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UC Aerospace Researcher Receives Prestigious AIAA Award

Kelly Cohen, interim head of UC's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, collaborates on artificial intelligence projects with colleagues and students to make waves in the field of UAVs.

Date: 7/17/2017 9:00:00 AM
By: Staci Jones
Other Contact: Ashley Duvelius
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-9181
Kelly Cohen
Kelly Cohen

While growing up in India, Kelly Cohen had a fascination with airplanes and flight principles that led the University of Cincinnati professor to study aeronautical engineering. While obtaining his undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Cohen was introduced to the artificial intelligence concept of fuzzy logic by his PhD advisor, Tanchum Weller, who suggested that he take a look at applying fuzzy logic for the active control of flexible space structures.

“I went on utilizing fuzzy logic extensively during my PhD studies and had numerous publications in that field of research,” said Cohen, who was recently named interim department head of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Now Cohen has been recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) with an award for outstanding technical contribution to the industry for "the advancement and application of artificial intelligence to largescale, meaningful and challenging aerospace-related problems." Also honored was UC graduate Nick Ernest, a student of Cohen's who runs the artificial-intelligence company Psibernetix, Inc.

Cohen joined UC's engineering college in 2007 focusing on intelligent systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and flight optimization. He uses algorithms based on genetic fuzzy logic for command and control applications in the area of autonomous collaborating robotics, as well as predictive modeling for personalizing medical treatment in neurological disorders.

Since 2010, Cohen has advised six PhD students and 19 master's students. He also secured $3 million in research funding at UC, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Air Force and NASA to develop algorithms for drone applications.

“I worked in the early years of UAVs, they were not as popular as they are now where you can literally hear drones buzzing all around you,” Cohen said.

Cohen has written more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and has presented 270 papers at conferences and seminars.

Cohen & Ernest receive the AIAA Outstanding Technical Contribution – Application Award.
Kelly Cohen and Nick Ernest receive the AIAA Outstanding Technical Contribution – Application Award.

While teaching at UC, Cohen has received the Neil Wandmacher Teaching Award and the Dolly A. Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching. The College of Engineering and Applied Science recognized him with the Master Educator Award and Distinguished Researcher Award. Outside the university, Cohen previously received the AIAA certificate for distinguished service as chairman of the Intelligent Systems Technical Committee. He was named a fellow of the Academy for Teaching & Learning in 2014.

His latest award from AIAA, which he received in collaboration with Ernest, was the result of several noteworthy publications in the area of fuzzy systems.

A few of the publications include:
  • “Genetic Fuzzy Based Artificial Intelligence for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Control in Simulated Air Combat Missions," Journal of Defense Management.
  • “An Efficient Genetic Fuzzy Approach to UAV Swarm Routing,” Unmanned Systems.
  • “Genetic Fuzzy Trees and their Application Towards Autonomous Training and Control of a Squadron of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles,” Unmanned Systems
  • “A Solely Magnetic Genetic-Fuzzy Attitude Control Algorithm for a CubeSat,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.
  • “Fuzzy Logic Based Intelligent Agents for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Control," Journal of Defense Management.
Cohen plans to continue to work with his students on fuzzy logic in largescale, meaningful applications, including efforts sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratories, the Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and NASA's Ames Research Center.

“Our research efforts in the area of fuzzy logic systems have been well received around the world and we wish to build upon that success by widening the number of applications going beyond aerospace to the field of neuroscience,” Cohen said. “We have had excellent results for predictive modeling in treatment of bipolar disorder and diagnosis of brain concussions after trauma, accidents or sports injuries.”

Cohen also submitted three papers in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux at the Dayton-Cincinnati Aerospace Sciences Symposium. One paper on quadcopter controls he co-authored with UC associate professor Manish Kumar and Bordeaux professor Franck Cazaurang received the award for best presentation at the symposium. The paper was presented by UC student Rumit Kumar and won in the category of flight dynamics and controls. Two other UC engineering students also presented at the symposium and won best presentation in their respective tracks: Gaurav Patil in the design and optimization category and Nathaniel Richards for the unmanned aerial systems category.

Cohen is excited about the research promise that fuzzy logic holds.

"The future is only going to get fuzzier!” he said.