Two new TEES centers established
The Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System established two new centers in the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) at its August meeting.
A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said, "The creation of these groundbreaking TEES centers is what develops from the unique blend of academic excellence and creative application: new solutions for today's challenges."
The Center for Emergency Informatics (CEI) brings together 30 engineering faculty members at Texas A&M University and TEES researchers who have been working together since 2008 to create unmanned systems, new sensors, wireless networks, data mining, simulation and visualization, social networking, and other technologies that can revolutionize response and recovery. The center is unlike any other in the United States, because it focuses on how new and evolving information technologies can be improved, integrated, and put to use for disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, said CEI director Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M.
Murphy said that Texas needs the economic resilience to handle disasters, such as Hurricane Ike, which cost more than $22 billion to recover from. She said the technology exists to get better information to the responders, cities and citizens in an emergency.
CEI will serve to connect members of the Texas A&M family, including the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX); the TEES Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue; Hazards Reduction and Recovery Center; Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy; Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center; and the RFID/Sensor Lab. The CEI will absorb the Emergency Informatics EDGE® Innovation Center, which is the nucleus for the 275-member industry consortium led by General Dynamics.
Also approved in August was the TEES Smart Grid Center (SGC), which will be led by Dr. Mladen Kezunovic, the Eugene E. Webb Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M and a researcher in the TEES Electrical and Computer Engineering Division.
The SGC will aim to transform the electrical grid infrastructure in the United States to meet the demands of the 21st century. The formation of this center is vital at this time, given the importance of the electricity grid to the U.S. economy and to national energy security.
The center brings together several smart grid electric energy efforts already under way in the A&M System and will position the system as a leader in education, research and public service in the modernization of the electricity system. The center will bring together interdisciplinary research teams to develop more innovative and effective smart grid solutions.
Kezunovic said the center will further the system's research and capabilities in renewable energy, computational intelligence and complexity, electric vehicles and cyber security. The center will also address important economic and policy issues related to the electric grid. Additionally the center will partner with industry, government and other universities to address and improve electricity systems worldwide.
"The engineering program at Texas A&M is one of the strongest in the nation and the establishment of these two centers broadens the depth of services that A&M and TEES provide to the State of Texas as well as the nation," said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering and director of TEES.