong Yeo, associate professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, and Yuhang Hu, associate professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech.

“I founded WISH to bring together Georgia Tech’s expertise in various disciplines and to create opportunities for developing wearable bioelectronics and human-machine technologies leading to better lives and communities,” said Yeo.

Yeo’s research focuses on developing soft sensors, electronics and robotics for health monitoring and disease diagnosis at the intersection of human and machine interaction. Other researchers in the center represent disciplines from across Georgia Tech’s Colleges of Engineering, Computing, Sciences, Design, and Liberal Arts; Emory University; and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

WISH will be one of IEN’s 10 strategic research centers, along with the 3D Systems Packaging Research Center, a graduated NSF Engineering Research Center focusing on advanced packaging using 2.5D and 3D heterogeneous integration technologies, and the Georgia Electronic Design Center, one of the world’s largest university-based semiconductor research centers. WISH is an evolution of the Center for Human-Centric Interfaces and Engineering, which received seed funding from IEN to focus on collaborative research for human-centered design, biofeedback control, and integrated nanosystems to advance human-machine interaction in the scope of healthcare.

IEN supports early-stage research in underfunded research areas that span all disciplines in science and engineering through its seed grant programs, which focus on research in biomedicine, electronics, optoelectronics and photonics, and energy applications.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1701795465 2023-12-05 16:57:45 1701800399 2023-12-05 18:19:59 0 0 news The Wearable Intelligent Systems and Healthcare (WISH) Center will work to push innovation in wearable sensors and electronics technologies.

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2023-12-05T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-05T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-05 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister, Research Communications 

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672505 637803 672505 image <![CDATA[flexible-health-monitor-georgia-tech_4-1024x576.jpeg]]> image/jpeg 1701795589 2023-12-05 16:59:49 1701795589 2023-12-05 16:59:49 637803 image <![CDATA[W. Hong Yeo, assistant professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering ]]> image/png 1597255420 2020-08-12 18:03:40 1597255420 2020-08-12 18:03:40
<![CDATA[Andreas Heirlemann Gives Inaugural Oliver Brand Memorial Lecture on Electronics and Nanotechnology]]> 35272 The inaugural Oliver Brand Memorial Lectureship on Electronics and Nanotechnology was held on Nov. 13 at Georgia Tech. The lecture was presented by Andreas Heirlemann, professor of biosystems science and engineering at ETH Zürich, on microphysicological systems and highly integrated microelectrode arrays.

His talk marks the beginning of an annual lecture series established in memory of Professor Oliver Brand, who passed away in April. Brand had served as the executive director of the Georgia Tech Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) since 2014.

“Oliver’s work, especially in microelectromechanical systems and CMOS-based microsystems, is widely respected in the community, with more than 190 publications to his name,” said Mike Filler, IEN’s interim executive director. “Andreas Heirlemann’s scientific contributions embody the innovative spirit and excellence that Oliver championed throughout his life.”

In addition to their research connection, Heirlemann also had a personal connection with Brand. They worked closely together in the same research lab at ETH Zürich for three years before Brand moved to Georgia Tech.

“What impressed me most about Oliver was his innate friendliness,” said Hierlemann. “He was always supportive. He was always motivating students. I never heard a harsh word come out of him. He had an extremely positive outlook on life that I learned to admire. That is what I take as his legacy.”

Hierlemann’s lecture was presented in two parts. The first focused on microfluidics, hanging drop networks, and microphysiological systems. Microphysicological systems are 3D cell assemblies, or membrane structures like organs, that occur naturally in the body or are grown with stem cells. These systems allow for comprehensive testing and studying tissue interactions. 

The second part of his talk focused on high-density microelectrode array systems, including neuronal systems characterization and the handling and use of neurons.

Brand spent more than 20 years as a member of the Georgia Tech faculty. In addition to leading IEN, he was a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, director of the Coordinating Office for the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), and director of the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor, one of the 16 NNCI sites.

Brand united researchers in the fields of electronics and nanotechnology, fostering collaboration and expanding IEN to include more than 200 faculty members. In addition to his respected work in the field of microelectromechanical systems, he is remembered for his kindness, dedication, and unwavering support toward all who knew him.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1701723733 2023-12-04 21:02:13 1701726304 2023-12-04 21:45:04 0 0 news The inaugural Oliver Brand Memorial Lectureship on Electronics and Nanotechnology was held on Nov. 13 at Georgia Tech.

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2023-12-04T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-04T00:00:00-05:00 2023-12-04 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister
amelia.neumeister@research.gatech.edu

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672499 672499 image <![CDATA[filler,hierlemann.jpg]]> image/jpeg 1701725821 2023-12-04 21:37:01 1701725821 2023-12-04 21:37:01
<![CDATA[Sensor Fabric, Big Data Could Help End Pressure Injuries for Wheelchair Users]]> 27446 At least half of veterans with spinal cord injuries will develop sores on their skin from the unrelieved pressure of sitting for long periods of time in a wheelchair. It’s a constant worry, because these skin ulcers can greatly limit patients’ mobility.

“Pressure injuries directly impact the veteran’s quality of life, because the medical provider will order the veteran to bed rest for weeks and potentially months,” said Kim House, a physician and medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Clinic at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Healthcare System. “At every clinic visit, I provide education for pressure injury prevention.”

House could one day have a new tool to offer her patients, thanks to researchers in the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, and wheelchair-bound veterans are just the beginning.

Materials engineers are developing new fabric sensors and a customized wheelchair system that assesses and automatically eases pressure at contact points to prevent injuries from developing in the first place.

“We have three key issues happening: First, continuous pressure. Second, moisture, because when you're sitting in the same spot, you tend to sweat and generate moisture. And third is shear. When you try to move somebody, the skin shears. That perfect combination is what causes pressure injuries,” said Sundaresan Jayaraman, professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). “We believe we have a solution to the perfect storm of pressure, moisture and shear, which means the user’s quality of life is going to get better.”

Get the full story on the College of Engineering website.

]]> Joshua Stewart 1 1701269594 2023-11-29 14:53:14 1701723010 2023-12-04 20:50:10 0 0 news MSE researchers are using a Catalyst Award from the National Academy of Medicine to develop a pressure-relieving sensor system that could also be used in hospital beds.

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2023-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-29 00:00:00 Joshua Stewart
College of Engineering

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672467 672467 image <![CDATA[Wheelchair Pressure Injuries - Sundaresan Jayaraman & Sungmee Park]]> Sundaresan Jayaraman (left) looks at pressure data from fabric sensors he developed with Sungmee Park, who is seated in their prototype wheelchair system. (Photo: Candler Hobbs)

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<![CDATA[Fall 2023 IEN Seed Grant Winners Announced]]> 35272 The Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) at Georgia Tech has announced the Fall 2023 Core Facility Seed Grant winners. The primary purpose of this program is to give early-stage graduate students in diverse disciplines working on original and unfunded research in micro- and nanoscale projects the opportunity to access the most advanced academic cleanroom space in the Southeast. In addition to accessing the labs' high-level fabrication, lithography, and characterization tools, the awardees will have the opportunity to gain proficiency in cleanroom and tool methodology and access the consultation services provided by research staff members in IEN. Seed Grant awardees are also provided travel support to present their research at a scientific conference.

In addition to student research skill development, this biannual grant program gives faculty with novel research topics the ability to develop preliminary data to pursue follow-up funding sources. The Core Facility Seed Grant program is supported by the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC), a member of the National Science Foundation’s National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI).

Since the start of the grant program in 2014, 90 projects from ten different schools in Georgia Tech’s Colleges of Engineering and Science, as well as the Georgia Tech Research Institute and three other universities, have been seeded.

The four winning projects in this round were awarded IEN cleanroom and lab access time to be used over the next year. In keeping with the interdisciplinary mission of IEN, the projects that will be enabled by the grants include research in electronic devices, geochemistry, bio-inspired design, and solid state physics.

The Fall 2023 IEN Core Facility Seed Grant Award winners are:

 

Using Zircon (U-Th)/Pb Geochronology to Trace the Source of Himalayan Megafloods
PI: Karl Lang
Student: Srinanda Nath
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Material Characterization of Keratin-based Barbules with Hygroscopic Coiling-uncoiling Behaviors and Biomimetic Fabrication of Artificial Hygromorphic Barbules
PI: Saad Bhamla
Student: Nami Ha (ME/BioE)
School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Ultra-high Mobility Semiconducting Graphene Device Fabrication
PI: Claire Berger and Walt de Heer
Student: Will Griffin
School of Physics

Extracting the Effect of Electrode-Ferroelectric Interface on Photovoltaic Efficiency
PI: Lauren Garten
Student: Marshall Frye
School of Materials Science and Engineering

The Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, is funded by NSF Grant ECCS-2025462.

]]> aneumeister3 1 1701381398 2023-11-30 21:56:38 1701381398 2023-11-30 21:56:38 0 0 news Four Interdisciplinary Projects to Receive IEN Technical Support and Facility Access

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2023-11-30T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-30T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-30 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister

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<![CDATA[STEM@GTRI Celebrates 25 Years of Promoting Science, Technology Education]]> 35832 Recently, GTRI leadership and research faculty were joined by State of Georgia leaders, corporate representatives, and educators to celebrate a notable milestone for an important GTRI program.

STEM@GTRI celebrated its 25th anniversary recently. STEM @GTRI is the Georgia Tech Research Institute's K-12 outreach program. STEM @GTRI strives to inspire, engage, and impact Georgia's students and educators through hands-on experiences, outreach, and professional learning.

STEM@GTRI customizes professional development experiences for educators, connects students and classrooms to Georgia Tech labs and researchers, and brings hands-on, fun, and relevant programming to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational outreach events across Georgia. STEM@GTRI leverages State of Georgia funding through grants and partnerships to bring additional STEM programming to K-12 students in Georgia. The program first received State of Georgia funding in 1998.

To commemorate this auspicious occasion, STEM@GTRI hosted a luncheon celebrating 25 years of K-12 STEM outreach at GTRI. During the program, an array of speakers reflected on the STEM @GTRI program over the past 25 years and its impact in Georgia and on the future of students.

STEM @GTRI’s First Champion: Claudia Huff

Claudia Huff, the retired GTRI Principal Research Associate who was the first Director of STEM @GTRI, spoke on its inspirational and aspirational early days. She noted that, in 1998, the U.S. was experiencing a rapid permeation of emphasis on STEM education, fueled by legislation such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996. However, while there was a desire to increase technology education, the actual means lagged.

“Computers were coming to the schools, but they weren't ready. There were computer-using educators that are scattered across the state of the country, but they were really organized together, and they hadn't seen some of the things that we could see coming down the road,” she said. That was, in large part, the impetus for the program, which was then called Foundations for the Future (F3).

She embraced and pioneered the partnership-seeking approach that is now a hallmark of the renamed STEM@GTRI.

Huff started with a small amount of seed funding from GTRI. However, her dogged determination led her to secure $2 million in funding from AT&T to really get the ball rolling. The AT&T funds were leveraged into that all-important funding from the State of Georgia, which continues to the present.

“I think the biggest impact was getting everybody aware, or getting people who needed the resources aware that we have resources, letting them know,” Claudia said.

The principles and practices that she put into place out of necessity became the foundation for what STEM@GTRI is 25 years later.

To honor and thank Claudia Huff, she was presented with STEM @GTRI’s inaugural STEM Champion Award.

Educating Future Technology Leaders

GTRI Director Jim Hudgens said that when he first arrived at GTRI four years ago, STEM @GTRI was one of the first programs he heard about: “I was just blown away by the program,” he said during his opening remarks.

“Educating future technology leaders is one of our core mission areas,” said Hudgens. “A big part of what we do in educating technology leaders is that we take it very seriously. Our people are extremely passionate about this--about their many volunteer hours going out to science fairs, going to high schools across the state, teaching classes in high schools--doing as much as they can.

“It's an amazing community at GTRI that makes this happen.”

That passion and spirit of commitment was noted often during the 25th Anniversary luncheon.

The anniversary event was hosted by Leigh McCook, Director of STEM @GTRI, which she calls “a fun role.” Her passion and commitment to STEM@GTRI was noted by speakers throughout the luncheon program.

“One of the greatest impacts I get to experience is working with our K-12 future STEM workforce. When I see a Georgia Tech/GTRI researcher explain and demonstrate their work to a classroom of elementary, middle, or high school students or experience students of all ages interact with our researchers through questions and discovery — I am thrilled to witness students have that ‘ah ha!’ moment and think ‘This is cool stuff! I want to study to learn to be a (fill in the STEM field here),’ or even ‘Oh, now I know why I’m having to learn this topic in my class — someone really does use this stuff in the real world!’

“When we get to bring diversity to Georgia’s classrooms across the state through our outreach, we open worlds of awareness of possibilities and opportunities for our K-12 students.”

Bringing ‘What If’ to the Real World Through Partnerships

“Real-world” impact, and opening students’ (and teachers’) eyes and minds to possibilities were common themes reiterated by the luncheon speakers.

District 25 State Rep. Todd Jones spoke of several of his “dreams” for the State of Georgia: advancements in daily life, from improved transportation to medical advances—all “dreams” that are dependent on significant advances in technology, which Jones said he believes is incumbent on advancing technology education throughout Georgia, including in rural areas without extensive technology resources or even a large quantity of technology educators. That, he said, is where STEM @GTRI’s outreach is invaluable.

Jones said that his office’s ongoing partnership with GTRI is key to improving the “access and rigor” of STEM education in Georgia.

“I'm going to give all the credit to GTRI. There might have been passion coming out of my office and willingness to find a partner to make this happen, but between Bert (Reeves, Vice President, Institute Relations) and the GTRI team, that is what kind of made this a success.

“We did know that GTRI had the resources to be able to make this work. What they had to deal with for a couple of decades around STEM, around the work, shows a passion and an application. That was what we were looking for.”

McCook noted that Jones’ initiative to improve access and rigor of computer science education across Georgia, as part of the newly funded Rural Computer Science Education Program, shows how committed STEM @GTRI is about fostering and furthering partners. She noted that,  in partnership with Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC), the project is “in 16 (Georgia school) districts right now” and includes contributions from the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM), and others.

“You can't dream it if you've never been exposed to it,” Jones said enthusiastically “Dreams come from ‘what if,’ but ‘what if’ can't be had unless you know what's possible and maybe what could be next.”

Such a commitment to fostering a sense of making “what if” possible was reiterated by Karen Faircloth, Director of School Improvement & Professional Learning for the Northwest Georgia Regional Education Service Agency (RESA), which encompasses school districts in smaller communities such as Cartersville, Dallas, Rome, and Tallapoosa.

STEM@GTRI High School Internship Program

STEM@GTRI thrives today largely because of the indefatigable efforts of High School Summer Internship Program co-directors Therese Boston, a Senior Research Associate in ICL, and ATAS Principal Research Engineer Erick Maxwell. STEM@GTRI’s High School Internship Program is one of its premier initiatives. In the internship program, Georgia high school students who are at least 16 years old may apply for five-week paid summer internships hosted in GTRI labs. Interns work on projects in GTRI laboratories and the GTRI Warner Robins field office with the goal of providing students with real-world experiences in science and engineering research. GTRI researchers mentor students by working with them on projects to engage them in first-hand STEM experiences.

As an example of the first-hand nature of the internship, Maxwell cited a project done by an intern team in conjunction with the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The high schoolers developed a means to streamline the arduous task of counting ammunition rounds via the use of “smart” gloves. To further emphasize the tangible benefits of the students’ experience, Maxwell noted that the students are included on the project’s application for a full patent on the gloves.

The High School Internship Program and other programs of STEM@GTRI make use of partnerships with GTRI’s laboratories, Georgia Tech, the U.S. military, and businesses in technology-related industries.

Among the industry representatives in attendance was Patrick Govan, Higher Education Account Manager at Cisco. He explained how his company, a leader in digital communications technologies, works in outreach along with STEM@GTRI. “We are starting to work with the STEM outreach program, bringing some of the students and internships into our office--we just built a new office in the Coda building (at Tech Square). So, we're show showcasing how technology is used in everyday life and in office space to inspire the younger kids. [We show them] a day in the life of what a career would look like in the tech space.

“Leigh (McCook) and I are trying to get the [STEM@GTRI] summer internship program incorporated into office visits and things like that.”

Looking ahead to future goals and activities was very much a part of the 25th-anniversary celebration. Here’s to the next 25 years of STEM@GTRI!

 

Writer: Christopher Weems 
Photos: Christopher J. Moore
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1701105483 2023-11-27 17:18:03 1701105780 2023-11-27 17:23:00 0 0 news GTRI leadership and research faculty were joined by State of Georgia leaders, corporate representatives, and educators to celebrate 25 years of K-12 STEM outreach at GTRI. During the program, an array of speakers reflected on the STEM @GTRI program over the past 25 years and its impact in Georgia and on the future of students.

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2023-11-27T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-27T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-27 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672449 672450 672449 image <![CDATA[Claudia Huff, Receipent of the Inaugural STEM@GTRI Champion Award]]> Claudia Huff (left) receives the inaugural STEM Champion Award from STEM@GTRI Director Leigh F. McCook. (photo credit: Christopher J. Moore)

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672450 image <![CDATA[GTRI's High School Internship Program Co-Directors]]> High School Internship Program Co-Directors Erick Maxwell (far left) and Therese Boston (far right) pose with Georgia education partners Leon Grant III, founder and Director, The Engineering Pipeline at Marietta City Schools, and John Pierson, President of the Georgia Section of ASCE. (photo credit: Christopher J. Moore)

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<![CDATA[Claims Database Will Provide Clearer Picture of Health in Georgia]]> 35832 State policymakers, health care researchers, and others will have a clearer picture of the health of Georgia citizens thanks to a new database of medical, dental, and pharmacy claims for public and private insurance plans in the state. The Georgia All-Payer Claims Database (APCD), supported by researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), will begin reporting and releasing data in early 2024.

The APCD was established by the Georgia General Assembly (O.C.G.A. 31-53-40) by Senate Bill 482 in 2020 to address growing concerns over the cost, quality, and access to healthcare across the state. The Office of Health Strategy and Coordination (OHSC) is responsible for creating and implementing the APCD, and the APCD's administrator is GTRI’s Center for Health Analytics and Informatics (CHAI).

When in full operation, the APCD will provide regular reports on Georgia health care issues and accept requests from stakeholders for other customized data. Beyond benefits to researchers and policymakers, the data will help support price transparency and drive consumer-focused tools reporting on such issues as quality, cost, and patient outcomes. The APCD’s information will not include any personally identifiable information about patients.

“The APCD will serve as a platform to help us really understand and improve the quality of health care in Georgia,” said Megan Denham, a GTRI senior research associate who serves as Implementation Project Director for the system. “It will help the citizens of Georgia understand more about their care and know what to expect so they can make informed decisions. Policymakers will use the data to drive funding allocations and make interventions. For our large community of researchers, it will allow them to leverage a really broad view of health data.”

Development of the system will put Georgia among the more than two dozen U.S. states that are able to make critical health care decisions based on data about the specific needs of their citizens, said Jon Duke, director of GTRI’s Health Emerging and Advanced Technologies (HEAT) Division.

“The Georgia APCD will move Georgia into the ranks of states that have a deeper understanding of their population’s health, health care costs and utilization, and opportunities for improvement,” Duke said. “We’ve seen report after report of how all-payer claims databases have led to concrete reductions in cost, improvements in care, and more informed policy-making across a wide range of topics. It will be a huge win for Georgia.”

The system will initially include information for about 5.4 million Georgia citizens – more than half of the state’s population – and is expected to be the largest aggregator of the state’s health data. The information will include data from Medicare, Medicaid, and the state health benefit plan, along with commercial claims payers. 

Data will be provided in aggregate, and maintained without personally identifiable information. “Privacy and security are paramount,” said Duke. “There’s a huge focus on privacy protection, and we have an incredible team of collaborators across the state working to help ensure that we provide only the minimum data necessary for key use cases. The APCD will not analyze or share patient identifiers such as medical record numbers, names, or addresses.”

Beyond data on specific treatment protocols, the system will also provide information on their context. For instance, data on a knee replacement surgery could include information on imaging done, diagnostic testing, and presurgical activities leading up to the procedure, as well as physical therapy afterward – and both cost and outcome measures. 

“It’s much more than just the surgery,” said Denham. “We want to look at it as a whole, and also consider the components. That gives more information about the care that people are receiving and what they can expect.”

Beyond the care itself, the system will provide generalized information about patients receiving it – demographics, the symptoms that led to the diagnosis, relevant medical conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, and other claims made by the patient. 

“All of these things can be brought together to help understand the equation,” said Duke. “People who have had knee replacement surgery can be looked at in the aggregate so we can assess potential risk factors for poor outcomes, or conversely, factors that may support patients recovering more quickly.”

Certain claims-paying entities are required by law to provide data to the APCD, while others are invited to submit information voluntarily. Beyond the value to policymakers and researchers, information about Georgia-based costs will also be helpful in understanding what consumers pay as their share of health care service costs. 

“Price transparency is a key goal for the APCD. While there are many factors affecting what data can be shared, in other APCD states, there are excellent tools designed to support consumer knowledge about the cost of different procedures at different locations where someone might go for a specific procedure,” Duke said. “Some tools provide data on health care quality from Medicare and Medicaid which allows for some integrated perspective on cost and quality measures.”

The APCD plans to regularly provide reports on specific Georgia health care issues, such as the incidence and context of chronic diseases that affect large populations in Georgia. These will include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and heart failure. The system will also provide data on cancer, as well as maternal and child health, and the median rate for “surprise billing.”

Beyond reports on broad issues important to providing a big picture of health in Georgia, aggregated data on these five million patients can also be made available to state agencies, policymakers, researchers, health care organizations, and others. Requests for standard and customized data sets and reports will be reviewed by a data release and review committee, based on alignment with the APCD objectives, the qualifications of the requesters, and other factors.

Development of the Georgia APCD benefits from the lessons learned from similar projects established in other states, as well as guidance and input from a broad range of industry and academic stakeholders. “We’re taking the best of what other states have learned and put them together to meet the specific needs of our state,” Duke said. “The legislation creating our APCD was well thought-out and reflects the best ideas from APCDs nationally.”

 

Writer: John Toon (john.toon@gtri.gatech.edu)  
GTRI Communications  
Georgia Tech Research Institute  
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $800 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1701104770 2023-11-27 17:06:10 1701105127 2023-11-27 17:12:07 0 0 news State policymakers, health care researchers, and others will have a clearer picture of the health of Georgia citizens thanks to a new database of medical, dental, and pharmacy claims for public and private insurance plans in the state. The Georgia All-Payer Claims Database (APCD), supported by researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), will begin reporting and releasing data in early 2024.

]]>
2023-11-27T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-27T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-27 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

]]>
672448 672448 image <![CDATA[Georgia Heat Map]]> Heat maps like this one are used to show the prevalence or clustering of a disease or condition by county. The Georgia All-Payer Claims Database will provide interactive visualizations as part of its use cases. (Credit: Georgia APCD)

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<![CDATA[New Interdisciplinary Research Institute to Launch This Summer]]> 34760 The Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) and the Institute for Materials (IMat) have announced they will combine to form a new Interdisciplinary Research Institute (IRI) set to begin operations on July 1, 2024.

The new IRI, which has yet to be named, will explore the vast scientific, technological, societal, and economic impacts of innovative materials and devices, as well as foster their incorporation into systems that improve the human condition in areas such as information and communication technologies, the built environment, and human well-being and performance.

“The new IRI will not only combine the strengths of IEN and IMat, but will also allow us to further expand faculty representation from across the Institute,” said Julia Kubanek, vice president of Interdisciplinary Research at Georgia Tech. “As we look at the future of research in these areas, expanding inclusivity of researchers from the liberal arts, design, business, and basic sciences will allow us to better meet the education, workforce development, and innovation needs of Georgia, the U.S., and the world.”

The new IRI will strengthen Georgia Tech’s role in national focus areas such as the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Materials Genome Initiative, and the CHIPS and Science Act, as well as identify and shape future priorities.

Core competencies of the new IRI will include:

“IEN and IMat have worked closely together for years, and there is overlap in the research areas we cover,” said Eric Vogel, IMat’s executive director. “This is an opportunity for us to build on IEN and IMat’s individual successes and our strong record of collaboration to create something even more exceptional.”

The new IRI will strengthen the state-of-the-art core cleanroom and characterization facilities, providing researchers with the tools and resources necessary for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. These facilities will continue to serve both Georgia Tech and, through its leadership within the NSF National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, the nation. Recognizing the importance of nurturing talent, it will champion education and outreach programs to inspire the next generation and equip the workforce with the skills necessary to collaborate and communicate across multiple disciplines.

“This is an exciting time to look to the future,” said Michael Filler, interim executive director of IEN. “We highly value the dedication and hard work of our staff and research faculty, who have been crucial to the success of IEN and IMat and will be the backbone of this new organization. We look forward to creating something exceptional in the coming months.”

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1700233577 2023-11-17 15:06:17 1701048536 2023-11-27 01:28:56 0 0 news The Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology and the Institute for Materials have announced they will combine to form a new Interdisciplinary Research Institute set to begin operations on July 1, 2024.

]]>
2023-11-17T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-17T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-17 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
laurie.haigh@research.gatech.edu

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670830 670830 image <![CDATA[Marcus Nanotechnology Building]]> image/jpeg 1684353022 2023-05-17 19:50:22 1684353077 2023-05-17 19:51:17
<![CDATA[Research Can Help to Tackle AI-generated Disinformation]]> 32045 In an article published this week in Nature Human Behaviour, computational science and engineering Assistant Professor Srijan Kumar and his colleagues describe why new behavioral science interventions are needed to tackle AI-generated disinformation.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools have made it easy to create realistic disinformation that is hard to detect by humans and may undermine public trust. Some approaches used for assessing the reliability of online information may no longer work in the AI age. We offer suggestions for how research can help to tackle the threats of AI-generated disinformation.

In March 2023, images of former president Donald Trump ostensibly getting arrested circulated on social media. Former president Trump, however, did not get arrested in March. The images were fabricated using generative AI technology. Although the phenomenon of fabricated or altered content is not new, recent advances in generative AI technology have made it easy to produce fabricated content that is increasingly realistic, which makes it harder for people to distinguish what is real.

Generative AI tools can be used to create original content, such as text, images, audio and video. Although most applications of these tools are benign, there is substantial concern about the potential for increased proliferation of disinformation (which we refer to broadly as content spread with the intent to deceive, including propaganda and fake news). Because the content generated appears highly realistic, some of the strategies presently used for detecting manipulative accounts and content are rendered ineffective by AI-generated disinformation.

How AI disinformation differs

What makes AI-generated disinformation different from traditional, human-generated disinformation? Here, we highlight four potentially differentiating factors: scale, speed, ease of use and personalization. First, generative AI tools make it possible to mass-produce content for disinformation campaigns.

One example of the scale of AI-generated disinformation is the use of generative AI tools to produce dozens of different fake images showing Pope Francis in haute fashion across different postures and backgrounds. In particular, AI tools can be used to create multiple variations of the same false stories, translate them into different languages, mimic conversational dialogues and more.

Second, compared to the manual generation of content, AI technology allows disinformation to be produced very rapidly. For example, fake images can be created with tools such as Midjourney in seconds, whereas without generative AI the creation of similar images would take hours or days. These first two factors — scale and speed — are challenges for fact-checkers, who will be flooded with disinformation but still need substantial amounts of time for debunking. 

Continue reading Research Can Help to Tackle AI-generated Disinformation.

]]> Ben Snedeker 1 1700585311 2023-11-21 16:48:31 1700586031 2023-11-21 17:00:31 0 0 news Nature Human Behaviour has published an article from Georgia Tech School of Computational Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Srijan Kumar and his colleagues that serves as a roadmap to detect and mitigate disinformation created by increasingly sophisticated generative AI systems.

]]>
2023-11-20T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-20T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-20 00:00:00 Asst. Professor Srijan Kumar

School of Computational Science & Engineering

srijan@gatech.edu

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672426 672426 image <![CDATA[Srijan Kumar is an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Computational Science and Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1700585377 2023-11-21 16:49:37 1700585377 2023-11-21 16:49:37
<![CDATA[Lewis Wheaton Named Inaugural Director of the Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences (C-PIES) at Georgia Tech]]> 35575 From rehabilitation research to Smyrna City Council, School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor Lewis Wheaton has served as a leader in many areas throughout his time at Georgia Tech. With new appointments as the inaugural director of the College of Science’s Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences (C-PIES) and as an advisor on the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, Wheaton will lead in two more spaces on campus, in community, and beyond.

The Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences

The creation of C-PIES is a new milestone in the College’s long standing inclusive efforts, as well as a key pillar of its 10-year strategic plan.

With a mission “to recruit, support and retain a diverse population for all sectors of our community ― staff, faculty, and students ― and build an inclusive community that broadens access to science and mathematics and creates opportunities for advancement,” C-PIES will continue to expand programming across the College of Sciences community.

Prior to the creation of C-PIES, Keith Oden, who retired in December 2020 following a 35-year career with Georgia Tech, served as director of Academic Diversity for the College for ten years. With a focus on student recruitment and retention, Oden’s expertise, outreach, and mentoring transformed the lives of students and the College of Sciences community.

“From reflections and conversations with College of Sciences colleagues, I became convinced that a center focused around broadening access and creating a diverse community would be more effective than tasking a single individual with all programmatic elements needed to advance our mission,” said College of Sciences Dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair Susan Lozier in a community letter this summer.

Now, working in tandem with Dean Lozier, ADVANCE Professor Jean Lynch-Stieglitz, and the College’s associate and assistant deans, as inaugural C-PIES Director, Wheaton will lead the Center in implementing recommendations from the College’s Task Force on Racial Equity, coalescing collaborative work across the College’s six schools, and leading new and ongoing efforts.

“I am excited about this new direction and its potential for making significant progress toward our goal of creating a diverse and inclusive community,” Lozier noted in sharing Wheaton’s appointment with the College of Sciences community earlier this August.

 

Science and Service

Along with leading C-PIES, Wheaton will continue his focus on research and community leadership beyond Georgia Tech. Since joining Georgia Tech in 2008, Wheaton has directed the Cognitive Motor Control Lab, where he strives to improve the lives of people with upper-limb amputations and those who have had strokes through a deeper understanding of the neurophysiology of motor learning.

Outside the lab, Wheaton has worked across communities on campus – serving on the College of Sciences Task Force on Racial Equity and Georgia Tech’s working group on Race and Racism in Contemporary Biomedicine, and being named the 2021 Faculty Diversity Champion for Georgia Tech – as well as throughout Georgia.

Along with serving as a member of the Smyrna City Council since first elected in 2019, Wheaton also helped shape rehabilitation policy and management in the state of Georgia as a Governor-appointed member of the State Rehabilitation Council during a six-year term.

We recently spoke with Wheaton about C-PIES, serving on NIH’s National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, and progress and service across Georgia Tech, and beyond.

 

A Conversation with Lewis Wheaton

Q: What was your initial reaction to the creation of the C-PIES, when it was announced in April?

A: Probably a mix of excitement, enthusiasm, and a little bit of trepidation to be honest. I think when you start talking about equity and inclusion, those are loaded concepts and very loaded terms, and people define them very differently. So, the trepidation side was more ‘Okay, how is the community going to receive something like this center as a whole?’

At the same time, I reflected on a lot of the conversations that I had with people one-on-one, and also as a result of being a part of the [College of Sciences Task Force on Racial Equity], and there’s a lot of encouragement there. This is the kind of thing that I think, by and large, people in the College want to see and are excited about. It’s a new type of opportunity for the College and it’s something that people want to rally around. So, it was a constellation of all of that all at once.

 

Q: What interested you about the opportunity to direct the Center?

A: Similarly, my initial feelings, honestly, including the trepidation.

I love science. I’m really, really passionate about what I do, and I’m passionate to the point of wanting to make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to at least be exposed to the possibility of doing science – and specifically doing it here at Georgia Tech. That means a lot to me. Given where [Georgia Tech is] seated within this community, within this region, within this area, we have a unique opportunity here. We should be an attractive force for doing not only science that focuses on or considers equity and inclusion, but that is being done by a population of scientists that is reflective of the broader community around us.

Those opportunities really jumped out to me as something that would be exciting to me – exciting to lead, exciting to figure out how to collaborate with other groups to [accomplish these goals]. Pulling from some other experiences that I’ve had at other places, I just thought, “you know, this could be fun.” And I think we are at a good time to do something like this.

 

Q: You’ve been involved in a lot of community efforts – a race and racism in biomedicine working group, middle school outreach with Georgia Tech CEISMC (Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing), Science Day in the Park with GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute), and more. What is your approach to promoting this work, as well as a sense of community?

A: I think it starts with having honest conversation. By that, I mean really getting past statistics, talking points, and all these other things. Really get to understanding what the challenges are and what the perceptions are.

Also, because I tend to like to know how we’re going to move forward, it’s being very focused on very actionable goals. Being very clear about “Okay, these are the things that we can do now, these are the things that we can maybe target down the line, and these are the things that will be in our 10-year plan.”

We have very concrete, actionable steps that we can take to move things forward. But at the same time, also always communicating with people about what we’re doing, maybe even sometimes what we’re not doing. That clarity and that focus are, I think, what you have to have when you’re dealing with this type of issue, unfortunately because it is sensitive sometimes. But I think that’s what’s needed here.

 

Q: What are some of the main challenges you see this center as a whole facing?

A: You know, I think perception is everything. I’m going to be honest, [this topic] can be very uncomfortable for some people, and something that some people just disagree with – or that they think they disagree with, I should probably say.

Perception suggests that this center might focus on one thing, but in reality, the perspective is usually much broader. I think a lot of people will immediately think “Oh, this is just about bringing in more women or more people of color into different units.” It could include that. But it could also be, “What scientific questions are we asking? How are we responding to equity needs of our immediate community? To the state? To the nation? Are we asking sharp enough scientific questions that are immediate to some of the needs that are clearly emerging from funding agencies and other organizations that focus on inequity?” That is a part of this, too.

 

Q: As the inaugural leader of the Center, what immediate goals do you envision for yourself? Your long-term goals for C-PIES?

A: To start with the latter, I hope that the Center, as it evolves, turns into a real catalyst for change. Change not just in building a better community, diversifying our community, and promoting better inclusion, but also creating a catalyst for new questions, new horizons that we should be pursuing that are really addressing the needs of the community. I would love to see the Center evolve in that direction.

To get there though, the first things I’m excited about doing initially are having conversations. Let’s, as campus leaders, get people together and really, just conversate about these issues. Let’s see what our various levels of comfort and sensitivity are around these things. Do we even understand some of these words and phrases and what they mean? Because they’re complicated and they come with a lot of emotion.

Also, starting to identify opportunities for growth within various units within the College that are ripe for development in this area, and going after resources nationally or at the state level to try to move the needle forward in terms of the type of people we have in our labs, the type of people we have teaching, the types of folks that we have sitting in faculty units across campus. Let’s really think innovatively about how we can be a leader in this area.

What’s exciting and inspiring to me is that we see a lot of other universities around the country, and even some of our competitors, that are boldly pursuing sustainable efforts. That tells me it can be done — we just have to do it. That’s all it is, it’s very simple. It sounds complicated and messy, but in reality, it’s incredibly simple. You just have to want to do it.

 

Q: What are you most looking forward to as you start this new position?

A: I’m just excited to get started. I’m excited to do the work and see the change.

I am convinced that once we, as a community, acknowledge that this is not as hard and messy and complicated as it sounds – once we’re over that barrier, then we can really have progress. But we still have to make sure that we are all united, and clear on that barrier. And that’s what I’m excited about.

 

Rehabilitation Research and Beyond

Q: As a member of NIH’s National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research board, you will be advising the directors of NIH, National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Can you elaborate on what that will entail?

A: A lot of this really focuses on trying to get feedback from the scientific community about the types of discoveries that we need to be making to really move the rehabilitation needle forward. Rehabilitation, in the broadest terms, includes disorders, nervous system injuries, all kinds of things that need rehabilitation.

That’s a broad aspect of NIH’s portfolio. This board will be critical to ensuring that NIH-funded medical rehabilitation research continues to be at the tip of the spear of innovation. I am excited to be on the Advisory Board to make sure that we are thinking proactively about the way that science is emerging, even how our trainees are emerging, to make sure that the funding priorities are aligned with the questions that we need to ask on the ground.

 

Q: What was your reaction to NIH asking you to serve on this board?

A: I was kind of surprised, actually. I think this is a really exciting opportunity, and it felt good for NIH to reach out and ask me to do something like this. To me it was absolutely a no-brainer to accept it.

 

Q: What are your main goals as an advisor?

A: I’m certainly in a space where I care a lot about rehabilitation, particularly with limb loss and stroke. But I’m also very interested in understanding how we can better intersect computational and engineering aspects into sciences to ask better questions — and how we can use all these things together to understand how to move rehabilitation forward. I’m excited to share my perspective from this space, and to really get at the root of some of these questions.

Another big area is “telerehab” – it’s taking off as an industry and taking off as a science, as well. That’s great, but we still have bedrock scientific questions that we need to understand about the efficacy of telerehab approaches. So those are the types of things I’m excited to think about on this advisory panel, and to try to hopefully have some influence on how we’re shaping these types of things and the funding priorities that need to emerge from NIH.

 

Q: In addition to these new positions, you are also a member of Smyrna City Council — and you teach, advise students, and run a research lab. How do you balance all of that?

A: I have a wonderful wife – we are very supportive of each other when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Also, it’s really seeing the common threads of thought between everything. Being on City Council, in many ways, is not unlike being in academia. There are a lot of meetings, that’s very similar. But the thought process, the way you’re doing things, the way you’re going about trying to solve problems is very scientific. So, it feels kind of natural. When I go into all of the spaces that I’m in, I try to at least have that as a common thread, where I’m approaching things in the most genuine way that I can. I’m a scientist, so that’s how I’m going to approach things.

At a practical level, it’s finding balance between these things so that I can honestly give them my full commitment and know that in that moment, that’s what I’m focusing on. If I’m talking to one of my students, in that moment they have all of my attention. If I’m talking to a constituent in my ward, they have my full attention. I want to be actionable and responsive to all the needs of that person. It’s not easy — I’m not going to say it’s trivial, but it’s a balance that you just learn how to strike.

As well, I’ll say, in all aspects of these areas, there are great people. The staff that I get to work within each one of these spaces is exceptional. I’d be lying if I said I was doing it all myself – there are a lot of people that help pull me through all these areas. They really deserve a lot of credit.

]]> adavidson38 1 1660749550 2022-08-17 15:19:10 1700239521 2023-11-17 16:45:21 0 0 news The College of Sciences is pleased to announce that Lewis Wheaton has been appointed the inaugural director of the Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences (C-PIES) in the College. Wheaton, an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, is also an advisor on the National Institute of Health’s National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, among several other leadership roles.

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2022-08-25T00:00:00-04:00 2022-08-25T00:00:00-04:00 2022-08-25 00:00:00 Writer: Audra Davidson
Communications Officer
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

Editor and Media Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

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660552 660553 632660 660552 image <![CDATA[Lewis Wheaton (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)]]> image/jpeg 1661458762 2022-08-25 20:19:22 1680031849 2023-03-28 19:30:49 660553 image <![CDATA[Lewis Wheaton, Inaugural Director of the Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences (C-PIES) at Georgia Tech]]> image/jpeg 1661458931 2022-08-25 20:22:11 1680031855 2023-03-28 19:30:55 632660 image <![CDATA[Lewis Wheaton is also director of the Cognitive Motor Control Lab. ]]> image/jpeg 1582142962 2020-02-19 20:09:22 1680031861 2023-03-28 19:31:01 <![CDATA[College of Sciences Faculty, Staff Honored at 2021 Diversity Symposium]]> <![CDATA[Using Rocks to Hammer Out a Connection Between Visual Gaze and Motor Skills Learning ]]> <![CDATA[Lewis Wheaton: Scientist, Citizen, Councilman ]]> <![CDATA[How to Promote Diversity Daily with Lewis Wheaton ]]> <![CDATA[Unlocking the Mind-Body Connection ]]>
<![CDATA[Sciences Lands Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Grant]]> 34528 Four faculty in the College of Sciences have received new funding to help foster student belonging at Georgia Tech. The team’s six-year grant is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence 3 initiative, and is one of 104 new grants funded through an overall initiative that’s allocating $60 million over six years and several phases.

“HHMI’s challenge to us addresses a critical need in U.S. higher education, and it is aligned with Georgia Tech’s strategic plan,” says David Collard, senior associate dean in the College and lead researcher for effort at Tech. “The grant to Georgia Tech will support a team effort in pursuing a number of complementary projects.”

Collard is joined by College of Sciences co-investigators Jennifer Leavey, assistant dean for Faculty Mentoring; Carrie Shepler, assistant dean for Teaching Effectiveness; and Professor Lewis Wheaton, inaugural director of the Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences at Georgia Tech. Collard and Shepler also serve as faculty members in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Leavey and Wheaton in the School of Biological Sciences.

Inclusive Excellence 3

As the third phase of the HHMI program, Inclusive Excellence 3, known as IE3, challenges U.S. colleges and universities to “substantially and sustainably build their capacity for student belonging, especially for those who have been historically excluded from the sciences.”

IE3 is also distinct from previous HHMI science education initiatives because it begins with a learning phase and, during that phase, learning communities envision how to move cooperatively into an implementation phase.

The grant uniquely challenges groups to work collaboratively to address one of three broad efforts. At Georgia Tech, the College of Sciences will work with institutions across the country to help empower colleges and universities to develop and support systems that cultivate teaching and learning in tandem with key concepts in inclusion and equity.

At Georgia Tech, each IE3 team member will concentrate on a distinct area of work.

Inclusive teaching

Leavey will focus on “working with collaborators from other institutions to share faculty development strategies focused on inclusive teaching, such as the Inclusive STEM Teaching Fellows program ,” she shares, “which the College of Sciences piloted last spring along with the Center for Teaching Learning, the College of Engineering, the College of Computing, and the Office of Institute Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” 

Leavey adds that, a semester after its launch, the Fellows program is already generating interest across campus and at collaborating institutions.

Inclusive impact

Shepler will help faculty assess the impact of their inclusive teaching efforts, working with collaborators to develop an iterative process to help institutions create formative assessment methodologies for teaching and learning that both facilitate and prioritize inclusion and equity in a manner that is consistent with institutional values and missions.

“Throughout the project, our aim is to make sure that students have a voice in defining what it means for them to experience teaching that centers” on these concepts, Shepler says.

The work coincides with a goal of the College of Sciences’ new Teaching Effectiveness, Advocacy, and Mentoring (TEAM) committee, which Shepler leads, to “develop and adapt new processes for the evaluation of teaching that are inclusive and equitable for all faculty.”

C-PIES

Meanwhile, Wheaton’s work as the director of the Center for Promoting Inclusion and Equity in the Sciences — C-PIES, for short — will inform and supplement Leavey and Shepler’s goals for the grant.

Wheaton will also lead a competitive C-PIES Faculty Fellows program that focuses on innovative teaching and research ideas that can transform student learning using key principles.

“The Center will sponsor approximately five C-PIES Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows in this effort,” he says. “This is an exciting direction that will provide the tools to develop assessments in our curriculum, leading to a culture that emphasizes and facilitates a growth mindset of continued development.”

Transforming tomorrow

Ultimately, the researchers hope to leverage the Inclusive Excellence Grant to transform teaching and learning for faculty and students of today — and of tomorrow.

“Though much of the HHMI work will focus on faculty, particularly those in instructional roles, the potential impact of these efforts is on the learning experiences of future generations of students,” adds Collard, the grant lead. “I look forward to seeing how the project develops — and how it fosters changes that support student, and faculty, success.”

 

]]> jhunt7 1 1677700742 2023-03-01 19:59:02 1700238573 2023-11-17 16:29:33 0 0 news Four faculty in the College of Sciences have received new funding to help foster student belonging at Georgia Tech. The team’s six-year grant is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence 3 initiative, and is one of 104 new grants funded through an overall initiative that’s allocating $60 million over six years and several phases.

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2023-03-01T00:00:00-05:00 2023-03-01T00:00:00-05:00 2023-03-01 00:00:00 Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

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666339 658777 662255 660552 655575 666339 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Leavey, Carrie Shepler, David Collard and Lewis Wheaton lead a new Inclusive Excellence Grant.]]> image/jpeg 1677700858 2023-03-01 20:00:58 1677700858 2023-03-01 20:00:58 658777 image <![CDATA[19 Faculty Members Completed the Inclusive STEM Teaching Fellows Institute]]> image/jpeg 1654805234 2022-06-09 20:07:14 1654886147 2022-06-10 18:35:47 662255 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Leavey Headshot]]> image/jpeg 1666103139 2022-10-18 14:25:39 1666103139 2022-10-18 14:25:39 660552 image <![CDATA[Lewis Wheaton (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)]]> image/jpeg 1661458762 2022-08-25 20:19:22 1680031849 2023-03-28 19:30:49 655575 image <![CDATA[David Collard, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and senior associate dean in the College of Sciences.]]> image/jpeg 1645137729 2022-02-17 22:42:09 1645137729 2022-02-17 22:42:09
<![CDATA[Physicists Focus on Neutrinos With New Telescope]]> 34434 Georgia Tech scientists will soon have another way to search for neutrinos, those hard-to-detect, high-energy particles speeding through the cosmos that hold clues to massive particle accelerators in the universe — if researchers can find them. 

“The detection of a neutrino source or even a single neutrino at the highest energies is like finding a holy grail,” says Professor Nepomuk Otte, the principal investigator for the Trinity Demonstrator telescope that was recently built by his group and collaborators, and was designed to detect neutrinos after they get stopped within the Earth.

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded effort will eventually create “the world’s most sensitive ultra-high energy neutrino telescope.” The Trinity Demonstrator is the first step toward an array of 18 telescopes located at three sites, each on top of a high mountain. 

Earlier in the year, Otte’s group flew a neutrino telescope tethered to a massive NASA-funded balloon — though a leak brought the telescope down earlier than planned. The effort was part of the EUSO-SPB2 collaboration, which wants to study cosmic-particle accelerators with detectors in space.

“This was the first time our group had built an instrument for a balloon mission,” Otte says. “And the big question was if it would work at the boundary to space at -40F and in a vacuum. Even though we only flew 37 hours (of a 50-hour mission), we could show that our instrument worked as expected. We even accomplished some key measurements, like making a measurement of the background light, which no one has done before.”

The search for neutrinos

Otte is the second Georgia Tech physicist to lead a search for neutrinos. Professor Ignacio Taboada is the spokesperson for IceCube, an NSF neutrino observatory located at the South Pole. IceCube uses thousands of sensors buried in the ice to detect neutrinos.

Meanwhile, Trinity telescopes will be especially sensitive to higher-energy neutrinos. “With Trinity, we can potentially open a new, entirely unexplored window in astronomy,” Otte says. “IceCube gives us a couple of good pointers on what to observe. That is also why we modified the building of the Trinity Demonstrator to point toward the only two high-energy neutrino sources” already identified by IceCube scientists.

‘Cherenkov lights’ illuminate ‘air showers’

The Trinity Demonstrator telescope is not your typical astronomy telescope. Instead of looking into the sky, it is looking at the horizon, waiting for a flash of light to happen that only lasts tens of billionths of a second. 

That flash is at the end of a chain of events that happens when a high-energy neutrino enters the Earth under a shallow angle. Upon penetrating Earth and traveling along a straight line for a hundred miles, the neutrino eventually interacts inside the Earth, producing a tau particle, which is like a short-lived massive electron. 

The tau continues to travel through the Earth, and when it bounces out of the ground, it decays into millions of electrons and positrons, which zip through the air. Because the electrons and positrons travel faster than the speed of light in the air, they emit Cherenkov light, the short flash of light the Trinity Demonstrator telescope detects. Using computer algorithms, the recorded Cherenkov flashes are analyzed to reconstruct the energy and arrival direction of the neutrino. 

Otte and his team of Georgia Tech postdoctoral and graduate scholars developed and built the Trinity Demonstrator. Undergraduate students have also had significant responsibilities in designing its optics. “It is good for the students because they are involved in all aspects of the experiment. In big collaborations, you are an expert on one aspect only,” Otte says.

The largest collaboration Otte is currently involved with is the Cherenkov Telescope Array, which involves more than 2,000 researchers. That planned international project will involve 60 next-generation gamma-ray telescopes in Chile and on the Canary Island of La Palma.

Next year, Otte says he and his researchers will apply for funding to build a much bigger telescope, which will be the foundation for the NSF 18-telescope array. For now, the team is busy observing with the Trinity Demonstrator atop Frisco Peak in Utah.

“With a bit of luck, we will detect the first neutrino source at these energies,” Otte said.

 

Funding: National Science Foundation (NSF)

 

]]> Renay San Miguel 1 1700150315 2023-11-16 15:58:35 1700230236 2023-11-17 14:10:36 0 0 news Physics Professor Nepomuk Otte and students have developed the Trinity Demonstrator to search for sources of high-energy neutrinos that contain clues to the early universe.


 

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2023-11-16T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-16T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-16 00:00:00 Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209

Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston

 

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672397 672398 672397 image <![CDATA[The Trinity Demonstrator telescope. (Photo Nepomuk Otte)]]> The Trinity Demonstrator telescope. (Photo Nepomuk Otte)

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672398 image <![CDATA[The Trinity Demonstrator team, graduate scholar Jordan Bogdan, postdoctoral scholar Mariia Fedkevych, graduate scholar Sofia Stepanoff, and Professor Nepomuk Otte.]]> The Trinity Demonstrator team, graduate scholar Jordan Bogdan, postdoctoral scholar Mariia Fedkevych, graduate scholar Sofia Stepanoff, and Professor Nepomuk Otte.

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<![CDATA[IceCube Neutrinos Give Us First Glimpse Into the Inner Depths of an Active Galaxy]]> <![CDATA[IceCube Detects High-Energy Neutrino Emission from Milky Way]]> <![CDATA[Ignacio Taboada Elected Spokesperson for IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory]]> <![CDATA[John Wise Named Director of the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics at Georgia Tech]]>
<![CDATA[Stefan Abi-Karam Receives Esteemed FPL Community Award]]> 35875 Stefan Abi-Karam, a member of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and a Ph.D student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, has been honored with the prestigious FPL Community Award at the 33rd International Conference on Field-Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL 2023) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abi-Karam, a Research Engineer I in CIPHER, was recognized for his paper titled "GNNBuilder: An Automated Framework for Generic Graph Neural Network Accelerator Generation, Simulation, and Optimization." The paper explores the intersection of hardware acceleration and applied deep learning, and delves into areas such as electronic design automation (EDA), FPGA architecture, and VLSI algorithms.

The FPL Community Award recognizes significant research contributions within the field-programmable logic community. It is awarded based on the impact and potential long-term benefits of open-source research, as assessed by peer reviewers during the conference.

Said Stefan, "I am really happy that there is community recognition for open-source academic hardware research, as this is still not the norm, or the open-source aspect is not seen as valuable in many academic research projects."

Abi-Karam's work, conducted in collaboration with Prof. Cong Hao of Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), stands out for its focus on the pragmatic aspects of engineering, automation, and co-design of high-level-synthesis-based hardware accelerators for computing graph neural networks. Stefan also received his bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech.

Stefan’s research has potential applications in various fields, including high-energy physics, where the deployment of graph neural networks in hardware.

Abi-Karam's dedication to his research and his success in blending his Ph.D. studies with his work at GTRI exemplify GTRI’s Mission's aims of Educating Future Technology Leaders and being a “People-First” environment.

This award not only recognizes Abi-Karam's individual excellence but also underscores GTRI’s and Georgia Tech's role as leaders in the field of cybersecurity and electrical and computer engineering research.

"The award itself was very unexpected since this was my first time at the FPL conference!" said Stefan excitedly and humbly. "It was also the first time I got to meet and talk to many of the other professors and students for the first time who also work in my research area as well as other areas that overlap with my work at GTRI." 

Congratulations, Stefan!

]]> cweems8 1 1700226083 2023-11-17 13:01:23 1700226333 2023-11-17 13:05:33 0 0 news Stefan Abi-Karam, a member of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and a Ph.D student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, has been honored with the prestigious FPL Community Award at the 33rd International Conference on Field-Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL 2023) in Gothenburg, Sweden. Abi-Karam, a Research Engineer I in CIPHER, was recognized for his paper titled "GNNBuilder: An Automated Framework for Generic Graph Neural Network Accelerator Generation, Simulation, and Optimization."

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2023-11-17T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-17T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-17 00:00:00 Christopher Weems

Georgia Tech Research Institute

Atlanta, Georgia

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672405 672405 image <![CDATA[2023_1114_image_Stefan Abi-Karam receives FPL Community Award.jpg]]> Stefan Abi-Karam (left) receives the FPL Community Award.

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<![CDATA[Craft Lab Hosts Student Community-building Event]]> 27513 Mid-November’s autumn transition foreshadows the stress of preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday, the imminent wrap up of final projects, and the near-term arrival of final exams as the end of the semester approaches. To alleviate some of the forthcoming stress, Hannah Hendricks, a master’s student in digital media (DM), and Allie Teixeira Riggs, a doctoral student in DM, hosted a fun community event for DM students using the Institute for People and Technology’s (IPaT) Craft Lab resources.

The purpose of the event was to let students relax, decompress, bond, and gain new insight into the capabilities of the Craft Lab which provides equipment such as industrial sewing machines, knitting and embroidery machines, 3D printers, and a number of other tools. Tim Trent, manager of the Craft Lab, and Arianna Mastali, a graduate research assistant in the lab, hosted 12 DM students at this community event.

Student feedback from the event included:

“It is incredibly rewarding to see student-led events like this happen,” said Trent. “When I first envisioned the Craft Lab, I was excited by the potential to take equipment that was already being used for research and open its accessibility and use to create a community space for folks to explore and learn new things. The feedback and energy over the past year, as seen in events like this DM student night, have re-affirmed the importance of the lab spaces IPaT provides, and I'm excited to see where we can progress forward.”
 

About the Craft Lab:
The Craft Lab is a unique makerspace sponsored by IPaT which is designed to promote craft and algorithmic making. The equipment in the lab is particularly well-suited for wearable/flexible electronic systems and is available to anyone interested in making soft objects. The lab includes equipment like sewing machines, CNC knitting and embroidery machines, soldering irons, and 3D printers. Lab users must complete a lab training session before being allowed to access the lab.

]]> Walter Rich 1 1700075658 2023-11-15 19:14:18 1700075712 2023-11-15 19:15:12 0 0 news Hannah Hendricks, a master’s student in digital media (DM), and Allie Teixeira Riggs, a doctoral student in DM, hosted a fun community event for DM students using the Institute for People and Technology’s (IPaT) Craft Lab resources.

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2023-11-15T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-15T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-15 00:00:00 Walter Rich

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672392 672393 672392 image <![CDATA[Arianna Mastali (MS-HCI) demonstrates the use of the Craft Lab knitting machine. ]]> Foley Scholar MS student Arianna Mastali (MS-HCI) demonstrates the use of the Craft Lab knitting machine.

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672393 image <![CDATA[Allie Riggs (PhD DM) demonstrates the use of an industrial sewing machine.]]> Foley Scholar finalist Allie Riggs (PhD DM) demonstrates the use of an industrial sewing machine.

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<![CDATA[$3M NSF Investment Will Create New Semiconductor, 3D Printing Materials]]> 27446 Researchers at Georgia Tech will work to develop new controllable materials for 3D printing, electronics made from plastics, and semiconductors that convert infrared light into electrical signals as part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) efforts to create advanced materials.

Altogether, the agency is investing $3 million in the three projects led by faculty members in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). Georgia Tech is a contributing partner on a fourth project led by Notre Dame researchers to explore materials that can be switched from an insulator to a metal with an external trigger.

The new awards are part of NSF’s Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program, which is intended to discover and create advanced materials twice as fast and at a fraction of the cost of traditional research methods.

Read more about the researchers' plans on the College of Engineering website.

]]> Joshua Stewart 1 1697807492 2023-10-20 13:11:32 1700059554 2023-11-15 14:45:54 0 0 news ME, MSE researchers lead 3 projects in agency’s new round of advanced materials grants.

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2023-10-19T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-19T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-19 00:00:00 Joshua Stewart
College of Engineering

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672110 672110 image <![CDATA[NSF Materials Grants - Azoulay, Stingelin, Qi composite]]> From left, researchers Jason Azoulay, Natalie Stingelin, and H. Jerry Qi have received grants from the National Science Foundation to create advanced materials for semiconductors and 3D printing.

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<![CDATA[Coskun Receives $1.86 Million NIH MIRA Award to Map Spatial Molecular Neighborhoods]]> 28153 Ahmet Coskun has a saying on the homepage of his lab’s website: “Seeing is believing. Quantifying is proving.” So, with that in mind, Coskun and his team have developed multiplex imaging tools and combined them with machine learning techniques – for believing and quantifying.  

Now, to support Coskun’s research, the National Institutes of Health has granted him the prestigious Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Coskun and his team will use the five-year, $1.86 million award for a project entitled, “Dissecting subcellular and cellular organization by spatial molecular neighborhood networks.” 

They plan to probe subcellular and cellular organization, counting molecular neighborhoods and building maps to help researchers better understand the spatial organization of cells and molecules, insights that can open the door to game-changing personalized treatments for multiple diseases. 

“The spatial organization of these neighborhoods, of RNA and protein molecules, is important for cellular function,” said Coskun, a Bernie Marcus Early Career Professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “So, we’re basically making maps of molecules within the cell.” 

The maps can ultimately help researchers identify cell types that would best treat various diseases, while also explaining why some patients will respond to a particular treatment, and others won’t. 

The NIH’s MIRA program provides researchers with greater stability and flexibility in funding while enhancing their ability to creatively tackle ambitious scientific problems. And part of the aim, said Coskun, “is to address basic biology questions that have implications on multiple diseases in the future. This single cell work has that kind of potential.” 

For Coskun, the MIRA is the next phase of support in a flurry of awards that have come his way recently: it’s the fifth NIH grant his lab has received this year, with a total value of $3.6 million. 

“This year has been a great year for us,” said Coskun. “It’s encouraging to receive this kind of recognition and support for research and technology that we believe will play an important role in the lives of patients.”  

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1699464038 2023-11-08 17:20:38 1699470238 2023-11-08 19:03:58 0 0 news Georgia Tech researcher probing subcellular and cellular organization, counting molecular neighborhoods and building maps to better understand the spatial organization of cells and molecules, opening the door to game-changing personalized treatments for multiple diseases. 

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2023-11-08T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-08T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-08 00:00:00 Writer: Jerry Grillo

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672304 672304 image <![CDATA[Ahmet Coşkun]]> Ahmet Coşkun

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<![CDATA[AMPF Hosts CAMX Expo Attendees]]> 27513 The CAMX expo is the largest, most comprehensive composites and advanced materials event in North America. This year, the event was held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. A record number (500+) of exhibitors displayed their material, processing equipment and latest innovations at the annual industry event.

Several thousand engineers, technical professionals, sales, marketing and business development experts from all corners of the world took advantage of the CAMX expo and conference programming to increase their manufacturing and process knowledge, meet their supply chain, build new networks and collaborate on sustainable industry solutions in the aerospace, automotive, wind power and other markets.

As part of the event, the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) hosted an onsite tour of its Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF) to a select group of industry expo attendees.

AMPF is a 20,000 square foot research and development high bay manufacturing facility located on the Georgia Tech campus supporting industrial, academic, and government stakeholders related to manufacturing research and also serves as a teaching laboratory to train the next generation of engineers, scientists and manufacturing experts. Made possible by a $3 million gift from the Delta Air Lines Foundation, this facility enables manufacturing innovation projects of almost all shapes from additive/hybrid manufacturing to composites, digital manufacturing, Industry 4.0, industrial robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Recently, Georgia Tech and the AMPF facility are supporting a statewide initiative that combines artificial intelligence and manufacturing innovations with transformational workforce and outreach programs.

The AMPF tour was led by Kyle Saleeby, research engineer in GTMI, who tailored the tour to feature manufacturing technologies related to metal composites and advanced manufacturing capabilities for 3D printed metals. This included additive, subtractive, and hybrid manufacturing technologies along with metal powder/alloy making capabilities that AMPF utilizes.

“CAMX is grateful to Kyle for presenting an informative tour of the impressive AMPF facility, said Raj Manchanda, chief technology officer of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE®). “Nearly 25 CAMX attendees who participated in the tour provided positive feedback not only on the state-of-the-art hybrid manufacturing equipment that AMPF houses from leading OEMs, but also the capability of the Georgia Tech AMPF faculty and brilliant graduate students who are developing adaptable manufacturing solutions integrating proven machining technologies with advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, additive manufacturing, and more.”

At the expo, GTMI was invited to host and lead a panel discussion of current digital manufacturing trends on day two of the CAMX show. Three industry experts from GTMI’s partner network participated in a discussion moderated by Kyle Saleeby. The panelists were Elaine Winchester from Plyable, Andre Wegner from Authentise and Rodney Elmore from Microsoft.

“At the advanced manufacturing pilot facility, we are always proud host so many great organizations, institutions and industry colleagues to share our advanced manufacturing research,” said Saleeby.

]]> Walter Rich 1 1699365330 2023-11-07 13:55:30 1699367515 2023-11-07 14:31:55 0 0 news The Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) hosted an onsite tour of its Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF) to a select group of industry expo attendees.

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2023-11-07T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-07T00:00:00-05:00 2023-11-07 00:00:00 Walter Rich

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672286 672286 image <![CDATA[CAMX Tour of AMPF-Nov-2023]]> CAMX industry tour of AMPF (Nov-2023)

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<![CDATA[Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging With Disability Renews Grant]]> 27513 In the United States, 46% of Americans 75 and older and 24% of those 65 to 74 report having a disability, according to estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

Projects associated with the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Technologies to Support Aging Among People With Long-Term Disabilities, also known as “TechSAge,” are exploring the potential of technology to support people aging with disabilities.

TechSAge recently received a $4.6 million grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research to support another five years of work — the project’s third five-year grant.

“We aren’t starting from scratch,” said Elena Remillard, TechSAge project coordinator who also serves as the site principal investigator for Georgia Tech. “Our team has spent years establishing an infrastructure of research resources, like our participant registry, building technology prototypes, and contributing to the limited knowledge base on aging with disability. We’re ready to dive into the research.”

TechSAge projects include a Smart Bathroom developed to optimize the environment for safe transfers by individuals with limited mobility, a Zoom-based tai chi exercise program, fall detection devices for wheelchair users, robotic showers, wayfinding robots, and rehabilitation training programs.

The goal of TechSAge is to meet the needs of people aging with long-term disabilities where they live, work, and play by conducting advanced engineering research and developing innovative technologies. “It’s about more than meeting basic needs at home,” Remillard said. “People with disabilities are living longer, working longer, and should be able to continue engaging in all the activities they need and want to do. We’re developing user-centered tech solutions to support a wide range of everyday activities, from self-care to exercise.”

TechSAge started at Georgia Tech 10 years ago, first led by Tech faculty members Jon Sanford, Wendy Rogers, and Tracy Mitzner as co-directors. Today, the RERC is a multi-site center including faculty from Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Georgia State University.

The current project director is Laura Rice, associate professor of kinesiology and community health at Illinois. The leadership team includes Sanford, now research professor of occupational therapy at Georgia State; Rogers, now professor of kinesiology and community health at Illinois; Mitzner, principal research scientist at Person in Design; and Remillard, senior research scientist at the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation in the College of Design at Georgia Tech.

The research projects engage students at all levels, including undergraduates, graduates, and postdocs, and emphasize training in universal design and accessibility.

Over the last five years, the team has focused on ramping up their interventions and technology solutions to assist older adults with long-term disabilities. Sanford and Georgia Tech researcher Brian Jones have spearheaded the smart bathroom utilizing Georgia Tech’s Aware Home, directed by Jones and supported by Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology. It is a three-story, 5,000-square-foot facility designed to facilitate research and develop innovations in a controlled home environment.

“We developed the smart bathroom to explore how the bathroom environment should automatically adjust to the changing needs of older adults with disabilities over the course of a day or the long term. That goal requires real-time measurement as a user approaches the bathroom and as they interact with the bathroom environment and fixtures during the process of transferring on and off the toilet, or into and out of the bathtub, or shower,” said Jones.

“We have instrumented the space with sensors in the floor, the toilet seat, and the grab bars used for toilet transfer or bathing. We have designed everything to allow for lots of flexibility in the environment, which allows users to adjust the fixtures to their preferences. The Aware Home at Georgia Tech is a valuable resource for this research. During this next phase of funding, we will advance our bathroom transfer studies while further automating the smart bathroom environment and repackage some of the components to move into real homes with a long-term goal of reducing falls.”

]]> Walter Rich 1 1698083426 2023-10-23 17:50:26 1699365081 2023-11-07 13:51:21 0 0 news In the United States, 46% of Americans 75 and older and 24% of those 65 to 74 report having a disability, according to estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. Projects associated with the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Technologies to Support Aging Among People With Long-Term Disabilities, also known as “TechSAge,” are exploring the potential of technology to support people aging with disabilities. TechSAge recently received a $4.6 million grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research to support another five years of work — the project’s third five-year grant.

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2023-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-23 00:00:00 Walter Rich

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672137 672138 672137 image <![CDATA[Smart Bathroom]]> Smart Bathroom

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672138 image <![CDATA[TechSAge Team Members]]> TechSAge Team Members

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<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts Nanowire Week 2023]]> 34760 This year, Nanowire Week 2023 took place at Georgia Tech’s Global Learning Center from October 9-13, 2023. The event, which kicked off on National Nanotechnology Day, brought together attendees and speakers for four and a half days of talks, poster sessions, and panel discussions covering all aspects of nanowire research and development – from fabrication and fundamental properties to applications.

“Hosting Nanowire Week 2023 at Georgia Tech’s Global Learning Center has been an extraordinary experience,” said Michael Filler, interim executive director for the Institute of Electronics and Nanotechnology. “This conference has highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of nanowire research, bringing together scientists and engineers from around the globe. Their shared insights and discoveries are not just academic achievements; they are the building blocks for technological innovations that could transform industries and improve everyday life." Filler served as conference chair and worked with an international steering committee to plan the event.

With more than 115 speakers and poster presenters representing more than 20 countries, the agenda reflected the diverse and evolving landscape of nanowire research. Topics included nanowire growth and manufacturing, electron transport and doping in nanowires, quantum behavior and devices, energy conversion and storage, and more.

Nanowires are 1D nanostructures with a wide range of potential uses. The ability of bottom-up growth methods to ‘program’ nanowire structure and composition with nanoscale precision opens the door to novel materials properties and functionality.

Nanowire Week takes place every 18 months and brings together leading experts in the world of nanowires. Past locations include Lund, Sweden; Hamilton, Canada; Pisa, Italy; and Chamonix, France.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1699015491 2023-11-03 12:44:51 1699039929 2023-11-03 19:32:09 0 0 news The event, which kicked off on National Nanotechnology Day, brought together attendees and speakers for four and a half days of talks, poster sessions, and panel discussions.

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2023-11-03T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-03T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-03 00:00:00 Amelia Neumeister

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672262 672262 image <![CDATA[Nanowire]]> image/png 1699039808 2023-11-03 19:30:08 1699039850 2023-11-03 19:30:50
<![CDATA[Ranges of the Future Will Enhance Joint Warfighter Training and Readiness]]> 35832 Training ranges across the United States and around the world help pilots and aircrew members stay at the top of their game, all while adopting the new tactics and equipment necessary to address the changing threat environment. A training solution known as WarRoom is helping fulfill the program’s tagline, “Better Training. Faster.” by integrating disparate training applications and systems at the ranges.

WarRoom, part of the U.S. Air Force’s Live Mission Operations Capability (LMOC) program, has now been installed at over 20 different training ranges around the world. It brings together as many as a dozen programs that provide information on potential threats, handle radio communications, analyze aircraft engagements, support mission planning, and display a fused combat operating picture. WarRoom operates on non-proprietary commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) computer systems. 

What WarRoom does is comparable to how modern smartphones brought together separate pagers, cameras, mobile phones, electronic calendars, and other devices, explained Joel Rasmussen, a research engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), which developed WarRoom and an allied display application known as Angel for the U.S. Air Force.

“The whole concept of LMOC is to get more competency into the brains of our warfighters in less time,” he said. “More efficient training helps warfighters improve more quickly, allowing the collective capabilities of our Air Force to elevate. We can also replicate and adapt to changing enemy capabilities because this system is designed to be agile.”

Training ranges provide valuable assistance to pilots and aircrews, allowing them to battle “red team” opponents and learn new tactics and techniques in a controlled environment. WarRoom increases the training value of each training mission to help prepare warfighters for combat.

By providing a common hardware/software operating platform for combat training ranges, WarRoom also allows new applications to be quickly installed and updated. Previously, new applications had to be installed individually at the ranges, a time-consuming process. 

“We can host these applications on a single server cluster and give them to everybody who needs them,” Rasmussen said. “The main thing is that every range, no matter the size, can have the best tools available. There are many advantages to having a common platform for the ranges.”

In developing the WarRoom, a team headed by GTRI Systems Research Manager Ed Loeffler virtualized legacy range systems so they could operate on a common architecture. That allows all the applications to run on virtual machines, which reduces maintenance and hardware upgrade costs – and facilitates data sharing. Loeffler’s team is experienced in scalable and interconnected live-synthetic, hybrid, and digital architectures and environments with redundant, fail-safe capabilities that can be rapidly reconfigured between unit-level or large-force test and training events and wargaming exercises.

For ranges that don’t yet have WarRoom, GTRI has developed a scripted deployment process that reduces the overall installation time. “This has turned a months-long integration effort into a couple of days with a pre-approved Authority to Operate (ATO). That really helps with getting a new installation approved and accredited, and also ensures that we have good repeatability at each of the ranges,” Loeffler said.

WarRoom can easily accommodate new applications thanks to the Test and Training Enabling Architecture (TENA). Additionally, several ranges using WarRoom are now connected using the Live Mission Operations Network (LMON).

“Beyond the existing WarRoom systems, GTRI has several additional installations scheduled, along with multiple updates. A typical new WarRoom install requires the team to be on-site for less than a month for installation, integration, and user training,” Rasmussen said. 

A key component of WarRoom is a new display system known as Angel that supports blended training for the combat air force. Angel is a versatile visualization tool not limited to legacy data formats or architectures, does not use any proprietary data models, and is not tied to any specific ground system.

WarRoom also supports Live Virtual Constructive (LVC), which will allow a live person in a real aircraft to interact with a live person in a simulator – or an artificial intelligence or “constructive” entity on a computer. While this training component hasn’t yet been fully implemented, WarRoom is designed to enable LVC by integrating all the data necessary for it in a single platform.

Based on input from warfighters, WarRoom has been in development since 2019 and has been implemented incrementally over time. This has allowed the research team to respond to the changing needs identified by users – and new threats that have arisen.

Jared Lyon, a GTRI Senior Research Engineer in the Phoenix Field Office, has been involved with the project since its inception. “We frequently solicit and receive feedback from the people using the system so we can make sure it does exactly what they need,” Lyon said. “We recently hosted more than a dozen system users in our Phoenix field office to get input. We were making changes to the product in real-time, trying to understand challenges from the warfighters’ perspective.”

Though developed for the Air Force, WarRoom may expand to other Department of Defense branches that also could benefit by integrating their training range software. Using a common platform could facilitate more interaction between the services, Rasmussen said.

WarRoom is a major project for GTRI involving more than 40 researchers altogether. The work is principally being done in three field offices – Utah, Phoenix, and Orlando – as well as GTRI headquarters in Atlanta. More than a dozen subcontractors have been involved, including Space Dynamics Lab and Raytheon Solipsys.

In addition to the GTRI researchers already mentioned, the project has included Principal Research Engineer Mike “Scratch” Fitzpatrick and Principal Research Associate Mike Naes.

 

Writer: John Toon (john.toon@gtri.gatech.edu)  
GTRI Communications  
Georgia Tech Research Institute  
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $800 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1698856037 2023-11-01 16:27:17 1698858676 2023-11-01 17:11:16 0 0 news A training solution known as WarRoom is helping fulfill the U.S. Air Force's program’s tagline, “Better Training. Faster.” by integrating disparate training applications and systems at the ranges.

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2023-11-01T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-01T00:00:00-04:00 2023-11-01 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672239 672239 image <![CDATA[Angel Common Operational Picture (COP) Display]]> Image shows the Angel Common Operational Picture (COP) Display.

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<![CDATA[Foley Scholars 2023 Winners and Finalists ]]> 27513 The Foley Scholar Awards recognize the achievements of top graduate students whose vision and research are shaping the future of how people interact with and value technology. Winners and finalists for the 2023 Foley Scholar Award were celebrated at Georgia Tech’s hotel and convention center on October 30, 2023. The event was hosted by the Institute for People and Technology with its executive director, Michael Best, serving as the master of ceremonies as each finalist was recognized for their innovative research. James Foley, professor emeritus and for whom the awards are named for, joined in the evening’s festivities to celebrate the achievements of all finalists.

“Congratulations to the two awardees and all the finalists who represent the best that Georgia Tech has to offer,” said Michael Best. “Departing from previous years, this year we only awarded two prizes making them even more precious. Next year we will return to awarding multiple prizes among the finalist,” said Best.

Congratulations to the newly named Foley Scholars for 2023-2024 who are:
 

The finalists in the Ph.D. category were Karthik Seetharama Bhat, Arpit Narechania, Sachin Pendse, and Alexandra Teixeira Riggs.

The finalists in the master’s category were Arianna Mastali and Josey Benandi.

A short description of each finalists’ unique research along with their Georgia Tech faculty advisor is listed below:

Karthik Seetharama Bhat is a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing and is advised by Neha Kumar. Bhat’s research explores the future of carework by studying how emerging technologies can support and augment caregiving interactions and relationships. His research examines telehealth efforts in India to understand technology adoption for formal and informal caregiving across socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural boundaries. He is designing new technologies and technology-aided workflows as probes into the potential futures of telehealth. He is also examining the role that emerging AI and data-driven technologies (like conversational agents) could play in informal care environments. He has partnered with ARMMAN—a Mumbai-based NGO that is employing mHealth technologies towards improving maternal and child health outcomes through information provision and care delivery to pregnant women and new mothers. He is also working on the design and deployment of a chatbot that can perform automated tasks that reduce burdens on community health workers who moderate a chat-based online health community for maternal and child health. This is a collaborative study with researchers at IIIT Delhi, India, and SWACH Foundation—an NGO in Haryana, India, that runs multiple WhatsApp-based online health communities for maternal and child health, serving thousands of pregnant women and new mothers from rural and urban regions of north India.

Arpit Narechania is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science, advised by Alex Endert. Narechania designs mixed-initiative, guidance-enriched interfaces that facilitate visual communication of appropriate and timely guidance between users and systems, and promotes the design of new visualization tools for enhanced human-data experiences from data preparation through analysis. He also develop tools that augment visualization interfaces with the querying power of natural language. A recent team research project of his examined how misrepresentation using fertility maps could change how funds are distributed to different locales and how people perceive the state of fertility in India. This project involved 16 cartographers and GIS experts from 13 global organizations such as the World Bank, UN, NASA, CDC. His team findings revealed that even the most expert map-makers find choosing appropriate binning methods challenging; this is due to limited knowledge, lack of awareness of harmful implications of using arbitrary binning methods, and organizational protocols conflicting with cartographic principles and map-maker’s preferences. His research team invented “Resiliency”, a new “goto” binning method. As a result of this research, the World Bank invited him, Dr. Clio Andris, and Dr. Alex Endert [fellow team members] to give a talk, and the United Nations offered to integrate this new map-making method into their website.

Sachin Pendse is a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing and is advised by Munmun De Choudhury and Neha Kumar. Pendse is addressing mental health challenges and the positive role that technology can play. There are diverse and effective approaches to treating mental health concerns, but the process of being diagnosed and finding care can be extremely intimidating. Individuals in distress are confronted with diverse barriers, including the stigma associated with being labeled as mentally ill, the trial-and-error process of determining the medication or forms of therapy that work best for an individual, and economic or cultural factors that limit access. Navigating the pathway to care can be an ordeal as taxing as the experience of mental illness itself. He is working to better understand where technology-mediated support may be able to reduce and eliminate mental health-related barriers. He examines the role that identity and culture play in how people experience distress, and studies people from diverse backgrounds, including people in geographically sparse areas, people with limited financial means to access care, and people from minority backgrounds. He is using a mixed methods approach to understand the role that technology-mediated mental health support systems (such as helplines, online support communities, or Google search results) play in helping connect individuals in distress with effective, culturally valid support as they journey upon a pathway to care.

Alexandra Teixeira Riggs is a Ph.D. student in Digital Media, advised by Anne Sullivan. One of Riggs’s research projects, entitled “Button Portraits: Embodying Queer History with Interactive Wearable Artifacts,” is a wearable experience that explores Atlanta’s queer history using artifacts from the Gender and Sexuality Collections at Georgia State University. The project uses archival buttons from the collection to reveal oral histories of two Southern queer activists, linking the activists’ own objects to specific audio fragments. As a case study, “Button Portraits” offers insights on how wearability, embodiment, and queer archival methods can shape the design and experience of tangible historical narratives and their ability to call for reflection on our relationships to archival materials and history. By designing tangible experiences that center around queer community, history, and identity, she hopes to continue to express, loudly and proudly, that queer and trans people have always existed and will continue to exist, and that the design of technology, importantly, must center these histories, communities, and identities.

Arianna Mastali is a master’s student in Human-Computer Interaction, advised by Melody Jackson. Mastali has been working on a wearable activity and gait detection monitor for sled dogs and other canine athletes, called WAG’D. During her last undergraduate semester, she discovered the field of animal-centered computing. The WAG’D device consists of an IMU and a load cell and is focused on measuring gait anomalies

and pull force in order to minimize injuries within sled dog racing. Her research team conducted several interviews with mushers and veterinarians who have been a part of the Iditarod in order to learn about the most common injuries in sled dogs and the existing methods to detect them. This work has significance as it will not only help better detect injuries, but will help dog owners and veterinarians better monitor dogs in order to prevent injuries.

Josey Benandi is a master’s student in Human-Computer Interaction, advised by Agata Rozga. Benandi is currently working on a project called the Care Coordination Study, which is funded by the AI-CARING Institute through the National Science Foundation. This project involves conducting qualitative research in the form of semi-structured interviews with people diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment and their informal caregivers, so that we may better understand how these folks manage their day-to-day activities, what challenges they face in doing so, and how they go about overcoming those challenges. The Care Coordination Study has been a joint effort between myself, Dr. Agata Rozga, Dr. Tracy Mitzner, and other students, where Josey has taken the lead role in all research activities. She is seeking to create a qualitative codebook of the findings which will serve as a guide for other researchers within AI-CARING and beyond whose work may require precedent real-world data regarding the experiences of those diagnosed with and those coordinating care for those diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
 

About the James D. Foley Endowment

The James D. Foley Endowment, established in 2007, is named for Dr. James D. Foley, professor and founder of the GVU Center (now integrated with IPaT as of January, 2023) at Georgia Tech. The award was established by Dr. Foley's colleagues and GVU alumni to honor his significant contributions in the field of computing, his influence on the work of others, and his dedication to the development of new research directions.

Funds from the Foley Endowment are used to support the students and research activities of the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), including the Foley Scholars Fellowships, awarded annually to two graduate students on the basis of personal vision, brilliance, and potential impact. Foley Scholars are selected by an advisory board comprised of alumni, current faculty, and industry partners during the fall semester.

]]> Walter Rich 1 1698758526 2023-10-31 13:22:06 1698758769 2023-10-31 13:26:09 0 0 news The Foley Scholar Awards recognize the achievements of top graduate students whose vision and research are shaping the future of how people interact with and value technology. Winners and finalists for the 2023 Foley Scholar Award were celebrated at Georgia Tech’s hotel and convention center on October 30, 2023. The event was hosted by the Institute for People and Technology with its executive director, Michael Best, serving as the master of ceremonies as each finalist was recognized for their innovative research.

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2023-10-31T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-31T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-31 00:00:00 Walter Rich

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672221 672222 672221 image <![CDATA[Foley Scholar winners 2023]]> Foley Scholar winners 2023 Arianna Mastali and Karthik Seetharama Bhat.

]]> image/png 1698758057 2023-10-31 13:14:17 1698758094 2023-10-31 13:14:54
672222 image <![CDATA[Foley Scholar 2023 Finalists]]> Foley Scholar 2023 Finalists with Michael Best, IPaT's executive director (far left). Then left-to-right are Arianna Mastali, Josey Benandi, Karthik Seetharama Bhat, Arpit Narechania, Sachin Pendse, and Alexandra Teixeira Riggs.

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<![CDATA[GTRI Names Terence Haran Director of Electro-Optical Systems Lab]]> 35832 The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has named Terence Haran as the new Director for the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory (EOSL), effective Oct. 1. Haran will be responsible for bringing strategic leadership and vision to the lab, which is a leader in optics and microelectronics.

Haran has been part of EOSL for over 24 years. In 1999, he joined GTRI as a student. He became a full-time research faculty member in 2002 after completing his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech. In 2008, Haran was named a Branch Head and went on to become Associate Division Chief in 2015. He has also served as the Interim Division Chief for the Electro-Optical Systems Innovation Division and, most recently, as Associate Lab Director.

Haran’s research experience includes analyzing, prototyping, and testing integrated optical systems for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and threat warning applications. He has led program development and sponsor engagement in those areas within EOSL and across GTRI. 

His experience also spans into being an advisor for government programs. He served as a trusted technical advisor for several DoD program offices, which provided regular opportunities to represent GTRI in front of senior DoD officials. He also oversaw two major GTRI-wide contract vehicles sponsored by the Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

Don Davis, Deputy Director for Research in Electronics, Optics, and Systems at GTRI, described Haran’s contributions to GTRI. 

“Terence has fostered key collaborations across GTRI, greatly enhancing our mission impact,” Davis said. “He has distinguished himself as a leader in all aspects of the lab’s business, including technical contributions, sponsor engagement, and program development and management. I have confidence that following his vision, EOSL will achieve our goal of being a nationally recognized and preeminent research organization in the fields of optics and microelectronics.”

EOSL is a leader in Electro-Optic (EO) and radio frequency (RF) signal and information processing, with expertise covering materials and devices, system design, algorithm development, and modeling and simulation for signals across the electromagnetic spectrum from RF through UV. Major research areas include optical and photonic systems for ISR, EW, and related applications; optical and electronic materials and devices; aircraft survivability equipment system analysis and optimization; and AI/ML applied to these activities.

Haran said he is looking forward to contributing to the expansion of EOSL’s national impact.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead a great team of very talented researchers as we tackle some of the hardest problems in optics and microelectronics,” he said.  “EOSL has incredible potential in an area with significant demand from our research sponsors and I look forward to increasing our impact on the nation.”

GTRI conducts research through eight laboratories located on Georgia Tech’s midtown Atlanta campus, in a research facility near Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Smyrna, Georgia, and in Huntsville, Alabama. GTRI also has more than 20 locations around the nation where it serves the needs of its research sponsors. GTRI’s research spans a variety of disciplines, including autonomous systems, cybersecurity, electromagnetics, electronic warfare, modeling and simulation, sensors, systems engineering, test and evaluation, and threat systems.

 

Writer: Madison McNair (madison.mcnair@gtri.gatech.edu)
GTRI Communications  
Georgia Tech Research Institute  
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1698423633 2023-10-27 16:20:33 1698423677 2023-10-27 16:21:17 0 0 news The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has named Terence Haran as the new Director for the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory (EOSL), effective Oct. 1. Haran will be responsible for bringing strategic leadership and vision to the lab, which is a leader in optics and microelectronics.

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2023-10-27T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-27T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-27 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672198 672198 image <![CDATA[Terence Haran, Director of EOSL]]> Terence Haran, Director of EOSL

]]> image/jpeg 1698423402 2023-10-27 16:16:42 1698423461 2023-10-27 16:17:41
<![CDATA[Research Reveals Small Business Can Struggle to Leverage Tech Benefiting Workers]]> 32045 A new Georgia Tech study reveals that excluding front-line workers from the design process can increase employee turnover rates, leading to higher costs and reduced efficiency for businesses implementing new automated technologies.

Alyssa Sheehan has seen firsthand how companies can struggle to leverage new technologies meant to improve systems and benefit workers. She collaborated with dozens of companies as the director of the Georgia Center of Innovation's aerospace team from 2022 to 2023.

That experience inspired the Ph.D. candidate and 2022 Foley Scholar to explore the effects on workers when technology is implemented to automate traditional paper-based processes. Making Meaning from the Digitalization of Blue-Collar Work won a best paper award at the 2023 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) this week in Minneapolis.

“I’m trying to cast meaningful work into a new light with automation and technology design,” Sheehan said. “The intention is so focused on delivering efficiency and optimizing the process. Companies and technologists forget about user input from workers using these systems.”

Microsoft and other major tech companies have announced commitments to use technology to foster a culture of meaningful work within the workplace. However, Sheehan said that small businesses often lack the resources and knowledge required to incorporate such beneficial technology. Others design the technology with only productivity in mind and without considering if it makes their employees’ jobs more meaningful.

“There’s a lot of research that shows there’s a technology gap, particularly for small businesses,” Sheehan said. “I’m not always advocating for technology as a solution, but I look at what exists critically and ask, ‘Is this technology doing what we want it to? If the goal is to support workers, how is it doing that?’”

Sheehan worked with a small Georgia-based manufacturing company to conduct an 18-month study. She designed and deployed off-the-shelf tools to automate the company’s shipping and receiving processes that required time and paperwork.

With the support of researchers from Georgia Tech’s Institute of People and Technology (IPAT), she customized a wearable and mobile app. The workers used the app to check off critical tasks within the shipping process one by one.  

The results were mixed.

Sheehan said many ground-floor shipping experts were frustrated by the frequency of having to repack orders because of customer complaints about improper shipping. The workers insisted they’d done the job correctly. The mobile app allowed them to take pictures of each order after packaging for quality assurance.

The workers appreciated the feature, but they also provided negative feedback. In some cases, the app required workers to perform tasks contrary to methods that suited them and made them feel productive. It also took away a sense of autonomy and pride in expertise from workers because it instructed them what to do step by step. Instead of making the job easier, workers felt like their superiors didn’t trust them to do the job correctly.

“It helped in certain areas like not having to take notes on paper anymore and using outdated equipment. However, they struggled to see how it would preserve meaning in their job in terms of working with their hands and doing various tasks at any given time.

“We create universal systems and solutions for mobile apps that are often deployed without understanding the context of organizational practices. That’s a problem. Now, the workers have to adapt their processes to make this tool work in practice. They’re being asked to give up how they do things,” Sheehan said.

She added that automated technology systems need to go beyond convenience and productivity, and these systems may cause more harm than good if it diminishes meaning and value from workers.

“By leaving the worker perspective out of the design process, we limit the potential of these technologies,” she said. “Productivity still relies on people being engaged in the process. If we’re going to create true productivity, we need to make sure those jobs are valuable and that people feel what they do matters. That leads to less turnover and higher job satisfaction rates.”

]]> Ben Snedeker 1 1697648144 2023-10-18 16:55:44 1698350540 2023-10-26 20:02:20 0 0 news Research highlighting crucial role of front-line workers in designing automated technologies earns best paper award for School of Interactive Computing Ph.D. student at premier social computing conference.

]]>
2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18 00:00:00 Nathan Deen, Communications Officer

School of Interactive Computing

nathan.deen@cc.gatech.edu

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672085 672085 image <![CDATA[Input from warehouse workers and other front-line employees is essential to designing effective automated systems]]> image/jpeg 1697648156 2023-10-18 16:55:56 1697648156 2023-10-18 16:55:56
<![CDATA[Emory, Georgia Tech receives $7 million NIH grant to advance health technologies]]> 34760 The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health has awarded $7.8 million over the next five years to the Atlanta Center for Microsystems Engineered Point-of-Care Technologies (ACME POCT) to support inventors across the country in developing, translating and testing microsystems-based point-of-care technologies to help improve patient care.

Point-of-care technologies are medical diagnostic tests performed outside the laboratory in close proximity to where a patient is receiving care. This allows health care providers to make clinical decisions more rapidly, conveniently and efficiently.

AMCE POCT, which is one of six sites in the U.S. selected by NIH as part of the NIH Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network, was originally established in 2018 to foster the development and commercialization of microsystems (microchip-enabled, biosensor-based, microfluidic) diagnostic tests that can be used in places such as the home, community or doctor’s office. The center played a pivotal role during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as the national test verification center to rapidly evaluate COVID-19 tests and help make them widely available.

Read the full announcement

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1698179445 2023-10-24 20:30:45 1698180095 2023-10-24 20:41:35 0 0 news The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health has awarded $7.8 million over the next five years to the Atlanta Center for Microsystems Engineered Point-of-Care Technologies to support inventors across the country in developing, translating and testing microsystems-based point-of-care technologies.

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2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18 00:00:00 672165 672165 image <![CDATA[ACME POCT NIH Grant]]> image/png 1698179773 2023-10-24 20:36:13 1698179995 2023-10-24 20:39:55
<![CDATA[IPaT Awards Seed Funding to Five Research Projects]]> 27513 The Institute of People and Technology at Georgia Tech (IPaT) co-sponsored more than $70,000 in grant awards to five research projects. The other research co-sponsors were the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS). The IDEaS grant also involved other interdisciplinary research co-sponsors at Georgia Tech. A complete list of IDEaS awardees are listed here.

“Congratulations to this year’s grant awardees, which bring together a diverse set of scholars advancing important new lines of interdisciplinary inquiry,” said Michael Best, executive director of IPaT. “The funded projects in the arts, assistive healthcare, AI, and beyond will further Georgia Tech’s impact at the intersections of people and technology.”

The goal of the IPaT/GTRI co-sponsored research and engagement grants for 2023-2024 is to promote research activities involving faculty and students from many disciplines represented in IPaT. Four winning projects were selected based on their early-stage research which have a high probability of leading to extramural funding and include a strong interdisciplinary component. Engagement grants are also designed to foster new engagements and collaborations, whether internal or external to Georgia Tech.

The goal of the IPaT/IDEaS co-sponsored research include identifying prominent emerging research directions on the topics of artificial intelligence (AI), shaping IDEaS future strategy in this initiative area, and building an inclusive and active community of Georgia Tech researchers. Proposals could include external collaborators, identifying and preparing groundwork for competing in large-scale grant opportunities in AI, and AI use in other research fields.

Congratulations to the winning project teams listed below:

Proposal title: Artificial Intelligence Based Abstract Review Assistant (AIARA)
Team members: Michael Cross, research scientist, GTRI; Paula Gomez, senior research engineer, GTRI; Mark Riedl, professor, associate director of the Georgia Tech Machine Learning Center, School of Interactive Computing
Award and sponsors: $20,000 (IPaT/GTRI)

Overview: Scientific committee members are promoting the use of artificial intelligence tools such as Google’s BARD and OpenAI’s Chat GPT to help with the blind review process to support the peer review process such as articles submitted for annual science-related conferences. Considering that the peer review process is made up of well-structured tasks that include analysis of a set number of abstract components (title, keywords, structure, outcomes, references) or paper components (the introduction, methods, results, discussion, length, clarity and structure), peer review is an excellent candidate for trained AI to address topics such as duplicate submissions, self-plagiarism, incomplete reviews, comment quality assessment, and the overall standardization of scores for the final selection of articles.

Proposal title: Toward Fairer Diagnosis and Care of Type 2 Diabetes: A Long-Term and Pipeline-Level View
Team members: Gabriel Garcia, assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Juba Ziani, assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Jovan Julien, postdoctoral fellow, Harvard Medical School
Award and sponsors: $16,034 (IPaT)
Overview: Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, affecting about 10% of Americans. While T2DM is irreversible, its early disease stages – i.e., pre-diabetes – are reversible. Accordingly, early screening, detection, and treatment are critical to reducing the rates of progression to T2DM and mitigating the adverse effects of T2DM among those who already have it. Yet, in the United States, T2DM can often go undetected until its later stages with each missed detection stage leading to worsening health
outcomes and increasing financial burden. Further, people from disadvantaged and underserved groups often face lower access to care, leading to more missed detection and greater downstream disease burden. In this research, our goal is to build a mathematical model to optimize investments across screening and treatment resources while reducing disparities across disadvantaged populations.

Proposal title: ASTRO! - Manysourcing the Design and Behavior of Future Robotic Guide Dogs
Team members: Bruce Walker, professor, School of Psychology and School of Interactive Computing

Award and sponsors: $15,375 (IPaT)
Overview: ASTRO! is an interdisciplinary collaborative project to engage many people in the ideation and creative design of future robotic guide dogs. As the technology and engineering advance towards a robotic assistant, we also must consider design and human-robot interaction issues. We will ask many people--through interviews, focus groups, and surveys--what capabilities a robotic guide should have. We will also ask how they should look and feel. We will consider how they will behave. And finally, we will investigate how humans and robotic assistants will communicate. Students in many classes at Georgia Tech and beyond will study various aspects of this research and design challenge. We will also host a weekend “design-a-thon” for ideating and brainstorming robot designs and interaction patterns, and crafting up all kinds of prototypes and mockups. The outcomes of this project will influence the design of robotic assistants, and more broadly will help us design advanced technology so it is accepted into society.

Proposal title: Data-Driven Platform for Transforming Subjective Assessment into Objective Processes for Artistic Human Performance and Wellness
Team members: Milka Trajkova, research scientist, School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Brian Magerko, professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Award and sponsors: $15,000 (IPaT/IDEaS)
Overview: Artistic human movement at large, stands at the precipice of a data-driven renaissance. By leveraging novel tools, we can usher in a transparent, data-driven, and accessible training environment. The potential ramifications extend beyond dance. As sports analytics have reshaped our understanding of athletic prowess, a similar approach to dance could redefine our comprehension of human movement, with implications spanning healthcare, construction, rehabilitation, and active aging. Georgia Tech, with its prowess in AI, HCI, and biomechanics is primed to lead this exploration. To actualize this vision, we propose the following research questions with ballet as a prime example of one of the most complex types of artistic movements: 1) What kinds of data - real-time kinematic, kinetic, biomechanical, etc. captured through accessible off-the-shelf technologies, are essential for effective AI assessment in ballet education for young adults?; 2) How can we design and develop an end-to-end ML architecture that assesses artistic and technical performance?; 3) What feedback elements (combination of timing, communication mode, feedback nature, polarity, visualization) are most effective for AI- based dance assessment?; and 4) How does AI-assisted feedback enhance physical wellness, artistic performance, and the learning process in young athletes compared to traditional methods?

Proposal title: Voice+: Locating the Human Voice in a Technology-Driven World
Team members: Andrea Jonsson, assistant professor, School of Modern Languages; Stuart Goldberg, associate professor, School of Modern Languages

Award and sponsors: $3,800 (IPaT)
Overview: The Voice + Research Lab is an Interdisciplinary Voice Studies Lab that explores the human voice from a variety of perspectives and integrates knowledge and methodologies from different disciplines. It encompasses a wide range of topics related to the voice, including vocal production, vocal health, cultural and historical aspects of vocal expression, and the artistic and expressive use of the voice. Interdisciplinary voice studies aim to provide a holistic understanding of the voice and its multifaceted aspects, fostering collaboration among experts in various fields to explore sound and structures of the human voice.

]]> Walter Rich 1 1698161074 2023-10-24 15:24:34 1698161122 2023-10-24 15:25:22 0 0 news The Institute of People and Technology at Georgia Tech (IPaT) co-sponsored more than $70,000 in grant awards to five research projects. The other research co-sponsors were the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS).

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2023-10-24T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-24T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-24 00:00:00 Walter Rich

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672156 672156 image <![CDATA[IPaT Seed Grant Winners 2023]]> IPaT Seed Grant Winners 2023

]]> image/png 1698160861 2023-10-24 15:21:01 1698160899 2023-10-24 15:21:39
<![CDATA[IDEaS Awards 2023 Seed Grants to Seven Interdisciplinary Research Teams]]> 27863 The Institute for Data Engineering and Science, in conjunction with several Interdisciplinary Research Institutes (IRIs) at Georgia Tech, have awarded seven teams of researchers from across the Institute a total of $105,000 in seed funding geared to better position Georgia Tech to perform world-class interdisciplinary research in data science and artificial intelligence development and deployment. 

The goals of the funded proposals include identifying prominent emerging research directions on the topic of AI, shaping IDEaS future strategy in the initiative area, building an inclusive and active community of Georgia Tech researchers in the field that potentially include external collaborators, and identifying and preparing groundwork for competing in large-scale grant opportunities in AI and its use in other research fields.

Below are the 2023 recipients and the co-sponsoring IRIs:

 

Proposal Title: "AI for Chemical and Materials Discovery" + “AI in Microscopy Thrust”
PI: Victor Fung, CSE | Vida Jamali, ChBE| Pan Li, ECE | Amirali Aghazadeh Mohandesi, ECE
Award: $20k (co-sponsored by IMat)

Overview: The goal of this initiative is to bring together expertise in machine learning/AI, high-throughput computing, computational chemistry, and experimental materials synthesis and characterization to accelerate material discovery. Computational chemistry and materials simulations are critical for developing new materials and understanding their behavior and performance, as well as aiding in experimental synthesis and characterization. Machine learning and AI play a pivotal role in accelerating material discovery through data-driven surrogate models, as well as high-throughput and automated synthesis and characterization.

Proposal Title: " AI + Quantum Materials
PI: Zhigang JIang, Physics | Martin Mourigal, Physics
Award: $20k (Co-Sponsored by IMat)

Overview: Zhigang Jiang is currently leading an initiative within IMAT entitled “Quantum responses of topological and magnetic matter” to nurture multi-PI projects. By crosscutting the IMAT initiative with this IDEAS call, we propose to support and feature the applications of AI on predictive and inverse problems in quantum materials. Understanding the limit and capabilities of AI methodologies is a huge barrier of entry for Physics students, because researchers in that field already need heavy training in quantum mechanics, low-temperature physics and chemical synthesis. Our most pressing need is for our AI inclined quantum materials students to find a broader community to engage with and learn. This is the primary problem we aim to solve with this initiative.

PI: Jeffrey Skolnick, Bio Sci | Chao Zhang, CSE
Proposal Title: Harnessing Large Language Models for Targeted and Effective Small Molecule 4 Library Design in Challenging Disease Treatment

Award: $15k (co-sponsored by IBB)

Overview: Our objective is to use large language models (LLMs) in conjunction with AI algorithms to identify effective driver proteins, develop screening algorithms that target appropriate binding sites while avoiding deleterious ones, and consider bioavailability and drug resistance factors. LLMs can rapidly analyze vast amounts of information from literature and bioinformatics tools, generating hypotheses and suggesting molecular modifications. By bridging multiple disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and pharmacology, LLMs can provide valuable insights from diverse sources, assisting researchers in making informed decisions. Our aim is to establish a first-in-class, LLM driven research initiative at Georgia Tech that focuses on designing highly effective small molecule libraries to treat challenging diseases. This initiative will go beyond existing AI approaches to molecule generation, which often only consider simple properties like hydrogen bonding or rely on a limited set of proteins to train the LLM and therefore lack generalizability. As a result, this initiative is expected to consistently produce safe and effective disease-specific molecules.

PI: Yiyi He, School of City & Regional Plan | Jun Rentschler, World Bank
Proposal Title: “AI for Climate Resilient Energy Systems”
Award: $15k (co-sponsored by SEI)

Overview: We are committed to building a team of interdisciplinary & transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners with a shared goal: developing a new framework which model future climatic variations and the interconnected and interdependent energy infrastructure network as complex systems. To achieve this, we will harness the power of cutting-edge climate model outputs, sourced from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), and integrate approaches from Machine Learning and Deep Learning models. This strategic amalgamation of data and techniques will enable us to gain profound insights into the intricate web of future climate-change-induced extreme weather conditions and their immediate and long-term ramifications on energy infrastructure networks. The seed grant from IDEaS stands as the crucial catalyst for kick-starting this ambitious endeavor. It will empower us to form a collaborative and inclusive community of GT researchers hailing from various domains, including City and Regional Planning, Earth and Atmospheric Science, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering etc. By drawing upon the wealth of expertise and perspectives from these diverse fields, we aim to foster an environment where innovative ideas and solutions can flourish. In addition to our internal team, we also have plans to collaborate with external partners, including the World Bank, the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, and the Berkeley AI Research Initiative, who share our vision of addressing the complex challenges at the intersection of climate and energy infrastructure.

PI: Jian Luo, Civil & Environmental Eng | Yi Deng, EAS
Proposal Title: “Physics-informed Deep Learning for Real-time Forecasting of Urban Flooding”

Award: $15k (co-sponsored by BBISS)

Overview: Our research team envisions a significant trend in the exploration of AI applications for urban flooding hazard forecasting. Georgia Tech possesses a wealth of interdisciplinary expertise, positioning us to make a pioneering contribution to this burgeoning field. We aim to harness the combined strengths of Georgia Tech's experts in civil and environmental engineering, atmospheric and climate science, and data science to chart new territory in this emerging trend. Furthermore, we envision the potential extension of our research efforts towards the development of a real-time hazard forecasting application. This application would incorporate adaptation and mitigation strategies in collaboration with local government agencies, emergency management departments, and researchers in computer engineering and social science studies. Such a holistic approach would address the multifaceted challenges posed by urban flooding. To the best of our knowledge, Georgia Tech currently lacks a dedicated team focused on the fusion of AI and climate/flood research, making this initiative even more pioneering and impactful.

Proposal Title: “AI for Recycling and Circular Economy
PI: Valerie Thomas, ISyE and PubPoly | Steven Balakirsky, GTRI
Award: $15k (co-sponsored by BBISS)

Overview: Most asset management and recycling use technology that has not changed for decades. The use of bar codes and RFID has provided some benefits, such as for retail returns management. Automated sorting of recyclables using magnets, eddy currents, and laser plastics identification has improved municipal recycling. Yet the overall field has been challenged by not-quite-easy-enough identification of products in use or at end of life. AI approaches, including computer vision, data fusion, and machine learning provide the additional capability to make asset management and product recycling easy enough to be nearly autonomous. Georgia Tech is well suited to lead in the development of this application. With its strength in machine learning, robotics, sustainable business, supply chains and logistics, and technology commercialization, Georgia Tech has the multi-disciplinary capability to make this concept a reality, in research and in commercial application.

Proposal Title: “Data-Driven Platform for Transforming Subjective Assessment into Objective Processes for Artistic Human Performance and Wellness
PI: Milka Trajkova, Research Scientist/School of Literature, Media, Communication | Brian Magerko, School of Literature, Media, Communication
Award: $15k (co-sponsored by IPaT)

Overview: Artistic human movement at large, stands at the precipice of a data-driven renaissance. By leveraging novel tools, we can usher in a transparent, data-driven, and accessible training environment. The potential ramifications extend beyond dance. As sports analytics have reshaped our understanding of athletic prowess, a similar approach to dance could redefine our comprehension of human movement, with implications spanning healthcare, construction, rehabilitation, and active aging. Georgia Tech, with its prowess in AI, HCI, and biomechanics is primed to lead this exploration. To actualize this vision, we propose the following research questions with ballet as a prime example of one of the most complex types of artistic movements: 1) What kinds of data - real-time kinematic, kinetic, biomechanical, etc. captured through accessible off-the-shelf technologies, are essential for effective AI assessment in ballet education for young adults?; 2) How can we design and develop an end-to-end ML architecture that assesses artistic and technical performance?; 3) What feedback elements (combination of timing, communication mode, feedback nature, polarity, visualization) are most effective for AI- based dance assessment?; and 4) How does AI-assisted feedback enhance physical wellness, artistic performance, and the learning process in young athletes compared to traditional methods?

-         Christa M. Ernst
]]> Christa Ernst 1 1697811144 2023-10-20 14:12:24 1697815459 2023-10-20 15:24:19 0 0 news The goals of the funded proposals include identifying prominent emerging research directions on the topic of AI, shaping IDEaS future strategy in the initiative area, building an inclusive and active community of Georgia Tech researchers in the field that potentially include external collaborators, and identifying and preparing groundwork for competing in large-scale grant opportunities in AI and its use in other research fields.

]]>
2023-10-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-20T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-20 00:00:00 Christa M. Ernst |  Research Communications Program Manager
Robotics | Data Engineering | Neuroengineering
christa.ernst@research.gatech.edu

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672113 672113 image <![CDATA[Grant RFP Image IDEaS FY24.jpg]]> image/jpeg 1697810595 2023-10-20 14:03:15 1697810595 2023-10-20 14:03:15
<![CDATA[NSF Grant to Develop Carbon ‘Nutrition Labels’ for a Sustainable Internet of Things]]> 27338 Edge devices, such as wearables, cameras, smartphones, and smart home devices, have become the foundation of our daily interactions with technology. But the exponential growth in the number of these devices comes at a significant environmental cost, currently accounting for more than a third of the 4% of global carbon emissions attributed to information and communication technologies. This ecological impact is projected to worsen as the number of edge devices surges into trillions over the next few decades.

Josiah Hester, associate professor in the College of Computing, along with researchers from Cornell and Harvard Universities, has received a $2 million grant from the newly established Design for Environmental Sustainability in Computing program at the National Science Foundation. The investigators aim to study and mitigate the environmental impact of edge computing devices. Their winning project will make carbon and sustainability a first-order design parameter for future edge computing devices that range from tiny, energy-harvesting Internet of Things devices — often found in manufacturing lines, cars, agriculture, and cities — to higher performance consumer electronics like tablets and smartphones.

As part of the research, investigators will capture a first-of-its-kind dataset on actual emissions and resource usage of complex fabrication processes, build and validate tools for carbon-aware design, and establish an Electronic Sustainability Record for edge devices, similar to nutrition labels for food, or a digital health record, that allows consumers and manufacturers to understand the carbon costs of computing devices and use that in decision-making. The grant proposal was catalyzed through the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems Initiative Leads program, with additional funds from the Institute for Data Engineering and Science.

“Right now, hardware designers, programmers, and consumers have only a vague idea of the actual carbon cost of the phone, wearable, or smart device they are working with. With rising e-waste and technology’s increasing contributions to climate change, we have to figure out how to do better. This project will lay the foundations for edge devices that can last for decades, or at least have a lifetime commensurate with the carbon cost, potentially reducing e-waste, emissions, and environmental footprint,” said Hester. “Our design tools, new datasets, and carbon models will consider factors like energy, e-waste, and water usage from the manufacturing of computational devices, as well as operational carbon footprint from factors like machine learning and software lifecycles.”

With the grant money, Hester’s team will develop an end-to-end framework that prioritizes environmental impact, while considering user experience, performance, and efficiency when designing edge devices. The framework, which they are calling Delphi, will enable sustainable technological growth by laying out a path for the design of environmentally conscious edge devices with substantially longer lifecycles.
 
“Eventually, this research could lead to a kind of ‘nutrition label’ for computing devices, like your phone, to empower consumers with data to make more sustainability-friendly purchasing and use decisions,” Hester said. “This could incentivize and enable hardware companies to build lower carbon devices meant to last for many years, versus trading up after a contract renewal. We have a long way to go before this is reality, but this project will lay foundational steps in data collection, model building, and design tools — a sustainable vision of edge computing.”

]]> Brent Verrill 1 1697668606 2023-10-18 22:36:46 1697730143 2023-10-19 15:42:23 0 0 news Josiah Hester, associate professor in the College of Computing, along with researchers from Cornell and Harvard Universities, has received a $2 million grant from National Science Foundation. The investigators aim to study and mitigate the environmental impact of edge computing devices. Their winning project will make carbon and sustainability a first-order design parameter for future edge computing devices that range from tiny, energy-harvesting Internet of Things devices — often found in manufacturing lines, cars, agriculture, and cities — to higher performance consumer electronics like tablets and smartphones.

]]>
2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18 00:00:00 Brent Verrill, Research Communications Program Manager, BBISS

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672104 672104 image <![CDATA[Josiah_Hester_Lab_portrait.jpg]]> Josiah Hester sits at a desk in an electronics lab at Georgia Tech with an array of prototype projects and test equipment in front of him.

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<![CDATA[Milestones Along the Pinnacle Journey of Erick Maxwell]]> 35832 Awards are often the “gold at the end of the rainbow” of an arduous journey. For Erick Maxwell, a Principal Research Engineer in the Aerospace, Transportation & Advanced Systems Laboratory (ATAS) at GTRI, the prestigious National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) “Distinguished Engineer of the Year” Award was major milestone along a journey that has been about more than just his engineering accomplishments.

Distinguished Engineer

Erick received the award during the Golden Torch Awards ceremony during the recent NSBE 49th Annual Conference, held earlier this year in Kansas City, Missouri. For Maxwell, the award represented the confluence of his academic, professional, and community service pursuits, and an acknowledgment of his lifelong commitment to fostering diversity within the field of engineering.

Expressing the profound significance this award had for him, Maxwell said, "This award is my pinnacle. It tops my list, signifying not only my professional achievements but also my academic trajectory and my efforts in serving the community."

Tom McNeil, Principal Research Scientist and Associate Lab Director of ACL—which Erick used to be a part of--specified just some of Erick’s engineering accomplishments, and contributions to GTRI:

Among his STEM activities, Erick co-led the High School Internship Program along with Therese Boston, a Senior Research Associate in the Information and Communications Laboratory (ICL). That role involved reviewing/approving 42 proposals, and hiring 72 tech temps, and ensuring compliance for each of the 119 participants with federal, State, University System of Georgia (USG), Georgia Tech, GTRI, and STEM @GTRI program policies.

His High School Internship team received a Provisional Patent for "Soldier Reader Gloves: Provisional: E. Maxwell, et al. “Tactical Passive RFID Transponder Gloves with Morphological Actuation.”

Erick’s achieving NSBE’s highest honor is a source of pride for the local chapter of the organization, of which Erick is a member. NSBE Atlanta Professionals chair Catherine Johnson said of Maxwell: “His living legacy of contributions to the field of engineering are insurmountable, and we are delighted to celebrate his well-deserved recognition. The Atlanta Professionals look forward to circulating this wonderful news among our members.”

STEM Outreach

However, Maxwell's achievement does not stand in isolation. In tandem with his illustrious career in RF/microwave circuits and systems, he has also been committed to nurturing the next generation of engineers through STEM outreach and mentoring.

"My personal involvement in STEM outreach developed and grew over the years," Erick said.

He reflected on his beginnings at the University of South Florida, where he was the only black doctoral student in Electrical Engineering following the departure of his mentor. Under the guidance of Bernard Batson, Director of Diversity Programs for the College of Engineering, he helped to transform the program by significantly increasing the number of black doctoral students through outreach and recruitment.

His participation in the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, an initiative of the Florida Education Fund to increase the number of African Americans and Hispanics earning Ph.D.s in crucial disciplines, helped shape his understanding of the need for a more diverse engineering workforce. This was one of Erick's early significant accomplishments in developing the next generation of engineers and promoting diversity in the field.

At the University of South Florida, he helped transform the Electrical Engineering department completely. By the time he graduated, "40% of the doctoral students in that department were black students."

Maxwell recollected a significant moment during his early STEM outreach when he served as site-lead for a community-based applied SAT Preparation Summer Camp in engineering for high schools. Despite low expectations for SAT scores, an applied learning model coupled with real-world examples led to remarkable progress among the students, including perfect scores in the math section.

Reflecting on this achievement, Maxwell remarked, "We connected what they were learning in the classroom to an applied model. We made mathematics relevant to engineering. They built train sets and were excited about it."

Maxwell's commitment to STEM outreach extended beyond his alma mater, the University of South Florida. Upon joining GTRI, he saw the opportunity to broaden his impact further.

Tom McNeil highlighted what Erick brings to GTRI, saying: “Erick exemplifies a GTRI and ACL researcher. Beyond his technical contributions as an RF engineer and his role as a branch leader, Erick is dedicated to STEM education for Georgia’s youth.”

GTRI has been a crucial support system in Maxwell's endeavors. He stated, "GTRI has enabled creativity in the internship space and provided necessary funding and support."

He expresses profound gratitude to GTRI, particularly to ICL Principal Research Associate and Director of STEM@GTRI Leigh McCook, who he says was instrumental in establishing STEM@GTRI’s High School Internship Program, which he co-directs with Therese Boston, a researcher for which he has great respect and praise. The program is a massive undertaking. Maxwell mentions that the last cohort saw more than 1,300 applicants for fewer than 70 slots.

"When I first arrived at GTRI, Jeff Hallman, a Principal Research Engineer, asked me to bring in some high school students. Based on the feedback from our college students, I realized we needed a program to offer enrichment activities, experience, and training."

Maxwell started the Rapid-EDP program for his interns, which served as an early model for today’s High School Internship program, a platform that provides practical exposure to aspiring engineers. In 2019, the last time Rapid-EDP program statistics were compiled, 67% of Maxwell’s mentees received an offer to attend Georgia Tech, and 100% continued on to college.

About the internship program, Maxwell stated, "I aim to provide an enriching experience that will make their resumes stand out."

Maxwell's hands-on approach ensures students understand not only the theoretical aspects of engineering but also how to apply them in real-life scenarios. In a recent project, high school students collaborated with the Third Infantry Division to work on a provisional patent, becoming listed inventors before they had even graduated.

Maxwell appreciates the freedom GTRI has given him to shape the internship program. "It's a massive undertaking that requires time and a committed support system," Maxwell acknowledged.

GTRI's support extends beyond financial resources. Maxwell appreciates the institute's recognition of the need for STEM outreach and for its assistance in establishing collaborations with other departments on campus, including the Research Security Department (RSD), and at GTRI, including RSD, Strategic HR Partners (sHRp; formerly Talent Management Department), and Legal, among others. This collaborative work environment and shared vision of STEM accessibility have been instrumental in Maxwell's successful initiatives.

Maxwell believes in fostering genuine experiences and mentorships to encourage students to pursue engineering careers. He has played a vital role in providing such experiences, developing GTRI’s Rapid Engineering Design Process (Rapid EDP) program, which transitions students from concept to prototype right away.

As Erick puts it, "I tell all my students, 'If you can make them feel, you can get the funding.' So, I strive to provide an enriching experience." Erick ensures his mentees gain not only theoretical knowledge but also hands-on experiences, like their collaboration with the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry Division (3ID), which allowed high school mentees to be listed as inventors on a provisional patent.

Promoting Engineering for All

Erick Maxwell's passion for mentoring and promoting diversity in STEM fields is evident in his significant contributions in this regard. Erick's work extends far beyond GTRI's Internship program. 

Some of his many other accomplishments and contributions that were noted by the NSBE Award. Erick led the GT Charitable Campaign and raised more money for charities than any other unit in the state of Georgia. For this, Erick received a personal letter of thanks and praise from the GT President for the effort. That campaign also earned Georgia Tech the Governors Award. The Governor's Award recognizes a University System of Georgia (USG) college for contributing the highest number of donations among all USG institutions.

Also, Erick developed a program for black males for the Atlanta Inner City Ministry to assist youth who are growing up without fathers.  "I based the program on a book by Harold David titled, 'Talks My Father Never Had With Me.' The Atlanta Inner City Ministry recognized that effort by awarding me a service award in 2017."

A full rundown of Erick's accomplishments and eleemosynary efforts would be far too much for a single article. Also, Erick continues to add to his distinguished ledger as he continues along his professional and life journeys.

Erick Maxwell's pioneering efforts in shaping programs to assist young people in STEM education and professional work, along with his personal commitment to his mentees, has been instrumental in promoting STEM outreach and paving the way for a more inclusive future and more “gold at the end of the rainbow” for young people in the engineering field.

Congratulations--and moreso, thank you-- Dr. Maxwell!

 

Writer: Christopher Weems 
Photos: Christopher J. Moore
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1697643757 2023-10-18 15:42:37 1697644288 2023-10-18 15:51:28 0 0 news For Erick Maxwell, a Principal Research Engineer in the Aerospace, Transportation & Advanced Systems Laboratory (ATAS) at GTRI, the prestigious National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) “Distinguished Engineer of the Year” Award was a major milestone along a journey that has been about more than just his engineering accomplishments.

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2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672082 672083 672082 image <![CDATA[GTRI Researcher Erick Maxwell]]> Headshot photo of GTRI Researcher Erick Maxwell

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672083 image <![CDATA[GTRI Researcher Erick Maxwell]]> Photo of GTRI Researcher Erick Maxwell

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<![CDATA[Learning Never Stops for Alan Nussbaum ]]> 35832

As GTRI Principal Research Engineer Alan Nussbaum can tell you, the value of an education never gets old. 

At 72 years old, Nussbaum recently earned his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in computer science with a minor in electrical engineering. Although the degree took him 11 years to complete, Nussbaum said the concepts he learned and the lifelong relationships he formed made it all worth it. 

Close to half of all doctoral recipients in the U.S. are 26 to 30 years old, while just 7% are over 45, according to recent data from the National Science Foundation. But it can be beneficial taking on the Ph.D. later in life.

“Getting a Ph.D. was hard,” Nussbaum said. “But I’m glad I did it at this stage in my life because I was able to apply more life experiences to my coursework and research, which was rewarding.”

Nussbaum’s Ph.D. research focused on improving signal processing to provide better information to radar systems about sudden changes in a target’s velocity and acceleration. To do this, Nussbaum used a specific algorithm known as an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm, which can calculate unknown variables, such as velocity and acceleration, with exceptional accuracy, and is also a scalable and cost-effective solution for radar signal processing.

“This is a new way of doing signal processing in real time to achieve higher fidelity tracking results,” Nussbaum said.

Nussbaum has had an extensive career in the defense space, including working for Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies as a technical software manager before joining GTRI’s Sensors and Electromagnetic Applications (SEAL) Laboratory in 2010. Nussbaum has had the goal of earning a Ph.D. since 1981, when he earned a master’s degree in computer science, but was working for Northrop Grumman outside of Boston at the time, and was unable to take time out of the workday to travel into the city to attend school.

Nussbaum chose to work for GTRI because it gave him the flexibility to be more creative with the research he performed for sponsors and its commitment to advanced education meant he wouldn’t have to put his career on hold to go back to school. "Working at GTRI made getting my Ph.D., which would have been very difficult anywhere else, manageable,” he said.

As a Ph.D. student, Nussbaum sought to balance the demands of work, school, and family by taking as many early-morning classes as possible, and then after work, he would spend nights attending any remaining classes or doing coursework.

“I had to learn to super-organize my time and keep both school and work moving in the right direction,” Nussbaum said.

Nussbaum most enjoyed learning about several advanced computer science concepts throughout the program, which were a nice complement to the radar research he was performing at GTRI, but said taking tests could be challenging at times.

“I understood my course materials but being older than 65 years old, and my work responsibilities, affected my memory,” he added.

Nussbaum also enjoyed building relationships with the other students in his program and his advisor, Kishore Ramachandran, a professor in the College of Computing and School of Computer Science. 

Ramachandran, who has expertise in distributed and real-time computing systems, described Nussbaum as an accomplished yet humble individual who brought an impressive amount of industry knowledge and experience to the program. 

“It was such a joy working with Alan,” Ramachandran said. “Because of his seniority and background, he became an integral part of my research group. At the same time, he was not the type to brag about all of his accomplishments, but was eager to learn from the other students who were considerably younger than him.”

GTRI Principal Research Engineers Dale Blair and Byron Keel also played a key role in supporting Nussbaum during his Ph.D. journey. Blair served as Nussbaum's co-advisor and supported the target tracking aspects of his research while Keel supported the signal processing portions of the research. Their knowledge and algorithm verification, combined with Nussbaum's software engineering experience, ensured the achievement of all the research’s functional and real-time performance goals.

Right now, Nussbaum, who is based in Lexington, Massachusetts, and works out of GTRI’s New England Field Office, said he is enjoying spending time with family, including his four grandchildren. Looking ahead, he plans to continue growing his division at GTRI and utilizing his research on future radar applications.

Nussbaum said he is grateful for the professional and personal support he received throughout his Ph.D. journey. To anyone who might also be considering taking a professional or personal leap of faith, Nussbaum said the path might not always be linear or easy, but it will almost always be worth it.

“If you are willing to maintain the commitment for many years and understand the required process, the feeling is very good when you are completed,” he said.

 

Writer: Anna Akins (anna.akins@gtri.gatech.edu)
GTRI Communications
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia USA

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.

]]> Michelle Gowdy 1 1697643176 2023-10-18 15:32:56 1697643466 2023-10-18 15:37:46 0 0 news Close to half of all doctoral recipients in the U.S. are 26 to 30 years old, while just 7% are over 45, according to recent data from the National Science Foundation. But it can be beneficial taking on the Ph.D. later in life. As GTRI Principal Research Engineer Alan Nussbaum can tell you, the value of an education never gets oldAt 72 years old, Nussbaum recently earned his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in computer science with a minor in electrical engineering. Although the degree took him 11 years to complete, Nussbaum said the concepts he learned and the lifelong relationships he formed made it all worth it. 

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2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-18 00:00:00 (Interim) Director of Communications

Michelle Gowdy

Michelle.Gowdy@gtri.gatech.edu

404-407-8060

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672079 672078 672079 image <![CDATA[GTRI Team with GTRI's Angry Kitten® electronic attack system]]> Nussbaum and members of his software division pictured with GTRI's Angry Kitten® electronic attack system that they developed. Angry Kitten® was first developed in 2013 and utilizes advanced sensing and attack techniques to combat the most modern sensor systems. Several versions of the Angry Kitten® technology are utilized across the DoD (Photo Credit: Sean McNeil, GTRI).

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672078 image <![CDATA[GTRI Researcher Alan Nussbaum]]> Alan Nussbaum (left) with his Ph.D. advisor, Kishore Ramachandran (right), a professor in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and School of Computer Science. They are pictured in the courtyard of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. (Photo by Sean McNeil)

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<![CDATA[Using Summer to get a Firm Grip on Research]]> 27863 Christian Hable and Matthew Zhu, two students from Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia, displayed an interest in engineering that began in early childhood when both explored designing and building with Legos. In middle and high schools, Christian’s time competing in the Science Olympiad and Matthew’s time volunteering as a pianist at a senior living facility furthered their drive to explore how automation and robotics can assist humans from tasks as disparate as deep-space and planetary exploration to providing better living and care standards for the elderly.

Over the summer of 2023, the two students served as research interns for Ye Zhao, Assistant Professor; School of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, and Ting Zhu, Woodruff Professor; School of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Institute for Materials, both learning from the experience and proposing new research paths to their hosting lab team.

Mentored by graduate students Kelin Yu and Chaitanya Mehta, Christian and Matthew were introduced to the basics of robotic grippers with embedded tactile sensors and training via convolutional neural networks, a powerful artificial intelligence approach that imitates the way humans learn things. After this introductory period, the pair proposed their own approach to testing the robotic gripper on various objects with different textures and shapes. The two discovered that by changing several parameters of the neural network they were able to increase the precision of the robotic arm so that it can more accurately identify the grasped object, adjust its force accordingly to hold the objects firmly but without breakage.

“Following an extensive period of learning and exploration, Matthew and Christian identified and proposed a novel research topic, followed by the development of a comprehensive research plan. Their proposed topic effectively integrates deep learning and tactile sensing to enhance the accuracy of object identification by robotic hands, “said graduate student and mentor Kelin Yu. “They introduced a novel approach to object classification by utilizing deformations of grasped fruit objects and deep learning models. Moreover, Matthew and Christian played important roles in various phases of the research, including the intricate tasks of model training, meticulous data acquisition, and the execution of experiments on robotic hardware. Their active participation was pivotal in driving the project to successful completion.”

In addition to gaining new skills, such as using SOLIDWORKS for design and modeling and 3D printing for prototyping, the two gained valuable insights into the importance of collaboration across specialized teams for productive research outcomes.

Prior to having this opportunity, I never would have imagined that so many specialized groups had to work together and communicate with each other. I would see the Cassie foot team members come in some days and they would discuss topics with the Robotic gripper team members Chaitanya or Colin. – Christian Hable

Georgia Tech has a cutting-edge research environment, such as at Professor Zhao’s lab, where research on robotics and artificial intelligence intersects. I am very impressed by how dedicated and hardworking my mentors, Colin and Chaitanya, were. Our wonderful research experience would not have been possible without the dedication of my mentors. – Matthew Zhu

Kelin, Chaitanya, Zhao and Ting are currently in the process of preparing a journal manuscript on the research, with Matthew and Christian as co-authors. The tentative title of the manuscript is “A robotic hand for object identification through tactile sensing and neural networks”.

- Christa M. Ernst
]]> Christa Ernst 1 1694715916 2023-09-14 18:25:16 1697488502 2023-10-16 20:35:02 0 0 news Christian Hable and Matthew Zhu, two students from Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia, displayed an interest in engineering that began in early childhood when both explored designing and building with Legos. In middle and high schools, Christian’s time competing in the Science Olympiad and Matthew’s time volunteering as a pianist at a senior living facility furthered their drive to explore how automation and robotics can assist humans from tasks as disparate as deep-space and planetary exploration to providing better living and care standards for the elderly.

]]>
2023-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-14 00:00:00 Christa M. Ernst
Research Communications Program Manager
Topic Expertise: Robotics | Data Engineering | Neuroengineering
Research @ the Georgia Institute of Technology
christa.ernst@research.gatech.edu

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671709 671709 image <![CDATA[Ye Zhao with Christian Hable, Matthew Zhu, and Chaitanya Mehta]]> Professor Ye Zhao (GT-ME), high school intern Matthew Zhu, graduate student Chaitanya Mehta, and high school intern Christian Hable with the lab's robotic arm with tactile sensors

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<![CDATA[Wilbur Lam Elected to National Academy of Medicine]]> 34760 The list of titles following Wilbur Lam’s name is long, given his appointments at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Now he has a new one: member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Lam is one of 100 newly elected members of the Academy for 2023, an honor reserved for people who’ve made major contributions to medicine, healthcare, and public health. He joins a roster of just 2,400 or so individuals. Membership is considered one of the highest recognitions in health and medicine.

“This honor is extremely humbling because it’s given to me as one person. But it really reflects the team effort that’s surrounded me all these years,” said Lam, W. Paul Bowers Research Chair in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

“If you look at all the work that they’re recognizing me for, it starts with my laboratory, then goes beyond — into the centers that we’ve developed related to diagnostic technologies, and then, all the work that we’ve done for the National Institutes of Health during the pandemic.”

New NAM members are nominated and elected by current members, and they’re expected to contribute to National Academies activities providing independent analysis and advice to help the nation tackle complex problems.

Lam, who is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in addition to a researcher, was cited “for outstanding contributions in point-of-care, home-based, and/or smartphone-enabled diagnostics that are changing the management of pediatric and hematologic diseases as well as development of microsystems technologies as research-enabling platforms to investigate blood biophysics.”

Read the full article on the College of Engineering website
]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1697123602 2023-10-12 15:13:22 1697124150 2023-10-12 15:22:30 0 0 news Lam is a biomedical engineer and pediatrician whose work has included leading national efforts to rapidly verify Covid-19 tests and get them to market.

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2023-10-11T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-11T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-11 00:00:00 Joshua Stewart (jstewart@gatech.edu)

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635950 635950 image <![CDATA[Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, faculty member of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.]]> image/jpeg 1591281214 2020-06-04 14:33:34 1591281252 2020-06-04 14:34:12
<![CDATA[EI2 Programs Help Keep Georgia Businesses Lean and Healthy]]> 28153 Sean Castillo is in the win-win business. As an industrial hygienist in the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), his job is to ensure that employees are safe in their workspaces, and when he does that, he simultaneously improves a company’s performance.

That’s been a theme for Castillo and his colleagues in the Safety, Health, Environmental Services (SHES) program and their partners in the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), part of EI2’s suite of programs aimed at helping Georgia businesses thrive.

“A healthier workforce is healthy for business,” said Castillo, part of the SHES team of consultants who often work closely with their GaMEP counterparts to improve safety while also maximizing productivity.

This team of experts from EI2 assist companies trying to reach that critical intersection of both, combining smart ergonomics and safety enhancements with lean manufacturing practices. This can solve human performance gaps due to fatigue, heat, or some other environmental stressor, while helping businesses continue to improve their production processes and, ultimately, their bottom line.

These stressors cost U.S. industry billions of dollars each year — fatigue, for example, is responsible for about $136 billion in lost productivity.

“Protecting your employee — investing in safety now — saves a lot of money later,” Castillo said. “It equates to less money spent on workers compensation and less employee turnover, which means less time training new employees, and that ideally leads to a more efficient process in the workplace.”

It takes careful and intentional collaboration to bring those moving pieces together, and inextricably linked programs like SHES and GaMEP can help orchestrate all of that.

Ensuring Safe Workspaces

SHES is staffed by safety consultants, like Castillo, who provide a free and essential service to Georgia businesses. They help companies ensure that they meet or exceed the standards set by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), mainly through SHES’ flagship OSHA 21(d) Consultation Program.

“Our job is to ensure that workspaces and processes are designed so that anybody can perform the work safely,” said Trey Sawyers, a safety, health, and ergonomics consultant on the SHES team, aiding small and mid-sized businesses in Georgia. When a company reaches out to SHES to apply for the free, confidential OSHA consultation program, a consultant like Sawyers gets assigned to the task, “based on our area of expertise,” said Sawyers, an expert in ergonomics, which is the science of designing and adapting a workspace to efficiently suit the physical and mental needs and limitations of workers.

“If a company is having ergonomic issues — maybe they’re experiencing a lot of strains and sprains — then I might get the call because of my knowledge and understanding of anthropometry, and then I’ll go take a close look at the facility,” Sawyers said. Anthropometry is the scientific study of a human’s size, form, and functional capacity.

SHES consultants can identify potential workplace hazards, provide guidance on how to comply with OSHA standards, and establish or improve safety and health programs in the company.

“The caveat is the company has to correct any serious hazards that we find,” said Castillo, who visits a wide range of workspaces in his role. For instance, his job will take him to construction and manufacturing sites, gun ranges, even office settings. “We do noise and air monitoring at all different types of workplaces. I was at a primary care clinic the other day. And over the past few years, we’ve had a significant emphasis on stone fabricators, looking for overexposures to respirable crystalline silica.”

Silica, which is dust residue from the process of creating marble and quartz slabs, can lead to a lung disease called silicosis. OSHA established new limits that cut the permissible exposure limits in half, and that has kept the SHES consultants busy as Georgia manufacturers try to achieve and maintain compliance.

Keeping Companies Cool

Another area of growing emphasis for Georgia Tech’s consultants is heat-related stress in the workplace.

“Currently, there are no standards to address this,” Castillo said. “For example, there are no rules that say a construction site worker should drink this much water. There are suggested guidelines and emphasis programs for inspections for targeted industries where heat stress may be prevalent — but no standards, though that is coming.”

The SHES team is trying to stay ahead of what will likely be new federal rules for heat mitigation. To help develop safe standards and better understand the effects of heat on workers, consultants like Castillo are going to construction sites, plant nurseries, and warehouses, and enlisting volunteers in field studies. Using heat stress monitor armbands, they’re monitoring data on workers’ core body temperatures and heart rates.

“These tools are great because we’re not only gathering some good data, but we can use them proactively to prevent heat events such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be fatal if left untreated,” Castillo said.

To further help educate Georgia companies about the risks of heat-related problems, SHES applied for and recently won a Susan Harwood Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The $160,000 award will support SHES consultants’ efforts to further their work in heat stress education so that “companies and workers will understand the warning signs and the potential effects of heat stress, and how they can stay safe,” Castillo said. “We’re sure this will all become part of OSHA standards eventually, and we’d like to help our clients stay ahead of the curve to protect their employees.”

OSHA standards are the law, and while larger corporations routinely hire consulting firms to keep them on the straight and narrow, SHES is providing the same level of expertise for its smaller business clients for free. Most of those clients apply for help through SHES’ online request form. And others find the help they need through the guidance of process improvement specialist Katie Hines and her colleagues in GaMEP.

Lean and Safe

Hines came to her appreciation of ergonomics naturally. After graduating from Auburn University, she entered the workforce as a manufacturing engineer for a building materials company, where “it was just part of our day-to-day work life in that manufacturing environment, on the production floor,” she said.

It took grad school and a deeper focus on lean and continuous improvement processes to formalize that appreciation.

While working toward her master’s degree in chemical engineering at Auburn, Hines earned a certificate in occupational safety and ergonomics (like Sawyers, her SHES colleague). At the same time, Hines was helping to guide her company’s lean and continuous improvement program. And when she joined Proctor and Gamble after completing her degree, “The lean concept and safety best practices were fully ingrained, part of the daily discussion there,” she said.

All those hands-on manufacturing production floor experiences managing people and systems prepared Hines well for her current role as a project manager on GaMEP’s Operational Excellence team, where her focus is entirely on lean and continuous improvement work — that is, helping companies reduce waste and improve production while also enhancing safety and ergonomics.

Hines uses her expertise in knowing how manufacturing processes and people should look when everyone is safe and also productive. She can walk into a GaMEP client’s facility and drive the process improvements and solutions that will help them achieve a leaner, more efficient form of production. And then, when she sees the need, Hines will recommend the client contact SHES, “the people who have their fingers on the data and the expertise to improve safety.”

These were concepts that, for a long time, seemed to be working against each other — the very idea of maximizing production and improving profits while also emphasizing worker safety and comfort.

“But you can have both,” Castillo said. “You should have both.”

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1697117018 2023-10-12 13:23:38 1697119141 2023-10-12 13:59:01 0 0 news SHES and GaMEP are collaborating to help Georgia businesses thrive, by addressing safety and establishing lean and continuous process improvement.

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2023-10-12T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-12T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-12 00:00:00 Writer: Jerry Grillo

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672019 672020 672021 672022 672019 image <![CDATA[Trio of Experts]]> Trey Sawyers, Katie Hines, and Sean Castillo are helping keep Georgia businesses lean and safe.

]]> image/jpeg 1697116395 2023-10-12 13:13:15 1697116570 2023-10-12 13:16:10
672020 image <![CDATA[Katie Hines]]> Katie Hines

]]> image/jpeg 1697116591 2023-10-12 13:16:31 1697116638 2023-10-12 13:17:18
672021 image <![CDATA[Sean Castillo]]> Sean Castillo

]]> image/jpeg 1697116649 2023-10-12 13:17:29 1697116684 2023-10-12 13:18:04
672022 image <![CDATA[Trey Sawyers]]> Trey Sawyers

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<![CDATA[Long-Term Lizard Study Challenges the Rules of Evolutionary Biology]]> 27255 Charles Darwin said that evolution was constantly happening, causing animals to adapt for survival. But many of his contemporaries disagreed. If evolution is always causing things to change, they asked, then how is it that two fossils from the same species, found in the same location, can look identical despite being 50 million years apart in age?

Everything changed in the past 40 years, when an explosion of evolutionary studies proved that evolution can and does occur rapidly — even from one generation to the next. Evolutionary biologists were thrilled, but the findings reinforced the same paradox: If evolution can happen so fast, then why do most species on Earth continue to appear the same for many millions of years?

This is known as the paradox of stasis, and James Stroud, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, set out to investigate it. He conducted a long-term study in a community of lizards, measuring how evolution unfolds in the wild across multiple species. In doing so, he may have found the answer to one of evolution’s greatest challenges.

His research was published as the cover story in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

Read more »

]]> Josie Giles 1 1696881604 2023-10-09 20:00:04 1696898221 2023-10-10 00:37:01 0 0 news Charles Darwin said that evolution was constantly happening, causing animals to adapt for survival. But many of his contemporaries disagreed. If evolution is always causing things to change, they asked, then how is it that two fossils from the same species, found in the same location, can look identical despite being 50 million years apart in age?

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2023-10-09T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-09T00:00:00-04:00 2023-10-09 00:00:00 Writer and Media Contact: Catherine Barzler | catherine.barzler@gatech.edu

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671990 671989 671990 image <![CDATA[lizard-evolution-feature-thumb.jpg]]> image/jpeg 1696879050 2023-10-09 19:17:30 1696879050 2023-10-09 19:17:30 671989 image <![CDATA[Lizards stroud]]> Two American green anole lizards. Credit: Day's Edge Productions

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<![CDATA[Computing Faculty Supporting Research That Could Cut Cancer Deaths in Half]]> 32045 A surgically implantable device the size of a pinky finger could be a huge step toward a cure for cancer. A multi-institutional team of researchers that includes Georgia Tech faculty received $45 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to develop sense-and-respond implant technology for cancer treatment.

The National Cancer Institute estimates more than 600,000 people will die of cancer in the U.S. in 2023, but the researchers say their project could reduce the number of U.S. cancer-related deaths by 50%.

Josiah Hester, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, is a co-principal investigator on the project and is responsible for the sensing and computing technology in the implantable device. He will also assist with large-scale experimentations and coordinate the integration of the technology.

Hester specializes in developing sensing, battery-free, and sustainable technology for wearable and mobile devices. He previously worked on a team that developed the first battery-free handheld gaming console.

Celine Lin, associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science, is working with Hester to develop ultra-energy-efficient chips for signal processing and embedded control. Together, they will develop a robust platform that is energy-efficient enough to last for months.

The device contains genetically engineered cells catered to each individual patient that attack and eliminate cancer cells in the body. Thanks to Hester’s efforts, the device can monitor a patient’s cancer and adjust the dosage of the genetically engineered cells in real time.

“We must keep the cells alive to fight the cancer, and we must understand and control our progress in delivering this treatment,” Hester said. “Releasing too many cells could be toxic, and not releasing enough could be ineffective.”

Omid Veiseh, a bioengineer at Rice University, serves as principal investigator on the project and genetically engineers the cancer-attacking cells.

Along with Hester and Lin, Veiseh’s team consists of 19 co-PIs from the University of Texas, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, the University of Houston, and Johns Hopkins University.

The researchers named their project Targeted Hybrid Oncotherapeutic Regulation (THOR) and named the implantable device Hybrid Advanced Molecular Manufacturing Regulator (HAMMR).

Over the next five years, the team will test this unique approach to cancer treatment on patients with ovarian, pancreatic, and other difficult-to-treat cancers. They expect to not only improve immunotherapy outcomes for patients, but to make treatment more accessible.

Hester said once the device is surgically implanted, it is designed to remain in the body for six months or more, making it a minimally invasive alternative to chemotherapy.

“If you’re a patient with advanced stage cancer, you might be going in weekly to do various invasive and painful procedures,” Hester said. “This implant could remove a lot of the burden and make cancer treatment more accessible.

“Instead of driving three or four hours to get your treatment — which is expensive, and you may not be able to do it — you can have this implant. You come for the surgery, then you leave, and it stays with you for six months. The localized treatment should reduce the pain and terrible symptoms that chemotherapy and other systemic treatments cause in current protocols.”

ARPA-H is a federal funding agency established in 2022 to support research that has “the potential to transform entire areas of medicine and health.” THOR is the second program to receive funding from ARPA-H after its first Open Broad Agency Announcement solicitation for research proposals.

The first funding contract went to a team of researchers led by Philip Santangelo, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. Their project, known as CUREIT, uses mRNA drugs to activate or switch off certain genes to help the immune system fight cancer and other chronic diseases.

]]> Ben Snedeker 1 1695749667 2023-09-26 17:34:27 1696614180 2023-10-06 17:43:00 0 0 news A multi-institutional team, including Georgia Tech researchers, has received $45 million from ARPA-H to develop a surgically implantable device the size of a pinky finger, called HAMMR, which contains genetically engineered cells for real-time cancer treatment and monitoring, potentially reducing U.S. cancer-related deaths by 50%.

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2023-09-26T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-26T00:00:00-04:00 2023-09-26 00:00:00 Nathan Deen, Communications Officer

School of Interactive Computing

 

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671840 671840 image <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Associate Professor of Interactive Computing Josiah Hester]]> image/jpeg 1695750013 2023-09-26 17:40:13 1695750013 2023-09-26 17:40:13
<![CDATA[Reinforcement Learning Approach in Electronic Design Automation Earns Top Honors at DAC 2023 - Cloned]]> 34760 Researchers from the Georgia Tech Computer-Aided Design (GTCAD) Laboratory in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering have received this year’s Design Automation Conference (DAC) Best Paper Award For Research.

The award-winning paper was co-authored by Motorola Solutions Foundation Professor Sung Kyu Lim and Yi-Chen Lu (ECE Ph.D. ’23, currently at Apple), in collaboration with a team from Synopsys, Inc comprised of Wei-Ting Chan, Deyuan Guo, Vishal Khandelwal, and Sudipto Kundu.

The research, titled “RL-CCD: Concurrent Clock and Data Optimization using Attention-Based Self-Supervised Reinforcement Learning,” received Best Paper recognition out of 1,157 submissions. It presents a Reinforcement Learning (RL) agent in Concurrent Clock and Data (CCD) optimization — a technique used in modern computer design tools to improve the performance and reliability of digital circuits. The introduction of an RL agent enables systems to intelligently enhance their ability to correctly rank violating endpoints according to machine learning-based optimization strategies. This contributes to an optimization flow that maximizes the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the system's performance.

The team was presented the award at DAC 2023 — the flagship conference in electronic design automation (EDA) — in San Francisco this July.

Last year, Lim and his research team were presented with the Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award for their research on Compact-2D physical design tools at DAC. The work was recognized as the best paper published in IEEE’s Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems (IEEE TCAD), the flagship journal of the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA).

Top photo caption: The team receiving the Best Paper Award For Research this July at the Design Automation Conference. Left to right: Sung Kyu Lim, Wei-Ting Chan, Yi-Chen Lu, and Deyuan Guo (not pictured: Vishal Khandelwal, and Sudipto Kundu).

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1696613284 2023-10-06 17:28:04 1696613790 2023-10-06 17:36:30 0 0 news The cutting-edge research on intelligent Concurrent Clock and Data optimization from Professor Sung Kyu Lim’s GTCAD lab has received the highest acclaim at leading electronic design automation (EDA) conference.

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2023-08-31T00:00:00-04:00 2023-08-31T00:00:00-04:00 2023-08-31 00:00:00 Dan Watson

]]>
671563 671563 image <![CDATA[Lim_DAC Award 2023.jpg]]> The team receiving the Design Automation Conference (DAC) Best Paper Award For Research in July. Left to right: Sung Kyu Lim, Wei-Ting Chan, Yi-Chen Lu, and Deyuan Guo (not pictured: Vishal Khandelwal, and Sudipto Kundu).

]]> image/jpeg 1693526978 2023-09-01 00:09:38 1693526978 2023-09-01 00:09:38
<![CDATA[Reinforcement Learning Approach in Electronic Design Automation Earns Top Honors at DAC 2023]]> 36172 Researchers from the Georgia Tech Computer-Aided Design (GTCAD) Laboratory in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering have received this year’s Design Automation Conference (DAC) Best Paper Award For Research.

The award-winning paper was co-authored by Motorola Solutions Foundation Professor Sung Kyu Lim and Yi-Chen Lu (ECE Ph.D. ’23, currently at Apple), in collaboration with a team from Synopsys, Inc comprised of Wei-Ting Chan, Deyuan Guo, Vishal Khandelwal, and Sudipto Kundu.

The research, titled “RL-CCD: Concurrent Clock and Data Optimization using Attention-Based Self-Supervised Reinforcement Learning,” received Best Paper recognition out of 1,157 submissions. It presents a Reinforcement Learning (RL) agent in Concurrent Clock and Data (CCD) optimization — a technique used in modern computer design tools to improve the performance and reliability of digital circuits. The introduction of an RL agent enables systems to intelligently enhance their ability to correctly rank violating endpoints according to machine learning-based optimization strategies. This contributes to an optimization flow that maximizes the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the system's performance.

The team was presented the award at DAC 2023 — the flagship conference in electronic design automation (EDA) — in San Francisco this July.</