Tucker, Morgan involved in Cross College grant with MSU

A professor at the University of West Alabama will serve as a principal investigator on a wildfire management-related project involving researchers from UWA and Mississippi State University.

Funded by a Cross College Research grant from Mississippi State University (MSU), the project will develop a graphical user interface-based research tool for wildfire management and prevention, and also produce proposals to secure further grants to continue the work, said Dr. Balakrishna Gokaraju, who teaches industrial technology and maintenance in UWA’s College of Business.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to grow research collaborations between these colleges,” Gokaraju said. “This research team will combine expertise from UWA and three groups from MSU: the Department of Geosciences, the Geosystems Research Institute, and the Center for AdvancedVehicular Systems.”

The project also creates opportunities for two UWA undergraduate students — senior Jacob Wilson of Gilbertown, and sophomore Johnny Morgan of Demopolis,—to participate in hands-on research. Wilson will run tests of algorithms developed for the project, and Morgan will help design the user interface for the wildfire decision support system.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Gokaraju will be representing UWA as co-principal investigator for this collaborative project,” said Dr. Ken Tucker, dean of UWA’s College of Business. “This is also an exciting opportunity for the students involved, who will not only gain valuable research experience but also learn firsthand how concepts learned in their courses apply to real-world problems.”

Tucker noted that Gokaraju was also recently awarded $800,000 of supercomputing resources at Oak Ridge NationalLaboratory facilities. Under that grant, Gokaraju and four students will use the Titan supercomputer for five years.

Gokaraju, an assistant professor in the College of Business’ Department of Computer Information Systems and Technology, holds a bachelor of technology degree in electronics and communication engineering; a master’s degree in remote sensing; and a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering. His research interests include pattern recognition, machine learning, spatio-temporal data mining, and adaptive signal processing.

Established in 1967, the University of West Alabama’s College of Business offers undergraduate programs in accounting, business administration, management, marketing, technology, computer information systems, industrial technology and industrial maintenance. For more information about the college, visit www.uwa.edu/cob, e-mail ktucker@uwa.edu, or call Dr. Ken Tucker at (205) 652-3471.