News 2013: National attention for acoustics at UMass Dartmouth

News 2013: National attention for acoustics at UMass Dartmouth
National attention for acoustics at UMass Dartmouth

$750,000 grant, two national prize-winners cement University's reputation for quality in sonic research

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has welcomed more national recognition for the quality of its students and faculty. 

In the last few months, Professor John Buck has received a $743,000 research grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to improve sensor arrays for sonar systems. The five-year $743,000 project titled "Co-Prime Sensor Array Signal Processing" is a collaboration with Prof. Kathleen Wage of George Mason University in Virginia. 

Buck and Wage will explore new techniques for designing arrays of underwater microphones (called hydrophones) that are smaller and more efficient -- with obvious possible benefits for homeland security in tracking submarines and marine mammals, marine energy and mineral exploration, as well as finding fish. 

At the same time, two doctoral students recently won first and second place "Best Student Paper Awards" at the recent meeting of the Acoustical Society of America held last November in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Robert Randall, a Westport native and Fall River resident -- and the third Robert C. Randall to graduate with engineering degrees from UMass Dartmouth after his father and grandfather -- who studies at the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River with Prof. David Brown, has been named recipient of the Engineering Acoustics first prize for his presentation, "Motional current velocity control of piezoelectric loads." Mr. Randall presented his paper in a special session on "Wideband Transducers and Their Impact on Total Acoustic Systems Design." The work is related to potential improvements in advanced sonar transducer techniques. 

David Hague, also a Fall River resident, took second place for "A generalized sinusoidal frequency modulated waveform for active sonar." Mr. Hague's presentation was given in a special session on Broadband, Complex Pulses for Echolocation, jointly sponsored by Engineering Acoustics, Signal Processing, and Animal Bioacoustics. 

In 2011, two other UMass Dartmouth engineering students, Sairajan Sarangapani and Corey Bachand, both of New Bedford, also took first- and second-place honors at the conference. 

The Electrical Engineering PhD program is one of the most active programs at UMass Dartmouth. The program generated 7 PhD degrees in 2012. The research focus of the program is in acoustics, signal processing, RF/Photonics, applied electromagnetics, reliability engineering, intelligent systems, sensors and sensor networks.