August 16, 2007

Around Campus

WPI Wins $1M Grant to Develop Emergency Personnel Locater Device

From left, David Cyganski, professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI, and R. James Duckworth, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, receive a check for nearly $1 million from Charles Dickinson, deputy assistant administrator, U.S. Fire Administration, during last week's WPI workshop on precision personnel location and tracking.

WPI has received nearly $1 million from the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a system that can precisely locate and track the movement of emergency workers inside buildings and also monitor their health and physiological status.

The announcement of the award came just a few days before WPI hosted its second annual workshop on Precision Indoor Personnel Location and Tracking for Emergency Responders. The two-day workshop, held Aug. 6-7, has been the only national forum for researchers, corporate R&D leaders, national policy makers, and public safety departments on this critical technical challenge.

The DHS award allows WPI to enhance a precision location system it has been developing over the past four years by integrating it with technology developed by Foster-Miller Inc., in Waltham, Mass., for continuous monitoring of temperature, heart rate, respiration rate and other physiological parameters. The enhanced system will address two of what a 2005 report from the National Fire Protection Association identified as the three leading causes of firefighter deaths: stress-related heart attacks (No. 1) and getting lost, trapped, or disabled inside buildings (No. 3). The DHS funds augment the more than $3 million in funding the research team has already garnered from the U.S. Department of Justice.

WPI Metal Processing Institute Featured on History Channel's "Modern Marvels"

WPI's Metal Processing Institute (MPI) and its director, Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI, appeared in a new documentary on the history of aluminum that premiered on the History Channel on Wednesday, July 25.

The hour-long program was part of the History Channel's "Modern Marvels" series, which focuses on the history of various technologies and industries. The program on aluminum looked at the discovery of aluminum (which is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust), as well as the properties of this lightweight, flexible, rustproof metal, and its many uses- everything from beverage cans, to aluminum foil, to baseball bats, to advanced telescope mirrors, to structural components and engines in cars and airplanes.

The "Modern Marvels" crew spent a day on the WPI campus in May shooting scenes in laboratories of the MPI. The largest university-industry alliance in North America with six research centers and more than 80 corporate members, MPI works to advance the state of the art in metal processing through fundamental and applied research, development of new processes, and education programs that prepare future industry leaders.

The filming at WPI focused on the facilities of MPI's Advanced Casting Research Center, which conducts basic and developmental research on aluminum and light metals and provides a forum where the industrial and academic sectors can address technological challenges encountered in the metal casting industry.

This is not the first time that History Channel cameras have focused on WPI people and programs. Previous programs broadcast on the cable network have included interviews with faculty in WPI's Fire Protection Engineering Department; Steven C. Bullock, professor of history and a expert on the history of Freemasonry in the United States; and Jeffrey L. Forgeng, adjunct associate professor in the Humanities and Arts Department at WPI and the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum, where he is a renowned authority on armor and arms of the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era.

New Restaurant, Store to Open Soon

Get your taste buds ready as WPI's newest dining location, The Goat's Head, opens on Sunday, August 19, at Founders Hall, featuring a pub-style menu (and beer and wine) that is sure to tempt foodies across campus. Chartwell's will manage the restaurant, which has 175 seats and space for entertainment, plasma-screen TVs, and a pool table. There will also be an ice cream section. Hours of operation are: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Outtakes, the convenience store adjacent to the new restaurant, will open the same day. Customers will be able to buy typical convenience items including coffee and quick food items like sandwiches. Outtakes' hours of operation are: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Non-campus community members are welcome to dine and shop.


IMGD Welcomes Professor Rich

Charles Rich, distinguished research scientist and associate director of the Research Laboratory of Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) in Cambridge, Mass., and a pioneer in intelligent computer systems, joined the university's Interactive Media & Game Development faculty on July 1.

Rich, who has a faculty appointment in the Computer Science Department, was a founding member of MERL in 1991. As the North American arm of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's corporate research and development organization, MERL conducts application-motivated basic research and advanced development in computer and communication technologies. Previously, Rich was co-founder and director of the Programmer's Apprentice project at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, where he pioneered research on intelligent assistants for software engineering.

Rich, who received a PhD from MIT in 1980, is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a fellow and past councilor of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. In 1992, he chaired the International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning. He also co-chaired the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1998 and was program co-chair of the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces in 2004.

Staff Promotions

The Human Resources Office has announced that the following members of WPI administration and staff have earned promotions, effective July 1:

WPI Retirements Announced

Dorothy R. Burdulis, left, retired on August 3 after working for 56 years in various capacities at WPI. She most recently served as executive assistant to Steve Hebert, university vice president, who retired on June 30. She supported a number of presidents and board chairs. Burdulis didn't want a formal recognition of her retirement, so Tracy Hassett, vice president of human resources (right), Gina Griffin, and friend Lori Costello brought her a beautiful bouquet of 56 roses.

Recent Grants

Academic Affairs

Cyr, Martha, for "Collaborative Research: A Comprehensive Pathway for K-Gray Engineering Education," from National Science Foundation, $66,212

Chemical Engineering

Ma, Yi (Ed), for "Ultra Thin Pa & Pd/Alloy Membranes for Hydrogen Separation and Reaction Applications," from SHELL International Exploring & Production, Inc., $244,900

Wilcox, Jennifer, for "Heterogeneous Reactivity of Trace Elements in Combustion Flue Gases," from American Chemical Society, $40,000

Computer Science

Gennert, Michael, with co-principal investigators David Cyganski and Gretar Tryggvason, for "CPATHCB: Building Community via Robotics Innovations Competition and Conference," from National Science Foundation, $359,761

Heffernan, Neil, for "Career: Learning About Learning," from National Science Foundation, $13,500

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Lou, Wenjing, with co-principal investigator Berk Sunar, for "CT-ISG: Broadcast / Multicast Security in Multi-User Wireless Sensor Networks," from National Science Foundation, $137,200

Michalson, William, with co-principal investigator James Matthews, for "State Communications Interoperability Plan," from Science Applications International Corporation, $83,726

Interdisciplinary and Global Studies

Vaz, Richard, for "WPI Project Center at MIT Lincoln Laboratory," from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, $60,733

Mechanical Engineering

Pryputniewicz, Ryszard, for "Development of Nondestructive Testing/Evaluation Methodology for MEMS," from the U.S. Army, $50,000

Rong, Yiming (Kevin), for "Signature Analysis of OD Cylindrical Grinding Processes," from Saint-Gobain Abrasives, $75,000

Rong, Yiming (Kevin), for "STTR Phase 1: Heat Treatment Process Modeling and Simulation Tools," from JYL Solutions LLC, $58,071

Publications and Presentations

Biomedical Engineering

Potapova, I. A., G. R. Gaudette, P. R. Brink, R. B. Robinson, M. R. Rosen, I. S. Cohen, and S. V. Doronin, "Mesenchymal Stem Cells Support Migration, Extracellular Matrix Invasion, Proliferation, and Survival of Endothelial Cells In Vitro," Stem Cells, vol. 25, section 7, p. 1761-8, 2007.

Biotechnology and Biology

Towler, M. J., B. E. Wyslouzil, and P. J. Weathers, "Using an Aerosol Deposition Model to Increase Hairy Root Growth in a Mist Reactor," Biotechnology & Bioengineering, vol. 96, p. 881-891, 2007.

Wang, Y., P. J. Weathers, "Sugars Proportionately Affect Artemisinin Production," Plant Cell Reports, vol. 26, p. 1073-1081, 2007.

Weathers, P. J., "Development of Low-Cost Bioreactors for Production of Plant Products," invited presentation at the 2nd Gordon Conference on Plant Metabolic Engineering in Tilton, N.H., July 15-20, 2007.

Chemical Engineering

Camesano, T. A., Y. Liu*, and P. A. Pinzon-Arango*, "Cranberry Prevents the Adhesion of Bacteria: An Overview of Relevant Health Benefits," AgroFOOD Industry Hi-tech, vol. 18, p. 24-27, 2007.

Liu, Y.*, J. Strauss, and T. A. Camesano, "Thermodynamic Investigation of Staphyloccocus epidermidis Interactions with Protein-coated Substrata," Langmuir, vol. 23, p. 7134-7142, 2007.

* = WPI graduate student

Computer Tip

Wireless Certificate Files If you are using a wireless device running Windows XP or Vista such as a notebook, it requires current wireless certificate files to operate on WPI's wireless network. The new wireless certificate files must be installed by Sept. 30 in order for your wireless device to continue functioning on campus.

Computers on WPI's ADMIN domain will be automatically updated. For those not on the ADMIN domain, the new files can be obtained online.

You will need to log in using your Windows (ADMIN or STUDENT) username and password or your CCC Unix username and password.

You can view complete details about this change on the WPI website. For additional information or assistance with wireless certificate files, contact the Helpdesk at x5888 or

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Last modified: September 26, 2014 14:20:28