Maseeh College offers competitive opportunities for graduate students and undergraduate students looking to immerse themselves in some of the most cutting-edge research and technologies available. The college's signature Undergraduate Research & Mentoring Program offers paid opportunities for undergraduate students to experience lab research with distinguished research faculty. For more information, please visit our department webpages or refer to the Maseeh College lab directory.
ROBERT L. BERTINI,
Civil & Environmental Engineering
The automobile was king in the San Francisco suburb of Millbrae where Robert Bertini grew up. You drove to get just about anywhere. But on a family trip to Italy at age 14, Bertini was fascinated to see the ease with which people used other ways to get around. The trip sparked a lifelong interest in transportation, and today Associate Professor Bertini is working with industries and public agencies to improve transportation systems.
Bertini is the head of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory. The lab collects and interprets traffic data from 500 road sensors placed throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Information from the lab can be used for everything from timing traffic signals to building roads and planning for mass transit.
Online gaming is a $25 billion industry, and is expected to go beyond $40 billion by the end of the decade. A significant amount of the money comes from monthly subscriptions that players pay to gain access to game sites. Like any game, it's no fun when you lose - especially at the hands of a cheater. If it happens enough you are likely to drop your subscription.
Associate Professor Wu-Chang Feng is working with Intel to develop hardware that detects cheating in much the same way that computers detect viruses and worms. It's an offshoot of other work he's done in computer security to prevent malicious network attacks, spam, and other costly irritants.
Engineering & Technology Management
Great innovations usually start out as fuzzy "what if" concepts, barely more than a glimmer of an idea. The ideas are usually qualitative rather than quantitative, and are based on information that changes daily. So how can entrepreneurs bring their ideas into sharper focus and decide how to move forward on a project?
Antonie Jetter and Charles Weber are using their research findings to help companies of all sizes navigate these treacherous waters. Jetter utilizes Cognitive Maps to elicit, document, and systematically process knowledge from various experts involved with a project - from marketers to engineers - each of whom brings his or her own interpretation of customer needs and technological possibilities. Weber, a graduate of MIT's Sloan School of Management, looks at the financial ramifications of a project, and how innovative ideas affect the bottom line.
Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Companies that make stainless steel aircraft gears and other components have their own way of heat treating them to make them withstand stress. But the process is often inefficient, producing unacceptable amounts of wasted metal. Chien Wern and David Turcic are helping the industry with a temperature induction process in which gears are heated to an extremely high temperature - 1,600 degrees in a half a second - by passing electrical through them. They perfected a method of measuring the temperature and controlling the process which is producing strong components with greater efficiency and far less waste than what the aircraft industry had been historically doing. "We're always trying to expose mechanical components to different conditions in an effort to improve them," Wern says. "Brakes and gears, for example, are subjected to a lot of force and repetitive motion. Being able to test those stresses is the first step in making those components stronger and safer.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Integrated circuits - microchips - are everywhere, from cell phones to computers and hybrid cars. But unless they work flawlessly, the devices that hold them are all but worthless. Integrated circuit manufacturers need to know that the chops they're putting into those devices meet the highest possible quality standards. Fortunately, they have Rob Daasch, the founder and co-director of the Integrated Circuit Design and Test Laboratory at Portland State. The lab is one of the few facilities in the world that can both collect and analyze the date from exhaustive testing of chips. Professor Daasch founded the lab in 1996 with the goal of assisting regional chip makers such as LSI Logic. Now, manufacturers from around the world test their products using methods originally developed in the PSU lab. They include Texas Instruments and Infineon, the fourth largest European microchip manufacturer.
Aboard the International Space Station (ISS): Not only is Maseeh College one in a handful of universities that boasts a drop tower to study the effects of weightlessness, it is also home to a unique research lab with a direct link to the ISS. Graduate and undergraduate students work with NASA astronauts to conduct zero gravity experiments in space.
Artificial intelligence and adaptive systems: Computer Science research on artificial intelligence, machine learning, evolutionary computation, and cognitive science strives to understand how complex systems work - for example teaching a computer to recgonize visual images.
Emerging computing models and technologies: Teuscher Lab employs a radical interdisciplinary approach that combines computer science, engineering, physics, biology, complex systems science, and cognitive science to study and design the future of computing paradigms and machines.
Green Building Research Laboratory: Mechanical engineering students get a hands-on opportunity to study and monitor building performance, and perfect "passive house" technology.
Integrated circuits testing: The Electrical & Computer Engineering Department offers a state-of-the-art Integrated Circuits Design and Test Laboratory that is working to drive down the high cost of chip testing for the semiconductor industry.
Innovations in 3D: Maseeh's Computer Graphics and Vision Lab seeks cost-effective ways to develop tools for the average consumer to create 3D video for less expense and without the unpleasant side effects that hamper the ability of 3D technology to achieve wide appeal.
Solar energy systems: PSU students and faculty are investigating more efficient ways to manufacture photovoltaic devices (solar cells). This focus on production methods will enhance competitiveness of local industry.
Underwater acoustics & terahertz imaging: From measuring noise effects of a new interstate bridge on Columbia River salmon, to detecting improvised explosives hidden inside packages, PSU's Northwest Acoustics & Electromagnetics Research Laboratory (NEAR-Lab) research teams and facilities give shape to the undersea and the unseen.
Upgrading humanitarian aid: Research conducted at the Sustainable Water, Energy and Environmental Technologies Laboratory (SWEETLab) develops water filters and cookstoves with digital monitoring sensors to track and improve humanitarian programs in developing communities.
Wind Tunnel Lab: Faculty in Mechanical & Materials Engineering are seeking to understand how wind turbine arrays effect the atmosphere through wind tunnel experimental study of flow, fluxes and energetics.