PREFER: Precise Regional Forecasting via Intelligent and Rapid Harnessing


July 8, 2022
2022 Summer Tutorial Program

The summer tutorial program on "Machine Learning (ML): Applications and Practices" and "Introduction to Meteorology" courses is offered jointly by Drs. Xu Yuan, Li Chen, Eirc Rappin, and Sytske Kimball from May 31 to July 29, 2022 to all interested team participants (undergraduate and graduate students, investigators), with Yihe Zhang (from UL Lafayette) serving as the main ML course teaching assistant to help participants solve problems encountered during those hands-on training sessions on Fridays. In total, fourteen (14) undergraduate students registered and participated in the summer tutorials, with five in-person participants from UL Lafayette, three on-line participants from USA, two on-line participants from SUBR, and four on-line participants from WKU. The leftmost photo below was taken on June 1 when Investigator Li Chen gave her tutorial and the remaining two photos were taken on July 6 when Co-PI Xuan Yuan lectured his tutorial. Details of the 9-week tutorial program can be found here.

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June 27, 2022
Mentoring Session on NSF CAREER Proposal Composition

An hourly mentoring session was held for junior investigators to learn insightful suggestions and desirable ways about composing NSF CAREER proposals with high competitiveness from its co-hosts, PI and the recent CAREER awardee, Dr. Xu Yuan. Questions were fielded by co-hosts with their rich experience serving on NSF review panels and knowledge acquired from NSF meeting participation.

Recorded video of the session is available here.

May 6, 2022
Second Annual Advisory and Evaluation Board (AEB) Meeting

This Year-2 AEB meeting held on May 6 lasted slightly more than 3 hours, with its participants including 11 project investigators, four AEB members, one reserach scientist, and several funded students. During the meeting, project investigators shared with the AEB members, their technical contributions over the past year and planned project activities in the coming year, to get their comments, suggestions, and guidance. First, the aggregate accomplishments by the whole team were summarized by the project PI, in terms of proposal submissions and awards, paper submissions, and patent applications. Upcoming events and action items were also described by the PI. The leads of project tasks then took turns to report their task groups' major activities and conributions made in the past year, followed by outlining activities in progress and planned research topics in the coming year.

Click here to view the recorded video of this meeting.

May 1, 2022

Project Co-PI, Dr. Eric Rappin, was informed of an operational budget increase by $1,000,000 for the Kentucky Mesonet system during FY 2022-2023 via State of Kentucky Legislature HB1, to benefit PREFER project activities.

April 29, 2022
PREFER Team 6th Meeting

The 6th PREFER team meeting held on April 29 lasted for slightly less than 2 hours, with its participants including 11 project investigators and three funded students. It was an opportunity for team members to reflect their achieved project activities and technical contributions over the past year, in preparation for the next annual AEB (Advisory and Evaluation Board) meeting to take place on May 6. Duration the meeting, the project PI summarized team aggregate accomplishments obtained from the subscribed T2 DOP service, in terms of proposal submissions and awards, paper submissions, and patent applications. Upcoming events and action items were also described by the PI. The leads of project tasks then took turns to report their task groups' major activities and conributions accomplished in the past year, followed by outlining activities in progress and planned research topics in the coming year.

The recorded video of this meeting can be viewed here.

February 11, 2022
PREFER Team 5th Meeting

A PREFER team meeting took place on February 11, with a total of 23 participants including all 13 project investigators. This 2.5-hour meeting featured (a) highlights on team's overall achievements by the PI, in terms of awarded proposal and published (or accepted) technical papers plus posted weather prediction model codes and datasets; upcoming events in the remaining months of our 2nd project year were announced as well, (b) the presentation of "temperature inversion prediction design" by Co-PI, Xu Yuan, (c) a presentation on "land-atmosphere interactions and parameter relevance" by Co-PI, Eric Rappin, with his presentation file given here, (d) a brief review made by Co-PI, Sytake Kimball, on "AI applications to meteorological predictions", shared at the annual American Meteorological Society meeting in January, with her review file given here, and (e) a presentation on reliable SC memristive in-memory computing by Investigator, Hassan Najafi.

The recorded video of this meeting can be viewed here.

February 8, 2022
Featured News Article

Lafayette, Louisiana local news station, KATC3, today features an article on the NSF CAREER award received by Project Co-PI, Dr. Xu Yuan. Click here for the featured article.

January 23-27, 2022

Project Co-PI, Dr. Eric Rappin, and four undergraduates from Western Kentucky University presented two posters on "Nocturnal Surface Thermal Inversion Formation in a Water-Rich Climate" and "Nocturnal Near-surface Temperature Inversions across Multiple Kentucky Climate Regions" at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting during January 23-27; click here for the first poster. The meeting included 40 individual conferences and symposia with thousands of technical presentations and posters. In addition, Project Co-PI, Dr. Sytske Kimball, together with her three undergraduates from University of South Alabama also attended the AMS annual meeting to present two posters on "Investigating Surface Temperature Inversions at a Gulf of Mexico Coast South Alabama Mesonet Stations over a 3-year Period" and "Temperature Extremes and Data Quality Control of South Alabama Mesonet Temperature Data". Click here for the first poster.

January 18, 2022

Project Co-PI, Dr. Xu Yuan, received a prestigious NSF CAREER award for his proposed research on "Holistic Framework for Constructing Dynamic Malicious Knowledge Bases in Social Networks." Details of his awarded research in the amount of $500,000 during 10/1/2022 – 9/30/2027 can be found at Link.

January 12, 2022
Software and Datasets Uploaded

All software codes and datasets related to weather parameter prediction modelets we have developed have been uploaded for use by the public. They have high portability, suitable for weather parameter predictions based on both near surface observations and the WRF-HRRR computed values. A README file is provided to instruct all details about computer system environment settings (both under Windows and Linux) for running our ML-based modelets. One may download all software codes and datasets here.

November 12, 2021
PREFER Team 4th Meeting

A PREFER team meeting took place on Noverber 12, with a total of 22 participants including 12 project investigators (i.e., all except one for his medical appointment). This 2.3-hour meeting featured (a) highlights on team's overall achievements by the PI, in terms of proposal submissions and awards, published (or accepted) technical papers, and patent applications; focused activities in the 2nd project year were announced as well, (b) presentation on temperature inversion basics and outcomes of gathered data analyses done by Co-PIs, Sytske Kimball and Eric Rappin, whose presentation file can be found here, (c) outlines on temperature inversion modeling and preliminary results by Co-PI, Xu Yuan, and (d) briefs on stochastic computing applications to meteorological data by Investigator, Hassan Najafi. In addition, Tom Johnsten summarized project activities on gathered weather data analyses.

The recorded video of this meeting can be downloaded here. Set the aspect ratio to 16:9 for better viewing experience.

October 28, 2021

Investigator Dr. Xu Yuan was invited to present an in-person talk on "Reverse Attack: Black-box Attacks on Collaborative Recommendation" in the School of Computer Science, University of Oklahoma, under the OKU Presidential Dream Course Series. His talk attracted some sixty undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members from University of Oklahoma to attend (see the photo below). He met with graduate students of research groups in the School after his talk, engaging in active discussions with the attendees.

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September 1, 2021

Dr. Lu Peng, served as the PI of an NIH supplement grant for $226,970, on "NOSI Support Enhancement of Software Tools for Multi-Level Medication Analysis for Investigating Effects of Incremental and Individual Risk Factor on Repository Diseases," during 9/1/2021 – 1/31/2022, jointly with four Co-PIs.

July 13, 2021

Project investigator, Dr. Hassan Najafi, received a grant from Cisco Research in the amount of $112,651 to carry out research on "Time-Based Stochastic Processing for Edge AI" during 9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022, as the PI, with a Co-PI from UC, Irvine. The research activities are closely related to the PREFER project task led by Dr. Najafi, called Stochastic Computing.

July 6, 2021

Louisiana EPSCoR, Board of Regents featured the PREFER project in its recent Newsletter article, entitled "Precise Weather Forecasting via Intelligent and Rapid Harnessing of Big Data." The article related the project themes and their expected outcomes to benefit the economy and human welfare of the nation in general, and of participating jurisdictions in particular, as can be found at PDF (1372 KB).

June 21, 2021

Dr. Nian-Feng Tzeng delivered an invited presentation on the PREFER project and its solutions for precise regional flood forecasting at IEEE 7th World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT 2021), held in New Orleans. The presentation was made in a hybrid form during Session SPES10.1 on Data Acquisition for Flood Forecasting, with most attenees being remote (see the photo below).

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June 21, 2021

Dr. Xu Yuan was invited to present a talk on "Precise Hydrological Predictions via Neural Networks" at IEEE 7th World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT 2021), held in New Orleans. His presentation was among the three in Session SPES 10.2 on Data Analysis and Forecasting, with active discussions at the end of the session, as shown by the photo below.

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June 18, 2021

Summer AI/ML tutorial session for project RUE participants held in the hybrid manner, with 6 engaged face-to-face on the UL campus and 10 attending remotely (see the photos below). The tutorial is lectured by Xu Yuan, project co-PI, twice per week during June and July, assisted by Purushottam Sigdel and Yihe Zhang.

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June 10, 2021

Newest micronet station deployed by two PREFER undergraduate students, Jaye Hockett and Ryan Thomas (shown in the photo), in Western Kentucky University (WKU) 800-acre Agricultural Farm to examine many facets of surface thermal inversions for inversion mitigation and also to gather meteorological readings as inputs to PRERER weather prediction modelets under development. It is among 5 inversion-equipped stations (3 mesonet and 2 micronet stations), which belong to the Kentucky state-wide Mesonet.

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June 1, 2021

Research funding of $200K from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded to PREFER researcher, Eric Rappin, as a co-investigator, working on the project of "Impact of Real-Time Weather Information" during 7/1/2021 and 12/31/2022. Investigating the correlation of real-time weather variables and automobile crash locations & severity, the project aims to produce recommendations for real-time message signs to alert potential weather related safety risks.

May 14, 2021

Our first annual PREFER Advisory and Evaluation Board (AEB) meeting was held on May 14, with all four AEB members participating. This 3.5-hour meeting permited key PREFER team participants to (a) highlight the whole project scope and involved research tasks and summarize overall team accomplishmentes, and (b) let task leads outline major research activities and outcomes over the past 8.5 months plus planned work topics and technical solutions for the coming year. In the last meeting session, the AEB members offered their candid and valuable comments and suggestions on project activities and future research topics, pointing out needed team effort on further collaboration among tasks and on more ties of technical solutions to the project goal of better weather forecasting regionally. Possible outreach to local high school students for their involvement in project activities could be attempted as well. A total of 26 team members participated in the meeting, besides the four AEB members. Seven task leads made their presentations on Mesonet Surface Observations (Task 1), In-Memory Processing (Task 3), Error Detection and Recovery (Task 4), Stochastic Computing (Task 5), GPGPU Support (Task 6), enhanced weather data gathering for Meteo Modelets (Task 7), and Focused Meteorological Problems (Task 8).

The recorded video of this meeting can be downloaded here. Set the aspect ratio to 16:9 for better viewing experience.

April 30, 2021

PREFER team meeting took place for the PI/PD to review the project achievement summary and for project task leads to present their respective research activities and progress, in preparation for the upcoming advisory and evaluation board meeting on May 14. A total of 25 team members participated in the meeting, which featured the following task lead presentations: Xu Yuan on Mesonet Surface Observations (Task 1), Nianfeng Tzeng on In-Memory Processing (Task 3), Lu Peng on Error Detection and Recovery (Task 4), Hassan Najafi on Stochastic Computing (Task 5), Li Chen on GPGPU Support (Task 6), Stuart Foster on Meteo Modelets (Task 7), Sytske Kimball on Focused Meteorological Problems (Task 8), Xu Yuan and Nianfeng Tzeng on Undergraduate Research Experience (Task 10).

April 14, 2021

PREFER senior investigator, Dr. Mathieu Kourouma, won an equipment enhancement grant funded by Louisiana BoR on "Stimulating Teaching, Learning, and Instructional Alignment in Computer Science Department at SUBR" (with Award Number: 082ENH-21) for $199,864 during July 2021 - June 2022. PREFER investigator, Dr. Lynette Jackson, co-led this funded project.

April 14, 2021

PREFER senior investigator, Dr. Lu Peng, is awarded by Louisiana BoR with an equipment enhancement grant on "Accelerated Machine Learning, Big Data, and Graphics Education and Research Equipment" (with Award Number: 041ENH-21) for $119,900 during July 2021 - June 2022. He is one of five awardees for the grant.

April 14, 2021

A research grant is awarded by Louisiana BoR under its Proof of Concept/Prototype Category to PREFER senior investigator, Dr. Li Chen, for her work on "Fast and Efficient Scheduler for Deep Learning in GPU Cluster" with the funding amount of $39,990 during June 2021 - May 2022.

January 15, 2021
PREFER Team 3rd Meeting

Twenty-two team participants joined this Zoom meeting, including 11 graduate and undergraduate members, who were introduced to the team for the first time. Besides a brief summary on team research activities made by the PI, the meeting included two technical presentations for information sharing, on (1) weather modelets and their initial results and (2) GPU support for bigdata analytics, delivered respectively by Ph.D. student participants: Yihe Zhang and Pisacha Srinuan. Discussions followed after technical presentations.

December 21, 2020

PREFER senior investigator, Dr. Lu Peng, receives NIH funding for the project of "Detection and Automatic Privacy-Protected Contact Tracing System Designed for COVID-19" (with Project Number: 1U01AA029348-01), serving as the project leader to work jointly with four other co-PIs. The project addresses a new paradigm for rapid and direct pathogen detection and identification, with automatic data transition and event tracing in a blockchain-encrypted manner. It starts on December 21, 2020 and ends on November 30, 2022, for a total funding level of $888,643.

December 2020

Project investigator, Dr. Hassan Najafi, received a grant of $119,930 from a funding source to work on "OneTConnect: A Wearable Telehealth Solution for Psychiatric Patient Care" during February 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.

November 12, 2020
Team Participating in the NSF Kick-off Meeting

All team participants attend the 2-day virtual meeting hosted by NSF's EPSCoR PDs in part or in full. They met cognizant NSF directors, learnt project reporting and evaluation expectations, and were informed budgetary issues. Short presentations by all funded T2 projects permitted our team members to know the scopes of all other projects for possible future collaboration. Programmatic experience shared by PIs from earlier years' funded T2 projects offered valuable guidance for our project going forward. Details about team management, governance, coordination, and possible conflict/problem resolution were also clarified during the 2nd day's breakout session. The team initiated the development of a strategic and milestone plan as well in the 2nd meeting day.

November 6, 2020
PREFER Team 2nd Meeting

Most team participants joined this virtual meeting to sort out details about workforce development regarding undergraduate engagement and summer research support. The meeting also updated team members with data output gathering service for all project activities and inform about the NSF's project kick-off meeting to take place in the following week.

October 13, 2020
Team Member Technical Presentation

A presentation, entitled "The Future of Weather Forecasting," was given by Eric Rappin at the Commonwealth Computing Summit at the University of Kentucky on 13 Oct. 2020, briefly outlining how PREFER is aimed at advancing next-generation forecasts through a set of simple machine learning models (dubbed 1-D modelets). It discussed the initial PREFER approach on training ML models to correlate meteorological quantities based on years of Kentucky Mesonet observations (e.g., how does wind direction impact humidity). Further investigation would be on developing 2-D modelets to account for spatial correlations.

September 17, 2020

Investigator, Dr. Hassan Najafi, was invited to give a talk at the ECE Department Fall 2020 Colloquium (Eleanore Hale Wilson Lecture Series), University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, on his cutting-edge solution for energy-efficient design of near-sensor stochastic computing circuits. The presentation on "Time-based Stochastic Processing for Near-Sensor AI" was made virtually via Zoom with more than 60 attendees, including faculties, graduate and undergraduate students, followed by a 25 minute Q&A and discussions at the end.

September 1, 2020
PREFER Team Kick-off Meeting

All 14 team participants joined the meeting via Zoom for 1.5 hours to review technical tasks under the funded project, to affirm their respective task involvement, and finalize the team execution strategy that contains the activity level, the task level, the whole team level. Each task has one lead, who is responsible for assigning and coordinating research activities included in the task. A task-level meeting is expected to hold monthly or as needed, whereas a team-level meeting is expected three times annually.

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