Academic and research relationship formed with UMES

Binghamton University signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2011 with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), one of the 11 universities in the University System of Maryland. The esteemed, historically black university is located in Princess Anne, Md. 

Watson School Dean and Distinguished Professor Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari and partners from UMES have begun identifying areas of mutual interest that include adapting Binghamton’s best practices for working with industry at UMES, providing summer experiences and industry internships for UMES students at Binghamton and helping UMES students transition to graduate programs at the University and within the Watson School.

“This academic partnership has evolved into a strong multi-faceted relationship that includes a variety of efforts, from graduate student recruitment to summer research opportunities for UMES students, collaborations with industry, and faculty academic and research collaborations and exchanges,” Srihari said. “Binghamton University and the Watson School’s partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is an invaluable opportunity to partner on initiatives that draw on the strengths of each institution while moving both campuses toward one goal — academic excellence.”

Iberdrola gift to boost hands-on education for graduating seniors

The Watson School received a $100,000 gift in April from the Iberdrola USA Foundation  to enhance the senior capstone design experience. The funding will support a range of projects focused on energy and the environment. “The real-world skills students gain from the capstone courses are precisely the skills needed in the utility business going forward as we partner with government, educational institutions and vendors to implement technology and provide services that will help improve the quality of life for our customers,” said Robert D. Kump ’83, chief executive officer of Iberdrola USA, NYSEG’s parent company, and a Binghamton University graduate.

Christina Abate ’12 awarded first place at 2012 Emerging Researchers National Conference

Christina Abate '12In the summer of 2011, mechanical engineering major Christina Abate traveled to Honduras with other Binghamton University students to build a water sanitation and distribution system for a rural community. As a senior, she became the project manager for the second phase of the operation: developing a way to get rid of the dirty water now that clean water is coming in. Safety concerns in the region prevented Abate and her team from returning to Honduras, but they plan to complete the project by sending their translated designs to contacts in the country.

“Our goal is to complete the project without going there, which I think is even harder,” she said. “You have to be extremely detailed in everything you do.”

Abate used the Honduras work as the foundation of a research project called “Sustainable Engineering in Research Education and Practice.” She examined the Honduras operation and determined what aspects are sustainable and where improvements could take place. In February, Abate not only presented her research at the 2012 Emerging Researchers National Conference in Atlanta, but she won first place in the oral presentation category for mathematics and science education.

UHS turns to Watson School experts for Lean Six Sigma training

Last fall, Mohammad Khasawneh, associate professor of systems science and industrial engineering, conducted a Lean Six Sigma “green belt” training course for 24 employees of UHS, a not-for-profit hospital and healthcare system serving Binghamton and the Southern Tier.

Six Sigma is a business-management strategy that seeks to improve quality by identifying and removing the causes of defects, as well as minimizing process variability. It uses a set of quality-management methods and creates an infrastructure of experts within the organization. For example, a “green belt” participates in improvement projects under the guidance of a “black belt.” When Six Sigma is combined with “lean” improvement methodologies, which address process flow and waste, it’s called “Lean Six Sigma.” According to Srikanth Poranki, PhD ’10, improvement administrator of UHS Quality and Patient Safety Services, UHS chose Binghamton University to provide the training after reviewing a number of options. “Binghamton University offered the best value for our money,” he said.

Students met once a week for eight weeks. Topics included continuous process improvement in healthcare; the impact that waste and variation have on improvement efforts; Lean thinking and Six Sigma, and their importance in achieving and sustaining continuous process improvement; and the five-phase framework for Six Sigma (define, measure, analyze, improve, control). Students also received a refresher course on statistical analysis. Games and group exercises were used to explain various concepts; several case studies and examples were also presented.

“Dr. Khasawneh and his group did a terrific job with the training,” Poranki said. “They knew many of the students had been out of school for years, so they did not put them in a room and lecture at them for eight hours. They used simulations, games and videos, so the training was interactive.”

Students must take an exam at the end of the course and work on at least one Lean Six Sigma project within a year to earn green belt certification. Poranki said all the students passed and most are already working on improvement projects.

“The students worked very hard and received all the support needed from their leadership at UHS,” noted Khasawneh. “That’s a key to ensure success, and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome.”

Bahgat Sammakia Sammakia honored

Bahgat Sammakia, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and interim vice president for research, was presented with the 2012 THERMI Award at the SEMI THERM 2012 Conference in March. The THERMI Award recognizes Sammakia’s contributions to critical thermal issues that relate to the performance of semiconductor devices and systems.

MCAA student chapter forms

The Department of Mechanical Engineering has established a Mechanical Contractors Association of America student chapter. Sponsored by the Southern Tier of New York MCA, it will be the first MCAA student chapter in New York state. James Pitarresi, distinguished teaching professor and ME chair, serves as the faculty advisor.

New executive master’s in health systems offered in NYC, beginning April 2013

The 12-month executive master of science in health systems is designed to provide working professionals with a bachelor’s degree in any field the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge and skills for modeling, analyzing and designing healthcare delivery systems and processes. Classes will be held Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SUNY Global Center in midtown Manhattan.

Faculty hires

Aaron Carpenter
Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Research interests: chip-multiprocessors, on-chip interconnect networks, computer architecture/microarchitecture, VLSI design, and use and integration of emerging technology in microprocessor design

Paul Chiarot
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Research interests: advanced manufacturing using continuous ink jet technology and electrospray deposition, electrospray engines for microsatellite propulsion, microfluidic devices for high-throughput single cell studies, and point-of-care bio-sensing using miniaturized ion mobility spectrometry

Zhanpeng Jin
Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Research interests: medical cyber physical systems and instrumentation, sensor-enabled embedded systems, reconfigurable computing, hardware system (FPGA/SoC/VLSI/ASIC) and electronic device design, neural networks and neuromorphic systems, computer architecture and microprocessors

Gretchen Mahler
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Research interests: in vitro and in silico toxicology and pharmacology, microfluidic models of organs and tissues, endothelial and epithelial cell biology and pathophysiology

Ting Zhu
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Research interests: power electronics, renewable and sustainable energies, energy transmission and storage, power systems, cyber-physical systems, mobile systems, embedded systems, distributed systems, operating systems, wireless and sensor networks, network management, network protocols, social networks, security, AI, bioinformatics, controls, databases/data mining, modeling, software engineering, and VLSI design

Lockheed Martin and Binghamton to develop simulated emergency department

Faculty in the Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering received a one-year $300,000 grant in November 2011 as part of a collaboration with Lockheed Martin to develop a simulated emergency department (ED). Associate Professor Mohammad Khasawneh, Dean and Distinguished Professor Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari and Director for Industrial Outreach Cheryl Monachino are leading this effort.

Lockheed Martin, a leader in information technology and systems engineering — and the largest provider of IT services, systems integration and training to the U.S. government — is applying its expertise in simulator technology and systems modeling to the development of integrated clinical environments. These virtual worlds will provide a safe, reproducible training tool for physicians, nurses and other medical personnel, much like a cockpit simulator provides true-to life training for pilots.

The ED integrated clinical environment will be used to conduct studies that get at the root cause of issues such as false alarms, never events, medication errors and slow or difficult diagnostics to enable mitigation. This environment will also enable the study and evaluation of various process improvement recommendations.

Device interoperability and information systems communication are critical to systems. In hospitals, for example, patient data is gathered by an information system that pulls from multiple devices. These varying devices can assign differing time stamps for the same patient procedure or lab results. Such differences lead to significant challenges when using this data to monitor a patient or predict patient outcomes.

The Binghamton team is working closely with Dr. Robert Szczerba, Lockheed Martin’s director for global healthcare initiatives, his colleagues, Rick Crist, Steve Czarnecki, David Garrison and others from the company on this effort.

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