Fawad Niazi and Purdue Researchers Receive $325K INDOT Grant

Fawad Niazi, assistant professor of civil engineering, and his co-researchers from Purdue University West Lafayette, received a $325,686 grant from Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for the “Development of Comprehensive CPT-Based Geotechnical Design Manual for Indiana Transportation.” Niazi’s portion of the grant is $60,394.

This grant project is aimed to prepare a comprehensive guide for the design of shallow/deep foundations, retaining walls, embankments, and other transportation structures using data from the most modern, expedient, economical and reliable in-situ site investigation tool, namely, the cone penetration test (CPT).

Currently, geotechnical designs are carried out using soil strength and stiffness parameters that are obtained from time-consuming and relatively expensive laboratory tests on disturbed samples of geomaterials obtained from selected depths.

Since the CPT is an in-situ test, that provides much greater ground truth in terms of continuous data from a single sounding, this manual will provide the basis for engineers to use CPT results directly for the assessment of site conditions and the design of geotechnical projects in the future.

Computer Science Capstone Team Wins IEEE Grant

A computer science senior project team of Brice Aldrich, Devin Aspy, and Zach Pratt were awarded an IEEE Standards Education Grant for their capstone project, sponsored by INdigital Telecom. The team is advised by Zesheng Chen, assistant professor of computer science.

Their project, “Redundant Failover Seamless-IP-Stack (RFSIS),” about creating an Internet Protocol Stack (i.e., IP-Stack) that supports seamless redundant failover for legacy systems and for future Internet-of-things (i.e., IoT) applications.

The IP-Stack is designed to provide a quick response to failover, in order to backup systems within user-land. It will more specifically be beneficial in the telecommunications industry, where most working systems are archaic and do not provide seamless failover technology.

The IEEE Student Grants require that student projects apply or implement industry standards. The team must submit an application paper for publication by the IEEE upon completion of the project. This is the second time a computer science department team won this grant.

Social media study by three IPFW professors published in Computers in Human Behavior

1-s2-0-s0747563216x00088-cov150hA study about undergraduate social media users and university social media policies by Kimberly O’Connor, assistant professor of organizational leadership and supervision; Gordon Schmidt, assistant professor of organizational leadership and supervision; and Michelle Drouin; professor of psychology, was recently published in Computers in Human Behavior.

The article, titled “Suspended because of social media? Students’ knowledge and opinions of university social media policies and practices,” examined how well students understood university policies, free speech, and privacy issues.

From the abstract:

In this exploratory study, we examined undergraduates’ (N = 298) knowledge of their university’s social media policies, understanding of free speech and privacy protections, opinions about university monitoring and discipline for personal social media posts, and perceptions of fairness regarding recent cases of student discipline for personal social media use.

The results of our study indicate that most undergraduates are highly underinformed as to whether or not their university has a social media policy, particularly if the students are early in their academic careers and do not engage in many online privacy protection behaviors. Most participants were also misinformed as to whether free speech and/or privacy protections will shield them from university discipline. In addition, most participants (78%) were opposed to the idea of universities monitoring students’ personal social media accounts, though significantly fewer (68%) were opposed to monitoring student athletes’ social media.

Finally, when asked about several recent cases involving student discipline, most participants were generally opposed to a variety of university disciplinary actions regarding students’ social media posts. We discuss these findings as they relate to the need for better social media policy training for students, as well as the potential impact on students’ academic and future careers.

Dina Mansour-Cole and Linda Wright-Bower present at NCCA Conference

Dina Mansour-Cole, associate professor of organizational leadership and supervision, and Linda Wright-Bower, assistant professor of music therapy, presented at the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) Conference, The Creative Age: Global Perspectives on Creativity and Aging. The even took place in Washington, D. C., on September 24-28.

From the session description:

Wright-Bower and Mansour-Cole will guide participants through a multi-arts experiential session where participants will assess their own leadership gifts based on the premise that leadership skills of the future are the necessary foundation to launch and sustain creative aging programs. Overall, the conference and leadership exchange will immerse participants via a global perspective that informs and empowers international, national, regional and local expression of creative aging.


Dissertation research by Tao Yang earns recognition from Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Dissertation research by Tao Yang, assistant professor of organizational leadership and supervision, received the S. Rains Wallace Dissertation Award Honorable Mention from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

The award is given for the best doctoral dissertation research germane to the field of industrial and organizational psychology.

He will be presented with the award at the 2017 SIOP Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.


This dissertation develops and tests a theoretical model of the role of a mindfulness intervention in promoting job performance in service settings. I examine the client-focused mechanisms—attentiveness, perspective taking, and response flexibility—and individual (i.e., employee agreeableness), social (i.e., perception of workgroup service climate), and job (i.e., work overload) contingencies of the relationship between a mindfulness intervention and job performance. I conducted a pretest-posttest field experiment of 72 health care professionals in a health care organization with intervention (i.e., mindfulness meditation) and active control (i.e., wellness education) conditions and repeated measures from health care professionals and their patients over 15 days. Confirmatory factor analyses suggest that the three client-focused mechanisms were represented by a higher-order construct of patient-centered behavior. Multilevel modeling and latent growth modeling suggest that the two conditions are distinct; compared with active control, the intervention yields pre-to-post increases in daily mindfulness and work behaviors including self-ratings of job performance and proactive patient care and patient ratings of patient-centered behavior. Multilevel mediation analysis suggests that patient ratings of patient-centered behavior fail to mediate the effect of a mindfulness intervention on patient satisfaction with job performance. Multilevel moderated mediation analyses suggest that agreeableness, perceived workgroup service climate, and work overload do not moderate the effect of a mindfulness intervention (via patient ratings of patient-centered behavior) on patient satisfaction. Nonetheless, compared with active control, the mindfulness intervention yields higher patient rated patient-centered behavior for health care professionals who have a higher level of agreeableness.

Aleshia Hayes Presents at Purdue West Lafayette Technology Conference

unknownAleshia Hayes, assistant professor of computer science, presented a session titled “The Future of Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality” at Purdue West Lafayette’s Dawn or Doom Conference on October 3-4.

The conference examines the future of technology and whether it represents a bright dawn or humanity’s doom.

From the presentation abstract:

There are so many emerging technologies that promise to revolutionize our lives. The application of VR/AR/and MR technology had significant potential to progress and even revolutionize education. How will this manifest itself? Should we embrace this? What are the benefits and the unintended consequences.

John Licato presents at two international conferences

John Licato, assistant professor of computer science, recently presented papers at international computing conferences in Italy and Netherlands.

At the 2016 International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) in Ferrara, Italy, he presented “Formalizing Confidence Propagation in Analogico-Inductive Reasoning.”

During the 2016 ECAI Workshop for Evaluating General-Purpose Artificial Intelligence (EGPAI) in The Hague, Netherlands, he presented “A Physically Realistic, General-Purpose Simulation Environment for Developmental AI Systems.”

From the abstracts:

Formalizing Confidence Propagation in Analogico-Inductive Reasoning — Although argument by analogy is studied and featured in many computational models, less appreciated is the ability to reason over analogies (RoA); i.e., not only being able to produce inferences in accordance with arguments by analogy, but having the ability to negate analogies, recognize and learn to avoid bad analogies, compare the relative strengths of analogies, reason about them nonmonotonically, evaluate hypothetical analogies, and so on. To do all of these things, one needs the ability to represent analogies (and not just the products of analogies) in such a way that the analogies themselves can be objects of reasoning processes (including analogy). We take a first step toward the full ability to reason over analogies by presenting a formalization, based on the cognitive event calculus, that treats analogical mappings and hypothetical inferences as objects between which confidence can be propagated. We will argue that computational models of analogy (both descriptive and normative) will need to use such a formalization, and then we show that our formalization provides a new way to evaluate analogical arguments.

A Physically Realistic, General-Purpose Simulation Environment for Developmental AI Systems —  There has long been a need for a simulation environment rich enough to support the development of an AI system sufficiently knowledgeable about physical causality to pass certain tests of Psychometric Artificial Intelligence (PAI) and Psychometric Artificial General Intelligence (PAGI). In this article, we present a simulation environment, PAGI World, which is: cross-platform (as it can be run on all major operating systems); open-source (and thus completely free of charge to use); able to work with AI systems written in almost any programming language; as agnostic as possible regarding which AI approach is used; and easy to set up and get started with. It is our hope that PAGI World will give rise to AI systems that develop truly rich knowledge and representation about how to interact with the world, and will allow AI researchers to test their already-developed systems without the additional overhead of developing a simulation environment of their own. After clarifying both PAI and PAGI, we summarize arguments that there is great need for a simulation environment like PAGI World. We present multiple examples of already-available PAI and PAGI tasks in PAGI World, covering a wide range of research areas of interest to the general-purpose AI community.