National Academy of Engineering Member Elections
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has elected 67 new members and 12 foreign members for 2015. Dr. Harry Van Trees, USMA ’52, was among the newly elected members for contributions to detection, estimation, and modulation theory and leadership of defense communication systems.
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."
Congratulations Dr. Van Trees!
From left to right, COL Lisa Shay, EE Program Director, Dr. Harry Van Trees, and Mrs. Diane Van Trees.
Inauguration of the Harry and Diane Van Trees Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Endowment
The Harry and Diane Van Trees Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Endowment is a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Harry Van Trees, USMA ’52. Dr. Van Trees graduated first in the Class of 1952, received his Sc.D. from M.I.T. and became a Professor of Electrical Engineering at M.I.T. He authored a four-volume series of Detection and Estimation Theory which educated three generations of engineers on the theory underlying all radar, sonar, and missile defense systems, such as Iron Dome. He served as Chief Scientist of both the US Air Force and the Defense Communications Agency. Later, as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I), he originated the MILSTAR satellite system. Their endowment supports the EECS Department by funding superb Cadet Professional Development Program opportunities that would otherwise be impossible. The mission of EECS is to educate and inspire cadets to be leaders of character, prepared to think critically and apply engineering and technology expertise as Army Officers.
Dr. Harry Van Trees presenting the Superintendent, LTG Caslen, with a contribution to the endowment. At left is Mrs. Diane Van Trees and at right is COL Eugene Ressler, EECS Department Head.
Each year, the graduating cadet in the Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or Information Technology major whose accomplishments best exemplify achievement and initiative in professional development will be recognized through the Harry and Diane Van Trees Cadet Professional Development Award, which is a mounted cadet saber presented at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Graduation Awards ceremony.
Welcome Cyber Research Center
One of West Point’s oldest research centers was redesignated on Monday, 19 March 2012 as the Cyber Research Center, coinciding with a promotion ceremony for its director, Gregory Conti. In a ceremony led by LTG Rhett Hernandez, Commanding General of U.S. Army Cyber Command/Second Army, Fort Belvoir, VA, Greg Conti was promoted to the rank of Colonel and the Information Technology and Operations Center was redesignated as the Cyber Research Center. LTG Hernandez called Conti “the ultimate cyber warrior” for possessing the four words that title encompasses—elite, trusted, precise and disciplined. “I don’t use those words lightly; our nation will require cyber warriors like Greg. He’s a quiet and competent professional who doesn’t look for credit but looks to solve our toughest problems.”
BG Tim Trainor, Dean of the Academic Board, LTG Rhett Hernandez, COL Greg Conti and COL Barry Shoop officially opened the new Cyber Research Center in Thayer Hall immediately prior the promotion ceremony. The Cyber Research Center traces its lineage back to 1985 when the Artificial Intelligence Center was established at West Point, in large part through the vision and support of GEN Max Thurman. This original research center was intended to investigate how artificial intelligence would benefit the Army. The Cyber Research Center now focuses on cyber warfare, cyber security education, security data visualization, secure and usable interface design and online privacy.
Disruptive Innovation Class Visits Harvard
COL Barry Shoop and Cadets John Fernandes, Scott Mead, Nicolas Starck-King and Andrew Tindall – all enrolled in the Disruptive and Innovative Technology Ideation Course – traveled to Boston, MA to engage with forward thinking technologists and business leaders. The group had breakfast at the Harvard Faculty Club with Professor Kevin Kit Parker, the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Next, the group interviewed Professor Clayton Christensen, the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.
The dialog provided the students the opportunity to gain additional insights into the definition of disruptive technology and identify potential emerging disruptive and innovative technologies. Christensen is the architect of and the world’s foremost authority on disruptive innovation and the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, Seeing What’s Next, The Innovator’s Prescription, and Disrupting Class, among others. After the interview the group attended Christensen’s class Building and Sustaining Successful Enterprises.
Class of 2015 Gains Insight into Watson
Dr. David A. Ferrucci, Principal Investigator of the DeepQA/Watson Project at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center delivered the 2012 James C. and Dorothy P. Castle Lecture entitled: Building Watson: An Overview of the DeepQA Project
. Dr. Ferrucci spoke to a packed Robinson Auditorium that included the entire USMA Class of 2015, roughly 110 attendees of the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group for Information Technology Education (SIGITE) Conference and faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The DeepQA project explored how advancing and integrating natural language processing, information retrieval, machine learning, knowledge representation and reasoning and massively parallel computation can greatly advance the science and application of automatic Question Answering.
Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM's DeepQA project. In 2011, as a test of its abilities, Watson competed on the quiz show Jeopardy!, in the show's only human-versus-machine match-up to date.
To The Stratosphere!
EECS cadets of the Amateur Radio Club teamed with the D/Physics astronomy club to build a balloon and a cool electronic instrument package that reached well into the stratosphere - an altitude of at least 80,000 feet. Check out the video!
Design and testing of the instrument package was more than a year's work! Two cameras, a GPS, a radio transmitter, and a couple of science experiments were mounted in a carefully insulated container to resist the -55F temperatures at the base of the stratosphere where it would have to survive.
Luckily a small transmitter was enough to track the high-flying balloon. A radio network operated by radio amateurs worldwide meant the signal needed only to reach the nearest of many stations. Records showed that well over 10 received telemetry messages from the balloon and relayed them to West Point, where a server posted them to a map on the Internet.
The chase team dialed into the map with their mobile phones and managed to stay just behind as the balloon flew an overland distance of over 15 miles, dragged by brisk winds up to about 40,000 feet. A river and an airport along the path made for an interesting navigation problem!
Above is a 3d picture of the path. Click for a full size version.
The balloon made a safe landing with the instrument package in perfect shape - part of the video action - in a parking lot in Newburgh, New York. Shown to thMike Strasser's excellent article for Pointer View.
Summer Internship Bumper Crop
Never before have so many traveled so far to do so much cool stuff in one summer with EECS! In all, 95 cadets participated with the help of EECS partners in the Department of Defense, Army, and commercial industry to work on some life-changing projects for soldiers and people of all walks, involving some of the coolest technology in the world.
Destinations included dozens of cities and Army posts throughout the continental US plus Beijing China, Tunis, Tunisia, Fairbanks, Alaska, London, England, and Munich, Germany.
Cadets enhanced and built flying and ground robots, worked on national-level cyber security problems, produced software currently being used for follow-on research and operations, evaluated alternative supercomputers, learned how Army training simulations work, built iPhone applications with Army impact, and many, many more fascinating activities.
Of course not all was work. Just about every sponsor took care to ensure cadets had a chance to learn about and enjoy their surroundings, as many of the photos show.
A few notable quotes from cadets...
"Specifically, I worked with microcontrollers and sensors, and wrote programs to upload onto the microcontrollers. Overall, my experience was invaluable, the location was great, the people I had the opportunity to work with were amazingly helpful and supportive, and I had a great time..."
Cdt. Antonia Allen
"Working with the Tunisian students was of great value to me... I learned a lot about patience and thinking of innovative ways to communicate."
Cdt. Thomas Deavila
"I was ... working to integrate a high-speed data link onto a Global Hawk [long range unmanned recon aircraft]... I was given all the resources needed and a number of subject matter experts to consult."
Cdt. Thomas Dean
"We found we were working with a small electrical engineering company with no more than 12 people on their staff. They were extremely courteous, and, while the average age was not above 30 years old, all top notch scientists in their field. I saw ... what goes on behind the scenes to make products easier to use and better "
Cdt. Paul Baker
Go EECS! See the world!
Go Forth And Do Great Things, 2010!
[ Photo Album ]
On a beautiful Thursday afternoon of graduation week, cadets with family and other loved ones gathered with EECS faculty and friends to celebrate the Class of 2010 final semester's achievements.
Good colleagues, good food, great day!
Each graduate received the EECS coin to acknowledge their dedicated work to reach the goal of graduation with an accredited EECS major - Information Technology, Computer Science, or Electrical Engineering.
Many awards for outstanding performance capped a great celebration. Shown here, soon-to-be-Second Lieutenant Tiffany Taylor accepts a "best in course" award from Col. Bob Sadowski.
Godspeed Class of 2010! We'll miss you...
...and wait your return to the faculty!
2010 - A Projects Odyssey
Projects Day for the 2010 set a new standard for cadet accomplishment.
See our photo album of displays in progress.
With finished products including...
Intelligent Load Management System - a "smart grid" home or office electricity usage control system to keep consumption lean and green.
Project STARS - an auto-piloted aerial reconnaissance vehicle with virtual reality downlink.
Bionic Foot - a prosthetic lower leg with an electron - a very snoopy software system that takes educated guesses about encryption schemes being used to encode information flowing through an electonic network.
Black Knight - West Point's first satellite, to be ready for earth orbit launch no later than 2012.
Brigade Personnel Management and Training Database - Applying cutting edge IT concepts to the problems of Army unit leadership and management.
Demon Eye (Target Location Module) - combining several technologies to let soldiers pinpoint the coordinates of anything they can see on the battlefield.
CheapBot II - an ingenious $300 mighty robotic mite that tumbles wherever it's thrown, figures out which way is up, and sends back TV images as its driver maneuvers with a Playstation remote.
...many more just as cool.
... it was hard for the panel of distinguished visiting judges to choose winners. Final results will be celebrated at the Class of 2010 Graduation Celebration Lunch coming soon. Stay tuned!
One victory is certain! Demon Eye has won the West Point Clark Award. The Scott R. Clark (USMA 1985) Innovation for Soldiers Award is an Academy-level award established in 2009 to recognize one cadet design team for an innovative approach to solving a problem of direct application to the Army. The winner is selected by a team of judges who evaluate the finalists on West Point's Projects Day. This year, Team DemonEye, consisting of cadets Derek Wales, George Hopkins and John Eischer, won this award. DemonEye is a position location system designed to provide precise location and target information to soldiers on the battlefield. It integrates a laser range finder, digital compass, and global positioning system to calculate a target location given a soldier's location and the distance and bearing to the target.
First decade, second millennium - EECS mission complete!