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Oakland University | School of Engineering and Computer Science
The official newsletter serving students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Oakland University.


September 2013
Volume 2 - Issue 5

In remembrance: Stephan Sharf, longtime friend of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, dies at 92

Stephan Sharf, former Chrysler executive and longtime friend of Oakland University and the School  of Engineering and Computer Science, whose generosity and leadership left a lasting impact on manufacturing and education, died on Saturday, August 31st. He was 92. He is survived by his wife, Patti Finnegan.

Sharf immigrated to the United States from Berlin in 1947, after a two year wait imposed by immigration. As one of thousands who left the remnants of war-torn Europe for the promise of new beginnings in the United States, Sharf felt fortunate to be working at a small company in Buffalo, New York before moving on to Ford Motor Company and then to Chrysler Corp.

At Chrysler, Sharf worked his way up from the plant floor to executive vice president for worldwide manufacturing. In 1984, he was nominated for the Board of the Directors for the Chrysler Corp. 

After his retirement from Chrysler in 1986, he served as an OU trustee from 1987 to 1994, board vice chair from 1992 to 1994 and as a member of the OU Foundation from 1985 to 2006.

Sharf served as a member of the SECS advisory board from 1996 until his death.

In 2012, Sharf further solidified his support of OU by making the largest combination cash and planned gift in the history of the University. Of his $21 million gift, dedicated to enhancing the academic experience, $6 million was given to SECS.

"Steve Sharf  was,  to many people, a father, colleague, brother, mentor, leader, and a pioneer," SECS Dean Louay Chamra said. "He was ahead of his time in his visions and showed us how automotive manufacturing will be for decades. He lead a life of great deeds and supported higher education with a strong passion. His legacy will always live on in the School of Engineering and Computer Science for many generations."

Interim president Betty J. Youngblood said "Steve was one of the greatest supporters and benefactors in the university's history. His contributions to student life, educational quality, campus growth and the arts knew no bounds. He was utterly dedicated to the success of the university and that dedication will benefit students, faculty, staff and our community for generations to come."

Sharf was preceded in death by his first wife, Rita, in 2001.

Stephan Sharf.

Nabtesco Motion Control gives generous gift to SECS

Through a generous gift from Nabtesco Motion Control, Oakland University junior / senior and graduate level students in the School of Engineering and Computer Science are being offered a chance to take part in a unique robotics and automation design challenge using Nabtesco gear boxes which have also been donated by the company as part of their corporate gift to OU.

The challenge is for students to design an application and create a working machine which "engages and/or entertains" -- with the added bonus being that the machine will be on permanent display in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.  Dr. Khalid Mira, who, along with Dr. Daniel Chang, will meet with students on October 2nd to discuss the competition in detail.  Dr. Mirza said, "Dr Chang and I with our corporate partner Nabtesco Motion Control are excited to offer engineering students this challenge.  We will choose a team of about 6 students from various engineering disciplines to form a team who will design an application and create a professional grade machine using Nabtesco gear boxes, which are literally inside almost all of the industrial robots in the world market today."   The program will span both Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 semesters on this project. The students will be eligible for a cash award and 2 independent study credits for their participation and the finished machine will be used to introduce aspects of engineering to students and visitors to the SECS.
For more information, please R.S.V.P. to Professor Khalid Mirza at  

Chihiro Higuchi, Nabtesco President and Louay Chamra, Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Oakland's FSAE team receives high rankings statewide, nationally and internationally

The results are in, and Oakland University's Formula SAE Team has not disappointed. OU's Grizzlies Racing team ranks 2nd in Michigan, 10th in the United States and 39th in the world. "To be ranked so highly in the state, the US and the world, against much larger programs, requires a very dedicated team and a sustained effort over many years," the team's faculty adviser, Brian Sangeorzan, Ph.D, said. "I am very proud of, and sometimes amazed at what the OU team has been able to accomplish."

Engineering Center continues to take shape 

The School of Engineering and Computer Science's new Engineering Center continues to come along nicely. This photo was taken recently from the Science and Engineering Building.

Engineering and Computer Science Brag Corner

News and notes from around the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Computer Science and Engineering

  • Professor Jie Yang has been awarded a $165,000 grant from Army Research Office (ARO) on the project "Making Inferences of Physical Properties to Enhance Wireless Security", which focuses utilizing physical properties that possess domain knowledge of wireless communications and have unique characteristics, to enhance the security of wireless networks and ensure the reliable data delivery.
  • Professor Mike Wu's research team, including his doctoral student, Yen-Ting Lee, and two CSE undergraduate students, Brian Frazho and Arnaud Crowther, is working on the Online Self-guided OU Campus Touring System project. Dr. Wu, Frazho and Crowther, made a presentation and demonstration of the VR Self-guided OU Gold Course Touring project to the manager and staff of the OU Golf and Learning Center.
  • Professor Jie Yang has one paper, titled "E3: Energy-Efficient Engine for Frame Rate Adaptation on Smartphones," accepted to The 11th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys 2013) with acceptance rate 17%. SenSys is the premier conference in the area of wireless sensor networks. Dr. Yang has another paper, titled "Towards Self-Healing Smart Grid via Intelligent Local Controller Switching under Jamming," accepted to the first IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security (CNS 2013). CNS is a premier forum for communications and network security researchers.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

    • Professor Hoda S. Abdel-Aty-Zohdy received the Oakland University Research Excellence Award for 2013.  Dr. Abdel-Aty-Zohdy also received The IEEE Senior Member Award, in recognition of Professional Standing.

    • The President for the IEEE OU-Student Branch for the 2012-13 academic year, Amratanshu Parashar, received The Outstanding Student Organization President Award at Oakland University, in April.
    • Professor Manohar Das was a co-inventor on U.S. Patent Number US 8445809 B2 titled, "Method and apparatus for resistance spot welding." Publication date: May 21, 2013.
    • Ahmed Al-Muraeb, Ph.D Candidate, with undergraduate students Robert Okonowski and Zachery Fitzpatrick received The Second Place Best Poster Award at the IEEE-SEM Spring Conference, "Dual Mode Pulse Modulation (DPWM/DPFM)  Generator for Biological Sensor and Transmitter Systems,"  with Faculty Adviser and Professor Hoda S. Abdel-Aty-Zohdy in April.

    • Professor Hoda S. Abdel-Aty-Zohdy was invited to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 56th International MidWest Symposium on Circuits and Systems (MWSCAS) in August, in Columbus, Ohio, and served as the Technical Program Co-Chair; Chair of Future Symposiums; Technical Track Chair; member of the steering committee; and Chair of two sessions: "Sensing and Measurement of Biological Signals" and "Bio-Inspired Green Technology."

    • Simon Omekanda, Ph.D Candidate, Jean-Lucien Omekanda, Professor Hoda S. Abdel-Aty-Zohdy, and Professor Mohamed Zohdy, published "Use of the Extended Kalman Filter for Biological Models Accuracy," in The Proceedings of the IEEE MWSCAS2013, pp. 608-611, August 2013.

    • Professor Hoda S. Abdel-Aty-Zohdy; Stephanie Roth, M.S. Candidate; and undergraduate student Ephrem Mebrahtu, published  "Daubechies-4 Wavelets System-on-Chip for Classifications of Mixed-Chemicals," in The Proceedings of the IEEE MWSCAS2013, pp. 616-620, August 2013.

    • The ECE Senior U/G and First year Graduate course ECE485/585 accomplished FOUR prototype Digital Integrated Circuit Chips that are being processed at On-Semiconductors 0.5 um CMOS Technology. This is a privilege that OU/SECS/ECE students have, which is only available to few selected universities. ASIC #1:  "Preprocessing module for chemical sensor system using   Daubechies Wavelet D4 Transform," IC Chip, Designers: Stephanie Roth (G), and Amratanshu Parashar (G), W2013 and S2013 ASIC #2: "Two Mode Pulse Modulation (PWM & PFM) Generator," Tiny-Chip, Designers:  Ahmed Al-Muraeb (G),  Robert Okonowski (U/G), and Zachary Fitzpatrick (U/G), W2013. ASIC #3: "ASIC Design of a VGA Coprocessor,"  Designers: Mark  Bowers (G), and Michael Prechel (G), W2013. ASIC #4: "Programmable Digital Oscillator for Sinusoidal Generation," Designer: Anthony Bogedin (U/G), W2013

    • Professor Andy Rusek gave an invited two hour lecture to the Chrysler Corporation about applications of electronic measurement equipment in automotive industry.

    Industrial and Systems Engineering

    • In August, the ISE Department once again offered a not-for-credit certification course on the Siemens PLM ergonomics software Jack.  The course was funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and was developed with the assistance of Siemens PLM Software Inc. and 4D Systems LLC.  A subject matter expert in Jack from 4D Systems taught the week-long course which was attended by engineers and interns from Chrysler as well as ISE students and faculty.  If you or your company are interested in learning more about this hands-on certification course, please contact Professor and ISE Chair Robert Van Til or Professor Sankar Sengupta.
    • ISE undergraduate student Anthony Sciuto is spending fall semester on an internship at NASA.  Sciuto is working at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  He is utilizing reliability modeling techniques to analyze components and parts to be used on the International Space Station.

    Mechanical Engineering

    • As the principal investigator, School of Engineering and Computer Science Associate Dean and Professor Lorenzo M. Smith received a $390,000 grant from the Department of Energy to support his research in the area of numerical modeling of electrohydraulic pulsed welding of dissimilar metals in lightweight body in white structures. For this project, Dr. Smith will be working closely with both Ford Motor Company research staff and with one of his Oakland University visiting scholars, Dr. Alexander Mamutov. This three year project will begin in October 2013. In May 2013, Ford Motor Company awarded Dr. Smith $48,000 to support his continued research in advanced hemming technologies for sheet metal products. For this project, Dr. Smith will continue working closely with his Ph.D. student and his Ford Motor Company research colleague Dr. Sergey Golovashchenko. 
    • In July 2013, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories awarded SECS Associate Dean and Professor Lorenzo M. Smith $205,000 to support his research in the area of advanced manufacturing of sheet metal formed products. Dr. Smith's, and his research staff at Oakland University, will focus primarily on experimental and numerical modeling of the shearing process of aluminum alloys. Findings from this study will allow automobile manufacturers the opportunity to reduce further the weight of their vehicles, thereby promoting energy savings for the customer. This three year project will also begin in October 2013. In June 2013 Chrysler awarded Dr. Smith $110,000 to support CLIC-form, a unique work-ready educational program designed to produce graduates who can "hit the ground running" in the area of sheet metal stamping. Dr. Smith, founding director of CLIC-form, and Dr. Gary Barber (co-director) are very pleased with the results of the program. "Leadership and active participation from Chrysler engineers have been absolutely remarkable. I owe much of the success of this program to the dedication of Mr. Bruce Williams, a Chrysler Engineer and an Oakland University graduate," Dr. Smith said. CLIC-form has placed Oakland University graduates in full time engineering roles at Chrysler, U.S. Steel, and Hirotec America.
    • Professor Zissimos P. Mourelatos, Chair of the ME Department and the John F. Dodge Professor of Engineering, was elected by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to Fellow status. The citation for his ASME Fellow designation notes "Prof. Mourelatos is internationally recognized for outstanding contributions in scholarship, education, and professional service and leadership during his 18 years in the automotive industry and subsequent 11 years in academia. He has made seminal contributions in decision modeling and reliability methods in engineering design, design optimization and dynamics of large structures, and engine design and dynamics. His unique combination of industrial and academic experience bridges the gap between industrial relevance and academic rigor and facilitates technology transfer. He has received numerous awards for his technical contributions, teaching, and service and leadership to the engineering profession." Prof. Mourelatos is an internationally recognized expert in engineering design and automotive R&D. He has consistently demonstrated excellence in design research through his record of publication, funding, impact, and dissemination.  He has developed a research program in design under uncertainty that continues to be of international acclaim and distinction.  His many contributions in decision modeling in design, reliability-based design optimization of time-independent and time-dependent systems, uncertainty quantification, model validation and verification, design optimization of complex structures, structural dynamics, engine dynamics, and bearing lubrication have been archived in his over 150 referred conference and journal publications, 43 reports and industrial publications, and a book entitled, "Design Decisions under Uncertainty with Limited Information." The honor from the ASME Board of Governors is bestowed on only two percent of ASME members and is the highest elected grade of membership. ASME Fellows are nominated by their peers and must have at least 10 years of active practice and continuous active corporate membership in ASME. Dr. Mourelatos is also a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). 
    • Professor and Chair Zissimos Mourelatos obtained three, one-year long, projects for a total of $179,873 from the US Army TARDEC through the Automotive Research Center titled, "Development and Laboratory Implementation of an Accelerated Testing Method for Vehicle Systems using Time-dependent Reliability/Durability Principles," "Reliability, Mantenance and Optimal Operation of Repairable Systems with Application to a Smart Charging Microgrid," and "A Novel Integrated Approach for a Resource-efficient Design Validation Co-process." Dr. Mourelatos also received a $28k grant from Chrysler LLC titled, "Durability Tuning Box Initiative for Advanced Scaled Load Generation using Surrogate Data." He also received another grant for $100k from the US Army TARDEC for a project entitled, "Restraint System Optimization with Finite Element Models: Simulation and Calibration-based Validation using Physical Testing."
    • Professor Chris Kobus, Director of Outreach and Recruitment, received positive feedback from the summer camp programs. The summer camp season ended the middle of August, and between the middle of June and then, 467 students came through the various programs and camps which numbered at 17. It was a very successful season and the most active summer for outreach that SECS has ever had.
    • Professor Lianxiang Yang received a $14,900 grant from Auto/steel Partnership for a project titled "Digital Image Correlation System for Universal Forming Limit Determination."
    • Professor J. David Schall has been invited to be a co-guest editor for a special issue on the Tribology of Carbon-Based Coatings for the journal Lubrication along with Professor Esteban Broitman of Linköping University, Sweden. During the last three decades, carbon-based coatings have enjoyed a growing interest in several industrial applications. By tuning the carbon sp3-to-sp2 bonding ratio and by alloying the carbon with other elements, the researchers have been able to tailor unique physical, mechanical, and tribological properties in order to satisfy an increased technological demand. Nitrogen doping and other alloying additions like metals, boron, silicon, phosphorous, fluorine, etc., have also been developed to improve their mechanical and tribological properties. In this special issue we are requesting original contributions from academic or industrial researchers working on theoretical and/or experimental aspects concerning all kind of carbon-based coatings with improved tribological properties, from basic research to applied (tribological) uses. For more information see:
    • Professor Brian Sangeorzan applied for and received funding in support of equipment for powertrain testing and analytics. The equipment that this award supports will enhance the mechanical engineering department's Automotive Tribology Center (ATC) laboratory. The benefit of using state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment will also extend to undergraduate researchers, as well as to those students who take part on the International SAE Formula team.
    • Co-authored with Dr. YY Hung and Dr. Y.H. Huang, Professor Lianxiang Yang has recently published his book Chapter (31 pages) titled "Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of composites- digital shearography" in the book "Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of polymer matrix composites-Techniques and Applications" edited by Vistasp M. Karbhari and published by Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.
    • Professor Sayed Nassar chaired a session and presented two papers at the annual ASME-PVP Conference that was held this year in Paris, France, July 15-19. One paper addressed "Nonlinear Modeling of Gasket Creep Relaxation on Bolted Flanges"; the second provided "Inverse Solution of Contact Pressure using Corresponding Joint Surface Deformation."  Slightly revised versions of each paper have been submitted for journal publication. 
    • Professor Laila Guessous served as a session co-organizer for the "Applications of Computational Heat Transfer I" and "Computational Methods for Multiphase Heat Transfer" technical sessions of the 2013 ASME Summer Heat Transfer Conference. She is also the organizer of the "Industrial Applications of Computational Heat Transfer" technical session that will take place at the 2013 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in San Diego, CA in November.
    • Monica Majcher, a Ph.D. student working under the supervision of Professor and Chair Zissimos Mourelatos, received a scholarship award under the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transportation Program (SMART) from the Department of Defense (DoD). Among other benefits, the awardee is assigned to a DoD laboratory where she is expected to serve as a summer intern and complete a period of post-graduation employment service as a DoD civilian. Majcher has been assigned to the Survivability group at TARDEC. Her thesis research involves uncertainty quantification of random processes with applications in tribology and vehicle dynamics, time-dependent reliability in engineering design and model validation principles. Majcher also presented a paper at the 2013 Automotive Research Center at the University of Michigan on June 7th titled, "An Accelerated Testing Method for Dynamic Systems using Time-dependent Reliability Principles."
    • Professor and Chair Zissimos Mourelatos' group presented four papers in the 2013 ASME DETC Conferences in Portland, OR (August 4th-7th) titled, "A New Method for Design Decisions using Decision Topologies," "Reliability and Functionality of Repairable Systems using a Minimal Set of Metrics: Design and Maintenance of a Smart Charging Microgrid," "Time-dependent Reliability of Dynamic Systems using Subset Simulation with Splitting over a Series of Correlated Time Intervals," and "Accounting for Test Variability through Sizing Local Domains in Sequential Design Optimization with Concurrent Calibration-based Model Validation." Dr. Vijit Pandey, a Post-doctoral Associate, presented the first two papers. Dr. Mourelatos presented the third paper and Professor Dorin Drignei from the OU Math and Stats Department presented the fourth paper. All papers have been submitted to journals for publication.
    • Annette Skowronska, a Ph.D. student, presented a paper at the 2013 Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium (GVSETS) in Troy, MI (August 22nd) titled, "Global Strategies for Optimizing the Reliability and Performance of US Army Mobile Power Transfer Systems."
    • Professor Lianxiang Yang was invited to give a Keynote Speech in the session of Optical Measurement and Instrumentation of the 6th International Symposium on Precision Mechanical Measurement, held in Guiyang, China from July 7-11.
    • Professor and Chair Zissimos Mourelatos delivered two invited talks (August 15th and 16th) at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China titled, "Methodologies to Characterize a Random Process and Applications in Design," and "An Accelerated Testing Method for Dynamic Systems using Time-dependent Reliability Principles." Dr. Mourelatos also delivered an invited talk titled "Recent Advances in Re-Analysis Methods for NVH Including Shape and Topology Optimization" at the 5th International BETA CAE Systems Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, June 5th – 7th. 
    • Professor J. David Schall will be giving an invited talk on friction and wear of graphene materials at the 2013 Materials Science and Technology conference in Montreal in October.
    • SECS Associate Dean and Professor Lorenzo M. Smith was invited to deliver a Keynote Speech at the SAE World Conference in Detroit, Michigan, in April, titled "M201 Measurement and Analysis of Forming Limit Diagrams Using DIC Techniques."
    • Professor Sayed Nassar gave an invited research seminar on July 20 at Turin Politechnical University in Turin, Italy. The seminar focused on Nonlinear Modeming of Gasket Creep Relaxation and on the "Inverse Problem Solution for Contact Pressure from Joint Surface Deformation." Dr. Nassar had follow-up FAJRI research collaboration meetings on July 20 with both the Research and the Engineering leaderships of Fiat in Turin, Italy.  The Fiat leadership is expected to hold follow-up meetings this Fall at OU. Dr.  Nassar developed and taught an advanced Tutorial on Fasteners and Bolted Joints to a learned audience from 45 countries on July 16 at the annual ASME-Pressure Vessels Conference in Paris, France. Dr.  Nassar has taken a one-week training on ABAQUS commercial software package, in order to use for his FEA course projects at OU this Fall.  Dr. Nassar (Sole PI) has developed and submitted two research grants totaling $881,000 from core research funds of the US Army TARDEC. Expected Award decision is before Sept. 30, 2013.



    Engineering student tackles obstacles on path to success

    OU professor brings expertise to Chinese university

    New OU course examines the future of engineering


    Register now for an upcoming camp or workshop.

    Saturday Series Math Camps
    Held over the course of five Saturdays, courses focus on mathematics. Equally important qualitative skills are taught including communication skills, networking, teamwork, resume writing, professional etiquette, and time and resource management. Designed for serious 7th grade - 12th grade math students.
    Register here

    To learn more about outreach events and opportunities through the School of Engineering and Computer Science visit


    The Chrysler Group Engineering Networking Event
    September 24th
    5-7 p.m.
    Oakland Center

    Dissertation Defense: Fatma A. Alazabi
    September 25th
    10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    238 DHE

    New World Systems Meet & Greet (IT)
    September 26th
    11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    Brose Meet & Greet (ENG)
    October 3rd
    11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    DTE Energy Meet & Greet (ENG & IT)
    October 8th
    11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    Faurecia Meet & Greet (ENG)
    October 10th
    11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    On-campus interviews for Chrysler's 2014 Summer Engineering Internships
    October 15th
    154 NFH
    Detailed information about these Chrysler internship opportunities, including available positions, can be found at Deadline to apply: October 6th

    American Axle Meet & Greet (ENG)
    October 15th
    11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    Behr Meet & Greet (ENG)
    October 22nd
    11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    Valeo Meet & Greet (ENG)
    October 22nd
    11:30 - 1 p.m.
    201 DHE

    Detailed information about all upcoming events can be found at


    Office of the Dean
    248 DHE
    Phone: (248) 370-2217
    Fax: (248) 370-4261

    Computer Science and Engineering
    168 DHE
    Phone: (248) 370-2200
    Fax: 248-370-4625

    Electrical and Computer Engineering
    102A SEB
    Phone: (248) 370-2177 
    Fax: (248) 370-4633

    Industrial and Systems Engineering
    653 SEB
    Phone: (248) 370-2989 
    Fax: (248) 370-2699

    Mechanical Engineering
    170 DHE
    Phone: (248) 370-2210
    Fax: (248) 370-4416

    Academic Advising
    159 DHE
    Phone: (248) 370-2201
    Fax: (248) 370-2084


    The School of Engineering and Computer Science is always interested in hearing from our alumni. E-mail us a few lines about your latest job, accomplishment or relocation to
    Oakland University   School of Engineering and Computer Science
    248 Dodge Hall of Engineering
    2200 N. Squirrel Road
    Rochester, MI 48309-4478
    (248) 370-2217

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