Computational Challenges in Space Research (CS Seminar Lecture Series)

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The Center for Space Science and Engineering Research (Space@VT) in the College of Engineering is a relatively new center having been initiated in summer 2007. At the present time Space@VT comprises twelve Faculty in the ECE and AOE departments and approximately 30 graduate students and postdoctoral associates. Space@VT research and education activities are focused on developing improved scientific understanding of the near-Earth space environment and expanding its technological exploitation for societal needs. In this presentation I will provide an overview of Space@VT research activities with a particular emphasis on those aspects that touch on computational issues. The intent is to expand the conversation with CS faculty beyond the ad-hoc collaborations that are currently ongoing and, hopefully, generate new collaborations. Some of the themes that will be covered in the presentation include: (1) data mining the archive of space physics datasets for enhanced scientific productivity, (2) the necessity for development of new compression algorithms for data downlinks and attitude control on small university-built satellites (i.e. CubeSats), and (3) high performance numerical simulations of the near-Earth space plasma environment.


Joseph Baker is an Assistant Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, and a member of the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research (Space@VT). Dr. Baker's current research uses data from the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) in conjunction with other ground- and space-based datasets to investigate electromagnetic coupling in the near-Earth space environment between the solar wind, the magnetosphere, and the ionosphere (or "space weather"). Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2008, Dr. Baker was a Senior Staff Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan in 2001, and his B.Sc. in Physics from the University of New England (Australia) in 1994. In 2011, Dr. Baker was named the Steven O. Lane Junior Faculty Fellow by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and an Outstanding New Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering. Dr. Baker is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and serves on its Education Award Committee. He is also a 2012 NSF CAREER award recipient.

The Computer Science Seminar Lecture Series is a collection of weekly lectures about topics at the forefront of contemporary computer science research, given by speakers knowledgeable in their field of study. These speakers come from a variety of different technical and geographic backgrounds, with many of them traveling from other universities across the globe to come here and share their knowledge. These weekly lectures were recorded with an HD video camera, edited with Apple Final Cut Pro X, and outputted in such a way that the resulting .mp4 video files were economical to store and stream utilizing the university's limited bandwidth and disk space resources.

Computer Science Lecture Series