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Research Highlights


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Maseeh College Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty and graduate students are heading research projects throughout the Pacific Northwest in four major areas: environmental/water resources, structural, geotechnical, and transportation engineering. Portland is viewed as a national leader in transportation and environmentally sensitive building and is situated in a region where hydroelectric power, water quality, and geologic concerns are of everyday importance. Maseeh College students are also in high demand among government agencies and consulting firms for their role in maintaining the region's quality of life.

  • The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) is one of only 10 National University Centers in the country focusing on advanced technology, integration of land use and transportation, and healthy communities.
  • The InfraStructure Testing and Applied Research Laboratory is renowned throughout the region as the place where structural designs can be tested and refined to make them safer in the event of earthquakes.
  • Geotechnical researchers are analyzing the earth's structure to make sure ground conditions are suitable for construction.
  • The environmental engineering faculty works with Oregon agriculture interests to ensure that fertilizer use does not pollute groundwater with heavy metals. They are also addressing the competing needs for clean water in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries and researching the impact that dams, dikes, and oceanic changes have on the whole coastal and estuarine ecosystem, including salmon.

Computer Science


The Maseeh College is located in the heart of Oregon's "Silicon Forest," named for the cluster of high-tech companies located here. It's one of the fastest growing high technology centers in the United States, and researchers in the College's Computer Science Department are major contributors to a thriving and competitive industry. Research areas in the department include systems and networking, computer security, programming languages, data and information management, learning and adaptive systems, and biologically-related computing.

  • The Computer Science Department has a multi-million dollar per year research funding portfolio including sponsorship from federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Justice, and the National Science Foundation as well as industrial partners such as Google, IBM, Intel, and SRC.
  • PSU's Computer Science program is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency. 

Electrical and Computer Engineering


The Maseeh College's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is renowned in the Northwest for its combination of theoretical research which lays the groundwork for solving long-range problems, and its collaboration with local industries to meet short-term demands. Department research covers an array of technologies important to the semiconductor industry, health care, the environment, national security, energy generation and distribution, communications, the global economy, and robotics.

  • Research is sponsored by a number of private industries and government agencies. They include Intel, the National Science Foundation, the Semiconductor Research Corporation, the Office of Naval Research, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
  • The Credence Integrated Circuit Design and Test Laboratory is one of a few of its kind in the world, allowing researchers at Portland State University to test circuits for industry remotely via the Internet. One of the Lab's distinguishing characteristics is its close working relationship with leading companies in the semiconductor industry including: LSI Logic, Texas Instruments, IBM, Credence Systems, Sharp, Intel, Tektronix, and Electroglas.
  • The Northwest Electromagnetics and Acoustics Research Laboratory conducts research on electromagnetic and acoustic wave phenomenon for development of advanced signal processing techniques. The understanding of wave scattering provides a basis to devise advanced sensor systems and algorithms for applications such as radar, sonar, and biomedical imaging.The NEAR-Lab has several ongoing research projects and collaborates with a number of area institutions including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Applied Phyiscs Laboratory at the University of Washington, the Oregon Health and Sciences University, David Evans and Associates, and Cascade Microtech.

Engineering and Technology Management


Portland State University established the Engineering and Technology Management (ETM) Program in 1987. Twelve years later it became its own department within the Maseeh College and is an internationally renowned model used by dozens of other universities throughout the world. ETM alumni have become project and program managers, vice presidents, and CEOs of leading companies. The Department's programs in innovation and entrepreneurship also prepare ETM graduates for starting their own companies.

ETM is designed for engineers and scientists seeking a master's degree that adds management value to their engineering and science education. Professionals can take selected courses to enhance their careers, meet leadership goals, or simply get a feel for the program before pursuing the degree. The ETM Department has more than 200 full-time and part-time students from 35 countries pursuing M.S. or Ph.D. degrees.

  • PICMET (Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology) is housed in the ETM Department. PICMET organizes international conferences, symposia, and workshops every year.
  • Areas of research include: technology management, technology forecasting, technology evaluation, project management, decision making, new product development, technology roadmapping, productivity analysis, quantitative benchmarking, management of emerging technologies, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • ETM has served as the editorial headquarters for the John Wiley Book Series on Engineering and Technology Management from 1978 to 2000, and IEEE Transactions of Engineering Management from 1978 to 2002.

Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Faculty and student researchers in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department (MME) are engaged in research projects that range from fundamental investigations sponsored by federal agencies to applied projects sponsored by local industry. The department is organized into three groups: design and manufacturing, materials science, and thermal and fluid sciences.

The Department's laboratory facilities, its computer tools, the practical design experience of the faculty, and its frequent collaboration with regional industry enable the department to meet the technological needs of the Northwest. Faculty are involved in multidisciplinary research on problems involving energy use and the environment, including studies of urban heat island effects and ecoroof performance.

  • Basic research is being performed on surface tension driven flows, flow in microgravity environments, microfluidics, and cellular-level biomechanics.
  • MME faculty are looking into the structure of ultra-high-strength alloys at the microscopic level. The information provided by this work enables scientists to adjust the metal's microstructure to make it stronger - an ability that is crucial to the safety of structures ranging from bridges to aircraft.
  • A wind tunnel, located on Swan Island, was designed by faculty to test the effects of drag on full-scale tractor-trailer trucks. It is the only facility of its kind in the world.