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Rutgers Gathers NSF Awards For Innovative Computing

Five Rutgers research teams have been awarded close to $4 million through the highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Information Technology Research program.

Now in its second year, the NSF program is granting $156 million to 309 recipients nationwide to develop innovative uses of information technology in science and engineering.

"Competition for these grants was incredibly intense," said Joseph J. Seneca, university vice president for academic affairs. "It is affirming to see the quality of our proposals and our faculty recognized at this highest level of competition."

Liviu Iftode, assistant professor of computer science, is receiving more than $1.4 million over four years to conduct research in the area known as pervasive or ubiquitous computing.

His project addresses a future in which embedded computers linked through wireless networks are everywhere in the human environment - in home appliances, cars, roads and buildings. Ulrich Kremer, assistant professor of computer science at Rutgers, and Michael Hsiao, assistant professor of computer engineering at Virginia Tech (formerly of Rutgers), are co-investigators.

The team will test a technology called "smart messages," a software architecture where mobile applications (the smart messages) migrate throughout the network, collecting bits of information for eventual delivery to a user.

When an application encounters a point of interest, it can record the information and then move to the next, making its own decisions and determining its own paths though the network.

The team will also develop prototypes on networks of embedded systems and handheld devices using Bluetooth, the new short-range wireless communication technology.

Doyle Knight, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will receive $1.2 million over three years to support the development of methodologies that combine experimental and computational techniques to improve the quality and efficiency and reduce the cost of product design.

Applications may include such diverse areas as laptop circuitry, aeronautics and medical implant design. Co-principal investigators on the project are Khaled Rasheed, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Georgia (formerly of Rutgers), and Professor Yogesh Jaluria, Associate Professor Gregory Elliott and Professor Noshir A. Langrana, all of Rutgers' department of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

In some cases, the computer simulation approach is much faster than physically building a laboratory model, even through rapid prototyping. In other cases where the computation is lengthy, complex and expensive, laboratory experiments may actually be faster and more efficient. The team will seek ways to merge the two approaches.

Professor Dale Haidvogel and Research Scientist Hernan Arango, both of Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, are to receive more than $762,000 to support the development of a system in which data is incorporated into a series of sophisticated computer models for application to coastal oceans, ocean basins and the global ocean.

Their research team includes 14 physical oceanographers, civil engineers and computer scientists at six universities, a national laboratory and private industry. The overall project is funded at about $5 million over five years. The new system will be of immediate benefit throughout the geosciences, including operational ocean weather forecasting, biogeochemistry, hydrology and solid-earth geophysics.

Assistant Professor Manish Parashar of the department of electrical and computer engineering and Rutgers' Center for Advanced Information Processing will receive about $337,500 to support sophisticated computer modeling and characterization of the earth's subsurface in the interest of increasing production from existing oil and natural gas reservoirs.

The overall project is funded for $2,150,000 over three years and involves collaborators from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Maryland-College Park, Ohio State University and the University of Chicago.

Statistics Professor David Madigan is being awarded more than $245,000 to support work on the analysis of "digital traces," the vast and complex residue of Internet use. Appropriate analyses of these traces can lead to an understanding of online behavior and, in turn, to substantial improvements in the design of digital environments.

Madigan and his group will develop novel statistical technologies to address the significant challenges these convoluted and massive data present to traditional statistical methods. - By Joseph Blumberg

[Contact: Joseph Blumberg ]






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