Sep 23, 2020  
Rensselaer Catalog 2010-2011 
Rensselaer Catalog 2010-2011 [Archived Catalog]

Research Resources and Centers

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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 Nanotechnology 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.

Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS)


Director: John T. Wen, Professor of ECSE and MANE

Associate Director: Craig Dory

CAT Home Page:

The Center for Automation Technologies and Sytstems (CATS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute serves as a focal point for a broad range of industrially-relevant research and development in both practical and theoretical aspects of automation. Automation — processes and devices that improve efficiency, increase productivity, or enhance functionality — is a key enabling technology, and a critical component of sustainable global competitiveness for a wide range of industries, from biomedical and renewable energy to manufacturing. Nearly 40 faculty members in nine departments at Rensselaer participate in the research and educational programs of the Center. With annual funding from the State of New York as a NYSTAR-designated Center for Advanced Technology, the CATS pusues a mission of research excellence and service to industry, and focuses on bridging the “laboratory-to-market” chasm in a broad range of high-impact applications. The CATS works with industrial partners to pursue an integrated systems approach to solving real-world problems, advancing model-based methods and applying them to design, optimization control, and monitoring. Current focus areas include fuel cell manufacturing, advanced modeling and simulation for design automation, adaptive optics systems, microsystem assembly, active flow control, thermal management, and power grid monitoring and control.

Affiliated faculty: M. Amitay, K. Anderson, J. Ban, B.W. Bequette, D. Borca-Tasciuc, T. Borca-Tasciuc, S. Bringsjord, V. Chan, J. Chow, D. Chrisey, D. Corr, S. De, S. Derby, A. Desrochers, M. Hardwick, R. Huang, M. Jensen, Q. Ji, A. Julius, J. Kanai, E. Ledet, J. Lu, C. Malmborg, A. Maniatty, G. Nagy, L. Parsa, Y. Peles, R. Radke, J. Ryan, S. Salon, A. Sanderson, H. Scarton, L. Schadler, M. Shepherd, M. Steiner, J. Sun, J. Trinkle, D. Walczyk, J. Wen, M. Wozny, B. Yazici, T. Zhang

Staff: J. Gullotta, H. Merrill, K. Myer, R. Puffer, S. Rock, G. Saunders, J. Young

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies


Acting Director: Jonathan S. Dordick, Ph.D. Howard P. Iserman Professor

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

Web site:

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.

The CBIS facilitates groundbreaking discoveries by Rensselaer faculty at the intersection of the basic life sciences, physical and computational sciences, 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 Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Physics. 

The Center is home to seven 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, BioResearch / Animal Science, Cell and Molecular Biology, Microscopy and Imaging, BioImaging and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). 

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; Integrated Systems Biology; 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 twelve different university departments.

Center for Future Energy Systems


Acting Director: Jian Sun, Associate Professor, ECSE

Associate Director: Martin Byrne, MBA ‘82

Home Page:

The Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES) is one of 15 Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs) across New York state funded by the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). The Center’s mision is to connect novel energy materials, devices, systems research, know-how, and technology in academia with the needs of industry to solve problems and spur economic development.

Energy is on of the most pressing issues facing society. Achieving energy security, combatting 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. In collaboration with Cornell University, 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, control and grid integration of wind and solar power, operation and control of future energy systems, power conversion for transportation systems, as well as power system economics.

Affiliated Faculty: M. Amitay, B. W. Bequette, I. Bhat, T. Borca-Tasciuc, J. Chow, P. Chow, M. Coppens, J. Dordick, D. Duquette, P. Dutra, A. Dyson, D. Gall,  L. Huang, M. Jensen, P. Keblinski, N. Koratkar, R. Leslie, D. Lewis, S. Lin, T. Lu, L. Martin, N. Narendran,  I. Parsa, J. Plawsky, G. Ramanath, E. F. Schubert, D. Shawan, J. Sun, J. Vollen, C. Wetzel

Staff: L. Valenti

Center for Integrated Electronics


Acting Director: Michael S. Shur

Associate Director: Toh-Ming Lu

Associate Director: Michael S. Shur

Associate Director: Morris Washington

CIE Home Page:

The Center for Integrated Electronics (CIE) was created to carry out fundamental research that is industry-oriented in electronics design and manufacturing including Semiconductor interconnect technology. The center’s mission is to build integrated top-down and bottom-up nanostructures, devices, and systems for information, biological, and broadband communication applications. Major activities at the CIE include pioneering research into giga scale interconnects, 3-D interconnect structures, materials properties and process modeling, wideband gap semiconductors and devices, terahertz devices and imaging systems, power electronic devices and systems, and biochips.

The Center’s activities range from basic and applied research and education to commercialization through partnerships with industry. CIE faculty, students, and research post-doctoral fellows, and technical staff conduct research activities incorporating projects for specific companies, as well as longer-range programmatic efforts in fundamental areas of materials processes, design, fabrication, and characterization related to integrated electronics, electronics manufacturing, and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMs).

State-of-the-art facilities enhance research opportunities and include a Class 100 nanofabrication clean room with processing capabilities both for Si and base devices/circuits, and microsystems, extensive computer resources from such companies as Apple, AT&T, DIGITAL, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Sun, and numerous state-of-the-art processing design, testing, and characterization facilities in individual laboratories. Located on the Rensselaer campus, the CIE has immediate access to expertise in a broad range of disciplines. Participants include internationally recognized faculty from Rensselaer’s Schools of Engineering and Science.

Center for Power Electronics Systems The Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), sponsored by the National Science Foundation and established in 1998, is a national Engineering Research Center (ERC), which envisions enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the power electronics industry by developing an integrated system approach with Integrated Power Electronics Modules (IPEMs). The goal of CPES is to improve the quality, reliability, and cost effectiveness of power electronics systems by tenfold at the end of the expected 10-year life span. Virginia Institute ofTechnology administers this Center; and the five-university consortium consists of Rensselaer, Virginia Tech, University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina A & T, and University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

Focus Center–New York, Rensselaer: Interconnects for Hyperintegration This program investigates radical alternatives and new concepts leading to new solutions that will enable the U.S. semiconductor industry to transcend known limits on interconnections that would otherwise decelerate or halt the historical rate of progress toward gigascale integration (GSI). This program is part of the nationally distributed Interconnect Focus Center (IFC) administered from Georgia Institute of Technology. The university consortium includes Rensselaer, SLTNY-Albany, Georgia Tech, MIT, and Stanford. Rensselaer’s efforts focus on nanowire and molecular technologies, multiple layers of active devices (“3-D Chips”), optical interconnects, and fundamental materials and process characterization and modeling.

Center for Broadband Data Transport and Technology IBM Corporation endows this interdisciplinary Rensselaer center, which involves faculty from the Schools of Engineering and Science, SUNY Albany, Cornell University, City College of New York, and affiliated IBM researchers. The center’s primary mission is to conduct research in optical and electrical data transport, switching, and processing to enable future generations of information technology systems. The center is also involved in educating a new generation of students and postdocs for broadband data transport science and technology. The center operates the Internet Accessible Remote Laboratory  (visit http://ninct.ecse.rpi.eclu/shur/broadband).

Connection One This is a Rensselaer NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center involved in basic and applied interdisciplinary research in secure optical and electrical data transport switching, processing, materials, devices, systems, and information technology, enabling the massive scaling required by these systems. The research at RPI also addresses terahertz device design and characterization for VLSI testing and for wireless interconnects. This research is based on using plasma waves in semiconductors to carry information rather than relying on the electron drift, since the velocity of plasma waves is 10 to 20 times higher than the maximum electron drift velocity (visit

Affiliated Faculty: I. Bhat, D. Borca~Tasciuc, T. Borca~Tasciuc. P. Chow. J. Dordick. D. Duquette, P. Dutta, Glenn Eisman, Daniel Gall , Z. Huang, M. Hella, L. Interrante, Q. J. Ji; R. Kane, P. Keblinski, N. Koratkar, Y. Le Coz, D. Lewis, K. Lewis, S.Y. Lin, J. Lu, T.M. Lu, J. McDonald, S. Nayak, L. Parsa, P. Persans, J. Plawsky, G. Ramanath, K. Rose (Emeritus), C. Ryu, A. Sanderson, E.E Schubert, Mutsuhiro Shima, J. Sun, G.C. Wang, M. Washington, J. Wen, C. Wetzel, I. Wilke, M. Yamagucbi, T. Zhang, S. Zhang, X.C. Zhang

Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI)


Acting Director: John Kolb

Acting Director of Research: Mark Shephard

Associate Director, Research Computing Operations: Jacqueline A. Stampalia

Web site:

The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, the CCNI, is a $100 million joint investment by the State of New York, IBM Corporation, and Rensselaer. Located in the Rensselaer Technology Park, the CCNI is home to several internationally-ranked supercomputer systems focused towards the problems of reducing the time and costs associated with designing and manufacturing nanoscale materials, devices, and systems. The Center will help to continue the impressive advances in shrinking device dimensions seen by electronics manufacturers and to extend this model to a wide array of industries that could benefit from nanotechnology.

The technical program encompasses several key areas of research critical to the success and growth of the nanotechnology, semiconductor, and information technology industries. Example activities include:

  • First-principle investigation of the fundamental processes and device concepts underlying the extension of CMOS technology to its ultimate physical limit.
  • Generation of process/device models and computational systems that will lead to a full virtual fabrication simulation of nanoelectronics devices and other nano-based systems.
  • Computational exploration of new, non-CMOS nanotechnologies which can extend the semiconductor performance/productivity curve beyond the limits of CMOS.
  • Definition of a new engineering design paradigm based on multi-scale modeling and simulation.

The CCNI operates heterogeneous supercomputing systems consisting of massively-parallel Blue Gene supercomputers, Power-based Linux clusters, and AMD Opteron processor-based clusters. This diverse set of systems enables large-scale leading-edge computational research in both the scientific and technical arenas. This hardware and software configuration provide upwards of 100 TeraFLOPS of aggregate computational power with associated high-speed networking and storage.

Affiliated faculty: A. A. Abouzeid, S. Adali, F.D. Berman, C. Breneman, C.D. Carothers, Z. Chen,M.O. Coppens, S. Cramer, B.M. Cutler, Y. Danon, S. De, P.A. Fox,W.R. Franklin, A. Garcia, S.S. Garde, J.T. Giedt, M.K. Goldberg, W.D. Gray, L. Huang, X.R.M. Intes, D. Isaacson, P. J. Keblinksi, P.R. Kramer, L. Liu, G. I. Makhatadze, A. Maniatty, L.L. Martin, J. F. McDonald, A.L. Milanova, S. Nayak, A.A. Oberai, C.R. Picu, M.D. Platt, M.Z. Podowski, G. Ramanath, B. Roysam, 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, M.J. Zaki, L.T. Zhang, S. Zhang, T. Zhang

Staff: D. LaBrie-Belser, M. Henesey, N. Kharche, C.W. Smith, S. Yarlanki

Postdoctoral Associates: M.O. Bloomfield

Technical Staff: J.S. Fisher, J. Stampalia, R.L. Todd

Network Science and Technology Center (NEST)


Director: Boleslaw K. Szymanski

Associate Director: Sibel Adali

Web site:

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

NEST research is focused on studying fundamental properties of networks, the processes underlying their evolution and the paradigms for network engineering to enhance their efficiency, reliability, robustness and other desirable properties. Research on natural networks, such as social and cognitive networks in which people interact over a variety of means, focuses on cognitive models of net-centric interactions, models and algorithms of community creation and evolution, impact of mobility on network formation, dependencies between social, information and communication networks and 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 to failure, 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 system issues in interoperability of communication networks with 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, a part of Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance, as well as member of the International Technology Alliance, both funded by collaborative agreements with ARL.

Affiliated Faculty: S. Adali, C.D. Carothers, M. Goldberg, W. Gray, J. Hendler, G. Korniss, C. Lim, M. Magdon-Ismail, M. Schoelles, B.K. Szymanski, W. Wallace, B. Yener.

Postdoctoral Associates: A. Asztalos, T. Desell, S. Sreenivasan


Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center


Director: Richard W. Siegel

Home Page:

The Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center provides a major resource to advance the scientific promise represented by the nanotechnology chair and provides interdisciplinary research programs to educate new generations of students. Research areas of the Center include advanced materials and coatings, biosciences and biotechnology, nanoelectronics, and nanosystems. Nanotechnology uses clusters of molecules and atoms to make nanometer (billionth of a meter) size building blocks for new materials. These blocks have different properties than larger sizes of the same materials, such as electrical conductivity, optical properties, and mechanical strength. These materials can therefore be used for many new applications. The Center focuses on creating novel materials and devices that could create more effective drug delivery systems in the human body, result in stronger and more durable plastics, enable high capacity energy and information storage devices, and produce flame-retardant plastics for planes and automobiles, as well as other important applications.

Affiliated Faculty: T. Borca-Tasciuc, M. Coppens, J.S. Dordick, D. Duquette, A.E. Garcia, D. Gall,  S.S. Garde, R. Hull, R. Kane, P.J. Keblinski, R. Linhardt, S.K. Nayak, R. Ozisik, L.S. Peters, G. Ramanath, C.Y. Ryu, L.S. Schadler, E.F. Schubert, R.W. Siegel

Administrative Staff: C. Trifaro

Postdoctoral Associates: W. Evans, D. Hull, B. Jordan

Research Staff: S. Shenogin, J. Lee

Scientific Computation Research Center


Director: Mark S. Shephard 

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, S. De, D. Drew, D. Kaminski, A. Maniatty, S. Nayak, A. Oberai, R. Ozisik, C. Picu, M.S. Shephard, R.L. Spilker, M. Zeghal, L. Zhang

Senior Research Associates: M. Bloomfield, F. Delalondre, O. Sahni

Postdoctoral Research Associates: I. Bolotnov, J.-F. Dord, J. Ma, S. Seol, G. Subramanian, M.Zhou

Technical and Administrative Staff: M. Verville, T. Wickberg