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TSU College of Engineering Research Focus Prepares Graduates for Employment; Receives $1 Million DHS Grant for Data Sciences Study

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The College of Engineering is aggressively pursuing research in strategic areas that complement the engineering curriculums and prepare graduates for careers in emerging areas for employment and entrepreneurship.

One of those emerging areas is the field of Data Sciences and Analytics, a key focus of the college, which, according to Dean S. Keith Hargrove, meets the “huge” industry demand to manage “big data” and helps businesses optimize their operations to meet the needs of their customers.

“We have responded to this industry demand with the development of advanced courses, industry partners, and qualified faculty to create a curriculum for this discipline and concurrently conduct research for cyber-security, analytics, and data storage,” Hargrove said.

Graduate student Adrian Parker develops multi-physics simulation models for lithium ion batteries and uses special equipment for battery devices. (courtesy photo)
Graduate student Adrian Parker develops multi-physics simulation models for lithium ion batteries and uses special equipment for battery devices. (courtesy photos)

Adrian ParkerThis effort has yielded positive results, he noted. Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded the College of Engineering a $1 million grant to develop an integrated research and education program in data analytics. The award will be implemented in two phases over a period of six years.

Dr. Martene Stanberry, assistant professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, will manage the program by combining their expertise and experience in cyber security and control systems research, as well as leveraging resources and facilities already available to them under the TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, directed by Dr. Hargrove.

Also, another team of researchers in the college has received funding to examine ways to improve the life of batteries. The team, including Drs. Lizhi Ouyang, Landon Onyebueke, Mohan Malkani and Hargrove, received $150,000 from the Naval Engineering Education Center of the U.S. Navy Sea System Command, and $80,000 from the Crane Naval Warfare Center in Indiana. The team will conduct multi-physics modeling of lithium ion batteries, and perform testing of electro-chemistries for performance and reliability. Also a part of the TIGER Institute, the project will involve undergraduate and graduate students.

Under the DHS program, the thrust of the study will involve the development of data analytic approaches for anomaly detection in critical infrastructure, that are based on the prior work of the faculty in scalable machine learning and optimal control systems, Hargrove said. He added that the education thrust would enhance the existing undergraduate Mathematical Sciences and Electrical and Computer Engineering programs through curriculum enhancement, student recruitment and retention, outreach, and collaborative relationships with DHS Centers of Excellence, industry, federal labs, and academia. Students will receive training in statistical analysis, machine-learning methods, and cloud computing and storage technologies used in manipulating, storing, and analyzing cyber data.

According to Hargrove, the need to capture, store, manage, and interpret massive amounts of data for decision making in today’s high-tech environment, is expected to grow exponentially within the next decade.

“The spending in ‘big-data’ is projected to increase from $27 billion from 2012 to $55 billion by 2016,” the dean said, adding, “It is therefore our responsibility to help train and educate a diverse workforce to enter these emerging career fields.”



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Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.