Aerospace Masters Student Obtains National Fellowship

By: Shannon Frohme
Date: May 11, 2016

Timothy Arnett, College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) aerospace engineering masters student, received the prestigious three-year National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship to pursue research on genetic fuzzy logic and unmanned aerial vehicle systems.

Timothy Arnett

The highly competitive NSDEG fellowship grants recipients the opportunity to pursue a STEM-based doctoral program at any US university institution of their choosing.

Arnett, a champion in the CEAS Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (AEEM), received his bachelor of science (BS) degree aerospace engineering and this summer he will receive his master of science (MS) in aerospace engineering with a focus on dynamics and controls.

Fascinated by genetic fuzzy, artificial intelligence (AI) systems and collaborative unmanned vehicles (UAV), Arnett fully intends to enhance and develop these engineering research areas under the guidance of his NSDEG Fellowship. Aside from receiving the highly competitive NSDEG Fellowship this spring, Arnett received the prestigious Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)/Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute (DAGSI) award for his research on fuzzy logic this past academic year.

Fuzzy logic controller output surfaces before training and verification

Fuzzy logic controller output surfaces before training and verification

Autonomous machines, such as autonomous car technologies, are becoming increasingly popular in today’s technological landscape yet are being held to increasingly strict performance and safety standards. “One of the major roadblocks toward implementing UAV’s into full scale-production,” explains Arnett, “is verifying that the machines will consistently perform as expected.”

Arnett’s research will enhance collaborative decision-making control of multiple UAV’s by taking a non-traditional approach to fuzzy logic control systems. His doctoral research efforts will enhance our confidence in UAV’s to perform and operate in a more predictable manner.

Kelly Cohen, PhD, AEEM professor and Arnett’s undergraduate and graduate advisor, inspired Arnett to pursue in-depth research on genetic fuzzy systems.  “I recall the specific moment when Professor Cohen introduced me to Nick Ernest’s PhD research on genetic fuzzy systems.  Ernest’s research was showing promising results but before the technology could be matured and possibly introduced into real systems, it needed to meet myriad safety and operating standards. My future research will deal with producing and guiding the necessary training of these control systems by identifying key areas where performance specifications are being violated.”

fuzzy logic controller output surfaces after (bottom/second one) training and verification

Fuzzy logic controller output surfaces after training and verification

Having received this highly notable fellowship and accompanying funding, Arnett will have the ability to focus all of his efforts on his research. “Not only will the NSDEG fellowship allow me to devote all of my time towards research, but it will also help with traveling to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for collaborative efforts. More generally, it will help drive implementation towards more complex control algorithms and increase safety and performance in autonomous systems,” says Arnett excitedly.

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected to receive an NDSEG fellowship and I owe much to the guidance given to me by my CEAS advisors Drs. Kelly Cohen and Nick Ernest, and Matthew Clark, my research advisor at AFRL.”

The NSDEG fellowship program is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Army Research Office (ARO), the High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCM) and the Office of Naval Research under the direction of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E).

Select for further information the NSDEG Graduate Fellowship