Systems Engineering Seniors Take Top Awards at National Research Competitions

Posted: June 1, 2010 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: June 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

By James Grief

Airplane in flight

One student group's project involved developing a computer model to estimate the impact of pollution from aircraft arriving and departing at an airport.

Three student groups from Mason’s Systems Engineering Senior Design course in the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering recently won first place awards in two national research competitions.

  • At the IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium (SEIDS’10), held at the University of Virginia on April 23, students Andrew Keller-Goralczyk, Josh Finks, Omar Mathir, David Helmly and Abdulrahman Althagafi won the Best Paper Award for Data Mining Integration and Security for “Air Pollution Accountability and Compliance Tracking System (A-PACT).” For this paper, the students developed a computer model to estimate the impact of pollution from aircraft arriving and departing at an airport. The model helps to comply with federal regulatory standards.
  • The same student group, sponsored by Metron Aviation and Mason’s Center for Air Transportation Systems Research, also won Best Presentation in Modeling and Simulation at the General Donald R. Keith Memorial Cadet Capstone Conference at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., on April 29.
  • Also at the at the Capstone Conference, students Yashodha Bhavnani, Marcus Childress, Sahar Sadeghian and Safwat Zaman won first place in Process Modeling and Analysis for their research on “West and Rhode River Pollution Mitigation.” The team developed a computer model of the water flow for two rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. The group found that planting and protecting oyster beds is one of the more cost-effective and environmentally safe ways of cleaning up the rivers.
  • Finally, Steven Lubkowski, Brian Jones, Erika Rojas-Mejia and Desiree Morris took first place in Decision Analysis at the Capstone Conference for “Trade-off Analysis of Regenerative Power Source for a Long Duration Loitering Airship (HAAERT).” The team developed a computer model of high-altitude airships that enabled sponsor Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force to select the most efficient solar power supply system for airships that stay in flight for periods of a year or longer. Amongst other uses, the airships would replace expensive satellites needed for earth monitoring and communications.

Professors George Donohue and Lance Sherry in the Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research served as faculty advisors for the teams.

SEIDS is a student-focused international forum for applied research, development and design in systems and information engineering that features innovative research and alternative solutions to real-world problems.

The General Donald R. Keith Memorial Cadet Capstone Conference offers an opportunity for undergraduate students from several universities to present their research to an audience of fellow students, judges, clients and professors. The student groups work with industry and government clients to bring focus and authenticity to the problem-solving process.

Write to mediarel at