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Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
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Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493

Research@Mines - by Subject
Computer Science

SD Mines Receives Imaging Scientist Grant for Cutting-Edge Live Cell Imaging

Brandon Scott, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at SD Mines, adjusts part of the Lattice Light Sheet Microscope (LLSM) used to make dynamic 3D movies showing the inner workings of living cells.

Brandon Scott, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, and  affiliated with the imaging core of BioSystems Networks / Translational Research, or BioSNTR (pronounced "bio-center") at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, is one of 17 scientists in the United States to be supported by a $17-million dollar grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to select imaging centers across the country. The grant will support Scott to continue his work on cutting-edge imaging science using the Lattice Light Sheet Microscope (LLSM) and a suite of state-of-the-art imaging tools established by the imaging core of BioSNTR at SD Mines.

The centerpiece of the application was 3D imaging of living cells using the LLSM. This powerful tool allows the visualization of life at the cellular level in ways previously not possible, giving researchers the ability to view the inner workings of cells dynamically. The work could have impact on a wide range of medical research, from immunotherapy to cancer research. These new imag...

Last Edited 3/20/2019 03:49:54 PM [Comments (0)]

The Potential Power of Autonomous Flying Swarms

Shankarachary Ragi, Ph.D. an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Mines holds three hummingbird sized drones that his team is working with.

If you’ve ever marveled at a flock of birds moving in complex patterns as if it were one single large organism, you’re not alone. Researchers at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are working to infuse similar cooperative behavior on a collection of flying robots. This is not an easy task, birds have millions of years of evolution that allow them to flock, researchers developing swarm robotics are writing mathematical models to mimic some of this behavior. Developing the ability for drones to work together in swarms could have wide-ranging applications­—from agriculture to military use. But many scientific hurdles remain.

“These decision-making problems are very challenging because each independent robot in the swarm has to predict how others will behave in the future and then make its own decisions accordingly,” says Shankarachary Ragi, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at SD Mines who is leading the research. Ragi and his team are helping to develop mathematical models, or algorithms, that enable these kinds of cooperative behaviors in drones.

Decades ago, computer scientists realized they could build a virtual supercomputer by making several normal- sized computers work together in a n...

Last Edited 2/12/2019 08:11:08 AM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Students Develop Free Robot Programming Simulator

The RoboScience Simulator looks like a rudimentary video game on the screen, but gets the job done when it comes to teaching students to code. Pictured below: Members of the RoboScience Simulator senior design team include computer science majors (pictured) Samuel Williams, Kendra Deziel and Ryley Sutton. Team members not pictured are Christopher Smith, a master’s student in computational sciences and robotics, and computer science major Andrew Stelter.

Robot Programming Simulator

When it comes to programming actual robots, things get very expensive, very quickly.

“Robots are unforgiving,” says Dr. Jeffrey McGough, professor of mathematics and computer science at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “And maintenance of robots is painful.”

Students learning to program autonomous robots often spend more time repairing them after they are damaged as a result of coding mistakes than they do learning to actually program. An incorrectly programmed robot might drive off a table top or crash into a wall, requiring hours of hands-on repair work, McGough says.

McGough began looking for curriculum and/or software to teach his students robot programming seven years ago. He quickly realized there was little available. He experimented with a Roomba Robot Vacuum, but the maintenance costs quickly added up.

Robot Programming Simulator Read Full Article
Last Edited 2/25/2019 04:30:13 PM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Professor Helps Invent New Tool to Better Prevent and Fight Wildfire

The 2016 Storm Hill Fire burning near Mitchell Lake in the Black Hills. Photo by Incident Commander Rob Lehmann. Thanks to Great Plains Fire Information.

State Fire Meteorologist, Darren Clabo, Ph.D., at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is helping create the Fire Risk Estimation tool (FiRE). The tool gives land managers and firefighting officials a more detailed look at fire potential across the Missouri River basin.

Smokey Bear signs that indicate overall fire danger are common along roadways in the western United States. The FiRE tool uses satellite and metrological data to create a much more detailed understanding of fire danger. The tool can give firefighters a critical edge. Fire managers say the “initial attack” phase during the first few hours of any of any wildfire is the most important time to gain control. When officials know the areas where fire danger is increasing ahead of time they can position resources and better prepare to quickly respond to any small fires before they grow into large incidences.   

“We can narrow this onto a 10-kiliometer grid scale, says Clabo. Previous tools only assessed fire danger on a wider scale, such as across national forest districts or across a county. “If the western two thirds of Pennington County is wet because they’ve gotten a series of thunderstorms, but some of the eastern areas are dry, we will know where a fire is more likely to start and spread.” Clabo adds.

Clab...

Last Edited 6/30/2017 12:49:24 PM [Comments (0)]

Industry Software Gift Aids in Energy Research, Student Career Preparation

From left to right, Ron Jeitz, SD Mines Foundation officer; Eric Sullivan, Baker Hughes Inc. senior technical advisor, research & development; Heather Wilson, president, SD Mines; Scott Schmidt, Mines alumnus and Baker Hughes vice president, Drill Bits; Dr. Laurie Anderson, head of SD Mines Department of Geology & Geological Engineering; Rustom Mody, Baker Hughes vice president, Technical Excellence.

 New reservoir performance software donated to train students for petroleum industry careers will also support independent research projects of geology and geological engineering faculty and students.

The gift valued at $1.8 million from international oilfield services giant Baker Hughes Incorporated includes:

  • JewelSuite™ software for geologic modeling, reservoir engineering, 3D and 4D geomechanics, and wellbore stability
  • MFrac™ and MShale™ software packages for fracture modeling and design
  • Completion ArchiTEX™ (CTX) software for completions design.

The software will be used in geology and geological engineering classes, including drilling and production engineering, petroleum geology, the petroleum field camp and a new geomechanics course to help develop Mines students as future industry leaders. In recent years, 20 percent of Mines graduates have gone on to careers in the energy industry, and Baker Hughes has been the fifth-highest employer of Mines graduates for the past five years.

South Dakota School of Mines announced its Energy Resources Initiative three years ago to leverage the university’s expertise and research in rock properties, water resources and materials development, as well as its location in an energy-rich region of the country, within 300 miles of the Williston, Denver and Powder River basins. 

Last Edited 11/3/2016 03:21:20 PM [Comments (0)]