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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  Sep 25, 2017
Rensselaer Catalog 2016-2017 [Archived Catalog]

Research Resources and Centers

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.

Research plays an integral role in Rensselaer’s vision of the technological university. The discovery and application of new scientific concepts and technologies, especially in emerging interdisciplinary fields, are core goals for faculty, staff, and students. Rensselaer’s research programs reach across the campus, linking departments, schools, interdisciplinary centers, and unique platforms such as the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, the Computational Center for Innovations, and the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. This fertile research environment creates opportunities for the integration of research and education, the development of entrepreneurship, and experiences with collaborators from a broad range of academic, private, national, and international institutions.

The Office of the Vice President for Research works closely with faculty to foster high-impact research to address today’s and tomorrow’s challenges in science, engineering, technology, and society. The Office oversees a “research ecosystem” that supports faculty and student innovation, facilitates interdisciplinary synergistic work in Rensselaer centers, and coordinates major research themes and programs.

Notice Regarding Intellectual Property  All members of the Rensselaer community, including, but not limited to, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff, administration, visiting scholars and scientists, and guests, are bound by the Rensselaer intellectual property policy. Go to: For additional information about intellectual property at Rensselaer, go to

Center for Architecture Science and Ecology


Director: Anna Dyson, Professor, School of Architecture


The Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) conducts interdisciplinary research focused on next generation building technologies for a sustainable built environment. We address the need for accelerated innovation of radically new architectural systems capable of harnessing local ecological energy, and integrating better with both human and natural systems.  CASE is a multi-institutional and professional office research collaboration co-hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Through this partnership, the boundaries of environmental performance in urban building systems on a global scale are being tested using actual building projects as test beds.  Co-located on the Rensselaer campus in Troy, NY, and at SOM’s offices in lower Manhattan, CASE unites advanced architectural and engineering practices with scientific research through a unique and intensive collaboration between multiple institutions, manufacturers, and professional offices within the building industry. Rensselaer’s School of Architecture frames its advanced degree program in Built Ecologies—focused on fostering the next generation of researchers, who are able to provide performance-driven building technologies in support of clean, self-sustaining built environments—around CASE.

Affiliated Faculty: M. Amitay, T. Borca-Tasciuc, J. Braasch, C. Collins, D. Comodromos, N. Diniz, J. Dordick, J. Draper, A. Dyson, M. Gindlesparger, J. Gowdy, R. Hull, M. Jensen, N. Koratkar, K.V. Lakshmi, C. Letchford, I. Markov, L. McGown, D. McGuinness, M. Mistur, M. Nyman, A. Oberai, T. Rainey, A. Rempel, A. Walf, C. Wetzel, N. Xiang

Staff:  J. Erickson, J. McCuster, P. Pinhiero, C. Pinson, A. Tyson, D. Zaide

Center for Automation Technologies and Systems


Director: Daniel Walczyk, Professor, MANE

Director for Business Development: Craig Dory

Associate Director for Process Technologies: B. Wayne Bequette, Professor, CBE


The Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute serves as a focal point for a broad range of industrially relevant research and development in practical and theoretical aspects of advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics.  Advanced manufacturing is a critical component of the U.S. economy as it helps sustain our global competitiveness across a wide range of industries, from biomedical and renewable energy to aerospace. Automation (processes and devices that improve efficiency, increase productivity, or enhance functionality) and industrial robotics (programmable machines capable of automatically carrying out complex series of actions) are key enabling technologies for advanced manufacturing.  Nearly 40 faculty members from multiple departments throughout Rensselaer participate in the research and educational programs of the Center.  With annual base funding from the State of New York as a NYSTAR-designated Center for Advanced Technology, the CATS pursues a mission of research excellence and service to industry, and focuses on bridging the “laboratory-to-market” chasm across a broad range of domains and high-impact applications.  The CATS leverages RPI’s rich ecosystem and domain expertise to help its industrial partner companies pursue both detail- and systems-level approaches to solving real-world problems, advancing model-based methods and applying them to design, optimization, control, and monitoring of industrial processes and systems.  Current research thrust areas include: Industrial Automation and Control, Advanced Robotics and Control Systems, Continuous Processing and Control, Additive and Bioadditive Manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing, Metal and Ceramics Processing, Micromanufacturing, and Advanced Composites and Biocomposites Manufacturing.

Affiliated Faculty:  J. Wen, Q. Ji, D. Walczyk, W. Bequette, J. Agung, J. Trinkle, C. Bae, C. Carrothers, V. Chakrapani, D. Corr, J. Tichy, F. Gandhi, J. Hahn, M. Hardwick, M. Hella, R. Hull, P. Karande, N. Koratkar, S. Mishra, R. Ozisik, J. Plawsky, R. Radke, A. Maniatty, T. Blanchet, T. Ravichandran, J. Samuel, W. Wu, L. Parsa, M. Shepherd, D. Lewis, M. Amitay, T. Borca-Tasciuc, E. Ledet, O. Sahni, A. Chung, C. Ryu, W. Xie, C. Malmborg

Staff: S. Rock, G. Saunders, K. Myer, E. Schultz

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies


Director: Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D.

Director of Operations: Glenn M. Monastersky, Ph.D.

Director, Research Cores: Marimar Lopez, Ph.D.


The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) is a 218,000-square-foot facility on the Rensselaer campus. With its high-tech laboratories, it provides a platform for collaboration among many diverse academic and research disciplines to enhance discovery and encourage innovation. Research and office space is available for approximately 500 faculty, staff, and students, and the Bruggeman Conference Center and Auditorium host world-class programs and symposia.

CBIS facilitates groundbreaking discoveries by Rensselaer faculty at the intersection of the basic life sciences, physical and computational sciences, humanities and social sciences, architecture, and engineering sciences, which leads to new biotechnology breakthroughs. By maximizing core strengths and collaborations, CBIS ensures the impact of Rensselaer’s financial, organizational, and intellectual investment to society.

Center faculty and researchers are engaged in interdisciplinary research, focused on the application of engineering and the physical and information sciences to the life sciences.  Residents include members of several academic departments including Biological Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical and Biological Engineering; Chemistry and Chemical Biology; Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering; and Physics.

The Center is home to nine state-of-the-art Research Core facilities, which permit investigators to address fundamental research questions from the atomic and molecular level through cellular and advanced tissue systems, and finally in live animal platforms. The Research Cores include Proteomics, Microbiology and Fermentation, Analytical Biochemistry and Nanotechnology, BioResearch, Cell and Molecular Biology, Microscopy and Cellular Imaging, BioImaging, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and Stem Cell Research.

Rensselaer has supported the creation of four research Constellation areas in CBIS that build on existing Rensselaer research strengths: Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering; Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine; Systems Biology and Microbiomics; and Biocomputation and Bioinformatics. Each Constellation contains a mix of senior and junior faculty, and students and postdoctoral scientists from multiple backgrounds and departments. 

Biotechnology is an inherently multidisciplinary pursuit. Students interested in studying Biotechnology at Rensselaer may apply for degrees through several existing departments and programs and create a truly interdisciplinary program with consultation and approval from faculty advisers who represent at least 12 different university departments.

Affiliated Faculty: C. Bahn, B. Barquera, T. Begley, G. Belfort, K. Bennett, B. Bequette, C. Breneman, C. Bystroff, N. Campbell, B. Chang, C. Collins, W. Colon, D. Corr, S. Cramer, G. Dai, J. Dordick, D. Drew, H. Ehrlich, M. Embrechts, S. Garde, R. Gilbert, S. Gilbert, R. Gross, J. Hahn, M. Hahn, J. Hendler, K. High, M. Holmes, R. Hull, J. Hurley, X. Intes, D. Isaacson, P. Karande, J. Kilduff, M. Koffas, S. Kotha, J. Kuruzovich, K. Lakshmi, E. Ledet, L. Ligon, R. Linhardt, G. Makhatadze, P. Maxwell, L. McGown, D. McGuinness, J. McLaughlin, K. Mills, S. Nierzwicki-Bauer, M. Nyman, G. O’Connor, L. Peters, G. Ramanath, R. Relyea, J. Ross, C. Royer, L. Schadler, R. Siegel, M. Simoni, C. Stewart, D. Swank, P. Tessier, D. Thompson, P. Underhill, L. Wan, C. Wang, G. Wang, X. Wang, I. Wilke, X. Xu, B. Yener, M. Zaki, M. Zuker

Staff: B. Arduini, G. Burke, G. Chagas, D. Ciesielczyk, B. Eskew, S. McCallum, B. Mennillo, H. Merrill, J. Morgan, T. Neaton, S. Pryshchep, N. Roberts, D. Zagorevski

Center for Cognition, Communication, and Culture


Director: Jonas Braasch


The Center for Cognition, Communication, and Culture is focused on the intersections and interdependency of cognition, communication, and culture in the context of contemporary research, technology, and society.

Interdisciplinary research activities draw on the arts, design, engineering, humanities, science, and social science. The center addresses diverse areas including the development of collaborative synthetic immersive worlds; digitally enriched environments; the design and use of intelligent agents to stimulate and simulate creative and cultural processes, assistive technologies, immersive learning, and cross-modal perception.

Affiliated Faculty: E. Ameres, C. Bahn, F. Berman, J. Braasch, S. Bringsjord, B. Chang, B. Cutler, R. Eglash, J. Goebel, T. Hahn, J. Hendler, Q. Ji, E. Knowles, T. Krueger, C. Leitao, M. Lynch, J. Luciano, P. Oliveros, C. Perry, R. Radke, R. Rouse, M. Si, R. Sun, M. Simoni, W. Wallace, N. Xiang

Center for Computational Innovations


Director: Christopher D. Carothers

Associate Director, Research Computing Operations: Jacqueline A. Stampalia 

Associate Director of Research: Mark S. Shephard


The Center for Computational Innovations (CCI) is housed in a 22,000-square-foot facility at the Rensselaer Technology Park. It includes a 4,500-square-foot machine room, offices, and space for industry visitors. The CCI operates heterogeneous supercomputing systems consisting of massively parallel IBM Blue Gene supercomputer and AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon processor-based clusters. The computational power of the current hardware configuration is rated at over 1 petaflop peak. The CCI system is supported by over a petabyte of disk storage. The CCI has dedicated high-speed connections to the main campus with up to 32 fiber lines available for growth as well as a direct connection to the NYSERNet optical infrastructure and Internet2 that provides access to the national and international high-speed networks.

The CCI Computational Facilities:

1. “AMOS” Blue Gene/Q: 5 racks (5K nodes, 80K cores) with 80 TB of RAM
   total and 160 I/O nodes.
2. Intel Xeon Cluster: 32, 8-way Xeon processors with 256 GB of RAM
3. Intel Xeon Cluster: 64, 16-way Xeon processors with 128 GB of RAM each.
4. Parallel Storage: 1.2 Petabytes disk storage over GPFS parallel
   file system.
5. Network: 324-port non-blocking 56Gbps/FDR Infiniband interconnect.

A key feature of our flagship Blue Gene/Q system (named “AMOS”) is its balance of compute with I/O capabilities. In particular, this Blue Gene/Q system has four times the I/O capacity on a per-rack basis than any other Blue Gene/Q system currently fielded. Thus, we have the capability to provide a 1.28 TB RAM cache pool by leveraging the 160 I/O nodes. For many data intensive jobs, their datasets can fit within that cache structure. For larger dataset jobs, we will offer an 8TB RAM Storage Accelerator (RSA) cluster that can pre-stage data prior to the start of the job on AMOS. Data can be moved between AMOS and the RSA at a rate of 50 GB/sec.  This RSA cluster is created by an in memory parallel filesystem that runs across our existing Intel Xeon cluster.

Currently, the center provides computational resource to external funded research activities in excess of $42M.  These research activities cut across a number of massively parallel and data analytic topics. Examples include: protein folding, micro-structure materials modeling, fundamental properties of graphene, co-design of future exascale supercomputers, massively parallel adaptive methods for multi-scale simulation, high-performance computing workflows for industrial applications, and advanced computational fluid dynamics, to name a few.

One of our central strengths is the flexibility in terms of how we engage with our industry partners. First, the CCI has the ability to work with software from third-party vendors like ANSYS, Polyflow, and CD-adapco, as well as leverage the center’s own research software tools and other “open source” software systems. The CCI currently has active engagements with Boeing, Corning, GNS, IBM, Kitware, P&G, and Simmetrix, to name a few. Export controlled and corporate confidential software is able to execute at the CCI.

Affiliated Faculty: A. A. Abouzeid, S. Adali, F.D. Berman, C. Breneman, C. Bystrof, C.D. Carothers, Z. Chen, M.O. Coppens, S. Cramer, B.M. Cutler, Y. Danon, S. De, P. Drineas, P.A. Fox, W.R. Franklin, D. Gall, A.  Garcia, S.S. Garde, J.T. Giedt, M.K. Goldberg, W.D. Gray, W. Henshaw, M. Holmes, J. Hendler, L. Huang, X.R.M. Intes, D. Isaacson, P. J. Keblinksi, P.R. Kramer, D.J. Lewis, L. Liu, G. I. Makhatadze, A. Maniatty, L.L. Martin, R. Mayo, J. F. McDonald, V. Meunier, A.L. Milanova, S. Nayak, A.A. Oberai, C.R. Picu, M.D. Platt, M.Z. Podowski, G. Ramanath,  O. Sahni, D. Schwendeman, M.S. Shephard, Y. Shi, K.L. Simons, B. Syzmanski, P.T. Underhill, W.W. von Maltzahn, C. Wang, B.E. Watson, J. Wei, J. Wen, N. Xiang, G. Xu, B. Yener, M.J. Zaki, L.T. Zhang, S. Zhang, T. Zhang

Staff: D. LaBrie-Belser, M. Henesey

Technical Staff: D. Fox, C.W. Smith, D.M. Weeks

Center for Future Energy Systems


Director: Jian Sun, Professor, ECSE

Director, Business Development: Martin Byrne, MBA ‘82


The Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES) is one of the 15 New York State-designated Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT) funded by Empire State Development through its Division for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). The center’s mission is to connect novel energy materials, devices, systems research, knowledge, and technology in academia with the needs of industry to solve problems and spur economic development.

Energy is one of the most pressing issues facing society. Achieving energy security, combating global warming, and developing a new green energy economy will require harvesting more energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind, as well as using energy more efficiently across different sectors of the industry and in all aspects of daily life. CFES addresses these challenges through cutting-edge research and industry collaboration in a wide range of areas including photovoltaic materials and cells, advanced wind turbine design and control, solid-state lighting and smart lighting sources, intelligent and energy-efficient building systems, fuel cells, advanced materials for energy storage and thermoelectric energy conversion, distributed generation and control, grid integration of wind and solar power, and power conversion for transportation systems.

Affiliated Faculty: M. Amitay, C. Bae, B. W. Bequette, I. Bhat, T. Borca-Tasciuc, D. Borca-Tasciuc, J. Chow, P. Chow, P. Dinolfo, J. Dordick, D. Duquette, P. Dutta, A. Dyson, D. Gall, L. Huang, P. Keblinski, N. Koratkar, K.V. Lakshmi, R. Leslie, D. Lewis, J. Lian, S. Lin, T. Lu, N. Narendran, D. Nieusma, L. Parsa, J. Plawsky, G. Ramanath, J. Shi, J. Sun, M. Tomozawa, J. Vollen, C. Wetzel

Staff: K. Georgeadis, H. Guo, T. Simmons, L. Valenti

Center for Materials, Devices, and Integrated Systems (cMDIS)


Director: Robert Hull

Associate Director for Micro and Nanofabrication Cleanroom (MNCR): Morris Washington


The Center for Materials, Devices, and Integrated Systems, or cMDIS, provides the platform for researchers in diverse disciplines across the physical and chemical sciences and engineering to establish cross-disciplinary collaborations and develop teams to tackle some of the most pressing challenges that face our society in the 21st century. The cMDIS leads strategic research efforts in advanced materials and devices, and the integration of these technologies into complex systems. This is achieved by fostering interdisciplinary research that employs advanced computational tools, testbeds, and characterization facilities. 

Located primarily on the Rensselaer campus, the center’s activities range from basic and applied research, to the exploration of new technologies through partnerships with industry.  Major activities include pioneering research into advanced electronic interconnect structures, wideband gap semiconductors and devices, carbon-based materials and devices, power electronic devices and systems, new nanostructured materials architectures, harnessing of spectral control and sensing of light, development of new materials and systems for renewable energy, advanced composite materials and devices, solutions for the built environment, and new manufacturing methods. The center is responsible for major state-of-the-art facilities that support the Institute’s research mission, including: a Class 100 Micro and Nanofabrication Clean Room with processing and characterization capabilities for silicon, compound semiconductors, energy storage materials biological, and a broad range of other material systems; an extensive nanoscale characterization core; and numerous state-of-the-art processing design, testing, and characterization facilities in individual centers and laboratories.

The cMDIS is the organizational home for the New York Focus Center for Interconnects for Gigascale Integration and for multiple other research programs. The cMDIS also interacts closely with and serves as a comprehensive research platform for other Rensselaer centers, including the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE), Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS), Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES), National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center on Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA), and the Scientific Computation Research Center (SCOREC). Formation of additional centers, especially those that promote interdisciplinary research, are developing as the number of new cMDIS projects grows.

Affiliated Faculty: Around 75 RPI faculty are currently members of the center, including representation from four schools and about a dozen departments.

Administrative Staff: Barbara Jordan, Lori Maynard, Jennifer Tedesco, Alisa Tyson

Technical Staff: Xiaohong An, John Barthel, Bryant Colwill (Manager, MNCR), David Frey, Deniz Rende, Kent Way

Center for Modeling, Simulation and Imaging in Medicine (CeMSIM)


Director: Suvranu De


The goal of the Center for Modeling, Simulation and Imaging in Medicine (CeMSIM) is to actively develop advanced modeling, simulation and imaging (MSI) technology for health-care through interdisciplinary collaborations with the aim of transitioning the technology to clinical practice.

Situated at the intersection of medicine and engineering, the CeMSIM develops novel MSI solutions for a variety of challenges in the health-care enterprise. To accomplish its objectives, the CeMSIM engages in fundamental research related to computational science and engineering, imaging science and engineering, biomedical science and engineering, biorobotics, medical visualization, haptics, networking science and technology, virtual reality, and cognitive science. Application projects encompass all aspects of clinical medicine including image-based diagnostic tools (e.g., radiology, ultrasound, CT, MRI, and X-ray), image analysis methods, elastographic techniques, and noninvasive clinical therapy, as well as surgical planning and training, tele-medicine, and robotic surgery. The CeMSIM partners with premier medical schools, hospitals, industries, and academic institutions across the country, as well as many of the research platforms within Rensselaer. Research at the CeMSIM is aimed at rapid translation of technology from the bench to the bedside and to the greater community.

Affiliated Faculty: K. Anderson, D. Borca-Tasciuc, D. Corr, B. Cutler, S. De, X. Intes, A. Maniatty, A. Oberai, R. Radke, E. Ledet, C. Picu, M.S. Shephard, J. Tichy, D. Vashishth, L. Wan, L. Zhang

Research Scientist: C. Lopez

Software Engineer: N. Milef

Postdoctoral Research Associates: Q. Peng, F. Rahul

Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory (CISL)


Director: Hui Su

Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, aka CISL@EMPAC, is a collaboration between IBM Research and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to pioneer new frontiers in immersive cognitive systems as an aid to group problem-solving and decision-making.  

The core platform of CISL is an immersive, interactive, reconfigurable physical environment that enhances group cognition. The physical environment automatically responds to its occupants by listening to and watching them, engages multiple users working in small groups at the same time on different aspects of a larger project, explores interactions and visualizations that would be impossible with a few people looking at a single monitor, learns from and reasons with the input captured from multi-people discussions, contributes relevant human-scale context to facilitate the discussion, create multimodal narratives and present to the people in the discussions.

CISL’s mission is to create scientific breakthroughs and technical innovation that can be used to enable Cognitive Immersive Situations Rooms in various use cases, including Cognitive Boardrooms for strategic business decision making, Cognitive Design Studio for the creation of advanced marketing materials and the design and development of complex systems, etc., Cognitive Diagnosis Room for the doctors to diagnose complex diseases, Cognitive Immersive Class Room for more effective and efficient education, etc. These Cognitive Immersive Rooms and Environments are going to use the cloud-based core Cognitive Computing algorithms.  
The Situations Room will be enabled with the scientific breakthroughs and technical innovations in the following areas:  

Area 1:

The Situations Room will be able to transcribe the multi-person multimodal natural interactions (including language, speech, gestures etc.) into logs of the discussion and have long-term dialog with a group of people. The following technologies will be enabled:

a) Summarization and playback services which can summarize what have been discussed by the group of people within certain period of time in the discussion
b) Multi-person multimodal natural interaction understanding  
c) Long-term interaction management (e.g. dialog management)  

Area 2:

The Situations Room will be able to contribute human-scale context into the discussions and facilitate them:  

a) Group interaction and exploration on human-scale context information
b) Learning, reasoning, sense making
c) Decision facilitation such as introduction, prioritization, decision support, conclusion, recommendation, etc.  

Area 3:

The Situations Room will be able to present multimodal narratives and tell a story:

a) Multimodal narrative generation
b) Multimodal creative story-telling

Area 4:

Systems technologies:

a) Configuration services and system management services that manage and configure multimodal (visual and audio) systems in the Situations Room  
b) Cognitive integration services that integrate related cognitive capabilities and domain models together
c) User model services that can be used to configure cognitive immersive systems for specific group of people
d) Data services that manage, backup, store, archive, clean and curate the data for the discussion
e) Domain specific models for the Situations Room use cases

Affiliated Faculty: J. Braasch, S. Bringsjord, J. Goebel, J. Hendler, H. Ji, Q. Ji, S. Lawson, M. McShane, T. Ravichandran, R. Radke, R. Relyea, M. Si

Affiliated Research Scientist: E. Ameres

Staff: G. Clement

Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center


Director: Johannes Goebel

Manager, Administrative Operations: Kimberly Gardner


The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) is an exceptional confluence of architecture, art, science, research, and technology. The 220,000-square-foot facility holds four large venues, which can serve as venues for public events and equally well as studios and laboratories for research and production, accommodating up to 1200 persons in one venue.

Much more than a university performing arts center, EMPAC is a laboratory that enables artists and scientists to independently and collaboratively advance research and development.

An expansive platform for interdisciplinary thoughts and projects, the center creates and presents contemporary artistic works of all genres; hosts a great variety of campus events; and supports extended residencies for research and development, experimentation, and production for artists and researchers alike.

EMPAC is ideal for any research that uses media technology, sensor instrumentation, large immersive projections, or human interaction of larger groups than supported in most virtual environments. Augmented and virtual reality, scientific visualization, large-scale architectural visualization, audification, haptics, auralization, and large-scale multimodal environments may be developed in technologically fully integrated spaces, which are designed specifically to support the full bandwidth of the human senses without compromise.

Staff: G. Abbas, E. Ameres, A. Ascani, E. Baumgartner, D. Bebb, P. Bellamy, M. Bello, V. Brooks, E. Brucker, M. Cassaro, J. Cook, D. DelaRosa, Z. Falk, K. Gardner, J. Goebel, I. Hamelin, R. Jenkins, S. Johnson, C. Lewandowski, E. Lin, S. McLaughlin, J. Potter, A. Samoray, C. Sherman, A. Stempel, K. Strosahl, J. Svatek, D. Swalec, T. Vos, M. Wells

Darrin Fresh Water Institute Center


Director: Rick Relyea


The Margaret A. and David M. Darrin ‘40 Fresh Water Institute is a newly created Institute wide Center at Rensselaer that includes the field station on Lake George, the Aquatic Laboratory at the Rensselaer Technology Park, and multiple investigators from across campus. The mission of the center is to take a science-driven, integrated approach using cutting-edge technology to help inform solutions on global issues related to water and the environment.

Researchers participating in the center work on a variety of environmental issues including ecology, evolution, ecotoxicology, limnology, and paleobiology. A major current research effort is The Jefferson Project at Lake George, which is a collaboration with IBM and the FUND for Lake George. The goal of The Jefferson Project is to understand how large lakes function and how humans have altered the lake in the past, present, and future. In line with the missions of the center, The Jefferson Project is tackling this mission using state-of-the-art environmental science, data science, and technology. In doing so, we are combining lake monitoring, experiments, and modeling to understand the interactions of the regional weather, watershed runoff, lake circulation, and the food web.

The field station, located in Bolton Landing, NY, includes a renovated, year-round Educational Center (including lodging), several small cottages, a boathouse, and a 7,500-square-foot laboratory facility for research and teaching, and the newly constructed Helen-Jo and John E. Kelly III ‘78 Data Visualization Laboratory. Field station website:

Affiliated Faculty: J. Braasch, J. Hendler, K. High, M. Katz, D. McGuinness, S. Nierzwicki-Bauer, R. Relyea, K. Rogers, K. Rose, K. Ruiz, M. Schaller

Staff: L. Ahrens, D. Diehl, L. Eichler, T. Geren, M. Martialay, B. Mattes, D. Winkler

Postdoctoral Researchers: J. Farrell, W. Hintz, L. Lind, P. Pinhiero, M. Schuler, A. Stoler, M. Swinton

Network Science and Technology Center


Director: Boleslaw K. Szymanski


The Network Science and Technology (NEST) Center conducts the fundamental science and engineering research on natural and technological networks, ranging from social and cognitive networks to computer networks. The growing understanding of network structures and dynamic processes arising in them combined with the novel designs of protocols for communication and algorithms for applications enable experts in the fields ranging from sociology to biology, medicine, physics, computer science, and engineering to apply the results of the center’s research in their specific disciplines.

NEST researchers study fundamental properties of networks, the processes underlying their evolution, and the paradigms for network engineering to enhance their desirable properties such as efficiency, reliability, and robustness. Research on natural networks focuses on cognitive models of net-centric interactions, on models for community creation and evolution, on the impact of mobility on network formation, on discovering dependencies between social, information, and communication networks, and on understanding the spread of opinions and ideologies among network nodes. Research on technological networks, such as computer, transportation and energy distribution networks, focuses on their optimal design from the point of view of flow maximization, fault tolerance, graceful degradation in case of partial damage, etc. In communication networks, NEST develops and studies network protocols and algorithms, especially for wireless and sensor networks, and studies interoperability of communication networks and computer systems. NEST actively transitions the developed protocols and algorithms to industrial practice and commercialization.

NEST partners with universities, national laboratories, and industry in large scientific programs targeting interdisciplinary research. NEST is the primary member of the Social Cognitive Network Academic Research Center (SCNARC), a part of the Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NS-CTA), funded by collaborative agreements with ARL. Other supporters include NSF, DARPA, DTRA, IARPA, ARO, ONR, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Affiliated Faculty: S. Adali, J. Hendler, H. Ji, G. Korniss, K. Kar, C. Lim, M. Magdon-Ismail, F. Spier, B. Szymanski, W. Wallace

Postdoctoral Associate: N. Derzsy

Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications


Director: James Hendler


The vision of The New Polytechnic is supported by The Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications or IDEA. This breakthrough initiative brings together key research areas and advanced technologies to revolutionize the way we use data in science, engineering, and virtually every other research and educational discipline. By bridging the gaps between analytics, modeling and simulation we continue the Rensselaer tradition as a leader in applying critical technologies to improving everyday life and meeting the challenges of the future. The Rensselaer IDEA enables research across the campus to access such technologies via the development of critical computational methodologies including data-intensive supercomputing, large-scale agent-based simulation, and cognitive computing technologies.


Data-Driven Medical and Health-Care Applications: Research explores areas including personalized and mobile medical care, improved health-care analytics, and new data-based approaches to driving down the cost of medical care.

Business Analytics: Critical infrastructure challenges arise in areas such as supply-chain network analysis and predictive analytics for modeling markets and other dynamic systems.

Built and Natural Environments/Smart Cities: Increasing capabilities for monitoring both natural and built ecologies can lead to significant environmental advances for society. Projects scale in range from studying the molecular “biomes” that arise in urban environments to modeling large-scale environments and ecological climate effects.

Agents in Virtual and Augmented Reality: New computational technologies are needed not just for modeling built and natural systems, but also the social systems that result from how people live and work in both the cyber and physical worlds. Additionally the visualization and analysis of very large datasets requires new approaches to multi-user, multimodal data interaction technologies. New and scalable agent-based technologies using both cognitive and supercomputing techniques are also a focus of this research.

Data-Centric Engineering: Engineering design is based on the modeling of processes, devices, and systems.  Increasingly, large-scale data analysis and predictive data technologies are being used to inform the engineering models.  Bridging the gap between analytics and modeling is thus a crucial capability to the future of rapidly developing and improving engineered systems.

Cybersecurity and Network Analysis: Increasingly threats to society are growing where the networked systems of modern cyberspace come into contact with physical control systems and the social systems of people.

Data-Driven Basic Science: The use of data-driven techniques for helping scientists with their basic research has grown to the point where some now refer to this as the “Fourth Paradigm” of science. The growing area of “Semantic eScience” is another key area of research.

Policy, Ethics, and Open Data: The big-data and supercomputing revolution has the power to change the world for the better. However, it also comes with a dark side. This sub-thrust focuses on how the benefits are achieved while controlling for the threats posed by ill-informed policy creation, unethical collection and use of data, and the tension between open data and privacy protections.

Affiliated Faculty: A. Abouzeid, K. Bennett, F. Berman, J. Braasch, S. Bringsjord, C. Carothers, A. Dyson, P. Fox, A. Garcia, S. Garde, J. Goebel, J. Hahn, J. Holguin-Veras, R. Hull, H. Ji, D. McGuinness, A. Oberai, T. Ravichandran, R. Relyea, K. Rogers, P. Search, M. Si, B. Szymanski, D. Vashishth, W. Wallace, B. Yener

Scientific Computation Research Center


Director: Mark S. Shephard

Associate Director: Assad A. Oberai


The Scientific Computation Research Center (SCOREC) is focused on the development of reliable simulation technologies for engineers, scientists, medical professionals, and other practitioners. These advancements enable experts in their fields to appraise and evaluate the behavior of physical, chemical, and biological systems of interest.

SCOREC research is focused on the development of the technologies necessary to enable simulation-based engineering. Simulation-based engineering will introduce a new paradigm in which all interacting scales important to the behavior of materials, devices, and systems are accurately modeled and accounted for in the design of optimized products and processes. SCOREC research includes the development of adaptive methods for reliable simulations, methods to do all computation on massively parallel computers, multiscale computational methods and interoperable technologies that will speed simulation system development. Application areas for simulation technologies being developed include fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, electromagnetics, nanomaterials, and nanoelectronics. As part of this research SCOREC partners with universities, national laboratories, and industry on the construction of simulation systems for specific applications in multiple areas. SCOREC actively transitions the simulation technologies developed to industrial practice and commercialization by software companies.

Affiliated Faculty: M. Amitay, K. Anderson, C.D. Carothers, B. Cutler, S. De, J. Hicken, L. Huang, X. Intes, D. Lewis, F. Li, A. Maniatty, V. Meunier, A. Oberai, R. Ozisik, C. Picu, M. Podowski, O. Sahni, M.S. Shephard, Y. F. Shi, G. Xu, M. Zeghal, L. Zhang, S. Zhang

Senior Research Associate: E. S. Seol

Research Scientist: M. A. Bloomfield

Postdoctoral Research Associates:  V. Chan, R. Cummings, M. J. Juha, K. Kalyanaraman, E. Shams, M. H. Siboni, E. Yoon

Computational Scientist: C. W. Smith

Technical and Administrative Staff: S. Carrothers, D. LaBrie-Belser, T. McMullan