May/June 2002
Volume Two - Issue Three

ERIS Lab to Host Software Reliability Workshop

A Look at ICES Education 2002

IEEE WETICE-2002 Workshop to be Held at Carnegie Mellon

iNews Set for Revamp and Summer Hiatus

ICES-Dowd Fellowship Selection is Underway

Departing Employees

Cristina Amon receives Ralph Coats Roe Award

Sarah Petricca receives Graduate Student Association Conference Funding

Justin Kulla recognized as one of the Student Employees of the Year

Kacey Marra won a Leadership Development Award

Seminar Series to Highlight Fuel Cell Research

Rodrigo Escobar, Graduate Student, MechE

Doctoral Thesis Defenses in 2001-2002

Cristina Amon is Chair of ASME/IEEE Conference


ICES Calendar

Moving 4th into Engineering

An ICES Happy Hour to Remember

AIS Open House

30-Day Travel Expense Reimbursement Policy

Cristina Amon: Tribune Review

PITA Symposium: Pittsburgh Business Times

Kacey Marra: Carnegie Mellon Magazine

Asim Smailagic: Forbes Magazine

Printable iNews

iNews homepage

iNews Archives

ICES homepage

Carnegie Mellon Engineering homepage

Carnegie Mellon University homepage


News & Announcements


On Friday, June 14, Mike Bigrigg will conduct the ERIS 2002 Spring Seminar on Reliable Software Development. This one-day workshop will focus on software debugging and code maintenance.

Intended for senior software developers and software development managers, this all-day mini-course focuses on the problems of debugging with respect to such topics as the compilation process, memory management, and I/O interfacing. More than just a "lecture," this software development workshop is designed to help developers come together to form a common understanding of how to build reliable software.

For more information about this event, please visit our seminar web site at or contact Dana Hilinski at


ICES faculty and students have completed another successful semester of engineering design project course work.

Engineering Product Design Course (39-606)
On April 30, 2002 students participating in course 39-606 presented the results of their industry sponsored research projects. Companies including Siemens Westinghouse, Medrad, Bombardier Transportation Systems, Cutler Hammer, Air Products, Inc., and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) sponsored projects.

Wireless Injector Systems - A group of four students working with Medrad Inc., grappled with the complexities of identifying, selecting and prototyping a wireless communication technology for use in medical injector systems. The students recommended the use of radio frequency (RF) over optical technologies and began preliminary testing of a particular RF technology. Signal strength and signal to noise ratio measurements were measured from different locations to determine the effective range of the RF technology. Spring 2002 results are positive and additional research will be conducted to determine: how room geometry may affect the RF signal; the cause of certain image artifacts and the integration of RF technology with Medrad hardware.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Modeling - Two students working with Siemens Westinghouse developed a computer model to represent the performance of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The purpose of this model is to predict resulting cell power, efficiency and volume based on changes in geometry, operating conditions and material choices. The students used 2nd order differential equations to model relationships between geometry, resistance and operating voltage to compute unit current and power generated in a traditional tubular SOFC. The next steps include: (1) the construction of a finite element modeling component to represent performance in more complex geometries and compact designs; and (2) to investigate the best software to support the basic and finite element model.

Circuit Software - Five students teamed with Cutler-Hammer to create scalable software that monitors the performance of circuitry and electrical devices. Students created computer code that polls devices within the circuit and automatically updates a device database. This software was combined with an internet-based interface to provide access to clients.

Home Hydrogen Plant - Another group of five students worked with Air Products, Inc. to refine the design of a home hydrogen generator. Using an existing design developed by a group of students in Fall, 2001 students re-engineered certain design elements for a safe, feasible home hydrogen generator that runs on natural gas. Hydrogen would then serve as fuel for an integral fuel cell to provide an alternate source of electricity for a residence. Students added an ethane cracker and an integrated steam system, but were unable to produce the gains in efficiency and cost reductions required to make the project a viable product.

Sensors for Next Generation People Movers - A group of three students chose to work with Bombardier Transportation systems on new sensing systems for their next generation people movers. The goal of this project was to identify an alternative to existing sensing systems that would reduce the total cost of ownership. Three innovative technologies were evaluated including RFID, GPS and computer vision technologies. The students found that from a cost, reliability, compatibility and code compliance standpoint, the current technology is perhaps the best alternative. The students recommended that reducing the cost of installing the current technology might be the best option until new technologies mature.

Endovascular Grafts - A group of six students teamed with researchers from UPMC to evaluate abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair techniques. The goal of this project was to evaluate endovascular repair techniques that involve the placement of a graft to exclude the aneurysm. Because this technique is minimally invasive, improved grafts will greatly reduce the need for open surgical repair. The students decided to modify an existing graft design by adding Nitinol hooks. These hooks will better secure the graft scaffold to the walls of the abdominal aorta. Students may fabricate a scaffold prototype and seek a patent for their design. Future directions for this research include computational fluid dynamic testing and the development/use of early warning endoleak pressure sensors to complement the use of graft.

Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems (39-648)
The spring 2002 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems class, taught by professors Dan Siewiorek and Asim Smailagic, focused on context-aware collaboration between team members that share and derive information from each other as well as from remote sensors.

Context-aware computing describes the situation where a mobile computer is aware of its user's state and surroundings, and modifies its behavior based on this information. A user's context can be quite rich, consisting of attributes such as physical location, physiological state (such as body temperature and heart rate), emotional state (such as anger or distress), personal history, daily behavioral patterns, and so on. If a human assistant were given such context, he or she would make decisions in a proactive fashion, anticipating user needs. In making these decisions, the assistant would typically not disturb the user at inopportune moments except in an emergency. Our goal is to enable mobile computers to play an analogous role, exploiting context information to significantly reduce demands on human attention.

The class designed and implemented a context aware collaborative system for Raytheon. The scenario on which the class focused their efforts was an exciting real-time game played using cutting-edge wearable computers in the corridors of Carnegie Mellon buildings. The class equipped buildings with a distributed sensor network utilizing physical and virtual sensors such as tracking devices, a location sensing service, and wireless cameras. Players can connect to these sensors using their wearable computers in conjunction with the Wireless Andrew network. The class was divided into groups. Some groups specified the requirements and rules. Other groups specified, designed, and implemented sensor networks that included both stationary and mobile sensors. Other groups determined how the mobile users should utilize the information and collaborate in real time. The goal was to produce a hardware/software system to support context aware team collaboration in an instrumented area, with location sensing services based on the Wireless Andrew infrastructure.
This system called Spion, which was built for this year's class sponsor, Raytheon, is a game of strategy played between two opposing teams, with a twofold purpose: 1) defend your target object, and 2) find and destroy the other team's target object. A subtler goal is to out-strategize and outwit opposing teams. To accomplish the goal, each team had a wide array of sophisticate sensors and weapons such as virtual grenades that could be used to locate their opponents and infiltrate their territory. In addition to being an exciting game, Spion utilized a number of cutting-edge pervasive and context aware computing technologies developed at LINCS. The system architecture built by the students will be used to develop other context aware computer systems in the near future.

The system was successfully demonstrated to Raytheon representatives on May 1, 2002. They were highly impressed that this complicated system was constructed in just one semester and are now looking forward to future joint projects with the LINCS lab.


Carnegie Mellon has been chosen for the site of this year's IEEE WET-ICE Workshop. The Eleventh International Workshops on Enabling Technologies: Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises (WETICE) is an annual, international forum for state-of-the-art research in enabling technologies for collaboration.

WETICE-2002 will consist of a number of workshops on different topics related to collaboration technology. What sets WET ICE apart from larger conferences is that the workshops are kept small enough to promote fruitful discussions on the latest technology developments, directions, problems, and requirements. Each workshop will include paper presentations and working group discussions, as well as keynote sessions and a final joint session to summarize each group's findings.

ICES' own Eswaran Subrahmanian and Cristina Amon are serving as the Local Co-Chairs for WETICE-2002. For more information about the workshop, please contact Dana Hilinski at


Over the next few months, iNews will take a short hiatus while it undergoes complete redesign. To increase functionality and convenience, the revamped iNews will be better integrated with the ICES web page, which is also undergoing redesign. The website is being revamped to better serve our laboratories, centers, industrial partners, CIT/ICES faculty, students and the entire Carnegie Mellon academic community.

To assist with the project, Jean-Paul Gisclair recently joined ICES as a web design intern. "JP." will be on board for the entire summer, helping ICES' Graphic Designer, Donna Yocum, with the restructuring project. Yocum is currently polling the ICES community through a general survey about the functionality and design of the ICES web site. If you would like to submit your input, or you would like a copy of the survey, please contact Donna Yocum at

The revamping project is scheduled to be completed over the next three months. In order to best accommodate the redesign project, iNews will not release future editions during the summer. Look for the new and improved iNews and ICES web site in September 2002!


The Philip and Marsha Dowd Engineering Seed Fund call for proposals was announced in the March/April edition of iNews. The fellowship grant program, administered through ICES, will award a grant to a CIT graduate student in the second or third year of his/her graduate studies. The objective is to provide support for a graduate student that is working on a cutting edge research project for which traditional sources of funding may not be readily available.

A total of ten proposals have been received. The diversity of projects, corresponding research approaches and proposed methodologies are outstanding. Projects include:

  • OUM - Nonvolatile Memory of the Future (Student: A.S. Nain. PI: M. Asheghi - MechE.)
  • NanoCrystalline Coatings and Inductive Devices Produced by RF Plasma Synthesis (Student: R. Swaminathan. PI: M. McHenry - MSE)
  • Collaborative Metrics for Multi-Objective Agent Systems (Student: J. Siirola. PIs: A. Westerberg and S. Hauan - ChemE)
  • Designing a Multi-Directional Graphic User Interface for Community Mapping (Student: S. Vajjhala. PI: P. Fischbeck - EPP, SDS)
  • Full-System Performance Analysis of Modern Computer Platforms (Student: T. Wenisch. PI: B. Falsafi - ECE)
  • Computational Study on Tissue Formation and Growth (Students: S. Yamakawa and D. Tanaka. PIs: K. Shimada - MechE, RI; P. Campbell - BHE, ICES, RI; L. Ernst - STC; D. L. Farkas - STC, RI; M. Israelowitz - STC, BTEC)
  • Effects of Cross-sectoral Collaboration and Sponsorship on Emerging Research Areas (Student: T. Tummino. PIs: K. Carley and B. Morel - EPP
  • Mathematical Approach to High-Level DSP Hardware Synthesis and Optimization (Student: F. Fang. PIs: M. Pueschel and J. C. Hoe - ECE)
  • Colloidal Computing for Textile Area Networks (COATNET) (Student: P. S. Marbell. PIs: D. Marculescu, R. Marculescu and P. K. Khosla - ECE)
  • Novel polymer/ceramic composites for Bone Tissue Engineering (Student: S. E. Petricca. PIs: K. G. Marra - BHE, ICES; P. N. Kumta - BHE, MSE)

A decision will be announced in July and we look forward to announcing the first Dowd-ICES Fellow. We, at ICES, would like to thank the students and faculty who participated in this first call for proposals and for their considerable effort. Good luck to all!


Tiffany Booth, who has been working at ICES as the Administrative Assistant for the past two years will be leaving this August to pursue her graduate degree in psychology. Tiffany will be moving to New York City where she will once again become a full-time student. She is looking forward to these new challenges but will thoroughly miss everyone she has worked with here at Carnegie Mellon.


Honors & Awards

Cristina Amon, Director of ICES and Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Cristina Amon received the Ralph Coats Roe Award from the Mechanical Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The award recognizes a mechanical engineering educator who has excellence in teaching for the last decade and who has made notable professional contributions. She will deliver the talk "The Joys of an Academic Career" at the awards luncheon of the ASEE Conference to be held in Montreal on june 16-19, 2002.

Sarah Petricca, Graduate Student, ICES, Biomedical and Health Engineering

Sarah Petricca recently received Graduate Student Association Conference Funding (GSACF), which enables more graduate students to attend and make presentations at key conferences in their fields. Sarah is a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering working with Professors Kacey Marra and Prashant Kumta.

Justin Kulla, Computer Facilities Assistant, ICES

Justin Kulla was recently recognized as one of the Student Employees of the Year here on campus. This award was sponsored by the Career Center for student employees. Justin was nominated due to his support of our department and for creating the online database, IRIS which is now a vital tool for the ICES community.

Kacey Marra, Research Faculty, ICES, Biomedical and Health Engineering

Kacey Marra has won a Leadership Development Award, sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS), to support her participation in the first ever Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) Leadership Development Workshop in Boston this summer. This new YCC program recognizes emerging leaders in the profession and helps them prepare for leadership opportunities at volunteer organizations, such as ACS, and in their professional career.


In The Spotlight


ICES is interested in market opportunities and the many research challenges posed by fuel cells. Fuel cell research requires contributions by biologists, chemists, chemical engineers, electrical engineers, material scientists and mechanical engineers. Issues concerning control, low power conditions, thermal management and materials are a few of the many opportunities for research. From an applications perspective, fuel cell uses will require input from nearly every college and department. As such, ICES provides a natural home for fuel cell research at Carnegie Mellon.

To create greater interest in the subject, ICES is sponsoring a series of seminars on the subject. The seminar series began in April and will continue into the early fall of 2002. The following paragraphs present an overview of the seminar topics discussed to date:

  • Professor Robert Savinell, Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University visited ICES on April 22. Professor Savinell presented concepts for micro-fuel cell design and descriptions of related technical issues. The objective of his research is to produce an air-breathing fuel cell by combining microfabrication techniques with polymer electrolyte fuel cell technology. Issues, approaches, and results related to design and electrolytes were discussed. This research is building a foundation for designing and fabricating low-cost and high volume fuel cells for a variety of applications. The size of these fuel cells ranges from chip-size to larger, portable electronic devices to power cell phones, computers, and other devices.
  • On May 3, Professor Chao-Yang Wang, associate professor of mechanical & materials engineering and the director of the Electrochemical Engine Center (ECEC) at the Pennsylvania State University spoke about the latest experimental and modeling efforts at Penn State ECEC. Professor Wang spoke about PEM fuel cells and the multi-disciplinary engineering challenges associated with the design and production of these novel electrochemical engines, stressing the important issue of water management and two-phase phenomena under high power conditions. Professor Wang also discussed the progress made toward developing a basic understanding of two-phase flow physics in PEM fuel cells.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation, and the department of mechanical engineering will conduct future seminars on various aspects of fuel cell research. The dates, speakers and topics will be announced in the calendar of events on ICES web page ( Those interested in fuel cell research and applications are welcome to attend. Please contact Christina Cowan at

A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device that converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and heat. Fuel cells are similar to batteries in that they can be recharged while you are drawing power from it. Unlike batteries, fuel cells are more environmentally friendly and can be engineered to provide weight, size and performance benefits that batteries can not. It is expected that fuel cells will compete with other energy conversion devices, including the gas turbine, the gasoline engine and the battery as our need for electricity continues to increase. There are several different types of fuel cells that are generally classified by the type of electrolyte they use. Some types of fuel cells show promise for use in power generation plants. Others may be useful for small portable applications or for powering cars.

The proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is one of the most promising technologies. PEM fuel cells operate at relatively low temperatures (80°C), which means that they warm up quickly and don't require expensive containment structures. Constant improvements in engineering and in the materials used in these cells have increased the power density to a level where a device about the size of a small piece of luggage can power a car.

There are other types of fuel cell technologies being developed for possible commercial uses. These include:

  • Alkaline Fuel Cells (AFCs): AFCs have been used in the U.S. space program since the 1960s. The AFC is very susceptible to contamination and is very expensive, making commercialization unlikely.
  • Phosphoric-Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC): The phosphoric-acid fuel cell has potential for use in small stationary power-generation systems. It operates at a higher temperature than PEM fuel cells making it unsuitable for some uses. Phosphoric acid-based cells tend to be heavy, however, which makes them less than ideal for use in some applications.
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC): These fuel cells are best suited for large-scale stationary power generators that could provide electricity for factories or towns. This type of fuel cell operates at relatively high temperatures (around 1,000°C). This high temperature makes reliability a problem, but it has the advantage of producing steam that can be channeled into turbines to generate more electricity. This improves the overall efficiency of the system.
  • Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC): These fuel cells are also best suited for large stationary power generators. They operate at approximately 600°C, so they also generate steam that can be used to generate additional power. Because they operate at lower temperatures than SOFCs, they are somewhat less expensive to produce.

Fuel cell makers are looking to capitalize on "distributed generation". For environmental and political reasons, the construction of new electric power plants and transmission lines has become very difficult. As the demand for electric power grows and with electricity deregulation taking shape in many states, analysts argue that small power plants located near the point of demand may provide cost effective ways to augment the existing electric infrastructure. Wind turbines, photovoltaics, and fuel cells are all being viewed as good candidates for distributed generation. However, economic analyst Peter Schwartz, author of "Future of the Global Economy-Towards a Long Boom," recently noted that, "most likely the fuel cell will be the power source of the next half century".


Rodrigo Escobar is currently a graduate student in mechanical engineering under the supervision of Professor Cristina Amon. He was recently accepted into the Ph.D. program after earning his masters in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon. His interests are in biomechanics, particularly in the design of artificial organs. He is currently working on studying the blood flow and mass transfer characteristics of an intravenous membrane oxigenator by simulating several 3D models. Recently Rodrigo received the "Best Presentation" Award and 2nd place in the poster competition at a Mechanical Engineering Technical Conference. Prior to attending Carnegie Mellon, Rodrigo was an undergraduate at the University of Santiago, Chile. In his free time, Rodrigo enjoys playing heavy metal music and dancing the salsa at ICES happy hours.
Click to see more images...


ICES is pleased to announce that the following students defended during the academic year 2001-2002. Congratulation to all!

Mechanical Engineering:

Under the supervision of Cristina Amon

Ender Finol , Ph.D., "Fluid Mechanics of Pulastile Blood Flow in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms."

Sherry Xia, Ph.D., "Simulation of Electrodeposition in Ultra-Deep Micro Cavities."

Civil and Environmental Engineering:

Under the supervision of Jim Garrett

Becky Buchheit, Ph.D., "VACUUM: Automated Procedures for Assessing and Cleansing Civil Infrastructure Data."

Christian Buergy, Ph.D., "An Interaction Constraints Model for Mobile and Wearable Computer-Aided Engineering Systems in Industrial Applications."

Jirapon Sunkpho, Ph.D., "A Framework for Developing Field Inspection Support Systems."

Under the supervision of Pradeep K. Khosla, Christian J.J. Paredis, and Susan Finger

Rajarishi Sukant Sinha, Ph.D., "Compositional Design and Simulation of Engineered Systems."

Electrical and Computer Engineering:

Under the supervision of Phil Koopman,

John DeVale, Ph.D., "High Performance Robust Computer Systems."

Bill Nace, Ph.D., "Graceful Degradation via System-Wide Customization for Distributed Embedded Systems."

Under the supervision of Daniel P. Siewiorek

LeMonté Green, Ph.D., "Design of Multiported Interfaces to Improve Local Area Network Performance."

Under the supervision of Gary K. Fedder

Hasnain M. Lakdawala, PhD., "Temperature Control of CMOS Micromachined Sensors."

Xu Zhu, Ph.D., "PostCMOS Micromachining of Surface and Bulk Structures."

Under the supervision of Bruce H. Krogh

Zhiyuan Ren, Ph. D., "Aggregation and Multi-mode Switching Control in Markov Decision Processes."

Braz Izaias da Silva Jr., Ph.D., "Model and Verification of Hybrid Systems with Clocked and Unclocked Events."


Cristina Amon is the Chair of the Eighth Intersociety ASME/IEEE Conference on Thermal, and Thermomechanical Phenomena and Emerging Technologies in Electronic Systems ITherm 2002 to be held in San Diego on May 29-June 1, 2002.

This bi-annual conference, sponsored by IEEE and ASME, is the premier international technical meeting where researchers and practitioners from industry, academia and government laboratories come together to present, discuss and learn of the developments in the field. Over 150 papers will be presented at ITherm 2002 in 35 sessions along three tracks: Thermal Phenomena, Thermomechanical Phenomena, Emerging Technologies and panel discussions, in addition to short courses and technology exhibits. With ITherm 2002 co-locating with the 52th IEEE/ECTC, we are expecting over 1,000 combined attendees. More information at


ICES Events

MOVING 4TH INTO ENGINEERING - Click to see event photos...

Each spring, ICES hosts Moving 4th Into Engineering, an outreach program that is sponsored by PITA, ICES, and the College of Engineering. This year's program took place on Saturday, April 27. A group of local fourth-grade students from five different Pittsburgh Public Schools spent a full day on Carnegie Mellon's campus, engaging in fun and educational engineering activities.

Throughout the day the students participated in various experiments and exercises, from a variety of engineering disciplines. The students worked with polymers, got to try some "hands on" experiments and even made their own rocket which they actually launched in Schenley Park.

Moving 4th aims to inspire young students to seek out future studies in math, science and engineering. A diverse group of faculty, staff and student volunteers led the program and worked with the children throughout the day. This outreach event was possible by the collaborative efforts of volunteers from the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as ICES.

This year's volunteers include following ICES faculty, students and staff members: Cristina Amon, Annette Jacobson, Susan Finger, Tiffany Booth, Charlie Matous, Donna Yocum, Liz Levin, Justin Kulla, Dana Hilinski and Rhonda Moyer. Thanks to each of you for volunteering your time. Your participation was truly invaluable and very much appreciated. It is entirely due to your efforts that the event was a success.

Click on thumbnail for enlarged image:

There was a great turnout for the ICES Happy Hour at Club Havana in Shadyside on Wednesday, April 24. The festivities kicked off at 6 p.m. and for some lasted into the late evening. There was good food, catered by Khalil's, libations, music, and of course dancing. Take a look at some of the pictures captured from this fun filled evening.

Click on thumbnail for enlarged image:


On April 4th, the Advanced Infrastructure Systems (AIS) laboratory held it's first open house to present current research projects. The open house was attended by more than 40 members of the academic community and representatives from local businesses.

Researchers in AIS seek to address information poverty problems associated with civil infrastructure by exploring ubiquitous computing technologies that are critical for supporting civil infrastructure operation and maintenance. These technologies include: embedded, wireless MEMS-based sensors; speech-controlled mobile computing; and small, flexibly configured micro-robotic systems.

Members of the AIS laboratory, research topics and additional information concerning the open house can be found at:

ICES Policies

Travelers should spend university funds prudently. Business travel expenses will be paid by Carnegie Mellon only if they are reasonable, necessary and in accordance with this policy. Individuals who incur business travel expenses should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of their travel.

The traveler is responsible for submitting all forms related to his/her travel within 30 days of returning to campus. This 30-day policy will be strongly enforced by the university accounting department and all Carnegie Mellon employees should take action to follow this rule.

ICES Newsmakers

Tribune Review
Cristina Amon is featured in the "Newsmaker2Day" section for the March 17, 2002 edition. Page B2.
Click to see PDF copy...

Pittsburgh Business Times
PITA Symposium
is featured in the March 18, 2000 edition.

Carnegie Mellon Magazine
Kacey Marra
, Cristina Amon, and Phil Campbell were noted in an article about the Bone Tissue Engineering Center (BTEC) on campus. Summer Edition.

Forbes Magazine
Asim Smailagic
and the wearable computing group at ICES are noted in an April 24, 2002 article titled "Handheld Crystal Ball".

* Be sure to click this link within the article to see the slide show feature!

To submit information for the next edition of iNews, please contact Tiffany Booth at

iNews Production Staff

Tiffany Booth, Staff Writer,
Dana Hilinski, Editor,
Donna Yocum, Webmaster,

iNews is a bimonthly newsletter designed to serve the ICES community. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to email submissions, questions or comments they may have to any of the iNews staff members.