The mission of the Center of Excellence in Information Systems is to provide an environment conducive to and facilities in support of interdisciplinary research in selected areas of information systems.
Original funding for the Center of Excellence in Information Systems came from the State of Tennessee Centers of Excellence Program with additional matching funds from Tennessee State University. Due to patterns of recent external funding, the TSU's Center of Excellence has become a Center of research centers. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funds research in astrophysics and control systems through the Center for Automated Space Science (CASS). The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds additional research in control systems, applied mathematics, complex fluid flows, and astrophysics through the Center for Systems Science Research (CSSR). Through the Network Resource and Training Site (NRTS) program, NASA also funds internet connectivity to all Tennessee and Kentucky Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as the development of distance-learning capabilities among all NRTS sites. Finally, NASA funds education outreach programs at TSU through the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) and the Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aeronautics Academy (SEMAA)
MAJOR RESEARCH AREAS
Astronomy with Automated Telescopes
Center astronomers have been pioneers in the new frontier of automated astronomy. Automated telescopes allow for a wealth of data collection at a lower cost and higher reliability than their manual counterparts. Through Fairborn Observatory, the first totally automatic observatory in the world, our astronomers currently operate six automatic photoelectric telescopes (APTs) (ranging from 10 to 32 inches in lens diameter). These APTs are capable of making highly precise measurements of the brightness changes of distant stars. The observatory also houses the 14-inch automated imaging telescope (AIT) and the 81-inch automatic spectroscopic telescope (AST). The AIT is chiefly responsible for constructing tangible images of night sky objects, such as the image of the Trifid Nebula used in the Center of Excellence header above, while the AST is capable of determining the composition of distant stars through the technique of spectroscopy. Astronomers in the Center use these telescopes to search for planets around other stars, study magnetic activity in cool stars, measure the fundamental properties multiple star systems, and study the structure and heating of chromospheres of distant stars, among a variety of other projects.
Advanced Control Systems
As modern systems become increasingly complex, the issues associated with modelling and controlling them have been a focus for center researchers. Researchers are developing techniques for modelling systems with uncertainties and controlling systems under various changing environments. One such project is the scheduling of automatic telescopes, whereby the aim is to construct an algorithm which produces an optimal schedule that drastically improves the quality of astronomical observation as well as the efficiency by which telescopes are utilized. Areas of research include robust and fixed structure controller design, system identification, satellite control, and adaptive control using artificial neural networks. The Center's advanced control system laboratory is equipped with several state-of-art experiment facilities including the DSPACE driven flexible structures. The group has published Control of Uncertain Dynamic Systems and Robust Control: Parametric Approach; books which have been adopted for graduate level course work, and has developed software used by NASA to identify potential satellite control problems.
Center applied mathematicians are developing the tools to study the fundamental characteristics of large-scale complex dynamic systems. Our current research projects include investigation of dynamic reliability, controllability, estimation and stability of complex dynamic systems under both structural and environmental randomly varying perturbations. In this context, we are developing(1) stochastic approximation procedures under various modes of convergence, (2) stochastic stability via Lyapunov's techniques and comparison results, and (3) implicit and explicit numerical schemes and algorithms. Our investigation includes real world problems from multi-species communities, multiple market systems, image processing problems, dynamics of fluids and gas flows, immigration and emigration, and complex environmental systems. We work collaboratively with the Advanced Controls Group in various joint projects, especially in the development of an algorithm to determine optimal schedules for automatic telescopes operated by the Center astronomers.