DVIDS – News – NPS Faculty Honored with Annual Hamming Prize for Interdisciplinary Work

The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) recognized two outstanding faculty members for interdisciplinary scholarship by presenting the 2022 Richard W. Hamming Faculty Award for Interdisciplinary Achievement.

dr Bonnie Johnson, Senior Lecturer at the NPS Department of Systems Engineering, and Dr. Marko Orescanin, Assistant Professor at the NPS Department of Computer Science, were selected for their innovative achievements that support and enhance NPS’s interdisciplinary activities.

Johnson, who has more than 25 years of leadership and experience in naval R&D, focused her research in two areas – automation and artificial intelligence (AI) for defense applications, and directed energy warfare (DE) studies. These broad themes include interdisciplinary research, for which she has collaborated with various organizations across multiple service sectors, as well as industry partners. Within NPS, Johnson leads projects involving faculties from the Systems Engineering, Information Sciences and Physics departments and the Institute for Modelling, Virtual Environments and Simulation (MOVES).

“When I found out I was selected for the award, I was thrilled,” said Johnson. “I appreciate the excellent mentoring and the many opportunities I have received. I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring leaders, researchers and thinkers.”

Johnson has advised more than 240 students completing their master’s degree, and she is currently advising 40 students who are working on their final research and will graduate in 2022 or 2023. She and her students have demonstrated the use of automation and AI for tactical combat management aids for air and missile defense in the fleet. As part of her DE research, she has worked closely with the faculty of MOVES and the Departments of Physics and Meteorology to develop a modeling and simulation capability for onboard laser weapons to support student research on onboard energy requirements of lasers, maritime atmospheric Effects on lasers, methods for supporting battle damage assessment, and integration schemes for the placement of lasers on ships and for the coordination with existing kinetic weapons on ships.

Johnson has developed coursework in directed energy and is the course coordinator for a series of four DE courses taught jointly by Systems Engineering and Physics. She has also developed coursework in AI and supports an interdisciplinary NPS course for DOD personnel at the Joint AI Center (JAIC) taught by Computer Science and Systems Engineering. She has partnered with faculty at the NPS Energy Academic Group to conduct a broad study to achieve net-zero emissions for the Navy by 2050 and to explore the use of AI to detect cyberattacks from energy monitoring data.

“There are two things that really stand out as the ‘best’ part of my job,” Johnson remarked. “First, the incredibly brilliant people I get to work with – our amazing faculty and ‘rock star’ students. Also, I have the freedom to pursue my interest research – the Navy is full of fascinating and “difficult” problems and I always find a way to study the subjects that interest me.”

Orescanin leads an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students that conducts cutting-edge research at the intersection of computer science, meteorology, oceanography, operations research, physics, systems engineering, and underwater warfare. This team advances the Navy’s ability to obtain accurate weather forecasts – a critical capability for warfare and for other national security interests such as climate change. Since joining NPS in 2019, Orescanin has been involved in advising or co-advising 23 Masters students and two PhD students.

“I was very humbled and honored,” said Orsecanin. “Although I am new to the NPS, I am deeply committed to its mission and am excited to expand my interdisciplinary research capabilities while educating and mentoring students.”

Orescanin’s work on uncertainty quantification is the most promising avenue for integrating new synthetic artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) products into the operations of the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC). He partnered with Assistant Professor Scott Powell of the Department of Meteorology to establish an ongoing collaboration with the Marine Meteorology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory at Monterey and the University of Maryland’s Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies to develop new synthetic products using the Navy Environmental Prediction Test System (NAVDAS).

Orescanin also led the establishment of an interdisciplinary research program on the application of AI/ML in underwater warfare in collaboration with the NPS Undersea Warfare Academic Group, the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment. The AI/ML technology developed as part of this research will be put into operational use as part of the Future Naval Capabilities program.

“Although I have only been with NPS for two and a half years, I have been deeply impressed by both the academic strengths of the faculty and the operational experience and technical expertise of the student war fighter,” remarked Orescanin. “This allows for a very productive interdisciplinary approach right from the start, but with my own personal background in different scientific fields and commercial experiences we have been very successful. This is particularly emphasized by examples from teaching and research in the operational environment.”

After the NPS professor emeritus Dr. Richard W. Hamming, the annual award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and exceptional teaching ability. Hamming’s commitment to teaching and research is well known, particularly in the fields of mathematics, computer science and telecommunications. Hamming taught from 1976 to 1997 as an adjunct professor at the NPS.

Date of recording: 04.07.2022
Release Date: 07/04/2022 15:39
Story ID: 418063

Web Views: 8th
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