Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2011 Symposium
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, N.W. • Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: This publication has been reviewed according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. Publication of signed work signifies that it is judged a competent and useful contribution worthy of public consideration, but it does not imply endorsement of conclusions or recommendations by the NAE. The interpretations and conclusions in such publications are those of the authors and do not purport to represent the views of the council, officers, or staff of the National Academy of Engineering.
Funding for the activity that led to this publication was provided by Google, The Grainger Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Defense ASD(R&E)–Research, Microsoft Research, and Cummins Inc. This material is also based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1108785. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-22143-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-22143-9
Additional copies of this report are available from The National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu
Printed in the United States of America
Copyright © 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
ANDREW M. WEINER (Chair), Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University
TIMOTHY DENISON, Director of Neuroengineering, Medtronic
ALEKSANDAR KUZMANOVIC, Lisa Wissner Slivka and Benjamin Slivka Chair in Computer Science and Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University
ANNIE PEARCE, Associate Professor, Myers-Lawson School of Construction, Virginia Tech
CAROLYN SEEPERSAD, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
MICHAEL SIEMER, President, Mydea Technologies
AMARNAG SUBRAMANYA, Research Scientist, Google
JUSTIN WILLIAMS, Associate Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison
ZHIQIANG (JOHN) ZHAI, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder
JANET R. HUNZIKER, Senior Program Officer
ELIZABETH WEITZMANN, Program Associate
This volume highlights the papers presented at the National Academy of Engineering’s 2011 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. Every year, the symposium brings together 100 outstanding young leaders in engineering to share their cutting-edge research and technical work. The 2011 symposium was held September 19-21, and hosted by Google at their headquarters in Mountain View, California. Speakers were asked to prepare extended summaries of their presentations, which are reprinted here. The intent of this book is to convey the excitement of this unique meeting and to highlight cutting-edge developments in engineering research and technical work.
GOALS OF THE FRONTIERS OF ENGINEERING PROGRAM
The practice of engineering is continually changing. Engineers today must be able not only to thrive in an environment of rapid technological change and globalization, but also to work on interdisciplinary teams. Cutting-edge research is being done at the intersections of engineering disciplines, and successful researchers and practitioners must be aware of developments and challenges in areas that may not be familiar to them.
At the 2-½-day U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, 100 of this country’s best and brightest engineers, ages 30 to 45, have an opportunity to learn from their peers about pioneering work being done in many areas of engineering. The symposium gives early career engineers from a variety of institutions in academia, industry, and government, and from many different engineering disciplines, an opportunity to make contacts with and learn from individuals they would not meet in the usual round of professional meetings. This networking
may lead to collaborative work and facilitate the transfer of new techniques and approaches. It is hoped that the exchange of information on current developments in many fields of engineering will lead to insights that may be applicable in specific disciplines and thereby build U.S. innovative capacity.
The number of participants at each meeting is limited to 100 to maximize opportunities for interactions and exchanges among the attendees, who are chosen through a competitive nomination and selection process. The topics and speakers for each meeting are selected by an organizing committee of engineers in the same 30- to 45-year-old cohort as the participants. Different topics are covered each year, and, with a few exceptions, different individuals participate.
Speakers describe the challenges they face and communicate the excitement of their work to a technically sophisticated but non-specialized audience. Each speaker provides a brief overview of his/her field of inquiry; defines the frontiers of that field; describes experiments, prototypes, and design studies that have been completed or are in progress, as well as new tools and methodologies, and limitations and controversies; and summarizes the long-term significance of his/her work.
THE 2011 SYMPOSIUM
The four general topics covered at the 2011 meeting were: additive manufacturing, semantic processing, engineering sustainable buildings, and neuroprosthetics. The additive manufacturing session described how technologies such as stereolithography, fused deposition modeling, 3D printing, selective laser melting, laser-engineered net shape processes, ultrasonic consolidation, and selective laser sintering enable layer-wise fabrication of complex parts directly from CAD files without part-specific tooling. The presentations included an overview of additive manufacturing processes and their impact on industrial practice and academic research, a description of applications in the aerospace and medical fields, and a discussion of the challenges and application frontiers of additive manufacturing.
The explosion of content on the Internet and its growth as a source of information requires a deep understanding of Web content. Semantic processing, the topic of the second session, refers to high-level information understanding tasks such as inferring author sentiment in a particular piece of writing; searching through documents, images, and videos; or translating text into different languages. Because natural language and images constitute the majority of the data on the Internet, presenters described semantic processing algorithms that advance understanding of word and sentence meaning, relationships, and sentiment; use collaboratively generated content to represent the semantics of natural language; and improve search for images and video as well as plots, graphs, and diagrams.
The engineering of sustainable buildings was the focus of the third session. This is an area where architects, engineers, and those in the construction industry work together to create buildings that are more energy-efficient, have fewer adverse environmental impacts, and provide healthier indoor environments. The
four speakers focused on cutting-edge benchmarking for building performance and life-cycle-cost assessment, tools that execute more efficient and effective design processes, multi-scale modeling for the design of new or renovation of old buildings with sustainability in mind, and use of location-based services and social networks to drive market transformation for sustainable building.
The symposium concluded with the session on neuroprosthetics, which are devices that interface with the nervous system. These technologies are used to stimulate the nervous system in order to restore sensory function or to elicit motor intention from the brain for artificial prostheses. Talks covered state-of-the-art research and clinical studies of retinal implants and how the emerging field of optogenetics may address some of the challenges of bioelectronic approaches, the current status of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and how research in cortical physiology may enhance BCI-based control, and efforts to understand the biology of how the brain processes information in order to apply that knowledge to nextgeneration neuroprosthetic applications such as cochlear implants.
In addition to the plenary sessions, the participants had many opportunities to engage in informal interactions. On the first afternoon of the meeting, participants broke into small groups for “get-acquainted” sessions during which individuals presented short descriptions of their work and answered questions from their colleagues. This helped attendees get to know more about each other relatively early in the program. On the second afternoon, there were presentations by Google staff on current work in translation, speech recognition, optical character recognition, machine perception, and audio signal processing.
Every year, a distinguished engineer addresses the participants at dinner on the first evening of the symposium. The speaker this year was Dr. Alfred Z. Spector, vice president of research and special initiatives at Google, who gave a talk on the evolution of computer science. This talk can be viewed at www.naefrontiers.org.
NAE is deeply grateful to the following organizations for their support of the 2011 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium:
• The Grainger Foundation
• Air Force Office of Scientific Research
• Department of Defense ASD(R&E)-Research
• National Science Foundation. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number EFRI-1108785.
• Microsoft Research
• Cummins Inc
NAE would also like to thank the members of the Symposium Organizing Committee (p. iv), chaired by Dr. Andrew M. Weiner, for planning and organizing the event.
This Page is Blank