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Education, IEEE Transactions on

Issue 2 • Date May 2001

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 38
  • Emphasizing formal analysis in a software engineering curriculum

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    The integration of formal method application throughout a six course software engineering curriculum is outlined. Formal analysis skills were included in order to increase the complex program solving skills of the student. The five instruction-oriented courses presented highlight how formal analysis was introduced in and applied to the corresponding subject material. The materials presented, along with an accounting of the experiment, provide a basis for other academicians to teach formal analysis at their own institutions. View full abstract»

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  • Learning microcontrollers with a CAI oriented multi-micro simulation environment

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    This paper presents the application of a CAI-oriented simulation environment of the 8051, namely UVI51, to the laboratory work in an introductory course on microcontrollers. The main features of UV151 derive from its orientation to education: (i) very realistic simulation of both CPU and embedded peripherals; (ii) easy-to-use interface; (iii) graphical windows that show the state and configuration of the embedded peripherals; (iv) ability to simulate the concurrent operation of several microcontrollers; and (v) ability to simulate the interaction of the microcontrollers with external peripherals. A brief description of the environment and some exercises to be implemented by the students are presented. The results of the educational experience, in terms of both opinions and scores of the students, are also discussed. View full abstract»

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  • Teaching electromagnetic fields and FEM for undergraduate students

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    An approach to the finite element method applied to the solution of electromagnetic fields problems is presented. This methodology is suitable for teaching electrical engineering students at undergraduate level, because the problem formulation is based solely on the direct integration of Maxwell's equations and the approach is only valid for first-order elements, thereby avoiding the use of an excessively complex mathematical treatment. View full abstract»

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  • Teaching the nonscience major: EE101-The digital information age

    Page(s): 158 - 164
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (56 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    EE 10l-The Digital Information Age, a course taught for the past six years to nonscience majors and freshmen considering electrical engineering as a major, is one the largest courses at Yale with a cumulative enrollment of approximately 2700 students. The goal is to describe how common-place digital information systems work and why they work that way by illustrating clever engineering solutions to technological problems. The course considers the following topics: information sources; logic gates; computer hardware; and software, measuring information using entropy, error detection and correction coding, compression, encryption, data transmission and data manipulation by computer. Earlier versions of EE101 included both hardware and software projects. The hardware project was to implement a bean counter using digital logic modules. The software project involved writing a personal World Wide Web page and developing a Web page for a Yale-affiliated organization. Recent versions replated the hardware project with additional Internet projects that receive data from a Web page viewer and that measure transmission times and the number of nodes between a source and destination. Having completed the course, students feel that they have an appreciation for the digital information systems they encounter on a daily basis View full abstract»

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  • Discovering the effects of feedback on control systems: informative and interesting numerical exercises

    Page(s): 104 - 108
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (88 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    A numerical approach to feedback investigations allows students to discover easily and quickly the basic effects of feedback, both desirable and undesirable, on automatic control systems. Students can quickly learn the intuitive aspects of feedback early in their study of control systems before they enter, and perhaps become lost in, the world of intense mathematical analysis and design applied to feedback. The illustrative example presented in this paper, which is designed to match the preferred learning style of most engineering students, can be used to form coordinated numerical and analytical exercises in lecture, recitation, or laboratory portions of the course. Our students say that they enjoy and benefit from the many learning aspects of these discovery exercises View full abstract»

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  • Root loci design using Dickson's technique

    Page(s): 176 - 184
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (200 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Traditional techniques for determining the root loci were developed by Evans. Given the characteristic equation {1+G(s)H(s)=0}, Evans root locus method requires the magnitude of G(s)H(s) to be equal to minus one and is well established for determining the pole locations as the system gains are changed. In this paper, nontraditional techniques for developing the root loci of control systems are introduced. Illustrations are developed by using a method for plotting the root loci that involves setting the real and the imaginary portions of the characteristic equation equal to zero. Setting the real and imaginary parts of the characteristic equation equal to zero arises from work in the theory of equations by Dickson. Application of this technique allows adjustment of the gain, to establish the system requirements, and introduces collateral equations subject to unique geometric interpretation View full abstract»

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  • Internet-based learning by doing

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    This paper presents the current trends in Internet-based training by experimental work. The authors show how to apply the “learning by doing” paradigm in Internet-based distance learning, both for academic educational environments and life-long training systems, taking into account available computer and network resources. Firstly, the different phases in the learning process are introduced. The aim of this introduction is to show to the readers the importance of the learning by doing paradigm, which is not implemented in many Internet-based educational environments. Then, they identify the most important trends in this field which can be classified into two main groups. The first one consists of accessing the real equipment through an Internet interface. The second is based on simulation, very often, Java-based simulation. Both approaches are discussed, including brief descriptions of currently available systems that implement them. Finally, these approaches are compared from different points of view. They point out the most significant variables to bear in mind and, as the readers may find a tradeoff between some of them, they also provide a graphical guide to help them in their choice View full abstract»

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  • A computer tool for helping engineering students in their learning of electrical energy basics

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    This paper describes a computer tool designed to help engineering students with their work in learning basic concepts of electrical energy. The computer tool was built as a specialized package of the software Mathematica, comprising about thirty user-defined functions covering all the application area of electrical energy systems. The package was designed to back up courses using the problem-based learning paradigm. Two typical examples of usage are presented in details View full abstract»

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  • An evaluation model for Web-based instruction

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    Recently Web-based instruction (WBI) has been adopted for many educational systems in order to support distance education. WBI has become popular in that it overcomes time and space limitation in traditional educational systems. But due to lack of face-to-face communication, it is crucial that WBI provide interactivity and motivation for students. This paper introduces a formal model that evaluates interactivity and motivation for courses based on WBI. The model is comprehensive and objective so that it can be used to evaluate any course. Based on the model, the paper selects some WBI courses and compares them for their interactivity and motivation. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of further research issues View full abstract»

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  • Vector control methods for induction machines: an overview

    Page(s): 170 - 175
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (108 KB)  

    In the last three decades, different vector control methods (field-oriented control (FOC), field acceleration method (FAM), universal field orientation (UFO), direct self control (DSC) and Takahashi method among others) have been proposed. It is difficult for students and nonspecialists to understand the drawbacks and advantages of each one. With this in mind, the objective of this paper is to propose a clear classification and comparison of them View full abstract»

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  • Development of an interactive CDROM-based tutorial for teaching MATLAB

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    This paper describes the development of an interactive computer-based tutorial for MATLAB. This tutorial has been developed for undergraduate or graduate students who have had little or no exposure to MATLAB. Students are guided through new concepts and syntax with useful aids such as audio, video and interactive exercises. The exercises, implemented in a specially designed exercise window, give the students an opportunity to use MATLAB to solve problems immediately after covering new concepts. The exercise window has a background interface to MATLAB and thus all commands entered in the window are executed by MATLAB. Hints, example solutions, multiple choice quizzes and test problems, requiring the use of proper MATLAB structure and syntax, add to the learning experience. This project was initially undertaken to investigate student response to alternate computer-based teaching methods. Thus student input has played an important part in the development of this tutorial. Subjective feedback from students, which is presented in the paper, indicate great promise for this alternate approach to teaching MATLAB View full abstract»

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  • An educational genetic algorithms learning tool

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    During the last thirty years, there has been a rapidly growing interest in a field called genetic algorithms (GAs). The field is at a stage of tremendous growth as evidenced by the increasing number of conferences, workshops and papers concerning it, as well as the emergence of a central journal for the field. With their great robustness, genetic algorithms have proven to be a promising technique for many optimization, design, control, and machine learning applications. Students who take a GAs course study and implement a wide range of difference techniques of GAs. And practical implementation experience plays a very important role in learning computer relative courses. Herein, an educational genetic algorithm learning tool (EGALT) has been developed to help students facilitate GAs course. With the readily available tool students can reduce the mechanical programming aspect of learning and concentrate on principles alone. A friendly graphic user interface was established to help students operate and control not only the structural identification but also the parametric identification of GAs. It outlines how to implemented genetic algorithms, how to set parameters of different kinds of problems, and recommends a set of genetic algorithms, which were suggested in previous studies View full abstract»

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  • Signal-flow graphs: direct method of reduction and MATLAB implementation

    Page(s): 185 - 190
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (100 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Block diagrams and signal-flow graphs are used to represent and to obtain the transfer function of interconnected systems. The reduction of signal-flow graphs is considered simpler than the reduction of block diagrams for systems with complex interrelationships. Signal-flow graphs reduction can be made without graphic manipulations of diagrams, and it is attractive for a computational implementation. In this paper, the authors propose a computational method for direct reduction of signal-flow graphs. This method uses results presented in this paper about the calculation of literal determinants without symbolic mathematics tools. The Cramer's rule is applied for the solution of a set of linear equations. A program in MATLAB language for reduction of signal-flow graphs with the proposed method is presented View full abstract»

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  • Developing educational software for mechatronics simulation

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    The need for a mechatronics simulation software is pointed out with special reference to engineering education, after which the authors present a convenient approach. Their basic algorithm computes the electromechanical behavior of electric motors combined with mechanical components like inertial/frictional/torsional loads, including such transmission elements as gears or lead screw/nuts. The simplicity and utility of their mathematical treatment are discussed in terms of its educational merits. The major theory is developed using a brush-type permanent DC motor, but brushless DC and stepping motors are discussed as well. They present three sample software packages. One is a simple program which demonstrates the computational principles for the electric current in an LRC circuit or the velocity of a suspended mass. The other two simulate the dynamic behavior of a slide table powered by a DC motor via gears and a lead screw. One is written in Microsoft Visual Basic code reflecting the physical meaning of mechanical components and the other is a Visual C++ version using the class library concept. The merits and demerits of these two approaches are discussed from the vantage point of undergraduate education and the retraining of technical instructors and working engineers View full abstract»

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  • Minimum return difference as a compensator design tool

    Page(s): 120 - 128
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (264 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Minimum return difference (RDmin) is a single robustness measure that, when large, guarantees that both gain margin (GM) and phase margin (PM) are large. In this paper, a lag and lead compensator design procedure based on RD is proposed, derived, and compared with the commonly used Bode PM-based design methods that undergraduates are taught in the first course on controls and that continue to appear in new textbooks. To introduce students to modern compensator design concepts while avoiding the complexities of optimal control theory, a cost function is minimized over a search focused on compensators that potentially may yield a large RDmin. An approximate relation between RDmin and {M, PM} suggests a lower bound on RDmin for robust system stability. An efficient procedure for exact calculation of RDmin is presented and is a valuable component of the compensator design algorithm. The compensator parameter search is conducted over a domain that approximately enforces/exceeds the lower bound requirement on RD min. All designs violating the requirement are rejected. The settling time and overshoot of the step response are usually both reduced relative to the traditional design methods, sometimes substantially, and the RD method often succeeds when the traditional methods fail. The undergraduate instructor is thus given a fresh, modern, and successful alternative for teaching first-order compensation synthesis without getting into advanced graduate-level techniques. The procedure also helps students understand system robustness and provides an easy transition to optimization methods, linking them with familiar concepts View full abstract»

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  • An autonomous race car design competition

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    This paper describes an innovative collaboration between industry and academia in creating a meaningful design experience for undergraduate electrical engineering students. The design project involves designing, building and testing an autonomous model racecar. The course culminates in a competition. A primary goal of the competition is to provide undergraduates with a meaningful design experience with an emphasis on electronic circuits. This contest has a different flavor from the well-established IEEE Micromouse competition in the sense that it places the emphasis on the design and construction of an electronic sensing and control system without the microprogramming necessary to solve a maze (although a microprocessor can certainly be used). It is hoped that by placing the emphasis on the circuitry, the course will encourage more undergraduates to go into the field of electronic circuit design. The learning experience offered by the competition is shaped by, among other things, the format and rules of the competition, the students preparation in terms of circuit and control system theory and practice, and by the format of the design project course. This paper describes the competition in detail and discuss factors affecting the educational experience View full abstract»

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  • Helicoidal single-layer cylindrical coil self-inductance evaluation: a didactic method

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    This paper presents a didactic mathematical method to evaluate the self-inductance of a nonmagnetic core single-layer helicoidal coil presenting voids between turns. This type of calculation, using Biot-Savart Law, is not usually presented in the traditional electromagnetic text books, but constitutes an excellent tool to show to the students how to apply the very important Biot-Savart Law, using vectorial calculus, in a special electromagnetic device. It also shows them that the results are more accurate than that gotten when using the traditional methods presented in the most adopted books, that don't consider the helicoidal shape and the voids between turns and usually make strong restrictive conditions to permit the self-inductance calculation View full abstract»

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  • Integrating the teaching of computer organization and architecture with digital hardware design early in undergraduate courses

    Page(s): 109 - 119
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (420 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper describes a new way to teach computer organization and architecture concepts with extensive hands-on hardware design experience very early in computer science curricula. While describing the approach, it addresses relevant questions about teaching computer organization, computer architecture and hardware design to students in computer science and related fields. The justification to concomitantly teach two often separately addressed subjects is twofold. First, to provide a better insight into the practical aspects of computer organization and architecture. Second, to allow addressing only highly abstract design levels yet achieving reasonably performing implementations, to make the integrated teaching approach feasible. The approach exposes students to many of the essential issues incurred in the analysis, simulation, design and effective implementation of processors. Although the former separation of such connected disciplines has certainly brought academic benefits in the past, some modern technologies allow capitalizing on their integration. The practical implementation of the teaching approach comprises lecture as well as laboratory courses, starting in the third semester of an undergraduate computer science curriculum. In four editions of the first two courses, most students have obtained successful processor implementations. In some cases, considerably complex applications, such as bubble sort and quick sort procedures were programmed in assembly and or machine code and run at the hardware description language simulation level in the designed processors View full abstract»

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  • Web based peer assessment: attitude and achievement

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    The specific features of the Web-based peer assessment are to utilize Internet resources to facilitate contacts between individuals and information, to assist in brainstorming among individuals, and to generate more meaningful learning at the higher education level. In this research, authors focus predominantly on attitudes of computer science students toward Web-based peer assessment using NetPeas as the interactive channel and management center. NetPeas is a Web-based peer assessment system implemented for two-way anonymous peer assessment. In an evaluation held in spring 1999, this study recruited a sample of fifty-eight computer science undergraduate students enrolled in an operating systems class in a research university of Taiwan. Attitudes toward Web-based peer assessment were measured by a post-test questionnaire, including several affective components, for example, “satisfied” or “unsatisfied” about the Web-based peer assessment. The result demonstrated that; (1) significantly more students favored this new learning strategy; and (2) students with positive attitude outperformed those with negative attitude. No matter positive attitude toward Web-based peer assessment brings about higher achievement or higher achievement promotes positive attitude, teachers must take care of students' subjective feelings in enhancing effective Web-based peer assessment View full abstract»

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  • Remote laboratory for a brushless DC motor

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    The objective of this study is to investigate remote-learning methods in the context of mechatronics education, and in particular, for the study of brushless DC motors, which are extensively employed in robots, information devices, home appliances and other areas. While hypermedia-based courseware and computer-assisted instruction are widely used in conventional desk-type learning, very few examples exist of remote learning that involve experiments. The authors therefore developed a prototype client-server system for remotely conducting experiments on brushless DC motors, including Web-based courseware and other software. The server computer is connected to the motor laboratory, and the visual image and sounds of the experiment are transmitted to the client computer in real time. The remotely located user can operate the motors and conduct experiments through the client computer. Through demonstrations to a class, the authors conclude that the remote lab combined with a simulation of the motor's dynamic behavior can be a quite effective teaching aid for the study of precision motors View full abstract»

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  • A simple device and a project for the nonlinear control systems laboratory

    Page(s): 144 - 150
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    This paper describes a new inverted pendulum system that is useful to illustrate important aspects of nonlinear control systems theory. The stabilization of the pendulum is to be achieved by the on-off action of two electromagnets; therefore, an adequate switching policy has to be applied. The pendulum can be controlled by a computer, using simple electronic interface circuits. This paper considers first an example from literature that suggests some design principles about the new system. Second, there is a detailed description of the pendulum. Finally, the use of the system in a student's project is presented. The experimental device is easy to build, inexpensive, and has good pedagogical impact View full abstract»

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  • NASWAVE-a program for display of standing waves on network analyzers

    Page(s): 151 - 157
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (136 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Vector network analyzers have evolved as the measurement system of choice for microwave industry use. However, network analyzers are not usually covered in undergraduate laboratories, primarily because of cost and reluctance of instructors to move away from slotted line techniques, and the associated visual representation of standing waves. To bridge the gap between these technologies, a computer program has been developed for controlling a network analyzer to display standing waves as visualized on slotted lines for impedance measurements. The program, NASWAVE, provides this visualization of standing waves for instructional purposes so that students actually see the waveforms similar to the response obtained with slotted line measurements, The equations used for computation and display of the standing waves are presented. The software operation and use is discussed and examples are also presented View full abstract»

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  • Modular microprocessor kit for undergraduate laboratory on industrial automation

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    Teaching microprocessors to mechanical engineering students has become part of the new curriculum of the Escola Politecnica of the University of Sao Paulo, since 1988. The theoretical discipline, where microprocessor small systems design is taught, is complemented with laboratory activities where the student faces a one-semester project for solving a problem with a modular microprocessor kit on the subject of industrial automation. The concept of modularity introduced in this microprocessor kit allows the student to propose his or her own project and configure a system that allows the students to have contact with three basic issues concerning industrial automation: actuation, sensing and I/O commands. The kit is composed of several modules, that can be interconnected between themselves and a linear position system with two actuators versions, one with DC motor and encoder and other with stepping motor. Each module consists of a PC board of 100×130 mm of dimensions and, except for the motor's drivers, they can be connected to each other by flat cable or by the piggy-back method which creates a stack of boards. This paper describes the modular microprocessor kit and its application to an undergraduate laboratory to solve industrial automation problems View full abstract»

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  • Learning on demand-a hybrid synchronous/asynchronous approach

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    A variety of online courses and even degree programs have begun to appear as standard offerings from a broad spectrum of educational and training institutions. Often, these courses consist purely of web-based access to traditional textual and graphical course materials, while others have tried to provide real-time audio or video access to traditional classes using modern communications technologies. This paper describes another approach-the Lectures on Demand in Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALN) methodology-in using information technology to enhance the learning experience for conventional on-campus students, as well as for those students whose circumstances require that they be asynchronous in time or space with respect to fellow students and instructional staff. In this approach, students are able to 'attend' classes in real time via the Internet, as well as to access asynchronously digitally stored video material with hyperlinks to other online resources, such as mailing lists or chat sessions, at any time. In addition to the simple delivery of class materials, current and emerging Internet-based communication technologies permit beneficial interaction in real-time and asynchronously among students and between students and instructor, which is a key for effective learning. The paper discusses the pedagogical and technical issues involved in this approach, and describes a variety of mechanisms to provide enhanced live and archived classes View full abstract»

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  • A PC with sound card as an audio waveform generator, a two-channel digital oscilloscope and a spectrum analyzer

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    The availability of inexpensive PC sound cards that can simultaneously play and record stereo digital audio files permits a single PC to function as both a signal generator and as a dual-channel recording digital oscilloscope. When the input and output of a linear analog circuit are recorded, for example, free or inexpensive software permits display of the input and output waveforms and spectra, as well as calculation of the magnitude and phase of the transfer function. Thus, students can perform measurements and calculations on simple signal processing circuits with their own PCs. The result is expanded utility of hardware homework, which before, despite popularity among students, was severely limited in applications beyond DC circuits View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

Educational research, methods, materials, programs, and technology in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and fields within the scope of interest of IEEE.

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Jeffrey E. Froyd
Texas A&M University