SURP Archives

2020

SURP 2020 Information Session*

Did you miss the live SURP information session? Not to worry, a full video of the event is available:

Information Session Slides:

*The SURP Information Session includes an overview of the SURP program and application process. A panel of faculty and former SURP students lead the Q&A session. This information session is sponsored by: The College of Engineering, the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP), and the CENG JEDI Programming and Planning Action Group.

2020 SURP Project Abstracts

Faculty Member: Kira Abercromby (kabercro@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

The project entails looking at trajectory options throughout cis-lunar space.  Trajectories, and the subsequent delta-v calculations, to be examined will include those in orbit about the Moon and transfer trajectories between the Earth and the Moon to determine possible options for trajectory paths in cis-lunar space.  Specific orbits might be in near rectilinear Halo orbits, ballistic lunar transfer trajectories, and return transfers from Halo orbits.  Finite burns, rather than impulsive burns, will be explored as well as the inclusion of perturbation effects, attitude of the spacecraft, mass and tank size, and power requirements.  Various types of propellant will be investigated to determination mass, power, and tank size needed.  The requirement for the deliverable is that the code be written in Matlab and incorporated in GMAT.

Faculty Member: Roy Jafari (rojafari@calpoly.edu) and Paul Anderson (pander14@calpoly.edu)
Department: Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering

The widespread popularity and adoption of consumer digital health tools has enabled the detailed study of how everyday behavior can impact health, at scale and in a real-world setting. However due to the rapid deployment of new measurement devices (e.g. consumer activity monitors) one of the key challenges in advancing the research has been the absence of standardization in how patient generated health data (PGHD) is represented. Lack of standardization can lead to isolated efforts across the research community that are difficult to compare or aggregate into collective meaning. Furthermore, data standardization can reduce research costs and could fast track efforts to make a meaningful impact on people’s health.

Learn more about standards in the nascent field of Digital Medicine.

There are several efforts focusing on creating standard semantics that enable meaningful description of data generated from consumer activity monitors. The scope of this project is to develop a tool that can convert data from market-leader wearable sensors into PGHD data standards. The project will involve:

  1. Selection of target standards([1],[2],[3]) and selection of the PGHD signals/measurements (e.g., Apple Watch Heathkit activity and sleep data [4], Fitbit activity/sleep data [5], Garmin…) that will be converted to this standard.

  2. Design of ETL (Extract/Transform/Load) software that is modular, extensible, well tested.

  3. Implementation of tool (including software validation tests)

The aim of this program is to enable the research community and it is the intent to make the output software/tool open source.

Faculty Member: Dennis Derickson (ddericks@calpoly.edu)
Department: Electrical Engineering

In this project, we will work with project sponsors at Raytheon to design and fabricate a 1 by 8 solid state switch that covers the frequency range of 50 MHz to 18 GHz using surface mount components and low-loss dielectric substrates.    We will start by verifying models for p-i-n switch diodes using Keysight Advanced Design systems software.   We will then model the entire switch using a 2.5 dimension electromagnetic simulator to model the parasitic coupling between transmission lines for this star-configuration switch.   The last task will be to do the layout and ready design for fabrication.   If time permits we might be able to do a first pass fabrication of the design.

Faculty Member: Paulo Iscold (piscold@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

The Conceptual Design of aircraft concepts requires engineers to estimate a vehicle’s mission performance based on aerodynamics, propulsion, and mass properties. In reviewing student projects, it appears that reasonable academic resources exist to produce aerodynamic and mass properties data, but propulsion lags behind. The intent of this project is to produce a tool that can create installed propulsion data tables for theoretical engines, providing designers with critical insight that avoids the proprietary data limitations of major engine companies. This parametric model will greatly improve the ability to explore aircraft concepts and understand the important balance of these three complimentary disciplines.

Faculty Member: Dongfeng Fang (dofang@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science

Boeing Enterprise Transportation, Warehousing, and Logistic s (TWL) is on a mission to expand its supplier reusable container assets and improve inventory tracking (reduce loss & theft) of these Boeing-owned shipping containers which are passively RFID tagged.  Currently, Boeing operates a fleet of trucks out of the Puget Sound area that pickup goods from regional cross docks, ports, air terminals, and local supplier docks to deliver to Pacific North West  factories.  These trucks currently utilize a  fleet management solution to ensure driver safety &  track GPS routes to manage maintenance requirements. Boeing Licensed Transportation (BLT) is in the market for a new fleet management solution that will integrate with RFID readers for the purpose of tracking goods throughout the supply chain.

Note: the term “Reusable Packaging”, refers to pallets, totes, custom-designed packaging or commercial off-the-shelf containers which can be re-used for transporting material.

The technical challenges include:

  • Integrating a fleet management solution with cellular connected RFID readers
  • Transmitting cellular data securely to Boeing (signal acquisition)
  • Architecting a connectivity & storage solution from Boeing Licensed Transportation vehicle technology to AIT-IMS (Boeing middleware platform for tag management) and Teradata platform
  • Successfully track contents of truck providing real-time insight of container location, quantity, and history without the need for manual/ hand-held scanning devices
    • History of container usage can be used to understand container life-span, maintenance costs, etc.

Faculty Member: John Oliver (jyoliver@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Engineering Program

Nearly every crime has a digital element, and the amount of digital evidence per crime has grown drastically since the introduction of the smart phone. A computer forensics examiner is often tasked with parsing through several terabytes of data to find a very small amount of digital evidence. This data can also span multiple devices and the evidence that the examiner, making it more difficult to find coherent evidence. For this project, we will be exploring the use of machine learning tools that can be used to enhance examiners ability to be comprehensive in their search for evidence. Machine learning is very good and parsing through large amounts of data and should be useful for identifying aberrant behavior of suspects. Machine learning could be used in a triage-mode, helping the investigator focus their search of evidence at particular events or times. The student and I would both learn how to use the Tensorflow open-source machine learning tool suite.

Faculty Member: Melinda Keller (mkeller@calpoly.edu)
Department: Mechanical Engineering

A Net Zero Energy home not only needs to provide all electric power to a home with a system such as Solar PV, but also needs to provide all its heating, cooling, and hot water on site. This project will examine the water within a residence and how it can be modeled with solar power and heat pumps to provide heating, cooling, and hot water meeting a net zero energy goal. [also see Addendum] Moving public opinion away from natural gas and toward heat pumps is a huge project the California Energy Commission is undertaking, and we can help by coming up with thermal models using such tools as Energy Pro, Ansys Work Beach, and Altair Hyperworks to show how the energy budget of a residential home changes with various thermal boundaries and equipment technologies.

Faculty Member: Stephen Klisch (sklisch@calpoly.edu)
Department: Mechanical Engineering

Project 1 – Baseball and softball pitching biomechanics. We will extend our previous work (with youth baseball pitchers) to adult baseball pitchers and youth and/or adult softball pitchers. We will recruit pitchers, possibly conduct DXA scans (with Dr. Reaves from Food Science & Nutrition and his Nutrition students), conduct pitching motion analysis experiments, calculate injury-related pitching arm kinetics (forces, torques), and conduct statistical analyses to investigate associations between kinetics and anthropometric body measures (body mass, arm mass, body are arm segment mass indices).

Project 2 – Gait biomechanics. We will extend our previous work (with adults) to children, including normal weight and overweight children (the latter being at high risk for knee injuries and arthritis). We will recruit children (elementary school age), possibly conduct DXA scans (with Dr. Reaves from Food Science & Nutrition and his Nutrition students), conduct gait motion analysis experiments, calculate knee kinetics (forces, torques), and conduct statistical analyses to investigate associations between kinetics and anthropometric body measures (body mass, body mass index, body fat percentage).

Faculty Member: Maria Pantoja (mpanto01@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science

Thermals are regions of raising hot air formed on the ground through the warming of the surface by sunlight. Thermals are commonly used by birds and glider pilots to extend flight duration, increase cross-country speed, improve range, or simply to conserve energy. This kind of engine less flight using nature sources of lift is called soaring. Once a thermal is encountered, the pilot flies in circles to keep within the thermal, so gaining altitude before flying off to the next thermal and towards the destination. Estimating thermals is not an easy task, pilots look for different indicators like color variation on the ground because the difference in the amount of heat absorbed by the ground varies based on the color/composition, birds circling in an area because, and certain types of cloud formations (cumulus clouds). But the above method is not reliable enough and pilots study the conditions for thermals by estimating solar heating of ground (Cloud cover and Time year/date) and also the lapse rate and dew point of air.

In this project we want to use Machine Learning techniques to develop an algorithm that forecast thermals. We know that pilots record all their autonomous flights in a database with all the gps coordinates, speed, weather conditions and location of thermals. We want to use these database to train an algorithm to automatically predict the location of a thermal given as input the current weather conditions and terrain information (obtained from Google maps). The final product will be a mobile app where you introduce the location where you are and it will return an estimation of the location of the thermals so the pilot can plan the flight path to take to maximize the flight time.

Faculty Member: Christian Eckhardt (eckhardt@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science & Software Engineering

This proposal is about a novel message passing interface (MPI) software, which utilizes multi-core CPUs at all scales (from normal PCs to super-computers) for solving numerical equations of all sorts. Supercomputers are dominating theoretical research for physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology with software’s such as ab initio simulations (“from scratch”). For such calculations, multi processing API’s (application programming interface) are used such as OpenMP or MPI. In short, one writes a program and the MPI software calls this program n-times with shared memory. Matrix calculations are split then over a number of processes, making modern theoretical research possible: The wait time for results is reduced from “days” or even “years” to some hours. Supercomputer are solely using MPI, OpenMP or sometimes similar alternatives. The most prestigious universities are involved in the development. Disclaimer: departments >buying< supercomputer packets of CPU cores, and not very often are more than 128 cores per calculation used due to parallel efficiency deficits above that number. This can be established on a local cluster or even on a better PC as well. (and is, still such an infrastructure is often a bit more expensive than simply buying some time at a supercomputer). This project is the start of our own solution, which will work similar to MPI, but can also access the GPU like OpenMP or CUDA. And we keep things simple, without implementing sophisticated matrix inverter or Eigen-value solver which get the last 5% speed out of the algorithm, since we don’t believe it to be necessary to sacrifice code simplicity for gaining 5% computational time.

Therefore we also do not rely on external libraries such as Boost or ScaLapack.

What we do:

– Matrix calculations (multiplying, inverting, Eigenvalue, Eigenvectors …)

– Syncing
– GPU access

How can you imagine that:

#include <simpi.h> //our API
void main(..) //called with an ID and how many processes in sum
{
Matrix A,B,C;
A = …; B = …;
C = SIMPI_matrixmult(A,B); //automatically distributes the work over all processes
SIMPI_synch(); //needed so no process runs ahead while the others are still working
Vectors v[] = SIMPI_Eigen(C);

}

Faculty Member: Andrew Danowitz  (adanowit@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Engineering Program

This proposal seeks to develop and validate the CAR (confront, address, and replace) framework for addressing biases and inequality in engineering. PI and students have already documented how problematic jargon and terminology commonly used in the engineering classroom can negatively affect the sense of belonging and inclusion for a wide variety of students (CoNECD 2020, postponed for CV19). Currently, however, faculty do not have a common framework for addressing this issue in the classroom: ignoring the terminology may promote color blind racism and leave students with a knowledge gap, confronting the terminology head on may lead to unproductive backlash from certain students (citations available on request). A student researcher on this project has proposed the CAR framework to address this problem. CAR calls on instructors and bystanders to Confront, or identify the problematic terminology, Address how the terminology is problematic and may be exclusionary to various groups, and come to a consensus a Replacement for the term that instructors can use for the rest of the quarter. This project proposes to explore how the CAR framework fits into current theories of race and inclusion with a special emphasis on STEM education. The project also proposes to experimentally apply the CAR framework on sample populations to start developing best practices for handling problematic jargon and terminology in the classroom.

Faculty Member: Moshen B. Kivy  (mbeyrama@calpoly.edu)
Department: Materials Engineering

High entropy alloys (HEAs) are a novel class of multicomponent alloys consisting of four or more specifically selected alloying elements with equi-molar compositions. Since 2004 when the first research outcomes of HEAs were published, these alloys have significantly transformed the conventional alloy design by introducing a vast variety of possible compositions, microstructures and properties. Over the past sixteen years, numerous research projects around the world have reported remarkable mechanical, chemical, and physical properties for HEAs and high entropy ceramics (HECs). Due to the compositional complexity of these materials, computational approaches have proved to be essential tools in design and development of HEAs and HECs. However, in many cases, calculated computational results are not in agreement with the experimental outcomes. Recently, a very few studies have associated this inconsistency to the elemental distribution of the elements in the crystalline structures. However, validating this idea requires further research. In this proposed research project, we will investigate this theory by studying the effect of elemental distributions (atomic positions) on vacancy and interstitial energies (as two examples of point defects) in some simple HEAs. This is a straight forward research project that is doable by undergraduate students. An online Python-based tool that we have developed will be utilized to generate the initial crystal structures with desired compositions. We developed this tool in 2019 as a MATE undergraduate summer project in collaboration with School of Materials Engineering, Purdue University, and published it on the nanoHUB website with student co-authors. After generating the initial defect-free crystal structures (supercells) using this online tool and calculating their cohesive energies, we will introduce the desired point defects to the structures and calculate their formation and cohesive energy. Carbon and/or oxygen will be considered as the interstitial elements in our simulations. All simulations and calculations are planned to be done using Vienna Ab-initio Simulation Package (VASP) as the most efficient and the most reliable software available for atomistic calculations. However, if the current situation of COVID-19 affects this plan (such as purchasing software license, software installation, etc.), Quantum-Espresso (QE) (website) as the open-source alternative software package will be used. Statistical analysis will be conducted on the results using Microsoft Excel. Due to the high efficiency of our calculations, we will be able to study a wide variety of HEA compositions and crystal structures. Although I introduce this atomistic-scale approach in MATE 403 (computational materials analysis), I will closely train and mentor the selected students through this research project regardless of their experience in this area. The results of this project will have a noticeable impact on the current state of the art HEA computational research and studies. Moreover, through this “Learn-by-Doing” research experience, the student will learn how to combine their course materials/knowledge with computational modeling and simulation in order to design microstructures and properties of desired materials. The product of this inclusive theoretical (modeling and simulation) research can be a student co-authored journal publication.

Faculty Member: Benjamin Lutz (blutz@calpoly.edu)
Department: Mechanical Engineering

Student evaluation of teaching (SET) plays a critical role in engineering education. In particular, SET serves two primary functions: (1) offering feedback to instructors to improve teaching and (2) providing administrative stakeholders with data needed to evaluate performance and make personnel decisions. But prior research has shown how these dual purposes can operate in conflict. For instance, a thoughtful critique from a student might help an instructor make better choices in future iterations of the class, but at the same time, that critique could be used as evidence of poor teaching. We argue that this tension can lead to faculty making pedagogical choices that minimize the potential for critical feedback. Further, we argue that such choices can run counter to existing recommendations for student-centered, active learning. As a result, my proposed research project will explore faculty perceptions of SET.

To do so, I will leverage an existing dataset of 29 interviews with engineering faculty at a large, predominantly white, land grant university in the pacific northwest. The interviews explore faculty beliefs about teaching as well as evaluation and probe for the ways in which instructors’ teaching philosophy aligns (or doesn’t align) with the ways in which teaching is evaluated via SET. Specifically, we will work to develop and submit a manuscript that explores the question, How do engineering faculty perceive the role of student evaluation, and how do those perceptions influence their pedagogical approaches?

For this Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) 2020, I propose a project in which two students and I will perform three major tasks. First, we will conduct a thorough review of literature related to SET as well as qualitative methodologies. This step will establish a strong foundation for the subsequent stages of analysis and writing. Second, we will perform qualitative analysis of 29 interview transcripts, develop a codebook that offers a thick rich description of the present research question. Finally, in summation of our efforts, we will compose and submit a journal article The International Journal of Engineering Education.

Faculty Member: Theresa Migler-VonDollen  (tmigler@calpoly.edu)
Department:
Computer Science & Software Engineering

In 1972 Richard M. Karp published a paper, “Reducibility Among Combinatorial Problems” that changed our understanding of the limitations of computing forever. He proposed that there are particular problems (of which he highlighted 21) that are more difficult than others. He called these problems “complete” and showed that they were all reducible to one another in the sense that if any one of these problems could be solved by an efficient algorithm, they all could be. Since 1972, thousands of additional problems have been added to this set. I propose a careful study of the original 21 problems of Karp with the purpose of making clear and explicit the reductions that create this class of problems. Then I propose to create a framework from which researchers and practitioners alike can classify their problems of interest. This would allow for less wasted time in trying to find efficient algorithms for problems that could quickly be shown to be complete. Practitioners would then be able to focus their attention and resources on efficient approximation algorithms.

Faculty Member: Pauline Faure (pfaure@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

The project tackles the concept development of a novel nano-reaction control system for small satellites and it will be carried out in collaboration with a local aerospace small business, Maverick Space Systems. The project overall goal is to establish the concept design of high performance, safe, and green miniature thruster system that will enable small spacecraft to expand their on-orbit capabilities. In particular, the students will define the functions of the system based on the stakeholders’ needs and overall assess the feasibility of the system to be developed. The students will also be responsible for generating various ideas and alternatives for the design of the system, which they will then assess to determine the concept presenting the best balance between performances, cost, risk, and development time. At the end of the SURP period, the students will present their analysis and recommendations to Maverick Space Systems during an industry review. Upon passing the review, the students will be able to pursue the project beyond SURP by manufacturing and testing the first prototype of the nano-reaction control system.

Faculty Member: Jonathan Ventura (jventu09@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science & Software Engineering

A Computed Tomography (CT) scan combines many X-ray measurements to produce a volumetric reconstruction of internal organs and bones. CT is a critical component of cancer diagnosis and treatment planning. However, X-ray itself is harmful to the patient and thus it is desirable to reduce the amount of exposure required to reconstruct a usable image. Low-dose CT reduces patient exposure but also results in a lower quality reconstruction. In this project we will explore the use of deep learning to denoise the raw CT data before reconstruction. In particular, we will build upon an existing self-supervised approach developed in my lab for low-light microscope image denoising and extend it to be used for raw CT data denoising.

Faculty Member: Jennifer Peuker (jpeuker@calpoly.edu)
Department: Mechanical Engineering

While we have guidelines to design to for thermal comfort, we all know of buildings and spaces that are not comfortable and people are either too cold or too hot. When people are not comfortable—if they have access to a thermostat, most will adjust it without thought for the overall building energy usage. This research project will investigate occupant satisfaction and what influences their perception of thermal comfort in classroom settings—specifically the psychological influences on thermal comfort. It asks the question of whether we can influence people to believe that the room conditions are acceptable. The ultimate objective for the research is use the thermal comfort data to be able to reduce energy usage in buildings for heating and cooling. For the project this summer we will: use a Cal Poly created app to collect data about people’s thermal comfort perception, measure room conditions to create a model to predict indoor conditions in classrooms, and determine trends in historical data. For this project, we need (1) students who can or want to learn about mobile/web-based app development/maintenance, (2) students who want to learn how to process large amounts of data to determine trends and model the results, (3) any student who is interested in making an impact on the world by ultimately helping us reduce our energy usage. This project is wide open for applications and has the possibility to have far reaching impact, especially in the energy usage sector.

Faculty Member: Dongfeng Fang (dofang@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science & Software Engineering

As the Internet-of-Things (IoT) becomes increasingly popular and widely adopted, more and more IoT applications are integrated into our lives, such as smart home and vehicular networks. Smart Home is a big trend as an application of many IoT applications. Due to wireless communication vulnerabilities, there are many security issues that exist in Smart Home systems. We have initialized the Smart Home system at Spring Quarter with all devices and their connections. With all the work in Spring Quarter, we will be able to remotely work on modelling the system and analyze the role of each device and the connections for each link. After system modelling, a security study will be carried out for each node and link. For each node, we will study the potential security problems in both hardware and software perspectives based on current security problems and academic research focus. For each link, we are going to analyze different wireless protocols including: WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Zigbee. Based on the node and link analysis, an overall system security analysis will be derived theoretically. Our analysis will not be only theoretical, but will include hands-on penetration tests based on IoT devices in students house. Besides smart home system, IoT is also widely adopted in vehicular networks. Tracking systems are used for a lot of applications in vehicular networks with wireless communications. How to provide security and privacy in these tracking systems is critical. There are manyrese arch focus and industrial work we can utilized as a theorical study. Possible existed data can be utilized to study tractor security problems.

Faculty Member: Franz Kurfess (fkurfess@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science & Software Engineering

The goal of this project is to continue preliminary research conducted in two classes in the F19 quarter on the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning methods for the recognition of sharks and other objects in aerial video footage obtained by drones. While this initial work confirmed that the approach is viable, and the results deliver accuracy rates of about 80-90% with limited data sets and training efforts, we believe that there is significant room for improvement through a more concentrated effort by an interdisciplinary team of 2-5 students with backgrounds in Computer Science and related fields, and interest or backgrounds in marine biology. We have an existing collaboration with Dr. Chris Lowe from the Shark Lab at CSU Long Beach, who can provide us with drone video footage. The project also can include a biology student with an emphasis on marine biology. As a member of the Cal Poly’s Center for Coastal Marine Science (CCMS) advisory board, I have contacts with faculty and students in this area, primarily Dr. Ben Ruttenberg, the CCMS Director. The project will also benefit from the collaboration of Jeanine Scaramozzino, Cal Poly’s CSAM librarian. She has a background in Marine Biology, Geographical information systems, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and is well-connected with shark researchers. The focus will be on the following aspects: Increase the available data sets by labeling more images containing sharks and other objects, and make them available to the wider research community.

  1. Improve the machine learning models through longer training times and modifications of the computational models and architectures.

  2. Explore the use of special-purpose hardware such as Intel’s Neural Compute Stick to port a trained model onto a low-power computing module that can be installed on a consumer-grade drone for real-time shark spotting as the drone flies over a coastal area.

Faculty Member: Dianne DeTurris (ddeturri@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

This research focuses on quantifying complexity in the development of modern aerospace systems. Qualitative methods are available to define problem domains and describe system vulnerabilities due to complexity (Snowden, Bonabeau). Recently, a baseline quantitative approach has been applied to aerospace (Tamaskar). The proposed research will be geared toward use of quantifying complexity in the conceptual design phase as a way to allocate resources for having the best chance of managing complexity. The complexity measurement process will hopefully be generalized for wider applicability through use of existing design structure matrix (DSM) methods (Eppinger).

References:
Bonabeau, E., 2007. Understanding and managing complexity risk. MIT Sloan Management Review, 48(4), p.62.
Snowden, D.J., and Boone, M.E., 2007. A leader’s framework for decision making. Harvard business review, 85(11), p.68.
Tamaskar, S., Neema, K. and DeLaurentis, D., 2014. Framework for measuring complexity of aerospace systems.
Research in Engineering Design, 25(2), pp.125-137.
Eppinger, S., and Browning, T. Design Structure Matrix Methods and Applications. MIT Press, Reprint, 2016.

Faculty Member: Siyuan (Simon) Xing (sixing@calpoly.edu)
Department: Mechanical Engineering

Recently, there is a growing interest in legged robots. The legged robots need to handle physical interactions with the ground, which significantly challenges traditional design methods for non-contact robots. Numerical methods are used extensively to study the dynamics of such robots in both academia and industry. This project will investigate the locomotion of a hopping robot using Stateflow, a MATLAB toolbox for numerical study of systems with physical interactions. The robot will be modeled in Stateflow, and its locomotion will be simulated. From the simulation, the effects of system parameters (e.g., robot mass, spring coefficients, and forward speed) on the dynamic performance and gaits of the robot will be explored. Finally, the animations of hopper’s locomotion will be generated to provide a better understanding of the dynamics of the legged robot.

Faculty Member: Nianpin Cheng (ncheng@calpoly.edu)
Department: Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering

Guaranteeing each player in competitive youth sports programs such as baseball, basketball or soccer plays for an equal amount of time is not only one of the top concerns for players and coaches, but also an inclusive practice. However, coaches have been struggling in creating a time allocation sheet that ensures every player plays for the same amount of time because there is currently no solution readily accessible for coaches to use online. Ensuring each player plays for an equal or close to equal amount of time each game and no player stays on the bench consecutively for two quarters per game are all requirements that make it very difficult for coaches to come up with a weekly schedule to balance the players’ game time. The objective of this research project is to use goal programming to develop an optimization model for this problem and also make the solution readily available to coaches. This would be an easy to use solution that could be extended to many youth sports. The PI has already built a preliminary solution for one YMCA youth basketball team in San Luis Obispo and received positive feedback. In this project, two undergraduate students will be advised to create a solution that can be extended to other youth sports and help make the solution accessible to more youth sports coaches via internet and/or mobile applications.

Faculty Member: Jean Lee (jlee473@calpoly.edu)
Department: Materials Engineering

Gypsum is one of the main products of H. M. Holloway, a local company with offices in San Luis Obispo county that is a leader in soil amendments. H. M. Holloway’s raw gypsum ore is mainly comprised of three different materials: gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate or CaSO4 • 2H2O), quartz (SiO2), and calcium bentonite clay. Each of these three component materials holds potential economic value for H. M. Holloway, and the process of beneficiating the raw gypsum ore separates these three materials from each other. This project is a collaboration with H. M. Holloway to develop and conduct proof-of-concept testing of inexpensive, efficient, and environmentally-friendly methods of beneficiating the raw gypsum.

Beneficiation based on mechanical and electromagnetic principles is the primary focus of this project, although other approaches to beneficiation may be explored based on interest and time. The mechanical and electromagnetic approaches include the following:

Separation via agitation or milling of the raw gypsum ore using different front end screening techniques, as bentonite clay has been observed to often have a smaller particle size than the other constituents of the raw gypsum ore.

Calcium bentonite clay has significant cation exchange capacity, and in particular it is known to be able to exchange some of its cations with iron cations (iron is not regarded as deleterious to the clay). We seek to take advantage of this property by exchanging the iron cation in hematite (Fe2O3, or rust) with cations in the clay. With iron introduced into the clay, we will explore using a magnet as another means of separating the calcium bentonite clay from the other two materials.

Gypsum is also known to have a significant cation exchange capacity, which implies that the surface of gypsum particles is charged. Static electricity that is induced on a cloth, for example, will be investigated as a means of attracting gypsum particles and separating it from the other two materials.

Using the piezoelectric property of quartz, the removal of quartz from the other two materials will be examined by pressing the raw gypsum between two plates, with one of the plates being charged.

Faculty Member: Ryan Nugent (rnugent@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

The purpose of this project is to develop a deep space communication system for small spacecraft. The project’s overall goal is to establish the conceptual design of an efficient, low power, and low cost deep space communication system. This communications system will enable small spacecraft to expand their on-orbit capabilities and enable a larger number of players access to deep space research. In particular, the students will define the functions of the system based on the stakeholders’ needs and assess the overall feasibility of the system to be developed. The students will also be responsible for generating various ideas and alternatives for the design of the system, which they will then perform trade studies to determine the best balance between performance, cost, risk, and development time. Finally, based on their analysis, the students will have a design that is ready to be manufactured and tested in the future. At the end of the SURP period, the students will present their technical approach which lead to the communication system prototype. In addition, the students will also present their assessment of the communication system performances and provide recommendations to complete the system after SURP.

Faculty Member: Taufik (taufik@calpoly.edu)
Department: Electrical Engineering

In 2013 the California legislature passed a mandate aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet air quality standards, and achieve a carbon free electric power grid by establishing a target of 1,325 megawatts (MW) of energy storage for the state’s three investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric (243 MW), Southern California Edison (422 MW), and San Diego Gas & Electric (156 MW). In response to this aggressive target, the three utility companies have been actively installing utility scale energy storage utilizing mainly three battery technologies: Lead-Acid, Lithium-Ion, and Vanadium Redox Flow. The lead-acid and lithium-ion technologies have been widely used, and their operation and characteristics have been thoroughly studied and well understood. This helps utility engineers in knowing the technical impacts of connecting these batteries to the power grid. The picture, however, is not the same for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VFRB). This is mainly due to its unpopularity from its large physical size and higher cost compared to the other technologies. However, the past few years the VFRB technology has gained increased interest among utility companies because of its decreasing cost and its long life cycle: in excess of 15,000-20,000 charge/discharge cycles which are far beyond the life cycle of the other two technologies which is usually in the order of 4,000-5,000 charge/discharge cycles. This research project aims to develop an improved VFRB model which takes into account the coupling effects between the electrochemical and the thermal behaviors of VFRB. The proposed enhanced model will provide a very useful tool for utility engineers during critical system planning wherein the model can provide accurate performance and operating characteristics of the VFRB when connected to electric power grid or microgrids.

Faculty Member: Hani Alzraiee (halzraie@calpoly.edu)
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are an emerging technology that serve a range of applications for construction purposes including the creation of site survey maps, jobsite monitoring for routine progress reports, and structural inspections. As a relatively new asset to construction, expanding awareness of the benefits UAVs offer and developing concise implementation plans will increase access to this technology and improve the industry at large. The purpose of this research is to investigate the application of UAVs in the preconstruction and planning phases of a project to develop a framework for drone deployment by companies currently using traditional methods. Proper utilization of UAVs in the construction industry is expected to enhance project scheduling, reduce project costs of construction tasks, streamline progress-tracking, and improve overall jobsite safety. However, even with the benefits drones can provide, they have not yet been widely utilized by the construction industry. This is due to various factors including regulatory issues, a lack of standards and best practices of using this technology, and construction practitioner’s hesitancy to take the leap and invest in a promising but not-yet-widely-adopted product. These implementation challenges indicate a major hindrance to drone adoption is not a perceived lack of merit but rather the natural growing pains of an emerging technology. Therefore, presenting new concepts, experiments, and case studies, as well as defining methodologies and best practices for current and future integration of UAVs in various stages of the construction life cycle is integral in spurring the acceptance of this rising technology. This study emphasizes UAV integration in preconstruction and planning stages as these tasks are most representative of the initial uses of drones in a company and they are less risky than future implementations involving flying around and over active job sites. In order to implement the concept, data collection of construction sites using UAVs will be conducted and analyzed using cloud-based computation platforms. A framework that outlines the most efficient use of drones in various tasks and provides comparisons to the traditional alternatives will be implemented. The outcome of this research is expected to improve construction productivity and safety. Drone use in construction is a rising technology. Providing students an opportunity to research and investigate this topic and use their skills to improve it will be an extremely unique addition to their portfolios and will set them apart from their peers. In the coming years, drone utilization has the potential to become a new standard in the construction industry. Interested students will have the opportunity to learn about this rising technology first-hand and their work through SURP will give them a chance to be prepared and present findings to become a part of this transition as it is happening. The research completed by this program will set precedent for further education of drone use in construction at Cal Poly by increasing awareness of this technology in the student body. Cal Poly already has strong connections with many companies in the construction and civil engineering industries. The recent addition of CE 415: Advanced Building Information Modeling for Civil Engineering and this proposed work involving drones in construction points to a future where Cal Poly can emerge as a leader in colligate education of state-of-the-art construction technology resulting in successful graduates and potential partnerships with companies specializing in the field of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).

Faculty Member: Joseph Callenes-Sloan (jcallene@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Engineering Program

The world is facing a long term crisis with high energy demands and climate change. Roughly 80% of the world’s energy consumption is from fossil fuels. The energy systems we use today were designed and built around using fossil fuels, with rigid infrastructures and centralized control and generation. In order to reach significantly higher levels of efficiency and sustainability, the future of energy generation and consumption will need to be very different from what we have today. To fully support the heterogeneous, decentralized and integrated architecture of these systems, ubiquitous communications across the system will be necessary. Many of those communications will also be used for critical and automated decision making. Security for these signals and systems is essential. The first part of the project focuses on building highly decentralized and heterogeneous systems that achieve high flexibility, efficiency, and security. At the same time, many emerging computing infrastructures increasingly utilize a variety of devices (e.g. IoT, mobile, edge, cloud, etc.) in a hierarchal fashion which exposes the entire system to significant cyber-attacks and side-channel vulnerabilities. The second part of the project will investigate cross-layer approaches for verifying, protecting against, and recovering from exploits including hardware and software-based attacks. Open source tools and RISCV-based processor designs will be used for the study.

Faculty Member: Mohamed Awwad (mawwad@calpoly.edu)
Department: Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering

California is America’s top wine producer, making 90% of all U.S. wine. California is the world’s fourth-leading wine producer after Italy, France, and Spain. Realizing the importance of wine production to both the local and national economies, the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department was established more than three decades ago. The Wine and Viticulture program at Cal Poly is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and emphasize the Cal Poly learn-by-doing philosophy while educating its students. To provide Cal Poly students with a more extensive practical experience, the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department launched the Cal Poly Wine Club. The Cal Poly wine commercial and business activities have witnessed rapid growth in the past few years. They will expand massively in the coming years with the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department controlling more components of the wine supply and distribution operations from growing to delivery to the end consumer. The main goal of this research project is to allow an interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly Engineering students the opportunity to analyze, improve and plan the complex post-prohibition wine supply chain with an application on the Cal Poly wine supply chain operations. The student researchers will work immediately on providing a solution to some of the problems faced by the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department in their e-commerce sales and distribution processes. Additionally, and under the supervision of the PI’s, the students will work on providing a technically-sound plan for the continuously growing Cal Poly wine operations and investigating the feasibility of incorporating modern technology such as the blockchain technology.

Faculty Member: Alicia Johnstone (aijohnst@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

This project will focus on developing an autonomous thermal control system designed to keep payloads on long duration missions within safe temperature limits. This project is part of a larger effort to develop the first CubeSat deployment system designed specifically for lunar and interplanetary missions. Students will define the thermal system requirements based on a range of potential thermal profiles, including transfer orbits to Mars, the asteroid belt, and beyond, and then develop the thermal control system to keep onboard components within the specified range. Students will explore both active and passive methods of thermal control as well as the associated control law behind the control system. Finally, thermal system design documentation will be generated, including schematics, drawings, and lists of off the shelf components required.

Faculty Member: Charles Birdsong (cbirdson@calpoly.edu)
Department: Mechanical Engineering

Cal Poly submitted a proposal and into the Indy Autonomous Challenge Competition in winter 2020. The judges graded our proposal as “Exceptional” and accepted our team “IndyCarPoly” into the competition. Our team so far includes faculty from Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Ag. Engineering. We are still working on recruiting students to work on the project. I hope to use SURP as a means to get students started on this project and then recruit them to join the team for the whole competition. The competition challenges teams to develop software to program a formula racecar to drive around the Indianapolis Speed Way at over 100 mph autonomously. This competition is unique because the sponsors will provide the Indy formula car and the software environment so teams are only responsible for writing computer code. This is attractive because we do not need to focus on raising a significant amount of money and developing our own vehicle and hardware. I hope to use SURP to recruit students onto our team and get them started with the project.

Faculty Member: Arnold Deffo (adeffo@calpoly.edu)
Department: Aerospace Engineering

Modeling an airplane is a key step in aircraft structural analysis, which itself is an important step before structural testing. During the early stages of design, one possible model is the beam model whereby the structure is modeled as a collection of beams forming the skeleton of the aircraft. As such, beams are structural elements that are central to design and analysis problems in aerospace engineering. In the beam model, the aircraft wing is often approximated as a cantilevered beam subject to transverse loads due to the lift distribution. However, because an actual wing has a non-uniform chordwise pressure distribution, the resultant lift distribution generally creates torsion of the wing in addition to bending. For homogeneous, isotropic beams, the analysis often consists of treating the torsion and bending cases independently as the resulting governing equations are uncoupled. However, for composite wings, it is not possible to decouple these two deformations. In this work, we investigate the free vibration behavior of a composite wing under coupled torsion-bending. Because of the formidable challenge associated with doing so in the most general case, we limit ourselves to structures with uniform spanwise geometric and material properties. Specifically, our numerical solution is based on the Rayleigh-Ritz method where we use the uncoupled mode shapes for torsion and bending as assumed modes to approximate the natural frequencies and mode shapes of the wing. The resulting mode shapes and natural frequencies are then compared to ones from the literature as a way to study the validity of the approach adopted in this work. We conclude with a sensitivity study to determine the effect of the bendingtorsion coupling stiffness and inertial coupling on the natural frequencies and predicted mode shapes.

Faculty Member: Bruno DeSilva (bcdasilv@calpoly.edu)
Department: Computer Science & Software Engineering

Software development is strongly dependent on source code management tools and platforms such as Git, GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab. Software teams also rely on issue tracking systems such as Jira, Bugzilla, and GitHub Issues, to manage tasks during the development and maintenance life-cycle of software applications. By using those systems, software developers leave a massive amount of valuable data regarding the product or service they develop and the process they follow to build and maintain these products/services – we call it software repository data. However, software repository data is only partially explored by services such as GitHub and, when these data are utilized to provide useful information to developers, it is usually provided through web-based user interfaces. These interfaces are not always convenient for developers when they have to make quick decisions during team meetings or when they are juggling through multiple screens that they have to use to carry out their engineering tasks. Therefore, in this project, we propose to implement an intelligent voice assistant skill for software developers and software teams to run on well-known smart voice assistant platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Our voice assistant application backend will have access to the user (developer) software repository (including code, issue tracking, pull requests, test code, build data, etc.) to gather data and answer questions such as “Alexa, who was the last contributor to the module Customer.py?”, “Alexa, who has written more tests for Post.java?”, “Hey Google, who has been assigned the highest number of issues in this sprint?”, “Who has contributed with more lines of code [in general] [or in the file Sort.py]?”, “How many pending pull requests we have?”, “What’s our avg bug fixing time?”, “What’s our median pull request review time?”, “What’s the priority of issue #10?”, and some more complex questions, such as, “Who should review file App.js?”, “Who should be assigned to issue #15?”, “Have we increased test coverage in the last two sprints?”, “How much of our codebase has grown over time?”

Faculty Member: Dale Dolan (dsdolan@calpoly.edu)
Department: Electrical Engineering

The energy and associated economic losses due to soiling on both residential and utility scale PV (photovoltaic) systems can be both significant and avoidable. Regular losses of up to 5% but sometimes reaching 10-15% have been reported which is of interest to system operators. Modules may be cleaned to reduce losses, but this comes with an offsetting economic cost. This research project will investigate reduction of soiling through control of the stowing angle of modules when not generating energy. This is a much more economically efficient method and can be done without any additional equipment being added to the system. I have obtained access to allow control of the tracking system at the Cal Poly Goldtree Solar Farm to allow this project to be completed 100% remotely. All control and data collection can be accomplished via a web based dashboard that allows us to monitor the performance of the farm in real time and to collect data that can be analyzed for optimization. The angle that the modules are stored while not producing energy affects the wind loading that is experienced but also may increase or decrease the amount of soiling that collects on the module but would also affect the self cleaning of the modules from dew, condensation, and rain. It is desired to determine an optimal strategy such that these competing interests can be optimized.

Faculty Member: Dale Dolan (dsdolan@calpoly.edu)
Department: Electrical Engineering

The Cal Poly Solar farm has been built as a single axis tracking facility with two different types of panels. Both conventional single cell solar panels and twin cell solar cells have been used in its construction. Twin Cell panels typically perform better than their conventional counterparts when shaded by other panels in the row in front of them in a fixed tilt system. However neither module performs well when even a small portion is shaded. Backtracking is a technique where the single axis tracker avoids shading other rows by sub-optimally tracking the sun until it is high enough in the sky that this is not necessary. This is relatively straightforward in a field that is flat or at least has all controlled modules in the same array. However the Cal Poly Solar farm installation has significant variation in terrain and this was transferred to the modules in adjacent rows such that they are not in the same plane nor are they parallel. As a result there is significant error in the backtracking algorithm that was not designed for this case which is seen by significant power losses in both of the types of panels. The subject of this research project will be to investigate and identify the areas where there is significant power loss from row to row shading. We will then determine how to adjust the limited input parameters into the existing algorithm to adjust such that performance is improved. The parameters will need to be adjusted for all 12 trackers and they will need to be determined every day. This is too time intensive for a plant operator to do every day manually and through a process of trial and error as they have been doing. As a result the parameters are only adjusted a few times per year and thus great quantities of energy are lost. We will develop an automated process for determining the parameters and through remote control validate the model used. I have obtained access to allow control of the tracking system at the Cal Poly Goldtree Solar Farm to allow this project to be completed 100% remotely. All control and data collection can be accomplished via a web based dashboard that allows us to monitor the performance of the farm in real time and to collect data that can be analyzed for optimization. The angle that the modules are tracking to can be monitored in real time and it can be determined through power monitoring if any modules are being shaded or not. It is desired to determine an optimal strategy such that the competing interests of operational time invested and energy gain achieved can be optimized.

2019

Project Posters

2019 SURP Gallery

SURP 2019

2019 SURP Symposium

  • Friday, October 11, 2019 
  • 3:00 – 5:00 PM 
  • Building 7 (ATL)

The Symposium featured a fun and informative poster session where students and faculty of the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) shared their work.

Watch videos of the featured projects:

2019 SURP Project Abstracts

Faculty Name: Trevor Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: tcardina@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Impact of Myoblast Transplantation on Arteriogenesis in Mice with Diet-Induced Obesity
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description (One Paragraph): Students will tie off the femoral artery of mice with suture to mimic the insufficient blood flow characteristic of peripheral artery disease. To better mimic the human patients, the mice will have diet-induced obesity. At the time of surgery, students will transplant muscle progenitor cells (i.e. myoblasts) on a gelatin disc to enhance the growth or natural bypass vessels (arteriogenesis). At day-7 following surgery, students will measure the enlargement and function of the natural bypasses by recording maximum and resting diameter with microscopy.

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Faculty Name: Trevor Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: tcardina@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Developing a novel thermoreversible polymer for cell delivery
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: Students in my laboratory and in the laboratory of Dr Philip Costanzo (Chemistry & Biochemistry) will collaborate on developing a novel thermoreversible polymer for cell delivery. Specifically, students in Dr Costanzo’s Lab will synthesize copolymers of poly(n-isopropylacrylamide) with hydroxyethyl methacrylate or hydroxyethyl acrylate (pNIPAM with pHEMA or pHEA) at various ratios. Students in my laboratory will then work with students from Dr Costanzo’s laboratory to test the copolymers at various dilutions for injectability, cell dispersion, cell viability, and in vivo durability.

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Faculty Name: Christopher Heylman
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: cheylman@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Microfluidic Chip Design for Growing Tissues-on-a-chip
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
Biomedical engineering graduate students are currently working in my lab to create a microfluidic “tissue-on-a-chip” device that will allow for the growth and maintenance of 3D vascularized human tissues. These tissues will be used for screening the potential effects of novel drugs on human tissues and organs before resorting to costly pre-clinic animal models and human clinical trials. Current devices contain a single, central incubation chamber in which the tissue is grown. However, our first generation of devices present challenges with cell-loading and perfusion. This summer research project aims to address these issues. This involves redesigning the chip and simulating flow rates in CAD and COMSOL software, fabricating chip molds in Cal Poly’s Microfabrication Lab, casting and plasma bonding chips, and validating simulated cell-loading and perfusion rates in the chambers of the final chip using fluorescent microscopy. Successful redesign of these chips will open the door for further tissue growth and drug response research while increasing the validity, reliability, and efficiency of this research. Planned future applications of this technology include rapid drug screening for cancer therapeutics and analyzing the effect of one drug on multiple parts of the body (i.e. multiple tissue types/organs on a single chip).

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Faculty Name: Christopher Heylman
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: cheylman@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Fluorescent Microscopy of Vascular Networks on a Microfluidic Chip
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
Biomedical engineering graduate students are currently working in my lab to create a microfluidic “tissue-on-a-chip” device that will allow for the growth and maintenance of 3D vascularized human tissues. These tissues will be used for screening the potential effects of novel drugs on human tissues and organs before resorting to costly pre-clinic animal models and human clinical trials. These devices are created by injecting a mixture of fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and extracellular matrix proteins into a central incubation chamber. Cell culture medium is then perfused through the tissue using the fluidic channels of the device. Given the appropriate ratio of cell types, nutrients in the medium, and flow rates, the growth of a 3D network of blood vessels can be stimulated. This summer research project aims to develop protocols for growing these 3D vascular networks on a chip and methods for characterizing them using fluorescent microscopy. This involves cell culture, microfluidic device fabrication, immunostaining, and fluorescent microscopy. Successful growth of a vascular network in these chips will open the door for further growth of multiple tissue types on a chip and drug response research while increasing the validity, reliability, and efficiency of this research. Planned future applications of this technology include rapid drug screening for cancer therapeutics and analyzing the effect of one drug on multiple parts of the body (i.e. multiple tissue types/organs on a single chip).

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Faculty Name: Dale Dolan
Department: Electrical Engineering
Email: dsdolan@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Energy and Economic Losses due to Soiling on Utility Scale PV Systems to Guide Timing of Cost Effective Cleaning
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
The energy and associated economic losses due to soiling on both residential and utility scale PV (photovoltaic) systems can be both significant and avoidable. Losses of up to 5% have been reported which is of interest to system operators. Modules may be cleaned to reduce losses, but this comes with an offsetting economic cost. A quantification of energy losses, and their corresponding economic loss, will allow a determination of a closer to optimal cleaning schedule depending on the level of soiling and corresponding power loss. This will be determined on both fixed modules and single axis tracking modules. Two methods are proposed and compared. Method 1 uses IV curve tracing performed with a Solmetric PVA-1000S PV Analyzer. Method 2 uses direct measurement of energy production on control panels and system panels integrated within the operating system. The two systems are compared to determine the variation between results and whether additional testing apparatus gives results that justify the additional expense. The student will have the opportunity to use the Cal Poly Solar Farm as part of the research and hopefully able to contribute to verifying that its operation is optimal or suggesting ways to improve its performance.

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Faculty Name: Dale Dolan
Department: Electrical Engineering
Email: dsdolan@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Cooling PV Panels for Increased Electrical Performance Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
It is well known that a cooler photovoltaic cell performs more efficiently when it is cooler. The difficulty has been in finding ways to do this such that the energy required to cool the Solar PV panels is less than the increase in generated energy achieved by doing so. Increased energy production of up to 15% can be achieved if the panel is cooled sufficiently. Students will investigate several cooling methods and determine the improvements gained by each and evaluate the increased performance versus the required energy and materials required to achieve the cooling. Two methods of energy measurements will be used for evaluation. Method 1 uses IV curve tracing performed with a Solmetric PVA-1000S PV Analyzer. Method 2 uses direct measurement of energy production on control panels and system panels integrated within the operating system.

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Faculty Name: Dale Dolan
Department: Electrical Engineering
Email: dsdolan@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Effective Backtracking Algorithms for Twin Cell Solar Panels versus Single Cell Solar Panels
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: The Cal Poly Solar farm has been built as a single axis tracking facility with two different types of panels. Both conventional single cell solar panels and twin cell solar cells have been used in its construction. Twin Cell panels typically perform better than their conventional counterparts when shaded by other panels in the row in front of them in a fixed tilt system. Backtracking is a technique where the single axis tracker avoids shading other rows by sub-optimally tracking the sun until it is high enough in the sky that this is not necessary. The backtracking algorithm is based on conventional panels. The subject of this research project will be to investigate if there is a better algorithm that would take advantage of the benefits of the TwinCell Solar panel construction. This will be doen through modelling and then implementation on the Cal Poly Solar farm for verification if a superior algorithm is developed.

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Faculty Name: Benjamin Hawkins
Department: Biomedical/Electrical Engineering
Email: bghawkin@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Electrical Characterization of Microfluidic Cell Culture
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3
Research Project Description: This project seeks to engage students in an ongoing research effort to grow and characterize cells in situ within a microfluidic system using a variety of metrology methods. Typically, protocols for cell culture arise out of habit, or undirected development based on “what works”. Our lab aims to change that by applying automated, repeatable techniques in combination with rigorous design-of-experiments to develop and optimize cell culture protocols for a range of single cell types and multiple cell co-culture conditions. This project moves us toward that goal by continuing the development of our automated culture and measurement systems. In previous efforts, we have successfully developed individually functional elements such as a heated microscope stage and multiplexed electrical impedance measurement systems. These now need to be integrated with an overall control system to achieve truly automated cell culture and measurement. The three major systems to be integrated include (i) syringe pump systems for cell media delivery/mixing, (ii) cell culture impedance measurement and multiplexing, and (iii) fluorescence cell imaging. Control of these systems will be accomplished by developing a LabVIEW interface. Completion of this phase will be confirmed with automated cell imaging and electrical impedance measurements.

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Faculty Name: Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: kohallor@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Evaluation of New Polymers for Electrospinning Tissue Engineered Blood Vessel Scaffolds
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
Professor Kristen Cardinal’s Tissue Engineering research lab uses electrospinning to fabricate polymer scaffolds for creating tissue engineered blood vessels. The current polymer and model has been used extensively for studies up to 7 days, however recent results suggest that the polymer begins to break down after longer-term in vitro use. It would be beneficial to explore the utility and longevity of other polymers for making scaffolds. Therefore the goal of this project is to select and evaluate new polymers that will be more stable in vitro over time. This will entail selecting new polymer and solvent options, electrospinning tubular scaffolds with new polymers, evaluating scaffold properties after longer-term use, and comparing to the current model.

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Faculty Name: Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: kohallor@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Creation of Novel Tissue Engineered Blood Vessel Mimics
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1
Research Project Description:
Professor Kristen Cardinal’s Tissue Engineering research lab grows “blood vessel mimics” (BVMs) as early-stage living testing systems for evaluating vascular devices such as stents and flow diverters. Currently, these BVMs are created by depositing smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells within electrospun polymer scaffolds. Although the incorporation of both cell types can be beneficial for some applications, it also complicates the model and can confound the results. It would be beneficial to establish simpler BVMs that may allow more straight-forward assessment of just endothelial cell responses. Therefore the goal of this project is to implement protocols for creating simpler BVMs with only an endothelial lining. Accomplishing this goal will require the selected student to be proficient in cell culture prior to June 2019, and the project will include vessel cultivation, imaging, and image analysis techniques.

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Faculty Name: Trevor Harding
Department: Materials Engineering
Email: tharding@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Photo-oxidative and Bio- Degradation of PHBV, Chitosan and their blends
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description (One Paragraph): Biopolymers have garnered considerable attention as solutions to the plastic waste accumulation problem in natural environments because of their ability to degrade into non-toxic substances. PHBV is one such polymer that is both bio-degradable and renewable since it is produced through bacterial metabolic pathways. However, this polymer is too expensive for single-use plastic applications. Blending the polymer with Chitosan, a polymer derived from waste shrimp shells, presents an opportunity to reduce cost without impacting the degradation of either material. Such blends have never before been investigated for their potential to degrade in sunlight (i.e. photo-oxidative degradation) or by microbial action (i.e. bio-degradation). Both are important contributors to the overall degradation of plastics found in many environments including oceans, deserts, and other sensitive eco-systems. This project will seek to explore this behavior and establish the suitability of PHBV-Chitosan blends as single use biodegradable plastics.

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Faculty Name: Trevor Harding
Department: MATE
Email: tharding@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Suitability of rolled titanium coil for artificial reefs and wave energy dissipation
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: The goal of the project is to establish the suitability of rolled titanium coil for use in artificial reefs along the Pacific coastline that could be used to both increase bio-genesis and absorb the energy of wave action to diminish beach erosion. The project will include a literature review to establish the current state of knowledge around artificial reefs and wave dissipation, corrosion testing of the coil material for suitability in a sea water environment, and, time-permitting, testing of actual coils in a marine environment near San Luis Obispo for bio-genesis potential and corrosion resistance.

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Faculty Name: Davide Falessi
Department: CENG
Email: dfalessi@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Meta-tuning for Optimizing Prediction Intervals
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description: Defect prediction aims at identifying software artifacts that are likely to exhibit a defect. The main purpose of defect prediction is to improve the feasibility of testing and code review, by letting developers focus on specific artifacts only. There are types of variables, such as those in defect and effort prediction, in which prediction intervals can provide more informative and actionable results than point estimates. Recent studies have shown that tuning prediction models increases prediction accuracy. However, to our best knowledge, no study has investigated how to tune, and how to decide how to tune, a prediction model for optimizing prediction intervals. The aim of this project is twofold: 1) we develop and evaluate several validation techniques for tuning a prediction model for optimizing prediction intervals, and 2) we develop and evaluate several meta-validation techniques to determine which are beneficial, i.e., which automatically choose a beneficial validation technique.

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Faculty Name: Davide Falessi
Department: CENG
Email: dfalessi@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: RepLab – Improving the Accessibility to Software Engineering Research with an Infrastructure for Repository Analyses
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 4
Research Project Description: The analysis of software engineering repositories has greatly advanced the software engineering discipline. These artifacts are created as part of software development and represent an enormous opportunity for knowledge discovery and theory validation. This proposal aims to develop an extensible infrastructure – RepLab – to facilitate software research that utilizes software project artifacts by combining data sources, software metrics extracted from them, and the associated measurement into self-contained community-maintained packages. RepLab will support repeatability and the validation of theories by simplifying and regularizing data collection, data analysis, and tool integration.

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Faculty Name: Steffen Peuker, Ph.D.
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: speuker@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project:
Experimental Investigation of Atmospheric Water Harvesting
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
A vapor compression based prototype of an atmospheric water harvester is currently
being built and will be ready for field tests during the summer. The objective of the
research project is to perform field measurements using the prototype to determine the energetic and economically feasibility of atmospheric water harvesting.

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Faculty Name: Taufik
Department: Electrical Engineering
Email: taufik@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Synchronized Spread Spectrum Frequency Modulation in
Power Supplies to Reduce Electromagnetic Interference
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
Spread spectrum frequency modulation (SSFM) technique has been widely used in
communication systems such as radio, cellular, satellite and wireless LAN. The
technique uses a sequential noise-like signal to spread the normally narrowband
information signal over a relatively wide band of radio frequencies. This results in the
provision of secure communications with increased resistance to natural interference.
Such benefit has in turn attracted other industry sectors to look for ways in using SSFM for noise suppression. Power supply companies for example have recently invested in utilizing SSFM into their common power supply topologies that are well known to conduct and radiate significant noise to the surrounding environment. The issue wit hnoise from power supplies becomes critical when these power supplies drive critical communication infrastructure that requires quiet environment. To this extent, many governmental agencies and regulatory organizations have set limits on the amount of radiation that can be emitted by communications equipment. One example of such a specification, CISPR 16-1-3, deals with radio disturbance and immunity measuring apparatus and measuring methods. This research project focuses on investigating the effect of using SSFM in a power supply with multiple DC-DC converters. While the benefits of SSFM are well understood for an individual DC-DC converter, little is known about the effect of extending the use of SSFM in a system requiring several parallel connected DC-DC converters to achieve larger output power such as those used in data servers, microprocessors, and renewable energy systems. Furthermore, this research will also study the impact on noise emission level and efficiency from synchronizing and non-synchronizing the multiple converters while running the SSFM technique using commercially available controllers.

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Faculty Name: Joseph Callenes-Sloan
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Email: jcallene@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Power Grid Security and Resiliency
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3
Research Project Description:
As power grids become increasingly automated and distributed, new and diverse lines of attacks are leading to significant security concerns. A recent US Cyber study identified that the cost of a single wave of cyberattacks on the US critical infrastructure could exceed $700 billion and leave up to 70% of the US without electrical power for 6 months. In fact, state actors have already begun to levy such attacks. In 2016, the Ukrainian power grid experienced widespread disruptions due to cyber-attacks using Industroyer malware, which enabled direct control of circuit breakers and switches. At the same time, critical infrastructures are also facing significant looming and largely unplanned for, resiliency challenges related to climate change. In California, the largest utility, PG&E, was recently forced into corporate bankruptcy over liabilities from wildfires potentially caused by power lines. The first part of this project focuses on using algorithmic techniques to characterize the vulnerabilities of power grids, including the impact of using emerging large scale distributed energy storage and electric vehicle charging. The second part of the project focuses on developing efficient techniques for improving the inherent resilience of these systems (including approaches for mitigating fire hazards and
extreme unplanned events).

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Faculty Name: Joseph Callenes-Sloan
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Email: jcallene@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Algorithmic Approaches for Securing IoT Systems
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
In many application scenarios, the consequences of an embedded security compromise can be devastating. Unfortunately, current approaches to embedded security are ad hoc at best and largely rely on detection and recovery. With increasingly ubiquitous IoT-based embedded systems and emerging ultra-high bandwidth communication infrastructures (e.g. 5G) supporting greater automation and data sharing, security is quickly becoming a first order design consideration. The first part of this research project focuses on the investigation of approaches for transforming embedded IoT-based applications into forms that inherently tolerate security attacks, as if they were any other error. Inherently resilient embedded application would allow for graceful degradation instead of catastrophic failures. This approach may also yield significant benefits in terms of our ability to withstand previously unknown security attacks. This research will also investigate statistical inference and machine learning based approaches for compensating for the effects of cyber-attacks on such systems. The second part of this research focuses on blockchain-based frameworks for communication and control of emerging IoT
systems. Blockchain is in essence a distributed public ledger of all digital events shared among participating parties. Each transaction in the public ledger is verified by consensus and once entered can never be erased. This research will focus on investigating efficient approaches for building blockchain-based frameworks for emerging IoT systems.

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Faculty Name: Charles Birdsong
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: cbirdson@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project:
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 4
Research Project Description:
Industry and researchers expect autonomous ground vehicles (AVs) to be commercially available by 2025 in the United States in the form of private passenger cars and commercial fleet vehicles resulting in a transformation of the transportation industry. This technology requires true multidisciplinary ‘system engineering’ because the performance of AVs depends on vehicle dynamics, electronics, computer software, civil infrastructure, human interfaces, and many more domains. The PI is developing research quality small scale (1/10th scale) sedan and tractor-trailer platforms for research in this field in an ongoing effort through senior projects, independent study, summer research and MS thesis work. These platforms exhibit dynamic similitude similar to full-scale vehicles. They contain ego and environmental sensors to determine the state of the vehicle and its surrounding. An on-board computer platform has been developed that facilitates sensor inputs, and actuator outputs and high-level control development in real time software. Previous work has helped develop these platforms, but to date there has not been significant field-testing. For the SURP 2019 the goal is to use these platforms to conduct necessary field-testing of vehicle dynamics, sensor integration and control design to collect data and characterize the performance of the systems.

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Faculty Name: Aaron Drake
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Email: agdrake@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3
Research Project Description:
The Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) project involves students in
studying ways that UAS can provide additional capabilities to support a broad range of
research areas, including agriculture, ecological management, and public safety. For the 2019 SURP, students will have the opportunity to work on a project team, mentored by Principal Investigator Aaron Drake, with hands-on involvement in:

  • Planning flight test activities, including developing test objectives, installing instrumentation and building test plans;
  • Integrating sensors and instrumentation, such as self-contained Boundary Layer Data System (BLDS) devices, into UAVs and developing operating procedures for data acquisition;
  • Conducting flight operations with a range of UAVs (including small fixed wing aircraft and rotor wing aircraft with takeoff weights of up to 200 lbs) in the local Cal Poly area and in remote research areas; and
  • Implement flight operations procedures for safe, sustainable research.

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Faculty Name: Ryan Nugent
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Email: rnugent@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Refining Systems Engineering for CubeSat Missions
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 4
Research Project Description:
This project will focus on developing a CubeSat specific systems engineering approach for spacecraft development and operations. Students will research and develop a system for mission requirements tracking and standardized supporting evidence for requirements validation to keep missions on schedule and maximize reliability. Additionally, a best-practice procedure for documenting lessons learned will be established in order to help future missions avoid common developmental pitfalls. Finally, a comprehensive mission and system requirements document template will be developed for a realistic CubeSat project, along with the associated verification plans for all requirements.

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Faculty Name: Melinda Keller
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: mkeller@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Modeling the Movement of Mimosa pudica Plant as Compared to Action Potential in Animals
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2
Research Project Description:
The Mimosa Pudica is a perennial herb that has the ability to rapidly change the orientation of its leaves as a response to stimulus from its environment. When the tip of a given leaf is disturbed mechanically, the leaflets will all move towards the stem. This same reaction happens in response to extreme changes in light, wind and temperature. The propagation of leaf movement as a response to a single stimulus suggests the existence of an action potential that transmits information down the stem in the form of changes in ion concentration across the connected plant cell membranes. A model has been developed using Matlab to simulate the propagation of the action potential down the leaf stem. The goal for this summer is to use Altair software to for three different applications:

  1. Develop a 3D model of the motion of the leaflets and how this directly relates to the propagation of the action potential down the stem.
  2. Using finite element analysis (FEA) software, stress and strain will be analyzed at the cellular level through computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
  3. The effects of pressure, and thermal changes on the stimulation of the mimosa plant will be studied through computational heat transfer (CHT).

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Faculty Name: Anurag Pande
Department: CEENVE
Email: apande@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: A framework for Partnership between Public
Transportation Agencies and Microtransit Companies
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 4

Research Project Description: The transportation sector is currently experiencing a disruption with the evolution of technology and transportation services such as bikesharing, carsharing, on-demand ride sourcing (e.g., Lyft, Uber), and microtransit (e.g., Bridj, Chariot, Via). As these new transportation options grow, they are creating a new mobility marketplace with potentially profound effects on our transportation systems and society. This research plans to examine how the new options from the microtransit providers could be synergistic with existing public transportation. The research will allow undergraduate students in Engineering and Economics to work collaboratively and interact with public transit agency personnel and researchers who are working as partners with microtransit operators. The students will gather quantitative and qualitative data through surveys and direct contact with public transit agencies. These interactions will lead to a framework for agencies nationwide to explore similar partnerships. The framework may be used to create pilot programs to explore such partnerships before large scale implementation. The project involves four undergraduate students (three engineering and one economics students) working collaboratively with the faculty PI to create survey
questionnaires and collect quantitative and qualitative data. They will learn about best
practices to most effectively address the first-mile last-mile problem through
partnerships between local and regional transit agencies (e.g., SLO Transit, LA Metro)
and microtransit companies (such as Bridj, Chariot, Via).

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Faculty Name: Russell V. Westphal
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: rvwestph@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: The Boundary Layer Data System
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3
Research Project Description: The Boundary Layer Data System (BLDS) project involves students in the development and application of the unique BLDS approach to measure the flow near the surface of aircraft in flight or other large-scale systems. For the 2019 SURP, students are offered the opportunity to undertake one of the following tasks as a member of the BLDS project team mentored by Principal Investigator Russ Westphal:

  • Modify existing and design new parts for the 1×1 wind tunnel to improve its suitability for BLDS testing, and document its use in a few test applications;
  • Design, fabricate, and test several types of boundary layer rake assemblies including adjustable designs and document the results;
  • Create molds and associated parts and fabricate miniature manifolds to be used with BLDS-RAKE instruments. Use silicon molding with 3D printed molds and try direct SLA printing with the College’s new FormLabs printer, and provide detailed documentation of the process;
  • Work with faculty, staff, and students of the Aerospace Engineering Department’s Autonomous Flight Lab to develop a BLDS test protocol for application on AFL’s fixed and rotary wing aircraft;
  • Assemble, program, and test a new BLDS module capable of acoustic data measurement and analysis using MEMS microphones and document its application for wind tunnel testing.

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Faculty Name: Theresa Migler-VonDollen
Department: CSSE
Email: tmigler@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Observations on a High Resolution Physical Social Network
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3
Research Project Description: The Copenhagen Network Study consists of data from the cell phones of 800 freshman volunteers at Copenhagen Technical University. This nonpublic data set has been made available to the PI, due to the PI’s previous research collaboration with researchers in Copenhagen. The study data set comprises high-resolution social interaction detail, including voice call and text message metadata as well as facebook and twitter activity. We focus our study on the face-to-face contact network, which we infer from the personal interactions described in the raw dataset. We will produce time-series graphs, each one representing a five minute snapshot of social interactions. In each graph, vertices represent one of the 800 students, and two vertices are connected by an edge if the students are within 10 feet of each other during the defined period of time. We believe that this this large, real-world dataset accurately models general social networks and thus offers a valuable research tool for a wide variety of graph theoretic research investigations spanning topics ranging from epidemiology to online-versus-offline behavior. In this study, undergraduate research assistants will collaborate with the faculty advisor to investigate real-world questions. Example questions include: “What is the minimum required measles vaccination rate to prevent an outbreak?” and: “What influence, if any, do physical social patterns have on online social patterns?” Specifically, our research investigation will leverage the PI’s previous research in the areas of graph density and subgraph algorithms.

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Faculty Name: Amelia Greig, Ph.D.
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Email: agreig@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Miniaturized Plasma Microthruster RF Amplifier
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1 Aero, 1 ME, 1 EE, and 1 CPE.
Research Project Description:
Many potential CubeSat missions are held back by the lack of low-cost, reliable propulsion systems. A propulsion system enables a CubeSat to take a wider breadth of scientific data, maintain an orbit for extended periods of time, de-orbit within a timeframe that meets international regulations, and potentially visit other astronomical bodies.

Providing the ability for CubeSats to achieve propulsion in a safe, low-cost, and reliable way expands the capabilities of CubeSats and improves the competitiveness of future proposals submitted by the Cal Poly CubeSat Lab (PolySat). Cal Poly has previously funded a project called Pocket Rocket to research and develop an in-house plasma microthruster [SURP 2018, CPConnect]. This enabled the Pocket Rocket project to realize a completely self-contained CubeSat compatible propulsion system including propellant storage and feed. The development of an onboard RF amplification board for a 1U spacecraft is the final component of new technology development necessary to fully integrate the thruster in a CubeSat.

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Faculty Name: Jacques Belanger
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: jjbelang@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Cal Poly Solar Field Power Output Optimization
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1
Research Project Description:
The goal of this research program is to find ways to better optimize the power generation of the Cal Poly solar field. This program has been initiated in collaboration with REC, the solar field managing company. It turned out that the overall power generation of the solar field at this time is lower than what was projected by their model. The plan will be to generate an actual 3-D topography of the site that would include the single axis solar trackers and panels. The 3-D model will then be used to better understand the shading issues they are experiencing due to the uneven ground at the site. The next step is then to use the 3-D model and a standard power generation software, like PVSyst or PlantPredict, to identify possible panel tracking algorithm improvement. This part of the investigation will focus particularly on the morning and the late afternoon when the power generation discrepancies are the most significant.

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Faculty Name: Christian Eckhardt
Department: Computer Science
Email: ceckhard@capoly.edu
Title of Research Project: ELGS – Emergency Landing Guidance System
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1
Research Project Description: In this computer vision and avionics focused research project, the goal is to develop a software for situation awareness when having an emergency landing called Emergency Landing Guidance System (ELGS). Intelligent avionics situation awareness electronics started with radar and weather radar and just recently, Ground Proximity warning System (GPWS) and Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) became standard in cockpits not only for commercial airlines, but also for smaller private planes (sample pictures can be seen at the end of this document). Glide Advisor is another app, calculating the gliding range in case of an engine failure based on plane characteristics, speed, altitude, position and terrain. However, there is no app evaluating where to land, to provide options, risk and hazard awareness. For that, the exact terrain composition must the known. With modern computer vision, we strongly believe to be able to assess the terrain. Taking public terrain maps, we can test every field, grassland, gravel and asphalt road in terms of flatness, bumpiness, hazards (trees, rocks), field-row-direction and current traffic. With the planes characteristic, position and speed, we can further on calculate several landing options, rank them based on risk and provide approach vectors including speed and altitude checks.

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Faculty Name: Michael D. Whitt
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: mdwhitt@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Cumulative Shear In Vitro Model
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1
Research Project Description: Endothelial dysfunction (EnDysTM) has been identified as the most signficant predictor of a Major Adverse Cardiovascular Event (MACE). Arterial compliance is one metric used to quantify EnDysTM via potential stimuli associated with shear rate. An invitro model built using combined fundamentals from Whitt/Drzewiecki and Yong/Geddes previous in vitro models will be built where experimentation will be performed to further explain/define the relationship between shear rate and endothelial dysfunction.

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Faculty Name: Bruno C. da Silva
Department: Computer Science and Software Engineering
Email: bcdasilv@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: Measuring Software Developers’ Sentiment and Emotion on GitHub
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1
Research Project Description: Software development is primarily conducted by humans. Even with the advance of software engineering technologies to support the automation of several tasks, we still strongly rely on human-to-human interaction for performing software development activities and driving results, and that is not likely to change even in the long-term. Developers from one team may collaborate with each other, another team, or independent developers on the other side of the globe. In modern software development, tools such as GitHub and Jira are essential to support not only source code version control but also provide essential features to enhance developer communication and task/time management. However, these tools still lack awareness of human factors such as sentiment and emotion which are at paramount importance in software engineering as they are strongly associated with thinking tasks and problemsolving. Therefore, this project aims at measuring developers’ sentiment and emotion on GitHub public repositories by applying well-known natural language processing tools over developer text such as issue comments and pull request/code review discussions. The exploration of emotional awareness (e.g., sentiment polarity, joy, anger, disgust, sadness, fear) may improve the way software developers communicate to each other, assign tasks, address project issues, make design decisions, review code, and collaborate to coordinate their software development activities better. Ultimately, our stretch goal is to implement a GitHub app to provide sentiment/emotion awareness to software developers in projects hosted on GitHub. To the best of our knowledge, this project involves a combination of challenges and technologies that were never implemented before.

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Faculty Name: Sara Bahrami
Department: Computer Science and Software Engineering
Email: sbahrami@calpoly.edu
Title of Research Project: On the Use of Eye Tracking in Software Code Review and Bug Fixing Recommendation Systems
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1
Research Project Description: Software products are constantly growing in terms of size, complexity, and application domains, among other things. It is not uncommon in large open-source projects to receive several bug reports and new feature requests daily. These change requests need to be effectively triaged and resolved in an efficient and effective manner. Automatic approaches (e.g., recommendation
systems) are much needed to help developers handle these tasks during different software evolution phases. Human-computer interaction (e.g., based on eye movements) has been used in many research domains such as games, psychology, marketing, and product design. In the domain of software engineering, eye trackers have allowed researchers to study developers’ gaze movements over source code in more detail–to pinpoint where the developer is looking, or even to detect which source code element the developer is viewing. In this research we are planning to answer this research question: can we utilize the developer’s eye movement
data to build recommendation systems that assist developers in software evolution tasks such as code review and bug fixing? In this research, we mainly use machine learning and data mining techniques, natural language processing, information retrieval, lightweight source code analysis, and mathematical quantification.

2018

2018 SURP Symposium

Event Date: Friday, November 2, 2018
Event Time: 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Location: Lobby of Building 192

2018 SURP Project Abstracts

Faculty Name: Christian Eckhardt
Department: Computer Science
Email: ceckhard@capoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-5540
Title of Research Project: Realtime Lift/Drag simulation
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3

Project Description:
Our goal is to develop a compute shader based real time lift and drag simulations for dynamic bodies in gas/fluids. Looking into the theory, we figured out a way to calculate lift and drag based on the surface topology of an object for fast prototyping, abstracting the airflow into texels of impulse, inertia and momentum. To do that, we follow each airflow texel over the surface, keeping the inertia and the resulting distance to the surface (which results in a low pressure zone further bending the curve of the texel) in several frame buffers along the angle of attack. The resolution of these frame buffers and the density along the flow-path is direct correlated with the output quality and therefore scalable. We already developed a working proof of concept and need funds to further work on a comprehensive publication, were we will show to match several airfoils angle of attack vs lift/drag curves against experimental as well as simulated data.

Faculty Name: Russell V. Westphal, Donald E. Bently Professor
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: rvwestph@calpoly.edu
Phone: 805-736-1336 office; 509-438-6509 cell
Title of Research Project: The Boundary Layer Data System
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:  3

Project Description:
The Boundary Layer Data System (BLDS) project involves students in the development and application of the unique BLDS approach to measure the flow near the surface of aircraft in flight or other large-scale systems.  For the 2018 SURP, students are offered the opportunity to undertake one of the following tasks as a member of the BLDS project team mentored by Principal Investigator Russ Westphal:

  • Development of a new, smaller battery or battery/capacitor assembly for BLDS, including a thermal-vacumm chamber test protocol to assess its performance;
  • Integration (including programming) and testing of a wireless module for existing BLDS;
  • Conduct a careful assessment of the upstream pressure disturbance created by BLDS using wind tunnel measurements;
  • Develop and test a new module to add to the stable of available module prototypes in the team’s new line of “BLDS-M” instruments.
  • Design and fabricate a new prototype housing and fairing for existing BLDS instruments that takes advantage of new, smaller batteries to shrink the dimensions (and thus reduced weight and aerodynamic loads).

Faculty Name: Trevor S. Harding
Department: Materials Engineering
Email: tharding@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-7163
Title of Research Project: Development of Boron Nitride/Poly (hydroxy butyrate-co-valerate) nanocomposites for packaging applications
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Plastic packaging, which constitutes 1/3 of municipal landfill waste, is primarily made from synthetic, petroleum-based polymers which rely on a non-renewable resource for production and are non-biodegradable, leading to climate change and accumulation of plastic waste on land and in oceans.  Use of biopolymers, such as poly(hydroxy butyrate-co-valerate) (PHBV), which is derived from bacterial fermentation of waste products, is a promising alternative to synthetic polymers because they are based on renewable resources and are biodegradable.  However, PHBV suffers from poor thermal and barrier properties limiting its application in packaging systems.  Addition of boron nitride nanocrystals could lead to enhanced thermal and barrier properties.  This study will allow students to synthesize pure PHBV and PHBV/boron nitride nanocomposites, through a solvent casting process.  Subsequent testing of the samples will include scanning electron microscopy, dynamic mechanical analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, oxygen and water vapor permeation testing, and tensile testing.

Faculty Name: John Pan
Department: Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Email: pan@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-2540
Title of Research Project: Development of a Flexible-Hybrid Electronics Device for GAIT Monitoring
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
The objective of this project is to develop a flexible-hybrid electronics device to enable continuous monitoring both normal and abnormal gait in order to see changes in movement. Changes in gait are established symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis. These are diseases that typically become harder to manage and increase in severity as one gets older, typically over the age of 65. The first step is to develop a method to measures changes in gait. We will design a circuit and select sensors to prove the concept. An experiment will be conducted to determine the sensor location on the human body to get optimal measurements and which biological factor to be measured in order to monitor gait. The device will be tested as a diagnostic tool for the diseases identified above. After proving the method, a flexible-hybrid electronics device will be designed and manufactured. This flexible hybrid electronics device will be wearable as it will allow for remote healthcare monitoring, making it more convenient and cheaper for our target age group, patients over the age of 65. Current methods for monitoring gait are expensive and require the use of cameras based in a lab, as well as hours of human input, which make them problematic for remote monitoring.

Faculty Name: Bruce DeBruhl
Department: Computer Science and Software Engineering  
Email:  bdebruhl@calpoly.edu           
Phone: (805) 756-1392
Title of Research Project: A practical implementation of the SPREAD PHY protocol using Software Defined Radio
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3

Project Description:
With the advent of software-defined radio, it is now possible to implement massively-reconfigurable physical and MAC layer radio protocols.  In the past, I have demonstrated that SDR can be used for implementing more efficient jamming attacks.  Related literature has demonstrated that practical defenses can be implemented using software defined radio.  For example, we are interested in the SPREAD Phy protocol that was proposed from Guevarra Noubir’s lab at Northeastern University in 2007.  In this project, students will implement efficient reconfigurable attacks and defenses from the literature in software defined radio.  After an initial development period of 4 weeks, students will compete in a 3-week red-team/blue-team exercise to refine their strategies. In the 8th week, students will document their results and properly document and store their code. 

I expect this work to have multiple practical outputs.  First, the real-world implementation of older adaptive protocols (for example SPREAD) is novel applied research that is valuable to the broader wireless security community.  Second, the development of a red-team/blue-team electronic warfare exercise using software defined radio is novel education research.  I anticipate being able to incorporate these exercises into courses including CSC-422 and EE-504. 

Faculty Name: Professor Dennis Derickson
Department:  Electrical Engineering
Email: ddericks@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-7584 office, (805) 712-9168 mobile
Title of Research Project: Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) System for autonomous systems with 100 meter range and 1 microsecond update rate
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3

Project Description:
Developments in autonomous vehicles demand improvements in imaging systems beyond what is available in today’s products.   LIDAR is a key technology for imaging objects.  Key specifications for autonomous vehicle LIDAR Imaging are a ranging distance of over 100 meters and a measurement rate of 1 microsecond per point.  Pulsed LIDAR systems dominate today’s solution set.  Pulsed LIDAR solutions suffer from the need for very sensitive optical receivers that are very susceptible to overload by malicious jamming signals.  LIDAR systems based on FMCW receivers are very sensitive and can be designed to be robust against jamming signals.   The key difficulty with FMCW systems is the need for narrow spectral width laser sources with less than 1 MHz spectral width.   This project has three goals toward making 100 meter and 1 microsecond LIDAR systems possible with FMCW.

  1. LASER CHARACTERIZATION: The research project team will characterize new lasers fabricated by the industrial collaboration organization “Insight Photonic Solutions” (www.sweptlaser.com) in Lafayette, Colorado. These lasers can have superior spectral width and update rates when combined with high speed electronic driver circuits and optoelectronic feedback techniques.
  2. OPTICAL IMAGING APPARATUS: The research project team will design and characterize optical imaging apparatus to take the laser signal and create a free-space optical beam that can be moved over a 20 degree window in azimuth and elevation. Insight Photonics has a starting point design that we can improve upon.
  3. SYSTEM VERIFICATION: The research team will combine the new narrow linewidth laser and the optical imaging apparatus to demonstrate performance against the 100 meter imaging distance and 1 microsecond update rate.

Faculty Name: Jacques Belanger
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: jjbelang@calpoly.edu / adavol@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1378 / (805) 756-1388
Title of Research Project: Dual Axis Solar Tracker Development
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
The ME Department has the mechanical components designed and assembled for a dual axis solar tracker. This versatile tracker, once completed, will be used to support research into tracking algorithm optimization and on concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) applications. In addition, it will be an excellent educational tool in our technical electives and for general education of the public. The work proposed for the summer of 2018 is focused on the controls and electronics of the system. The students will be asked to design a microcontroller based system to track the sun. Initially the system will track based on known sun position at a specified day and time. The system must have flexibility to incorporate sensor input for future iterations to explore alternate control strategies. In addition the students will design the electrical components of the system to store/dissipate the power generated by a 425 W photovoltaic panel. The students final task will be to create a real-time web link so that the power production of the system can be displayed and monitored remotely.

Faculty Name: Jean Lee
Department: Materials Engineering/ General Engineering 
Email: jlee473@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-6571
Title of Research Project: Investigation of CaO Nanoparticles as a Carbon Sequestration Material
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
This project tests the hypothesis that Group II oxides such as calcium oxide (CaO) hold promise as effective carbon sequestration materials.  In this project, a microwave synthesis technique will be used to produce CaO nanoparticles and possibly other Group II oxides as time permits.  The microstructure and composition of CaO nanoparticles produced by this technique will be examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS). The CaO nanoparticles will then be imaged in an atomic force microscope (AFM), where images of the CaO nanoparticles will be obtained before, during, and after exposure to carbon dioxide (CO2).  Ideally, if changes in the CaO nanoparticles are observed as a function of exposure to CO2, information about the rate of CO2 uptake and release, and how CO2 is adsorbed on the CaO nanoparticles can be gleaned from AFM data.

Faculty Name: Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: kohallor@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-2675
Title of Research Project: Electrospinning Polymer Scaffolds for Tissue Engineered Blood Vessel Mimics
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1

Project Description:
The overall goal of this project is to improve and refine the electrospinning process in the Cal Poly Tissue Engineering lab.  The Tissue Engineering lab uses electrospinning to create polymer scaffolds that are the foundation for our tissue engineered blood vessels.  The lab has faced two main challenges this year: variability of straight scaffolds and brittleness of aneurysm scaffolds.  With two students on this project, we will aim to solve both of these challenges.  Both students will learn electrospinning and will work together to troubleshoot equipment components and refine the basic protocols.  One student will specifically focus on parameters related to the standard straight spins.  This student’s aims will be to 1) Establish a refined protocol, including specifically identified polymer and solvent choices, to create scaffolds with <5um fibers and 2) Characterize the consistency of this protocol within and between spins.  The second student will focus on aneurysm scaffolds, with aims to 1) Establish and master a refined, and potentially more efficient, protocol to create blister and saccular aneurysms and 2) Evaluate brittleness post-spin and post-processing.

 

Faculty Name: Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: kohallor@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-2675
Title of Research Project: Characterization of Decellularized Biomaterials
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1

Project Description:
The overall goal of this project is to characterize decellularized tissues following protocol variations based on time, mechanical agitation, and tissue type.  Decellularization is a common technique that removes cells from tissue to create protein-based biomaterials.  Traditional decellularization protocols utilize some type of chemical or detergent combined with mechanical agitation to remove cells.  Based on preliminary data, we have found that static decellularization may be preferable for certain tissue types at certain time points.  In this project, we will further explore and characterize the impact of time and mechanical agitation on the decellularization of various tissues and organs.  The two students on this project will work together to learn and implement decellularization protocols and to histologically evaluate the resulting biomaterials using H&E staining and microscopic analysis.  Each student will focus on different tissues, with individual aims to 1) Perform decellularization on selected tissues under static vs dynamic conditions at 1hr, 1d, 3d, 5d, and 7d timepoints, and 2) Perform histology on the resulting samples to characterize the extent of cell removal and the impact on protein structure and integrity.

Faculty Name: John Oliver
Department: Electrical Engineering/ Computer Engineering
Email: jyoliver@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-5434
Title of Research Project: Cybersecurity of Industrial Controls Laboratory
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1

Project Description:
Through previous partnerships with PG&E and the California Cyber Training Complex, a set of laboratory experiments on the hacking and hardening of an industrial controls network was created. These lab experiments are designed as an introductory experience into the cybersecurity of industrial control networks and supports a 2-day training course. The goal of this project is to use a student to expand on these laboratory modules to demonstrate more advanced cybersecurity flaws and techniques. Additionally, this student will gain hands-on experience in teaching these existing labs to PG&E employees over the summer.

Faculty Name: Davide Falessi           
Department: Computer Science & Software Engineering
Email: dfalessi@calpoly.edu  
Phone: (301) 273-8274
Title of Research Project: DEMI – Defect Estimation Metrics
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
In today society, reducing defect is important from both economic and safety perspectives. For this reason, a significant amount of research effort has been spent trying to reduce defects by accurately predicting where they are or how they can be avoided. A software metric is a standard of measure of a degree to which a software system or process possesses some property. It is generally agreed that software product and process metrics are vital in supporting accurate predictions of the defects existing in a software system. For instance, regarding the metric size, we know that larger classes are expected to be more defect prone than smaller classes. Unfortunately, there is currently no standard framework for measuring metrics. Definitions are nebulous and even metrics that appear simple, such as size, are measured differently from application to application. The absence of reproducibility in metrics measurement reduces the replicability of scientific studies and also acts as a barrier to students learning about software quality and safety. The aim of this project is to develop an open source desktop-based application called DEMI. DEMI receives, as input, the repository ID and authentication information of a software project, and it provides, in a replicable way, as output, a set of well-defined product and project metrics such as size and number of developers.

Faculty Name: Taufik
Department: Electrical Engineering
Email: taufik@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-2318
Title of Research Project: Performance Analysis and Study of a Novel Voltage Regulator Module for Powering Modern Processors
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Recently released in January 2018, the new VRM13.0 for Voltage Regulator Module (VRM) sets the latest industry standard for powering next generation processors. Some major technical challenges with the standard are the electrical requirements for low operating processor’s voltage of 1.8V at high 200A current. Conventional method commonly used in VRMs will be difficult in meeting these requirements especially when high efficiency has to be maintain to minimize energy loss. The major focus of this research is to investigate a novel VRM topology recently developed at Cal Poly and study its performance in meeting the VRM13.0’s electrical requirements. A hardware prototype of the proposed topology will be designed and constructed. Data obtained from laboratory testing of the prototype will be compared against commercially available VRM(s). 

Faculty Name: Trevor Cardinal
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: tcardina@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-6244
Title of Research Project: Impact of diet-induced obesity on arteriogenesis and vasodilation in mice
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3

Project Description:
Students will tie off the femoral artery of mice with suture to mimic the insufficient blood flow characteristic of peripheral vascular disease. To better mimic the human patients, the mice will have diet-induced obesity. At the time of surgery, students will transplant muscle progenitor cells (i.e. myoblasts) to stimulate the growth or natural bypass vessels (arteriogenesis). At defined time points following surgery, students will measure the enlargement and function of the natural bypass by stimulating vasodilation before fixing the tissue with formaldehyde. After excising the natural bypass vessels, students will label the white blood cells in the nearby area; white blood cells control the arteriogenesis process.

Faculty Name:  Tao Yang and Rob Carter
Department: Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Email:  tyang@calpoly.edu and rvcarter@calpoly.edu
Phone:  (805) 756-2810 and (805) 756-2739
Title of Research Project: Implementing Snap-To-Reality Mixed Reality (MR) Algorithms on Microsoft HoloLens System Interacting with 3D Design
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Our SURP 2018 research proposal is germane to the 2018 CPConnect proposal “Mixed Reality” where a Microsoft HoloLens System is requested to work with Unity 3D or SolidWorks CAD files ergo that in an amalgamated view of digital products and ambient physical space a CAD object (such as a cube with three blind holes at the bottom) can interact (e.g., to align) with actual holes (or representatives) on the floor.  In order to materialize the interaction dedicated algorithms such as Snap-to-Reality will need to be implemented in the MR system.  Our SURP 2018 proposal is looking for advanced students who are no slouch at programming language C# or Unity Script to join us.  We plan to start a deeper new round of search to locate if any existing quasi Snap-To-Reality algorithms are out there. Then code the algorithms with the assistance of Microsoft Holographic Programming library plus Unity 3D or SolidWorks open-code support to complete the verisimilitude experiments.

Faculty Name: Charles Birdsong
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: cbirdson@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1261
Title of Research Project: Intelligent Mobility Course Development
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Cal poly is situated to be a key player in the growing field of Intelligent Mobility. This growing field is very active in California especially in the Silicon Valley. We have had success so far advising students on projects related to intelligent vehicles and spring boarding them into a career in the auto industry.  We are developing a small scale intelligent vehicle platform that is accessible to undergraduate students through rapid prototype software and low power, low risk hardware, i.e. a tenth scale vehicle that includes a high-power microcontroller, sensors and actuators.  The plan it to develop this platform as a centerpiece of the first of its kind, undergraduate course in Intelligent Mobility.  The current platform has been designed over several years through undergraduate senior projects, summer undergraduate research projects and MS thesis.  The goal of this year’s SURP is to conduct additional research that will support the course development and courseware for this new course.  There are many areas that need investigation and development in this field and I hope to lead a team of 5 undergraduates this summer.

Faculty Name: Aaron Drake
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Email: agdrake@calpoly.edu
Phone: office: (805) 756-2577; cell: (858) 229-5809
Title of Research Project: Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:  2

Project Description:
The Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) project involves students in studying ways that UAS can provide additional capabilities to support a broad range of research areas, including agriculture, ecological management, and public safety. For the 2018 SURP, students will have the opportunity to work on a project team, mentored by Principal Investigator Aaron Drake, with hands-on involvement in:

  • Planning flight test activities, including developing test objectives, installing instrumentation and an building test plans;
  • Integrating sensors and instrumentation into UAVs and developing operating procedures for data acquisition;
  • Conducting flight operations with a range of UAVs (including small fixed wing aircraft and rotor wing aircraft with takeoff weights of up to 200 lbs) in the local Cal Poly area and in remote research areas; and
  • Implement flight operations procedures for safe, sustainable research.

Faculty Name: Ashraf Rahim
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Email: arahim@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1349
Title of Research Project: Performance Evaluation of Flexible Pavements Built on Different Types of Bases in California
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Transportation has an enormous impact on California economy, and on the lives of its residents. Pavements are just one part of the transportation system, and yet it is by far the most important component. Pavement performance evaluation is a key component in making design, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation decisions for pavements. The goal of the proposed study is to evaluate the impact of treated and untreated base layers on the performance of flexible/asphalt pavements employing the Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) database. Performance models will be developed for different distress modes which could help predict future performance to prioritize and optimize maintenance and rehabilitation cost.

Faculty Name: Anurag Pande 
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Email: apande@calpoly.edu 
Phone: (805) 756-2104
Title of Research Project: Measuring Highway Network Performance: A Context-sensitive Evaluation
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 3

Project Description:
The proposed effort will assemble detailed traffic data to quantify congestion and identify bottlenecks in the transportation networks during recent emergency evacuation events in the State of California to improve future decision-making. The lessons from the project will lead to better planning and congestion relief during evacuations. The scope of the 8-week proposed effort would be to identify duration and locations of the evacuation orders, relevant traffic data sources for three different CA communities affected by mass-evacuation in the last few years. Each student will be working with gathering this information for characterizing congestion in one California communities.

Faculty Name:  Dianne DeTurris                     
Department:  Aerospace Engineering
Email:  ddeturri@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1515
Title of Research Project: Lifecycle Governance for Complexity in Engineered Systems
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1

Project Description:
The aerospace industry is notorious for programs that are over budget and behind schedule due to ever increasing complexity. A new paradigm is needed for systems engineering to address development of modern systems, which is the focus of this project. The research is being conducted in collaboration with the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), which has created the Complex Aerospace Systems Exchange (CASE) as a forum to bring together multidisciplinary frameworks that are being implemented in other industries. One such framework, the concept of lifecycle governance that has existed for many years with a project focus, is now being reinvisioned with a systems focus to replace stage gate decisionmaking. Applying systems thinking to all lifecycle stages during each life cycle stage is a positive step toward managing the emergent behavior. This project will be conducted through consultation with Dr. Wilson Felder, a CASE researcher and professor from Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr. Felder has written a book chapter on lifecycle governance and is interested in helping more students study this expanding field.

Faculty Name:  Dale Dolan
Department:  Electrical Engineering
Email:  dsdolan@calpoly.edu
Phone:  (805) 756-2495
Title of Research Project:  Design and Development of Laboratory Dual Axis Single PV Module Tracker
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:    1

Project Description:
Photovoltaic systems are able to generate more electrical energy when they are oriented to directly face the sun.  There are many ways to achieve this but economics and reliability also plays an important role.  Although two axis tracking is superior in energy performance, costs and reliability can make single axis tracking more attractive.  Students will use an existing solar module with dual axis control and develop different algorithms to compare performance for several dual axis and single axis designs.  The control will be implemented using a microcontroller of the students choosing.

Faculty Name:  Dale Dolan
Department:  Electrical Engineering
Email:  dsdolan@calpoly.edu
Phone:  (805) 756-2495
Title of Research Project:  Design and Development of PV Emulator
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:  1

Project Description:
Design and testing of photovoltaic (PV) inverters and MPPT (maximum power point tracking) charge controllers require the ability to produce input from PV modules exposed to a wide range of day and light profiles and temperatures.  This is difficult to achieve for a consistent testing environment when these variables are outside of your control.  The construction of a PV emulator would allow the reproduction of PV input to the devices under test that would be equivalent to what a PV module would produce under a defined set of conditions.   Students will research various factors that affect the output of PV modules and determine the factors to include in a PV emulator.  They will use a programmable DC power source that will be controlled via Labview to develop the PV emulator.

Faculty Name: Nirupam Pal  
Department:  Civil & Environmental Engineering
Email: npal@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1355
Title of Research Project:   Biodegradation of MTBE and TBA in Soil and ground water simulated in a Soil Column
Number of Students to be supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Currently California alone has more than 1100 MTBE and TBA contaminated sites.  The total number of sites are more than 20,000 in USA.  It poses a serious ground water contamination.   We initiated a research last summer through SURP on Biodegradation of MTBE and TBA.  The results shows great promise in biodegradation of TBA and MTBE in shaker flask study using a mixture of bacillus organism. The proposed research will use soil column to study biodegradation of MTBE and TBA.  This project will be developed on previous experience and knowledge gained from last SURP and current master’s thesis done in this laboratory.

Faculty Name: Dr. Yong Hao
Department: Materials Engineering
Email: yhao@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-6634 (office), (305) 934-8501 (cell)
Title of Research Project: Advanced Sulfur Nanocomposites as Cathode Materials for Li-S Batteries
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
With the increasing needs of power supplies to portable electronic devices, electric vehicles and stationary storages, Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries with advantages such as high theoretical capacity (1675 mAh g-1) and high energy density (2600 vs. 420 Wh kg-1 of traditional Li-ion batteries) are becoming the most attractive next-generation batteries to replace the traditional Li-ion batteries. Sulfur is one of the most abundant elements on earth and using sulfur as cathode material instead of traditional transition metal oxides can significantly improve safety, lower the cost and make it more environmentally friendly. However, predominant challenges of low active material utilization, capacity degradation, and poor cycle life have restricted the further development and practical applications of Li-S battery technology. This project aims to target the major issues by rational structural design of sulfur based nanocomposites to physically and/or chemically confine the sulfur component and further enhance the electrochemical performance of Li-S cells. Developing the sulfur nanocomposites will be conducted using well studied synthesis process of chemical reaction and deposition. Characterization of the active materials will be carried out through analytical facilities in MATE department including  scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Electrochemical evaluation of assembled split cell will consist of galvanostatic charge/discharge, cyclability and rate capability testing using the electrochemical testing station. The expected outcome is to achieve high performance of Li-S batteries with high specific capacity and long cycle life, a goal for emerging advanced energy storage technology.

Faculty Name: Rebekah Oulton
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Email: roulton@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1367
Title of Research Project: Nitrate Removal in Bioretention Cells
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
One of my graduate students recently completed his research into the efficacy of various bioretention cell (BRC) soil media mixtures.  He was investigating how well different specific BRC soil mixtures maintained their hydraulic conductivity while removing both total suspended solids and nitrates from model stormwater.  Nitrates are one of the most ubiquitous pollutants in surface water bodies, carried by runoff from fertilized agricultural fields and urban landscaped areas.  Once in a receiving water body, nitrates can lead to eutrophication, or excessive algal growth, ultimately causing long term negative impacts in the surface water ecosystem.  Yet, nitrate control is one of the most variable factors in BRCs, with removal levels ranging from less than 10% to over 90%.  The specific mechanisms for nitrate removal in BRCs are not well understood, according to current literature in the field.  One of the intriguing results from my graduate student’s study was the preliminary finding that low hydraulic conductivity and high organic content seemed to be linked with higher levels of nitrate removal.  This SURP study proposes to investigate this finding in greater depth, to better understand the mechanism(s) at play in a BRC that lead to effective nitrate removal.  Ultimately, outcome of this research may allow for tailored BRC design to better protect sensitive surface water bodies from runoff from highly-fertilized areas.

Faculty Name:  Christopher Heylman
Department:  Biomedical Engineering
Email:  cheylman@calpoly.edu
Phone:  (805) 756-6482
Title of Research Project:  Multi-Chamber Microfluidic Device for Growing Tissues-on-a-chip
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:  2

Project Description:
Biomedical engineering graduate students are currently working in my lab to create a microfluidic “tissue-on-a-chip” device that will allow for the growth and maintenance of 3D vascularized human tissues. These tissues will be used for screening the potential effects of novel drugs on human tissues and organs before resorting to costly pre-clinic animal models and human clinical trials. The devices currently contain a single, central incubation chamber in which the tissue is grown. This summer research project aims to build upon the design of the chip by incorporating multiple, identical tissue incubation chambers under the same microfluidic conditions. This involves redesigning the chip and simulating flow rates on CAD and COMSOL, fabricating chip molds in Cal Poly’s Microfabrication Lab, casting and plasma bonding chips, and validating simulated flow rates in the chambers of the final chip using fluorescent microscopy. Multiple tissue incubation chambers on a single chip will open the door for further tissue growth and drug response research that compares identical conditions across various tissue environments, while increasing the validity, reliability, and efficiency of this research. Planned future applications of this technology include rapid drug screening for cancer therapeutics and analyzing the effect of one drug on multiple parts of the body (i.e. multiple tissue types/organs on a single chip).

Faculty Name: Patrick Lemieux        
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: plemieux@calpoly.edu
Phone: (818) 427-7230
Title of Research Project: Development of Demonstrative Valve Actuation System for CAES-Enhanced Diesel Engine
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
A collaborative project on the development of a new thermodynamic power cycle combining reciprocating engines and compressed air energy storage is under way, lead by Cal Poly and the École de Téchnologie Supérieure (ÉTS – Montréal, Canada). In fact, a joint patent application is currently being filed on this idea by the two institutions. It is critical that for this effort, continuous progress continues to be made throughout the year, to facilitate an early and effective filing. I am already working with a group of UG students on the development of a key valve component for this project; the valve, as well as additional systems and methods for the demonstration of the new cycle, will continue to be tested and developed over the summer of 2019. The students who will work on this project have not been identified yet (the three mentioned above will be graduates by then… hopefully J), but I expect to have done so by the end of Spring Quarter.

Faculty Name:  Benjamin Hawkins
Department:  Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering
Email: bghawkin@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-6203
Title of Research Project: Electrical Characterization of Microfluidic Cell Culture
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
This project seeks to engage students in an ongoing research effort to grow and characterize cells in situ within a microfluidic system using a variety of metrology methods. Development of this platform requires development of a number of technologies which could be addressed as individual efforts or approached coherently as a team:

  1. Design, fabrication, and testing of temperature-controlled platform and enclosure for on-chip cell culture. This will involve design and fabrication of a heated support structure for microscope slides compatible with an existing microscope and incorporate closed-loop control of device temperature to optimize cell culture conditions. Measurement of cell culture rates will be used to optimize conditions.
  2. Design, fabrication, and testing of a system for automated multiplexed acquisition of impedance spectroscopy measurements from on chip cell culture. This will involve development of a LabView or MATLAB-based data acquisition program to control acquisition hardware. Verification of acquired signals from on-chip cell cultures will be compared to known baseline measurements.
  3. Microfabrication of metal electrode structures and microfluidic devices. This aspect of the project focuses on process and protocol development for reliable, durable and robust fabrication of microscale electrode structures deposited on fused silica substrate materials. Fabrication processes will be carried out in the Microfabrication facility.

Faculty Name:  Joseph Callenes-Sloan          
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering   
Email: jcallene@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-5607
Title of Research Project:  Cyber-Security Attack Models and Algorithmic Approaches for Protecting Critical Infrastructure
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
As embedded systems become more ubiquitous, security and privacy has also become significant first order design concerns. In many application scenarios, the consequences of a security compromise can be devastating.  For example, operators of modern power grids use state estimation to monitor the condition of the system and conduct contingency analysis for power planning.  Any security attack on the state estimation algorithm can have devastating consequences.  State actors have already begun to successfully attack and disrupt power grids (e.g. the Ukrainian power grid experienced widespread disruptions in 2016 due to cyber-attacks). Unfortunately, current approaches to power grid security are ad hoc at best. The first part of this project involves cataloging potential attack vectors on the EE department’s new micro power grid (including their sensors and central Energy Management System (EMS)).  For the second part of the project, we will design approaches for protecting against attacks.  One approach involves transforming the state estimation algorithms into forms which inherently tolerate attacks, allowing for systems to withstand even previously unknown security attacks.

Faculty Name:  Foaad Khosmood
Department:  Computer Science & Software Engineering 
Email: foaad@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-2911
Title of Research Project:  The 2048 Solver
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:  1

Project Description:
2048 is a confined p-space complete game that lends itself to mathematical analysis. Games such as Go, sliding tile puzzles and backgammon have been subject to deep computational analysis. There have been at least two Ph.D. theses entirely on the sliding tile puzzles and optimal strategies to solving it. Two years ago, a Sr. Project student and myself looked into 2048, and analyzed some existing strategies. It is a relatively new game but there have been no major publications on it. We did about one quarter’s worth of work culminatiing in that students senior project (https://github.com/greengatz/senior_project). Now, I’m engaged in an indepdent study with another CS undergrad that continues the work leading toward more teangible outcomes in the analysis. We would like to continue this as a research project over summer. The idea is to come up with a heuristics-based solution that consistently works best over hundreds of game simulations.

Faculty Name:  Foaad Khosmood
Department:  Computer Science & Software Engineering 
Email: foaad@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-2911
Title of Research Project:  Social Information Management Game
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project:  1

Project Description:
This is an exciting project already worked on by several students last summer, but is far from completed. The idea is to build an engine that can be used to test social information based mechanics in massively multiplayer games. When the engine is completed, games relating to social networking, intellectual property, “fake news” and social information ecnomy are possible to design. The effort is a distributed architecture where a central server accepts and services clients which are players logging in from other machines. Along with any human players, any number of automated players can also join with a complete API available for bot designers to use. The system is designed such that it would be very difficult if not impossible to tell humans apart from bots, therefore solving a major problem in MMORPG developbment theory that has so far barred smaller studios and unviersities from creating such games.

Faculty Name: John Bellardo, Ph.D.
Department: Computer Science
Email: bellardo@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-7256
Title of Research Project: Launch Environment Datalogger
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1

Project Description:
All satellites are required to perform launch environment survivability tests prior to being approved to fly.  Each test runs the risk of damage or over fatiguing the test article.  As such, there is a strong desire to minimize the amount of over testing necessary.  One path to minimize over testing is to measure the in-situ launch environment for vibrations, shock, and temperature.  PolySat has developed one such satellite, the Launch Environment Observer (LEO), for NASA.  A number of poor decisions were made during the design of LEO that resulted a very specific spacecraft that doesn’t work well across a wide variety of launch vehicles.  This project focuses on revisiting those design decisions, designing a new spacecraft, and fabricating engineering units for test.  This second generation instrument will place PolySat in a good strategic position to record launch performance data across a wide range of rockets.

Faculty Name: John Bellardo, Ph.D.
Department: Computer Science
Email: bellardo@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-7256
Title of Research Project: Interplanetary CubeSat Deployer Design
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 1

Project Description:
Cal Poly’s CubeSat lab was instrumental in getting CubeSats accepted as a world-wide standard for low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.  One key piece of that success was developing, testing, and operating a CubeSat deployer, the Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD).  The lab is looking to repeat this success in the interplanetary regime.  An interplanetary deployer is very different from a LEO dispenser.  During the summer of 2017 a small team of Cal Poly engineers worked in conjunction with engineers from JPL to design a concept for an interplanetary picosatellite deployer. The work conducted last summer included the creation of a concept of operations, development of initial requirements of the deployer, high level trade studies on risk assessment and component choices, as well as determining potential commercial off the shelf (COTS) component breakdowns. This summer, CubeSat will take the next steps towards design completion including a thorough analysis and high fidelity design of the communications system, determining deployment system electronics, developing a practical thermal system design, and determining structural elements of the deployer that will aim to  minimize mass and remain structurally viable.  We would also create requirements for CubeSat payloads, highlighting any changes from the CubeSat standard. The overall goal of the work to be completed during this summer is to have a fully designed deployer which is at the stage to be manufactured.

Faculty Name: Bruno C. da Silva
Department: Computer Science and Software Engineering
Email: bcdasilv@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 471-1531
Title of Research Project: Mining and Understanding Developers’ Coding Style from Public Software Repositories.
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
Program comprehension has become an increasingly important aspect of the software development process. Research in this field has evolved considerably over the past decades. One of the findings points that the consistent use of standardized coding styles and conventions facilitate how developers read source elements and navigate through different program structures. Indeed, software development organizations, as well as software engineering and programming instructors around the world, recommend or even impose the use of particular coding styles in their programming tasks. For instance, Google made publicly available guidelines for coding styles in popular languages such as Java and Python. However, little is known about how developers around the world actually use different coding styles. Therefore, in this project, we expect to mine a large dataset of thousands of public software repositories from GitHub, which will involve parsing millions of lines of code, in order to first provide a broad view of what are the developers coding style choices across multiple projects in different sizes and programming languages. Second, we aim at analyzing whether developers’ coding style match with well-known coding style sources such as Google’s and Oracle’s style guidelines. This will be the first study to mine developers’ coding style over a large dataset of public projects followed by a data analysis work.

Faculty Name: Graham Doig
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Email: gcdoig@calpoly.edu  
Phone: (805) 539-3355
Title of Research Project: Development of an “Intelligent Aerodynamics” Platform for Real World Machine Learning   
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
The high drag of heavy vehicles is a significant factor in worldwide transportation carbon emissions, and such vehicles are vulnerable to blow-over and aerodynamic instabilities. Wind tunnels and numerical simulations provide only simplified versions of real world conditions, and there exists almost no publicly-available on-road data of typical vehicle shapes and their aerodynamic effects. PROVE Lab is building a research-ready testbed that will be able to autonomously drive around a simple test track, with interchangeable bodywork that can be instrumented with cameras and pressure transducers/probes for continuous generation of huge datasets in different winds and turbulence levels. Thus, full-scale aerodynamic data can be obtained and analyzed in real time, opening a future door to predictive/adaptive drag reduction through flow control, or pre-emptive course correction in gusty conditions. Because we like acronyms, we’re calling this platform the AERoCAR: Adaptable Electric Robocar for Creative Aerodynamic Research, and it will be a world-first. There are two fairly distinctly different aspects to this that would suit students from different majors: development of the physical testbed and its instrumentation to be able to gather enough high quality data, and further development of an existing Random Forest algorithm that “learns” to understand and then predict what aerodynamic effects the vehicle is about to experience.

Faculty Name: Sara Bahrami
Department: Computer Science and Software Engineering
Email: sbahrami@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-7178
Title of Research Project: A Closer Look at Big Data Software Engineering: Challenges & Opportunities
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
The significant growth in Big Data technologies and service market in recent years has generated a substantial amount of technical data. The Big Data technology and services market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 22.6% from 2015 to 2020 and reach $58.9 billion in 2020. In the wake of this growing body of data, the technical and business communities have mainly focused on data analytics and Big Data infrastructures. However, there is a dire need for developing end-user applications to utilize Big Data in a broader range of application domains, referred to as Big Data applications. This massive scale of data has introduced new challenges developers face during the development and maintenance of Big Data applications that differ from those experienced by developers of traditional software applications. That necessitates evolving the traditional Software Engineering (SE) practices to overcome these challenges. Therefore, the SE community has recently introduced Big Data Software Engineering (BDSE) in 2015, in response to the current need of Big Data era. The ultimate objective of BDSE practices is to develop and maintain Big Data applications that methodologically differ from those of traditional SE ones. In order to achieve this goal, first we need to explore and analyze the challenges developers of Big Data applications face. In this project we propose several empirical studies that involve investigating and analyzing the development/maintenance processes of several open source projects in domain of big data applications. The analysis includes checking the source code comments, bug tracking repositories including bug discussion, analyzing the code change history of the project, among other steps. These analyses provide insights on the challenges developers typically face during a development session of a big data application. These insights later will be used to propose solutions for a set of observed challenges.

Faculty Name: Eltahry Elghandour
Department: Mechanical Engineering 
Email: eelghand@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-7178
Title of Research Project: Design and Development of a Backpack Frame Using Multifunctional Sustainable Materials
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
This project proposes designing and developing a lightweight, composite frame system that can be inserted into the main pocket of a school backpack and ensures that the backpack sits on the wearer in a manner that more adequately promotes healthy posture and weight distribution.  The frame will be manufactured from environmentally-friendly composite materials in order to utilize sustainable composite technology.  Modern trekking backpacks and military rucksacks employ rigid frames that allow the pack to conform to a body posture that reduces back pain and discomfort.  In contrast, school backpacks, which are often used to carry weights that are similarly harmful to the wearer, do not have any such frame and offer little to no support.  

Faculty Name: Amelia Greig
Department:  Aerospace Engineering 
Email: agreig@calpoly.edu
Phone: (805) 756-1526
Title of Research Project: Pocket Rocket Micro-Thruster Characterization
Number of Students to be Supported on Research Project: 2

Project Description:
A recent CPConnect project has led to the integration of an electrothermal plasma micro-thruster called ‘Pocket Rocket’ into a 1U CubeSat form factor, as a demonstration that the technology can be made sufficiently small and compact for micro-satellite operations. The next step in the development of the micro-thruster is to characterize the performance of the integrated thruster system for a variety of operating parameters and operational environments. Results of the characterization will be used to plan and propose a technology demonstration flight mission.

2017

2017 SURP Project Abstracts

Evaluation of Flattened vs. Round Preston Tube

  • Student(s): Samuel Hall Watson
  • Faculty: Russell V. Westphal

Project Description:
A study has been conducted to evaluate the use of flattened tubes for use in measurement of skin friction using the Preston tube method. Experiments were conducted in the Cal Poly 2×2 Foot wind tunnel wherein measurements from conventional, round, tubes were compared with flattened tubes. Ten different flattened tubes and ten different round tubes were employed. The results showed that the flattened tubes tend to measure skin friction values about 10% lower than round tubes when both use the same calibration relations. Hence, an alternative calibration equation is recommended for flattened tubes.

Aerodynamic Properties of a Representative Automotive Panel Gap

  • Student(s): Alejandro Meraz & Geary Yu
  • Faculty: Graham Doig

Project Description: Within the automotive industry, there are uncertainties with regards to variations in panel gap width and depth, including their effect on wind tunnel and CFD models. An understanding of automotive panel gaps and their effects on aerodynamic properties will help Tesla engineers understand the impact of panel tolerances on the aerodynamics of a vehicle. Throughout the summer, a Tesla model was placed in a low-speed wind tunnel to understand the aerodynamic characteristics of different panel configurations such as an offset of the panel (-1, 0, and 1mm) and cavity volume (small and large). The Tesla model is a physical representation of a generic panel gap on an automobile. All wind tunnel tests were performed at a Reynolds Number of 3.2 million to mimic highway conditions. Surface pressure measurements indicated little differences in the near-wall flow apart from the center of the model, however wake profiles showed a larger discrepancy indicating more momentum loss. With the presence of a panel gap, boundary layer development was affected downstream. Tuft, paint, and smoke flow visualization tests were conducted to guide measurement locations and visualize flow separation on the model. Wind tunnel results were compared to CFD simulations as a form of validation. Based on experimental results, the inclusion of automotive panel gaps may not be necessary for wind tunnel and CFD models but will affect the accuracy of aerodynamic calculations.

Reducing Electricity Consumption in Hybrid Residential System Using MISO Converter

Project Description:
his project investigates load distribution at a residential scale, comparing the efficiency of conventional models to those that have a separate circuit for DC loads at different ratios. The distribution models include: (1) AC generation and AC load distribution, (2) AC generation and hybrid AC/DC load distribution, (3) AC and inverted DC generation with AC load distribution, and (4) AC and DC generations with hybrid AC/DC loads incorporating Multiple Input Single Output DC-DC converter (MISO). Results demonstrate that across several ratios of DC loads, the hybridization of load distribution increases the overall system efficiency; thus, reducing electricity consumption. Economic analysis of the results further suggest that adopting renewable generation provides significant financial benefit in terms of return on investment, and that hybridizing the load distribution increases the benefits, even with a slightly higher initial investment.

Development of New Laboratory Experiments for the Combustion Engine Design Course

  • Student(s): Dorian Capps and Michael Bolton
  • Faculty: Dr. Patrick Lemieux

Project Description:
The 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Program for the Engines and Propulsion Laboratory resulted in the development of two new laboratory experiments which students taking ME 444 can perform. The first lab experiment is a vibrational analysis lab where students will examine the natural frequencies of two single-cylinder diesel engines made by Hatz. The two Hatz engines are similar in every way except that one features balancing shafts while the other does not. Using a Magtrol dynamometer, triaxial accelerometer, and National Instruments data acquisition setup, students can obtain torque, horsepower, and vibration data all at once. They then swap one engine out for the other and again collect data to compare the two engines and validate theoretical calculations. For students to smoothly swap engines and collect all necessary data within the allotted time for a lab, each engine required its own mounting system which could accurately locate the engine’s output shaft to the dynamometer’s input shaft quickly and consistently. This was accomplished by using locating pins and fixture keys to precisely fasten the dynamometer to a slotted table. The engines and their mounts, which also feature fixture keys, are then lowered onto the table and slid forward along the slots to mate with the dyno coupler. Distortion of the engine vibration data is avoided by isolating the engine from its mount with rubber. A dyno coupler had to be specified with a large enough misalignment tolerance to accommodate the engine’s displacement that results from the measured vibrations. The second lab experiment which saw progress was for the JFS-100 power turbine. A modification to the fuel flow governor was achieved and improvements to the controller software were made so that several test fires were conducted and the collected data is being used to guide the continued advancement of this lab.

Identifying Perils of Mining Github Data

  • Student(s): Max Moede
  • Faculty: Davide Falessi

Project Description:
Problem context: Mining data from GitHub repositories resulted to be useful for validating several software engineering theories such as defect prediction and code smells. However, no repository is perfect and it is important to understand which repositories are valuable to mine. My main goal was to analyze and characterize the validity level of GitHub repositories. Challenges: One of my major challenges was determining which metrics could be calculated with available Python libraries. I had very little experience with Python before this project, so I had to learn the language and learn how to use libraries like PyGitHub and GitPython. This was also the first time I had to work remotely, which limited my ability to communicate with my team. Results: We successfully gathered metrics for about 200 Apache Software Foundation projects, the majority of which passed as valid projects. A few of the older apache projects were deemed invalid mainly due to inactivity and unreliable commit data. Learned Topics: I have learned how to write effective scripts in Python and developed a thorough understanding of the GitHub API. I also learned how to read API documentation in a practical way. I was able to gain experience with databases and using MySQL as well. I have also learned why it is important to select specific repositories to perform reliable software engineering research. Next Steps: The project lead to an independent study (CSC 400). I am currently attempting to develop a website which would allow users to analyze software projects of their choice. I am also writing a paper about the results of the projects which we plan to submit in a major internal peer-review conference such as the Mining Software Repository conference: https://conf.researchr.org/home/msr-2018

Perspectives on Managing Emergent Risk due to Rising Complexity in Aerospace Systems

  • Student(s): Andrew M. Palmer
  • Faculty: Dianne J. DeTurris

Project Description:
Managing complexity in aerospace is essential for effective modern systems development. Preventing unexpected or emergent risk while maintaining cost and schedule discipline is the main objective of addressing unwanted self-organization due to complexity. The emergent risk can be quantified by viewing systems from multiple stakeholder and design perspectives to accurately assess unforeseen behaviors. Novel models of systems design and analysis from other industries and disciplines are introduced and placed in an aerospace context. This survey highlights commonalities between complexity management methods, models of systems design, and analysis that can be used to predict and prepare for emergent behavior in the system. Methods for dealing with complexity include systems thinking, complex adaptive systems, the Cynefin framework, Agile principles, managing complexity risk, and complexity measurement. The methods emphasize systems-thinking using stakeholder perspectives as a mechanism to minimize emergent risk. We also provide an integration of frameworks, within the context of systems engineering, as applied to design and lifecycle concerns. Some or all of these methods can be used simultaneously to provide new perspective on a given aerospace system. New structures for system engineering are necessary to aerospace as a continuing “bureaucracy of innovation” to prevent catastrophic failure due to overwhelming complexity. Using new points-of-view to design gives practicing engineers more information with which to view and manipulate system properties. The aerospace engineering process requires new perspectives on rising complexity in order to meet the challenges of modern engineered systems. The solution is a collaboration between disciplines in order to solve problems that span multiple academic domains.

Enhancing Software Impact Analysis via Semantic Requirements Analysis

  • Student(s): Tina Rickard, Tyeler Bridges, Max Moede, Michael Lozada, Yiupang Chen
  • Faculty: Davide Falessi

Project Description:
Context & Aim: When a new requirement is introduced into a piece of software, the developers must identify the impact set—the set of source code classes that would be affected by implementing this requirement. This practice, called change impact analysis, becomes more difficult as the code grows or new developers join. My aim in this project is to develop an open-source software that aids developers in the three areas of change impact analysis: 1) identifying an accurate impact set, 2) deciding where to refactor, and 3) planning a project. Challenges, Results, & Lessons: One of the biggest challenges was learning different software. Specifically, I have revisited Python and had to learn from scratch the GitPython, SciPy, and Genesim libraries. In the interest of time I initially searched the internet for solutions to specific problems. However, I quickly learned that while this provided a temporary fix, it was better to actually learn the language or API so I would not have to constantly search for different solutions. I have often collaborated with my classmate Tyeler Bridges, who was also part of the project; a challenge we had was scheduling meetings given our different schedules. We were not able to meet very often or for long, and our communication was sometimes staggered. As we were working largely separately on our task, we had issues in putting our finished parts together, often needing clarification on the inputs and outputs of our programs. However, as of this writing we have made considerable progress together and have developed a beta release of a program that calculates certain code metrics for the commits over a requirement’s implementation. Next Steps: I will continue to work on this project as part of an independent study, CSC 400. The immediate goal for me is to finish the metrics calculator and following this, polish and improve the project. I am also writing a paper about the results of the projects which we plan to submit in a major internal peer-review conference such as the Mining Software Repository conference (https://conf.researchr.org/home/msr-2018).

Autonomous Vehicle Development

  • Student(s): Tristan Perry and Paul Rothhammer-Ruiz
  • Faculty: Charles Birdsong

Project Description:
This research is towards constructing a fully-operational small-scale intelligent vehicle. The small-scale intelligent vehicle will be used as the platform for Dr. Birdsong’s advanced controls course. The vehicle is built from RC car components and is equipped with a Raspberry Pi and a Teensy microcontroller. Part of the work this summer focused on establishing fault proof communication between the Raspberry Pi and the microcontroller. Another part of the work this summer was to build a vehicle model of the steering to allow for prediction of vehicle performance in various environments. With this vehicle model, MIMO control algorithms were then designed to simultaneously control the speed and steering of the vehicle. In order to allow for feedback to the controller, an IMU sensor was integrated to measure speed and heading angle of the vehicle. In addition to the IMU sensor, a camera sensor was used to detect lane lines to allow for lane keeping. The work done this summer allows for the Raspberry Pi to run control algorithms that can simultaneously control steering and speed of the vehicle.

Wind Tunnel Model Creation Using a Biometric Approach

  • Student(s): Graham Rolph, Stavros Diamantopoulos
  • Faculty: Dr. Graham Doig

Project Description:
This summer, research was undertaken to further expand upon previous thesis work done by formar graduate student David Martin. Utilizing guidance from David’s Report, a white pelican taxidermy, courtesy of the Cal Poly Biology Department was 3D scanned at NASA Ames Research Laboratory and converted into 3D models of one wing and half of the body using MeshLab. The models were then adjusted so that they accurately mimic the wing of a white pelican in flight using Blender. Once an accurate model was created, it was scaled to 80% its original size, so that the wing could be positioned in the tunnel. The model was then partitioned into multiple sections so that they can be 3D printed using the Lulzbot Taz 5 and Taz 6 printers in lab. The primary feathers, due to their shape, were printed using Taulman3D T-Glase PET filament and the rest of the wing was printed utilizing High Impact Polystyrene. Once the model was printed and assembled, the parts were sanded and joined using Bondo and epoxy. It was then mounted in Cal Poly’s Low Speed Wind Tunnel and tested across a range of conditions to ensure its stability during testing. Future research using smoke and laser flow visualization will qualitatively locate the wingtip vortices. Testing utilizing a total pressure probe and rake behind the wingtip will be able to quantify the strength of the vortices.

A Study of Financial Management and Accounting Techniques in Startups and Entrepreneurial Ventures

Project Description:
A study of financial management and accounting techniques in startups and entrepreneurial ventures was conducted by Jason A. Chang, a masters student from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Michelle Wong worked closely with Professor Liz Schlemer to analyze 13 interviews with Entrepreneurs. The financial management and accounting practices used in the 13 startups were analyzed in order to find trends in the financial methodologies. The Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Statement of Stockholder’s Equity and Cash Flow were the four financial statements analyzed. The success metrics defined by the startup were also observed. A framework outline was outlining the differences in financial tools based on the maturity of the enterprise was developed. A draft paper was written in preparation for publication in 2018. Early startups are unable to use the four financial statements for its intended purpose because the businesses were not mature enough. Instead, the early startups use an abridged version of the four financial statements. On the other hand, late stage startups use the four financial statements in a traditional manner. A common success metric seen across all startups is business development. Business development encompasses user growth, obtaining funding, and improving bottom line numbers.

Effects of Bio-Composites in Sandwich Panels with an Optimum Corrugated Core under Compression Load

  • Student(s): Jalen Mano
  • Faculty: Dr. Eltahry Elghandour

Project Description:
Present day composite sandwich panels provide incredible strength. Their largest problem, however, is early bonding failure between the core and the skin. This is usually due to the low bonding surface area of present cores like honeycomb. Corrugated structures could provide a remedy for this with their much larger bonding surface area. Corrugated structures have extreme mechanical properties deeming them particularly useful in aerospace and automotive applications. Bio-composites have properties that could strengthen the corrugated sandwich panel against the delamination of the skin and increase the strength of the structure while making it cheaper and more environmentally friendly. This paper presents the optimum design, manufacturing, and testing of corrugated sandwich panel structures under compression loading. To do this, optimum corrugation geometry identified using theoretical analysis of the moment and bonding area of the shape. A bio-composite was integrated in both the core and the skin individually in corrugated sandwich panels. The cases tested were all carbon fiber, hemp skin with carbon fiber core, carbon fiber skin with hemp core, and all hemp. These corrugated structures were analyzed by conducting compression loading tests on varying lengths of single-ligament panels utilizing trapezoidal corrugation as the core and a flat plate as the skin. For these test samples, the optimal shape and length of the corrugation was investigated. These both impact the bonding surface area and bonding strength where the material was most subject to failure. Lengths were systematically tested to determine the effect the length had on the bonding shear strength and buckling behavior. Test results showed the bio-composite acting as a skin and a core had a significant effect on the mechanical behavior of the panel under a compression load while the length had a significant effect on the bonding failure modes.

Bio-Remediation of MTBE and TBA in Groundwater

  • Student(s): Nilma Edward, Nancy Lam
  • Faculty: Dr. Nirupam Pal

Project Description:
Methyl-tert butyl ether (MTBE) is an oxygenate added to gasoline to improve the quality of air emissions. However, in water MTBE has been known to cause health issues such as headaches in high doses and is a suspected carcinogen. One of its byproducts, Tert-Butyl Alcohol (TBA), is also a known toxin which can cause reproductive and developmental defects. Both are highly soluble in water and difficult to degrade. Gasoline stored in leaking underground storage tanks has led to the contamination of groundwater wells throughout California. Biodegradation has been tested as a potential treatment option. To test its viability in both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, vials containing combinations of MTBE and TBA with groundwater bacteria were compared to positive and negative controls. The positive control was a mixture of TBA, MTBE, biowish bacteria, a mineral salt solution, and a growth media. The negative control was a mixture of TBA, MTBE, a mineral salt solution, and growth media. Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry and Solid Phase Micro-Extraction were used to analyze the concentrations of the samples every 48 hours. Spectrophotometry was used to determine the bacterial growth of each sample every 48 hours. The project results were inconclusive and further testing is required.

Cell Transplantation to Enhance Natural Bypass Enlargement Following Arterial Occlusion

  • Student(s): Isobelle Espiritu
  • Faculty: Trevor Cardinal

Project Description:
In 2015, 155 million people worldwide were affected by peripheral arterial occlusion disease (PAOD). This disease generally involves the occlusion of limb arteries through atherosclerosis and results in restricted blood flow and tissue oxygen delivery. Some patients have pre-existing collaterals that serve as natural bypasses around occluded arteries. These natural bypass collaterals can enlarge to preserve tissue health. Unfortunately, enlargement of collaterals is insufficient or impaired in many patients. Work in our lab uses mice to show that following arterial occlusion through ligation, capillaries are capable of arterializing to restore blood flow. To enhance this process, we transplant muscle stem cells, called myoblasts, into the ligation site of the target muscle. Previous work demonstrated that myoblasts transplanted on a gelatin carrier increased the amount of enlarged collaterals 7 days after ligation. A gelatin carrier was used rather than an injection because injections can be imprecise or cause trauma. However, these gelatin carriers had several limitations. The preparation process to create the gelatin and inoculate the cells was time-consuming and challenging. Additionally, once the cells were inoculated in the gelatin, they had to be incubated for several hours prior to transplantation. Long incubation times resulted in less effective cell therapy. Finally, the gelatin itself is bio-derived, therefore, presented a higher variability and required modifications. My research focuses on optimizing the current cell transplantation protocol by testing a synthetic, commercially available thermo-reversible hydrogel to allow the cells to be transplanted more efficiently. This would preserve cell effectiveness. To achieve this objective, I learned cell culture, surgical procedures for inducing arterial occlusion and transplanting cells, and began testing the hydrogel. Future studies will involve building upon previous students’ work and testing the new vehicle to transplant cells then observing the cell therapy effects at additional time points following the ligation surgery.

QuickSat

  • Student(s): Max Selna
  • Faculty: John Bellardo

Project Description:
QuickSat, once it is complete, will be an on-shelf 1U technical Demo that will serve as a substitute for flying mass models. It will enable PolySat’s experimental systems to gain flight heritage on a non-critical mission. This summer, I worked on developing a design for a pin-less Nitinol hinge that will deploy side panels with solar cells. These hinges use thin, broad sheets of nitinol to maintain the same restoring moment as a wire hinge design. This makes for a higher number of endurance cycles and a more dependable clamping interface with the structure. Regarding the material properties of the NiTi, I researched different grades and concluded that an Austenite transition temperature of -19C was necessary to ensure that the hinges would deploy with sufficient torque in a space environment. The Austenite transition temperature is where the lattice structure of a material changes. For most metals, such as steel, this temperature is far above ambient temperature, making use of the material properties in the austenite phase impractical. With NiTi, we can have the effects of a ductile material at low temperatures, and the effects of an elastic material at high temperatures, due to the phase change. The main concern now is that the hinges may be too cold, causing the NiTi being in the wrong phase. This could cause the hinge to not deploy. The beginnings of the ETU structure were machined in Mustang ’60 this summer, and the rest of the structure will be finished by the end of the quarter.

 

Automated Image Data Acquisition for Concentration Gradient Generating Microfluidic Chip

  • Student(s): Kevin Wohlfarth
  • Faculty: Benjamin Hawkins

Project Description:
The scope of my summer undergraduate research project was to assist in automating and developing processes utilizing various hardware for future use as a cell culture platform and for Dr. Hawkins to continue conducting his independent research. Tasks for this project included developing a fully automated data collection system with various hardware, learning soft lithography synthesis techniques and validating theoretical results via image analysis. The Labsmith uProcess programming language was used to control an inverted fluorescent microscope (LabSmith SVM340) to collect 16 images within a concentration gradient generating microfluidic chip for post image processing across the culture wells. Each microfluidic chip was manufactured onto a microscope slide using soft-lithography techniques within the Cal Poly Micro-fabrication Laboratory. Two syringe pumps were used to distribute blue and yellow dye at equal flow rates of approximately 0.5 ml/hr into the chip to generate a visible gradient of blue, green and yellow within each of 5 mm diameter wells. Image analysis included manipulating raw image data into total intensity values for each respective image to create plots that demonstrated the effectiveness of the concentration gradient. Future directions for the project include working with fluorescent stained cell culture and comparing image data with measured electrical impedance data across each culture well to observe cell growth when exposed to varying concentrations of various solutions.

Small Scale Intelligent Vehicle

  • Student(s): Paul Rothhammer-Ruiz, Tristan Perry
  • Faculty: Dr. Charles Birdsong

Project Description:
This research is towards constructing a fully-operational small-scale intelligent vehicle. The small-scale intelligent vehicle will be used as the platform for Dr. Birdsong’s advanced controls course. The vehicle is built from RC car components and is equipped with a Raspberry Pi and a Teensy microcontroller. Part of the work this summer focused on establishing fault proof communication between the Raspberry Pi and the microcontroller. Another part of the work this summer was to build a vehicle model of the steering to allow for prediction of vehicle performance in various environments. With this vehicle model, MIMO control algorithms were then designed to simultaneously control the speed and steering of the vehicle. In order to allow for feedback to the controller, an IMU sensor was integrated to measure speed and heading angle of the vehicle. In addition to the IMU sensor, a camera sensor was used to detect lane lines to allow for lane keeping. The work done this summer allows for the Raspberry Pi to run control algorithms that can simultaneously control steering and speed of the vehicle.

Aerodynamic Deorbit Experiment (ADE) CubeSat

  • Student(s): Liam Bruno, Arielle Cohen
  • Faculty: Dr. John Bellardo

Project Description:
ADE is a 1U CubeSat with a deployable drag sail payload. It will be deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The primary mission objective for ADE is to provide flight qualification for and demonstrate the viability of its payload. The deployable drag sail is designed to take advantage of the aerodynamic drag forces experienced by the spacecraft and decrease the time it will take to fully de-orbit. A successful demonstration of ADE’s payload would be a step closer to the mitigation of a growing problem in spaceflight—orbital debris. In addition to demonstrating an aerodynamic deorbit technology, ADE will attempt to characterize the radiation environment in GTO, and provide invaluable data for future small satellite missions in radiation-heavy trajectories. During the summer quarter, we primarily focused on understanding the limitations introduced by the radiation environment of GTO, and making appropriate design choices to minimize negative effects. After conducting analysis on the radiation levels that ADE will be exposed to, the decision was made to introduce additional shielding as well as a radiation sensor into the design of the flight electronics. As a result of this shielding, the system’s mass became excessive, and a re-design of the structure was performed to compensate. In general, advancements in the mechanical and electrical design of ADE were made throughout the summer in preparation for critical design review as well as further development and testing.

Removing of Hexavalent Chromium in Water Using Magnetite Nanoparticles

  • Student(s): Wilson Lei
  • Faculty: Amro El Badawy

Project Description:
The adsorption of chromium hexavalent in water by magnetic magnetite nanoparticles, synthesized by chemical coprecipitation, was tested using batch absorption experiments. The influence of time and dosage on the removal efficiency of chromium was investigated. High removal efficiencies were obtained for hexavalent chromium. The adsorption data obtained from the experiments were fitted to Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption isotherm models. The Langmuir model best described chromium adsorption on magnetite. This research shows that magnetite nanoparticles have a high potential for the removal of hexavalent chromium in water treatment as a result of high removal rates and potential for recyclability and reuse of the spent adsorption media.

Developing Wireless Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Systems in Collaborative Autonomous Vehicles

  • Student(s): Willy Okpobua
  • Faculty: Dr. Bruce DeBruhl

Project Description:
Collaborative Autonomous Vehicles are fast becoming an integral part of our 21st century mode of transportation. Though presently in an R&D phase, they have proven to be environmentally friendly and a safer way to travel by eliminating human error. The only major risk to autonomous vehicles is the risk of external attack where in which an attacker can remotely cause collisions to the cars in the platoon In this project, on the security vulnerabilities in autonomous vehicles. Work on the project was done in three phases, namely, autonomous, collaborative and testing. The autonomous phase was completed spring quarter of 2017. In this phase, we designed a vehicle to track an image in front of it, and based on the object position the car either moved forward or stopped. The collaborative phase of the project was completed summer quarter of 2017. In this phase I designed and implemented and wireless network through which the cars could communicate with one another. The testing phase should be completed by the fall quarter of 2017. In this phase, we are going to run a series of security tests on the platoon to identify vulnerabilities in the autonomous vehicles. During my SURP, I created a wireless network through which the cars could relay information to one another through a UDP socket implemented in python. The functionality I implemented included a router attached to one of the cars, which forwards packets on a wireless computer network. Some of the data relayed includes the distance and position value of the lead car and other cars in the platoon and in the future logs of internal functionality for each vehicle. Being passionate about computer networks, I felt that this project was a great fit for me and thus I intend to extend this work for my senior project.

Comparison of Keratinocyte Cell Lines

  • Student(s): Stephanie Switalski
  • Faculty: Lily Laiho

Project Description:
Cell culturing is the fundamental base off which cell and tissue-based research projects are built. The purpose of this summer research project was to determine if cells obtained by different vendors would behave differently. In this study, keratinocyte (KRTs) cell lines from American Type Cell Collection (ATCC) and Lifeline Cell Technology (LLCT) were assessed based on cell morphology and growth, and response to ultraviolet (UV) light. The cell growth patterns of LLCT were extremely variable, and therefore unpredictable. While cell growth rate of ATCC was not linear, it was predictable and repeatable. Keratinocyte cell lines are primary cells, which are cells that are isolated directly from tissue and contain both the cell of interest and other cells harvested from the tissue. As cells are passaged, other cells quickly die leaving only the cell of interest. After two passages, the ATCC line was purified to only KRTs. After four passages, the LLCT line still contained non-keratinocyte cells, making them non-ideal for experiments. In addition, the LLCT KRTs displayed poor morphology on passage 4, not displaying the characteristic “cobblestone” appearance of healthy KRTs. A sample of atypical morphology and non-keratinocytes in the LLCT cell line is available in the abstract image (blue: DAPI – nucleus, green: p21- UV damage). ATCC cells expressed typical KRT morphology until passage 6. In previous experiments, ATCC cells were exposed to UV and then cell damage was quantified using p21, a general damage marker, using fluorescence microscopy. The same experiment was performed using LLCT cells. Results were similar; however, there was higher variability within the cell response, which would affect results in any experiments conducted. In conclusion, cells obtained from different manufacturers can perform differently, leading to more variability in experimental results. The ATCC keratinocyte cell line provides more homogenous cell cultures to conduct the lab’s research.

Bicyclist Behavior at Two-Way Stopped Control Intersection: Implications for 'Idaho Stop Control'

  • Student(s): Avery Lai
  • Faculty: Anurag Pande

Project Description:
As an active mode of transportation, bicycling can provide significant benefits for the physical well-being of the riders in addition to the environmental benefits. In spite of the benefits, there are significant challenges to widespread use of bicycles in the US. Overcoming these challenges to increased bicycle usage requires that the needs of bicyclists on the road are adequately identified and addressed. In this regard, bicyclists in Idaho have been allowed by law to slow down at stop signs, check for cars and pedestrians, and essentially treat a stop sign as though it were a yield sign. A similar change in law has been proposed in California. Although the law may seem controversial, the so-called Idaho Stop has decreased bicycle injuries in Idaho by 14.5% the year after the law took place. As part of this research experience, we observed the bicyclist behavior at 2-way stop controlled intersection and found that the % of bicyclist actually making a complete stop is negligible. This is consistent with our anecdotal observations as well as the citation data obtained from the Cal Poly Police department. There have been 265 citations/warnings issued to bicyclist since January 1, 2016, on the campus alone. Campus police have put special signs for bicyclists to address this issue (See Image). Our conclusion from this work is that a change in law allowing bicyclists to legally make an ‘Idaho Stop’ would really be codifying the existing behavior. It may reset motorist expectations about what the bicyclist is going to do and may, therefore, have some safety benefits.

A Social Information Managing Game Engine

  • Student(s): Liam Gow, Nathan Philliber, Zoe Cagle
  • Faculty: Foaad Khosmood

Project Description:
In this project, we designed an engine to facilitate a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) using information trade/acquisition as the primary mechanic. While most MMORPGs have physical goals such as annihilating foes or obtaining important objects, the goals generated by our engine involve gathering information. Not only is this a unique feature, but it’s also one that could be used to model the dispersal of information, as well as surveillance, deception, and privacy. To facilitate this engine, we designed two AI systems: a quest AI to administer missions to players, and an agent AI to act as numerous placeholder players who are indistinguishable from human players. When a player performs an action such as entering a room or trading an item, our engine keeps track of that action and disperses the information to other players in the area. The quest AI may then use this information in the generation of missions. As our proof of concept, we created a game about espionage. Like a usual MMORPG, the characters maintain a variety of stats and skills, but rather than the usual qualities of strength and defense, our game tracks qualities like perception and stealth. We also have a number of factions — groups with different goals. These factions may seek to spread, weaponize, safeguard, destroy, or profit from information.

Software Metrics Research

  • Student(s): Tyeler Bridges
  • Faculty: Davide Falessi

Project Description:
Problem Context: Requirement change analysis provides developers a means to maximize the productivity of a project. Without the analysis of software requirement implementation resources may be drained and the maintainability of a software system may be compromised. Aim: My aim was to compile and create a tool that is able to analyze software requirements and provide useful statistics and feedback to developers. Challenges: Issue trackers do not hold the code base that the issues are for. Querying for requirements and their effects needs at least two maybe even three separate entities of information. The requirement analysis tool needs the project to have an issue tracker and a code repository in order to be effective. Another challenge is the lack of information available from a code repository at any given revision. Git will not provide all the information necessary to perform a proper analysis of an entire project’s requirements without rolling back to previous releases to obtain information. This is fine for smaller projects with lesser amounts of code. As the amount of code grows, so does the run time of the program due to it having to return to every single previous revision of a project. Results: I have created a beta release of a system that properly takes and analyzes the changes that happen to each class during the process of implementing a software requirement. Learned Topics: I learned about git and Jira APIs for python. I learned the importance of well-made requirements and the importance of proper issue tracking. I also learned a few things about databases as a result of working with large amounts of data. Next Steps: I will continue to work on this project as part of an Independent study CSC 400. The next steps are to improve upon the analysis tool and compute more metrics that are missing and necessary to provide a truly useful tool for developers. I am also writing a paper about the results of the projects which we plan to submit in a major internal peer-review conference such as the Mining Software Repository conference: https://conf.researchr.org/home/msr-2018

Readability Evaluation of Silver Conductive Paste on TPU for Human Monitoring Systems

  • Student(s):Wesley Powell, Kyle Batman, Quinn Mikelson
  • Faculty: Dr. Jianbiao Pan, Dr. Malcolm Keif, Dr. Xiaoying Rong, Dr. Xuan Wang
  • Website

Project Description:
Problem Context: Requirement change analysis provides developers a means to maximize the productivity of a project. Without the analysis of software requirement implementation resources may be drained and the maintainability of a software system may be compromised. Aim: My aim was to compile and create a tool that is able to analyze software requirements and provide useful statistics and feedback to developers. Challenges: Issue trackers do not hold the code base that the issues are for. Querying for requirements and their effects needs at least two maybe even three separate entities of information. The requirement analysis tool needs the project to have an issue tracker and a code repository in order to be effective. Another challenge is the lack of information available from a code repository at any given revision. Git will not provide all the information necessary to perform a proper analysis of an entire project’s requirements without rolling back to previous releases to obtain information. This is fine for smaller projects with lesser amounts of code. As the amount of code grows, so does the run time of the program due to it having to return to every single previous revision of a project. Results: I have created a beta release of a system that properly takes and analyzes the changes that happen to each class during the process of implementing a software requirement. Learned Topics: I learned about git and Jira APIs for python. I learned the importance of well-made requirements and the importance of proper issue tracking. I also learned a few things about databases as a result of working with large amounts of data. Next Steps: I will continue to work on this project as part of an Independent study CSC 400. The next steps are to improve upon the analysis tool and compute more metrics that are missing and necessary to provide a truly useful tool for developers. I am also writing a paper about the results of the projects which we plan to submit in a major internal peer-review conference such as the Mining Software Repository conference: https://conf.researchr.org/home/msr-2018

Nitrogen Management in Aquariums Using Bacterium Consortium

  • Student(s): Jonathan Chen
  • Faculty: Nirupam Pal

Project Description:
The objective of this study was to understand feasibility of using nitrifying and denitrifying bacterium consortium in managing nitrogen problem in small and large aquariums. Ammonia is usually generated in aquariums due to dead material decomposing as well as fish food not being consumed completely by the fish. Ammonia and Nitrite are poisonous at low concentrations to fish and most healthy aquariums are kept at .1 ppm of both chemicals. Nitrate isn’t as toxic to fish and are usually kept at 15 ppm. Most aquarium filters at the moment filter out physical debris, and convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate to keep the fish healthy; however, algae use the remaining nitrate to grow causing a dirty fish tank. This results in having to remove the fish, clean the tank, and remove some water. The idea for this research was to create a bacteria medium filter that converts ammonia through the nitrogen cycle into nitrogen gas. A mixture of nitrifying and denitrifying bacterium mixture was used as the main bacteria source. Initially we developed a filter and growing bacteria on aquarium rocks. The system worked well on shaker scale (in vitro) but was not that successful in-vivo condition in a 10 Liters aquarium due to lack of carbon source, which naturally occurs in an old aquarium. Later, successful trials were performed with artificial carbon source. The student is currently working on the project during the fall quarter with aquarium water.

IoT Routing and Security Analysis

  • Student(s): Abineet Singh
  • Faculty: Bruce DeBruhl

Project Description:
In our Internet connected and data driven world the expansion of IoT (Internet of things) devices are skyrocketing. IoT devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Nest thermostats are extremely popular in today’s market. However, there is a much more diverse set of networked IoT devices including door locks, kitchen appliances and even consumer vehicles. IoT can provide automation and freedom to enhance our daily lives, but at a price. IoT devices can pose a major security and privacy risk, especially if security is not included by design. In October 2016, we saw the largest IoT cyberattack, where Dyn a major domain name service provider was victim to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack by a botnet named Mirai. While DDoS is not unique, Mirai was the first that used IoT devices including printers, baby monitors, CC cameras etc. This attack showed that IoT vulnerabilities need to be assessed especially since they are proliferating the market with an estimated 23.14 billion devices in 2018 and a staggering 75.44 billion in 2025. Over the summer I worked on building a customized router using an Intel NUC to read IoT traffic on a network. I built the router over the summer and, as a senior project, I am continuing the work on network configurations to classify traffic omitted by Amazon IoT devices. Continuing to work with Dr. DeBruhl, I look forward to designing classifiers, tests, and models for privacy/security risks of IoT devices using the custom router I built over the summer. Next steps will include understanding packet traffic, possible variances within power omission and application of network security protocols on the communication.

Modeling of Localized Transient Heating Within Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites Using FEM

  • Student(s): Dallas J. Johnson
  • Faculty: John C. Chen, PhD

Project Description:
The system modeled is a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer plate undergoing a vibration-induced heating process. The process is specific to a nondestructive testing method which detects the presence of delamination(s) through ultrasonic vibrations which generate localized heating at the delamination site(s) via viscoelastic and Coulombic damping within the sample. Several models were constructed using the commercial finite elemental software Abaqus. Convergence studies were conducted to establish modeling parameters for meshing, element selection, and time step size. Additionally, proper utilization of Abaqus interactions at lamina interfaces to model the thermal conductance present at delamination site(s) was examined. Qualitative benchmarking to existing experimental results was the primary method of calibration for the quantities of heat generation and thermal contact conductance; the results of the modeling indicate good agreement between the system and the model.

Software Requirements Used Within the CubeSat Community

  • Student(s): Noah Weitz and Luca Merlo Paula Soares
  • Faculty: Dr. John Bellardo

Project Description:
The aerospace industry is known for the amount of care it puts into properly designing and developing software requirements, since there are major consequences if a failure occurs. However, CubeSats do not fall under the same scrutiny. They lack requirements to ensure the final software product meets the same quality standards as the rest of the system. Therefore, it is common for problems to arise on CubeSats due to lack of software requirements. To help collect data and find possible solutions about this issue, research was done about software requirements methods used in the aerospace industry. Furthermore, it was also researched techniques used in previous studies to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of software requirements. Moreover, papers about problems that compare different software requirements methods were also saved for future reference. These papers will be used to guide the research and identify where the problems lie on and help solve them. Based on the research, some methods appear to solve some of the problems presented at the CubeSat industry. A modified version the Consortium Requirements Engineering behavioral model (CORE) for creating software requirements, for example, provides a usable structure for developing clear requirements for CubeSats. The CORE model was tested on ExoCube 2, one of the missions been developed at PolySat, showing improvement towards the team members’ understanding of the software requirements of the spacecraft. It was concluded that CORE is a good option as a model for creating software requirements for CubeSats; However, it require modifications to make it effective.

Effect of Multifunction Materials on Bio-Composite Structures Under Three-Point Bend Test

  • Student(s): Alexander Mandeville Bartlett
  • Faculty: Dr. Eltahry Elghandour

Project Description:
Traditionally, surfboards are pieces of Polyurethane foam wrapped in a fiberglass composite layer to add stiffness and strength to the member. Unfortunately the fiberglass composite process used is both hazardous to manufacture and difficult to reuse and recycle. This is where bio-composites can be applied, reducing the use of inorganic fibers through the introduction of natural fibers such as cornhusks, and hemp cloth. This project will present the manufacturing techniques and experimental test for integrated bio-composite beams under three-point bend test. The beams were constructed from multifunction materials (fiberglass, corn, and hemp) in five different combinations in order to discern the properties of each and come away with a plausible alternative to fiberglass. The structure consisted of a foam core and a 4 layer composite skin. Each composite variation had 4 samples to test (20 total) in order to gather the maximum amount of data and conduct a thorough analysis. The bend test was used in order to gather data focused on the stiffness and strength of each member. The samples with the cornhusks both held significantly less force than the others and actually broke into pieces when the load was applied. This left 3 viable samples; all hemp, hemp/fiberglass, and all fiberglass. The hemp behaved oddly as the composite structure never fractured resulting in a high specific strength at the cost of the materials stiffness. The fiberglass/hemp sample responded similarly to the all fiberglass, both had close ultimate strengths and stiffness’s. This concludes that surfboards could start using both hemp and fiberglass in the composite layup and the material properties would remain virtually identical while not adding weight to the board and at the same time significantly cutting down the amount of fiberglass.

Effects of Rice Derived Silica Aerogel in Insulating Hemp Concrete Composites

  • Student(s): Jose Urizar
  • Faculty: Dr. Eltahry Elghandour

Project Description:
A fundamental need within the residential and commercial construction industries for alternatives to petroleum and fiberglass based insulation has been identified. Major shortcomings identified with current insulations are: OSHA identified carcinogens, efficiency degradation over time, thermal bridges reducing efficiency, energy input to create fiberglass & reliance on petroleum. Potential answers to this fundamental need for healthy and cleaner forms of insulation are currently being explored. Proposed solutions include the shift towards entirely new materials more suited for sustainability all together which involves the scope of this project, to truly address the problem statement by developing a long-term solution that will not need to be revisited. Currently there is much research being conducted on insulating concretes which consist of bio-based aggregates. Cellulose-based insulators were a leading candidate for investigation due to its natural thermal insulating properties, its natural abundance and consumer familiarity, and ease of manufacturing. The investigation conducted took a closer look at high performing insulating concretes known as Hemp Concretes or more commonly Hempcrete. Hempcretes utilize naturally occurring binders and hurds, the inner core of the hemp plant which are inherently antibacterial and porous in nature. Rice derived silica aerogels were introduced to the hempcrete composites at differing volumetric fraction mix ratios to improve thermal resistivity. Silica aerogels are novel nanoparticles with high insulating properties which were manufactured through sustainable methods by GreenEarth Aerogels. The investigation conducted herein looked to incorporate the rice derived silica aerogels into the hempcrete, at varying mix ratios to investigate its effects on the overall insulating properties of the hempcrete composite created. Construction of a R Value measuring chamber and device was also investigated to approximate changes in thermal resistivity in accordance to ASTM C518. Results confirmed an increase in thermal resistivity as the amounts of silica aerogels were introduced to the hempcrete.

Building System Retrofits at Cal Poly--A Tool for Carbon Strategic Planning

  • Student(s):Jose Urizar
  • Faculty: Dr. Eltahry Elghandour

Project Description:
A fundamental need within the residential and commercial construction industries for alternatives to petroleum and fiberglass based insulation has been identified. Major shortcomings identified with current insulations are: OSHA identified carcinogens, efficiency degradation over time, thermal bridges reducing efficiency, energy input to create fiberglass & reliance on petroleum. Potential answers to this fundamental need for healthy and cleaner forms of insulation are currently being explored. Proposed solutions include the shift towards entirely new materials more suited for sustainability all together which involves the scope of this project, to truly address the problem statement by developing a long-term solution that will not need to be revisited. Currently there is much research being conducted on insulating concretes which consist of bio-based aggregates. Cellulose-based insulators were a leading candidate for investigation due to its natural thermal insulating properties, its natural abundance and consumer familiarity, and ease of manufacturing. The investigation conducted took a closer look at high performing insulating concretes known as Hemp Concretes or more commonly Hempcrete. Hempcretes utilize naturally occurring binders and hurds, the inner core of the hemp plant which are inherently antibacterial and porous in nature. Rice derived silica aerogels were introduced to the hempcrete composites at differing volumetric fraction mix ratios to improve thermal resistivity. Silica aerogels are novel nanoparticles with high insulating properties which were manufactured through sustainable methods by GreenEarth Aerogels. The investigation conducted herein looked to incorporate the rice derived silica aerogels into the hempcrete, at varying mix ratios to investigate its effects on the overall insulating properties of the hempcrete composite created. Construction of a R Value measuring chamber and device was also investigated to approximate changes in thermal resistivity in accordance to ASTM C518. Results confirmed an increase in thermal resistivity as the amounts of silica aerogels were introduced to the hempcrete.

p21 Gene Expression in Sphingomyelin Treated Keratinocytes

  • Student(s): Trevor Bingham
  • Faculty: Dr. Lily Hsu Laiho

Project Description:
According to the American Cancer Society, non-melanoma type skin cancer (NMSC) affects approximately three million people per year. NMSC impacts mostly keratinocytes, which are highly abundant within the epidermis. These cells are vital to skin barrier function, wound healing, and immune response. Though NMSC is highly treatable, there is a need to find novel strategies for protecting skin cells, such as keratinocytes, from UV photodamage. According to prior research done by this lab, sphingomyelin, a lipid found in the lipid bilayer of cells, appears to be an effective additive for reducing the quantity of UV photodamage in keratinocytes post UV-B exposure. To analyze this claim, p21 protein expression was observed. p21 protein functions in a host of manners ranging from DNA repair and cell cycle arrest to inhibition of pro-apoptotic proteins such as caspase-3, though overall p21 expression indicates cell damage. The goal of this research was to confirm prior claims utilizing different methods of analysis. To qualify cell damage, p21 gene expression was quantified by RT-qPCR in sphingomyelin-treated and untreated keratinocytes post UV-B. Cells were either incubated in 1% sphingomyelin solution or media for 24 hours and given 30mJ/〖cm〗^2 of UV-B. RNA was collected 24 hours after for processing and later RT-qPCR. For analysis, gene expression from each condition was normalized to untreated keratinocytes without UV exposure and each sample was normalized to GAPDH expression. Results from RT-qPCR showed a 23% decrease in p21 gene fold expression in sphingomyelin-treated keratinocytes relative to untreated keratinocytes, though this result was not statistically significant (2-sample t-test at 95% confidence). In tandem with prior results, it does appear that sphingomyelin does interact with the cells to reduce UV photodamage, yet a more extensive gene study must be done on cells with added sphingomyelin to assess its efficacy for skin cancer prevention.

Carbon Sequestration Using Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles

  • Student(s): Benjamin Dennis
  • Faculty: Dr. Kristen Cardinal

Project Description:
This summer, my primary goal was to refine the protocols related to the Tissue Engineering lab’s Blood Vessel Mimic (BVM) creation and to establish consistent approaches for BVM development and cultivation. Specifically, I focused on evaluating the deposition of endothelial and smooth muscle cells within the BVMs (e.g. which cells end up going where?) and implemented methods to better visualize the resulting cell morphology. Before any of these analysis methods could be developed, I spent multiple weeks refining our cell culture protocols and evaluating the longevity and viability of cells from different vendors. After this study and a cost matrix analysis, I decided to proceed this project using the vendor Lonza’s Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells and Human Umbilical Artery Smooth Muscle Cells. The process of evaluating the deposition of cells was executed after I set up the exhaust for our new critical point drier (CPD). From here I was able to refine the protocol to allow our PLGA scaffolds to be able to withstand the harsh environment of the CPD. Once sample BVMs were critically point dried, they were then sputter coated with gold and imaged on a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Furthermore, another method I used to visualize deposition of cells was through the use and development of a single CellTracker dye with a nuclear BBI stain*. Specifically, this allowed me to identify one cell type from another while in co-culture and hopefully on BVMs on future setups. During these projects I was able to do multiple vessel set ups for implementation of the SEM and Cell Tracker protocols described. Upon completion of this work, I am proficient in all of the core techniques for creating tissue engineered blood vessels and I was successful at investigating two new key assessment methods for evaluating cell deposition and morphology within our labs BVMs. *Poster presentation at the Surfaces in Biomaterials annual BioInterface Conference, in San Diego, CA.

Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Cell Deposition and Morphology in Blood Vessel Mimics

  • Student(s): Shalto Dascher
  • Faculty: Professor Jean Lee

Project Description:
As global climate change worsens, investigation of new ways of effectively capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) is becoming increasingly important. This research examined the ability of magnesium oxide (MgO) nanoparticles that are simply and rapidly produced using a microwave oven to sequester CO2. Three routes of exposing the nanoparticles to CO2 were studied: (1) Injection of CO2 gas into the microwave oven during nanoparticle synthesis, (2) placement and sublimation of dry ice pellets into the microwave oven during nanoparticle synthesis, and (3) placement and sublimation of dry ice pellets in an airtight atomic force microscope (AFM) vibration isolation enclosure with microwave-synthesized MgO nanoparticles. In each of these three routes, AFM was the primary method used to examine whether CO2 was adsorbed by the nanoparticles. The first two routes of exposing the nanoparticles to CO2 did not appear to be effective in adsorbing CO2 onto the surface of the nanoparticles. Further examination of these samples using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) did not indicate the presence of any significant amount of carbon in the nanoparticles, suggesting that CO2 is not taken up by nanoparticles produced by either of these two routes. AFM examination of the third route of exposing the nanoparticles to CO2 revealed significant swelling of the nanoparticles as the dry ice pellets sublimed in the AFM enclosure. When the enclosure was opened to release the CO2 gas resulting from the sublimed dry ice pellets, a decline in the swelling of the MgO nanoparticles was observed such that the nanoparticles appeared to return to their size prior to CO2 exposure. These preliminary results indicate that microwave-synthesized MgO nanoparticles hold promise as a reversible means of carbon sequestration.

Factor Augmented Reality (AR) Potentials into Facilities Planning and Design Research Project

  • Student(s): Dante Mazzanti, Andrew Allen, Tony Tran, and Jordan Moy
  • Faculty: Dr. Tao Yang

Project Description:
Our goal was to establish the elements needed to create an industrial engineering application relevant to facilities design and planning that we could incorporate into the Cal Poly IME curriculum. Very few IME programs in the country have virtual/augmented/mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) courses which represents a significant opportunity for Cal Poly to become a leader on this front. Through investigation of different head-mounted displays (HMD’s) we determined that the best options were the one that allowed virtual reality to be overlaid on the user’s surroundings. We called these optical see-through types of HMD’s. Specifically, we believe that our best candidates are the Microsoft HoloLens ($3,000), Meta ($1,000), or Lumus Display. On the software side the Unity VR Engine would be the easiest method of incorporating VR into the Cal Poly IME curriculum. This is because it uses Python to develop applications which fits in the IME department change from the VB programming requirement to Python in Winter 2017. The next step is to investigate how to incorporate elements from programs such as SolidWorks in a way that allows them to “snapped” to certain elements in reality (e.g. how to place VR objects such as workstation designs in a facility so that they are locked in place as the user moves around). We believe this technology is still nascent and offers a key area for Cal Poly to emerge from as a leader.

EPIC Digital Forensics Lab

  • Student(s): Cassidy Elwell
  • Faculty: Dr. Zachary Peterson

Project Description:
The increasing growth and severity of attacks, combined with a relatively flat production of degrees in computer security, has led to a dearth of qualified security professionals. In particular, attracting a broad and diverse body of students to digital forensics has been challenging. The perception that digital forensics is the exclusive domain of white asocial males, that the field is devoid of creativity or individual expression, and the clear lack of positive, social impact have all been identified as root causes for disinterest and attrition. Thus, finding immersive, scenario-based educational materials is critical to addressing the national need for security education and exposing students to security as a potential career. The Engineering Possibilities in College (EPIC) summer program provides high school students from a variety of backgrounds such an opportunity. Our specific contributions created an experimental exercise of network traffic forensics generated from a real life wireless connection using technologies relevant to this audience and combined with a story-driven narrative to capture students interest. By capturing the network traffic on a wireless connection, the students access data about a “target” and their internet usage, demonstrating the major insecurities involved with open networks. Our preliminary results, as empirically measured through observation and informal student interviews, show that nearly all students found the exercise to be fun, engaging, and able to create new insights between technologies students currently use casually, and potential career paths in digital forensics. This early work lays the foundation for more extensive evaluation, and the further development of similar curricular modules useful in a variety of academic and social settings. We have packaged our curricular materials, and will be releasing them to the public on the website of our umbrella project, TableTopSecurity.com.

Identifying Perils of Mining Github data and JIRA data

  • Student(s): Yiupang Chan
  • Faculty: Davide Falessi

Project Description:
Problem Context: Github and JIRA projects have become important sources for software engineering researches. However, there are potential perils of mining data from them. My aim was to define and check a set of perils to help researchers measure the validity of the projects’ data. Challenges: API Rate Limits: My project exceeded the default rate limit of Github API after measuring one project. I have increased the rate by authenticating myself using personal access tokens on Github. Different names on JIRA and Github: Many projects use different names on JIRA and Github. I have resolved it by fetching the URLs of Github and JIRA from a JSON that contains metadata about all Apache projects. Limitations of APIs: GitPython does not provide users with detail about pull requests. I created a library that makes HTTP requests to Github to mine the data I needed. Results: I have successfully produced metrics of seven perils which show a low validity of data in both Github and JIRA projects. For example, some developers did not follow the rule of one commit per JIRA ticket. Learned Topics: I have learned three new APIs, GitPython, GitHub API, and JIRA API. Since the project involves data processing and parsing Strings, I have learned using regular expressions to speed up data fetching. Also, I gained more experience in object-oriented design. Next Steps: I will continue to work on this project as part of an Independent study CSC 400. The next steps are to measure perils for all the Apache projects and to develop a website application that allows other people to access our results. I am also writing a paper about the results of the projects which we plan to submit in a major internal peer-review conference such as the Mining Software Repository conference: https://conf.researchr.org/home/msr-2018.

Computer Vision Strawberry Data Acquisition

  • Student(s): Jonathan Sato
  • Faculty: Jane Zhang

Project Description:
The goal of this research project was to collect numerical data from strawberry plants via taking pictures of them. Through different processes such as thresholding and morphological operations, the plant was able to be isolated from its background and measurements such as area and crown diameter were found. To convert the measurements from pixels to centimeters, a coin was used as a reference object to scale the measurements accordingly. The circular Hough transform was used to find the coin in the image. A Viola Jones object classifier was used to identify and count the number of flowers on each plant. This was accomplished by taking images of about 160 plants daily to train the classifier to find the flowers. All these different functions were then combined to output a spreadsheet containing numerical data based on a series of plant images. Further research can be done by creating a model to predict fruit yield using data obtained from the images. The collection of these images can be made faster and easier by using a drone to take the images of the plants.

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