Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Awards: Faculty Research Support Program 2012-13

Mechanism-Based Strategies for Extending the Lifetime of Modern LEDs
Mu-Hyun "Mookie" Baik, Department of Physics
This research program will investigate the deactivation mechanism of how the light-emitting molecular components of an organic light emitting diode array decompose, characterize the key chemical reactions and identify rational strategies for shutting down the deactivation pathway. Extensive preliminary work using large-scale quantum chemical simulations established a working hypothesis mechanism, from which promising leads were deduced. Funding is sought to generalize the initial findings and conduct further exploratory work on a specific Ir-based blue light emitter.

Does Social Pressure Motivate Vengeful Behavior?
Stephen Benard, Department of Sociology
Revenge is a relatively rare but very costly social behavior. Past research explaining revenge tends to focus on the personality characteristics of vengeful people or their interpersonal relationships. In the proposed research, I evaluate the role of groups and social pressure in motivating revenge. I develop materials and a preliminary test of the idea that under certain conditions, groups pressure their members to engage in vengeful behavior, even when doing so is harmful to the individual. I specify the conditions under which groups come to value revenge, and the mechanism by which they pressure their members to be vengeful. The study has implications for the scientific study aggression, and for practical efforts to reduce conflict.

Power for Development: Sustaining Small-Scale Electricity Implementation in Africa
Jennifer N. Brass, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Sanya Carley, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Lauren M. MacLean, Department of Political Science
Elizabeth Baldwin, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
In recent decades, donors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private businesses, and communities have begun to implement small-scale, localized electricity systems known as “distributed generation” (DG), either as complements or alternatives to centralized government operation. For example, an NGO might provide microcredit for a solar-powered home energy system. Policymakers and practitioners are enthusiastic about these renewable DG systems in the developing world because of the widespread potential benefits for sustainable development. In the FRSP, we examine whether differences in government policy is systematically related to variation in DG program and implementation outcomes in Africa.

Informing Energy Policy Choices in Indiana using an Econometric and Technology Model
Sanya Carley, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Barry Rubin, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
James Randolph, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Kenneth Richards, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
The objective of this research project is to develop an Indiana econometric model that can accurately predict regional, state and sub-state energy-economy interactions, and to demonstrate the usefulness of the model by conducting an applied energy efficiency policy analysis that is of immediate use to Indiana policymakers. With the work facilitated by the FRSP grant, the PIs will apply for external funding for expansion of the model to the larger Midwest region and for a number of applied energy analyses.

Vision for Privacy: Privacy-aware Crowd Sensing using Opportunistic Imagery
David Crandall, School of Informatics & Computing
Apu Kapadia, School of Informatics & Computing
The millions of smartphones that people use every day are sophisticated computational and sensory devices. A variety of powerful and potentially transformative applications could be created by aggregating together data from the cameras and sensors on these phones in order to observe the world at a massive scale and in real time. However, such `visual social sensing' would raise major privacy concerns because of the large amount of potentially private data that could be captured. Our research objective is to investigate how to use opportunistically-captured photos for innovative and potentially transformative applications, while providing guarantees on privacy to both people using the smartphones and the people who are near the phones.

Intelligent User Interfaces for Robotic Manipulation
Kris Hauser, School of Informatics & Computing
Robots are becoming increasingly common in medicine, the home, and space exploration, which highlights a growing need to design robots that are both high-performing and intuitive for humans to use. In recent work, Dr. Hauser has pioneered promising cooperative motion planning (CMP) algorithms to power the ”backend” of intelligent robot user interfaces. In CMP, the robot learns a model of the user’s intent through offline training, performs online intent estimation, and then acts in order to achieve those goals. This FRSP will investigate how this approach scales to more complex object manipulation tasks, conduct a new user study in simulation, and perform evaluation on a physical robot testbed.

Development of an In Silico Model of Alcoholic Liver Disease
Lisa Kamendulis, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
Barbara Hocevar, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health
Srividhya Jeyaraman, Department of Physics
James Sluka, Department of Physics
Sherry Clendenon, Department of Physics
Alcoholic liver disease is a significant public health problem in the US and worldwide. This FRSP Type 2 proposal represents a collaboration between biomedical researchers with expertise in liver disease models and computational modeling experts. The goal of this project is to develop an in silico multi-scale, multicellular spatial model of alcohol-induced liver fibrosis. This model will be informed and validated using microarray and imaging data derived from an in vivo mouse model of alcohol-induced liver fibrosis.

Precision Measurement of the Neutron Lifetime in a Magneto-Gravitational Trap
Chen-Yu Liu, Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter, Department of Physics

Assessing Multinational Interest in STEM
Adam Maltese, School of Education
Heidi Ross, School of Education
Keeping America at the forefront of research and innovation is a common talking point at the highest levels of government (e.g., Obama, 2011). The US is not alone in expressing these goals, which have become a signature of global education and economic reform policies (e.g., Osborne & Dillon, 2008; Tytler et al., 2008; Woolnough et al., 1997). Recent analyses of interview (Maltese & Tai, 2010) and survey (Maltese & Tai, 2011; Tai, Liu, Maltese & Fan, 2006) data indicate that student interest in STEM coursework, informal experiences and career options plays a significant role in STEM persistence, above and beyond achievement and enrollment. While prior findings establish the importance of early development of career interest, how such interests develop and evolve over time, particularly at critical stages (e.g., choosing a major), to influence persistence remains unclear.

The project will accomplish three goals to prepare for future funding efforts: 1) advance analysis of data collected in cooperation with Scientific American in 2012; 2) revise and translate a standardized survey instrument focusing on the experiences and interests that most engage individuals in STEM; and 3) collect and analyze survey data from students and faculty at select universities in the US, China and Australia. Additionally, we will attempt to collect a set of classroom videos from STEM courses that will allow for a comparative analysis of content, instructional styles and student behaviors across countries. To our knowledge, this work will be the first higher-education focused, internationally comparative study of interest and experiences in STEM. Results will provide US educational institutions and corporations, as well as their global counterparts, with a better understanding of the backgrounds of international students and citizens who are part of the increasingly global STEM pipeline and workforce.

Characterization of Bacterial Kinesin-like Proteins from the Ubiquitous Bacterial Parasite, Wolbachia pipientis
Irene Newton, Department of Biology
Jared Cochran, Department of Biochemistry
This project focuses on the identification and characterization of putative bacterial kinesin-like proteins.

NetDSL: Multiscale Control of the Software-Defined Wide-Area Network
Ryan Newton, School of Informatics and Computing
Martin Swany, School of Informatics and Computing
Software Defined Networking (SDN) is emerging as a powerful new paradigm in computer network design and operation. An emerging protocol called OpenFlow is enabling SDN by creating an open interface to "program" network devices. However, they remain difficult to program. This proposal describes a new programming language for networks, NetDSL, which would allow querying the controlling the network at a larger scale than previously possible. NetDSL is made possible by leveraging a number of technologies previously developed by the PIs.

Combining Formal Cognitive Modeling and fMRI Studies of Perceptual Categorization and Recognition
Robert Nosofsky, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Thomas James, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
According to formal cognitive models, perceptual categorization and recognition rely on similar representations. However, functional MRI studies suggest that separate brain regions are activated when people engage in categorization vs. recognition tasks. Our central thesis is that one reason for such brain-imaging findings is that observers would adjust parameter settings across tasks to achieve the differing task goals. The present work will combine formal cognitive modeling with fMRI studies of categorization and recognition to purse that hypothesis.

Synthesis and Optical Studies of Self-assembling Stellated Polyhedra
Sara Skrabalak, Department of Chemistry
Bogdan Dragnea, Department of Chemistry
The fields of plasmonics and nanophotonics, and the study of new light-matter interactions in general, have the potential to address diverse global problems. This proposal describes strategies for the design and self-assembly of stellated bimetallic nanocrystals into novel plasmonic superstructures. To date, all plasmonic superstructures obtained by self-assembly use convex gold or silver building blocks, but stellated bimetallic nanocrystals have unique properties and their superstructures are expected to as well. The proposed research will fill this gap by studying the optical properties of individual nanocrystals and small nanocrystal aggregates to provide insight into the collective properties that emerge upon assembly.