PULLMAN, Wash. — Two Washington State University engineering faculty members
recently were named Faculty Early Career Development Award winners by the National Science
Foundation. They are among approximately 400 others in the nation who will be chosen this year
from 1,600 applicants. The grants recognize promising junior science-engineering faculty
committed to integrating research and education.
The WSU winners are Amit Bandyopadhyay, a materials scientist in the School of
Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Jonathan Liu, a computer scientist in the School of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Each will be given approximately $200,000 over four
years for their university research on innovative technologies.
Bandyopadhyay (Bandio-pod-a-hay) investigates the biocompatibility of porous ceramic
implants to replace damaged bones. Such custom-made simulated bones will be made of four
different materials: alumina (inert), hydroxyapatite (bioactive), glass-ceramic and ceramic-polymer
composites. Implants will be fabricated using rapid prototyping or solid freeform fabrication
using a fused deposition modeling machine. This modern chisel and sculpting tool of material
scientists cranks out polymer parts originated by computer-aided design files.
In this case, novel 3-D honeycomb structures with controlled interconnected pores and
desired shapes will be fabricated. Pore size, distribution and volume will be varied to study their
effects on tissue ingrowth and bio-mechanical properties. The implants will be characterized
using optical and electron microscopy, porosimetry, mechanical testing, x-ray diffraction and
in-vitro testing in simulated body fluids. Results will be compared with reported data on
bioceramic implants.
The project will produce new research capabilities, added curricula, and practice-oriented
learning for undergraduates, graduate students and even several high school students over four
years. Students will see firsthand the synergistic effects of multidisciplinary work and how to
solve problems to meet the industrial challenges of the 21st century.
Bandyopadhyay’s rapid prototyping has other industry applications, such as ultrasonic
transducer and high-temperature ceramic aerospace parts. Such research won him a Young
Investigator Program Award from the Office of Naval Research in 1998. He is using that $355,000
award over three years to pay for the salaries and equipment for more student involvement in
this exciting new field, he says.
The engineering educator came to WSU in 1997 from Rutger’s University, where he
registered three patents and has others pending in this technology. He is fast becoming a leader
in this new field, which is only about 10 years old. To see a demonstration or talk to
Bandyopadhyay, phone 509/335-4862, or e-mail amitband@wsu.edu.
The research of WSU assistant professor Jonathan Liu and his computer science students
deals with system software of large-scale integrated systems for multimedia applications. The
results will affect technologies in their early development stages including multi-media-rich
computing applications such as digital libraries, electronic commerce and video-streaming.
(Current online video clips may wiggle on screen, sometimes freeze, and are the size of a postage
stamp. Distributed delivery is not guaranteed at any time or port of call, or in quality form.)
Liu’s proposed software schemes will optimize high-performance streaming videos that
originate from video database servers, feed into high-speed networks and are distributed to end
systems with guaranteed quality. His “first-step” efforts will lead toward improved “end-to-end”
solutions for distance education, commerce, communications and entertainment in the 21st
Some imagined futuristic scenarios include checking out movies via cell phone and having
them delivered via network to home high-definition flat screens, video conferencing from home
offices, cutting deals across the continents, and demonstrating products by high-quality video
on the computer screen.
The research will help solve the transmission and storage issues of on-demand video
servers and networks by developing “middleware,” or systems to store guaranteed-quality video
that feeds into high-speed communication networks, such as the gigabit Ethernet, giga-pop,
Internet2, wireless systems, ATM or other developing global utilities.
Liu’s career grant is the first such award for WSU’s computer science faculty. It will help
advance the school’s high-end graphic imaging and networking labs, and add curricula and
hands-on experimentation opportunities for students. The computer science department not only
is expanding its research, but now includes a new program in computer engineering and a
bachelor of arts in computer science degree program to begin next fall.
Liu joined the WSU faculty in 1996, after earning a doctoral degree in computer science from
the University of Minnesota, as well as having R&D collaborations with industry. He may be
reached for details or demonstration at 509/335-6486, liu@eecs.wsu.edu.