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Meet Our Graduate Students

photo of BME graduate studen, Emelina Vienneau

Timothy Darrah

Ph.D. Candidate, Computer Science



"I’m a Vanderbilt engineer because I love to create things and solve problems. With world-class research institutions such as the Institute for Software Integrated Systems and nationally recognized innovation centers such as The Wond’ry, there is no better place to call home."

I grew up in Hutchinson, KS, and graduated from high school in 2006, having already enlisted in the Army. I served 7 years in the Army as an airborne infantryman and later as an avionics maintenance technician. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, received numerous awards for conduct and achievements, held the rank of staff sergeant, and was honorably discharged in 2013. Afterwards, I went to the undergraduate computer science program at Tennessee State University, where I later graduated magna cum laude. Before graduate school I worked with the Navy developing a more advanced health management system for its fleet of combatant crafts. 

Life at Vandy

My focus is on extending the current state-of-the-art in health management technologies for cyber-physical systems to include system-level prognostics, predictive maintenance and decision making. I spent the summer of 2019 as an intern at NASA Ames Research Center, developing a system-level prognostics framework for UAV powertrain systems as well as constructing a hardware-in-the-loop testbed.  Recently, I was awarded a prestigious NASA Fellowship, which will support my PhD thesis research on resource-constrained decision making under uncertainty. I was one of five major university recipients of this fellowship.

For fun

Tim DarrahI really enjoy travelling, especially to places off the beaten path. From hiking the Salkantay Pass to Machu Picchu in Peru and drinking snake wine in the dim-lit back alleys of Saigon, to presenting at world class technology expositions and visiting the Khalifa Tower in Dubai, I’ve been to a lot of places and done a lot of things. For me, life is all about experiences, and “real” life is experienced in “real” life, not witnessed through a phone screen. I also enjoy scuba diving, and just this summer I attained the PADI rank of master diver. I plan to continue my training. Diving is so fun and rewarding and goes hand-in-hand with travelling. Most of all, there is nothing like being 129 feet under the sea and looking out from the shelf into the deep blue, the real deep blue, and truly understanding how small you are (both literally and figuratively).

Above all else, however, my most favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. I am so fortunate and thankful to have met such a wonderful person to share my life with. My wife is my cornerstone; I’d fall apart if it wasn’t for her. She is supportive of everything I do and very intelligent, and she is also is in graduate school, the psychology program at TSU. We can have conversations for hours about nothing, laughing our butts off or what have you, or we can have conversations for hours about very deep philosophical topics. She makes me laugh, and I love to laugh. My daughter also makes me laugh. She is 9 going on 16 with a personality that can leave you speechless. She is witty, outgoing and loves adventure.

 Selected Publications

1. Darrah, T., Frank, J., Quinones-Grueiro, M., & Biswas, G. (2021). A Data Management Framework & UAV Simulation Testbed for the Study of Prognostics Technologies. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) Society.

 2. Darrah, T., Kulkarni, C., Biswas, G. (2020). The Effects of Component Degradation on System Level Prognostics for the Electric Powertrain System of UAVs. Proceedings of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum. Orlando, FL.

3. Quinones-Grueiro, M., Darrah, T., Biswas, G., Kulkarni, C. (2020).  A Decision-Making Framework for Safe Operations of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Urban Environments. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Prognostics and Health Management Society.

Learn more about our Computer Science  Ph.D. program.