NAECON Awards and Grand Challenge

2020 Larrell Walters Grand Challenge on
Cooperative Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST)

Background: The concept of autonomy is finding its way into systems and technologies for a diverse range of commercial and defense applications from smart cars to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) within a supporting autonomy architecture consisting of command and control, information exploitation and dissemination, and manned-unmanned teaming. The grand challenge of autonomy exists at both the systems and technologies level.

Challenge Problem: Design or fabrication approaches, and/or possible innovative concepts for either hardware (to include sensing and computing technologies), embedded algorithms, and architectures that could be adapted to assist smart cars traveling on smart roads through smart towns. Judges will determine the Grand Challenge Winner, details will be on the web page.

Approach: This design challenge can be based either (a) simulation, (b) hardware, or (c) software design and validation. Note that the submission includes a paper, and presentation. Please indicate “NAECON Grand Challenge” on the abstract submission to NAECON.

NOTE: This award is selected from all submissions from the prior years’ NAECON conference , so at NAECON 2020, the NAECON 2019 winner will be honored.

2020 Joe Sciabica Innovation and Collaboration Award

2019 WINNER: Mark Stephenson, Senior Scientist, Air Force Research Lab

At the 2012 Ohio Innovation Summit for Sensors, an award was established to recognize a major innovator and collaborator in the technology sector. The first recipient of the award was Mr. Joe Sciabica, Senior Executive Service (SES) and former Executive Director of Air Force Research Lab. Mr. Sciabica’s vision and efforts played an integral role in the Dayton Region’s collaborative growth of innovative technical capabilities in advanced sensor technology. The award has since been named in his honor.

If a suitable nominee is proposed, the Joe Sciabica Innovation and Collaboration Award will be presented to the winner(s) at NAECON 2020.

Review Criteria for Joe Sciabica Innovation and Collaboration Award

Any person or entity in the Dayton region meeting the established criteria may be nominated. The Dayton region will be defined as being within 90 miles of the City of Dayton. Other criteria for the award are:

Primary Criteria

  1. The individual, team, or entity has been an innovative thought leader by either leading innovation, or being an innovator in the area of advanced sensor technology.
  2. The innovation must have been achieved through collaboration.
  3. Using the definition of innovation as ideas used in collaboration to promote different groups/entities working together; the collaborative innovation must create economic/performance value, dramatically improved effectiveness, or jobs.
  4. The innovation/collaboration must be in a sensor systems/data-to-decisions technology areas including, but not limited to, devices, software, algorithms, visualization, and sensor exploitation.
  5. The type of innovation/collaboration is prioritized from low to high: improvement< bridging< transformational.

Nominations call will include deadlines.  Sign up for NAECON updates to be notified.

2020 Dan Repperger Memorial Best Paper Award 


The Art of the Impossible: Sorting Dielectric Microspheres by using Light”

Luiz Poffo(1,2), Farzaneh Abolmaali(1), Aaron Brettin(1), Boya Jin(1), James Page(1), Nicholaos I. Limberopoulos(3), Igor Anisimov(3), Ilya Vitebskiy(3), Augustine M. Urbas(3), Alexey V. Maslov(4), Vasily N. Astratov(1,3), (1)University of North Carolina at Charlotte, (2)Université de Rennes, (3)Air Force Research Laboratory, (4)University of Nizhny Novgorod

2018 BEST STUDENT PAPER 1st Place:

Design and implementation of a centralized system for autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle trajectory conflict resolution”

Max Z. Li(1), John F. Kennedy(2), Yash V. Pant(2), William R. Tam(2), Megan S. Ryerson(2), Sahithya M. Prakash(2), Daewon Lee(2), (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (2)University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

2018 BEST STUDENT PAPER 2nd Place:

A Model-Based Multi-Objective Optimization for High Efficiency and High Power Density Motor Drive Inverters for Aircraft Applications”

Yingzhuo Chen(1), Zhao Yuan(2), Fang Luo(2), (1)The Ohio State University, (2)University of Arkansas

The Repperger Best Paper Award honors the life and works of Dr. Daniel W.Repperger (1942-2010) a scientist and mentor to many young engineers andscientists. As a researcher in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate for 35 years, Dr. Repperger’s mathematical andscientific innovations have revolutionized image and network complexity analysis. He received international recognition in haptic controllers, human-machine interface performance enhancement, and mathematical methods development. While Dr. Repperger’s significant research accomplishments helped advanced the performance of Air Force airmen and the field of human-centered research, his most significant accomplishment may well be the impact he had as a kind and caring mentor of many young Air Force scientists and science and engineering students.

NOTE: This award is selected from all final manuscript submissions from the prior years’ NAECON conference , so at NAECON 2020, the NAECON 2019 winner will be honored.

2019 Best Poster Awards 


1st Place:  Analysis of Lithium Niobate Memristor Devices for Neuromorphic Programmability, Ayesha Zaman, University of Dayton

2nd Place: Wideband Programmable Gaussian Noise Generator on FPGA, Dan Pritsker, Intel Corporation

3rd Place: Medical Image Denoising with Recurrent Residual U-Net (R2U-Net), Mst Shamima Nasrin, University of Dayton