Research Seminars

Visible to the public 

 L E C T U R E  S E R I E

The one-credit course is designed to give students a broad overview of the projects going on at Vanderbilt as well as cross-training that will prepare them both for the internships and for their future careers. Each class will consist of two components: an introduction to a Vanderbilt research project presented by the project PI along with either a hands-on demonstration of the project or a discussion of a reading assignment. Generally, there are one or two short articles required for reading each week.

Materials from the previous seminars can be found here: 20202019 | 2018


Monday, Jan 25: No meeting. First week of class.

Monday, Feb 1: First Meeting
Introduction to the PIRE program (Prof. Janos Sztipanovits). 10 min. Pre-test assessment by Gabrielle Chapman (20 min.). Discussion of internships in Germany and at Vanderbilt. Decision timeline and process. (If time): Introduction to societal dimensions of emerging technologies (Prof. David Hess). 5 minutes. Brief presentation by one of the interns from 2020. 5 minutes. Questions and answers.

Monday, Feb 8: Technological Systems and Society: An Introduction.
General introduction to privacy regulations. Reading:
1) David J. Hess (Vanderbilt University), Dasom Lee (Vanderbilt University), Bianca Biebl (Technical University of Munich), Martin Fränzle (University of Oldenburg), Sebastian Lehnhoff (University of Oldenburg), Jürgen Niehaus (University of Oldenburg), Alexander Pretschner (Technical University of Munich), and Janos Sztipanovits (Vanderbilt University), “A Sociotechnical Design Perspective on Responsible Research and Innovation: The Assessment of Digitized Energy and Automated Vehicles.”
2) Niina Zuber, Severin Kacianka, Alexander Pretschner, Julian Nida-Rümelin, “Ethical Deliberation for Agile Software Processes: EDAP Manual.”
Assignment 1 due before class: 200-plus-word summary of the two readings.

Monday, Feb 15: Privacy by Design: How to Embed Privacy Goals in Software Design.
Part 1. Summary of research: presentation on the Policy Forge project by Prof. Janos Sztipanovits.
Part 2. Discussion of reading: Reading by H. Nissenbaum (2018). Respecting context to protect privacy: why meaning matters. Science and Engineering Ethics 24: 831-852. Turn in notes on the reading before class.
Assignment 2 due before class: 200-plus-word summary of the reading.

Monday, Feb 22: Safety, Consumer Organizations, and Future Vehicles.
Part 1. Discussion of reading. Reading:
1) Hess, David J. “Incumbent-led Transitions and Civil Society: Autonomous Vehicle Policy and Consumer Organizations in the United States.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 151: 119825.
2) Dasom Lee and David Hess. Regulations for On-Road Testing of Connected and Automated Vehicles: Assessing the Potential for Global Safety Harmonization. Transportation Research A: Policy and Planning 136:85-98.
Assignment 3 due before class: 200-plus-word summary of the reading. 

Monday, Mar 1: Driver Control, Traffic Control, and Traffic Stability.
Summary of research: presentation by Prof. Dan Work. Please review the web site “Work Research Group” at
Assignment 4 due before class: View multiple pages and documents (at least 12) and write up a summary of what you have learned.

Monday, Mar 8: Autonomy and Safe Artificial Intelligence: Submarine Vehicles.
Part 1. Presentation by Professor Gabor Karsai.
Part 2. Discussion of reading: Brutzman, D., Davis, D., Lucas Jr, G. and McGhee, R., 2013. Run-time ethics checking for autonomous unmanned vehicles: Developing a practical approach. In Proceedings of the 18th International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology (UUST), Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Assignment 5 due before class: 200-plus-word summary of the reading.

Monday, Mar 15: Security, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Lights, and Dynamic Routing. 
Part 1. Summary of research: presentation by Professor Xenofon Koutsoukos.
Part 2: Demonstration of the simulation project.  Reading: Koutsoukos, X., Karsai, G., Laszka, A., Neema, H., Potteiger, B., Volgyesi, P., Vorobeychik, Y. and Sztipanovits, J., 2018. SURE: A modeling and simulation integration platform for evaluation of secure and resilient cyber–physical systems. Proceedings of the IEEE, 106(1), pp.93-112.
Assignment 6 due before class: 200-plus-word review of the reading.

Monday, March 22: Can the study of ride-sharing be used to predict the effects of CAVs on cities?
An analysis of ride-sharing and equity. The class will also include a discussion of survey results.  Dr. Rachel McKane, postdoctoral fellow. Readings TBA.
Assignment 7 due before class: 200-plus-word summary of the reading.

Monday, March 29: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Societal Issues.
Assignment 8 due by Sunday at noon:
Email a powerpoint slide to Katie Dey by Sunday at noon. In the slide summarize one societal dimension of drones (safety, security, privacy, equity, sustainability). There are numerous examples to find, including gin readings posted on the project web site. In this class, we will have you make a short (3 minute) summary. Do this as a set of powerpoint slides, then upload to Brightspace by 6pm Sunday night. There will also be a short presentation on the regulation of drones by Dr. Dasom Lee. Possible readings are here: We’ll have a sign-up sheet for you so that you don’t duplicate another student’s presentation. 

Monday, April 5: Introduction to the electricity grid, the smart grid, distributed energy, and demand management,
by David Hess.
1) Hess and Lee, Energy Decentralization in California and New York: Value Conflicts in the Politics of Shared Solar and Community Choice. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.  
2) Lee, Dasom, David J. Hess, and Himanshu Neema. 2020. The Challenges of Implementing Transactive Energy: A Comparative Analysis of Experimental Projects. The Electricity Journal 33(10): 106865.
Assignment 9 due before class: 200-plus-word review of the readings.

Monday, April 12: Transactive energy project summary, Prof. Himanshu Neema.
1) Kok, K. and Widergren, S., 2016. A society of devices: Integrating intelligent distributed resources with transactive energy. IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, 14(3), pp.34-45.
2) Neema, H., Sztipanovits, J., Hess, D.J. and Lee, D., 2020, April. TE-SAT: Transactive Energy Simulation and Analysis Toolsuite. In 2020 IEEE Workshop on Design Automation for CPS and IoT (DESTION) (pp. 19-20). IEEE.
Assignment 10 due before class: 200-plus-word review of the two readings.

Monday, April 19: Presentations by students.  
Upload slides to the course site in powerpoint so that they are available for presentation. This is a five-minute presentation and a short review of one article on a social or human factor issue as it relates to transactive energy, connected and autonomous vehicles, or unmanned aerial vehicles. You may want to look at one of the policy documents or other articles on the project web site. Discuss what the social or human factor issue is, what software design challenges are faced, and what some possible solutions are. Do not cover the same topic as in your slides for drones.
Assignment 11 due by noon on Sunday: upload the powerpoint by noon on Sunday.  You must complete this assignment to pass the class.

Monday, April 26: Presentations continued.