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Engineering and Computer Sciences paper abstracts.

Microstructural characterization of titania coated glass microballoons and cenospheres Melissa L. Jones(1), M. Koopman(1), K.K. Chawla(1), R. Martens(2), G. Thompson(2), W. Ricci(2), M. Lalor, (1) University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, (2)University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, (3)Trelleborg Emerson & Cuming, Mansfield, MA 02048.

The photocatalytic activity of titania has great potential for water purification, however the most effective form of the material for this purpose has not yet been identified. Titania coated glass microballoons (GMBs) and titania coated cenospheres are potential candidates. To evaluate their potential to be used in water treatment, we have characterized their microstructure and examined their interfacial integrity. To investigate the interface between the GMB and the titania coating, focused ion beam (FIB) was used to prepare a section of the titania coated GMB to be analyzed by TEM. The TEM images and EDX analysis showed evidence of diffusion across the interface between the GMB and the titania coating. After dropping the GMBs from a height of 1 m into water, SEM analysis showed intact coatings. Excellent retention of titania coating during drop experiments is attributed to the good mechanical bonding of titania and silica.

HETEROGENEOUS COMPUTING ARCHITECTURES. Srinivasarao Krishnaprasad, Dept. of MCIS, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 36265.

High-performance computing (HPC) researchers continue to innovate techniques to harness higher computing power to meet the demands of strategic applications. Some of these approaches include multicore processors, specialized processors, and heterogeneous computing systems. While multicore model is suitable for general-purpose, multi-tasking kind of concurrency, there are many applications that require much faster processing speeds than that is offered by multicore approach. Examples of such applications include encryption/decryption, signal processing, heavy bit manipulations, and multimedia processing. Specialized processors are often used to meet the performance requirements of these applications. Some of these include vector processors, floating-point accelerators, hyper-threaded processors, and digital signal processors. As these are special-purpose processors, they are often not well-suited for traditional, scalar processing computations. Also, they are often integrated into the system as a peripheral unit thus incurring significant communication cost leading to performance degradation. A better, well-rounded approach is the heterogeneous model where multiple types of processing cores are incorporated into the same system. Computations are deployed onto the best processing core thus achieving performance gains. Cray XD1 and the IBM's Cell processor are examples of heterogeneous architectures. Cray XD1 achieves application acceleration using Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) coprocessors. The Cell processor, designed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, uses one conventional, general-purpose processor core and eight special-purpose synergistic processing cores. While the heterogeneous systems offer performance gains using "best-fit" cores, it is more difficult to develop programs for them.

MYSQL SPATIAL INDEXING FOR GIS DATA IN A WEB 2.0 INTERNET APPLICATION. Brian Toone, Dept of Math and Computer Science, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229.

Web 2.0 Internet applications are characterized in many different ways, but one feature that stands out is usability. One factor that influences usability is responsiveness, which is especially important in applications that provide an interface to large quantities of data. In the realm of Geographic Information Systems, Web 2.0 applications based on the Google Maps API ( must retrieve geographic data as the user scrolls a map to a new location. Retrieving elevation data for a road, trail, or route is particularly challenging because of the immense quantity of data that must be searched to find elevations for a relatively small number of sample points - the classic needle in a haystack problem. One additional challenge for finding elevation data is that frequently the exact locations queried are not actually stored in the database. Instead, we must find and return the elevation of the nearest neighbor. Overcoming these challenges to find relevant data quickly is imperative to maintaining the responsiveness. This investigation explores MySQL spatial indexing as means of improving the performance of elevation data retrieval. Our experimental setup compares the amount of time required to retrieve elevations for 10 sample points vs. the type of database index used and the size of the dataset. We report results that indicate a significant performance improvement when using a MySQI. Spatial index compared to the results obtained when using a traditional B-Tree index.

Skin Temperature Increase during Millimeter Wave Irradiation; Effects of Blood Flow. Carmen D. Zirlott and Dr. David A. Nelson, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688.

Electromagnetic energy of radio frequency (RF) is known to cause tissue heating. For radiation in the millimeter wave band (MMW; 30 GHz-300 GHz) the energy absorption is very superficial, within 0.5mm of tissue. The purpose of this work is to assess the feasibility of using MMW heating and non-contact thermometry to measure the rate of blood flow to the skin. This technology could have significant clinical and research applications such as characterization of peripheral circulation in the management of Diabetes Mellitus. We hypothesize the rate of temperature increase of the skin surface during MMW exposure is affected by (1) the rate of the energy absorption in the skin and (2) temperature and rate of blood flow to the tissue. We have developed an experimental method using an isolated, perfused rabbit ear preparation and a low-power, 35 GHz MMW transmitter. Surface temperatures are measured using a non-contact infrared (IR) thermography camera. Preliminary results show that skin surface temperature increases of up to 15 [degrees]C are achieved in non-perfused specimens exposed for three minutes. The rate of temperature change is decreased at higher perfusion rates. Future experiments in concert with a modeling effort will be directed at developing a detailed understanding of the relationship between MMW irradiation, skin blood flow and temperature increases. The results may be useful in the development of a novel method for non-contact measurement of skin blood flow rates.

Talking Games: Toward Speech as a Mainstream Modality. David Thornton, Mathematical, Computing, and Information Sciences Department, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 36265.

This document describes a study of speech-based cursor control mechanisms along with a new proposed approach called Name Tags. This research is intended to provide empirical user data to inform the design of future systems where one or more of the following conditions are present: real-time demands, very small targets, and moving targets. One such application of this research is in the area of video games, where subjects are often required to make quick selections on numerous small, moving objects. These findings also have implications for physically impaired subjects whose primary or only control modality is speech.
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Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Article Type:Author abstract
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:Apr 1, 2008
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