User Interface Professor Received $1 Million Grant for Machine Learning, Modeling, and Simulation Research


Ching-Long Lin, professor of mechanical engineering at User Interface, is part of a team that received a million-dollar grant to focus on the educational gap between engineering scholars.

Grace Kreber

Jane Russell, director of the University of Iowa’s Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology, poses for a portrait Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, at the Seamans Center.

A $1 million federal grant to the University of Iowa aims to increase the skills of undergraduate and graduate user interface engineering students in the burgeoning field of modeling, simulation and machine learning.

Ching-Long Lin, a professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department at UI, is part of a team that received a $1 million grant from the US Department of Education.

The grant’s first project will support new certificate programs for students transitioning from undergraduate to graduate programs. The grant may also implement hack-a-thons and student workshops, according to a release from UI.

The grant was awarded in December 2021, Lin said. The research project is expected to last three years and will include five UI faculty members who will contribute to the research.

Lin said he was interested in this research because of the popularity of UI College of Engineering’s area of ​​interest undergraduate program. The program is 21 hours per semester for students interested in the four focus areas such as design, energy and environment, manufacturing, robotics, and autonomous systems.

“Modeling and simulation are also very important tools for students in the field of design. So we’re building on our strengths and then adding machine learning to that focus area to help us help undergraduates and graduate students,” Lin said.

Lin said the new certificate has three important components: modeling simulation, machine learning and quantification of uncertainty. These elements are the main idea of ​​the certificate, he said, because most people only master one of the three areas.

The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence data to develop models is gaining momentum, he added.

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Shaoping Xiao, an associate professor at UI in mechanical engineering, said he wanted to expose students to advanced numerical methods.

“I think everyone should know how to do programming and do some kind of numerical modeling simulation, no matter what major you’re in,” Xiao said.

Lin said once the program is available, his team will recruit undergraduate and graduate students for the program.

“The first element is to establish certificate programs for which we have already submitted a proposal to the Graduate College for consideration,” Lin said. “Then hopefully we can kind of implement the curriculum for the last semester.”

Jane Russell, director of user interface for the office of teaching, learning and technology research and analysis, said her role in this project was to conduct an outcome evaluation.

She will gather various information to inform the research team on whether the program and the activities offered by the program are having the desired impact on the students who have enrolled in the program.

Russell said they are currently in the planning stage as the team tries to establish specific research questions and develop a research plan that will have the best answer to their research questions.

“I will also conduct research on student engagement and learning related to various learning activities to understand student learning experiences that would lead to optimal learning outcomes,” she said. .


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