Two UD faculty members win Air Force Young Investigator awards
Jingyi Yu
David Burris


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10:41 a.m., Oct. 30, 2009----Two young faculty members at the University of Delaware are among 37 scientists and engineers nationwide selected to receive grants totaling more than $650,000 over three years through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). The program is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

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Jingyi Yu, assistant professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, will carry out research to develop a new hybrid camera array for tracking and reconstruction under low light. Earlier this year, Yu received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to study multi-perspective imaging, rendering, and projection -- techniques that have the potential to dramatically change how images are captured, delivered and viewed by the human eye.

David Burris, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, plans to conduct research focusing on linking tribofilm nanomechanics to the origins of low friction and wear. Tribology, Burris's area of expertise, is the science and technology of such phenomena as friction, wear, and lubrication.

“This is a very prestigious award,” says Anette Karlsson, chairperson of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, “and the department is lucky to have such an outstanding young faculty member as David. I am also very pleased to note that this is the second year in a row the department has a faculty member receiving this award.” Erik Thostenson, assistant professor, received the award last year.

It is also the second year in a row that UD has had two winners. Thomas H. Epps, III, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, also received an AFOSR YIP award last year.

“UD was one of only seven schools to have multiple winners this year,” says Michael Chajes, dean of the College of Engineering. “We were in good company, with the others being Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern, California Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, Florida State University, and University of California Berkeley.”

Douglas Doren, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said of Yu's award, "This award is a significant new honor for Jingyi, and a great example of UD's prominence in computer science research."

“Jingyi Yu is doing amazing things with cameras and displays,” David Saunders, chairperson of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, said. “This award is important recognition, along with his NSF CAREER Award. Most importantly, this funding enables a project to go forward that is revolutionizing what can be done with camera systems. Professor Yu is a tremendous asset to the Department of Computer and Information Sciences and to UD.”

Yu joined the University of Delaware faculty in 2005 after earning his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2007, he won a UD Exemplary Use of Technology in Teaching Award for using emerging interactive technologies such as TabletPCs and Wiimotes in his computer graphics course (CISC 440/640).

Burris earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida, an institution widely recognized as a leader in the area of tribology and interfacial sciences. Shortly after joining the UD faculty in September 2008, he was selected to receive the Marshall B. Peterson Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The award is given biennially in recognition of early-career achievements and promise for pursuit of research in tribology.

The objective of the YIP program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering. The agency invested more than $14 million in the 2010 program.

Article by Diane Kukich