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 NAE Awards Two Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants

Two Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants of $30,000 each have been awarded to attendees of the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2016 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) Symposium.
Amin Karbasi (Yale University) and Amit Surana (United Technologies Research Center) have received a Grainger Grant to “develop a unified approach for saliency detection in heterogeneous temporal data,” says NAE.
The grant will support the team’s interdisciplinary research to develop algorithms for compressing massive amounts of time - varying data into small salient or informative data sets to allow faster decision-making.
For example, if salient or significant images in particular frames can be identified from terabytes of video stream, then the original video can be summarized using a much smaller set of frames, enabling much faster video processing for surveillance applications such as anomaly detection and activity classification.
Karbasi and Surana will develop their distributed and streaming algorithms by unifying techniques from the fields of discrete optimization, dynamical systems and control theory.
The second Grainger Grant has been awarded to Marco Pavone (Stanford University) and Julian Rimoli (Georgia Institute of Technology) for research of “the development of tensegrity damping strategies for the exploration of low-gravity planetary bodies, e.g., asteroids and small moons,” says NAE.
Specifically, they’ll investigate the feasibility of a hybrid between two concepts independently developed by the awardees: an internal actuated rover (named Hedgehog) that has demonstrated unprecedented levels of hopping control in reduced-gravity experiments (Pavone’s work), and compliant tensegrity structures with the ability to absorb and dissipate large amounts of impact energy with minimum structural mass (Rimoli’s work).
The hybrid vehicle will provide maximum control while preventing undesired bounces, a challenge illustrated when ESA’s Philae lander bounced more than a kilometer off target during an attempted “dead-stick” landing on a comet.
“It is always exciting to see what unique collaborations will be sparked when top early-career engineers from a variety of fields come together,” notes NAE President C.D. Mote, Jr.
“This is what the Frontiers of Engineering program is all about, and society is the likely beneficiary of advances that come from such interactions,” the NAE president adds.
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