Lab Updates

Research updates, announcements, and posts by the members of the UVA Link Lab


    Making it Safer to Gather Indoors

    July 01, 2021

    UVA and Virginia Tech engineering collaborators aim to optimize HVAC systems to eliminate viruses and harmful particles in the air

    In response to COVID-19, a team of University of Virginia and Virginia Tech researchers are working together to make indoor spaces healthier — a development sure to be welcomed by all those heading back to work, school and other indoor spaces after a year of stay-at-home orders. The team’s research evaluates strategies for reducing indoor transmission of harmful particles and viruses, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, through new methods using sensors, air cleaners, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning — or HVAC — systems.


    Student Committee Creates Stronger Community

    June 10, 2021

    The Link Lab Student Committee on Culture and Livability is a graduate student organization focused on building community through inclusivity. During a year of social distancing, the committee worked even harder to create opportunities for social gatherings in support of the well-being of students and faculty members of the Link Lab. The committee’s work to keep everyone connected in the difficult time of pandemic culminated in the year-end picnic with family and friends to celebrate a successful year.


    Meiyi Ma and John A. Stankovic Win Best Paper Award

    June 04, 2021

    Meiyi Ma, a computer science Ph.D. graduate, and her advisor John A. Stankovic, BP America Professor of Computer Science, are part of a team whose paper won the best paper award at this year’s ICCPS, the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems. The paper, titled “DeResolver: A Decentralized Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Framework for Smart City Services,” by Y. Yuan, M. Ma, S. Han, D. Zhang, F. Miao, J. A. Stankovic, and S. Lin, was recognized by ICCPS with this citation: “This paper provides an important contribution to a challenge in large-scale systems-of-systems. The authors’ work combines theoretical guarantees with machine learning optimization. The approach has been verified using real-world data applied to simulation.”


    ESE Team Wins Best Paper Award

    May 27, 2021

    A research team from the University of Virginia’s Department of Engineering Systems and Environment has won a 2021 Best Paper Award in the journal Water.

    The paper, “Forecasting Groundwater Table in a Flood-Prone Coastal City with Long Short-term Memory and Recurrent Neural Networks,” reports on research by Benjamin Bowes, an ESE Ph.D. student. Bowes co-authored the work with Jeffrey Sadler, a 2019 Ph.D. graduate; Mohamed Morsy, a 2017 Ph.D. graduate; Madhur Behl, assistant professor in computer science and engineering systems and environment; and Jonathan Goodall, professor in engineering systems and environment and associate director of UVA Engineering’s Link Lab. Behl is also affiliated with the Link Lab, an interdisciplinary center for cyber-physical systems research.

    Find the paper here.


    Yuan Tian Receives Google Research Scholar Award

    May 12, 2021

    Assistant professor of computer science Yuan Tian and her collaborator Yu Feng, assistant professor of computer science at University of California, Santa Barbara have received a Google Research Scholar Award on "Exploit Generation Using Reinforcement Learning.” The Google Research Scholar Program was introduced in 2020 with a focus on developing collaborations with new professors and encouraging the formation of long-term relationships with the academic community.



    ESE Department Chair Brian Smith Receives 3Cavaliers 2.0 Funding for Interdisciplinary Project

    April 14, 2021

    Professor Brian L. Smith, P.E., chair of the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, and his collaborators in the Department of Environmental Sciences and the School of Architecture are among the interdisciplinary teams to win seed funding in the second round of UVA’s 3Cavaliers program.

    Smith, environmental sciences professor Patricia Wiberg and assistant professor of landscape architecture Michael Luegering sought the funding to build a “caster” system for UVA’s field research stations and surrounding regions to lower cost and raise consistency in field research data and instrumentation.

    The system will improve spatial data collection for more accurate location data using GPS, and provide Smith’s introductory civil engineering students access to state-of-the-art survey technology to support field data collection for design projects.

    Read more about the project here.


    Humans of Link Lab: Gabby Ringer

    April 02, 2021
    Gabby Ringer

    Gabby Ringer, class of 2021, is a native of Mechanicsville, Virginia. She is a fourth-year who is double majoring in media studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies. Gabby has been helping faculty and graduate students in the Link Lab, as a front desk assistant, since it opened in the beginning of 2018. 


    What’s your IEQ?

    March 16, 2021

    hedrian_barnes.jpg
    Arsalan Heydarian, left, and Laura Barnes

    Find out how UVA engineers and clinicians are using ‘Indoor Environmental Quality’ sensors to try to improve patients’ sleep and recovery

    Arsalan Heydarian and Laura Barnes, an assistant professor and an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering, Dr. Gabrielle Marzani, an associate professor of psychiatric medicine at UVA’s School of Medicine, and Meghan Mattos, R.N. and assistant professor at UVA’s School of Nursing in the Department of Acute and Specialty Care, are all collaborating on a research project that investigates the use of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) sensors to measure things like light, temperature, noise and air quality to gain information on the patient experience in hospital rooms. Their goal is to use this data to improve patients’ sleep quality and recovery outcomes.

    “The sensing and environmental monitoring approach is most exciting because this type of monitoring can contextualize the patient and nursing experiences. Collecting longitudinal data of environmental conditions and then connecting it to patient-specific preferences, behaviors, needs and sleep quality is very new research — there are not that many studies in this area. The longitudinal data that we are collecting is very valuable to researchers, room and lighting designers, clinicians and patients,” said Heydarian.

    Funded by a seed grant from the UVA Center for Engineering in Medicine, Heydarian and Barnes, along with their Ph.D. students, Alan Wang, computer engineering, and Navreet Kaur, systems engineering, launched the project last fall by installing sensors in five designated rooms in the 3 East (3E) wing at UVA University Hospital. There were no patients in the rooms, so the sensors were able to collect baseline data of the changes in indoor environmental conditions.

    Before launching this project, Heydarian had developed foundational research using different IEQ sensors and actuators, which make up a cyber-physical system, at the UVA Engineering Link Lab. One of the Link Lab’s research focus areas is smart and connected care. His work was supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

    At the hospital, volunteer patients are now part of the study. They wear a smartwatch device to gather physiological, movement and environmental data that will be sent to researchers wirelessly. The team has also started collecting more granular information about the changes in indoor environmental conditions. All of these data types will be analyzed to better understand the different factors that may impact sleep quality among different patients.

    In addition to quantitative data, team members Lisa Letzkus, R.N., P.N.P., from UVA Health and Cynthia Southard, D.N.P., R.N., from the UVA School of Nursing, along with Mattos and Marzani, conducted a series of interviews with nurses and clinicians in 3E to learn more about the general and specific practices for patient care, environmental conditions across different rooms and other insightful information on patient sleep and comfort. 

    As an outcome of this multidisciplinary collaboration, the team envisions introducing computer models that can be used to predict patients’ comfort in hospitals, and also provide feedback to clinicians on how specific combinations of conditions and practices can enhance patient care and clinical outcomes.


    Homa Alemzadeh Aids Successful Kick-off Event for IFIP WG10.4’s Intelligent Vehicle Dependability and Security Project

    February 12, 2021

    Homa Alemzadeh, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia, shared her expertise in resilient cyber-physical systems with members of the International Federation for Information Processing during the winter meeting of its Working Group on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance.