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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 in the summer of 2020 I attained the PADI rank of master diver. 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 favorite thing to do is spend time with my friends and family. I am so fortunate to have a social life where I can go from playful witty banter one moment to deep philosophical conversations the next, with the same people I love the most. Having a strong social support network is incredibly important, especially when raising a child. My daughter is now 11 going on 16, and has a personality that will leave you speechless. She is witty, outgoing, and loves adventure. She is my #1.

 Selected Publications

  1. Darrah, T., Quinones-Grueiro, M., Biswas, G., Frank, J., Teubert, C. (2022). A Data-Centric Approach to the Study of System-Level Prognostics of Cyber Physical Systems: Application to Safe UAV Operations. Journal of Surveillance, Security, and Safety. [in review].

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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