CST Colloquium

In 2008 the College of Science and Technology was formed from existing departments of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry/Physics, Psychology, Engineering Studies, Computer Science and Information Technology. The inaugural talk in the series was given on September 10, 2008. The meetings at 12:00 on Wednesday bring together faculty, students and all interested in the subject matter who engage in a lecture and conversations about scholarly work in the College and enjoy a lunch provided by the College. (Suggested donation: $1.00 per student and $2.00 per faculty member.)  The meetings are held in UH 158.

Please contact Tim Ellis or Dr. Felix Hamza-Lup if you are interested in giving a presentation. Also, please send your email address to Professor Ellis if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

Spring 2011

February 2, 2011 - Drs. Vann Scott and Wendy Wolfe
"The Effect of Exposure to Sexually Objectifying Stimuli on Self-Regulation Resources in Women"
Sexual objectification occurs when an individual’s body is viewed as an instrument that exists for the pleasure of others (Bartky, 1990). Sexual objectification occurs through a variety of means, from media images to personal encounters with others involving inappropriate comments about or gazes towards one’s body. This study replicates research on the effect of objectification on self-presentation in women, conducted by Saguy, Quinn, Dovideo, and Pratto (2010), and extends their research to also examine the effect of sexual objectification via exposure to video game images. A possible mechanism through which objectification affects self-presentation (i.e., depletion of self-regulation resources) is also examined.

January 19, 2011 - Dr. Yan Wu, Department of Mathematical Sciences at Georgia Southern University
"Controllability and Observability of Sylvester Differential Algebraic Equations"
Differential Algebraic Equations (DAEs) arise naturally as governing equations for systems in chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering as well as biological and economic models. Therefore, the analysis of DAEs plays an important role in applied mathematics. Dr. Wu provides an overview of DAEs in this talk, followed by the latest results on the first-order Sylvester type of differential algebraic systems with input and output structures incorporated in the system. Dr. Wu will first present a closed form representation for the general solution of matrix Sylvester DAEs in terms of the fundamental matrix solutions of one-sided subsystems. The result is then used to derive a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the complete controllability and complete observability of the Sylvester systems. Dr. Wu will introduce most background materials in the presentation, so that this talk will be accessible to students.

For interested students, Dr. Wu will follow his presentation with information on the Master degree in Mathematics and Statistics offered in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Georgia Southern University. The Mathematics Department offers graduate assistantships to most students accepted to the MS program. The assistantship ranges between $8000 and $10,000 for about 12-15 hours workload per week. The primary duty of graduate teaching assistant is to teach recitation sessions for calculus I and II. Work, earn experience and an Master degree close to home!

Fall 2010

November 17, 2010 - Kyle Burton, Gabriel Loewen and James Weston
"Mobile Robotics for Computer Science Education and Research"
Kyle Burton, Gabriel Loewen and James Weston from the Armstrong Computer Science Department present their experience in using mobile robots to teach an honors section of introduction to programming. They will also give an update on the current state of development of the distributed robotics test bed.

November 3, 2010 - Drs. Deborah Jamieson, Delana Nivens, Clifford Padgett
"Inquiry and Case Study Instruction Across Academic Boundaries: A CST and CLA collaboration"
Drs. Deborah Jamieson, Delana Nivens, and Clifford Padgett will be discussing the results of their 3-year collaboration to develop interdisciplinary experiences for chemistry and art students. In 2007, they received an NSF grant (with additional Co-PIs Will Lynch and James Todesca) to purchase an XRF spectrometer and work together to provide students with experiential activities across disciplinary lines. Their work interfacing art and chemistry was just published in the Journal of Chemical Education. Briefly, they have begun adopting a model of inquiry and case-study based education in chemistry that allows students to explore many topics, including art forgery. In addition, they have brought art students into the chemistry laboratory to explore analytical methods that can be used to spot art forgery. Finally, they have incorporated the use of XRF into other courses for chemistry majors. Come and learn about inquiry, XRF, Van Gogh and Han van Meegeren!

October 13, 2010 - Michael Bunch
"From Jungle Mountains to White Sandy Beaches and Everything in Between-Tales from an Engineering Internship in Taiwan"
In this talk, Michael Bunch will discuss his work to develop a conceptual pneumatic engine during a summer internship at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan. He will also share his experiences traveling throughout Taiwan during the internship. The design of the pneumatic engine was part of the Air City project, which has the overall objective of harvesting energy from the environment via wind turbines and solar powered sterling engines. The harvested energy will be stored as compressed air which can then be used to power vehicles, refrigerators, and air conditioners. The design was developed using the Autodesk Inventor 3-D solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) software. The CAD model of the engine is currently being used to create a working prototype, using additive manufacturing (rapid prototyping) technology. This internship allowed Mr. Bunch to visit places all over Taiwan including Taipei, Taroko Gorge, Kenting, and Penghu, just to name a few. It also provided an opportunity to learn more about Taiwanese culture and the challenges that Taiwan faces with China.

Spring 2010

April 28, 2010 - StoreNav: Michael Cross (Team members - Chris Roach, Brandy Cohens, Ross Hevener, and Rashad Luckett) & Telemedicine: Randall Nicholson, Adam Pulsney, Robert Coursey, Marla Mehne, and Corey Clark.
"StoreNav and Telemedicine Senior Projects"
StoreNav: The mission of the StoreNav project is to alleviate the problems associated with traditional retail by using technology (smart devices, and the Internet) to enhance the benefits of traditional retail shopping. StoreNAV is designed to be a high-tech, low profile, electronic shopping navigation system for consumers with any store partnered with the StoreNAV system. Customers will enter the product(s) that they are shopping for, select a retailer from a map of stores partnered with StoreNAV, then navigate to the product of their choice. StoreNAV generates a navigable map of the store and the products within, with located products displayed as a small glowing orb on a map of the store selected.
Telemedicine: Dermatological Telemedicine allows doctors to diagnose patients residing in remote locations from a principle office. Due to the cost and complexity of existing commercial applications, dermatological telemedicine has been slow in adoption. Through the development of a streamlined application, the telemedicine team’s goal is to increase dermatological telemedicine adoption rates, while increasing practice efficiencies, and improving patient care.

March 10, 2010 - Dr. Emily G. Cantonwine, Department of Biology, Valdosta State University
Coauthors: M.A. Boudreau, Hebert Green Agroecology, Raleigh, NC; A.K. Culbreath, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA; T.B. Brenneman, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA; C.C. Holbrook, USDA-ARS, Tifton, GA
"Improving Stand Establishment in Organically Managed Peanut Fields"
Organic production is the fastest growing agricultural sector in the United States, yet growth has been relatively slow in the Southeast. In 2005, a multi-state and interdisciplinary team was established to develop strategies to control insects, weeds, and diseases in organically managed peanut fields. Initial findings were that insects and post-emergence diseases could be managed using organically acceptable methods with relative ease. However, pre-emergence diseases, resulting in poor stand establishment, and weed control were major challenges. This presentation will review general organic certification requirements and current research efforts to improve initial stand establishment in organically managed peanut fields in the Southeast.


Fall 2009

November 18, 2009 - Gabriel Loewen, Jack O'Quinn, and James Weston
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Ashraf Saad and Dr. Bradley Sturz
"A Web-based Platform for Distributed Robotics Research"
We present a web-based platform and simulation system for IntelliBrain robots. The IntelliBrain is a small Java-programmable robot which has a set of attached sensors. These sensors utilize the IntelliBrain to navigate and provide feedback about the robot's environment. The platform takes advantage of these sensors and provides a rich web-based experience for developing behaviors for the robots. Behaviors control a robot or swarm of robots within a grid environment. Algorithms implemented by the behaviors simulate either inter-robot communication, in the case of a swarm behavior, or singular behaviors. By enabling the service over the web, users are able to load behaviors into the robots and observe behavior, using live streaming video or by using a virtual environment embedded within the web application. In addition, users can develop more complex environments using the virtual environment which acts as a virtual behavior simulator. Behavior simulations, either virtual or actual, are advantageous for gathering data which can be used to identify patterns within the IntelliBrain's environment allowing for data classification and pattern recognition to be possible. Further research objectives include biologically and evolutionary inspired algorithms which produce behaviors that are closely mapped to those in nature. For instance, dead reckoning is a behavior which is observed within populations of bees and involves being able to return to a point of origin after long distance travel. This platform is ideal for solving problems, such as dead reckoning, and provides an opportunity for computer science research and education.

November 4, 2009 - Dr. Wayne M. Johnson, Engineering, Amanda McGuire, Kenneth Warchalowsky, and Matthew Pickett
"Open Source Thingmakers"
Additive manufacturing (a.k.a, solid freeform fabrication or rapid prototyping) consists of various techniques and systems used to create a physical part based on a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. Additive manufacturing (AM) can be used to form objects with any geometric complexity or intricacy without the need for elaborate machining and final assembly. The cost of commercial AM systems has been a significant barrier to broader adoption by smaller businesses, hobbyists, and "garage inventors". However, in the past five years several open source and lower cost AM systems have been developed including the "Fab@Home", "RepRap", and "Cup Cake CNC" systems. This talk will discuss these systems and our efforts to utilize them as test beds to develop and implement novel AM process improvements.

September 23, 2009 - Christina A. Alligood, Ph.D., BCBA-D
"Key Largo woodrats at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Behavior analysis as a conservation tool"
Alligood received a Ph.D. in Psychology, specializing in Behavior Analysis from West Virginia University and now conducts research at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Wildlife Tracking Center in Bay Lake, Florida. She is in charge of leading a multi-faceted project on the behavior of the endangered Key Largo woodrat, including research on activity patterns, reproductive behavior, vocal communication, maternal behavior, and pup development. This research aims to develop behavior-based models to manage captive breeding programs for endangered species. Join us for this interesting talk; it offers a great opportunity to learn about the diversity and relevance of the science of behavior.

Spring 2009

April 22, 2009 - Dr. Priya Goeser, Dr. Wayne Johnson and Dr. Felix Hamza-Lup
"A Second View on VIEW: Virtual Interactive Engineering on the Web"
Student learning, success, and retention are significant challenges for many university engineering programs throughout the country. In order to address this, faculty continue to develop and adopt new computer and web-based technologies to improve instruction and student learning. The objective of this project is to develop and implement the second phase of a Web-based 3-D computer graphics framework using X3D (Virtual Interactive Engineering on the Web - VIEW), dedicated to the advancement of instruction and learning in the engineering curriculum, and to further enhance student learning and retention efforts at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU).

The initial phase of VIEW was the development of a Virtual Tensile Testing Laboratory (VTTL) used as a supplement in the course: Introduction to Engineering Materials. Assessment results showed that the laboratory was well received by students and that its use helped students improve their understanding of important concepts studied in this course.

The second phase of VIEW involves the development of a module introducing the concept of mechanical dissection and/or assembly to supplement the course Introduction to Engineering (ENGR1100). Mechanical dissection, or the process of disassembling and reassembling of devices and mechanisms, is an engineering tool that can satisfy a student’s curiosity of how and why these devices convey motion to achieve a desired result. As a result, several university engineering programs have developed mechanical dissection courses/labs. However, such laboratories are not always available due to the lack of space, high costs and time constraints. An emerging trend to address this issue is to use multi-media technology to replace and/or supplement physical laboratories. Virtual dissection or assembling activities implemented as part of VIEW would only require the use of existing computer laboratories and hence provide a simple solution to the problem.

April 8, 2009 - Dr. Bradley R. Sturz, Psychology
"Effect of Locational Uncertainty on Human Search Performance"
A recent proposal is that spatial information (i.e., distance and direction) may adhere to Bayesian principles and be weighted in an optimal fashion. A fundamental assumption of such a proposal is that participants encode the variability of spatial information. In this presentation, Dr. Sturz discusses a three-dimensional virtual-environment open-field search task. He provides evidence that participants encoded the variability of landmark-based spatial information. Specifically, participants searched for a hidden goal location in a 5 x 5 matrix of raised bins. Participants experienced five training phases in which they searched for a hidden goal that maintained a unique spatial relationship to each of four distinct landmarks. Each landmark was assigned an a priori value of locational uncertainty such that each varied in its ability to predict a goal (i.e, varied in number of potential goal locations). Following training, participants experienced conflict trials in which two distinct landmarks were presented simultaneously. Participants preferentially responded to the landmark with the lower uncertainty value (i.e., smaller number of potential goal locations). These results provide empirical evidence for the encoding of variability of landmark-based spatial information and have implications for theoretical accounts of spatial learning.

March 27, 2009 - Dr. Robin Kinnel
"Thirty Years of Natural Products Chemistry: Adventures and Lessons"
Robin Kinnel has been an active teacher and researcher in the field of organic chemistry for more than 40 years. He came to Hamilton from a two-year stint as a postdoctoral student at Stanford, having earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research includes the study of bioactive compounds from marine invertebrates, particularly sponges. Kinnel also has focused on the chemical ecology of various New York asters and the role that their chemistry plays on oviposition and herbivory of butterflies that use them as host plants. More recently he has been active in studying the solution structures of small peptides, active against estrogen-mediated breast cancer, derived from alphafetoprotein. Kinnel has published numerous articles, most recently in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, the Journal of Chemical Ecology and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

March 25, 2009 - Jack O'Quinn, James Weston, Gabriel Loewen, Computer Science
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Ashraf Saad, Computer Science, and Dr. Brad Sturz, Psychology
"Undergraduate Robotics Research: Towards a Cognitive Robotics Intelligence and Education Platform"
The IntelliBrain-Bot is a versatile mobile robotic platform that can be used for both undergraduate computer science research and education projects. Our project involves a collaboration between faculty and students from computer science and psychology. Our team created a robotic testbed that mirors the setup used in experimental psychology research involving animals. A semi-autonomous robot can be locally or remotely instructed to navigate a two-dimensional grid. Users are able to control the robot using a web-enabled application and view its progress in real time using video streaming. Furthermore, video tracking software enables the user to record the paths followed by the robot. Our presentation includes an overview of the system integration to create the testbed for Cognitive Robotics Intelligence and Education Platform as well as a demonstration of the system. We conclude with some insights and directions for future research and development of the platform.

March 4, 2009 - Dr. Felix Hamza-Lup, Computer Science, and Dr. William Baird, Physics
"Haptic Simulation of Static/Kinetic Friction."
Haptics is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. Haptic based simulators are useful in providing students a context in which they can test their concept comprehension. We hypothesize that real-time 3D haptics simulations are useful in engaging students in subject matter as they allow them to put into context the material they are learning instead of simply having abstract concepts visually presented to them.

We have designed and implemented an environment that simulates the force of friction and the associated paradigms. Students use the haptics device to move a cube and receive force feedback from the device (as illustrated in the figures above). Students may apply varying amounts of force and directly feel the resultant forces from the cube through the haptic device. We will briefly present the theoretical concepts associated with friction and haptic environments. Then we will describe implementation details and simulation efficiency assessment plans.

February 11, 2009 - Dr. Dan Lipsa, Information Technology
"Dynamic Chunking for Out-of-Core Volume Visualization Applications."
Given the size of today's data, out-of-core visualization techniques, which do not load data to be visualized in the main memory, are increasingly important in many domains of scientific research. In this presentation, Dr. Lipsa proposes a novel out-of-core technique called dynamic chunking. This technique can provide significant performance improvements for several common data access patterns used in volume visualization applications, without the need to reorganize data. Additionally, Dr. Lipsa presents two optimizations that take advantage of extra knowledge about how data is accessed and an optimization that takes advantage of knowledge about the behavior of previous iterations to improve performance.

January 28, 2009 - Dr. Sami Spahi, Director of the Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering Laboratories, University of Central Florida
"Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering Activities at the University of Central Florida."
During the last decade Rapid Prototyping (RP) has been a rewarding technology that has contributed to various areas, particularly in R&D, by significantly cutting down the lead time in the product development cycle. In many cases RP is coupled with other Reverse Engineering (RE) technologies to serve research projects in disciplines such as biomodeling, archeology, aerospace and others. Dr. Spahi will demonstrate some of the RP & RE applications in hand equipment and discuss the latest activities at the Rapid Prototyping lab at University of Central Florida, including the building a Pico-Satellite; development of a patented Pressure Induced Massager; and participation in the reconstruction of King Tut’s head. He will conclude with a discussion of current and possible future projects and models, some of which involve RE equipment at UCF: a Portable CMM (Faro Arm), a 3D Laser Scanner, and Polhemus Fastscan.

Fall 2008

November 19 - Dane Andrews and Chris Cavanaugh
"Modernizing a Behavior Based Safety System - AN ITEC 4390 Senior Project presentation."
Behavior Based Safety (BBS) is an internationally accepted effort that challenges traditional thinking in accident prevention by focusing not only on eliminating unsafe working conditions, but on altering the behavior of employees through safety consciousness. While most common safety programs focus on making the workplace safer through engineering controls and enforcing strict guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE), the goal of a BBS program is to gain an understanding of people's work behaviors, identify at-risk behaviors, and then take action to change those behaviors before an accident occurs. The fundamental difference between traditional safety efforts and BBS is its emphasis on being proactive rather than responding to unsafe working conditions after an accident.

Georgia Pacific Gypsum manufactures gypsum products. Georgia Pacific Gypsum adopted the BBS program for maintaining and improving workplace safety. The company was using co-worker observations and feedback in the BBS program. However, the existing system was entirely paper based, unmanaged, and had room for drastic improvement. A student in the ITEC 4390 Senior Project course is an employee of Georgia Pacific, and he suggested modernizing the BBS system into a web-based computing system. A student group was formed to take on the project. The goal of the project is to redesign the system to improve efficiency, reliability, and management. Not expecting the company to award college students such a project, the idea was almost scratched immediately. We were fortunate enough to meet with a supervisor of the company in January 2008, and after just a few hours, we were awarded the project. After a short demo of the software in May 2008, we were invited to distribute the system throughout the corporate office and the Savannah branch of Georgia Pacific. Please attend our conference regarding the design and functionality of our system.

November 7 - NOON, ROOM: SC 1405 - Dr. Michael Sismour from the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.
"Genomes for all: Next generation DNA sequencing technology and its impact on chemistry, biology, and medicine."

November 5 - Dr. Ray Hashemi, Computer Science, Dr. Azita Bahrami, Information Technology, and Kenneth Thurber, Architectural Technology Corporation, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
"An Experiment in "Push" Technology."
The dominant technology for finding information on the World Wide Web (W3) is "pull" technology. That is, surfers use a search engine to pull their sites of interest. In contrast, "push" technology provides the sites of interest without a direct request from the user, albeit in a limited way. In other word, to benefit from push technology, the surfers need to subscribe to each and every one of their sites of interest (push channels) before they can enjoy updated sites supplied automatically. Some of the technologies used for providing such convenience are Channel Definition Format (CDF), Internet Open Trading Protocol (IOTP), and Mathematical Markup Language (MML).

In this research effort, we investigated the viability of push technology from the perspective of user's intention. Through this approach, one can mine the sites a surfer has visited during a day, for example, and discover his/her intention: what has he/she been looking for? To answer such a question, we used a three-level hierarchical model of intention: stimuli, attention, and intention. Upon discovery of each user’s intention, gathered from his/her day time surfing behavior, we used a search engine to search the W3 for relevant websites from which we pushed the authoritative ones (i.e. quality sites) to him/her at night. We identified authoritative sites through the use Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search (HITS) algorithm.

October 15 - Dr. Cameron Coates and Dr. Priya Goeser, Engineering Studies Program.
"Plate Fixation Devices for Bone Repair under Impact Loads"
There is not a general consensus whether Dynamic Compression Plate (DCP) fixation devices for long bone trauma repair represent a risk for the patient whose vocation or avocation requires impact loading at that site after the bone has healed. The provision of evidence of post healing mechanical performance of these systems long after the bone has healed will enable safer and more cost effective decision-making regarding plate removal and aid in the development of useful mathematical models for bone damage.

In this work, the mechanical performance of ulna bones with 3.5-inch dynamic compression plates attached and ulna bones without any fixation are examined through impact and static three-point bend experimental tests. Ulna bones with and without mid-shaft dynamic compression plates are placed in a static three-point bend test and loaded beyond their yield point. The bones are then unloaded and further subjected to a mid-shaft impact test and their fracture surfaces are compared at high magnification. The impact dynamics are also recorded with a high-speed camera. Localized damage events and rates are compared for ulna bones with and without fixation. A similar comparison study is also done computationally, using a finite element model of the ulna bone (represented as a hollow cylindrical shell) with and without the fixation devices.

October 1 - Dr. Felix Hamza-Lup, Computer Science
Collaborator: Dr. Bradley R. Sturz, Psychology
Research Assistants: James LaPlant, Elena Clapan, Markus Lambeth, Carlos Sanchez
"Broadband Analysis of Collaborative Haptics (BACH)"
In this talk Dr. Hamza-Lup investigates the effects of network delay and delay variation on visual-haptic task performance.

Haptics is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. The user can receive three types of touch sensations through a haptic device: force feedback, tactile feedback, and proprioception.

Haptic devices generate small forces through a mechanical linkage. Devices such as the haptic glove allow the user to sense the shape and form of virtual objects. Haptic hardware and associated software technology have become increasingly available, especially in entertainment (electronic games) and the medical field (simulation and training of surgical procedures).

Currently computer networks are adapted to carry information that stimulates two human senses: the auditory sense (e.g., VoIP) and the visual sense (video, graphics, and text). The requirements for distributed haptic applications are different. Such multimodal (visual-haptic) environments have stringent requirements in terms of stimuli synchronization; nevertheless their applications in telemedicine, telerobotics and telementoring are far reaching.

September 10 - Dr. Ray Greenlaw, Computer Science, "The Complexity of the Evolution of Graph Labelings"
Abstract: In this talk, Dr. Greenlaw discusses the Graph Relabeling Problem---given an undirected, connected, simple graph G = (V,E), two labelings l and l' of G, and label mutation or flip functions determine the complexity of evolving the labeling l into l'. The transformation of l into l' can be viewed as an evolutionary process governed by the types of mutations or flips allowed. The number of applications of the function is the duration of the evolutionary period. The labels may reside on the vertices or the edges, and some variants of the problem also involve weights on the edges. Dr. Greenlaw proves that vertex and edge relabeling have closely related computational complexities. Upper and lower bounds on the number of mutations required to evolve one labeling into another in a general graph are given, as are exact bounds for the case of a path. He also explores both vertex and edge relabeling with privileged labels, and resolves some open problems by providing precise characterizations of when these problems are solvable. Many of the results provide polynomial-time algorithms. The problems studied have applications in areas such as bioinformatics, networks, and VLSI. This research is joint work with Geir Agnarsson of George Mason University and Sanpawat Kantabutra of Chiang Mai University.