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COEN Online News 10/10/16

COEN Online News 10/10/16

Researchers Build Community Collaborations with $1 Million NSF Grant | Research Explores Thermoelectric Screen Printing | Research Could Lead to More Radiation-Resistant Graphite | Working Toward a Better, Kid-Friendly Search Engine | Engineering in Action | ITS News | COEN News |

Researchers Build Community Collaborations with $1 Million NSF Grant

By: Brady W Moore

image of 2016-2019 NSF Grant: Boise State STEM + Computing Partnerships Projects

From left to right: Bhaskar Chittoori, Department of Civil Engineering; Sasha Wang, Department of Mathematics; Steve Swanson, Distinguished Educator in Residence; Dazhi Yang, Yu-hui Ching and Youngkyun Baek, Department of Educational Technology.

The National Science Foundation has chosen Boise State University, in collaboration with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department and the Boise School District, to receive a more than $1 million grant to support a STEM + Computing Partnership project.

The STEM+C project will integrate computation and science and will offer hands-on activities to fourth, fifth and sixth graders at six community after-school program sites around Boise.

The three-year project will allow Boise State STEM faculty from the College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering and the university’s Division of Research to build and pilot a Community Center Afterschool Program (CCAP) model. The model will integrate computing education across K-12 STEM disciplines at three community centers and their three affiliated Kid City Programs serving high-need, Title I schools in Boise.

View the full “Researchers Build Community Collaborations with $1 Million NSF Grant” article.

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Research Explores Thermoelectric Screen Printing

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of a Thermoelectric Graphic

What if you could easily print a thin layer of material – for use anywhere – that would allow you to create flexible energy harvesters or coolers? That may soon be a reality.

Thermoelectric conversion is a solid-state and environmentally friendly energy conversion technology with broad applications that include solid-state cooling, energy harvesting and waste heat recovery.

Flexible thermoelectric devices are especially attractive for waste heat recovery along contoured surfaces and for energy harvesting applications to power sensors, biomedical devices and wearable electronics – an area experiencing exponential growth. However, obtaining low-cost, flexible and efficient thermoelectric materials is extremely difficult due to many materials and manufacturing challenges.

In work led by professor Yanliang Zhang at Boise State University, high-performance and low-cost flexible thermoelectric films and devices were fabricated by an innovative screen-printing process that allows for direct conversion of nanocrystals into flexible thermoelectric devices.

View the full “Research Explores Thermoelectric Screen Printing” article.

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Research Could Lead to More Radiation-Resistant Graphite

By: Kathleen Tuck


Image of Karthik with TEM

Karthik Chinnathambi, a materials scientist in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State, is working toward a stronger, safer graphite material for use in nuclear environments.

His research is funded by a three-year, $510,989  award from the Department of Energy titled “Irradiation-Induced Defect Evolution in Nuclear Graphite.” Materials scientist Rick Ubic is the co-principal investigator.

Nuclear energy is being touted in some quarters as the best sustainable solution to our growing energy needs. There are currently 440 commercial nuclear reactors in the world, which collectively provide about 11 percent of the world’s electricity needs.

Most of these reactors are of the Generation II (water-cooled) type developed in the 1970s; the next-generation (Generation IV) reactors must have enhanced power conversion efficiencies and the ability to produce hydrogen, best accomplished with high-temperature, gas-cooled systems. The principal challenge to the success of these advanced reactor concepts is the development of high-performance materials.

View the full “Research Could Lead to More Radiation-Resistant Graphite” article.

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Working Toward a Better, Kid-Friendly Search Engine

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of Sole Pera, center, with graduate students Ion Madrazo and Nevena Dragovic

Sole Pera, center, with graduate students Ion Madrazo and Nevena Dragovic. Allison Corona photo.

Ask kids a question, and they’ll likely turn to the Internet to find the answer. But how easy their search is, or how appropriate the information they retrieve, depends a lot on how well they navigate major search engine sites.

Despite being digital natives, children often have trouble navigating sites like Google, Bing or Yahoo — sites designed with adults, not children, as their primary users. Often the content identified is unsuitable to children’s interests or reading levels.

Computer scientist Sole Pera plans to change that with software modules designed as search engine add-ons and aimed at children. The project is being funded by a National Science Foundation grant. The Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Initiation Initiative grants support faculty in their first two years in an academic position following receipt of their Ph.D. Her $175,000 award will support her work and allow her to hire one or two graduate students for up to two years.

“Even though children are increasingly active Internet users, few designers have considered their particular goals, or how best to direct them to the age-appropriate content they seek,” she said in her proposal. “Unfortunately, their lack of skill in formulating adequate queries or identifying suitable retrieved resources can result in poor outcomes.”

View the full “Working Toward a Better, Kid-Friendly Search Engine” article.

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Engineering in Action

image of Bhaskar ChittoriBhaskar Chittoori, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to instill sustainability and resiliency concepts into the civil engineering curriculum. The $297,343 grant will fund a project to address the increased expectation that graduates have a firm grasp of these concepts. Existing solutions tend to address individual classes; this project will redesign the syllabi for 12 selected courses that build from freshman to senior years. Students will gain an improved understanding of sustainability and resiliency concepts as they related to real-world projects and building economical and long-lasting infrastructure. The project leverages the university-wide NSF WIDER program that is changing the culture of teaching and learning across disciplines.

Other faculty working on the project include Deb Mishra, Robert Hamilton, Sondra Miller and Jairo Hernandez, civil engineering; and Noah Salzman, electrical engineering.

Image of Tim AndersonTim Andersen, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, is principal investigator on a $119,544 NSF Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) grant titled “Stream500: A New Benchmark and Infrastructure for Streaming Analytics.” Working with Richard Murphy from Micron, the goal is to develop a new benchmark application for high-performance computing (NPC) systems.

Large-scale data analytics is essential to the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) and NSF’s scientific discovery mission. Data-intensive supercomputing applications are increasingly important for HPC workloads. Current benchmarks and performance metrics do not provide useful information on suitability of computing systems for data-intensive applications. This research effort will produce a new Stream500 benchmark, complementary to Graph500, that replicates streaming analytics workload. The current benchmark capabilities will be expanded by enabling the exiting web-based infrastructure to accept submissions for multiple benchmarks.

The EAGER funding mechanism can be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.

Image of Krishna PakalaKrishna Pakala, faculty in residence for the Engineering and Innovation Living and Learning Community, was featured in a story on KIVI Channel 6 about the benefits of students living with faculty and with other students who share a common interest. Pakala said the program gives students a strong advantage because the academic work sinks in better. See the full story here



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COEN IT Services News

AT&T All Girls Coding Camp

image of All Girls Coding Camp flyerThe All Girls Coding Camp will run this November/December at the Discovery Center of Idaho and is FREE thanks to the support of AT&T and the Idaho STEM Action Center.  Any 9th – 12th grade girl is eligible to apply and the application deadline is October 16th


  • Visit the Discovery Center of Idaho’s website at
  • Download a copy of the Camp Application.  Applications consist of a short essay, short answer questions, teacher recommendation contact information and a parent or guardian signature
  • The application deadline is Sunday, October 16th

You can read more about the camp HERE on Discovery Center of Idaho’s website.

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COEN Alumni Tailgate

Image alumni tailgate

You are invited to join Dean Amy Moll, alumni and friends!

College of Engineering Alumni Homecoming Tailgate

Saturday, October 15
5:30 P.M.

Hamburgers and Hotdogs provided
Bring a side dish to share

Location Change: We have moved the COEN Alumni BBQ event to the Grant Avenue Annex
(1015 Grant Ave. East side of building) so we can be closer to the grand opening, ribbon cutting, and open tours of the new Alumni and Friends Center, and Bronco Bash festivities. Open vendors will include the Boise Fry Company Food Truck, the Kanack Attack Food truck, and a no-host bar (beer, wine, coca cola products). Alumni who purchased bricks can see where it’s displayed.

8:15 P.M. Kickoff for game against Colorado State

RSVP or questions, contact

See you there…and GO BRONCOS!

Updating your Personnel Profiles on the COEN Directory

Go to and login with your BroncoWeb username and password. This will take you to the dashboard. Next, on the left hand navigation go down to COEN Faculty/Edit Personnel Profile. This will take you to you profile where you can edit your bio, research etc.

If you have any questions please contact Michele Armstrong at

Upcoming Events

  • October 12– ECE Seminar, 10:30am – 11:30am, MEC 106
    Pramod Varshneyprofessor from Syracuse University
    Multisensor Data Fusion and Applications
  • October 14MBE Seminar, 12:00-1:00 pm, MEC 106
    Dr. Jonghyun Lee – University of Massachusetts – Amherst
    Materials Modeling and Experiments to Extend the Applicability of Advanced Manufacturing of Materials under Extreme Environments
  • October 14MSMSE Seminar, 10:30-11:20 am, ENGR 110
    No Seminar
  • October 14 – CS Seminar, 12:00pm – 1:15pm, City Center Plaza (CCP) 221
    Craig Boobar
    Creating technology customers love: product innovation in continuous deployment
  • University Events Calendar:Boise State Events

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