Electrical and Computer Engineering Lab
The Electrical and Computer Engineering program provides multiple state of the art engineering labs to support teaching and research in various areas of electrical and computer engineering.
- Power and Energy Conversion Laboratory (PECL)
The power and energy conversion lab (PECL) is located in Gullickson Hall. The lab was established by the department to support and assist undergraduate and graduate teaching and research in power electronics, power systems. Areas of research were the lab is utilized include power systems, renewable energy systems, and smart grid technology providing students with hands-on activities. This research is particularly important and useful as we move away from fossil fuels and move toward renewable energy sources.
The PECL is equipped with various motors, generators and measurement equipment designed to assist students in the classroom and in their research. The lab has multiple work stations including LN Rack Mount Work Stations and LN 3-Phase Power Injector Work Station equipped with AC and DC Machines, transformer, and solar systems as in the pictures shown below:
More specifically, the lab is fitted with extensive measurement equipment that includes tachometers and dynamometers, along with computer assisted electro-mechanical data acquisition systems. The PECL is also outfitted with various DC generators and motors, AC single and three phase motors and generators, and AC single and three phase transformers, harmonic analyzers, adjustable speed drive inverters, and a photovoltaic solar system as well as other equipment. The lab features several workstations that have practical industry software such as ANSYS, PowerWorld and MATLAB/Simulink.
The PECL is overseen by Dr. Tarek Masaud, an Assistant Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering at Marshall University as well as an IEEE senior member and an Associate Editor of IET Journal of Engineering. Dr. Masaud built the PECL for to assist students in classroom learning as well as to allow students to conduct research on areas of interests such as grid integration of renewable distributed generation, power system operation and planning, energy management and microgrid optimization.
Some current research areas and projects that the PECL is used for include:
- Analysis, modeling and design of electric machinery and power systems
- Control and penetration of sustainable renewable energy
- Development of a smart power grid
- Wireless Communication Laboratory
The Wireless Communications Systems (WiCS) lab in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) at Marshall University conducts extensive experiments for undergraduate studies and research projects on innovative topics in the areas of wireless communications, cellular networks, and digital signal processing for both undergraduate and graduate students. The lab houses advanced educational experimental toolkits and set-ups for undergraduate and graduate levels. Students obtain hands-on experience by conducting experiments on fundamental topics in communication theory, particularly on analog and digital modulations and demodulations, source and channel coding, pulse and line coding, spread spectrum, orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), etc. Students implement the theory that they learn in courses like Communication Systems I and II. The lab provides two types of communication modules as shown below: PC Enabled ETT-101C BiSKIT with inbuilt PC-based oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer and net*TIMS-FreeWire REMOTE LAB SYSTEM
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed,
an assistant professor in the program, is active in research in the areas of wireless communications, signal processing, and computer networks. Dr. Ahmed worked at Intel Corporation for more than 3 years developing performance simulation framework and baseband demodulation algorithms for LTE and 5G NR in Intel and is a co-founder of a California based start-up Nocimeter Inc., where he developed innovative algorithms for human-emotion detection and monitoring. His research interests is in the areas of 5G cellular communication systems including energy harvesting communications for mIoT, beamforming and beamcombining design for mmW communications for 5G NR, artificial intelligence in physical layer of wireless communications, UAV assisted communications for beyond 5G, etc.
Dr. Ahmed has worked with students in WiCS on different projects in fifth generation (5G) and beyond 5G cellular communication systems. Their activities cover design, optimization, and performance analysis of cutting-edge systems through theoretical framework, fixed and floating-point simulations on standardized protocols, and implementation in practical testbeds. Currently, students are conducting research in artificial intelligence aided physical layer design, channel modeling for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/drone assisted communication systems, routing protocol design for drone network, etc. Most of simulations are accomplished in industry-standard testbeds developed in C/C++, Python, MATLAB frameworks. Practical systems are developed with software defined radio (SDR), open source development tools, e.g., Raspberryp Pi, LattePanda, etc., and open source software, e.g., GNURadio, srsLTE, OpenAI, etc. Several active research projects include Communications with energy harvesting (EH) nodes, Advanced signal processing for 5G NR, Artificial intelligence assisted physical layer design, and UAV assisted wireless communications.
Some current research projects include:
- Communications with energy harvesting (EH) nodes
EH nodes harvest renewable energies from their surrounding environment to carry out their functions. Energy can be harvested using solar, thermoelectric, and motion effects, or through other physical phenomena. EH nodes can be regarded as a promising option for deployment as they ensure a long system lifetime without the need for periodic battery replacements. In EH systems, energy is harvested at random times and in random amounts. A potential application area of EH nodes in massive Internet-of-Things (mIoT) for 5G. Randomness in incoming renewable energy along with physical (form-factor) constraints and limited computational resources of IoT nodes make the design problems for 5G mIoT network highly challenging. We solve resource allocation and dynamic control problems for EH nodes for different practical use-cases.
- Advanced signal processing for 5G NR
5G new radio (NR) standardized the use of millimeter wave (mmW) electromagnetic spectrum for carrier waves. Therefore, some of the existing signal processing techniques are required to be revisited. For instance, in order to encounter the high transmission path loss, massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) has been envisioned to be exploited at the cellular base station. Channel state information (CSI) is required to obtain for accurate beamforming and beamcombining codebook design to compensate severe free-space path loss for mmW propagation. Our focus is to develop advanced signal processing tools for channel estimation and parameter calculations for mmW and massive MIMO systems.
- Artificial intelligence assisted physical layer design
The baseband physical layers for wireless communications are designed with robust and efficient digital signal processing algorithms. In general, the algorithms are optimal for a given block in the system chain. Our plan is to replace a number of communication blocks with deep neural networks, train the networks with practical datasets, observe the end-to-end performance, and further optimize the system behavior. Furthermore, we aim at reducing the real-time computational complexity of the physical layer design. We are working on a number of projects in artificial intelligence assisted system design at WiCS lab.
- Energy Conversion Laboratory
The Energy Conversion Laboratory (ECL) is still under development by the Department. The ECL will enable undergraduate and graduate students to perform research on energy harvesting and sensing using nanoscale materials. Nanoscale materials present different electrical, optical, thermal, and mechanical behavior enabling a suitable platform to design and fabricate devices operating beyond the inherent limitation of the bulk materials. The Goal of ECL is to understand the properties of nanomaterials and utilize them in developing new devices. This enables students to perform cutting-edge research in solution processed energy conversion devices, nanofabrication process, device characterization methods, and electronic circuit design.
The ECL will be overseen by Dr. Taher Ghomian who joined Marshall University in 2020 and is an IEEE senior member. Dr. Ghomian was previously a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California Davis after earning his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. Dr. Ghomain’s primary research interest is the incorporation of nano materials in the field of energy harvesting and sensing. He is a pioneer in the area of developing a solution-processed photovoltaic device that harvests human body thermal radiation. Dr. Ghomian works closely with both undergraduate and graduate students in the ECL to perform research on a wide array of projects involving energy conversion.
Some current research areas and projects that the PICL is used for include:
- Developing hybrid molecule-nanoparticle materials for energy harvesting and sensing
- Improving energy conversion efficiency of nanoscale materials by tailoring the optoelectronic, thermoelectric, electromechanical, and electro-optical properties
- Development of new devices and systems capable of sensing and harvesting ambient energy
Please contact Dr. Taher Ghomian (email@example.com) if you would like more information or are interested in participating in his research.