Eleven Speed School Engineers Earn PhD Degrees

December 17, 2019

Sumit Das (right) with Dr. Dan Popa

Sumit Das (right) with Dr. Dan Popa

The mist and rain did not dampen the spirits of the newly minted PhD of Engineering students at the doctoral hooding ceremony on December 13 at the University of Louisville Student Activities Center. The new Doctors of Philosophy in Engineering were celebrated alongside students in other disciplines who earned their degree in summer or fall 2019.

Sumit Kumar Das, a PhD graduate in Electrical Engineering, attended the hooding ceremony and said he was proud of his accomplishment, a culmination of hard work and study. “I feel like the perseverance was worth it,” he said.

The graduate, whose dissertation involved how to enable robots to interact with human users in healthcare settings, said he has always been interested in robotics. “It’s the future. The healthcare data published from the National Labor Statistics indicates a huge demand for nurses. The robot could help nurses with mundane and everyday tasks, not to replace them, but to assist them.”

Sumit plans to continue working as a researcher in robotics at the new robotics institute led by his professor and mentor Dr. Dan Popa. Louisville Automation Robotics Research Institute (LARRI) is scheduled to open in 2020, pending approval from the Board of Trustees.

Another engineering graduate, Mohammed Sanad Alshammari, who earned his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, was awarded a Graduate Dean’s Citation for his exceptional work in his field.

His mentor, Professor Olfa Nasraou, said Mohammed was an outstanding PhD student who took on and succeeded in solving a challenging problem. “How do we make a Blackbox AI machine learning algorithm ‘explain’ its own predictions using the vast data currently hidden in knowledge graphs?” she said. “The ability to explain AI algorithm outputs is one critical component toward building fairness and ethics into AI,” explained Nasraou.

Listed below are all the PhD graduates, their dissertation topics and mentors. Congratulations to all!

Mohammed Sanad Alshammari
Computer Science and Engineering
Dissertation: An Explainable Recommender System Based on Semantically-Aware Matrix Factorization
Professor: Olfa Nasraou

Sri Sukanta Chowdhury
Electrical Engineering
Professor Robert Cohn
Dissertation: Optical Direct Detection of Thermal Vibrations of Ultralow Stiffness Micro-Nano Structures

Sumit Kumar Das
Electrical Engineering
Professor Dan Popa
Dissertation: Adaptive Physical Human-Robot Interaction (PHRI) with a Robotic Nursing Assistant

Mohammad Mohaghegh Faghih
Mechanical Engineering
Professor M. Keith Sharp
Dissertation: Improving Flow-Induced Hemolysis Prediction Models

Xiaoming Fan
Mechanical Engineering
Co-Chairs Professor Robert Keynton and Associate Professor Stuart Williams
Dissertation: Development and Characterization of a Biopolymer Direct-Write Process 3D Microvascular Structures Formation

Javad Hashemi
Chemical Engineering
Professor Eric Berson
Dissertation: Non-Invasive Detection and Assessment of Coronary Stenosis from Blood Mean Residence Times

Wenqi Liu
Electrical Engineering
Associate Professor Hongxiang Li
Dissertation: Cognitive Satellite Communication and Distributed Streaming Graph Partitioned Embedding

Adrienne Marie Parsons
Mechanical Engineering
Co-Chairs Professor M. Keith Sharp and Associate Professor Ellen Brehob
Dissertation: All Season Heat Pipe System

Mahyar Ramezani
Civil Engineering
Co-Chairs Associate Professor Young Hoon Kim and Professor Zhihui Sun
Dissertation: Design and Predicting Performance of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Cementitious Materials: Mechanical Properties and Dispersion Characteristics

Mehdi S. Sabraoui
Computer Science and Engineering
Co-Chairs Associate Professor Adrian Lauf and Associate Professor Jeffrey Hieb
Dissertation: Formally Designing and Implementing Cyber Security Mechanisms in Industrial Control Networks

Long Zheng
Industrial Engineering
Assistant Professor Ki-Hwan Bae
Dissertation: Simulation and Optimization of a Multi-Agent System on Physical Internet Enabled Interconnected Urban Logistics