2004-2005 Research Centers, Laboratories, and Institutes

Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Michael G. Dyer (Computer Science), Director

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory was established in 1984 to support graduate research and education in the following areas:

Natural language processing (NLP). Computer comprehension and generation of text (e.g., short stories, editorials, and dialogs). Related tasks include question answering, paraphrasing, and machine translation of natural language texts.

Cognitive modeling. Simulation of high-level cognitive functions, including representation of thought, machine learning, creativity and invention, planning and goal analysis, role of emotion in high-level cognition, modeling of human memory, argumentation and belief analysis, moral judgment and legal reasoning, naive physics, humor (e.g., irony), and abstract theme analysis.

Application of artificial neural network technology to modeling high-level cognitive tasks. Mechanisms include parallel distributed processing (PDP) approaches, tensor networks, self-organizing feature maps, recurrent backpropagation, localist spreading activation networks, and hybrid symbolic/neural models. Tasks include NLP, language acquisition, and "symbol grounding" (i.e., relating language to perceptual information).

Evolution of language and communication. Use of genetic algorithms (i.e., mutation and recombination of artificial genomes) to evolve populations of artificial neural networks that communicate and cooperate to accomplish survival-based tasks, such as mate-finding, food gathering, and nest construction.

Other AI faculty members within the Computer Science Department direct research in the areas of heuristic search and distributed AI, game playing, decision-making and Bayesian networks, neural modeling, machine vision, and expert systems.

Center for Environmental Risk Reduction

Yoram Cohen (Chemical Engineering), Director; http://www.cerr.ucla.edu

The Center for Environmental Risk Reduction (CERR) is a multidisciplinary research center established in 1995. The objective of the center is to develop and evaluate risk reduction and pollution prevention technologies and strategies. The CERR focuses its research activities in a number of key areas such as

  1. Multimedia studies of the transport, exposure, and health risks associated with environmental contaminants. Fundamental research is stressed, with emphasis on transport process modeling, biochemical transformation, exposure modeling and monitoring,
  2. Evaluation and development of strategies and technologies for risk reduction and pollution prevention, including recovery and recycle of trace-level contaminant, product and raw material substitution, and policy-driven strategies

The CERR includes student and faculty members from HSSEAS.

Center for High-Frequency Electronics

See Electrical Engineering Department

Flight Systems Research Center

A.V. Balakrishnan (Electrical Engineering), Director ; Kenneth W. Iliff (Electrical Engineering), Associate Director ; http://fsrc.ee.ucla.edu

The Flight Systems Research Center, established in 1985 under a Memorandum-of-Agreement with the NASA Ames/Dryden Flight Research Facility, is devoted to interdisciplinary research in flight systems and related technologies. Faculty from the Atmospheric Sciences, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Departments are currently associated with the center. Current research projects include:

· Estimation of wind profiles from laser-beam propagation distortion

· Probabilistic risk assessment and management

· Modeling of high mach number flows for Pegasus

· Leading-edge cooling

· Modeling, identification, and control with applications to flight vehicles

· Aerothermoelasticity and aeroservoelasticity of a generic hypersonic vehicle

· Vortex modeling of fuel jets in supersonic crossflow

· Instability of liquid fuel jets in high-speed flows

· Fluid flow and heat convection studies for actively cooled airframes

· Imaging of gas jets injected into transonic and supersonic crossflows

Institute of Plasma and Fusion Research

Mohamed A. Abdou (Engineering) and Alfred Wong (Physics), Codirectors; http://www.ipfr.ucla.edu

The Institute of Plasma and Fusion Research is a UCLA organized research unit dedicated to research into plasma physics, fusion energy, and the applications of plasmas in other areas of science and engineering. Students, professional research staff, and faculty, generally working in groups, study basic laboratory plasmas, plasma/fusion confinement experiments, fusion engineering and nuclear technology, computer simulations and the theory of plasmas, advanced plasma diagnostic development, laser/plasma interactions, and the use of plasma in applications ranging from particle accelerators to the processing of materials and surfaces used in microelectronics or for coatings.

The institute and its members are affiliated with both the College of Letters and Science and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Faculty, staff, and students come from the Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Physics and Astronomy Departments.

The overall UCLA effort in this field is quite broad. On a disciplinary basis, the program can be divided into the following categories:

· Astrophysical and space plasmas

· Basic plasma experiments

· Computer simulation of plasmas

· Fluid and thermal engineering sciences for fusion technology

· Fusion confinement experiments and devices

· Fusion engineering and reactor physics for magnetic and inertial fusion

· Fusion nuclear technology

· Plasma/surface interactions, coatings and surface material processing

· Radiation damage and materials science

Magnetic confinement fusion experiments include a tokamak machine, special confinement devices, and machines for basic plasma studies. Experiments have been built to simulate and study space plasmas and to investigate laser/plasma interactions as a means of accelerating particles for high-energy physics. Plasma sources are used in experiments to study plasma/material interactions research and as sources for the production of thin films and coatings. Theoretical and computer simulation research aims at understanding plasma behavior, ranging from plasmas in space to fusion plasmas. Fusion engineering activities include development of new diagnostics and RF power sources and the study of materials behavior, fusion nuclear technology, and fusion reactors.

Research in plasma physics and fusion energy is an exciting area of modern technology. Last year, UCLA's plasma and fusion programs received more than $12 million in research grants from several federal agencies, from the National Laboratories, and from industry. The largest amount of funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy, but substantial resources are received from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and research offices of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Nanoelectronics Research Facility

See Electrical Engineering Department