The School of Engineering Research News - Spring 2014

Spotlight on Recent Breakthroughs and Publications

This is the spring 2014 edition of a bulletin highlighting recent research and publications by the School of Engineering faculty and students. To suggest items for future editions, please e-maill kathleen.hamilton@nyu.edu.

Applied Physics and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Max Planck Seminar Recognizes the Work of Professors Arnold and Teraoka
The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light held a weeklong seminar on biosensing at the very smallest extremes, during which research developed at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering played a key role. Professor Stephen Arnold presented his research on the Whispering Gallery Mode Resonator, which senses at the molecular level. Iwao Teraoka, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering who collaborated in early work on the Whispering Gallery Mode Resonator, was invited to present research on a new biosensor that he is developing.
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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

NYU Team Engineers a Hybrid 5 Times More Effective in Delivering Genetic Material into Cells
Researchers have developed a carrier in their lab that is five times more efficient in delivering DNA into cells than today’s commercial delivery methods—reagent vectors. This novel complex is a peptide-polymer hybrid, assembled from two separate, less effective vectors that are used to carry DNA into cells. The research project was led by Seiichi Yamano at the NYU College of Dentistry and Jin Montclare at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The outcome of the study could lead to a better understanding of gene function and ultimately improve gene therapy.
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Jin Montclare Named Drexel ELATE Fellow
Associate Professor Jin Monclare has been chosen to take part in Drexel University’s ELATE (Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering), a highly competitive professional-development program for women in the STEM fields. As a member of the class of 2014-15 fellows, Montclare will take part in community-building activities, week-long sessions in residence, and a research symposium, all aimed at increasing leadership skills and creating a network of exceptional women who will enhance their respective institutions and society. Montclare also recently took part in the National Science Foundation’s groundbreaking Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, which prepares academic researchers to become entrepreneurs and speeds the commercialization of their research.
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Computer Science and Engineering

Google Funds Professor Torsten Suel’s Quest for Search Efficiency
Google has granted a Faculty Research Award to Professor Torsten Suel to support his study of new index pruning and index tiering techniques that could significantly reduce hardware and energy costs for large web search engines. “Google receives 5 billion queries a day, and the company indexes trillions of pages. This huge data size and query load mean that running a large, state-of-the-art search engine is now a very expensive undertaking, requiring massive amounts of energy,” explained Suel, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and an expert on search engine architecture.
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Diagnostic Tool Reveals Unexpected Errors in Complex Networked Applications
Researchers at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and the University of British Columbia have developed the first tool of its kind for diagnosing failures in complex networked applications like Skype, Firefox, and Apache. Upending traditional application diagnostics, NetCheck requires neither source code nor application-specific information, but instead relies on modeling and simulating networking behaviors to identify issues that cause failures. Justin Cappos, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Yanyan Zhuang, an assistant research professor in the department as well as a post doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, and their students designed NetCheck. 
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Big Data Hits a Home Run
As Major League Baseball rolls out a system that produces reliable measurements of every play in three ballparks this year, the science and math behind the new analytics tool can be traced directly to Claudio Silva, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Research details were outlined at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

From Research to Commercialization: Clean-Energy Projects Funded
New York Governor Cuomo announced that three academic teams from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering were among those receiving state funding and entrepreneurial mentoring for promising clean-energy technology as part of PowerBridgeNY. The three teams chosen from the NYU School of Engineering: wireless vehicle charging, Associate Professor Dariusz Czarkowski, Associate Professor Francisco de Leon, graduate student Abhirami Viswakumar, and post doctoral fellow Mariusz Bojarski; highly efficient transformers, de Leon and post doctoral fellow Saeed Jazebi; and software that can control the temperature of power cables to improve efficiency, de Leon, post doctoral fellow Marc Diaz-Aguilo, and consultant Matthew Terracciano.  
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More about PowerBridgeNY


Researchers Team with Con Edison to Safeguard the Smart Grid
Con Edison has teamed with researchers at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering to advance the safety and security of the utility’s burgeoning smart grid system. Professor Ramesh Karri and Research Assistant Professor Michail Maniatakos, both in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received a $400,000 grant to build and test mechanisms to defend the smart grid against cyber attacks. Read more

NYU-Poly Professor Elza Erkip Selected as IEEE Guest Editor
Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Elza Erkip, an associate director of NYU WIRELESS, is serving as a guest editor for the IEEE Journal of Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC). The issue, which will publish in autumn 2014, will focus on energy harvesting and wireless energy transfer. These open new possibilities in wireless communication and networking by enabling energy self-sufficient, energy self-sustaining, environmentally friendly operation with practically infinite lifetimes, untethered mobility, cooperation at signal and energy levels, and simultaneous and synergistic distribution of information and energy in networks.
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Finance and Risk Engineering

What Quants Want
In a single week in May, two of the five most-downloaded papers on the Social Science Research Network came from the Department of Finance and Risk Engineering. On the Biases and Variability in the Estimation of Concentration Using Bracketed Quantile Contributions, addressing estimation biases, was written by Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering Nassim Taleb and Raphael Douady of Riskdata. Assistant Professor Philip Z. Maymin’s Profiting from Machine Learning in the NBA Draft is the first time a sports analytics paper has ever made the Top Five.
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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Zebrafish React Differently to Alcohol When Shoalmates are Close
New findings published by researchers at the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering are helping to unravel the complex interplay between alcohol and social behavior and may lead to new therapies for mitigating the negative impacts of alcohol use and abuse. A team led by Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, overturned the traditional experimental paradigm. The NYU School of Engineering researchers devised an original method that would allow for detailed tracking of a single, alcohol-exposed zebrafish amid a school of “sober” peers. Some of their findings upended prior conclusions about the fish exposed to alcohol and produced some surprises about the behavior of the unexposed.
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Maurizio Porfiri Among Young Scientists Tapped For Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering   
The National Academy of Engineering chose Maurizio Porfiri, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, to join a select group of 60 of the most promising engineers under the age of 45 from Japan and the United States to participate in the 2014 Japan-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. He participated in the symposium exploring how robots can be used in disaster response—particularly fitting because his best-known research pursues the development of robotic fish that could lead living ones away from human-made dangers.
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Materials Engineer Nikhil Gupta Earns Patent for Displacement Measurement Method
Associate Professor Nikhil Gupta and his former doctoral student Nguyen Quang Nguyen received a patent for a new method of measuring the deformation of a specimen using their previously patented fiber-optic sensor. Their invention is especially useful for soft materials, such as biological samples, which deform easily and show a large deformation that is difficult to measure using traditional sensors such as strain gauges. As the specimen deforms, it causes an attached sensing loop of fiber optic cable to change the transmitted optical power which can be calibrated for displacement measurement.
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Technology, Culture and Society

Museum Selects R. Luke DuBois Work for its First Solo Exhibit
The Ringling museum’s first exhibition for a single artist was R. Luke DuBois – Now and included some of his signature pieces involving the mining and metamorphosing of data into art. It also featured a new video work created by the co-director of the NYU School of Engineering’s Integrated Digital Media Program while in residence at The Ringling. It focused on the historical links between the Ringling legacy and the greatest example of collective performance experience: the circus. The accompanying catalog was published by Scala.
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Technology Management and Innovation

Video Game Feedback May Help the Injured Heal
Video gamers have long been familiar with the thrill of force feedback—the technology that allows players to feel the rumble of a racecar hitting a virtual road, for example.  Experiments devised and performed by Oded Nov, an associate professor in the Department of Technology and Innovation, and Maurizio Porfiri, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, along with Professor Paolo Cappa, an NYU School of Engineering affiliated faculty member, and visiting master student Andrea Clerico of Sapienza University of Rome showed that force feedback is much more than fun. Combined with science learning in a therapeutic setting, it may even be healing.
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National Academies Selects Oded Nov for Keck Initiative
Associate Professor Oded Nov is among the select number of top researchers selected to attend the annual National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, which explores interdisciplinary connections in important areas of cutting-edge research. This year’s conference, in November, will center on collective behavior. Nov’s work focuses on social computing and explores the social dynamics that shape technology-enabled collaborations.
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Books

Future Perspectives in Risk Models and Finance
Edited by Alain Bensoussan, Dominique Guegan, and Charles S. Tapiero
Springer, August 2014

This forthcoming book, co-edited by Department of Finance and Risk Engineering Department Chair Charles S. Tapiero, provides a perspective on a number of approaches to financial modelling and risk management. It examines both theoretical and practical issues.  The second section is concerned with the definition of risks and their management and includes a chapter stress testing and their implications. NYU School of Engineering Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering Nassim Taleb and his co-author provide an anti-fragility approach.

A third section emphasizes analytic financial modelling approaches and techniques. Tapiero and Pierre Vallois provide an overview of mathematical systems and their use in financial modeling. In another chapter, Tapiero and co-author consider the binomial pricing model by discussing the effects of memory on the pricing of asset prices.


Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications
By Theodore S. Rappaport, Robert W. Heath Jr., Robert C. Daniels, and James N. Murdock

Prentice Hall, 2014

Millimeter wave (mmWave) is today’s breakthrough frontier for emerging wireless mobile cellular networks, wireless local area networks, personal area networks, and vehicular communications. In their forthcoming book, Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications, four of the field’s pioneers draw on their immense experience as researchers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and consultants, empowering engineers at all levels to succeed with mmWave. Theodore S. Rappaport is the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and the founding director of NYU WIRELESS, the world’s first academic research center to combine engineering, computer science, and medicine.


Nonlinear Control of Dynamic Networks
By Zhong-Ping Jiang, Tengfei Liu, and David Hill
CRC Press, 2014

Motivated by the need for new tools to solve complex problems resulting from smart power grids, biological processes, distributed computing networks, transportation networks, robotic systems, and other cutting-edge control applications, Nonlinear Control of Dynamic Networks tackles newly arising theoretical and real-world challenges for stability analysis and control design, including nonlinearity, dimensionality, uncertainty, and information constraints, as well as behaviors stemming from quantization, data-sampling, and impulses.

Zhong-Ping Jiang is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; co-authors are Tengfei Liu, a visiting assistant professor at the NYU School of Engineering, and David Hill of the University of Hong Kong.
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Reinforced Polymer Matrix Syntactic Foams: Effect of Nano and Micro-Scale Reinforcement
By Nikhil Gupta, Dinesh Pinisetty, and Vasanth Chakravarthy Shunmugasamy
Springer, 2013

Reinforced Polymer Matrix Syntactic Foams: Effect of Nano and Micro-Scale Reinforcement examines the fabrication processes, mechanism of reinforcement, and structure-property correlations of reinforced syntactic foams. The authors present the state of the art in this field and compare the properties of various types of syntactic foam systems. The book further identifies theories useful in predicting the properties of reinforced syntactic foams and conducting parametric studies to understand the possibility for tailoring their properties.

Gupta is an associate professor of mechanical engineering. Pinisetty is a research associate and adjunct professor in the department and Shunmugasamy recently received his doctoral degree.
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Silent Risk: Lectures on Fat Tails, (Anti)Fragility, Precaution, and Asymmetric Exposures
By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Social Science Research Network 2014

This full-length downloadable provides a mathematical framework for decision making and the analysis of consequential hidden risks, those tail events undetected or improperly detected by statistical machinery; and substitutes fragility as a more reliable measure of exposure. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering and Co-director of the Research Center for Risk Engineering at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, explains that the difference between "models" and "the real world" ecologies lies largely in an additional layer of uncertainty that typically thickens the tails and invalidates all probabilistic tail risk measurements - models, by their very nature of reduction, are vulnerable to a chronic underestimation of the tails.


Complex Plasmas: Scientific Challenges and Technological Opportunities
Edited by Kurt H. Becker, M. Bonitz, J. Lopez and H. Thomsen
Springer 2014

This book provides an introduction to the physics of complex plasmas, a discussion of the specific scientific and technical challenges they present, and an overview of their potential technological applications. Complex plasmas differ from conventional high-temperature plasmas in several ways: They may contain additional species, including nanometer- to micrometer-sized particles, negative ions, molecules and radicals, and they may exhibit strong correlations or quantum effects.

Kurt H. Becker is a professor in two academic departments at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering: Applied Physics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Additionally, he serves as the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs and is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.


Graphene: A New Paradigm in Condensed Matter and Device Physics
By Edward L. Wolf

Oxford University Press, 2013

Graphene: A New Paradigm in Condensed Matter and Device Physics is an introduction to the science and possible applications of Graphene, the first one-atom-thick crystalline form of matter. The book describes the unusual physics of the material. It also reviews theoretical predictions of excessive atomic vibrational motion, as well as potential applications within existing electronics, to include interconnect wires, flash-memory elements, and high frequency field effect transistors. The chance to supplant the dominant CMOS family of silicon logic devices is assessed. Wolf is a professor in the Department of Applied Physics.
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Conferences and Workshops

Nokia Solutions and Networks and the NYU WIRELESS Research Center directed by Professor Theodore (Ted) Rappaport jointly organized the first Brooklyn 5G Summit. The invitation-only event brought together wireless and mobile industry research and development leaders in academia, business and government to explore the future of 5G wireless technology.

A scientific conference featured prominent seven mathematicians, engineers, and scientists working in fields pioneered by Renaissance artist and mathematician Albrecht Dürer in celebration of the 500th anniversary of his Melencolia I engraving. Distinguished Industry Professors of Mathematics David and Gregory Chudnovsky organized the conference, sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering hosted the first International Association of Innovation Professionals’ Innova-Con. Industry Professor of Management Technology and Innovation Joseph Nadan was a key organizer.

The School of Engineering welcomed leading engineers, physicists, chemists, and clinicians from around the world to the first gathering of the newly established Institute for Engineered Interfaces (IEI). The workshop, organized by Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Avi Ulman, set the initial research agenda for the multidisciplinary institute.

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