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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Defense Notices

EECS MS and PhD Defense Notices for

All students and faculty are welcome to attend the final defense of EECS graduate students completing their M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. Defense notices for M.S./Ph.D. presentations for this year and several previous years are listed below in reverse chronological order.

Students who are nearing the completion of their M.S./Ph.D. research should schedule their final defenses through the EECS graduate office at least THREE WEEKS PRIOR to their presentation date so that there is time to complete the degree requirements check, and post the presentation announcement online.




Upcoming Defense Notices


MEENAKSHI MISHRA - Task Relationship Modeling in Multitask Learning with Applications to Computational Toxicity

PhD Comprehensive Defense (EE)

When & Where:
May 6, 2014
1:00 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Luke Huan, chair
Arvin Agah
Swapan Chakrabarti
Ron Hui
Zhou Wang*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Multitask Learning is a learning framework which explores the concept of sharing training information among multiple related tasks to improve the generalization error of each task. The benefits of multitask learning have been shown both empirically and theoretically. There are a number of fields that benefit from multitask learning, including toxicology. However, the current multitask learning algorithms make a very important key assumption that all the tasks are related to each other in a similar fashion in multitask learning. The users often do not have the knowledge of which tasks are related and train all tasks together. This results in sharing of training information even among the unrelated tasks. Training unrelated tasks together can cause a negative transfer and deteriorate the performance of multitask learning. For example, consider the case of predicting in vivo toxicity of chemicals at various endpoints from the chemical structure. Toxicity at all the endpoints are not related. Since, biological networks are highly complex, it is also not possible to predetermine which endpoints are related. Thus, training all the endpoints together may cause a negative effect on the overall performance. This proposal aims at developing algorithms which make use of task relationship models to further improve the generalization error and prevent transfer of information among the unrelated tasks. The algorithms proposed here either learn the task relationships or utilize the known task relationships in the learning framework. Further, these algorithms will be utilized to predict toxicity of chemicals at various endpoints using the chemical structures and the results of multiple in vitro assays performed on these chemicals.



YINGYING MA - A Comparison of Two Discretization Options of the MLEM2 Algorithm

MS Project Defense (CS)

When & Where:
May 5, 2014
1:00 pm
2001B Eaton Hall
Committee Members:
Jerzy Grzymala-Busse
Luke Huan
Prasad Kulkarni

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
A rule set is a popular symbolic representation of knowledge derived from
data. A rule induction is an important technique of data mining or machine
learning. Many rule induction algorithms are widely used, such as LEM1, LEM2 and MLEM2. Some of these algorithms perform better on special data, e. g., on inconsistent data set or data sets with missing attribute values. This work discusses basic ideas of the MLEM2 algorithm, especially, how it handles data sets with numeric attribute values. Additionally, a comparison of the performance of different discretization options of the MLEM2 algorithm is also included.





Past Defense Notices


FRANK MOLEY - Maintaining Privacy and Security of Personally Identifiable Information Data in a Connected System

MS Project Defense (IT)

When & Where:
April 22, 2014
4:00 pm
280 Best-Edwards Campus
Committee Members:
Hossein Saiedian, Chair
Fengjun Li
Bo Luo

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
The large data stores of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in todays connected systems, coupled with the increased potential damages of Identity Theft bring the need for architectures that provide secure collection, storage, and transmission of this data. The need has not yet been standardized in the industry in a way similar to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) has done so. At the same time, however, municipalities, states, and even countries are instituting legislature that requires business entities that store PII data to maintain adequate security of the data. The need has become clear for a set of processes, procedures, and systems that provide a framework for securely storing PII data. This project defines the lower level datastore system and associated services for that PII data. It also outlines a network architecture prototype for providing segmented security zones used to provide more layers of security in a connected system.



KALYANI HARIDASYAM - AskMyNetwork: Finding Reliable Feedback and Reviews

MS Project Defense (IT)

When & Where:
April 22, 2014
1:00 pm
280 Best Hall-Edwards
Committee Members:
Hossein Saiedian, Chair
Fengjun Li
Bo Luo

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
We all consult online reviews before obtaining a product or service. However, not all the reviews can be trusted. For example, in 2013, "Operation Clean Turf” a yearlong sting operation in New York State, caught 19different companies that were writing fake reviews in online forums like Yelp for businesses that paid them. For my project, I've developed an application called AskMyNetwork. AskMyNetwork interfaces with Facebook to obtain feedback or input from a user's Facebook friends.The rationale for my project is that the feedback or inputs are from "friends" (personal friends, family members,or colleagues in a user's Facebook friends' list) and can be trusted.

AskMyNetwork has four major components namely, Login,Search My Network, Ask My Network and Notifications. Using the Login component, the user can login to the application with Facebook credentials. Using Search My Network component, the user can define search criteria (e.g.,search for restaurant in Kansas City) and search his or her Facebook data for relevant results. Using Ask My Network component, the user can ask a group of friends question about a product or service they would like an opinion on. The group of friends can either be chosen by name or by the current location of the friends. Using the Notifications component, the user can view the responses given to questions asked from AskMyNetwork.

I validated AskMyNetwork via a number of inquiries on topics such as restaurants, places to visit in a city and arts. The results of the validation were satisfactory.




MUHARREM ALI TUNC - LPTV-Aware Bit Loading and Channel Estimation in Broadband PLC for Smart Grid

PhD Dissertation Defense (EE)

When & Where:
April 21, 2014
11:15 am
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Erik Perrins, Chair
Shannon Blunt
Lingjia Liu
James Sterbenz
Atanas Stefanov*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Power line communication (PLC) has received steady interest over recent decades because of its economic use of existing power lines, and is one of the communication technologies envisaged for Smart Grid infrastructure. However, power lines are not designed for data communication, and this brings unique challenges for data communication over power lines. In particular for broadband (BB) PLC, the channel exhibits linear periodically time varying (LPTV) behavior synchronous to the AC mains cycle due to time varying impedances, impulsive noise due to switching events in the power line network is present in addition to background noise. In this work, we focus on two major aspects of an orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) system for BB PLC LPTV channels; bit and power allocation, and channel estimation (CE).

For the problem of optimal bit and power allocation, we present that the application of a power constraint that is averaged over many microslots can be exploited for further performance improvements through bit loading. Due to the matroid structure of the optimization problem, greedy-type algorithms are proven to be optimal for the new LPTV-aware bit and power loading. Next, two mechanisms are utilized to reduce the complexity of the optimal LPTV-aware bit loading and peak microslot power levels: employing representative values from microslot transfer functions, and power clipping.

Next, we introduce a robust CE scheme with low overhead that addresses the drawbacks of block-type pilot arrangement and decision directed CE schemes such as large estimation overhead, and difficulty in channel tracking in the case of sudden changes in the channel, respectively. A transform domain (TD) analysis approach is developed to determine the cause of changes in the channel estimates. The result of TD analysis is then exploited in the proposed scheme to mitigate the effects of LPTV channel and impulsive noise.

Our results indicate that the proposed reduced complexity LPTV-aware bit loading with power clipping algorithm performs close to the optimal scheme, and the proposed CE scheme based on TD analysis has low estimation overhead and is robust to changes in the channel and noise, making them good alternatives for BB PLC LPTV channels.



BRIAN CORDILL - Radar System Enhancement through High Fidelity Electromagnetic Modeling

PhD Dissertation Defense (EE)

When & Where:
April 18, 2014
12:00 pm
129 Nichols
Committee Members:
Sarah Seguin, Chair
Shannon Blunt
Chris Allen
Jim Stiles
Mark Ewing*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Many of the innovative algorithms that permeate the field of array processing are based on a very simple signal model of an array. This simple, although powerful, model is at times a pale reflection of the complexities inherent in the physical world, and this model mismatch opens the door to the performance degradation of any solution for which the model underpins. This dissertation seeks to explore the impact of model mismatch upon common array processing algorithms. Model mismatch is examined in two ways: First, by developing a blind array calibration routine that estimates model mismatch and incorporates that knowledge into the RISR direction of arrival estimation algorithm. Second, by examining model mismatch between a transmitting and receiving antenna array, and assessing the impact of this mismatch on prolific direction of arrival estimation algorithms. In both of these studies it is shown that engineers have traded algorithm performance of model simplicity, and that if we are willing to deal with the added complexity we can recapture that lost performance.




JOSHUA DAVIS - A Covert Channel Using Named Resources

MS Thesis Defense (CoE)

When & Where:
April 14, 2014
1:00 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Victor Frost, Chair
Fengjun Li
Bo Luo

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
A method of transmitting information clandestinely over a variety of network protocols is designed and discussed. A demonstrative implementation is created that utilizes the ubiquitous Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the world wide web. Key contributions include the use of access ordering to convey information, and the modulation of transaction level timing to emulate user behavior.




NAHAL NIAKAN - Mutual Coupling Reduction Between Closely Spaced U-slot Patch Antennas by Optimizing Array Configuration and Its Applications in MIMO

MS Thesis Defense (EE)

When & Where:
March 31, 2014
3:30 pm
2001B Eaton Hall
Committee Members:
Sarah Seguin, Chair
Chris Allen
Jim Stiles

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) systems have received considerable attention over the last decade due to their ability to provide high throughputs and mitigate multipath fading effects. There are some limitations to get the most from MIMO, such as mutual coupling between
antenna elements in an array. Mutual coupling and therefore inter element spacing have important effect on the channel capacity of MIMO communication system, its error rate and ambiguity of MIMO radar system. There are huge numbers of researches that focus on reducing the mutual coupling in antenna arrays and improve MIMO performance. Antenna design affects the performance of Multiple-Input–Multiple-output (MIMO) systems. Two aspects of antenna role in MIMO performance have been investigated in this thesis. Employing suitable antenna can have significant impact on performance of MIMO system. In addition to antenna design another antenna related issue that helps to optimize the system performance is to reduce mutual coupling between antenna elements in an array.Effect of antenna configuration in array on mutual coupling has been studied in this research. Main purpose is to find the array configuration which provides minimum mutual coupling between elements. U-slot patch antenna which because of its features like wide bandwidth ,multi band resonance and ease to achieve different polarizations has attracted lots of researchers has been used in this study.




ZAID HAYYEH - Exploiting Wireless Networks for Covert Communications

PhD Dissertation Defense (EE)

When & Where:
March 31, 2014
2:30 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Victor Frost, Chair
Shannon Blunt
Erik Perrins
David Petr
Jeffrey Lang*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
The desire to hide communications has existed since antiquity. This includes hiding the existence of the transmission and the location of the sender. Wireless networks offer an opportunity for hiding a transmission by placing a signal in the radio frequency (RF) occupied by a target network which also has the added benefit of lowering its probability of detection.

This research hides a signal within the RF environment of a packet based wireless (infrastructure) network. Specifically, in this research the interfering (covert) signal is placed in the guard band of the target network’s orthogonal frequency division multiplexed (OFDM) signal. We show that the existence of adaptive protocols allow the target network to adjust to the existence of the covert signal. In other words, the wireless network views the covert network as a minor change in the RF environment; this work shows that the covert signal can be indistinguishable from other wireless impairments such as fading.

The impact of the covert signal on the target system performance is discovered through analysis and simulation; the analysis and simulation begin at the physical layer where the interaction between the target and covert systems occurs. After that, analysis is performed on the impact of the covert link on the target system at data-link layer. Finally, we analyze the performance of the target system at the transmission control protocol (TCP) layer which characterizes the end-to-end performance. The results of this research demonstrate the potential of this new method for hiding the transmission of information. The results of this research could encourage the creation of new protocols to protect these networks from exploitation of this manner.



RAMESH KUMAR DUGAR - Pulsed Doppler Lidar for Velocity Measurement using Coherent Detection

MS Project Defense (EE)

When & Where:
March 28, 2014
1:00 pm
250 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Ron Hui, Chair
Glenn Prescott
Jim Stiles

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Measurement of wind velocity is of essential to enhance the wind energy utilization which is very important considering the fact that it one of most important renewable source of energy and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has become a very popular technology for such measurements. In this study, a pulsed Doppler Lidar operating at 1.5µm is demonstrated with coherent detection technique for measurement of velocity of spinning disc which is a hard target used in this project. This Lidar uses the principle of Doppler shift to measure the velocity and an Acousto-optic modulator is used for frequency shifting in the transmitter to produce an intermediate frequency. A data acquisition board (DAQ) was used to generate the pulses and also to process the data once it was collected by the receiver using mat lab. A graphical user interface was used to interface the DAQ with the system and changing parameters like PRF, pulse width, record directory etc. could be changed directly from the computer. A thorough study of literature has been done and same has been presented. The architecture of the Lidar, velocity results, future work and an analysis of SNR’s dependence on range and pulse energy under predefined atmospheric conditions will be discussed.



SREE HARSHA KAKARLA - Design of Transmitter and SMPS for Blood Oxygen Level Tomography

MS Project Defense (EE)

When & Where:
March 27, 2014
3:30 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Ron Hui, Chair
Chris Allen
James Stiles

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Ever since the invention of near infrared optical spectroscopy almost three decades ago, research has still been going actively to improve the accuracy of biological tissue oxygenation measurements and make it commercially available in clinics for medical diagnosis and imaging. Hemoglobin concentration in blood especially near brain can be found by determining the absorption and scattering coefficient of chromosphere at a particular wavelength. But there are many challenges to overcome when infrared light penetrates deeper into our skull which acts as a high scattering medium. This improvement has taken a new shape with the application of diffusion theory to separate the absorbed light and scattered light in tissues. With this motivation, in this project we designed a dual-frequency (120MHz and 125MHz) based two wavelengths LED transmitting system to transmit optical power through fibers and penetrate NIR light into a scattering medium which is then received by the detection and demodulation circuit for data acquisition. Different methods available to measure absorption and reduced scattering coefficient for non-homogenous medium will be discussed.



DONGSHENG ZHANG - Modeling Critical Node Attacks in Mobile Wireless Networks

PhD Comprehensive Defense (CS)

When & Where:
February 21, 2014
10:00 am
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
James Sterbenz, Chair
Victor Frost
Fengjun Li
Gary Minden
Bernhard Plattner
Caterina Scoglio
John Symons*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Understanding network behavior under challenges is essential to constructing a resilient and survivable network. Due to the mobility and wireless channel properties, it is more difficult to model and analyze mobile wireless networks under various challenges. We provide a comprehensive model to analyze malicious attacks against mobile ad hoc networks. We analyze comprehensive graph-theoretical properties and network performance of the dynamic networks under attacks against the critical nodes using both synthetic and real-world mobility traces. Our study provides insights into the design and construction of resilient and survivable mobile wireless networks.



JOHN GIBBONS - Modeling Content Lifespan in Online Social Networks Using Data Mining

PhD Dissertation Defense (CS)

When & Where:
February 3, 2014
2:30 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Arvin Agah, Chair
Perry Alexander
Jerzy Grzymala-Busse
Jim Miller
Prajna Dhar*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Online Social Networks (OSNs) are integrated into business, entertainment, politics, and education; they are integrated into nearly every facet of our everyday lives. They have played essential roles in milestones for humanity, such as the social revolutions in certain countries, to more day-to-day activities, such as streaming entertaining or educational materials. Not surprisingly, social networks are the subject of study, not only for computer scientists, but also for economists, sociologists, political scientists, and psychologists, among others. In this dissertation, we build a model that is used to classify content on the OSNs of Reddit, 4chan, Flickr, and YouTube according the types of lifespan their content have and the popularity tiers that the content reaches. The proposed model is evaluated using 10-fold cross-validation, using data mining techniques of Sequential Minimal Optimization (SMO), which is a support vector machine algorithm, Decision Table, Naïve Bayes, and Random Forest. The run times and accuracies are compared across OSNs, models, and data mining algorithms.
Our experiments compared the runtimes and accuracy of SMO, Naïve Bayes, Decision Table, and Random Forest to classify the lifespan of content on Reddit, 4chan, and Flickr as well as classify the popularity tier of content on Reddit, 4chan, Flickr, and YouTube. The experimental results indicate that SMO is capable of outperforming the other algorithms in runtime across all OSNs. Decision Table has the longest observed runtimes, failing to complete analysis before system crashes in some cases. The statistical analysis indicates, with 95% confidence, there is no statistically significant difference in accuracy between the algorithms across all OSNs. Reddit content was shown, with 95% confidence, to be the OSN least likely to be misclassified. All other OSNs, were shown to have no statistically significant difference in terms of their content being more or less likely to be misclassified when compared pairwise with each other.



MIKE ZAKHAROV - Designing a Multichannel Sense-and-Avoid Radar for Small UASs

MS Thesis Defense (EE)

When & Where:
January 30, 2014
11:00 am
2001B Eaton Hall
Committee Members:
Chris Allen, Chair
Ron Hui
Jim Stiles

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
To enhance the capabilities of autonomous flight systems for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), a multichannel Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) collision-avoidance radar with a center frequency of 1.445 GHz is designed. The radar is intended to provide situational awareness for a 40% Yak-54 model aircraft by providing in real time range, radial velocity and angle-of-arrival (AoA) information on surrounding targets with an update rate of 10 Hz. A target’s range and Doppler is determined by employing a two-dimensional (2-D) Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) on the received signal which maps the target to a specific range-Doppler bin. Tests have shown that the proto-type radar is capable of providing range detection up to 430 m with an accuracy of 0.6 m for a target with a 1-m2 radar cross section (RCS). The radar is designed to provide a Doppler resolution of 10 Hz. An array of receiving antennas is used to determine a target’s elevation and azimuth angles by exploiting the received signal’s phase difference at each individual antenna. The AoA measurement error due to thermal noise was found to be less than 3° for a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 18 dB.



YEFENG SUN - Optical Absorption Simulation by ZnTe/CdTe Superlattices Based on Kronig-Penney Model

MS Project Defense (EE)

When & Where:
January 23, 2014
3:30 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Ron Hui, Chair
Ken Demarest
Victor Frost

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Nowadays superlattices (SLs) are widely used as optical materials due to optical absorption properties. Short-period superlattices with certain optical properties such as InAs/GaSb type-II superlattices and ZnTe/CdTe superlattices can serve for mid-infrared (MIR) detection and solar cells. In this study, a standard Kronig-Penney model is applied to calculate the mini band structure of such SLs. On the basis of the energy-balance equation derived from the Boltzmann equation, a simple approach is used to calculate the optical absorption coefficient for the corresponding SL systems. Comparison of simulation results and experimental findings will be made in this study. And reasonable causes of error and future work will be discussed.



ADAM VAN HORN - Machine Learning Techniques for High Performance Engine Calibration

MS Thesis Defense (CS)

When & Where:
January 17, 2014
10:00 am
2001B Eaton Hall
Committee Members:
Arvin Agah, Chair
Jerzy Grzymala-Busse
James Miller
Christopher Depcik*

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Ever since the advent of electronic fuel injection, auto manufacturers have been able to increase fuel efficiency and power production, and to meet stricter emission standards. Most of these systems use engine sensors (RPM, Throttle Position, etc.) in concert with look-up tables to determine the correct amount of fuel to inject. While these systems work well, it is time and labor intensive to fine tune the parameters for these look-up tables. Automobile manufacturers are able to absorb the cost of this calibration since the variation between engines in a new model line is often small enough as to be inconsequential for a specific calibration.

However, a growing number of drivers are interested in modifying their vehicles with the intent of improving performance. While some aftermarket performance upgrades can be accounted for by the original manufacturer equipped (OEM) electronic control unit (ECU), other more significant changes, such as adding a turbocharger or installing larger fuel injectors, require more drastic accommodations. These modifications often require an entirely new ECU calibration or an aftermarket ECU to properly control the upgraded engine. The problem then, is that the driver becomes responsible for the calibration of the ECU of this “new” engine. However, most drivers are unable to devote the resources required to achieve a calibration of the same quality as the original manufacturers. At best, this results in reduced fuel economy and performance, and at worst, unsafe and possibly destructive operation of the engine.

The purpose of this thesis is to design and develop—using machine learning techniques—an approximate predictive model from current engine data logs, which can be used to rapidly and incrementally improve the calibration of the engine. While there has been research into novel control methods for engine air-fuel ratio control, these methods are inaccessible to the majority of end users, either due to cost or the required expertise with engine calibration. This study shows that there is a great deal of promise in applying machine learning techniques to engine calibration and that the process of engine calibration can be expedited by the application of these techniques.



LANE RYAN - Polyphase-Coded FM Waveform Optimization within a LINC Transmit Architecture

MS Thesis Defense (EE)

When & Where:
January 16, 2014
10:00 am
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
Chris Allen, Chair
Shannon Blunt
Jim Stiles

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Linear amplification using nonlinear components (LINC) is a design approach that can suppress the effects of the nonlinear distortion introduced by the transmitter. A typical transmitter design requirement is for the high power amplifier to be operated in saturation. The LINC approach described here employs a polyphase-coded FM (PCFM) waveform that is able to overcome this saturated amplifier distortion to greatly improve the spectral containment of the transmitted waveform. A two stage optimization process involving simulation and hardware-in-the-loop routines is used to create the final PCFM waveform code.



YUFEI CHENG - Performance Analysis of Different Traffic Types in Mobile Ad-hoc Networks

MS Thesis Defense (EE)

When & Where:
January 7, 2014
1:30 pm
246 Nichols Hall
Committee Members:
James Sterbenz, Chair
Fengjun Li
Gary Minden

Abstract: [ Show / Hide ]
Mobile Ad Hoc networks~(MANETs) present great challenges to new protocol design, especially in scenarios where nodes are high mobile. Routing protocols performance is essential to the performance of wireless networks especially in mobile ad-hoc scenarios. The development of new routing protocols requires comparing them against well-known protocols in various simulation environments. Furthermore, application traffic like transactional application traffic has not been investigated for domain-specific MANETs scenarios. Overall, there are not enough performance comparison work in the past literatures. This thesis presents extensive performance comparison work with MANETs and uses inclusive parameter sets including both highly-dynamic environment as well as low-mobility cases.