Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Two System Engineering Teams Shine at the IEEE System and Information Engineering Design Symposium in Charlottesville

June 21, 2016   /   by Martha Bushong

Twelve teams from the System Engineering program competed in three tracks at the annual System and Information Engineering Design Symposium (SEIDS) competition at the University of Virginia which was sponsored by IEEE. George Mason University engineering students won the award in two of the three tracks.
 
"These two teams are representative of the all the students in the System Engineering program," said co-instructor George Donohue, professor emeritus. "With their ambitions, creativity and perseverance, this years class of students leave the George Mason engineering program with very marketable skills that have the potentialto change the world."
 
The students and their designs were as follows:
 
Risk, Design and Usability Track:
Design of a Transoceanic Cable Protection System (Raytheon)
Dane Underwood, Isaac Geisler, Kumar Karra, Felipe Cardenas
 
A system of over 300 underwater fiber optic cables, over 500,000 miles long, connect the continents carrying 99 percent of all international communication data. This data includes financial  as well as military and homeland security.  A team of entrepreneurial system engineering students performed big data analytics and found that cable faults occur once every 3 days in the system costing billions of dollars each year. The data also showed that over 20 percent of the causes were unknown and some of the known causes (e.g. fishing and anchoring) could be prevented. Identification and repair of the cables was also found to be haphazard due to decentralization and lack of coordination. 
 
Seeing an opportunity, the student team,  Dane Underwood, Isaac Geisler, Kumar Karra, and Felipe Cardenas, designed a Mission Control Center (MCC) to monitor the cables with underwater surveillance unmanned vehicles, alert marine traffic in the vicinity of the cables, detect outages and coordinate repair activities. A simulation model of the MCC and threat prevention and fault detection showed the proposal is technically and financially feasible.
 
Data Modeling Track:
Design of a System for Aircraft Fuselage Inspection (Integrity Applications Inc.)
Jeffrey Robins, Rui Filipe Fernandez, Kevin Keller 
 
Airline fuselages experience significant forces on each flight when the cabin is pressurized and then depressurized. This pressurization-cycle has been shown to lead to cracks in the fuselage. To prevent mid-air cracks leading to holes in the fuselage, the government requires period inspections.
 
A team of system engineering students, Jeffrey Robins, Rui Filipe Fernandez, Kevin Keller, noticed that advances in robotics and digital imaging technologies may provide an opportunity to upgrade the inspections, improving quality, and reducing time and costs. A simulation model of the aircraft fuselage inspection process was used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative designs of robots and imaging systems as well as estimate the quality improvements and time/cost savings.