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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 9, 2006

UI Engineers Receive $240,000 NSF Grant To Study Collaborative Tasks

University of Iowa College of Engineering researchers have received a three-year, $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study networks of objects that collaborate by mutually exchanging information.

Soura Dasgupta (SHOW-row das-GOOP-ta) and Jon Kuhl (COOL), professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, say that examples of systems that collaborate using mutual information exchange include air traffic control systems, automated highway systems, unmanned vehicles gathering data or organizing in a formation, disaster response communications networks, flocks of birds, swarms of insects, swarms of robots, and satellites organized in formation.

Dasgupta, who also holds a joint appointment as professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program in Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences and is a research engineer with the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD), notes that the grant will allow him and Professor Kuhl to continue to integrate techniques from control systems, signal processing, communications and computer networks. The objective is to understand the fundamental issues of information exchange required to achieve efficient collaboration.

"One of the fundamental challenges of modern engineering systems is to understand how minimal information can be exchanged between units that must efficiently collaborate to perform important engineering tasks," Dasgupta said. "Birds and insects do so efficiently and effectively by organizing themselves into formations. The proposed research will achieve such an understanding."

Dasgupta, who received his doctorate in systems engineering from Australian National University and joined the UI faculty in 1985, is a recipient of a 1993 NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from President Clinton and a

Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Kuhl, who obtained his doctorate in computer science from the UI in 1980, has served as a deputy director of CCAD and is professor and department executive officer of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,