Chattanooga, TN, United States

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN, United States

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a public university located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States. The University, often referred to as UTC, UT Chattanooga, or simply "Chattanooga" , is one of three universities and two other affiliated institutions in the University of Tennessee System ; the others being in Knoxville, Martin, Memphis, and Tullahoma.UTC was founded in 1886 as the then-private Chattanooga University, which was renamed in 1889 as U.S. Grant University. In 1907, the university changed its name to University of Chattanooga. In 1969, the university merged with Zion College, which was established in 1949 and became Chattanooga City College in 1964, to form The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as part of the UT System. Wikipedia.

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This paper develops a robust multi-criteria Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) based building energy efficiency benchmarking approach. The approach is explicitly selective to address multicollinearity trap due to the subjectivity in selecting energy variables by considering cost-accuracy trade-off. It objectively weights the relative importance of individual pertinent efficiency measuring criteria using either multiple linear regression or principal component analysis contingent on meta data quality. Through this approach, building energy performance is comprehensively evaluated and optimized. Simultaneously, the significant challenges associated with conventional single-criterion benchmarking models can be avoided. Together with a clustering algorithm on a three-year panel dataset, the benchmarking case of 324 single-family dwellings demonstrated an improved robustness of the presented multi-criteria benchmarking approach over the conventional single-criterion ones. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CISE RESEARCH RESOURCES | Award Amount: 298.32K | Year: 2017

The massive deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roadway systems is now on the horizon, and will undoubtedly revolutionize the transportation ecosystem in the near future. Though autonomous vehicles hold much promise, major hurdles, such as safety and efficiency, must be first overcome. For example, if an autonomous vehicle runs into a heavy storm, the functioning of the GPS system or the sensing systems might be degraded. Therefore, the vehicle must incorporate substantial situational awareness by taking advantage of real-time data from the transportation infrastructure or other vehicles. This award supports fundamental research on large-scale fleet management/coordination in extreme/complex urban driving scenarios. In addition, an advanced wireless infrastructure is initiated for next-generation vehicular communications with extremely low-latency requirements and severe data demand. The gigabit fiber optic networks available in Chattanooga, TN will serve as a backbone for such an infrastructure. Connected autonomous vehicles together with the gigabit wireless/wired connections can change urban dynamics and may eventually lead to Smart & Connected Communities. The award can also foster workforce development, engineering education, and multi-disciplinary research.

The objective of this proposal is to investigate fleet management/coordination of large-scale connected autonomous vehicles, fully explore unprecedented opportunities brought by such vehicles, and address the corresponding challenges. An advanced wireless infrastructure, which integrates Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) with urban ultra-dense small cells, will be explored together with prescriptive analytics, dynamic spectrum access for millimeter wave communications, and innovative computing paradigms to substantially improve broadband connectivity for connected autonomous vehicles in terms of latency, throughput, and reliability. Real-time fleet management will be enabled by broadband multimedia streaming and sensor data sharing. Based on advanced wireless communications, the research team will study cooperative sensing and mobility of connected autonomous vehicles in extreme/complex urban driving scenarios, which fills a gap in the existing research with a focus only on a single autonomous vehicle or a small number of connected vehicles under normal driving conditions. Finally, pilot studies will be performed and novel application prototypes will be demonstrated in both Atlanta and Chattanooga with support from government and industry partners.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2015

The goal of this project is to develop an interdisciplinary math (I-Math) program that integrates education and research for mathematics majors and trains the next generation of applied mathematicians, furnishing students with a strong interdisciplinary background. This program provides a new platform to promote undergraduate mathematics training through an interdisciplinary collaboration, establishing the infrastructure that accommodates a large number of students and spans most years of their college careers. Students will gain knowledge, problem-solving skills, hands-on experience, and rigorous research training through the proposed program. The success of this project will provide a potentially transformative model for large-scale interdisciplinary mathematics education and research training that can be widely adapted and implemented in regional and national higher educational institutions.

The I-Math program involves four core areas: biological math, computer math, data math, and engineering math, to accommodate a broad range of student interests. Each core represents a partnership between Mathematics and another department, with a matched pair of faculty members to lead the training efforts. The faculty members on this team have extensive experience in interdisciplinary research and education, and they will incorporate their expertise and research findings into the development of innovative curricula and research projects. The training efforts will be centered on student engagement, stimulating student interest, and improving persistence and academic competence, to prepare knowledgeable and responsible 21st-century applied mathematicians.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Digitization | Award Amount: 301.16K | Year: 2014

The southeastern USA is botanically rich, with areas of high global biodiversity in both the Appalachians and the coastal plain. Millions of plant specimens have been collected from this region over the past four centuries, and these specimens and the information they contain currently reside in museums, or herbaria, at universities across the area. Scientists study these specimens intently; however, it is difficult to retrieve information at broad geographic and taxonomic scales without pipelines to move the information electronically from the specimen to an accessible pool of data. SERNEC, or the SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections, is a large regional network of botanical experts and collections that has, through an NSF-sponsored research coordination network (RCN) project, developed critical skills in biodiversity informatics. The current project will allow the SERNEC group to make data available for over 3 million specimens using the latest photography and information capture tools and to engage citizen scientists and students to assist in transcribing and georeferencing this large dataset. The research generated through this project can help regional planners, land managers and communities to manage their natural resources in our ever-changing environment.

The interaction of scientists, citizen scientists, and students will provide a synergy to build a research tool of an unparalleled scale and scope. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop an imaged and databased set of over 3 million specimens from over 100 herbaria in one of the most floristically diverse regions in North America and a global hotspot of plant diversity. This will represent a valuable data source for research on the response of vegetation to climate change, human development, and rapid migrations of introduced species. This region has been a biodiversity hotspot for 100 million years and this project should encourage research on changes over time to develop better predictive models as areas of biodiversity change. By partnering with Symbiota, Notes from Nature, GEOLocate, Adler Planetarium, iPlant/TACC, and Specify, the project will develop ways to best integrate various efforts for data accessibility. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program, and all data resulting from this award will be available through the national resource (

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 2.11M | Year: 2016

The Appalachian Students Promoting the Integration of Research in Education (ASPIRE) project will promote economic growth in the Appalachia region by supporting high achieving, low-income Appalachian students who attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville or Chattanooga to complete degrees in science. Appalachian students come from households where post-secondary education is rare and poverty rates are high, thus creating barriers to degree completion. ASPIRE will address financial, academic, and other barriers to graduating with a scientific degree by providing scholarships and targeted academic and social support. Eighty students will receive four-year scholarships, live in research-focused living/learning communities, engage in mentored research, and participate in academic transition seminars, career-building fellowships and family activities. Scholarship students on the larger Knoxville campus will also engage with the new Appalachian Mentoring Program, which will provide support across social, academic, and career-related domains.

ASPIRE will compare students from low-income, low-minority, rural schools, which have the lowest college enrollment rate (44%) and the lowest six-year completion rates (21%) of any group, with students from low-income, high-minority, urban schools. The focus will be on evaluating the overlapping and unique needs of these two groups of students, as well as the relative effects on financial, socio-cultural and academic transition barriers on persistence and success of each type of support. Much is already known about the needs of first-generation, low-income, or underrepresented minority students; yet much less is known about the extent to which students with different combinations of these identities face different challenges and benefit from different support services. ASPIRE will provide a novel opportunity to identify and understand such unique needs. Results from this research will advance knowledge about evidence-based, high-impact practices that facilitate success for diverse students.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH | Award Amount: 535.26K | Year: 2016

Acquiring mates is one of the most fundamental steps to successfully reproducing in many animals. Individuals vary widely in how many mates they acquire, and as a result, how many offspring they produce. Understanding why such variation exists and how it is linked to traits of he organisms is essential for understanding variation between the sexes, populations, and species. Surprisingly, scientists are often unable to predict the conditions under which strong variation in mate acquisition will exist and which traits improve mate acquisition. This research will theoretically and empirically identify a range of understudied ecological factors that influence mate acquisition, thereby transforming our understanding of how animals successfully reproduce. The principle investigators proposed educational activities will be integrated seamlessly into the project and facilitate training of diverse K-12 students and teachers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students.

Enhanced understanding of mate acquisition necessitates that we 1) determine the relative importance of various factors affecting mating, 2) assess how such effects are manifested in nature, and 3) merge theoretical predictions with empirical data to explore how well we understand the operation of mate acquisition. To accomplish these goals, the PI will use an integrative approach that employs empirical and theoretical tools to 1) assess the effects of resource availability, chance, life history, and more well studied factors on mating dynamics and 2) empirically explore the relationship between such factors and phenotypic traits that increase mating success in a range of fish species. Students will be involved in all aspects of the research and the PI will lead K-12 outreach activities. The project also involves collaborative research in Finland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Funding supporting the international component was provided by the Office of International Science and Engineering.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CISE RESEARCH RESOURCES | Award Amount: 299.88K | Year: 2017

Underground infrastructure supports services critical to daily human life, including fresh water supply, waste and storm water sewage, natural gas, electric power, steam and telecommunications. Much of the infrastructure is aging, and in unknown locations and condition. This project proposes innovative research to monitor and map underground infrastructure by integrating gigabit network-enabled sensing and mapping, cutting-edge networking, and data analytics. These real-time and automated sensing and mapping techniques can improve maintenance and management operations through better planning, incident response and condition assessment. Success will improve construction and repair efficiency, and reduce unplanned service interruptions, and accidents that harm the public safety and environment. This is a collaborative research project between the University of Vermont and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The cities of Burlington, VT, Winooski, VT and Chattanooga, TN are providing access to their infrastructure facilities for testing. A notable feature is that all three cities have deployments of gigabit networks that are available for use on this project. The three participating cities are located in small metropolitan regions that ease implementation of research efforts, yet are big enough to identify key issues affecting scaling up to larger cities. This project also provides educational experiences for graduate students and participating municipal utility officials in gigabit network-enabled sensing and underground urban infrastructure.

This project uses gigabit networks to integrate a mobile ground penetrating radar sensing with a cohesive network of sensors for detecting, assessing and reporting incipient conditions, such as emergent leaks. The processing and presentation of underground information will be rapidly transmitted to interested parties through secure, timely, and reliable communication, This project helps to build network-augmented position registration in an urban environment. Performance of the gigabit network-enabled utility mapping and sensing system will be measured in three participating cities. Success with this research will enable cities to manage, maintain and grow their infrastructure in manners that improve service, sustainability and resilience, while reducing costs, energy consumption and wasted resources. Since many of the aging underground infrastructure lies in older cities, often subjected to economic distress and decay, this project can help to provide basic human needs and rights, and help to provide social justice through reliable low-cost provision of clean drinking water, functional storm and waste water sewers, heat, electricity and telecommunications. Additionally, there is significant potential for increased resilience and rapid effective management of recovery from disasters.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 153.33K | Year: 2017

Data loss, cybercrimes, and security breaches have posed significant threats to cyberspace, and many experts expect that the number and severity of cyber-attacks will increase. The protection and security of computing systems, critical infrastructure, and cyberspace are vital to nearly all aspects of our society. To secure cyberspace, the nation needs capable, well-trained, and responsive professionals and experts in the cybersecurity workforce. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), in collaboration with the Tuskegee University (TU), launches a new Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to graduate highly capable and talented cybersecurity professionals with Masters degrees. Both UTC and TU host a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education/Cyber Defense (CAE IA/CD), designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. As such, both institutions are well equipped to prepare SFS scholars for cybersecurity careers in local, state, and federal governments.

The proposed new SFS program recruits exceptional students through academic and community outreach initiatives. Strategies include recruiting from the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) team, Honor College, and outreaching to other institutions. The SFS scholars will be selected based on a holistic consideration of credential ranking and group diversity. The SFS program will implement cohort programs, and students will gain common cohort experiences including: taking common curriculum in each cohort; attending monthly forums or field trips; conducting collaborative research; participating in security conferences; joining CCDC; and conducting K-12 outreach. These strong and well-designed academic programs, combined with high-quality student services, and paired with a network of industry partnerships, will help prepare quality professionals in cybersecurity. The SFS program will also assist scholars transition into government through mentorship and career planning efforts. This project will strengthen the cybersecurity workforce by graduating well-trained cybersecurity professionals to defend the cyber-infrastructure, critical infrastructure, citizen privacy, and daily activities in cyberspace. The partnership between UTC and TU (a strong HBCU school) will help diversify the cybersecurity workforce. The knowledge and experiences gained through this program will be disseminated in regional and national conferences, workshops, and journals to inspire collaboration among institutions, government, and industry in creating and training highly capable cybersecurity professionals. Through outreach to local communities and K-12 schools, including those with large populations of underrepresented groups in computing, this project will promote awareness of the cybersecurity issues that the nation faces as well as disseminate basic knowledge about information security.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FED CYBER SERV: SCHLAR FOR SER | Award Amount: 165.00K | Year: 2016

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) has been proven effective in improving discipline-based student learning and professional skills such as teamwork, communication, management, information processing, and critical thinking. This project develops POGIL materials for fifteen cybersecurity topic areas of cryptography, access control, network security, risk management, web security, and secure coding. This project also evaluates the developed POGIL materials and teaching methods in different courses at three universities with the goal of investigating the following research question: Is using the POGIL method more effective to learn cybersecurity than traditional/lecture-based teaching methods in terms of learning outcomes, learning experience, attitudes and motivation? This project also builds the national capacity in cybersecurity education and disseminates project results through holding two in-conference faculty workshops and one summer faculty workshop as faculty professional development in cybersecurity. This project is implemented through the collaboration of PIs from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Old Dominion University.

The developed POGIL materials will contribute to the effective pedagogy resources for cybersecurity education. The study of the effectiveness of the POGIL instructional method for cybersecurity education will contribute to the research knowledge on effective teaching methods for cybersecurity. The developed POGIL materials can be adopted by multiple disciplines such as computer science, information technology and business, and will be made available to a broader audience through conference presentations, publication in appropriate journals, and through the projects web site.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENERGY,POWER,ADAPTIVE SYS | Award Amount: 119.83K | Year: 2016

Extreme temperatures can push various power grid components to their operational limits. The available capacity of most generation resources and power system components becomes negatively affected as the temperature increases beyond certain thresholds. Not surprisingly, this temperature-induced reduction in available power generation and transmission capacities generally coincides with increased electricity demand on the system, mostly attributed to the increased utilization of air-conditioning (A/C) systems. Ignoring the effects of temperature on various grid assets could lead to overloading these assets, resulting in reduced lifetime and premature component failure. It is therefore crucial to incorporate the effects of ambient temperature into power grid operation in order to prevent stress on components and avoid blackouts that could result from failure to meet demand during periods of extreme temperature. This issue is becoming more important since climate models project an increase in the duration and frequency of heat waves. Loss of power during extreme temperature conditions is not merely an inconvenience, as it may also impact the availability of other critical infrastructures such as water sanitation plants, transportation systems, and hospitals and other urgent care units.

In this project, the researchers will pursue a possible solution that involves design of a methodology for proactive dispatch of the energy resources in a distribution system exposed to extreme ambient temperatures. Electric utilities have traditionally addressed the issue at hand through two means: defining dynamic thermal ratings (DTR) for various components to adjust their available capacity based on ambient temperature and, more recently, offering incentivized demand response (DR) programs for remotely shutting down A/C units under stressed conditions. Although effective in many instances, are vulnerable to significant weaknesses. First, DTR are often assigned heuristically or experimentally, and are not usually amenable to closed form mathematical calculation. Also, A/C-based DR is usually implemented based on the contractual agreements between the utility and the users, and does incorporate users well-being (i.e., the indoor temperature users will experience due to A/C shutdown). This, under severe heat wave events, can potentially lead to negative health impacts especially on infants and the elderly. The goal of this proposal is to improve the effectiveness of both these tools. The proposed solution models the effects of excess temperatures on available generation/transmission capacity of components, as well as on expected reduction in component lifespan due to overloading or operating under harsh conditions. Indoor temperatures at residential homes are incorporated into the DR dispatch by developing thermal models for houses, which can determine the indoor temperature based on internal and external gains. This creates a multi-objective design problem in which the aim is to optimize cost in conjunction with asset lifetime and user comfort. To address the inherent uncertainties in the model, a robust optimization approach is adopted. To ensure tractability of the optimization problem and the scalability of the proposed solution, standard restructuring techniques will be used to transform the nonlinear formulation into a convex, mixed-integer quadratically constrained programming problem. Furthermore, to enable awareness on user conditions, algorithms will be built based on non-invasive monitoring to detect human occupancy and status of A/C units using the aggregate measurements available from smart meters.

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