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Tennessee State University Conducting Research with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Look! In the air, is it a bird or a plane? If you are near the campus of Tennessee State University chances are what you see is a TSU Unmanned Aerial Vehicle from the college of engineering.

Since 2006 Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has been involved in research to detect moving targets from aerial vehicles.

Specifically, students are conducting research in the area of Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) project funded by the U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory under the Minority Leadership Program (MLP).

The primary objective of the research is to develop real-time algorithms for detecting moving targets, identifying targets and tracking in cluttered environments. TSU’s research is led by Dr. Fenghui Yao, professor in the department of computer science, and Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean in the college of engineering.

“Both undergraduate and graduate students in engineering have an opportunity to take part in the research project,” said Dr. Yao. “Our intent is to expose as many students as possible to the research. The students can learn how to develop these technologies and apply them to corresponding fields.”

On clear days professor Yao, along with electrical engineering professor Saleh Zein-Sabatto, can be seen with students conducting test flights around campus by flying a small research helicopter. The XR-20 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the helicopter equipped with a moving sensor platform containing a camera with tilt, zoom and pan capabilities is used to generate the aerial video data for the development and evaluation of the real-time target detection and tracking algorithms.

The technology, when fully developed, will have several objectives including moving-object detection.  In addition, the UAV must avoid detecting non-stationary background objectives such as moving leaves, rain, snow, and shadows caused by moving objects.

According to Dr. Yao, perfection of these objectives will give the UAV technology a wide range of applications and not just the stereotypical wartime spy use usually associated with surveillance technology.

“This technology has wide application areas besides battlefield application,” Yao said. “The UAV can be used as border control,

College of Engineering receives AF grant for Cyber-Security

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) –The need to protect and secure cyberspace for U.S. military and consumer use will continue to be a major challenge in the future.  In response to this need, the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University is aggressively pursuing research opportunities to support and provide solutions to industry and government.

Cloud Computing Security research at Tennessee State University will get a significant boost thanks to a $616, 278 grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The goal of the project is to enable development of novel security methods to ensure protection of vast amounts of information in cloud computing platforms.  The research activities will include development of new approaches for intrusion detection, active response and recovery from attacks on the cloud.

The project will be a joint effort between TSU and Pennsylvania State University. The team, led by Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean of the College of Engineering, includes Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Dr. Peng Liu, professor of Information Sciences and Technology at PSU.

“The Air Force is extensively adopting the cloud computing infrastructure to improve information technology efficiency, reduce costs and provide a standard platform for delivering government services,” said Malkani. “The development of a secure cloud computing infrastructure is capable of supporting defense and intelligence networks.”

According to Shetty, cloud-computing services are gaining universal acceptance. “Computer users probably already utilize a ‘cloud’ in some form or another while browsing the web, checking e-mail, or backing up files,” he said. “Security of these cloud-based services is unproven and we are currently unaware of the level of protection of our data in the cloud.”

The grant will also fund a large cloud computing datacenter to conduct the research activities. The datacenter will contain 50 compute nodes, each with quad-core Intel Xeon X5550 processors running at 2.66 GHz, providing a total of a 200 cores. The datacenter will also serve as an experimental test bed for undergraduate and graduate students to enhance the quality of their senior design projects, theses and dissertations.

“This research thrust area is one of four areas that support the future TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, to open this semester in the Research & Sponsored Programs building,” said S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering.

The mission of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is to manage the discovery and initial development of the leading edge of research while identifying potential new concepts and opportunities that will serve the Air Force in the future. To accomplish this role, AFOSR focuses the basic research community (government, academia and industry), including numerous Nobel Laureates, on the vital task of supporting Air Force warfighter requirements. Basic research provides the essential foundation for technology development and systems acquisition.

TSU’s Avian Hughes Named BEYA STEM Award Winner

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Avian Hughes has been selected as a Black Engineer of the Year Award’s STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) student-athlete award winner last week.

Hughes, a member of the TSU track & field program, holds a 3.10 GPA with a major in Electrical Engineering. He has been a three-year letter winner for the Flying Tigers track & field team and a member of the Air Force ROTC program.

“Avian is a great example of what being a college student is all about,” noted TSU Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services, Dr. Johnnie Smith.  “For a young man to balance academics, athletics and Air Force ROTC, and excel in all three, he is truly the epitome of excellence.  I am so proud of Avian and I salute him on this national achievement.”

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Hughes claimed All-Conference accolades during his freshman campaign in the long jump. Hughes primarily focuses in the long jump and triple jump.

His best triple jump mark this season came with a distance of 13.57-meters at the UNC Dick Taylor Invitational. Hughes also leapt 7.04m in the long jump at the Dick Taylor Invitational.

“First of all congratulations to Avian for being an outstanding student-athlete,” said TSU Track & Field Director Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice. “He is really dedicated on what he does on the track and it shows in the classroom as well.”

Hughes will join fellow TSU student Samba Fall, who has also been selected to receive a BEYA Award and both will be recognized at the Student Leadership Awards Dinner during the 26th annual BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference in Philadelphia, on Friday, Feb. 17.

Tennessee State University Student Wins Engineering Research Award

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University junior Samba Fall has been selected as a Research Award Winner at the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) leadership conference.

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) leadership conference is held annually to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of minority STEM professionals worldwide.  Last year, BEYA started The Student Leadership and Scholarship Awards Dinner, which recognizes young men and women who have gone above and beyond their commitment to their education in science, technology, engineering or math.

STEM students are nominated in the categories of Leadership, Research, Community Service and Student Athlete. The awards recognize the contributions of STEM students in academics as well community.

Kevin Williams, coordinator of undergraduate programs for the College of Engineering at TSU, nominated Fall for the global award competition. “We are extremely proud of his accomplishments and the recognition it will bring to the great work being done here at the University,” Williams said.

Fall, a mechanical engineering major, will be honored during the 2012 Student Leadership and Scholarship Awards Dinner at the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference February 17th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

TSU Engineering Professor Receives NSF Award for Summer Research

Dr. Sachin Shetty knows that Tennessee State University’s Cyber Security research initiative is now on the “FaST” track to success.

Shetty, an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and two of his students will spend this summer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) as participants in the Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) program. The 10-week research opportunity was made possible through funding secured by a $22,000 grant administered by the ANL’s Division of Educational Programs for DOE and the National Science Foundation.

“This experience will be the catalyst needed to accelerate the development of TSU’s cyber security program,” Shetty said. During the appointment, Shetty and undergraduate students Grantland Gray and Corie Wilson will be creating on the mathematical formulation and solution of their statistical and stochastic models for the optimal design of intrusion detection systems.

The team will also work with ANL staff members to identify problems of interest in cyber security and intrusion detection, as well as construct models for these problems. Their plan is to solve the models and analyze the results. The students will participate for 10 weeks of research, networking and camaraderie with fellow students and faculty researchers from across the nation.

“While the DOE invests in technologies to fight cyber security attacks, our students will have the opportunity to be a part of the research that plays a critical role in protecting the critical energy infrastructure of the nation,” Shetty added.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Todd Munson from the Mathematics and Computer Science division of ANL.