Thai Hok

University of Rhode Island

Electrical Engineering


Mentor: Richard A. Messner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering


My summer research concerns the next steps in a project funded by NASA called SONTRAC (short for Solar Neutron Tracking Device). SONTRAC will be used to study and understand more about proton energy that emits by solar flares and gamma rays. This device produces images of particle tracks that can then be analyzed to find their direction of travel and their energy. A preliminary prototype has been built and yielded data that was initially analyzed by a graduate student this past summer. This student used a processing package called IDL (Interactive Data Language). Many scientists' use a software processing packaged called MATLAB and it was desired to be able to build more complex processing algorithms in this framework. Before the new algorithms could be implemented it was required to translate the source codes from IDL to MATLAB. In order to do this effectively I need to understand how the device functions. Much of my research centered around the understanding of the device, the translation of the IDL code to MATLAB, and the verification of the results produced in MATLAB.

Once the translation of the code was done and the verification completed, we started to implement some new algorithms. One of these algorithms was the Hough transform. Due to the limitation of communication bandwidth and the image processing, the Hough transform allows us to compress the data of the image into a smaller set of data where transmission to earth will be more easily accomplished.

« View 1999 McNair Scholars