UTC-IASE Welcomes Graduate Assistant Avnish Kumar

March 20, 2017

Avnish was avnish1born in the city of Bangalore in India. Being born and raised on an air force base nudged him to pursue his bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B). It was there that he realized his interest in robotics and systems engineering. This led him to come to the University of Connecticut (UConn) for his Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering. At UConn, he works with Dr. Ashwin Dani in the Robotics & Control Lab. His research involves leveraging machine/deep learning techniques for efficient human-robot collaboration.

UConn Named to Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute

February 22, 2017

The University of Connecticut is part of a new national institute designed to advance robotics manufacturing and maintain America’s global competitiveness in that arena. UConn researchers will help develop new sensing, software, artificial intelligence, and other technologies to improve the use of robotics in manufacturing for the aerospace and shipbuilding industries.

The institute, called the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute (ARM), was announced earlier this month and will include several Connecticut businesses and academic institutions. The Connecticut portion of the proposal was led by UConn, the United Technologies Research Center, UTC Aerospace Systems, and ABB US Corporate Research. The institute will be led by American Robotics Inc., a nonprofit associated with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn.

The ARM institute is the 14th and final national institute created under President Obama’s Manufacturing USA initiative, according to Michael Accorsi, senior associate dean of engineering.

“The focus on robotics makes it a great fit for Connecticut, with our strong ties to the aerospace and shipbuilding industries – industries that can really benefit from the next generation of robotic innovation,” he said.

The new institute is supported by a total of $253 million in funding. Federal funding represents $80 million of that, with the remaining money coming from 123 industrial partners, 40 academic and academically affiliated partners, and 64 government and nonprofit partners.

At UConn, Ashwin P. Dani’s Robotics and Controls Lab is already performing research on interactions between robots and humans. Dani and his graduate students are creating algorithms so that industrial robots can learn what action a person will likely take in a given situation. By understanding where a person will move, a robot can work alongside a human and avoid injuring them.

“The new institute is designed to create an ecosystem of robotics,” said Dani, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. “That ecosystem will involve creating collaborative robotics that can do flexible, highly variable jobs efficiently and create advancements in artificial intelligence, particularly human-robotic interactions. That’s an area we already focus on here at UConn.”

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Manufacturing USA initiative is designed to encourage private industry, academia, and government collaboration to revitalize and enhance U.S. competitiveness in key areas. As a part of ARM, UConn will create a new, advanced robotics facility within the new UConn Tech Park, which will expand on UConn’s existing robotic capabilities.

The aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries will represent 75 percent of all robots used in the country by 2025. UConn and other Connecticut partners are focusing on the aerospace and ship building industries, which have been slower to adopt robotic technologies than the automotive industry. Dani said that because these industries create a smaller volume of products than the automotive industry, they need robots that can do a variety of tasks.

“The automotive industry makes millions of cars every year, so each robot can be highly specialized. The aerospace industry creates far fewer individual products, so each robot needs to be able to quickly learn and perform multiple tasks,” Dani said. “UConn and ARM will make the innovations necessary to create agile, dexterous, and collaborative robotics.”

The new institute aims to increase small manufacturers’ use of robots by 500 percent. UConn will work with community colleges around the state to provide training in robotic jobs within existing STEM programs, to meet the increasing demands for the robotic manufacturing industry.


Published: January 13, 2017


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The UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering is proud to announce the Breakthrough Award winner, Xu Chen!

December 7, 2016

XuCHENThe priority of the UTC-IASE Breakthrough Award is to provide an award to recognize innovative, transformational and disruptive contributions in the field of advanced systems engineering. The amount of the Award shall be $50,000 in the first year the prize is awarded, and may be adjusted with time.

The UTC-IASE asked Xu Chen a variety of questions in regards to what plans he has prepared for the use of this award.

  • How do you plan to use the funds provided by the Breakthrough Award?

This Breakthrough Award application seeks to explore transformative and collaborative strategies in research and education that respond to the fundamental challenge of poor reproducibility in additive manufacturing (AM) processes. A specific focus is powder bed fusion (PBF) – one of the few AM techniques that are capable of directly fabricating geometrically complex metal parts with good mechanical strength.

  • Please provide a brief description of the collaboration opportunities the Breakthrough Award will generate for you and the UTC-IASE.

The research is a model- and data-centric study that considers dynamic systems and computer and information science and engineering as a unified whole. The generated knowledge and tools are expected to offer previously unattainable robustness and adaptability in AM, which are integral for applications such as digital manufacturing of jet engines and wing struts.

As the principal investigator, I have been leading a New Academic Plan project under the NextGen CT initiative, to build a testbed for PBF AM. The project will create a unique platform to create multidisciplinary research within the institute, spanning a rich spectrum of topics in, e.g. mechatronics, modeling and learning, data sciences, cyber physical systems, etc.

The Award will also support teaching activities in model-based controls and mechatronic designs. I have digitalized my teaching portfolio for a set of topics related to the pursued goal, and plan to create flipped/blended courses in AM and control systems.



I am extremely humbled to receive the Award. Thank you UTC-IASE for supporting junior faculties.

UTC-IASE Wishes to Congratulate Travel Award Winner: William Hale

November 14, 2016

william hale update

On Friday, October 28th, 2016, UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) graduate fellow William Hale (Billy) received a travel award to attend and present his work at the annual Foundations of Computer Aided Process Operations / Chemical Process Control (FOCAPO/CPC) 2017 conference. This award covers the cost of stay for the duration of the conference, January 8 – 12, 2017.

Billy is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate under the supervision of Dr. George Bollas in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department at UConn. The work he will be presenting is on model-based active fault detection and isolation. In this work, a general formulation for maintenance testing is developed by optimizing inputs to produce unique system responses in the presence of various faults. The formulation is then applied to a gas compression system prone to several different actuator and sensor faults, and the results from this optimization show complete isolation of the 8 faults studied. Future work will focus on modifying the formulation to be robust to system uncertainties. Billy hopes that by attending this conference he will obtain valuable experiences and connections that will benefit him for the years to come as he continues working towards his Ph.D.

Click Here to View William Hale’s LinkedIn Profile

UTC Aerospace Systems Internship Experience

October 21, 2016



From May 31st to August 26th, 2016, UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) provided internship opportunities for two graduate students affiliated with UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE). Kyle Palmer and William Hale spent their past summer working on various projects assigned by UTAS using the knowledge and skills developed at the University of Connecticut (UConn).

Kyle Palmer is pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UConn. His interest in computational research consists of test design optimization for robust fault detection and identification.

During the internship at UTAS, Kyle focused on two projects. The first project involved an analysis of an air-craft environmental control system and its effect on fault detection with uncertainty. The second project involved nonlinear dynamic models and an assessment of which models were suitable for linearization.

Kyle was able to receive a “hands-on experience” as to what engineers within the industry can accomplish. Additionally, he was exposed to the work environment of UTAS and the expectations that the industry held regarding project timelines and management. He enjoyed applying his current research into relevant projects at UTAS, and this experience has shown that modeling and simulation work is a fulfilling career path. Lastly, he stated that the collaboration between UConn and UTAS helped provide him with a unique opportunity that exceeded his expectations of a standard internship.

William Hale (Billy) is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UConn and has been conducting research on robust fault detection and isolation methods for aerospace applications. His interests include computational modeling, simulation, and optimization for improving system reliability.

Billy worked on three projects during his time at UTAS. For the first project, Billy investigated the effect of uncertainty on the detection of a failed component in an aircraft environmental control system. For the second project, he analyzed flight test data to determine the feasibility of creating a detection and prevention algorithm for a separate failure. For the final project, Billy developed a modular control library for an aircraft environmental control system aimed at improving control model development.

Billy claimed that, “The most important thing I was able to learn, or re-establish in my mind, is that no results are bad as long as they are conclusive”. He came to this conclusion when he determined that it was infeasible to reliably detect and prevent a failure with the current system architecture. Overall, Billy feels he had a positive impact on his projects and that this UTAS internship was exceptionally rewarding proclaiming, “If given another opportunity to work for UTAS, I would accept it in a heartbeat”.

These two experiences are just the start of what UTC-IASE hopes to accomplish. With the completion of the first building at the UConn Tech Park in early 2017, future collaborations between UConn and UTC will invite similar student experiences for many years to come.

New Assistant/Associate/Full Professor Position at UTC-IASE

October 12, 2016

The United Technologies Corporation Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) solicits applications for a full-time tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor in one of the Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, or Computer Science & Engineering Departments to conduct research, education and outreach related to systems engineering. The successful candidate will:

  • Develop, sustain, and grow a research program of excellence in the field of systems engineering, requirements formalization and modeling, model abstraction and platform-based system design, control and requirements design and checking. The research program is based on a deep collaboration between industry and the UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering.
  • Teach undergraduate and graduate courses that meet the curricular needs of IASE with particular emphasis on enhancing UTC-IASE’s systems engineering curriculum. Advise and mentor undergraduate and graduate students with particular emphasis in the area of cyber-physical systems and systems engineering.
  • Provide service and leadership to all units of the University of Connecticut, to external academic and scientific communities, and to the general public.

Complete Job Description: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/8224

UTC-IASE Welcomes New Assistant Professor Dr. Matthew Stuber

October 3, 2016

Dr. Stuber holds a Bachelor of Chmdstubercropped-3emical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT.  His graduate research focused on the development of theory and algorithms for advanced formal methods in robust design and optimal design under uncertainty.  Specifically, he developed tools necessary to solve challenging problems in rigorous performance and safety verification of process systems for extreme and hostile environments.  Dr. Stuber’s post-doctoral work was as a scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur developing an optimized concentrating solar powered desalination process, launching a start-up company, and piloting the desalination technology for agricultural wastewater reuse in California’s agricultural sector.  Driven by the exciting opportunities in pure and applied research, Dr. Stuber decided to make his way back to academia joining the faculty at UConn.

Dr. Stuber’s research focuses on theory and methods for optimization-based approaches to solving challenging problems in energy, healthcare, and food and water security.  Dr. Stuber emphasizes the full-pipeline view of bringing fundamental developments and discovery to implementation and commercialization for greatest impact.  Recent projects involve rigorous model validation, large-scale global optimization, and optimal design for water and food security in underrepresented communities.

UTC-IASE Breakthrough Award

September 26, 2016

The UTC-IASE is pleased to announce the initiation of the “UTC-IASE” breakthrough award. The priority of the UTC-IASE Breakthrough Award is to provide an award to recognize innovative, transformational and disruptive contributions in the field of advanced systems engineering. The amount of the Award shall be $50,000 in the first year the prize is awarded, and may be adjusted with time.



The UTC-IASE provides financial support to extend the impact of the UTC-IASE through educational and programmatic activities in advanced systems engineering. Such uses may include, without limitation, the creation of curricula, certificate programs, short courses, lecture series or distance learning opportunities.


Objectives & Requirements

  • The Award shall be used to promote innovative research in Advanced Systems Engineering
  • Qualified nominees must match the Breakthrough Award with an existing research project managed by UTC-IASE
  • Qualified nominees must be at the early stages of their career (Assistant or Associate)


Application Process

Request for nominations to be announced on the UTC-IASE Website and email to the UTC-IASE affiliated faculty

Qualified nominees should submit a 2-page document with:

  • A brief description of the proposed use of the Breakthrough Award funds
  • A brief description of how these funds will be used to match an existing grant managed by UTC-IASE
  • An outlook of how the Breakthrough Award will strengthen the visibility of the nominee, as well as the UTC-IASE
  • A brief description of the collaboration opportunities the Breakthrough Award will generate for the awardee and the UTC-IASE

Qualified nominees must submit a brief biosketch (NSF-style or equivalent – 3 pages max).

Please, submit applications as ONE pdf file at utc-iase@uconn.edu


Application Window

Applicants should submit applications by 10/21/2016.

Selection Criteria

The Dean of SoE and the Director UTC-IASE will select the awardee based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment of the matching project with the research roadmap of the UTC-IASE
  • Potential of the project to enhance the awardee’s career
  • Potential for future funding
  • Awardee’s academic and scientific credentials
  • Awardee’s prior service to the UTC-IASE


Award Ceremony

The award ceremony will be public (may be done as part of the UTC-IASE seminar series). The UTC-IASE GC Chair will present the award followed by the awardee making a presentation on the topic of interest

UTC IASE welcomes new Assistant Professor Dr. Abhishek Dutta

September 7, 2016


UTC IASE welcomes new Assistant Professor Dr. Abhishek Dutta with a joint appointment in electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering departments. Abhishek Dutta’s research interests lie in the area of control systems and optimization with application to mechatronic systems amongst others. He has made fundamental contributions to the theory of model predictive control with implementation over various industrial systems and more recently in the field of cyber physical systems security. He is the author of numerous journal papers and has delivered many invited talks. He is currently involved in teaching related to systems engineering for UTC.

Prior to joining UConn, he was a postdoctoral research associate at aerospace engineering in coordinated science lab of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with Cedric Langbort. He holds a PhD in electromechanical engineering (model predictive control) under the supervision of Robin De Keyser at Ghent University and under the advise of Jan Maciejowski as a junior member of Wolfson College Cambridge. He has a MSc with distinction from the University of Edinburgh including an informatics prize for outstanding thesis and an European masters from the University of Trento with final mark 110/110. He has held research positions at Technical University Munich (electrical engineering) and Nanyang Technological University (mechanical and aerospace).

SAE Aerospace Systems and Technology Conference

August 24, 2016

George Bollas from UTC-IASE will be taking part as one of the members of the Systems Engineering Education Panel Discussion on September 28th from 1:30pm – 3:30pm. Representatives from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute will also be in attendance. This Conference will take place in the Hartford Convention Center Monday September 26th – Friday September 30th. Please stop by and visit the UTC booth for more information.