Thursday, February 20, 2014

OU-Tulsa Telecommunications Professor Receives High Award from Indian Government













Tulsa, Okla. – Pramode Verma, Ph.D., Director of the Telecommunications Engineering Program at the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently returned from New Delhi, where he received one of the highest awards bestowed upon non-resident Indians by the Government of India. Dr. Verma was honored with the Hind Rattan award, (translated to English as “jewel of India”), given annually by the NRI (non-resident Indians) Welfare Society, under the umbrella of the Government of India. The award is given to people of Indian origin in recognition of their research, professional accomplishments and positive contributions to the scientific community and a growing world economy.

James Sluss, Jr., Ph.D., Director and Morris R. Pitman Professor, University of Oklahoma School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said, “The fact that Dr. Verma has been presented with this prestigious award is a clear indication of the high regard in which he is held by the engineering profession and the notable contributions he has made over his exemplary career.”

Dr. Verma also holds the Williams Chair in Telecommunications Networking. Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma in 1999, he held a variety of professional and leadership positions in the telecommunications industry at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. He is the author/co-author of more than 100 journal articles and conference papers, and several books in telecommunications engineering. He is also the co-inventor of seven patents. He has been a keynote speaker at several international conferences and has lectured in several countries.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Verma called the evening “an exciting moment,” and said he was thrilled to be in the company of other honorees.

“As I reflected on this award, I thought of a quote from Gandhi that has resonated with me: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’  When I look back at my own accomplishments – it is this tenet of learning, lifelong learning that has been the key to my success. Even today, after being in a diverse and rewarding career that has spanned over 40 years, I continue to learn and apply new ideas to what I do every single day.  I credit this desire for lifelong learning to my upbringing in India.  From my family who supported my education to my grade school teachers who kept me interested and to the brilliant educators at the Indian Institute of Science that I had the fortune of learning from and who inspired and stretched me to be my best.  Suffice it to say, it is this India, this culture and the vibrancy and talent of this nation that helped me get my start and gave me the tools I needed to be successful.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not recognize my wife, Gita, who has been alongside me in this career journey, who has unconditionally supported me, and is never short of great advice.  I truly would not be here without her and she is as deserving as I of this recognition.  Gita, I share this award and recognition with you.”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Multi-million Dollar Grant Addresses Region’s Transportation Infrastructure

“Becoming a Regional Transportation Center presents a great opportunity to OU to become an even stronger leader in the field,” said OU President David L. Boren.
 
In addition to OU, the Southern Plains Regional Transportation Center consortium includes Oklahoma State University, Langston University, University of Arkansas, The University of New Mexico, Louisiana Tech University, The University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech University. Regional transportation centers differ from other U.S. Department of Transportation funded centers in that consortium members must be located in the region they serve and address regional needs.

“Oklahoma’s central location positions our state at a critical crossroad for the shipment of goods and travel across the nation,” said U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Two primary constitutional duties of the government are providing a strong national defense and supporting a strong transportation and infrastructure system to facilitate commerce. With this grant, our Oklahoma universities will continue to advance Oklahoma’s research, technology and expertise in the transportation industry.”

"I am pleased that the Department of Transportation will award more than $2.5 million in grant money to the University of Oklahoma’s UTC consortium," said Congressman Tom Cole. "This grant recognizes that Oklahoma is advancing viable solutions that will repair broken infrastructure and improve other transportation needs nationwide. I look forward to the difference this money will make through the bright minds in Norman and through the seven other consortium universities in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.”

“Extreme weather conditions can create enormous challenges for our transportation infrastructure,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “This grant will support research that will help make our roads, bridges and rail systems more climate adaptive and less vulnerable to bad weather.”

The funding helps advance U.S. technology and expertise in transportation through education, research, technology transfer, and workforce development at university-based centers of excellence. The two-year grant awards each regional UTC $2.6 million annually for the next two years, with eligibility to renew for multiple subsequent years.

“Increased truck traffic and limited resources for construction, maintenance, and preservation of infrastructure challenge every state in the nation,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation, Gary Ridley. “But the southern plains region’s volatile weather conditions place an additional burden on the system.”

Extreme summer temperatures, flash floods and large numbers of freeze-thaw cycles, coupled with poor soils, create enormous challenges to the region’s transportation infrastructure and public safety. According to OU Civil Engineering Professor and Southern Plains Regional Transportation Center Director, Musharraf Zaman, counting only recent severe droughts, economic losses are estimated at almost $9 billion annually to managed systems in Oklahoma and Texas alone, including transportation infrastructure.

“Fortunately, we can access some of the world’s best weather research and information in our back yard,” said Zaman, referring to weather entities that include the National Weather Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Radar Innovations Laboratory located in Norman, Okla.  Zaman said the Southern Plains Regional Transportation Center plans to overlay weather expertise upon infrastructure research to focus on climate adaptive transportation and freight movement. “This will give us a more accurate picture of the challenges and stress on the southern plains region transportation infrastructure and insight to the best solutions,” said Zaman.

The group plans to research all aspects of extreme weather on transportation infrastructure from direct impact to innovative materials, winter weather vehicles and multi-modal freight movement.

“The center will address the most challenging issues of both the Federal Highway Administration and State Transportation Agencies. The commercial, agricultural and energy transportation corridors in the southern plains keep our nation’s economy moving forward. OSU is proud to be a partner in this consortium,” says Oklahoma State University Engineering Dean Paul Tikalsky. 

“Sustainable transportation infrastructure is crucial to public safety and economic prosperity.  Through the Southern Plains Regional Transportation Center we have assembled an outstanding team that fully represents the states in our region, and we look forward to working together,” said OU Engineering Dean Tom Landers.