University of Delaware
One of the three initial projects in the VIP Program will focus on strategic management of vehicle-grid interactions for plug-in electric vehicles.

Vertically Integrated Projects

New program unites undergraduate education, faculty research in team-based context


10:12 a.m., April 7, 2016--The University of Delaware will join Georgia Tech’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Consortium through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust that expands VIP to a consortium of schools across the country.

Aimed at driving systemic reform of STEM (science, technology, education and mathematics) education, VIP unites undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context, with undergraduate students earning academic credits and faculty benefiting from the design/discovery efforts of their teams.

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UD’s involvement, funded by a $163,000 sub-award from Georgia Tech, will be led by Andrew Novocin, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

“The VIP Program will allow us to extend the academic design experience beyond a single semester, with students participating for up to three years,” Novocin says. “Our goal is to turn our students into employment-ready engineers.”

Novocin explains that the consortium will allow participating schools to share tools and resources, and corporate sponsorships will enable expansion of the program. “As we grow, I hope to have 10 to 30 teams within the next five years,” he says.

The initial two-year grant will support three teams: Prof. Fouad Kiamilev will direct a project on grid-integrated vehicles; Prof. Mark Mirotznik will supervise a team developing e-textiles for continuous health monitoring; and Novocin will lead a group addressing security schemes for cloud computing. 

All three of the faculty advisers are currently seeking students from a variety of disciplines — including mathematics, electrical and computer engineering, management information systems, biomedical engineering, and computer and information sciences — who are interested in participating in the program. 

An information session will be held from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, April 12, in 134 Spencer Lab. Pizza and sodas will be provided. 

Current VIP projects

Grid-Integrated Vehicles: Redefining Vehicle-Grid Interaction

Hundreds of thousands of plugin electric vehicles (PEVs) have been sold in the United States in the past decade, and this number is projected to grow rapidly. A common concern regarding increased market penetration of PEVs is that numerous vehicles charging simultaneously or during peak hours will overload electric power generation and distribution systems. To avoid this situation, charging must be managed strategically. 

Research issues that will be examined in this project include identifying electric vehicles based on their unique charging characteristics; developing open source software that can be deployed by all electric vehicle chargers; and collecting data and validating results using UD’s fleet of electric vehicles and charging stations.

E-textiles for Continuous Health Monitoring

Continuous health monitoring could have significant health benefits for an aging population in addition to its potential for reducing medical costs as a result of shorter hospital stays. A sustainable health monitoring system must be robust, accurate, and cost and energy efficient as well as have a minimal impact on the mobility of the user.

One attractive new technology for this application is the use of e-textiles, which combine woven or embroidered conductive yarns with printable and embedded sensors and electronics resulting in a wearable garment that can sense and wirelessly communicate various biosignals within a health monitoring network. The goal of this project is to develop new e-textile technologies that can be used as part of an integrated health monitoring system.


This project aims to create practical encryption schemes that will unlock economically disruptive, cloud-driven, secure data manipulation. Currently, every medical, financial, and governmental institution that must update and search confidential records has to have secure hardware, secure software, and secure staff. As a result, they are unable to take full advantage of the Internet-sized economies of scale that drive the modern economy. 

The central technological hurdle is creating practical security schemes that allow untrusted machines to perform queries and updates on encrypted data. Until very recently, this was considered impossible, but in the past few years theoretical, yet infeasible, schemes have been devised. This project advances the practical boundaries of these schemes.

Moving forward

Following establishment of the three identified VIP teams, additional teams will be formed with a particular focus on multidisciplinary projects. 

Potential next-phase VIP projects include SimUCare, a suite of novel health care simulation technologies for live actor patient simulations; massively parallel portable computing technologies; and DEGAS (Distributed, EnerGy conscious, Ad hoc and Space) networking.

Visit the website for more information.

Article by Diane Kukich

Photo by Evan Krape

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