1999 NSF CAREER winners include four from college

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Four COE faculty members have received 1999 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professors Gregory W. Harrington and Daniel R. Noguera, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Akbar M. Sayeed have each received four-year, $210,000 awards; and Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Jaal B. Ghandhi has received a $235,000 four-year award. NSF established the awards to help scientists and engineers develop simultaneously their contributions to research and education early in their careers.

Gregory W. Harrington

Gregory W. Harrington (large image)

Harrington is looking at water treatment processes that remove disinfectant-demanding substances such as naturally-occurring organic matter. The goal is to see how these processes influence the effectiveness of disinfectants such as ozone and chlorine on dangerous levels of cryptosporidium species. He will use completely mixed flow-through reactors to evaluate inactivation of cryptosporidium by alternative disinfectants. Results will be used to develop mathematical models of cryptosporidium inactivation and these models can be used to design disinfection processes for water treatment. The research will be conducted in cooperation with the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, which will provide the cryptosporidium species and will evaluate the results.

Daniel R. Noguera

Daniel R. Noguera (large image)

Noguera will conduct a rigorous investigation of the microbial ecology of aerated-anoxic biological treatment processes for removal of nitrogen from wastewater. Results will provide insights into design of processes and their use in treatment systems. The goal is more efficient removal of nitrogen from wastewaters during their treatment than is possible with conventional methods in which aerobic and anaerobic processing are conducted separately. The research component can be applied in engineering design of processes and systems to reduce adverse effects of excessive discharge of nitrogen into environmental waters. The educational component will provide undergraduate and graduate students with access to modern advanced techniques for study of microbial processes of significance in environmental engineering practice and their professional application in engineering design of wastewater treatment processes and systems.

Jaal B. Ghandhi

Jaal B. Ghandhi (large image)

Ghandhi will study the effect of mixing rate on combustion and pollutant formation in an internal combustion engine employing direct in-cylinder injection of gasoline, a promising technology for future engines. The mixing rates will be modified by varying the engine air induction and fuel injection strategies. Laser-based measurements of the fuel and product concentrations will be used to assess the role of the mixing processes. The educational program concentrates on restructuring an existing instrumentation laboratory course to use a problem-based approach. In this system students will learn about instrumentation in the context of solving an engineering problem.

Akbar M. Sayeed

Akbar M. Sayeed (large image)

Sayeed will study wireless communication systems, particularly code-division multiple access (CDMA) systems, which play an indispensable role in the rapidly evolving global information infrastructure. Digital signal processing (DSP) is playing a central role in wireless communications due to the increasingly sophisticated processing required in the physical network layer. At the heart of the research is a particularly promising DSP innovation: Whereas existing interference suppression techniques treat channel dispersion effects as a nuisance, canonical coordinates exploit the subspace structure induced by channel effects for interference suppression.

CAREER funds are awarded by NSF to junior-level faculty at colleges and universities. The awards range from $200,000 to $500,000 for a period of four to five years. The 1999 CAREER awardees were selected from among more than 1,600 applicants.