5 August 2014

Robert Hiromoto: “My Fulbright experience was an unforgettable opportunity to grow professionally and personally”

Robert Hiromoto: “My Fulbright experience was an unforgettable opportunity to grow professionally and personally”

Robert Hiromoto
Computer Science, Professor
University of Idaho, Idaho Falls, ID
Lecturing/Research | Coordination of Secure Wireless Robotic Clusters
Ternopil National Economic University
01.09.2013 - 01.06.2014

I recently returned from my nine month Fulbright Fellowship at the Ternopil National Economic University (TNEU), Ternopil Ukraine. Ternopil is located in western Ukraine and is approximately 150 miles from the eastern Polish border. As a Fulbright Scholar, I was given the opportunity to teach and perform research at the TNEU during my stay that began on September 1, 2013 and ended on June 1, 2014.

At TNEU I taught two courses. The course entitled: "Wireless Network Protocols for Unmanned Aero Vehicles," was offered to third and fourth year students during the fall semester.  I developed this course specifically to complement my proposed research as part of my Fulbright Fellowship. The second course entitled: "Distributed Systems Technologies and Parallel Computing," was a formal course in their curriculum. Preparing lectures for this course was rather eye opening. As I learned, the content of all Ukrainian courses are regulated and monitored by the Ministry of Education and Science (MES).  The MES and all other central government agencies continue to follow the highly centralized decision making policies once imposed by the former Soviet Union.  As a consequence, their main bureaucratic activity is paper shuffling that obviously becomes an emotional burden for all involved.  Working with my colleague from the Faculty (School) of Computer and Information Technologies (FCIT), this complaint was frequently expressed.

As part of my research proposal, I had the opportunity to work on the design of a dynamic line-tracking algorithm with a postgraduate student at TNEU. The algorithm autonomously navigated a robot around a line track at relatively high speeds. This work has resulted in two conference publications and a journal paper that is currently in preparation.  I am continuing my supervision of this student for which his work will eventually be integrated into his PhD dissertation on Cooperating Wireless Robotic Swarms. I am now formally serving as his Co-Major Advisor.

In addition, I am involved with an ongoing collaboration with TNEU students and faculty to develop a European Union, Euro Atom Horizon 2020 grant proposal. Our current draft proposes the development and application of wireless technologies in the security of nuclear power plants. The draft has attracted interest and participation from several EU scientists in both the nuclear and wireless sensor communities.

My Fulbright experience was an unforgettable opportunity to grow professionally and personally. There is nothing more sobering and engaging than to live, socialize, and work with the faculty and students of my Host University.  Watching their struggles and determination to create a new Ukraine that unfolded during my visit was inspiring and made me appreciate more the people with whom I came in contact.  This was a historic moment for the Ukraine and a memorable moment for me as a Fulbright Scholar.



Fulbright Program Office in Ukraine

Esplanadna str, 20, office 904

Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine

Tel: +380 (44) 287 07 77

Fax: +380 (44) 230 20 60