Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2010 - (Page 12)
Prescription for Healthier Levees and Dams
Researchers at Rensselaer are leading a $7 million project to develop a new comprehensive system for monitoring and assessing the condition of aging levees and dams. The four-year project, which includes $3.5 million in funding from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, aims to create an integrated suite of technologies and methods for ensuring the reliability and safety of flood-control infrastructure. Rensselaer will partner with Geocomp Corp. on this new framework, which incorporates satellite-based radar with GPS and locally installed sensors.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
New Center To Study Global Energy Research
A GIFT FROM PRITI AND MUKESH CHATTER ’82 will establish the new Chatter Center for Global Energy Research, creating endowments to support two new professorships for faculty in the early stages of their careers. Approximately 2.4 billion people live at subsistence levels in developing nations. The new Chatter Center will seek to discover and develop highly costefficient technologies through which people in developing nations are able to access modern affordable energy sources. The Chatter Center will mirror the founding vision of Rensselaer to “apply science to the common purposes of life” as its faculty and graduate students focus on research with the potential to improve the lives of billions of people. “Within the macro challenge of global energy security lie a myriad of individual challenges,” says President Shirley Ann Jackson. “Energy security will be particularly important for developing countries as they seek to grow their economies. This creates opportunities that are both technological and economic—opportunities to embrace alternative sources and forms of energy, to develop the basic infrastructure for energy generation and distribution along more efficient lines, and to do so in a sustainable manner. Identifying these solutions will require innovative thinking; it will require technological advances; it will require creative entrepreneurial approaches. The Chatter Center will help to jump-start these green and sustainable energy solutions, and to deliv12 RENSSELAER/SPRING 2010
er them into the hands of those that need them most.” “There are so many people in the world who still lack basic access to electricity and a modern, reliable energy supply,” says Mukesh Chatter. “It is our hope, in creating this center, that through innovations in research, and through entrepreneurship, we can make a difference, and enable people to have better lives.” The Chatters also have supported Rensselaer undergraduate student travel and participation in the Indo-U.S. Research Academy in Pune, India, which brings together students and university faculty experts for intercultural collaboration around pressing multidisciplinary challenges facing engineers and researchers worldwide. Chatter, who earned his master’s degree in computer and systems engineering at Rensselaer, has extensive entrepreneurial and management experience in launching and managing high-technology companies. He was a founder, president, and CEO of Nexabit Networks in 1997, which was acquired by Lucent Technologies in 1999, and subsequently served as its vice president and general manager of IP Products. He was named one of the top entrepreneurs in 1999 by Red Herring magazine. He is currently president and CEO of NeoSaej, a developer of nextgeneration online marketplace platforms. He was named Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001, and he serves on the advisory board of the Lally School of Management & Technology.
DoD Grant Supports Study of Unified Theories of Language and Cognition
Despite the power of computers to crunch numbers with unfathomable speed and perform quadrillions of calculations per second, the machines are still quite primitive in their ability to understand human language. This is a glaring digital deficiency that Nicholas Cassimatis, assistant professor of cognitive science, is looking to solve. He is leading a multi-university team to develop unified theories of language and cognition that aim to allow more meaningful linguistic interaction between humans and computers. The five-year, $8 million project launched in late 2009 and is funded by a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Naval Research.
New Method Predicts How Stem Cells Divide
Researchers at Rensselaer have discovered a new method for predicting—with up to 99 percent accuracy—the fate of stem cells. Using advanced computer vision technology to detect subtle cell movements that are impossible to discern with the human eye, Professor Badri Roysam and his former student Andrew Cohen ’89 can successfully forecast how a stem cell will split and what key characteristics the daughter cells will exhibit. By allowing the isolation of cells with specific capabilities, this discovery could one day lead to effective methods for growing stem cells on a large scale for therapeutic use. This project was supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Foundation Fighting Blindness-Canada.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2010
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2010
Making a Difference
A Decade of Transformation
One Last Thing
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2010