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Industrial Engineering Professor Shannon Roberts of the University of Massachusetts Amherst notes that some modern vehicles have more than 100 computing components containing over 10 million lines of code. However, most vehicles are not designed with cybersecurity in mind and, as a result, they are susceptible to cyberattacks. For example, a 2015 Jeep Cherokee cyberattack in St. Louis resulted in a recall of 1.4 million vehicles. Moreover, there are countless other scenarios in which vehicles can be hacked to trigger crashes. With all these perils in mind, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded Roberts to study vehicle cybersecurity and find solutions.

The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Offshore Wind Energy Program, led by the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the College of Engineering, invites the campus community to attend its annual student poster session on Thursday, April 26, from 5:00 till 7:00 p.m. in the Hadley Room, 10th Floor, Campus Center. See UMass Amherst News Office report »

Five of the best and brightest academics from the College of Engineering (COE) have been chosen to receive COE’s 2017-2018 Outstanding Faculty Awards. Professor Russell Tessier was selected for the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award. The review committee designated Assistant Professors Caitlyn Butler and David Irwin as joint awardees for the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Finally, Professors Matthew Lackner and Shelly Peyton were named the co-recipients of the COE Outstanding Teaching Award. All five award winners will be recognized during the COE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

Apoorva Bajaj, a senior research fellow and innovation manager with the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), was interviewed for a March 22 article in Forbes magazine, which was covering a startup company that manufactures solar-powered sensors to collect data on hyperlocal weather conditions. On behalf of CASA, Bajaj has been working with the new company to help verify the accuracy of the weather data it was gathering.

Co-Principal Investigators Shannon Roberts (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department) and Philip Thomas (College of Information & Computer Sciences) are receiving a $36,000 award from the 2018 Armstrong Fund for Science, administered by the UMass Amherst Office of Research Development. The grant will fund their two-year project entitled “Improving Warning Systems of Driving Automation Systems through Reinforcement Learning,” aimed at optimizing precisely when a driving automation system should safely alert a human driver to take control of the vehicle when approaching a hazard.

James F. Manwell, an international expert on offshore wind energy, the director of the UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center, and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, recently commented on the NBC News MACH science and technology website about plans for General Electric’s gigantic new offshore wind turbine, the Haliade-X, which will stand 853-feet tall when built. For comparison, that will make the Haliade-X slightly smaller than the Eiffel Tower (1,063 feet) and slightly larger than the Seattle Space Needle (605 feet). But Manwell said it’s not yet clear how large offshore wind turbines can get. The NBC News MACH story was reported in Inland News Today.

Irene S. Kurtz, a Ph.D. candidate in the research lab of Professor Jessica D. Schiffman from the Chemical Engineering Department, was one of nine recipients nationally to receive an Eli Lilly Travel Award. The award is sponsored jointly by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and Eli Lilly & Company to increase the participation of women in the chemical sciences. Funding provides female graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to travel to a national meeting and present their research.

As the 21st century buries us all in a frenzy of information, cyber-security issues, societal unrest, political divisions, and hyperactivity, it is becoming apparent that solutions to complex technology, work, and racial issues are going to require the concerted efforts of many interdisciplinary experts “to understand the promises and perils of these major societal shifts.” So says Professor Shannon Roberts of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department as she attempts to address these major societal problems with a new $99,970 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

An article in the Journal for Civil Aviation Training reports that UFA, Inc., a developer of air traffic control simulation systems based in Burlington, Massachusetts, has delivered an ATTower air traffic control simulator to the Transportation Center in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

Assistant Professor Shannon Roberts of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has been selected by the UMass Amherst Center for Research on Families (CRF) for the 2018-2019 CRF Family Research Scholars Program, which will provide funding to release Roberts from teaching one of her courses over the next year, among other benefits. Roberts’ CRF proposal is entitled “Studying and Mitigating Socioeconomic Inequalities in Teenage Driving.”

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