Industrial Projects

2004-05 Projects

Gravity Waves over Topography

Sponsor: George Jumper, AFRL, Hanscom Air Force Base
Advisor: Mayer Humi
Student: Kevin Fichter

This project examined the theory behind gravity wave analysis and derived methods for detecting the presence of gravity waves from experimental data. To this end we used the Taylor-Goldstein equation and data gathered from the French Alps as part of an international campaign to detect and analyze gravity waves generated by topography. We were able to relate the experimental and expected values of the wavelength and frequency of the gravity waves using a fluid dynamics model.

Computer Modeling of Cell Migration

Sponsor: Yu-li Wang, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Advisor: Roger Lui
Students: Kelly Pui-Kwan Fung, David Govonlu

The study of amoeboid movement in crawling cells has been a wide topic of interest in the field of cell biology. This project focuses on the development of a computer program that simulates the steps of cell crawling. A statistical analysis of the variables used in the program helps to provide a better understanding of the underlying factors behind amoeboid movement. This provides insight into what accounts for the various shapes and behaviors seen among crawling cells.

Modeling of Malignant Brain Tumors

Sponsor: IBM
Advisor: Suzanne Weekes
Student: David Voutila

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a highly lethal brain cancer, accounts for over 30 percent of brain tumors in adult patients. Patients typically survive only 12-18 months after diagnosis. Our model describes the dynamics of GBM via a system of partial differential equations for tumor cells, nutrients, toxins, and mechanical resistance of brain matter. Using a 2D conservative Alternating Direction Implicit scheme, we numerically approximate the solution to our model and implement it in C for simulation on a parallel computer.

A Mathematical Analysis of a Jitter-based Hardware Random Number Generator

Sponsor: General Dynamics
Advisor: William Martin
Student: Wayne Coppock

In this paper analysis of jitter is conducted to determine its suitability for use as an entropy source for a true random number generator. Efforts are taken to isolate and quantify jitter in ring oscillator circuits and to understand its relationship to design specifications. The accumulation of jitter via various methods is also investigated to determine whether there is an optimal accumulation technique for sampling the uncertainty of jitter events. Mathematical techniques are used to analyze the accumulation process and an attempt at modeling a signal with jitter is made. The physical properties responsible for the noise that causes jitter are also briefly investigated.

Optimization of the Sierpinski Carpet Fractal Antenna

Sponsor: Steven Best, AFRL, Hanscom Air Force Base
Advisor: Vadim Yakovlev
Student: Brian G. Cordes

The Sierpinski Carpet fractal antenna is studied in terms of optimality. A 3D full-wave FDTD model of the structure is developed and used in conjunction with a neural network optimization procedure. An original engineering design based on the idea of a broken fractal geometry is suggested. The modified fractal antennas are shown to have the capability of being optimized, in terms of its input impedance, in a narrow frequency band.

Estimating the Cost of Volatility in an Assigned Risk Plan

Sponsor: Premier Insurance
Advisors: Jon Abraham, Arthur Heinricher
Students: Vonda Bui, Ying Fang Yu

This project studied the new assigned risk plan for Massachusetts automobile insurance. The current method is a simple lottery in which each company's voluntary market share determines its probability of receiving the next high-risk driver. Results show that a dynamic method that adjusts assignment probabilities according to each company's current residual market share can reduce volatility costs by 50% for all insurance companies in the state.

Estimating Disability Incidence Rates for Long Term Care Insurance

Sponsor: John Hancock
Advisors: Jon Abraham, Art Heinricher
Students: Michael D'Onofrio, James Lescoe, Jeffrey Simone, Mareck Twarong

This paper uses data from the 1999 NLTCS and NHIS surveys to compute Long Term Care (LTC) prevalence rates. We develop several triggers, evaluate a test of cognitive ability, and compute prevalence rates for each trigger. We develop a model to compute LTC incidence rates based on the prevalence data. We find that incidence is a strictly increasing function of age and that there is a sharp increase in incidence rates starting at age ninety.

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