Computer Science Major Receives NSF Graduate Fellowship for Research on the Internet of Things

Steven Hernandez, a senior computer science student, has received a fellowship appointment to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The award provides tuition and a stipend for up to five years. The fellowship program supports outstanding graduate students with “demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.”

Hernandez will pursue his M.S. in computer science at the VCU School of Engineering. He will focus on development of systems for the Internet of Things (IoT), which he described as “the connection of small everyday items such as light bulbs, motion sensors, gas leak sensors, etc. into networks of ‘smart’ communicating devices.” Currently, IoT devices send data to more powerful central computers for storage and processing. Hernandez hopes to develop a more reliable and agile alternative in which networked devices can interact with and learn from one another.

“I am looking to focus on research that can be applicable directly to the industry — for example, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which focuses on the networked communications of vast quantities of devices deployed in a factory or on railroad lines or on construction equipment to improve safety and efficiency,” he said. Hernandez credits his work as a research assistant in the lab of Eyuphan Bulut, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, with sparking his interest in this research specialty.

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