Chemical Engineering Laboratory Launches Online Control System

Chemical Engineering Control Station
Internet Automatic Control Larry Jang
Internet Automatic Control, Larry Jang

The Department of Chemical Engineering has substantially expanded its laboratory capabilities with the launch of a cutting-edge remote-control system that enables students and faculty to run laboratory experiments remotely via the Internet. Over the past three years, Department Chair Larry Jang designed and constructed this system, which consists of an extensive plumbing and wiring network that is integrated with the lab’s LabVIEW software infrastructure.

Jang designed the control algorithms for the lab’s nine major unit operations using LabVIEW software. “The system is comprised of four data acquisition chassis, each of which has modules for temperature measurement, analog input, and other essential control functions,” says Jang. The system also enables laboratory managers to remotely monitor experiments being conducted on the system, making it a highly valuable management-training tool as well. Professor Roger Lo and lab technician Minh Tran assisted with the construction of the new system.

With the completion of this infrastructure, students can run entire experiments from remote computers that don’t have the control algorithm loaded. “Our students are already using this system extensively in conjunction with their chemical engineering and chemical process control lab work, and they’re obtaining essential hands-on experience with a cutting-edge automated measurement and control system,” says Hamid Rahai, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering.

Engineering Summer Camps

Robotic Summer Camp 2014

by Engineering Students Success Center @ College of Engineering (COE)

The Engineering Summer program is designed to engage middle and high school students in a wide range of engineering projects that are educational and enjoyable at the same time. Student will participate in interactive and hands-on learning experience through field trips, field observations, interactive computer labs and activities, as well as, discussions and presentations. In addition, the program aims at providing the participants an understanding of the preparations needed for successful entry to higher education and exposure to campus life.

… read more; … Engineering Summer Camps offered through the Engineering Student Success Center (ESSC)

NCWIT and Symantec Give Grants

Student Seed Fund

January 15, 2014

NCWIT’s Student Seed Fund Supports Student-led Recruitment Programs

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) announced today the seventh round of winners of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund, sponsored by Symantec Corporation. Each winner will receive $1,000 for projects that recruit, retain, and encourage girls and women to participate in technology and computing career fields.

The NCWIT Student Seed Fund has provided $53,250 in seed funding for 80 student-run projects at universities and colleges nationwide since 2010. NCWIT Student Seed Fund projects include programming workshops, after-school programs, student mentoring, peer support, professional training, and other opportunities serving thousands of elementary, middle-school, high-school, undergraduate, and graduate students. With Symantec’s support, NCWIT was able to increase the grant awarded to recipients of the seventh round of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund awards.

… read more National Center for Women & Information Technology

SoCalGas Sponsors Student Research and Development Program

Southern California Gas Company

The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and the College of Engineering (COE) have launched a capstone senior project class at CSULB that is engaging interdisciplinary teams of top-achieving students in innovative, real-world research and development projects. Each participating student team works for an entire academic year on a real-world engineering, technology or business problem selected by SoCalGas.

The selection process for this program is highly competitive, with only top-achieving seniors from the Engineering, Computer Science and Business departments being considered by a selection committee comprised of representatives from SoCalGas’ Engineering, Emerging Technologies, and Human Resources departments. Though receiving guidance from CSULB faculty and senior engineers from SoCalGas, each student team is responsible for developing its own project strategy, organization, tasks and budget, and for ultimately delivering a working prototype with commercialization potential.

“All indications thus far suggest that this is a highly beneficial experience for all of the students involved,” said Parviz Yavari, professor in CSULB’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and instructor of this new course. “Each team member is receiving vital firsthand experience in negotiating project plans, in making presentations, in adjusting to changing conditions, and in writing a final report—in short, in being a professional engineer.”

The College of Engineering is making plans to expand this program so that many more students can benefit from it. “We are hoping to offer multiple sections of a capstone senior project class that follows this innovative model,” said Forouzan Golshani, dean of the College of Engineering. “Ideally each student in our Honors program will have the opportunity to participate in a similar initiative.”

COE Opens High Performance Computing Lab

The College of Engineering has opened a  High Performance Computing (HPC) Laboratory. Provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, the HPC Laboratory will enable the College’s faculty and students to bring the power of high-performance computing to bear on some of the most enduring challenges facing engineers.

Consisting of a master node and eight computer nodes with 140 cores total that can be doubled with hyper-threading, the HPC Laboratory is able to perform computations that would take a single computer weeks or even months. HPC is extremely useful to engineering in its ability to perform “multivariable assessment and optimization,” and thus to create a design that has been optimized according to a variety of variables.

Examples of the usefulness of this technology include improving the design performance of small flying vehicles (micro-UAVs), using brain signals to predict patient recovery after brain surgery, and simulating air pollution diffusion from various sources within an urban community. “The implications of high-performance computing are immense for research in biomedical, fracture mechanics, fluid dynamics, engineering systems, network and security, and anything that requires large data crunching,” said Hamid Rahai, interim associate dean of research in the COE.

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Hernandez

Christopher Hernandez

By Todd Howard

When College of Engineering alumnus Christopher Hernandez began his internship at Rockwell International 36 years ago, he was still a high school student at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower. Though only a teenager, he already understood that aerospace technology would be making increasingly significant contributions to civilization in the coming decades, and that he wanted to be involved with making them happen. Little did he realize just how substantial aerospace’s contributions would be, however, or how integral his role would be in bringing them to pass.

During his 36-year career, Hernandez has held key leadership positions in numerous high-stakes, cutting-edge aerospace projects, such as NASA’s Space Shuttle, and the US Air Force’s B2 Stealth Bomber. As chief engineer of the Stealth Bomber program, for example, he oversaw the aircraft’s first combat mission, which took place during the Kosovo War.

“These were very tense times,” said Hernandez. “This was the very first time our engineering efforts were going to be put to a real-world test. We were either going to be successful or we were going to risk lives.”

As any aviation buff can tell you, the B2 Stealth Bomber’s combat debut went down in history as a phenomenal success. The aircraft performed as designed on numerous 30-plus hour missions from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the war zone and back, and contributed significantly to the end of that conflict.

Hernandez would then go on to advance a very different kind of aviation technology by serving as head of Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems program for three years. In this position, he was tasked with meeting the U.S. Department of Defense’s exponentially increasing need for unmanned aircraft systems to perform a range of crucial functions.

“In those days, we had seven unmanned systems in engineering development, and we were hiring people and expanding our facilities as fast as we could to keep up with the demand.” said Hernandez. “Though the technical challenges of those efforts were plentiful, the energy that came with meeting them made for exciting times.”

Today, Hernandez serves as chief technology officer for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems, and is responsible for advancing new key technologies for all of the company’s air and space programs. This requires him to effectively integrate the efforts of nearly twenty-five thousand employees in a range of divisions within the company, as well as those of several major suppliers and partnering universities.

Hernandez is also extremely active in the community, serving as vice chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Engineering at CSULB, as a member of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, as chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association’s Technical Operations Council, and as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. Though he has helped to realize some of the most ambitious achievements in aerospace history, it is his philanthropic and volunteer work that he finds the most significant. “While my career has been very rewarding, nothing compares with the feeling I get from giving back to the community,” said Hernandez.

Engineering Lecture Explores Robotics and Medicine

Bioengineering: Robotics and Medicine

Over the past century, engineering has made numerous fundamental contribution to the field of medicine. From the most prosaic forms of engineering like sewer and water sanitation, to chemical engineering processes to produce drugs like penicillin in economical form, and now with medical applications of robotics, engineering has been crucial is increasing human life expectancy. Nowadays robots and automated devices are applied in many diverse forms such as replacing a missing limb, performing a very delicate surgery, delivering rehabilitation therapy like neurorehabilitation for stroke patients, and assisting with learning disabilities.

Modern applications of robotics in medicine are more diverse than ever before. Beside surgery and rehabilitation therapy, these devices are used for medical training, prosthetics, and assisting the aging population and persons with disabilities. Future likely applications of medical robots will be to perform tasks that are otherwise impossible, such as enabling new microsurgery procedures by providing high-dexterity access to small anatomical structures, and integrating high precision imaging into the OR.