September 3, 2004 :: No. 30
CSUF Graduate Students Investigate Delays in GPS Signals
Ten Cal State Fullerton graduate students
majoring in math have forsaken the beach to spend the summer in
a computer lab, working on a project for Raytheon Co.
The students utilized what they’ve learned
in the classroom, putting it to practical use in the culminating
project required for their master’s degree.
They have been investigating the delays in Global
Positioning System (GPS) signals as they travel through the ionosphere,
an area of the earth’s atmosphere where incoming solar radiation
affects the transmission of radio waves.
“When the signals go through the ionosphere,
it can throw off the measurement of the position,” says John
G. Pierce, professor of mathematics, one of two faculty members
working with the students. To compensate for the delay in the signal,
GPS sends and receives two frequencies. But the delay, adds Pierce,
“can be very crucial when GPS is being used for airplanes
and measuring altitude.”
The main purpose of the students’ work was
to develop a computer program that would help Raytheon determine
how best to place new ground stations to estimate the delays, says
William B. Gearhart, professor of mathematics.
Raytheon awarded an $18,414 summer contract for the
Participants in the project were: Edward Can and Michael Vodhanel
of Garden Grove, Tracy Grover of Lake Forest, Hannah Hong of Artesia,
Jay Nguyen of Anaheim Hills, Lorena Ortiz of Norwalk, David Peterson
and Eric Ratzlaff of Fullerton, Kevin Takeuchi of Yorba Linda and
Tyler Wilson of Pullman, Wash.
John G. Pierce, professor of mathematics,
at 657-278-2779 or firstname.lastname@example.org
William Gearhart, professor of mathematics, at 657-278-3184
Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs at 657-278-4852 or email@example.com