Ding receives NSF CAREER award

April 16, 2004

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Dr. Yu Ding, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M University, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award for his research on quality improvement using distributed sensor networks. The $400,000 grant will continue through 2009. The NSF CAREER award is the most prestigious award for new faculty members for their career-development and teaching activities, highlighting them as upcoming academic leaders in the 21st century. Ding's research will focus on quality improvement of complicated manufacturing systems under the monitoring of sensor networks, ranging from monitoring equipment status to tracking down the root causes of quality-related problems. Often, sensors signal alarms when equipment is malfunctioning or inspections are out of specification, but the sensors do not specify why. Ding said that in many situations people collect a lot of data using distributed sensor networks and simply store it in a database. Methodologies that can wisely and effectively piece together critical quality-related information collected by sensor networks and distributed in a large-scale manufacturing environment are needed Ding said. He wants to enhance the effectiveness of the sensors by optimizing their distribution in manufacturing processes and also developing a sensor self-diagnosis capability to ensure the sensor system reliability. As a result of Ding's research, he can determine in a timely manner what element of the sensor is not working properly and also assess the health of manufacturing systems under surveillance. "We want to be able to correct the quality-related problem and minimize the cost without slowing down the production process," Ding said. Awardees must include plans for teaching and research in their application for a CAREER grant. Ding plans to increase research opportunities for local high school teachers and students by having them come to Texas A&M to learn about current research projects and metrology facilities. Ding said he was very pleased when he received notice of his award. "This award can really sustain the research program's development," he said. "This area of research is very promising - it has a lot of potential to expand to application areas beyond manufacturing." Ding joined Texas A&M's Department of Industrial Engineering in August 2001. He received a bachelor's degree in precision engineering in 1993 from the University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei, China). He earned two master's degrees, one in mechanical engineering in 1998 from Pennsylvania State University and one in precision instruments in 1996 from Tsinghua University (Beijing, China). He received his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering in 2001 from the University of Michigan.

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