Connections: Trying to solve one of the world's great mysteries -- and read ancient books
faculty
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Professor Roger Easton interviewed on WXXI

Mar. 6, 2017
Evan Dawson

 

For all of ways we use the term "Epicurean," here's something strange: the original works of Epicurus himself have never been found. It's only through letters and quotations that we glimpse his work. But what if a library on a seaside villa contains the lost works of Epicurus -- and dozens of others?

When Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii in 79 AD, it also buried Herculaneum. That seaside estate contained a library of many scrolls, and the volcanic ash preserved the scrolls... in a manner of speaking. They look like lumps of coal, but top scientists are desperate to find a way to either unspool them without destroying them, or to use new technology to peer inside. What might we find? How could we do it? What other ancient texts are begging to be read, if we can only figure out how? Our guests:

  • Brent Seales, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, and director of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments at the University of Kentucky
  • Roger Easton, professor of imaging science and director of the Laboratory for Imaging of Historical Artifacts at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Greg Heyworth, associate professor of English and Textual Science and director of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester

Click here to access the recorded interview on the WXXI web site.

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Original Source: WXXI

RIT helps advance space camera being tested on ISS
faculty
Detector Research

Imaging technology could improve search for distant planets

Mar. 6, 2017
Susan Gawlowicz

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Imaging technology advanced by researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology and Florida Institute of Technology is being tested on the International Space Station and could someday be used on future space telescopes.

Imaging technology advanced by researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology and Florida Institute of Technology is being tested on the International Space Station and could someday be used on future space telescopes.

A new twist on the charge injection device camera, originally developed in 1972 by General Electric Co., fine tunes the array of pixels for improved exposure control in low light conditions. The enhanced technology could give scientists a new method for imaging planets around other stars and improve the search for habitable Earth-like planets.

Zoran Ninkov, professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and Daniel Batcheldor, head of physics and Space Sciences at FIT, designed the charge injection device camera to capture contrasts between light emitted by astronomical objects.

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“CID arrays offer considerable promise in many applications due to the focal plane architecture that allows random pixel access and non-destructive readout,” said Ninkov, a member of RIT’s Center for Detectors and Future Photon Initiative. “In addition to improving presently available devices, the development of next-generation imaging arrays promise considerable flexibility in read-out and on-chip processing for the future.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, on Feb. 19, carried the charge injection device to the International Space Station in the cargo of supplies and science experiments. Astronauts have installed the camera on a platform outside the space station. They will test the camera for six months.

“We expect to start seeing results by the end of April,” said Batcheldor, lead scientist on the project. “A complex test pattern will be sent from a successfully operated camera through the ISS systems and down to the ground. A successful demonstration of CIDs on the International Space Station will put this technology at the NASA Technology Readiness Level 8, which means it’s ready to fly as a primary instrument on a future space telescope.”

Batcheldor is a former post-doctoral research associate in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy and a former associate research scientist in RIT’s Center for Imaging Science. He and Ninkov have worked together on this experiment for years. They previously have tested charge injection devices from ground-based observatories. Limitations created by the Earth’s atmosphere prevent the sensor from capturing images sharp enough to detect planets in other solar systems, Batcheldor noted.

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Original Source: University News

FuzeHub Announces Grant Awards from the Five-Million-Dollar Fund to Support Innovation and Manufacturing Throughout New York State
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research

CIS Professor Jie Qiao among recipients

Mar. 1, 2017

(Albany, NY – March 1, 2017) — FuzeHub, a not-for-profit organization responsible for assisting small to medium-sized manufacturing companies (SMEs) in New York State by matching them with technical and business resources, recently launched the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund. Lawrence, who passed away in 2015, was a top executive at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center for the Capital Region, and a champion for New York manufacturing and entrepreneurial communities.

The Manufacturing Innovation Fund, consisting of $1 million annually for five years, supports a set of activities designed to spur technology development and commercialization across New York State. FuzeHub is administering this fund as part of its role as the Empire State Development (ESD)-designated statewide MEP center.

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As part of the fund, FuzeHub offers Manufacturing Innovation Grants. The grants are available to not-for-profit organizations, including higher education institutions, in New York State proposing innovative projects to be undertaken with small and mid-sized manufacturers or early stage companies. Projects can include prototype development, proof-of-concept manufacturing, certain equipment purchases, manufacturing scale-up, market identification, and other projects to advance manufacturing capabilities. The fund will also be used to launch a commercialization competition this fall, with plans to formally announce the details in late spring.

The second round of grant awardees are projected to incrementally add 46 new jobs to both existing and startup companies across New York State in the next two years. “One of the goals of the fund, and the Manufacturing Innovation Grants, is to spur economic development in the manufacturing sector, and we’re seeing that even these small investments in manufacturing projects are allowing companies to add jobs, strengthening their teams and contribute to their growth,” FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc noted. “These projects are a great example of how New York’s innovation assets are supporting industry and contributing to economic growth in New York,” she added.

FuzeHub is pleased to announce the second set of grantees:

Center for Economic Growth – $75,000

The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is working with ThermoAura Inc. to help them with the integration of new equipment into their manufacturing process to enable the high-volume manufacture of advanced nanocrystalline thermoelectric alloys. ThermoAura is an early stage company commercializing high-performance nanostructured thermoelectrics produced by a unique chemical method. Through working with CEG and the new equipment the project will support, ThermoAura will be able to decrease assembly times by more than four-fold, permit a three-fold increase in the number of parts produced per cycle and yield per-unit manufacturing costs that are the best in the world and up to 20% more competitive with overseas manufacturers. (Capital Region)

Clarkson University – $75,000

Clarkson University is creating a new shared laboratory for both academic and industry collaboration in which both will have access to laboratory tools and equipment. The new space, named the Clarkson Biomaterials Characterization Laboratory, will use the Manufacturing Innovation Grant award to purchase a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer/ infrared (IR) microscope for the purpose of developing and manufacturing next-generation metamaterials-enhanced infrared imaging systems for commercial, security and defense markets. Industry demand for the FTIR/IR microscope at Clarkson is driven by Phoebus Optoelectronics LLC, which has been performing metamaterials research, development and commercialization over the last ten years. The project with Clarkson will generate significant economic impact for Phoebus Optoelectronics, Clarkson University, Potsdam and the surrounding communities, including the creation of 10 high quality jobs over the next two years. (North Country)

Cornell Center for Materials Research – $58,926

Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and Professor Yong Joo of Cornell University’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are working with IdealChain, a spinoff of Buckingham Manufacturing, who manufactures safety products (harnesses, rescue systems, etc.), to develop and build a bench-scale multi-nozzle Air-Controlled (AC) electrospray system for encapsulation of dyes, to use as stress indicators in safety products.  The resulting roll-to-roll electrospray system will be used by IdealChain to fabricate stress-indicating fibers and patches for safety equipment, helping the user to determine when to safely retire their equipment.  The manufacturing technology originally developed through the CCMR Industrial Partnerships Program between the Joo Group and Buckingham Manufacturing not only has a large impact on the safety industry, but also wide-ranging ramifications for the fragrance, food, drug delivery and self-healing material industries. Additionally, this project will help IdealChain add 10 new jobs in the next two years. (Southern Tier)

Cornell Nanoscale Science & Technology Facility – $75,000

The Cornell NanoScale Facility (CNF) at Cornell University has partnered with Xallent LLC to develop a next generation diagnostic tool to more rapidly and economically test and characterize semiconductor devices and thin film materials during manufacturing. This tool is built on Xallent’s innovative nanoscale imaging and probing technology. The ability to rapidly probe and measure electrical components at the nanoscale for diagnostics and failure analysis non-destructively is expected to tap a broad range of industry applications. The Manufacturing Innovation Grant will be used to adapt Xallent’s nanomachine platforms to analytical instruments at the Cornell NanoScale Facility for validation, user interface focus, and reliability studies to ready the company for product launch and scale up. Additionally, this project will help Xallent add 8 new jobs by the end of 2019. (Southern Tier)

Cornell University – $74,980

Cornell University researchers and VitaScan have developed the VitaScan diagnostics platform: a low cost and portable instrument that can determine micronutrient deficiencies including vitamin D and iron from a finger stick of blood. A key innovation that makes this possible is the design and manufacturing of a proprietary lateral flow assay that combines blood filtration, chemical mixing, and capture of antibodies into one rapid process. Cornell and VitaScan will together develop a medium-scale manufacturing and packaging process to optimize the procedure and create reliable tests for validation studies. VitaScan will pursue the manufacturing strategy in preparation for commercialization, and plans to create 10 new jobs in the next two years. (Southern Tier)

Rochester Institute of Technology – $75,000

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is working with OptiPro Systems on a project to develop an innovative ultrafast-laser-based polishing system and process for optical manufacturing to eliminate polishing waste, long lead-time, and high-cost factors. The laboratory version laser polishing system will be developed in the Laboratory for Advanced Optical Fabrication and Instrumentation by Dr. Jie Qiao and her team at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science with the award-winning research and development (R&D) engineering team led by R&D Manager Edward Fess at OptiPro Systems, a leading manufacturer in Rochester specializing in manufacturing equipment for the fabrication of high-precision optics. (Finger Lakes)

Rochester Institute of Technology (AMPrint Center) – $36,000

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing (AMPrint) Center is working with Sensor Films on a project to define the operating conditions for high throughput additive manufacturing equipment capable of rapidly printing electrically conductive patterns on plastic substrates. The AMPrint Center will purchase an inkjet head assembly to be integrated with currently installed printing equipment to execute the project, adding long term manufacturing prototyping capability to the Center. Sensor Films’ ability to apply the experimental results to a suite of new manufacturing equipment will result in commercially implemented products to be built and sold in 2017 and beyond, and will create eight new high technology jobs in the local economy. (Finger Lakes)

The next open application period will begin on Friday, March 3rd and close on Friday, March 31st. The application is available at https://fuzehub.com/manufacturing-innovation-fund.

For more information about the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, https://fuzehub.com/manufacturing-innovation-fund/ or contact FuzeHub Industry Engagement Manager Amber Mooney at amber@fuzehub.com.  


About Jeff Lawrence

During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as executive vice president, and MEP Center Director, Jeff Lawrence directed programs of direct assistance to manufacturers and technology companies to increase their competitiveness. He is remembered for being an invaluable and generous mentor to many in the area’s business community and a tireless advocate for manufacturing innovation throughout New York.

About FuzeHub

FuzeHub is a not-for-profit organization that connects New York’s small and mid-sized manufacturing companies to the resources, programs and expertise they need for technology commercialization, innovation, and business growth. Through our custom assessment, matching, and referral platform, we help companies navigate New York’s robust network of industry experts at Manufacturing Extension Partners centers, universities, economic development organizations, and other providers. FuzeHub is the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP) center, supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation.

For more information on FuzeHub, visit www.fuzehub.com.

About Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR)

Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) mission is to advance technology innovation and commercialization in New York State. NYSTAR’s programs are designed to enable new and existing businesses to become more competitive through the use of innovative technologies, and emphasize the importance of working with industry to leverage the state’s technology strengths. Through funded programs that support world-class technology research at colleges and universities, NYSTAR works to promote a robust network of industry-university partnerships throughout the state. It administers the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides direct technology assistance to small and medium size manufacturers.

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Original Source: FuzeHub

Imaging Scientist Named As RIT's 10th President
General

David C. Munson Jr. named RIT’s 10th president

Jan. 25, 2017
Bob Finnerty

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David C. Munson Jr. was introduced to the community today as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president. (Photo by Joseph Xu)

David C. Munson Jr. was introduced to the community today as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president.

Munson, who will assume RIT’s top post July 1, was introduced by RIT Board Chair Christine Whitman at a community-wide event this morning in the Gordon Field House.

“We believe we have identified the ideal leader to continue RIT’s rise to prominence. A leader who shares our commitment to outstanding career-focused education, research and innovation, love of both technology and the arts, and a desire to help students from widely diverse backgrounds succeed,” Whitman told the audience. “This is a leader who has a vision for the future of RIT that will both unite and excite the entire RIT family from around the world.”

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A brief video highlighting Munson’s many personal and professional accomplishments was shown, and then the former dean of the University of Michigan College of Engineering, chosen by the RIT Board of Trustees after a nationwide search, came on stage to thunderous applause and took the podium.

Munson opened his remarks by thanking the RIT Board of Trustees for what he called “a thrill and privilege” to be named university president. And he congratulated retiring President Bill Destler, RIT students, faculty, staff and alumni “for the exemplary work you all have done in creating such a strong foundation for the future.”

“When I stepped down from my dean position this past summer, RIT was already known to me because I had admired your progress over the years and your strength in the arts as well as technology,” Munson said.

“In the coming years, I look forward to maintaining RIT’s traditions and simultaneously building on the 2025 Strategic Plan, ‘Greatness through Difference.’ To be sure, there is still much work to be done at RIT in program development, recruitment of top-notch faculty and students, planning of facilities and fundraising. But I believe that RIT is positioned to continue its upward trajectory, elevating its distinctive programs to best in class and generating new ideas and programs for the future, with the promise of making an ever-larger difference in the word.”

As RIT’s president, Munson will be responsible for one of the nation’s leading research and career-oriented universities featuring 18,700 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries, 121,000 alumni, $73 million in sponsored research and an endowment of more than $750 million.

He said he was “drawn to RIT when I observed an exciting portfolio of academic programs, research with impact to solve global problems, and an ability to stay focused on the overall student experience.”

A 24-member search committee composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration and trustees narrowed the pool of candidates before the final selection by the Board of Trustees.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Munson to RIT and look forward to him leading the university through its next exciting chapter,” said Whitman said in a statement. “His extensive academic experience, respected research credentials, demonstrated leadership, engagement with students and global vision will propel RIT to new heights. We know he will build on the strong foundation established by President Destler and his predecessors whose tireless work made RIT a distinctly great university.”

Munson has 38 years of experience in higher education, which includes serving as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at Michigan from 2006 to 2016, where he served two five-year terms, the maximum allowed by U-M. Michigan Engineering is considered one of the top engineering schools in the world. Eight of its academic departments are ranked in the nation’s top 10.

Munson earned his BS degree in electrical engineering (with distinction) from the University of Delaware in 1975. He earned an MS and MA in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1977, followed by a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1979, also from Princeton.

From 1979 to 2003, Munson was with the University of Illinois, where he was the Robert C. MacClinchie Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory and a faculty member in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

In 2003, he became chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at U-M prior to becoming dean. Today, with his deanship appointment fulfilled, he serves as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Munson’s teaching and research interests are in the area of signal and image processing. His current research is focused on radar imaging and computer tomography. He is co-founder of InstaRecon Inc., a start-up firm to commercialize fast algorithms for image formation in computer tomography. He is affiliated with the Infinity Project, where he is coauthor of a textbook on the digital world, which has been used in hundreds of high schools nationwide to introduce students to engineering.

Munson is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a past president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and co-founder of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing. In addition to multiple teaching awards and other honors, he was presented the Society Award of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he served as a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he received an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and he was the Texas Instruments Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rice University.

In 2016, Munson earned the Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal from the American Society of Engineering Education (highest award for an engineering administrator).

Munson’s record of accomplishment that drew praise from current RIT President Bill Destler, who will retire June 30 after serving more than 40 years in higher education and 10 years as RIT president. He applauded the work of the search committee and the selection of the new president.

“On behalf of RIT and the Greater Rochester-Finger Lakes region, I welcome Dr. Munson and his wife, Nancy, to our community,” Destler said. “The naming of a new president is an exciting time for RIT students, faculty and staff, as well as our alumni, family and friends around the world. Dr. Munson has an impressive record of accomplishments and brings skills, expertise and experience that will greatly benefit this university and further propel RIT as one of the great global universities.”

To learn more about Munson’s credentials, including a curriculum vitae, go to http://www.rit.edu/presidentialsearch/.

To read Munson’s full remarks, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=59161.

To read more about the search process, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=59131.

To read more about Munson, go to http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=59171.

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Original Source: University News

RIT transitions to top-tier university

University Magazine article highlights the pioneering role CIS has played in RIT's evolution

Nov. 21, 2016
Mindy Mozer

story photo

Robert Loce ’93 (imaging science) is RIT’s first Ph.D. recipient. More than 250 others have followed him. (A. Sue Weisler)

Robert Loce was working on his master’s degree in optics at the University of Rochester when he heard that RIT was developing a Ph.D. in imaging science.

Loce, who also worked full-time at Xerox, knew that working toward a Ph.D. would help him develop skills critical to leading research teams. When he finished the optics degree, he entered the master’s degree in imaging science program at RIT so he would be ready to go when the Ph.D. program was in place.

The move paid off. In 1993, Loce became the first person in the world to earn a Ph.D. in imaging science, which is the study of the processing, transmission, display and perception of images. He also became RIT’s first doctoral degree recipient.

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More than 250 others have followed in his footsteps in six doctoral programs: imaging science; microsystems engineering; computing and information sciences; color science; astrophysical sciences and technology; and sustainability.

The increase in Ph.D. programs has grown so much that last year the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education changed RIT from Masters-Comprehensive to Doctoral University. This change occurs when a university graduates more than 20 Ph.D. degrees per year. In 2014-15, RIT awarded 33 doctoral degrees and in 2015-16, 35 people received Ph.Ds.

In the coming years, those numbers are expected to rise. The Ph.D. in engineering—RIT’s seventh doctoral program—has its first student on track to graduate next spring or summer with five others in the pipeline to graduate in 2017-18. Next fall, students in RIT’s eighth Ph.D. program, mathematical modeling, will begin their studies.

“Our Ph.D. programs are not the traditional academic programs that you often hear about,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “They are different and we capitalize on that difference to make a truly unique experience for our students.”

Getting approval

RIT began talking about creating its first Ph.D. program as early as 1980 when John Schott was recruited from the remote-sensing industry to the photographic science program to do research.

“I got here and found out that not only did they want to add a Ph.D. program but that it would be the first Ph.D. program at the university. I didn’t realize RIT didn’t have any doctoral status. I hadn’t even thought to look at the rest of the university.”

But Schott needed doctoral students to do sophisticated imaging science research, so he became a champion for adding the first Ph.D., working with others to convince a university governing board called Policy Council and then the Board of Trustees to support asking the state to change the university’s charter.

The campaign wasn’t easy because many on campus were worried that the emphasis would move from teaching to research across the entire university. But the trustees eventually agreed to adding one doctoral program, and the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, which formed in 1985, was ready with a proposal.

The degree, approved in 1989, was unique, said Schott, who is now retired from teaching. Other universities had programs in optics, remote sensing or electrical engineering with an emphasis on imaging, but this was the first Ph.D. in imaging. It also fit perfectly into the Rochester ecosystem, with companies such as Kodak and Xerox paying for their employees, like Loce, to get this advanced training.

The doctoral programs that followed also were unique.

Microsystems engineering, which graduated its first two students in 2004-05, was the first of its kind in the nation. There are currently 45 students enrolled in the multi-disciplinary program, said director Bruce Smith, who in 1994 was the second person to get a Ph.D. in imaging science. Research in the program focuses on the unique challenges of materials, processes and devices on the micro- and nano-scale.

RIT has the only Ph.D. program (and master’s program) in color science in the United States, said Mark Fairchild, director of the MS/Ph.D. color science program. The field blends physics, chemistry and visual perception, among other sciences, to understand why materials look the way they do.

The doctorate program in sustainability, which has 23 students, is the only program in the world to focus on sustainable production systems, said Thomas Trabold, associate professor and department head.

RIT’s astrophysical sciences and technology Ph.D. stands out by offering a wide variety of research topics for students, including numerical general relativity and gravitational wave astronomy, observational astrophysics, experimental cosmology and instrument and detector development, said Andrew Robinson, director of the program. Twenty-three students are currently enrolled.

The Ph.D. in computing and information sciences, which enrolled its largest class ever of 16 this fall for a total of 52, was designed to focus on real problems in both computing itself and business, engineering, medicine, science and social science from a fundamental research perspective, said Pengcheng Shi, director of the program.

While other computing programs may touch upon a real-world focus, it’s not the main goal, which makes RIT’s Ph.D. different.

The Ph.D. in engineering also has a unique real-world focus with research concentrated on solving global problems from the transportation, energy, communications and health care sectors, said Edward Hensel, director of the program.

“We do engineering in the context of the greater societal need,” Hensel said.

And the Ph.D. in mathematical modeling, which will begin next fall, is the first of its kind nationally, according to Sophia Maggelakis, dean of the College of Science.

“It promises to serve as a model for a new kind of doctoral training in the mathematical sciences and to position RIT as a leader in that area,” she said.

Learning to solve problems

David Messinger, director of the Carlson Center for Imaging Science, said 81 students are currently enrolled in the imaging science Ph.D. program. Fourteen people in the program were awarded doctoral degrees in 2015-16.

“I can’t think of any graduates the past five to 10 years who haven’t gotten employment in an imaging related field,” Messinger said.

The degree has helped Loce, who also received his BS in photographic science in 1985 from RIT’s College of Continuing Education.

After he finished his Ph.D., he was promoted from a senior level researcher at Xerox to a principal scientist. He later became a research fellow. Two years ago he became a research fellow at PARC, a subsidiary of Xerox.

At PARC, he has worked on imaging for health care and is currently doing research in public safety surveillance, looking at ways to automate video redaction to help police departments comply with Freedom of Information Act laws. Loce holds more than 200 patents.

He is still involved with RIT as a member of advisory boards and he was the convocation speaker for the College of Science in 2010. Loce said his connection to RIT will remain strong, particularly because the campus is on farmland originally owned by his grandparents, Dominic and Frances Bianchi. “I am proud to be the first Ph.D.,” he said. “The fact that I learned how to milk a cow and ride a horse on the same land makes it kind of special.”

Change in rankings

RIT is being recognized as a top- tier national university for the first time in the 34-year history of U.S. News & World Report rankings. The change is a result of the university’s reclassification in becoming a “doctoral university.”

The 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranked RIT 107 in the “National Universities” category. RIT had previously been listed among “Regional Universities.” RIT also ranked 33rd among best value schools—“Great Schools, Great Prices.”

Where are they today?

Here’s a look at where some of RIT’s Ph.D. graduates are working:

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Original Source: University News

RIT researchers fix Landsat 8 imagery, measurements with ‘innovative’ algorithm Aaron Gerace and Matt Montanaro identified problem, developed correction
Faculty/Staff/DIRS

story photo

 

RIT alumni Aaron Gerace ’10 (imaging science), left, and Matt Montanaro ’05, ’09 (physics, imaging science) developed a data processing algorithm that mitigates the impact of stray light in the Landsat 8 thermal infrared sensor.

Nov. 16, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

Rochester Institute of Technology researchers have solved a problem nagging NASA’s Landsat 8 Earth-sensing satellite.

Stray light in the thermal infrared sensor, or TIRS, reduces accurate temperature measurements of the Earth’s surface.

Software developed by Aaron Gerace and Matt Montanaro, senior scientists at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, improves the accuracy of the Landsat 8 data. NASA funded their research with an $86,000 grant.

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NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have approved the algorithm that will automatically process and correct Landsat 8 images and refine reprocessed data.

NASA’s Landsat program of Earth-orbiting satellites has monitored global changes to the landscape since 1972. Landsat satellites orbit the Earth’s poles and pass over the same spot every 16 days to study how the Earth changes over time.

“Matt and Aaron were the developers, tuners and testers of the algorithm and its parameters,” said Brian Markham, Landsat Calibration Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “The algorithm provides clear improvement in the image quality of the TIRS data and the ability to get accurate temperature measurements of Earth targets, such as lakes, particularly those surrounded by areas of different temperatures. This is important when you are trying to determine if targets are warming or cooling over time.”

The effects of stray light on Landsat 8’s thermal band measurements were detected shortly after the mission launched in February 2013. Defective optics in the thermal infrared sensor allow unwanted light to enter the optical system and disrupt accurate measurements. According to Gerace and Montanaro, errors have reached as high as 10 degrees Celsius in areas with extreme temperatures like Antarctic or desert regions. Mid-range surface temperatures more typical of the United States are less affected by these wide margins of error, they said.

“Everything you look at with Landsat 8 in the thermal infrared bands appears warmer than it should,” Gerace said. “By implementing this fix, people can do accurate science because the temperatures coming from whatever they’re looking at is correct now.”

A new method to remove the effects of the stray light in the data became a high priority when standard calibration techniques failed to accurately adjust the imagery.

Montanaro had worked for NASA Goddard on the Landsat 8 calibration and TIRS instrument teams. The malfunction was traced to a hardware defect in the telescope, he said. “You would have to replace the telescope to fix this problem.”

Gerace and Montanaro went beyond the quick fix of subtracting out the average error from the Landsat 8 imagery and developed a data processing algorithm to estimate the precise amount of extra light in each scene.

“The idea was that if you could determine from where the stray light is coming from and how much we’re seeing, then you can use that information as a satellite flies over the scene to determine the stray light,” Gerace said. “Our algorithm—adaptively per scene—figures out how much it should subtract to make the temperature accurate,” Gerace said.

Jim Irons, deputy director of the Earth Sciences Division and Landsat 8 project scientist at NASA Goddard, called Gerace and Montanaro’s solution “innovative.”

“They performed a great deal of data analysis to convince the Landsat Science Team, a tough crowd, that their algorithm significantly and consistently improved the accuracy of TIRS data products,” Irons said.

The U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., will begin using the software correction in its operational processing of Landsat 8 data in late 2016, Irons said.

The software correction anticipates a concern surrounding the future Landsat 9, slated to launch in 2020.

Montanaro will support the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 for Landsat 9. “From headquarters to technical people, the No. 1 thing is, how do we prevent stray light from Landsat 9?”

NASA is implementing a hardware fix to the telescope for TIRS-2 before the launch, he noted.

A scientific paper validating Gerace and Montanaro’s stray light correction for the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor is currently under review.

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RIT researchers fix Landsat 8 imagery, measurements with ‘innovative’ algorithm
research
Remote Sensing

Aaron Gerace and Matt Montanaro identified problem, developed correction

Nov. 16, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

201611/geraceandmontanaro.jpg

RIT alumni Aaron Gerace ’10 (imaging science), left, and Matt Montanaro ’05, ’09 (physics, imaging science) developed a data processing algorithm that mitigates the impact of stray light in the Landsat 8 thermal infrared sensor.

Rochester Institute of Technology researchers have solved a problem nagging NASA’s Landsat 8 Earth-sensing satellite.

Stray light in the thermal infrared sensor, or TIRS, reduces accurate temperature measurements of the Earth’s surface.

Software developed by Aaron Gerace and Matt Montanaro, senior scientists at RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, improves the accuracy of the Landsat 8 data. NASA funded their research with an $86,000 grant.

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NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have approved the algorithm that will automatically process and correct Landsat 8 images and refine reprocessed data.

NASA’s Landsat program of Earth-orbiting satellites has monitored global changes to the landscape since 1972. Landsat satellites orbit the Earth’s poles and pass over the same spot every 16 days to study how the Earth changes over time.

“Matt and Aaron were the developers, tuners and testers of the algorithm and its parameters,” said Brian Markham, Landsat Calibration Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “The algorithm provides clear improvement in the image quality of the TIRS data and the ability to get accurate temperature measurements of Earth targets, such as lakes, particularly those surrounded by areas of different temperatures. This is important when you are trying to determine if targets are warming or cooling over time.”

The effects of stray light on Landsat 8’s thermal band measurements were detected shortly after the mission launched in February 2013. Defective optics in the thermal infrared sensor allow unwanted light to enter the optical system and disrupt accurate measurements. According to Gerace and Montanaro, errors have reached as high as 10 degrees Celsius in areas with extreme temperatures like Antarctic or desert regions. Mid-range surface temperatures more typical of the United States are less affected by these wide margins of error, they said.

“Everything you look at with Landsat 8 in the thermal infrared bands appears warmer than it should,” Gerace said. “By implementing this fix, people can do accurate science because the temperatures coming from whatever they’re looking at is correct now.”

A new method to remove the effects of the stray light in the data became a high priority when standard calibration techniques failed to accurately adjust the imagery.

Montanaro had worked for NASA Goddard on the Landsat 8 calibration and TIRS instrument teams. The malfunction was traced to a hardware defect in the telescope, he said. “You would have to replace the telescope to fix this problem.”

Gerace and Montanaro went beyond the quick fix of subtracting out the average error from the Landsat 8 imagery and developed a data processing algorithm to estimate the precise amount of extra light in each scene.

“The idea was that if you could determine from where the stray light is coming from and how much we’re seeing, then you can use that information as a satellite flies over the scene to determine the stray light,” Gerace said. “Our algorithm—adaptively per scene—figures out how much it should subtract to make the temperature accurate,” Gerace said.

Jim Irons, deputy director of the Earth Sciences Division and Landsat 8 project scientist at NASA Goddard, called Gerace and Montanaro’s solution “innovative.”

“They performed a great deal of data analysis to convince the Landsat Science Team, a tough crowd, that their algorithm significantly and consistently improved the accuracy of TIRS data products,” Irons said.

The U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., will begin using the software correction in its operational processing of Landsat 8 data in late 2016, Irons said.

The software correction anticipates a concern surrounding the future Landsat 9, slated to launch in 2020.

Montanaro will support the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 for Landsat 9. “From headquarters to technical people, the No. 1 thing is, how do we prevent stray light from Landsat 9?”

NASA is implementing a hardware fix to the telescope for TIRS-2 before the launch, he noted.

A scientific paper validating Gerace and Montanaro’s stray light correction for the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor is currently under review.

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Original Source: University News

RIT professor images David Livingstone diaries, gives talks in UK
research
Cultural Artifact and Document Imaging

Roger Easton contributes to Livingstone Spectral Imaging team

Nov. 9, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

201611/livingstone.jpg

RIT professor Roger Easton digitally recovered content from the 19th century journals kept by British explorer David Livingstone. The images above show pages from Livingstone’s 1871 diary before (left) and after spectral imaging processing.

Multispectral imaging technology continues to recover new insights from the field diaries of 19th-century explorer David Livingstone. A team of scholars and scientists who worked on the Livingstone Spectral Imaging project will present their research in public talks in the United Kingdom in November.

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While stranded in Central Africa, Livingstone composed letters, diaries, maps and sketches on scraps of paper using inks made from local berries. His writings and drawings document the Central African slave trade, social dynamics among local populations and geographical information.

“Because of the poor quality of the ink, the works probably had only been read by Livingstone himself,” said Roger Easton, professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology, who imaged the Livingstone documents.

Easton is a member of a team of scholars and scientists, led by Adrian Wisnicki, assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and Megan Ward, assistant professor at Oregon State University, that has assembled a digitally processed archived dedicated to the explorer. Livingstone Online: Illuminating Imperial Exploration archives more than 7,500 digital documents of original material.

To make Livingstone’s writings readable, advanced spectral imaging and analysis was conducted by a team that included Easton and Keith Knox, retired scientist from the U.S. Air Force Research Labs.

The team of four scholars and scientists will present the results of the David Livingstone Spectral Imaging project—including both the technical aspects of the imaging and the results of the scholarly studies—in talks at the University of Edinburgh on Nov. 14, the University of Oxford on Nov. 16 and Queen’s University in Belfast on Nov. 18.

For more information, contact Roger Easton at easton@cis.rit.edu.

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Original Source: University News

Owasco Lake's blue-green algae visible from space; satellite helps with monitoring efforts
Remote Sensing

Nov. 10, 2016
Gwendolyn Craig

Owasco Lake from space

The NASA satellite Landsat 8 captures an algal bloom, faintly visible in light green waves across Owasco Lake on Sept. 21.

Cold weather has brought some relief as water tests for the city of Auburn and town of Owasco continue to return with no detectable levels of blue-green algae toxins. The public water supply, which serves approximately 45,000 Cayuga County residents, has not shown levels of microcystin, the toxin that can be produced by harmful algal blooms, since Oct. 10.

The Cayuga County Health Department has spent weeks testing both the raw and treated drinking water, sending samples to the state Department of Health's laboratory in Albany. But while staff there were testing the water in the treatment plants, watershed groups were out on Owasco Lake itself, watching for the blooms.

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Bob Brower, president of the Owasco Watershed Lake Association, said once per week about 40 volunteers scoured the shoreline of the lake, which has been mapped into 24 inspection zones. With the guidance and expertise of the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program, volunteers are trained to identify blooms and report them. 

While this part of the surveillance program has been effective for finding and reporting shoreline blooms, Brower has started to develop what he's at times referred to as the association's own navy — combining satellite imagery, drones, data collecting buoys and on-the-ground searches for a more comprehensive view of what's going on in Owasco Lake.

Partnering with Rochester Institute of Technology's Center for Imaging Science, one day this summer all the components aligned. On Sept. 21, a NASA satellite called Landsat 8 flew overhead. A volunteer with a drone donated his equipment and time, and with the cloudless skies observers were able to capture video footage and satellite imagery of the green streaks stretching across the northern and central portion of the lake. It was something volunteers would not have been able to see from their shoreline vantage points. 

"We were both elated, because we had this marvelous good fortune to have the drones and satellite deployable at the same time to have a bloom occurring, and to have it in conjunction with an oversight, which comes every 16 days," Brower said. "And then, completely bummed by the bloom itself. It's one of those moments in life where you're really happy and really unhappy."

Little did Brower know, one day later the town of Owasco's treated drinking water would first show detectable levels of toxins.

Anthony Vodacek, a professor of Imaging Science at RIT, said Landsat 8 is part of a number of satellite sensors launched since 1972. The sensors have improved over time, and while traditionally they've been beneficial for looking at oceans, he said Landsat 8 has been able to photograph on a much smaller scale. Photography from an older sensor, for example, can take a photo where one pixel is the equivalent of 1 kilometer.

"Obviously useless for Owasco Lake," Vodacek said.

But Landsat 8 has been able to narrow that down, with one pixel equaling about 30 meters. 

"That has really been unprecedented to have the sensitivity of the system," Vodacek added.

Nina Raqueno, a research staff member with RIT's Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory, has collected samples on the lake this summer with PhD candidate Ryan Ford. Ford's project at RIT is exploring how to use Landsat imagery for scientific applications, and more specifically how to use it to identify blue-green algae.

Raqueno said while the satellite view is helpful for determining where the blooms are, the blooms have been known to occur below the surface, and that the satellite cannot detect. Brower said the blooms have been spotted as deep as 60 feet in the lake.

Three buoys stationed in the lake, too, collect data on the water such as temperature, PH, oxygen, and other characteristics. It's helpful, Brower explained at an OWLA meeting in October, to see what the conditions of the lake are during a harmful algal bloom, and may help provide clues as to what is causing so many to pop up during the late summer months.

Andrew Snell and Tim Schneider, who run the inspection program, also drive around the lake, monitoring certain sites. When a bloom is reported, depending on its intensity, they'll collect a sample and send it to a laboratory to test its toxicity. Working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, if a bloom is discovered to be toxic, the public is notified on a Harmful Algal Blooms Notification Page. That page is updated every Friday between May and October with the extent of the bloom and whether toxins are present.

Schneider said last year's blooms were more extensive, but this year's blooms appear to be more concentrated in coves with higher toxin levels. They've observed most of the blooms in the northern third of the lake, with some localized shoreline blooms at the southern end. 

Now with winter on its way, the surveillance program has come to a close. Schneider said he'll still head to the lake shores now and then just to check on things, but he's not expecting any more large blooms this year. 

Meanwhile OWLA and others are planning for next year, and Brower hopes that will include more drone work. Raqueno and Ford hope they can incorporate their own drones, which they said can use different filters to detect whether an algae bloom is just algae, or blue-green algae based on the light wave lengths it emits. 

The study and monitoring is a small piece of the $600,000 state grant OWLA received, with about $6,581 going to the Owasco Watershed Inspection Program. Still, Brower is hoping to bolster the program.

"These (harmful algal blooms) are not just near-shore phenomenon," he said. "Our sampling team, which has been doing this every week, can't see the deep sections. The satellite imagery can't see the sidelines as well, so it's a nice correlation."

For more information on the inspection program, visit owascoinspection.org.

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Original Source: The Citizen

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