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NSF CAREER AWARD AIMED AT KEY INFORMATION IN EMERGENCIES

A researcher at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has received a $500,011 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. The goals of this five-year project, “CAREER: Spatial Network Database Approach for Emergency Management Information Systems (EMIS),” are to identify promising solutions for addressing the challenge of EMIS and to develop an advanced spatial query processing platform that clearly and succinctly delivers critical information in emergencies.

Recently, emergency management information systems have benefitted from both volunteer geographic information and crowdsourcing as powerful methods of collecting user-generated datasets. However, these data sources are challenging due to their very large size, variety, and update rates required to ensure the timely and accurate delivery of useful emergency information and response for disastrous events.

“Emergency management information systems are an increasingly important tool for understanding, managing, and governing transportation-related systems, as well as for testing the stability or vulnerability of these systems against interference,” said KwangSoo Yang, Ph.D., principal investigator and an assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “The outcome of our project has the potential to benefit a wide range of societal applications such as transportation management, logistics, public safety, resource assignment, and service delivery, and therefore aligns well with the National Science Foundation’s mission.”

Yang’s research for this project will focus on three interrelated domains: evacuation route planning, resource assignment, and transportation resilience. He will design and develop the problem-solving framework that can integrate different technical components including geometry, topology, graph theory, and optimization techniques. He also will investigate multiple inherent constraints for spatial networks and identify the main bottlenecks for query processing.

“Our goal is to develop fast and scalable query processing mechanisms that overcome these bottlenecks and produce simple and concise information for emergency management,” said Yang.

The components of the query-processing framework include frequent suffix tree mining, graph simplification, bi-partite graph clustering, minimum polygon covering, graph partitioning, spectral method, random walk, and expander graph mining.

“We are integrating these components to develop fast and scalable spatial network queries and to provide simple and concise information for emergency management information systems,” said Yang. “The outcomes of this project include data processing tools, spatial and spatial network optimization algorithms, queries, and visualization tools.”

The FAU project validates the performance of new spatial network queries using historical and real-time datasets and provides a web-based educational system to enhance student learning. Educational objectives of this project include broadening participation of Hispanic women and increasing undergraduate research opportunities including research-intensive course development as well as promoting team science skills.

Yang joins Oscar Curet, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, who received a five-year, $500,000 NSF CAREER award last year for a project titled, “Modeling and Control of Undulating-fin Underwater Vessels in Close Formation.” Curet is studying underwater vehicles equipped with a bio-inspired fin-based propulsion system that consists of a single undulating fin running along the length of the robot, which controls both forward motion and directional maneuvers. The project is using analytical, computational, and experimental studies to describe how the fin shape and motion relates to the movement of a single robot. Results will then be extended to cooperative groups of multiple robots traveling in formation.

“The mission of the National Science Foundation is to promote the progress of science and to advance our nation’s health, prosperity and welfare,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The Faculty Early Career Development or CAREER program is one of their most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have great potential to serve as role models in research and education. Professor Yang and professor Curet truly exemplify this mission to be leaders and role models in their respective fields.”

-FAU-