REU Site: Smart Energy and Smart Systems: Enabling the Future Through Electrical and Computer Engineering
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The focus of this three year REU Site program at Texas A&M University is electrical and computer engineering approaches to research problems involving energy generation, transmission, distribution, storage and management. Cyber-physical interactions within "smart" energy systems enable greater intelligence, autonomy and security for safety-critical applications. Specifically, a combination of analytic, computational and experimental projects will be conducted in: active grid management, smart grid cyber security, system stabilization, smart grid sensor systems, coordination of renewable energy sources, superconductors for efficient power distribution, and next generation communications for smart grid connectivity. The intellectual merit of the proposed research is to bring the rigorous analytical approach characteristic of electrical and computer engineering to novel problems of importance to emerging cyber-physical energy systems. Recently, there is significant government focus on the development of next generation power systems that provide greater efficiency, power quality and enhanced resiliency and response to attack, natural disaster and system disturbances. The smart grid vision integrates alterative forms of energy and complex cyber infrastructure within legacy technology. This has led to a set of rich and vital research challenges that are addressed in this REU Site. The REU students will participate in developing the next generation of algorithms, protocols and prototype technologies leveraging advances in intelligent signal processing, computation, microelectronics and nano-scale device synthesis. They will participate in developing solutions that will enhance national capabilities in the presence of environmental concerns, security threats, increased energy and autonomy demands, and aging critical infrastructure. This REU Site will offer research experiences to those who may not normally have such an opportunity, particularly women, underrepresented minorities, and first-generation college students. It makes a significant contribution toward enhancing the diversity of the research and education infrastructure at TAMU and toward increasing the production of advanced-degreed African American and Hispanic engineers. It creates a model program for diverse populations that addresses undergraduates'' exposure to research as well as increases awareness of the pathway to graduate school. Having a more diverse engineering and science professoriate significantly benefits society, not only in Texas but nationally, in promoting a more equitable participation of minorities in the engineering and scientific disciplines. Partner universities include Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and HBCUs Prairie View A&M University and Norfolk State Universities.