Milestones (Archive)

Two Columbia Engineering seniors—Sonia Bansal and Haris Durrani—will present their research at the prestigious National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC) in January. The three-day gathering, hosted by Harvard University, showcases some of the most promising and significant work from rising undergraduate leaders in the global research sphere. Bansal, a biomedical engineering major, will share a poster examining her work in orthopedic tissue engineering, “Bell-shaped Dose Response Of Sodium Pyruvate On Properties Of Tissue Engineered Cartilage,” which was supervised by Biomedical Engineering Professor Clark Hung. Durrani, an applied physics student, will present a poster on his research concerning “Space Debris: Observation, Mitigation, Remediation and Their Legal Factors,” which was supervised by Professor of Professional Practice (and former NASA astronaut) Mike Massimino BS’84. (December 18, 2014)
eBrevia, based on technology out of Computer Science Professor Kathy McKeown’s lab, recently raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Connecticut Innovations and a number of seed and angel investors. Using machine learning techniques, the company’s software can extract and summarize legal provisions from a wide array of legal documents, with applications for legal due diligence, contract management, and document drafting. (December 15, 2014)
Xin Li, a PhD candidate in IEOR, has won the Informs-Financial Services Section (FSS) Best Student Paper Competition for her paper on the optimal trading of mean reverting prices generated by pairs of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). She presented her work at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco in November. The paper was also recently accepted by the International Journal of Theoretical & Applied Finance. Li, who works with IEOR Assistant Professor Tim Leung, is focused on financial engineering and, specifically, optimal timing strategies for trading and risk management. (December 12, 2014)
Chromation, a Columbia start-up out of Electrical Engineering Professor John Kymissis' lab, recently received $1 million in funding. This compact, programmable spectral sensor platform allows for software selection of measurement wavelengths, improving the capability and performance of consumer electronics by providing a low-cost way to integrate color and light measurement into products. (December 12, 2014)
Vasileios Kemerlis, a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science and member of the Network Security Lab (NSL) at the Engineering School, recently brought home the top prize for the Best Applied Research Paper from Cybersecurity Awareness Week's expansive cybersecurity competition, hosted by NYU's Polytechnic School of Engineering. His paper, "ret2dir: Rethinking Kernel Isolation," authored with Computer Science Professor Angelos D. Keromytis and applied research scientist Michalis Polychronakis, demonstrates that the fundamental structure of modern operating systems is more vulnerable to potential hacks than previously known. Their paper introduced return-to-direct-mapped memory (ret2dir), a new exploitation technique that bypasses various state of the art software protection mechanisms and proposes a new approach for securing devices against such novel attacks. (December 5, 2014)
The Motorocracy team of Columbia Engineering/Barnard undergraduates—Joshua Hughes, Ankita Gore, Leon An, David Verdi, Amanda Groziak (Barnard), and David Miller (Solomon Schechter high school)—won the prestigious MOLBOT award at the BIOMOD (Biomolecular Design) Competition held at Harvard in early November. Competing against 30 teams from around the world, Motorocracy also placed second for best presentation and received a gold medal for their project. BIOMOD is a biomolecular design competition in which undergraduate teams compete to “build the coolest stuff using the molecules of life,” creating autonomous robots, molecular computers, and prototypes for nanoscale therapeutics by using DNA, RNA, and proteins as building blocks.
Mentored by Biomedical Engineering (BME) graduate student Amy Lam with the help of BME Professor Henry Hess, Motorocracy engineered a microscale power generator, transforming chemical energy in the form of ATP to electricity. By loading ferromagnetic beads onto self-assembled microtubule spools, they created a periodic time-varying magnetic field capable of inducing current. They hope that this system can be used as a source of mechanical and electrical energy for systems such as biological micro-electromechanical systems (bio-MEMS) and microscale factories, among other applications. Their work, they say, “creates an appealing gateway for the creation of efficient microscale generators or motors.” (November 20, 2014)
Sean Ballinger, a junior majoring in applied physics, recently brought home the Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Award from the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics. He was recognized for his display, “Optimizing Plasma Boundary Control in Superconducting Tokamaks,” at the Division’s 56th annual meeting, held in New Orleans in October. Ballinger’s poster—which presented cutting-edge scholarship on understanding shape control, quantifying controllability, and offline optimization of strongly coupled shapes—was based on his collaborative summer research at General Atomics’ DIII-D tokamak in San Diego. DIII-D is among the largest facilities in the world for exploring the possibilities of clean, magnetically confined fusion energy production. Ballinger, an Egleston Scholar, joins a rich tradition of Columbians doing acclaimed work with the global DIII-D research program, including Applied Physics Professors Michael Mauel, Gerald Navratil, and Francesco Volpe. (November 17, 2014)
Two Columbia engineers recently featured in Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 lists were guest speakers at the Oct. 21 Forbes Under 30 Summit, held in Philadelphia. Alongside other top young inventors and innovators, Changxi Zheng, assistant professor of computer science, and Jonny Cohen, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, participated in a panel, “Show and Tell: America’s Best Under 30 Inventors Face-Off,” moderated by Michael Noer, executive editor of Forbes magazine. Zheng, who made the 2012 list for Science and Healthcare, talked about his groundbreaking work crafting fast, practical algorithms to generate immersive virtual realities with a broad spectrum of synchronized visual and audible data. Cohen, who made both the 2012 and 2013 lists for Energy, talked about his aerodynamic devices he invented that can significantly increase the gas mileage of school buses by reducing drag. Cohen is founder and CEO at Greenshields Project, which is preparing to make the fiberglass and epoxy resin shields commercially available to schools and businesses. Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists profile transformative innovators who are “impatient to change the world,” and the summit brought them together with business leaders, venture capitalists, and mentors. (October 28, 2014)
Ioannis Kougioumtzoglou, assistant professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has been awarded the 2014 Junior Research Prize by the European Association of Structural Dynamics (EASD). Kougioumtzoglou, who recently joined the Columbia Engineering faculty, was recognized for his “innovative influence on the field of nonlinear stochastic dynamics.” His research focuses on stochastic mechanics with applications in civil engineering and mechanical engineering. (September 18, 2014)
Computer Science Professor Steve Bellovin, one of the foremost experts on Internet security and privacy, has been elected to the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame. Bellovin joins a crop of top industry leaders as the 2014 class of inductees, to be honored at a banquet on October 30th. Bellovin coauthored one of the first books on firewalls, Firewalls and Internet Security: Repelling the Wily Hacker, and holds a number of patents on cryptographic and network protocols. A graduate of Columbia College, he joined the Columbia Engineering faculty in 2005 following a distinguished career at Bell Labs and AT&T Research Labs, where he was an AT&T Fellow. Bellovin was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering and for many years has served as a member of specialized technology advisory committees, including for the Department of Homeland Security, Election Assistance Commission, and the National Academies. From 2012 to 2013, he held the post of chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission. (September 10, 2014)
At the invitation of the Japanese parliament, Masanobu Shinozuka PhD’60, professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, spent two weeks in Tokyo this spring consulting with a range of government officials on Japan’s pioneering efforts to become the world’s first earthquake-resilient nation. Shinozuka, a renowned authority in earthquake and structural engineering, shared his expertise on resilience-based seismic hazard protection and mitigation and helped kick off a new information exchange, as Japan continues to recover from a devastating 2011 earthquake that killed more than 15,000 and wrecked hundreds of thousands of structures. Shinozuka’s work in continuum mechanics, structural dynamics and control, and risk assessment of lifeline systems is informing the Japanese government’s ambitious new design and construction standards shifting from the fail-safe concept to seismic disaster resilience. (September 5, 2014)
EpiBone, cofounded by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences, has received funding from Breakout Labs, Peter Thiel’s nonprofit fund that supports scientific innovation in startups “that drive radical science to advance human health.” Breakout Labs has supported EpiBone with a maximum grant of $350,000 to help the company to achieve key validation milestones. EpiBone, based in the newly opened Harlem Biospace, uses computed tomography (CT) scans and fat-derived stem cells to engineer the patient’s own living bone with the precise anatomical fit to the defect being treated. Based on 15 years of NIH-funded bone tissue engineering research, EpiBone’s technology was developed by Vunjak-Novakovic and other co-founders, including Sidney Eisig, professor of clinical craniofacial surgeryand and chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Columbia, and CSO Sarindr Bhumiratana and CEO Nina Tandon, post-doctoral fellows in the Vunjak-Novakovic laboratory. EpiBone has also received funding by the BioAccelerate program from NYC Tech Connect, an initiative of the Partnership Fund for New York City, as well as a Phase-I SBIR grant from the NIH. (August 15, 2014)
Jingguang Chen, Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering, has won the American Chemical Society’s George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry for his work in understanding and developing metal carbides and bimetallic alloys as catalysts and electrocatalysts. This significant award, established by ACS in 1948 to honor Olah, the Hungarian and American chemist who won the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, is intended to recognize, encourage, and stimulate outstanding research achievements in hydrocarbon or petroleum chemistry. (August 12, 2014)
Harish Krishnaswamy, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has received a 2014 IBM Faculty Award. The award is given to outstanding scholars and promising junior faculty who are already collaborating with or intend to work with IBM researchers. Krishnaswamy, who has joint projects with IBM’s Communication Circuits and Systems Group, intends to use the award funding to expand their work in millimeter-wave silicon circuits and systems and reconfigurable RF transceivers. “Students from my group often intern at IBM during the summers,” says Krishnaswamy. “We are hoping to expand our collaborations to a larger scale, and the IBM Faculty Award provides my group with the funding and the opportunity to do that.” (July 29, 2014)
Pictured here on Commencement Day, from left to right, Michael I. Weinstein, professor of applied mathematics and mathematics, with Joseph B. Keller, professor emeritus of mathematics and mechanical engineering at Stanford, and C.K. Chu, professor emeritus of applied mathematics at Columbia Engineering. Weinstein, who was a postdoctoral fellow with Keller from 1982 to 1984, nominated his former colleague for an Honorary Doctor of Science degree, which was conferred at Commencement.
Keller is also a longtime friend and colleague of Chu. Keller is a renowned mathematician responsible for many research breakthroughs, including the Geometrical Theory of Diffraction (GTD) and the Einstein-Brillouin-Keller (EBK) method of quantization. GTD is widely used to analyze radar reflection from objects, to calculate elastic wave scattering from flaws in solids, to study acoustic wave propagation in the ocean, and for many other purposes. EBK is a fundamental method for determining the energy levels of atoms and molecules.
Notes Weinstein, “Joe Keller has been an inspiration to generations of mathematicians and fundamental and applied scientists. His work is characterized by deep creativity and startlingly elegant formulations with profound impact. This is combined with a sense of playfulness and joy in thinking mathematically about the world, as in his studies of the pouring qualities of teapots and the dynamics of dice-throwing.” (July 24, 2014)
Christine Hendon, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has been awarded a Research Initiatives for Science and Engineering (RISE) grant for her cross-disciplinary proposal, “Optical Coherence Tomography imaging for the early detection of ductal carcinoma in situ.” Hendon’s specialty is in developing new tools and innovative techniques using optical coherence tomography, a non-invasive imaging technique that provides high-resolution images of tissue microstructure in real-time, in an effort to help physicians probe even deeper in the human body, including heart chambers. She will serve as co-principal investigator on the winning RISE proposal with two colleagues at the College of Physicians and Surgeons: Sheldon Feldman, Vivian L. Milstein Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and chief of the Division of Breast Surgery at Columbia, and Hanina Hibshoosh, professor of clinical pathology and cell biology and director of the Molecular Pathology Shared Resource Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. RISE is an internal grant that provides funding to begin science and engineering research projects at the University with the expectation that preliminary findings obtained with RISE support are used to secure external funding. Only those proposals with the most innovative collaborations and projected outcomes are awarded funding. (July 9, 2014)
Donald Goldfarb, the Alexander and Hermine Avanessians Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, has been selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the mostly highly cited researchers in the field of mathematics. There were 21 Columbia University professors on the Thomson Reuters List of Highly Cited Researchers 2014, among a group of more than 3,000 leaders in the fields of social sciences and sciences, ranging from engineering, computer science, and physics to geosciences, psychiatry/psychology, and clinical medicine. Goldfarb was the only professor from Columbia cited in the mathematics category, which comprised 99 of the world’s leading mathematical researchers. The data used in the analysis and selection of the new highly cited researchers came from Essential Science Indicators (2002 to 2012), which then included 113,092 highly cited papers. Each of these papers ranked among the top 1% most cited for the researchers’ subject field and year of publication. (July 2, 2014)
Jonathan Bell, a PhD student in computer science, and his adviser, Professor Gail Kaiser, have received an ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at the 36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) held in Hyderabad, India, May 31 through June 7, 2014. The paper, "Unit Test Virtualization with VMVM," describes a technique for significantly speeding up the software testing process, which allows test cases to be executed more frequently during software development, and hence allowing bugs to be detected and repaired earlier. The technique was shown to decrease the amount of time needed to run tests by an average of 62%, significantly reducing the time and computational cost of testing software. (June 24, 2014)
Yu Gan, electrical engineering PhD candidate and a research assistant in Professor Christine P. Hendon’s Structure Function Imaging Laboratory, has won a 2014 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, to advance his research in the field. His research interests are focused on image processing, and he is developing a new analysis tool for Optical Coherence Tomography images. His goal is to develop automated tissue classification algorithms for diagnosis of cardiac disease by extraction of depth-dependent optical properties and characterization of the ultra-structure of biological tissues. (June 23, 2014)
Melis Duyar MS’13, a PhD candidate in earth and environmental engineering, has received the Colt Refining Student Award by the International Precious Metals Institute (IPMI) at the group’s 38th Annual Conference. (Watch the video honoring the award winners.) Duyar’s research interests are in precious metal catalysts for environmental applications, specifically with regard to carbon neutral power generation using ruthenium as a catalyst. The IPMI Awards come with research funding and help outstanding students being recognized for their efforts to date, to expand their professional networking contacts and to encourage further learning. The IPMI is a worldwide association of producers, refiners, fabricators, scientists, and leaders in the precious metals community that provides a forum for the exchange of information on all aspects of precious metals and precious metals technology. (June 19, 2014)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has appointed Ponisseril “Som” Somasundaran, LaVon Duddleson Krumb Professor of Mineral Engineering, to the agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors and to chair the “combined BOSC Subcommittees for Chemical Safety for Sustainability and Human Health Risk Assessment Research Program,” and as such, to its executive committee effective April 28, 2014 through 2017. The committee’s mission is to provide advice and recommendations on science and engineering research programs, plans, labs, and research management practices; the use of peer review to promote sound science; the development and progress of plans of the EPA’s R&D office; the quality of technical products; and human resources planning. Somasundaran is an expert in surface and colloid science, enhanced oil and coal recovery, nanoparticles, biosurfaces, and biosensors. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as equivalent academies of China, Russia, India, Balkan region, and the Royal Society of Canada. He also is an Ellis Island Medalist and President of India Padma Shree Honoree. (May 28, 2014)
Javad Lavaei, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has received Caltech’s Resnick Sustainability Institute's Resonate Award, an honor given to innovators in alternative energy, the environment, and sustainability. The award recognizes Lavaei’s innovative work in “building a computational backbone to transform the power grid into one that is flexible, smart, and dynamic.” Lavaei focuses on upgrading today’s power grid into a smart grid that can maintain a reliable and secure electricity infrastructure to meet future demand growth. The Resonate Awards aim to spotlight individuals making strides in some of today’s grand challenges in achieving global sustainability. These include meeting the world’s energy needs sustainably, providing water and food for a growing world population, cleaning the environment, and improving people’s access to natural resources. (May 27, 2014)
Computer Science Professor Jonathan Gross has been awarded a five-year Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant in support of his research on computational aspects of low-dimensional topology. Gross specializes in topology, graph theory, and cultural sociometry. Founded by mathematician and philanthropist James Simons, the Simons Foundation is a private group that funds research in mathematics and the physical sciences. (May 13, 2014)
Junfeng Yang, associate professor of computer science and co-director of Software Systems Lab, recently won a Google Faculty Research Award for AppDoctor, a new system to make mobile/wearable devices more reliable and secure. He and his team are looking specifically at how to detect programming errors and malware in Android apps, benefiting Android users whose devices run on the largest operating system for mobile devices in the world. (May 12, 2014)
The School’s chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) welcomed 92 local high school girls to campus in March for the group’s third annual Engineering Exploration Experience (E^3). SWE created this all-day event of engineering workshops and team building exercises to expose young students to the exciting opportunities in engineering, both in academia and industry. High school students participated in a range of hands-on workshops—led by Columbia Engineering professors and graduate students—from making concrete and crafting alginate beads to developing their own android app. Wendy Sun, a biomedical engineering senior and vice president of SWE, says these events are helpful to young girls who are considering engineering as a college major or ultimate career track. “We want to show high school students the excitement and challenges that engineers face in their daily lives,” says Sun, “and more importantly, the integral roles that engineers fulfill in our world today.” SWE hosts a number of activities throughout the year, including recruiting sessions, community service opportunities, and faculty and alumni dinners. (May 8, 2014)
Allison Duh, a senior electrical engineering student, has been selected to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX), a year-long, federally funded fellowship to study and work in Germany. Duh is one of 75 participants chosen for the program, from a pool of more than 700 applicants. While in Germany, she will attend a two-month intensive German language course, study at a German university for four months, and complete a five-month internship with a German company in her career field, either optoelectronics or microelectronic laser sources. Established in 1984 by members of the U.S. Congress and the German Parliament, the CBYX program is supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Participants hail from across the U.S. and come from a wide variety of career fields. (May 2, 2014)
Two electrical engineering PhD students, Anandaroop Chakrabarti and Mehdi Ashraphijuo, have won a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship award for their proposal, “Massive Millimeter-wave MIMO for 100G Wireless.” Qualcomm chose nine proposals out of a pool of 137, and each winning team receives $100,000 to further pursue their innovative ideas. This proposal explained the development of an innovative millimeter-wave (mmWave), digitally intensive transmitter circuits and architectures as well as novel low-power Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) signal processing techniques to realize a massive “wireless” link with data-rates approaching 100Gb/s, making it suitable for mobile backhaul. Chakrabarti and Ashraphijuo explain that currently, the backhaul network of wireless communications relies on fiber optic cables to transport data from the core network to the base stations, but this comes at a high cost.
“The key strength of our proposal is to combine low-cost, massively scalable, high-power CMOS transmitter arrays at mmWave with novel MIMO signal processing techniques to overcome the need for high gain antennas,” says Chakrabarti. “This enables us to use simple modulation schemes and fully exploit the benefits of massive mmWave MIMO resulting in long-haul links with data-rates afforded solely by fiber optics until now.” Chakrabarti is a fourth-year PhD student advised by Assistant Professor Harish Krishnaswamy and whose research interests encompass mmWave and RF circuits. Ashraphijuo is a second-year PhD candidate, studying under Professor Xiaodong Wang, focusing on the general area of network information theory and statistical signal processing. (May 1, 2014)
Three Columbia Engineering students will spend their summer vacation at a Silicon Valley startup, thanks to a KPCB Engineering Fellowship. Parthiban Loganathan ’16SEAS, Aditya Naganath ’15SEAS, and Christopher So ’15SEAS will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience at one of the innovative startups backed by VC firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). Loganathan will be placed at online educator Coursera, Naganath at neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor, and So at Flipboard, a new content-sharing app. The KPCB Engineering Fellowship Program provides students real-world experience working at a tech startup, a chance to network, and an opportunity to forge mentorships with industry leaders. KPCB selected 56 new fellows this year out of 2,500 interested students, representing over 200 universities. (April 30, 2014)
Ponisseril Somasundaran, LaVon Duddleson Krumb Professor of Mineral Engineering, has co-authored a new book, titled Oil Spill Remediation: Colloid Chemistry-Based Principles and Solutions, released April 2014 by Wiley. The book provides a comprehensive overview of oil spill remediation from the perspectives of policy makers, scientists, and engineers, and explores current and emerging detergents used in clean-ups. Somasundaran is an expert in surface and colloid science, enhanced oil and coal recovery, nanoparticles, biosurfaces, and biosensors. He is the author of 15 books and more than 700 scientific publications and patents. (April 25, 2014)
Steve WaiChing Sun, assistant professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has won the 2013 Caterpillar Best Paper Prize for “A Multiscale DEM-LBM Analysis on Permeability Evolutions Inside a Dilatant Shear Band.” Awarded by the editorial boards of Acta Geotechnica, the paper describes a new multiscale analysis technique to analyze why and how permeability changes during the formation of dilatant shear bands in granular materials, such as sands, powders, and sandstones. These materials serve numerous engineering applications in several diverse sectors, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and geotechnical engineering. Sun’s study explains how and why permeability of the dilatant shear band increases in granular materials—a problem that is still not widely understood. Sun, who joined Columbia Engineering in January 2014, is the lead author of the award-winning paper. He focuses on the fields of theoretical and computational solid mechanics, poromechanics and multiscale modeling of multiphysical systems. The objective of his research is to advance the understanding on multiphase materials under extreme conditions and enhance predictive capabilities for related engineering applications, including geological carbon sequestration, hydraulic fracture, and soil liquefaction. (April 23, 2014)
Computer Science senior Amrita Mazumdar has won the 2014 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Each year, Google awards this highly competitive scholarship to 25 outstanding women in computer science to encourage them to excel in computing and technology as well as become active role models and leaders in the field. Amrita has conducted research in embedded systems with Stephen Edwards and with Shree Nayar in computer vision, and will be pursuing her PhD at the University of Washington in the fall. (April 22, 2014)
Two outstanding first-year Engineering students are recipients of the 2014 Presidential Global Fellowship. Neha Jain, an industrial engineering and operations research major, and Andres Soto, an applied mathematics major, represent two of 12 selected fellows, out of a pool of 100, who get to spend this summer traveling and learning in a different country. Jain and Soto are part of the first class of fellows to experience the University’s new undergraduate global summer program, geared for students from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and the School of General Studies. Jain, who plans to spend the summer at a business internship in Shanghai, has a particular interest in applying her problem-solving skills to create a language-learning computer application that will help others improve their Mandarin skills. She also is very interested in the intersections of entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation and how rapid globalization is transforming these fields. Soto, who will be based in Beijing, has a passion for sustainable design and wants to understand how patterns of nature can influence innovation and creativity. With a strong background in Chinese language and culture, Soto is interested in exploring how Chinese traditions and design practices could be incorporated into his work as an engineer. As Presidential Global fellows, both students will receive funds to cover their program fees, as well as a stipend for travel and living expenses. (April 21, 2014)
Seven Columbia Engineering juniors have won scholarships from member firms of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of New York and will use the funds to help pay for travel, internship, and tuition expenses. The students are:
Caitlin Fedio (Langan Engineering, Environmental, Surveying, and Landscape Architecture, DPC Scholarship In Memory of Maria I. Ramirez), who is studying environmental engineering: “I’m hoping to improve human health and environmental well-being through sustainable solutions.”
Kathilee Kenlock (HDR Scholarship Award), who is a 3-2 Combined Plan student studying civil engineering with a concentration in construction management. She previously completed a minor in French and mathematics from Bates College. "My career vision is to own an engineering consulting firm that advises building owners and developers on constructing or renovating their buildings through environmentally sustainable designs and cost effective building system operations." She will use her funding to cover educational expenses, including student loans and books.
Nicole Lewis (ACEC New York Award of Merit Scholarship), who is studying mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science: “I’m hoping to go into aerospace and human spaceflight.”
Jennifer Mahan (HAKS Engineers, Architects and Land Surveyors P.C. Scholarship), who is studying civil engineering with a concentration in structural (and potentially geotechnical) engineering: “I’m hoping to help rebuild disaster-stricken and/or struggling communities through infrastructure development.” She plans to use her funding to go to Morocco this summer with Engineers Without Borders.
Hao Pham (Sam Schwartz Engineering, D.P.C. Scholarship), who is studying civil engineering with a concentration in structural engineering: “My dream is to be able to design some of the world's tallest skyscrapers.” He will use the funding to cover living expenses for his summer internship in Singapore.
—Roshan Ramkeesoon (Hazen and Sawyer, P. C. Scholarship), who is studying chemical engineering and is interested in polymers and their applications.
Mary Lynn Williams (Weidlinger Associates Inc. Scholarship), who is studying civil engineering with a concentration in water resources and environmental engineering: “I want to improve disaster preparedness and response through infrastructure.” (April 17, 2014)
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) has recently honored PhD candidate Tarun Bhambhani with the Outstanding Young Engineer Award. Given by SME’s Mineral and Metallurgical Processing Division, the award recognizes the significant contributions made by a young individual in the extractive metallurgy discipline. Bhambhani, a PhD student in Earth and Environmental Engineering studying under Professor Ponisseril Somasundaran, said he is grateful to his mentors and professors for inspiring and guiding him in his work. Bhambhani also is a research metallurgist at Cytec Industries’ mineral processing chemicals R&D group, a position he has held since 2006. He was part of a team that developed a novel flotation reagent widely accepted and used at many gold mining operations globally. For years, metals have been extracted from ores using the froth flotation process as the first separation step, but, explains Bhambhani, “inherent complexities of the process and limitations of our instruments do not allow us to fully understand the physics and chemistry of the process, and certain ores from which nickel is extracted require such large amounts of water and energy to efficiently extract the nickel, that they are cost prohibitive and damaging to the environment.” To this end, Bhambhani has identified mechanisms that make these separations difficult, and “for the first time,” he said, “we have showed that these deleterious effects can be reversed.” (April 15, 2014)
Alex Van't Hof, a PhD candidate in Computer Science, has won a 2014-2015 IBM PhD Fellowship. These fellowships, part of a highly competitive global program, honor outstanding PhD students who have an interest in solving problems of importance to IBM and also fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. Van’t Hof is currently working with his advisor Computer Science Professor Jason Nieh on system-level support for seamlessly migrating applications between heterogeneous mobile devices. His end goal is to provide users with a fluid, glass-like experience when switching between devices, from, for example, their smartphone to their tablet. (April 14, 2014)
Computer Science Professor Steven Feiner has been awarded the 2014 Virtual Reality Career Award of the IEEE Computer Society Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee. Feiner was recognized for his “lifetime contributions to augmented reality and virtual reality, including seminal research on mobile augmented reality, automated design and layout, and applications to task assistance and navigation.” Feiner, who joined Columbia Engineering in 1985, also directs the Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab and co-directs the Columbia Vision and Graphics Center. Established in 2005, the IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Career Award is given annually to an individual to honor his or her lifetime contribution to virtual and augmented reality. (April 10, 2014)
Evangelia Sitaridi, a PhD candidate in Computer Science, has won a 2014-2015 IBM PhD Fellowship. A highly competitive global program, these fellowships honor exceptional PhD students who have an interest in solving problems that are of importance to IBM and also fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. Sitaridi is working with her advisor, Computer Science Professor Kenneth Ross, on database query processing algorithms using graphics processors. (April 9, 2014)
Vishal Misra, associate professor of computer science, is being honored by his alma mater, University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has been awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Junior Alumni Award, which is given to graduates in their early career and who have contributed significantly to engineering. Misra, who earned his PhD in electrical engineering from the University in 2000, is being honored for his “exemplary accomplishments epitomizing the potential of a U. Mass Amherst Engineering education.” He joined Columbia Engineering in 2001, served as vice-chair of the Department of Computer Science from 2009 to 2012, and founded storage startup Infinio Inc. in 2011. In addition to his professorship at the School, he also serves as Infinio’s chief technology officer. He also is credited with inventing live-microblogging at Cricinfo, predating Twitter by 10 years. Cricinfo was acquired by ESPN and is still today the world’s most popular sports portal. (April 1, 2014)
Ghazal Fazelnia, a first-year PhD candidate in electrical engineering, is one of 10 students in the US and Canada to receive the Microsoft Research Graduate Women's Scholarship. This one-year scholarship is awarded to outstanding women in the second year of their graduate studies and is intended to increase the number of women pursuing a PhD. Fazelnia is a member of Professor Javad Lavaei's Laboratory for Control, Optimization and Power, in which she works on optimization theory and distributed control. (March 14, 2014)
Feniosky Peña-Mora, Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, has received a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Award from The Royal Academy of Engineering. Peña-Mora was awarded the fellowship for his project titled, “Developing a Framework for Natural Systems Inspired Robust Disaster Resource Distribution,” which he will work on at the host institutions: School of the Built Environment at the College of Science and Technology of the University of Salford in Manchester, England; Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology at the Department of Engineering and Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England; and School of Construction Management and Engineering at the Faculty of Science of the University of Reading in Reading, England. (March 11, 2014)
A paper titled, "Navigating Big Data with High-Throughput, Energy-Efficient Data Partitioning," written by graduate students Lisa Wu and Raymond J. Barker and Computer Science Professors Martha A. Kim and Kenneth A. Ross, has been selected for inclusion in IEEE Micro’s special annual issue—"Micro's Top Picks from the Computer Architecture Conferences." Top Picks, to be published May/June 2014, collects some of the year's most significant research papers in computer architecture that have the potential to influence the work of computer architects for years to come. The paper originally appeared in the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA '13). (March 7, 2014)
Simon Billinge, professor of materials science in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, has been named a fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America in recognition of his “seminal contributions to the field of local structure and nanostructure studies using atomic pair distribution function methods and impact on the field of neutron diffraction.” This technique uses the information from neutrons scattered from materials to discern the atomic arrangements in nanoparticles, enabling scientists to better understand the link between structure and function. This information paves the way toward rational design of new materials with improved properties for applications from medicine to new energy-saving technologies. (March 7, 2014)
Electrical Engineering Professor Gil Zussman has won a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship from the European Commission. His fellowship will support a long-term visit to Tel Aviv University’s School of Computer Science, where he will focus on research in the design and performance evaluation of resource allocation algorithms for energy harvesting networks. This work builds upon recent progress within the Energy Harvesting Active Networked Tags (EnHANTs) project. In 2004, Zussman won a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship from the European Commission. (March 5, 2014)
Computer Science undergraduates Christopher Yan, SEAS ’15, and Derek He, SEAS ’16, won first prize at PennApps, one of the largest student-run hackathons in the US, held at the University of Pennsylvania. For their project, “Homework Help,” they built a robot that can solve simple math problems and write the answers out in their own handwriting. The robot, which right now can solve simple addition problems, uses a camera equipped with computer vision to identify the problems, solves them, and then mechanically writes out the answer with a pen. It works by measuring the distances between characters to determine whether they are part of the same number, and the space beneath them to figure out where to write the answer. (March 4, 2014)
Felix X. Yu, PhD student of electrical engineering, has received the 2014-2015 IBM PhD Fellowship Award. The IBM PhD Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional PhD students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. Yu was granted the award based on his two internships at IBM, where he developed innovative techniques and systems on learning with weakly supervised data in computer vision. Yu’s advisor is Shih-Fu Chang, Richard Dicker Professor, Senior Vice Dean of Engineering School at Columbia University. Yu was also named a finalist for the Facebook Fellowship Award this year. (Feb. 25, 2014)
Haim Waisman, associate professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has been selected to receive the EMI Leonardo da Vinci award from the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The award recognizes outstanding young investigators early in their careers for promising groundbreaking developments in the field of engineering mechanics and mechanical sciences. Waisman was selected for his “outstanding contribution to computational fracture and damage mechanics by developing novel computational methods (such as eXtended Finite Element Methods (XFEM), multi-grid and multiscale methods, and mixed finite element methods) that advance the understanding, modeling capabilities, and applications of fracture mechanics to important engineering mechanics problems at diverse length and time scales." He will receive the award on August 7 at the 2014 EMI conference awards banquet at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. (Watch a video about Prof. Waisman's research.) (Feb. 5, 2014)
Feniosky Peña-Mora, Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, has been awarded the 2014 Construction Management Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Construction Institute. The Institute cited him for “exceptional leadership and outstanding contributions to the field of construction engineering and management.” Peña-Mora, who also is professor of computer science and of earth and environmental engineering, will be presented with the award at the Institute’s annual conference to be held in Panama this fall. (Jan. 31, 2014)
Chee Wei Wong, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has been elected a fellow of the Optical Society (OSA). The newest class of OSA Fellows is being recognized for their significant and leading contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics. Wong’s research focuses on the physics, applied physics, and engineering of optics on the nanoscale. He is a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the NSF CAREER Award, and the 3M Faculty Award. He has published more than 70 journal articles, including in Nature, Nature Photonics, Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters, Scientific Reports, Nano Letters, among others, and has been awarded 10 patents with 12 provisional patents currently. (Jan. 13, 2014)
Haim Waisman, associate professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has won two new grants: one for $350,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and another for $300,000 from the Army Research Office (ARO), both to develop innovative computational methods for critical engineering mechanics problems. The NSF grant is funding his study on “Topology Optimization of Structures Accounting for Damage Uncertainties,” which will introduce a new design paradigm in structural engineering that uses topology optimization for generating optimal structures resistant to multiple forms of damage, thus leading to more robust designs. Waisman is working on this research with Kai James, a postdoctoral fellow. The ARO grant is funding his study, “High Strain Rate Failure Modeling incorporating Shear Banding and Fracture.” This research is focused on developing reliable finite element models for high strain rate failure modeling, simultaneously incorporating shear banding and fracture. These processes are typical, Waisman says, in high speed impact or blast in the mechanics of materials. He is working on this study with his PhD candidate, Colin McAuliffe. (Dec. 20, 2013)
Kui Tang, a senior majoring in applied mathematics, has been selected as a runner-up for the 2014 Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award (Male). Tang, who is an Egleston Scholar, works with his advisor, Computer Science Associate Professor Tony Jebara, in the Columbia Machine Learning Lab. He is a co-author on a recently published paper at the 2013 Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference on extending privacy-preserving data-sharing into a setting in which users can choose their own level of anonymity. "Adaptive Anonymity via b-Matching" was chosen to be a prestigious spotlight presentation—fewer than 5% of the approximately 1000 papers submitted to NIPS every year are given this distinction. Tang, who has also worked with Computer Science Assistant Professor Martha Kim, plans to start graduate school in the fall of 2014. (Dec. 16, 2013)
Computer Science graduate students Kyung Hwa Kim, Hyunwoo Nam, and Jong Yul Kim won first place in the Juniper/Comcast Software-Defined Network (SDN) workshop and competition recently held at the Juniper Networks OpenLab facility in Bridgewater, NJ. Students were challenged to develop solutions using Juniper’s Junos Space Platform to improve network utilization and quality of user experience under dynamic network conditions. The Columbia team, whose faculty advisor is Computer Science Professor Henning Schulzrinne, presented an application-aware SDN solution. They won for an excellent visualization tool to monitor network status, a differentiated routing algorithm that takes application needs into account, and a compelling business model for service providers. (Nov. 22, 2013)
Computer Science PhD candidate, Adam Waksman, and junior, Matthew Suozzo, have been recognized with a Best Student Paper Award at the 20th ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security held at Berlin, Germany, in November. They co-authored the paper, “FANCI: Identification of Stealthy Malicious Logic Using Boolean Functional Analysis,” with advisor, Simha Sethumadhavan, associate professor of computer science. The paper describes a method for detecting backdoors embedded in hardware circuits before the design is manufactured and sent to the market, offering the first purely static analysis technique for detecting backdoors embedded in hardware. Papers with more than 50 percent student co-authors were eligible for Best Student Paper, and only three of 530 submissions received this honor. (Nov. 12, 2013)
A paper co-authored by Augustin Chaintreau, assistant professor of computer science, has won Best Paper at ACM/USENIX Internet Measurement Conference held in Barcelona, Spain, in October. In the winning paper titled, “Follow the Money: Understanding Economics of Online Aggregation and Advertising,” the team, which includes researchers at Telefonica Research, Stony Brook University, and AT&T Research, examine how the large-scale collection and exploitation of personal information to drive targeted online advertisements has raised privacy concerns. The co-authors studied the relationship between how much information is collected and how valuable it is for advertising. (Nov. 11, 2013)
The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has recently named Michael I. Weinstein a fellow, citing his “contributions to existence and stability of solitary waves and nonlinear dispersive wave propagation.” The AMS fellows program, now in its second year, comprises 50 new fellows from around the world. It recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics. Weinstein is a Professor of Applied Mathematics whose research focus is in partial differential equations, mathematical analysis, dynamical systems and applications to wave and other multi-scale phenomena in inhomogeneous, nonlinear and random media. (Nov. 6, 2013)
Computer Science Professor Vladimir Vapnik has been awarded the 2013 C&C Prize bestowed by NEC Foundation, the foundation arm of IT and networking giant NEC Corp. Vapnik also is a senior research scientist at the Center for Computational Learning Systems (CCLS) and a member of Columbia’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering. He is recognized “for contributions to establishing Statistical Learning Theory and for the invention of high-performance and practical learning algorithms.” His breakthroughs were significant, and he has made valuable contributions to the development of machine learning technology and the expansion of its application field, cited NEC C&C. Established in 1985, the C&C Prize is awarded to distinguished individuals for their pioneering contributions related to the integration of computers and communications technologies and the social impact of developments in these fields. (Nov. 1, 2013)
Columbia Engineering students were in for a rare treat (and a free meal!) at the recent event, Make Space for Breakfast: A Conversation with NASA Astronauts, held October 11 at Wallach Hall Lounge. Mike Massimino BS’84, who also is a visiting professor at the Engineering School, and fellow astronaut Andrew Feustal, talked to a small group of students about their experiences with NASA, what space is really like, their various missions, and personal career trajectories. Massimino was selected by NASA in May 1996 and is a veteran of two space flights. Feustel joined NASA in July 2000 and has served on two crews, including Endeavor’s final mission to the International Space Station in 2011. Pictured from left to right: Jasmine Santiago ’16SEAS, Paulina Vasquez ’16CC, Massimino, Jackub Karas ’15SEAS, Richard Parraga ’14SEAS, Feustal, and Joshua Woods ’15SEAS. (Oct. 28, 2013)
Daniel Bienstock, professor of industrial engineering and operations research and of applied physics and applied mathematics, was named a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the leading professional association for analytics professionals. Prof. Bienstock received the award "for his fundamental contributions to the methodology of modeling and solving difficult optimization problems, like securing electric power‐grid safety, shaping the contours of an ore‐mine over time, or fighting certain epidemics." (Oct. 25, 2013)
Ji Wang, a PhD candidate of biomedical engineering, has recently been named a research fellow by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Wang, whose adviser is Professor X. Edward Guo, is one of 42 PhD students—representing 19 countries—to receive the international research fellowship. HHMI awards a total of more than $1.8 million in fellowships granted to help support students’ graduate studies in the United States. Wang hails from China and is included in a cohort of new awardees that represent a broad global reach—Ethiopia, Iran, Norway, Saint Lucia, and Colombia, to name a few. Guo is thrilled that one of his students is a recipient of the prestigious HHMI fellowship. “I am surprised and also not surprised,” he says. “I am surprised because I was not sure whether the topics of Ms. Wang’s research—our laboratory on bone microstructural modeling—would be universally attractive enough for the highly competitive HHMI awards. I am not surprised because she is one of most talented and self-motivated graduate students in my lab and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.” (Oct. 21, 2013)
Infinio Systems, a startup founded by Vishal Misra, associate professor of computer science and CTO of the company, recently won the 2013 Start-up to Watch Award given by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) at its gala on September 12. Established in 2011 and based in Cambridge, MA, Infinio is building software solutions that improve the data storage performance of virtualized environments. Dan Rubenstein, associate professor of computer science, is also a co-founder. The MassTLC event, which has been called the “Academy Awards” of tech, was attended by more than 700 company executives, and spotlights the companies, people, and technologies that exemplify the best and the brightest in the Massachusetts technology community. Earlier this summer, Infinio was named one of two finalists for TechTarget’s “Best of VMworld 2013” award in the “Best New Technology” category. (Sept. 25, 2013)
Feniosky Peña-Mora, Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, has been awarded the 2013 J. James R. Croes Medal by the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which recognizes a paper that makes a definitive contribution to engineering. Peña-Mora’s paper, “Integrated Sequential As-built and As-planned Representation with D4AR Tools in Support of Decision-Making Tasks in the AEC/FM Industry,” was published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. The Croes Medal will be presented at ASCE's 143rd Annual Civil Engineering Conference in Charlotte, NC, in October. Peña-Mora also has received recognition for his research described in two other papers. At the Joint International Conference on Construction Engineering and Management Construction Project Management (Anaheim, CA), he received a Best Paper Award for “Construction Equipment Activity Recognition from Accelerometer Data for Monitoring Operational Efficiency and Environmental Performance,” while his paper, “A Machine-Learning Classification Approach to Automatic Detection of Workers’ Actions for Behavior-based Safety Analysis” received a Best Paper award at the ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering in Clear Beach, FL. In addition, he has received a Best Poster Award for “Robust Material Recognition for Automated Building Information Modeling from Unordered Site Image Collections” from the Construction Research Congress held at Purdue University. (Sept. 24, 2013)
Congratulations to a team of recent biomedical engineering alumni who have been awarded first prize in a competition sponsored by the NCIIA, in partnership with the Center for Translation of Rehab Engineering Advances and Technology (TREAT), for their innovative senior design project. Michael Carapezza, Ugne Klibaite, Christine Miller, and Garrett Ruggieri—all 2013 graduates—are being recognized for the development of OnTrak, a mobile phone-based app that could be used for tracking and correcting limb motion during rehabilitative exercises. They will be honored September 26 during the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Award Ceremony in Seattle, WA. TREAT is a collaborative consortium between corporate, educational, and nonprofit entities providing infrastructure support and consultation to researchers and innovators interested in the translation and commercialization of rehabilitation applications. (Sept. 17, 2013)
The Royal Society of Canada has elected Alfred V. Aho a fellow in the Academy of Science under its Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division. Aho, who is Lawrence Gussman Professor of Computer Science, is being recognized by the Society for his “fundamental contributions to string searching, databases, formal languages, programming languages, compilation, and pattern matching.” The veteran computer scientist is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is well known for his many influential papers and books on algorithms and data structures, programming languages, compilers, and the foundations of computer science. His current research interests also include software engineering and quantum computation. Separately, Aho was recently featured by the Simons Foundation in an article and video interview conducted by fellow computer scientist, Mihalis Yannakakis, Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer Science. They discussed Aho’s pioneering contributions to the foundations of computer science and the future progress of the field in areas like health and genomics. (Sept. 10, 2013)
A paper presented by Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Samuel Ruben-Peter G. Viele Professor of Chemical Engineering, and colleagues from Purdue University won the Best Poster Paper Award at the 23rd Annual European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering (ESCAPE23), in Lappeenranta, Finland, June 9 to 12. The paper, "Intelligent Alarm System applied to Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing," was one of more than 100 given at the conference, held each year in Europe for a prestigious group of process systems engineers from around the world. It focuses on developing a model-based intelligent control system that addresses the challenge of running a complex process system, such as a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, safely and optimally, by effectively integrating different models of process knowledge. The system provides timely guidance to the operator regarding the detection and diagnosis of exceptional events along with relevant mitigation strategies, with the goal of avoiding emergency shutdowns. (Sept. 9, 2013)
A paper by Joseph F. Traub, Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Computer Science, has been selected as an “Editor’s Suggestion” by the editors of Physical Review A. The paper, titled “Measures of quantum computing speedup,” is co-authored by Columbia Research Scientist Anargyros Papageorgiou and will appear prominently both in the journal’s print and online editions. (Sept. 5, 2013)
Christine Fleming, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has received a two-year $175,000 Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE) award from the National Science Foundation, for “BRIGE: Characterization of the human myocardium by optical coherence tomography.” With this award, she plans to develop high-resolution optical imaging and image analysis for diagnosis of diseases and therapy monitoring of the heart muscle. The aims of the project are 1) characterizing human myocardium ex vivo with optical coherence tomography imaging, 2) development of automated image processing algorithms for tissue classification, and 3) broadening participation in STEM fields through outreach to NYC high school students. (Aug. 27, 2013)
Shiho Kawashima, assistant professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, won a two-year $171,796 Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE) award from the National Science Foundation, for “BRIGE: Characterizing the Rheological and Microstructural Evolution of Oil Well Cement Slurries under Elevated Temperature and Pressure Conditions.” She plans to characterize these rheological properties through measuring the dynamic flow properties under large and rapid deformation and the linear viscoelastic properties at rest. An important complement to the rheology will be to monitor changes in the crystalline phases and pore network of the material, which will help provide insight into sealing performance. The experimental methodology Kawashima will develop should improve understanding of the performance of oil well cement slurries during placement, which can help in the development of effective mix design methodologies and models, improve zonal isolation to increase production and safety, and reduce the negative environmental impact of oil well operations. (Aug. 26, 2013)
Donald Goldfarb, Alexander and Hermine Avanessians Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, has been awarded the Khachiyan Prize by INFORMS Optimization Society for lifetime achievements in the field of optimization. Goldfarb is being recognized for his “fundamental contributions to the field of continuous optimization through the design and analysis of innovative algorithms.” The Khachiyan Prize, established in 2010 and awarded annually at the INFORMS national meeting in the fall, recognizes a scholar’s innovativeness and impact in the area of optimization, including theory and applications. (Aug. 23, 2013)
Huiming Yin, associate professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has been awarded three new grants to further his research in structural monitoring and sustainable building materials. One NSF three-year grant will support a new study led by Yin, with co-principal investigators and colleagues Andrew Smyth, professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, and William Bailey, professor of applied physics and applied mathematics. This study will investigate the motion of ferromagnetic particles in silicone prepolymer to form a chain-structure composite for strain and fracture sensing, which will be validated in bridge structural health monitoring. Another three-year NSF grant was awarded to Yin for his proposal to advance the understanding of the asphalt foaming process in building structures and establish a theoretical framework to predict the material behavior for material design. Yin hopes this advanced research will lead to new theories and models of sustainable engineering materials in energy and environmental aspects. Lastly, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research has awarded Yin a grant to support research in multifunctional weathering and accelerated aging system for study of life cycle performance of polymer materials and structures. (Aug. 14, 2013)
Congratulations to Javad Lavaei, assistant professor of electrical engineering, who has been selected to receive a Google Faculty Research Award. Google Research has agreed to support Lavaei’s proposal, “High-Performance Numerical Algorithm for Nonlinear Optimization over Power Networks.” Google’s highly competitive awards program funds the work of full-time faculty members at top universities globally who are conducting cutting-edge research in the areas of computer science, engineering, and related fields. (Aug. 14, 2013)
Edward G. Coffman, professor emeritus in electrical engineering, on left in photo, helped celebrate the unveiling of a plaque honoring Edwin H. Armstrong (1913), inventor of wideband FM radio, on June 17, 2013. The commemorative plaque was placed in Hudson-Fulton Park in Yonkers, NY, the town where Armstrong spent much of his adolescence inventing the regenerative circuit, the superheterodyne receiver, and other electronics that became widely used in modern radio receivers. (July 5, 2013)
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has selected Kartik Chandran, associate professor of earth and environmental engineering, as one of its 15 new fellows. This prestigious designation recognizes members’ achievements, stature, and contributions in the water field, from areas of research and regulation to education and leadership. Chandran, whose research focuses on water and wastewater treatment, will be recognized during WEF’s annual conference to be held this fall in Chicago. (June 17, 2013)
Biomedical Engineering Professors Andrew Laine and Edward Guo have been elected to the board of directors at the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Laine, who is Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor, will chair the AIMBE’s Council of Societies and Guo has been named an international liaison. Both professors will serve on the board from 2013 to 2015, concurrent with their Columbia appointments. (May 31, 2013)
Steven Sabbagh, senior research scientist and adjunct professor of applied physics, was awarded Princeton University’s 2013 Kaul Foundation Prize for Excellence in Plasma Research and Technology Development. He received the award for his work on advancing the understanding and enhancing the stability of high-performance tokamak fusion plasmas. (May 31, 2013)
Three teams from Columbia Engineering won honorable mentions for their innovative designs in the second annual Cornell Cup USA. Those honored this year included the Columbia Assistive Robotic Manipulator (ARM) team: mechanical engineering seniors Angel Say and Brendan Chamberlain-Simon and SEAS undergraduates Haris Durrani in applied physics and Robert Ying in computer science. The Columbia Lions team was comprised of four electrical engineering seniors—Koel Bose, Kevin Kao, Ashley Nagel, and Ulysses Velasquez. The final Columbia team to receive honorable mention in the Cornell Cup was Columbia Ouroboros—electrical engineering seniors Joe DelPreto, Nathan Grubb, and Michael Mournighan, along with Miguel Rodriguez, a senior in mechanical engineering, and Ottman Tertuliano, a senior in applied physics. (May 22, 2013)
Five outstanding rising seniors have been awarded scholarships—at $2,500 each—from member firms of the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York. The recipients, Raymond Bellon (chemical engineering), London Hammar (civil engineering), Dylan Smith (mechanical engineering), Kyle Sullivan (civil engineering), and Silas Wilkinson (mechanical engineering), were selected based on their grade point averages, college activities, work experience, and essays on consulting engineering. (May 22, 2013)
Huiming Yin, associate professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has been awarded additional funding from United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) to support his research aimed at revamping infrastructure systems for improved sustainability and efficiency. The new grant will go towards Yin’s work on how to integrate the social network into the existing Open-Mode Integrated Transportation System via a smartphone app. (May 16, 2013)
Two Computer Science students, Kui Tang and Timothy Sun, have recently received honorable mention in The Computing Research Association’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award. Tang, whose advisers are Assistant Professor Martha Kim and Associate Professor Tony Jebara, is being recognized for his work in computer architecture, compiler, and tractable inference. Sun, who was advised by Professor Jonathan Gross, won the honor for his complete set of undergraduate research projects including his paper on Milgram's construction and the Duke embedding conjectures. (May 16, 2013)
Aaron Bernstein, a third-year PhD student in computer science, won Best Student Paper at STOC 2013, the 45th ACM Symposium on the Theory of Computing (STOC), for his single-authored paper, “Maintaining Shortest Paths Under Deletions in Weighted Directed Graphs.” The work is on maintaining distance information in a network that is changing over time. Bernstein’s research focuses in the design and analysis of efficient algorithms, and he has already published seven papers on these topics. His adviser is Clifford Stein, professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. (May 16, 2013)
Yannis Tsividis, Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering, has received the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his leading contributions to the field of solid-state circuits and his exemplary teaching. This honor, voted by the University's Board of Regents, upon the recommendation of the College of Science and Engineering, and the All-University Honors Committee, is bestowed upon alumni of the University who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions. Tsividis, who received his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, was presented with the award at a ceremony held April 25, 2013. (May 3, 2013)
Apoorv Agarwal MS’09, a PhD candidate in computer science, has received an IBM PhD Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. The competitive fellowship is awarded to PhD students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in a range of areas of study such as computer science and engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering, physical sciences, and urban policy and analytics. Agarwal was granted the award based on his two recent internships at IBM, where he worked closely with the research team that built Watson, the computer that made its TV debut when it appeared on the popular quiz show, Jeopardy! in 2011. Agarwal’s thesis advisor is Owen Rambow, a research scientist at Columbia’s Center for Computational Learning Systems (CCLS) and his faculty advisor is Kathleen McKeown, who heads the School’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering and is the Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science. (April 26, 2013)
Computer Science PhD student Hung-Yi Liu and post-doctoral researcher Michele Petracca, along with their advisor, Associate Professor Luca Carloni, have received the Best Paper Award for "Compositional System-Level Design Exploration with Planning of High-Level Synthesis,” published at the 2012 edition of the Design, Automation, and Test in Europe (DATE). DATE is one of the premier conferences dedicated to electronic and embedded systems. Their work presents novel algorithms to cope with the growing complexity of designing systems-on-chip by simplifying heterogeneous component integration and enabling reuse of predesigned components. It was the only best paper presented for DATE 2012, which received some 950 submissions. The award was announced at DATE’s 2013 conference held in March in Grenoble, France. (April 23, 2013)
Fenisoky Peña-Mora, Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, was recently named HENAAC’s Role Model of the Week, which highlights world-class Hispanic engineers and scientists in academia, industry, military, andthe government. Peña-Mora was honored for his scholarly achievements and academic leadership. HENAAC, which stands for Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corp., focuses on inspiring and motivating underserved students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. (April 23, 2013)
Salvatore J. Stolfo, professor of computer science, has been appointed to the National Academies National Research Council (NRC) Panel on Information Science at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). This panel reviews the scientific and technical quality of the Army Research Laboratory’s programs of research and development related to its information science technical area. The information science areas to be assessed include autonomous systems, network sciences (communication networks, defense of networks, information networks, social-cognitive networks), atmospheric sciences, and high-performance computing. (April 1, 2013)
Joseph Traub, Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Computer Science, has been selected by the National Research Council (NRC) for two significant advisory roles within the organization. He was recently appointed to a second term on the Divisional Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPSCOM) of the NRC. The committee provides advice and strategic insights to boards and standing committees within its purview. The DEPSCOM portfolio ranges from disciplinary boards, such as mathematics, physics, computer science, and astronomy to boards and standing committees serving each of the major military services as well as the intelligence community ( In addition, he also has chaired a review of the Board on Math Sciences and Applications (BMSA) for the NRC. Serving with him on that review committee were Dr. Philip Bernstein, Microsoft; Professor Stephen Robinson, University of Wisconsin; and Professor Margaret Wright, NYU. (March 25, 2013)
Mechanical Engineering Professor and Department Chair Gerard A. Ateshian has won the Basic Science Research Award of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) for his outstanding work in the area of cartilage mechanics, lubrication, and tissue engineering. He will be presented with the award during the opening ceremony at the OARSI World Congress in Philadelphia, PA on April 18. (Feb. 27, 2013)
Elsevier, the leading publisher of science and health peer-reviewed journals, recently noted that three review papers by chemical engineering's Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Samuel Ruben-Peter G. Viele Professor of Engineering, are the most cited of the 2,072 articles published in Computers & Chemical Engineering between 2003 and 2013. The articles are “A review of process fault detection and diagnosis part I: Quantitative model-based methods,” (646 citations as of January 2013); “A review of process fault detection and diagnosis part III: Process history based methods,” (431 citations as of January 2013); and “A review of process fault detection and diagnosis part II: Qualitative models and search strategies,” (287 citations as of January 2013). The first two articles were co-authored with R. Rengaswamy, S.N. Kavuri, and K. Yin, while the third was co-authored with R. Rengaswamy and S.N. Kavuri, and all appeared in Volume 27, Issue 3. (Feb. 26, 2013)
Vineet Goyal, assistant professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, has been awarded a $51,701 one-year Google Research Award for his work on "Robust Algorithms for Online Problems." These biannual grants are given to support cutting-edge research in computer science, engineering, and related fields and to increase collaboration between Google researchers and faculty.   (Feb. 26, 2013)
Senior Claire Duvallet will spend her gap year before graduate school studying in Asia as the School’s first-ever Luce Scholar. Duvallet, who studies biomedical engineering, said that she hopes to be placed somewhere within Southeast Asia and to be able to do work with an organization or company that applies biomedical engineering to global health. Read the full story here. (Feb. 25, 2013)
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