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Ben Abbott

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Ben Abbott
  • Institute Engineer
  • Southwest Research Institute
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  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 1993
  • M.S., Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 1989
  • B.S., Computer Science, Texas Tech University, 1983

Dr. Abbott has extensive experience in embedded hardware and software, control systems, communications and networking, and model-based design. During his career, Dr. Abbott has published over 60 technical journal and conference publications spanning the fields of real-time systems, parallel processing, model-based systems, time-based diagnostic trees, networking, and robotics. He holds patents in the fields of real-time networking to relative-positioning sensor technology and is the recipient of a 2010 R&D 100 award for his work in neutrally-bouyant water-borne sensor systems. Dr. Abbott’s Ph.D. research included areas such as robotic vehicle control systems, model-based software synthesis of parallel instrumentation systems, and automated fault tree analysis.

Dr. Abbott has been at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for 15 years, and has achieved the position of Institute Engineer, the highest technical level position at SwRI. In that capacity, he provides expert consultation services for the Institute’s programs and tackles highly specialized problems on behalf of our clients. He also works with senior Institute and Division staff to plan future technology needs and to lead the development of new programs in his areas of expertise, and serves as a member of SwRI’s Advisory Committee for Research.

Dr. Abbott has been involved with a variety of Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) research efforts. In DARPA’s Model-Based Integration of Embedded Systems (MoBIES) program, Dr. Abbott was the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Active Service Coordination (ASC) project. This project developed a fault-tolerant software technology which combined the use of fuzzy logic with formal real-time schedulability analysis. In DARPA’s Polymorphic Computer Architecture (PCA), he was the PI on a subcontract to the University of Illinois as part of the Multithreaded Morphable Memory Tiles (M3T) project. In this project, Dr. Abbott researched a technology referred to as “morphware,” a real-time operating system kernel capable of working in conjunction with a computer architecture that dramatically changes shape while running.

Dr. Abbott’s current efforts focus on advanced wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies applied to unique and harsh military and environmental applications. Additionally, he is providing systems engineering expertise in the development of several terrestrial and airborne network-centric data acquisition and telemetry systems for commercial and military customers.

Prior to his employment at SwRI, Dr. Abbott worked as an Assistant Professor for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Utah State University. Dr. Abbott was a chief contributor to the development of Utah State’s new Computer Engineering degree program. While at Utah State, he was also involved with a number of university research projects including parallel processing, software synthesis, real-time video compression, real-time networking, robotic vehicles, icing probes, and vehicle simulation systems.

Just after completion of his undergraduate training, the Collins Radio Group of Rockwell International employed Dr. Abbott. There he participated in the development of embedded software for a variety of communication systems including an Ada-based real-time very low frequency (VLF) communication system for the USAF B1-B.

PROFESSIONAL CHRONOLOGY: Rockwell Int. (Collins Radio Group): software engineer, 1983-7; Vanderbilt University, Electrical and Computer Engineering: research assistant professor, 1993-4; Utah State University, Electrical and Computer Engineering: assistant professor, 1994-8; Southwest Research Institute: 1999-[senior research engineer, 1999-2001; principal engineer, 2001-4; staff engineer, 2004-6; institute engineer, 2006-present].


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  • Southwest Research Institute
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    • 6220 Culebra Road
    • San Antonio, TX 78238