A more resilient New York: Made in Brooklyn
Threats to our well-being, economy, and planet are omnipresent due to climate change, increased demands on our civil and digital infrastructure, and more. Nowhere are those challenges more keenly felt than in New York — and New York can lead the way in global solutions for a greener, healthier, and more secure future.
Engineering holds the key to greater resiliency, and researchers at NYU Tandon are partnering with colleagues across Universities, government agencies, and the private sector to use technology as a critical tool to improve life for all New Yorkers.
Democratized microchip manufacturing
Semiconductors are essential to the future of technology and to economic development — the CHIPS and Science Act passed in 2022 provides roughly $280 billion in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States. But semiconductors are notoriously difficult to make due to the unique environment and equipment necessary. That’s one reason that, back in 2018, NYU Tandon opened Brooklyn’s first nanofabrication cleanroom to “enable scientists and engineers to…experiment in nanotechnology, quantum computing, and minute biosensors that could revolutionize medicine.” This fall, the Nanofab Cleanroom will re-open after undergoing extensive renovation and equipment upgrades, and will be available to local researchers from academic institutions and companies.
The barriers to chip manufacturing go beyond access to state-of-the-art facilities; only a select few people possess the Verilog and HDL fluency necessary. But with large language models, that could change. In a first-of-its-kind achievement, NYU Tandon researchers used natural language conversations to fabricate a microchip — a big step forward toward democratizing chip design.
Responsible artificial intelligence
AI is quickly becoming ubiquitous, but just because it’s used everywhere doesn’t mean it was built for everyone. Often, large language models like ChatGPT rely on algorithms that are trained using historical data that reflects inherent racial, gender, and other discriminatory biases, leading to those biases being perpetuated. That has the potential to affect New Yorkers in multiple ways if those algorithms are used in areas like policing, banking, and hiring.
New York is leading the charge on AI regulation to eliminate bias, passing a first-of-its-kind Local Law 144 requiring employers to conduct annual bias audits of hiring AI technology, and to disclose when those types of algorithms are used in hiring decisions, that went into effect July 2023. That law was informed by research conducted at NYU Tandon’s Center for Responsible AI, led by Julia Stoyanovich. In addition to providing input into regulation, the Center also partners with library systems to deliver free public education on AI ethics to local New Yorkers, and makes AI education freely available online in a multi-lingual, highly-accessible comic book format.
Next-generation wireless communications
When fifth-generation wireless was built on technologies discovered by the leaders of NYU WIRELESS, increasing data processing speeds to enable today’s data-hungry streaming technologies was a key focus. Now, those same leaders are working alongside colleagues at other institutions to make New York and the U.S. leaders in building next-generation wireless, with an eye toward ensuring data security and reduced environmental impacts are built into the fabric of 6G.
Locally-relevant climate solutions
It’s unavoidable; New York will continue to face climate events of increasing severity and frequency, even as ways to mitigate climate change are actively explored. NYU Tandon has established a Sustainable Engineering Initiative to find solutions to problems affecting New Yorkers today while developing the technologies and approaches that will help to create a better climate future.
One such example is FloodNet, a consortium comprising researchers from fellow New York Universities and partners in the New York City Office of Climate Resilience, that is deploying a sensor network in areas susceptible to hyper-local flooding that provides real-time data to first responders, business owners, and residents via a publicly-available dashboard. NYU Tandon and its cleantech innovation hub, The Urban Future Lab, was also chosen to help launch the Brooklyn-based Offshore Wind Innovation Hub to unleash the potential of offshore wind in New York. In addition to involvement from the NYU Tandon and the Urban Future Lab, the three-year initiative is backed by Equinor and bp, partners developing the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects, and the National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium (NOWRDC) and is supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
New York’s cybersecurity professionals
One of the #1 cybersecurity threats facing the world is the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals. By some estimates, there are nearly 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide, many of which are needed by the financial, healthcare, media, and tech businesses located right here in New York to protect the information and well-being of New Yorkers. That’s why we’ve answered the call to create flexible, affordable online cybersecurity degrees at the same cost as public universities, in partnership with New York-based businesses and the NY Cyber Command, and leveraging the cutting-edge research of our cybersecurity faculty.
Brooklyn is the second-fastest growing emerging tech hub in the country, second only to Silicon Valley, and is the fastest growing in the five boroughs of New York City. NYU Tandon is contributing to Brooklyn’s thriving tech ecosystem through the NYU Tandon Future Labs Network. Started as a partnership between New York University Tandon School of Engineering (NYU Tandon), the City of New York, NYSERDA, and the New York Economic Development Corporation, the Future Labs — including the Urban Future Lab, Data Future Lab, and Veterans Future Lab — are the first public-private partnership with New York City tasked with creating a sustainable incubation program focused on increasing the success rate of new ventures and diversifying the New York City economy while generating positive impact.