The world’s oceans, and mathematics, have a lot to say to Eliza Michalopoulou, PhD, associate professor in the department of mathematics at NJIT, whose work illustrates another of the many ways in which mathematics defends the nation. As a mathematician, Michalopoulou devises algorithms to help U.S. Navy engineers detect submarines in shallow water. From her underwater (also known as acoustical) research, Michalopoulou can determine the location of submarines and whales, the earth’s changing climate, even environmental contamination. To do this, Michalopoulou studies sound mathematically as it travels from an underwater source to a detector and processing equipment.
The raw material of Michalopoulou’s oceanic insights is a growing body of data from sources to which she applies analytical techniques such as matched field processing and inversion analysis. These and other techniques help to address the problems of oceanic sound propagation and localization, including the influence of geologic features beneath the ocean’s floor that must be acoustically imaged. The end products of her research are special algorithms, or precise mathematical tools, that may eventually be applied in next-generation systems for protecting the shores of the U.S. against unauthorized underwater incursions.
Michalopoulou received NJIT's Master Teacher designation in 2008, conferred annually on a select number of individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of excellence over a sustained period.
Recent publications include "Gibbs Sampling for Time Delay and Amplitude Estimation in Underwater Acoustics," Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (February 2005) and "Tabu Optimization for Matched-Field Source Localization and Geoacoustic Inversion," Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (January 2004).
Michalopoulou received her PhD and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Duke University and a diploma in electrical engineering from National Technical University of Athens.
Topics: underwater sound travel, naval detection, environmental contamination, changing climate