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Untenured Faculty Research Initiative (UFRI)

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Internal Funding for Research & Creative Activity

Untenured Faculty Research Initiative (UFRI)

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Link to Eligibility and Guidelines - Untenured Facalty Research Initiative

 


FUNDED PROJECTS 2018-2019 UFRI AWARDEES

Investigating the acoustic cues Hindi speakers use to identify and discriminate English /v/ and /w/ 
Vikas Grover, School of Communication Disorders & Deafness

English uses the phonemes /v/ and /w/ contrastively, resulting in a change of meaning (“vest” vs. “west”). This contrast has been observed to be difficult for Hindi speakers to perceive and produce. For training programs to be effective and efficient, it is necessary to understand precisely what needs to be trained. In this case, Hindi speakers perceive and produce English /v/-/w/ contrast less accurately than English speakers, but it is currently unclear what information is misperceived to lead to this result. This project will help identify these cues and allow the development of a training study that targets these specific cues. This is the first step in the project with the final goal of training second language (L2) users of English to better perceive English /v/and /w/.

Consumers' Perception and Scceptance of Chatbots in Online Commerce Setting
Min-chung Han, School of Management and Marketing 

Attempts have been made to employ chatbots in instant messenger apps to provide prompt customer service, assist online commerce and attract more traffic to businesses. Chatbots, a technology started in the 1960’s, involve computer programs that interact with people by using textual methods in natural languages to mimic human conversation and to communicate with businesses to carry out tasks such as online orders. Although chatbots have existed for many years, the recent resurgence of messenger chatbots is due to the advances in artificial intelligence technology and the growing user fatigue from mobile apps. Corporations from 1-800-Flowers to Dominos’ Pizza and others now consider combining chatbots and e-commerce. A question still to be answered is whether or not consumers will accept chatbots to conduct their e-commerce transactions. This study attempts to answer to the following question: Will consumers accept chatbot commerce and gather information and purchase items through chatbots? This study has a three-fold purpose: 1) to understand instant messenger users’ willingness to use chatbot commerce based on a theoretical framework, 2) to shed light on the main factors that influence users’ intentions to use chatbots, and 3) to suggest the managerial implications for chatbot commerce.

Web-based Facial Image Recognition System using Android Things
Ching-yu Huang, School of Computer Science 

Google has launched a new Android-based embedded operating system platform – Android Things – that is aimed to be used with low-power and memory constrained Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It has camera and microprocessor, RAM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, microphone, LCD panel, etc. This project is to research and utilize Android Things to build an integrated web-based facial image recognition and management system. IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure and it has become a hot topic in recent years. It can be applied to many fields such as security, healthcare and smart homes. Android Things can be integrated with other programs and devices such as a USB Audio support or built-in camera. The video and audio data can be transmitted to our mobile app through WiFi and Bluetooth. I have received 2 new Android Things kits from Google. The project will first collect some facial images and build an image database, and then develop programs to use Google Artificial Intelligent package Tensorflow to recognize and classify the facial images. Several programs will be developed to retrieve the facial images captured by the camera on the Android Things, and identify the person against the images in the database system. If the images are already in the system, a welcome message will be announced through speakers and displayed on the LCD panel. If the images are not in the system, user will be asked to enter name and other basic information to save the images into the system. The project will integrate my expertise in image processing, pattern recognition, web development, and databases, all of which are areas that I have been working in for more than 20 years.

Impacts of MPA Program's Mission and Curriculum Change on Students' Global Awareness 
Bok Gyo Jeong, School of Criminal Justice & Public Administration

To support the mission revision and its implementation, Kean’s MPA Program has introduced a globalization focused curriculum into its program such as programs and events associated with a global development period and the program has partnered with international organizations including United Nations agencies to provide global awareness and engagement activities for students. The question remains is whether this mission revision actually affects the learning outcome of students in terms of higher education pedagogy perspectives. This study asks the following research questions: Does higher education curriculum change in incorporating globalization components increase the global awareness of students? How do curriculum changes affect the increase in global awareness? As the main measurement tool, this study will utilize the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI) to measure the global awareness of Kean MPA students. The Global Perspective Inventory (GPI) is a most widely used web based assessment of individual experiences and the development of a global perspective. By introducing a variety mix of global elements into the curriculum as the main treatment of the experimentation, this study will be able to compare educational outcomes.

Ex-post Travel Information: A Novel Approach to Support Route Choice Decision
Daehan Kwak, School of Computer Science

What would have happened if I had taken the other route? This is a question that many drivers often ponder, hoping that their chosen route is the best. The proposal goal is to develop a system that attempts to answer such questions on non-chosen alternative routes to a given destination by determining actual times of arrival (ATAs) from participatory users on the non-chosen routes. The proposed system will offer a direct, actual travel time comparison among route choices. With the collection of actual travel time comparisons (i.e. personal trip diary of ATAs on chosen and non-chosen routes), users will be able to make strategic decisions on, and self-assessments of, their route choices.

Molecular Biodiversity of Microbial Communities of Dead Wood (Renewal)
Maria Shumskaya, School of Natural Sciences

The aim of this project is to create a database of dead wood fungal species of New Jersey, compare species of dead wood fungi among managed and unmanaged forests in New Jersey, and to identify critical communities and microhabitats in need of focused management and conservation. The project has a world-wide significance due to the lack of data on diversity of dead wood fungi in the East Coast area. The lack of data is explained by the cryptic (hard to identify) nature of dead wood inhabitants which are microscopic and their identification requires biochemistry techniques such as analysis of DNA in an equipped laboratory. In 2017, with the support of UFRI and SONS Biology Department I have founded a research group called “The Laboratory of Applied Genomics”, which has all necessary tools to perform such analysis. We are working on a database of fungal species growing on dead wood, to identify and compare various decomposes in different environments so we will be able to compare the communities and asses the species richness and the health of the ecosystems across the NJ state. The database itself will be available online for the world research community.

Secure Virtualization with Collocated Virtual Machines in Cloud System 
Kazi Zunnurhain, School of Computer Science

Cloud computing is envisioned as the next generation architecture of IT Enterprise. It offers great potential to improve productivity and reduce costs. In contrast to traditional solutions, where the IT services are under proper physical, logical and personnel controls, cloud computing moves application software and databases to the large data centers, where the management of the data and services are provided through a CSP (Cloud Service Provider, e.g., Amazon, Microsoft Office 365 etc.). Cloud computing is revolutionizing how information technology resources and services are used and managed. But are these CSPs trustworthy enough? Cloud computing poses many new security challenges which have not been well understood yet. Among all these security challenges, secure virtualization is a major concern for cloud technology. A large number of cyber threats, attacks, eavesdropping and data stealing have been committed on customers’ virtual machines running in the cloud. Hence the proposed research study focuses on secure virtualization in cloud computing. This unique study will advance cloud computing security and encourage students in cyber security research.

 

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