A Coastal Resilience Center (CRC) PI will host faculty this summer semester as part of a program to facilitate further involvement of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in the Center’s projects.
This summer, Principal Investigator Brian Blanton, at UNC-Chapel Hill, will host Dr. Anton Bezuglov, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Dr. Bezuglov develops and applies methods in expert systems, computer learning models and other decision support systems, in areas such as human nutrient management and traffic modeling. As a summer faculty fellow with the CRC, he and a student will explore how artificial neural networks can be used to build predictive models for hurricane-driven storm surge on the North Carolina coast.
“[Dr. Bezuglov’s] expertise in computer learning methods will complement existing CRC research into surrogate modeling for storm surge,” Blanton said.
This partnership is part of a highly competitive Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program managed by Oak Ridge Affiliated Universities (ORAU), which solicits competitive proposals from MSIs to perform summer research in residence at one of the DHS Centers of Excellence (COEs) under the mentorship of a COE researcher. Accepted faculty members bring along one or two students to the COE for the summer.
After the summer, the MSI PIs have the opportunity to compete for a year of research funding back at their MSI in a topic related to their summer research. The program has significantly expanded the DHS student reach to MSI graduates and has expanded the pool of MSI universities with professors performing research and graduating students in areas of relevance to DHS and its component agencies (for the CRC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Coast Guard) and other federal agency partners including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation, and U.S. Geological Survey.