In his quest for transformative ideas, Dr. Kenji Yoshigoe, the first Presidential Fellow appointed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, doesn’t want to swim in the same crowded currents as many other researchers. He prefers to avoid what’s known as the “red ocean” – very crowded research areas – and take students with him to less explored areas.
“I want to work in unexplored areas of investigation, in the blue ocean,” said Yoshigoe, who arrived at Embry-Riddle in April 2021. “There are so many opportunities that no one has explored, and the discovery is fun in these areas.You can find entirely new solutions to old problems.
Yoshigoe, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will apply this interdisciplinary, out-of-the-box approach to two newly funded projects, respectively for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Aviation Office and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
For the FDOT project, supported by a grant of nearly $ 300,000, Yoshigoe will investigate automated ways to count take-offs, landings and other airport operations.
Currently, air traffic control tower personnel collect operational data, but only nine of Florida’s 129 public-use airports have full-time staff working in a tower. Accurate operating data is essential to inform master plans, schedules, airport staffing and funding decisions, etc. Yoshigoe’s assessment of technology-based solutions, guided by a self-developed ranking approach followed by an actual system assessment, will help FDOT update its 2018 Operation relying on assessment of non-tower airports.
With a second grant of nearly $ 340,000, Yoshigoe will assess candidate technologies that could help air traffic controllers more effectively track various operations – including airplanes as well as spacecraft and drones. The work will support the FAA’s vision for an infocentric national airspace system.
Embry-Riddle, senior vice president of academic affairs and provost, Lon Moeller, noted that Yoshigoe’s interdisciplinary approach, combining cybersecurity, machine learning and big data analytics, aligns well with several areas of Research Priorities Identified by University President P. Barry Butler, Ph.D. “Kenji is a wonderful addition to Embry-Riddle’s portfolio of research assets,” Moeller said. “He brings a rich interdisciplinary experience to the table that will generate research and learning opportunities for our students. “
Yoshigoe, once described as “a mainstay in the development of the supercomputer network known as the Arkansas cyber infrastructure,” arrived at Embry-Riddle through Toyo University, one of Japan’s oldest private universities. In addition to research and teaching, his diverse background has included overseeing a supercomputer center funded by the National Science Foundation; development of wireless sensor networks supporting the Internet of Things; and service as chair of an academic department.
Originally from Japan, Yoshigoe said he never imagined becoming a researcher or university professor, but as a youngster he was always curious and wanted to see more of the world. He got a doctorate. in Computer Science and Engineering (2004) at the University of South Florida, where he focused on making the Internet faster and more scalable.
After graduation, Yoshigoe spent nearly 13 years at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he received several promotions and became a full professor. Along the way, he ran a high performance computing facility, founded a computer research center, and ran a national center of academic excellence appointed by the National Security Agency / Department of Homeland Security for Education. to cyber defense. After being recruited to help launch an initiative called “Information Network for Innovation and Design,” an elite college at Toyo University, Yoshigoe was a professor there until the first students freshmen of college graduate.
In addition to being part of the ministry of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Yoshigoe is also affiliated with the new Center for Aerospace Resilience, a unique innovation incubator that works to improve the safety and security of aviation and aerospace ecosystems.
Under President Butler’s leadership, Embry-Riddle has so far hired two Presidential Research Fellows – Yoshigoe and Dr. Barbara Holder, Associate Professor in the School of Graduate Studies in the Aviation College on the Daytona Beach, Florida campus. (Look for more information on Dr. Holder in a future profile article.)
Regarding his new grant-funded projects, Yoshigoe said he approaches the work with humility. He notes that he has no experience in aviation or aerospace, but adds that being a blank slate can actually lead to new ways of thinking.
“You can’t just look at the technologies in aviation,” he said. “You have to look for a solution that is the best use case, maybe in a totally different area. You might get clues about an approach to your problem that no one else imagined.
Yoshigoe’s advice to students? “If you are looking for new knowledge in different fields in an interdisciplinary way, you may find interesting correlations with your research problem,” he said. “You can go past the red ocean, discover all the new ideas in the blue sea.”