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Pictured left to right: Assistant Professor Anna Wargula, MIDN 2/C Joshua Torres, MIDN 2/C Brent Schwartz, and Assistant Professor Liliana Velasquez Montoya (all Ocean Engineering faculty and midshipmen).
In early October 2019, a team of Ocean Engineering Faculty and Midshipmen traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to collect field data as part of the Pilot DUNEX (https://uscoastalresearch.
org/dunex). DUNEX stands for "During Nearshore Event Experiment" and is a 3-year (2019 to 2021) multi-agency, academic and non-governmental organization collaborative community experiment to study nearshore coastal processes during storms on the Outer Banks (https://www.erdc.usace.army. mil/Media/News-Releases/ Article/1977465/multi- stakeholder-during-nearshore- event-experiment-begins-pilot- study/). Assistant Professors Anna Wargula, Liliana Velasquez Montoya, and Tori Tomiczek Johnson are funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, along with North Carolina State University and Dewberry, to evaluate the causes of shoreline erosion of the sound-side marsh near the southern end of the new Basnight Bridge and NC Highway 12 at Oregon Inlet. In addition, the team will make recommendations for methods to mitigate or prevent further erosion, with a focus on natural and nature-based solutions.
With the invaluable assistance of MIDN 2/C Brent Schwartz and MIDN 2/C Joshua Torres, the USNA team made measurements of tidal currents, water levels, and waves in the channel near the shoreline; collected sediment samples in one of the inlet's flood channels and on land; and identified marsh vegetation characteristics. Additional collaborators from Virginia Tech and Louisiana State University made measurements of soil and rootmat strength in the channel and on land.
These datasets will be used to map out the spatial variability in the erosive forces owing to currents, water levels, and waves as well as the resistance to erosion of the soil underwater and of the soil and vegetation roots on land. This spatial map will be used to make plans for more in-depth measurements of these processes in Fall 2020. In addition, the datasets will be used to calibrate a computer model of the area to test out causes of erosion and potential mitigation strategies.
Below is an image of Pea Island, the study site: on the left is the marsh and eroding shoreline where they are sampling soil properties and making notes on marsh grass species; on the right is the boat making measurements of currents and sediment properties in the channel.
Top Downloads in Liquid Crystals
Dr. Rajratan Basu and MIDN Lukas Atwood recently published an article on liquid crystals. The article is now among a list of top downloaded articles from Optical Materials Express. The article is entitled "Reduced ionic effect and accelerated electro-optic response in a 2D hexagonal boron nitride planar-alignment agent based liquid crystal device". Follow this link to view the article.
Professor Firebaugh (PI), Associate Professor ElBidweihy (Co-PI), Professor Piepmeier, Associate Professor Feemster, Assistant Professor Jaramillo Cienfuegos, and LT Yee of the ECE and WRC departments are the recipient of a $300k NSF RUI grant for "Autonomous Manipulation and Assembly on the Micro- and Milli-Scale." The project develops an adaptive controller that facilitates the autonomous, tetherless, robotic manipulation of micro- and milli-scale objects. It also develops microrobots that incorporate temperature-controlled shape-change capability and applies the adaptive control algorithm to optomechanical micro- and milli-robot systems utilizing diamagnetic levitation. The project will advance precise, automated robotic manipulation and assembly at the micro- and milli-scale. Pictured above (left to right): Associate Professor Feemster (WRC), Associate Professor ElBidweihy (ECE), Professor Piepmeier (WRC), Professor Firebaugh (ECE), MIDN Hong, MIDN Oney, and LT Yee (ECE). Not pictured: Assistant Professor Jaramillo Cienfuegos (WRC).
Mids in Maui
Associate Professor Nate Chambers was recently featured in a publication of the DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Office, with two research articles written by midshipmen who spent part of their summer at the Maui High Performance Computing Center on a research internship. Chambers and the midshipmen researched how to automatically interpret the language people use on Twitter when discussing (and complaining about) network outages. The goal of the research was to identify when cybersecurity attacks are occurring in real-time, and to use the public as an indication of ongoing attacks. Due to the massive amount of text posted on a site like Twitter, they utilized the supercomputer at the MHPCC and researched new neural network architectures which could learn to identify when networks are discussed and when they are under attack.
Associate Professor Nate Chambers was recently awarded a DARPA grant with his university collaborators, with a total grant value of $4 million. What is notable about this new grant is that DARPA's formulation of the research topic was inspired by Chambers' research as a graduate student at Stanford, and the continued research he has conducted since joining the Naval Academy in 2011. Chambers is an expert in natural language understanding, a field which uses machine learning to read text like news stories, and extract information about described events. His research was among the first to automatically learn "how the world works" by extracting events in text, and learning normal sequences of events (once arrested, you will go to trial and perhaps jail) and the entities involved (police arrest, juries decide). This new grant aims to learn commonsense events from text and video, and build AI systems which can reason and predict what might happen next, given the current state of the world. Chambers has had these goals in mind for years, and is very excited that DARPA has put its influence behind the topic to drive further research.