Faculty Awards and Achievements | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Faculty Awards and Achievements

Professor Modestino in Lab

Weiqiang Chen

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Young Innovator Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society

Chen was deemed a “Young Innovator of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering” in recognition of his body of research, which employs principles of mechanical engineering and physics to identify the state of individual cells. The scholarship could lead to new methods of examining how stressors such as injury and chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension drive cellular allostasis, a biological process of arriving at a new level of equilibrium. 

Anna Choromanska

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sloan Fellowship

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awards fellowships only to those whose “creativity, leadership, and independent research achievements make them some of the most promising researchers working today, according to the organization’s website. “To receive a Sloan Research Fellowship is to be told by your fellow scientists that you stand out among your peers. Among the early-career scientists and scholars accorded that rare honor in 2020 is Choromanska, who runs Tandon’s ECE Machine Learning Lab and is also affiliated with the NYU Center for Data Science and NYU Center for Urban science and Progress (CUSP). Her machine-learning research focuses on both the theoretical and the applicable, with current projects encompassing optimization, large data analysis, and robotics and autonomy. She is now collaborating with NVIDIA on an autonomous car driving project, and her work has also been used by such companies as Facebook and Baidu. The founder of the ECE Seminar Series on Modern Artificial Intelligence, she brings to Tandon other world-renowned researchers, industry leaders, and Nobel laureates who are making an immense impact on the development of new machine learning techniques and technologies. 

Julianna Freire

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

ACM Contributions Award

Freire, who is a faculty member of Tandon’s Visualization Imaging and Data Analysis Center (VIDA) and holds an appointment at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Science, was honored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) for her fundamental contributions to data management methods and tools for computational reproducibility and her efforts to increase the adoption of reproducibility best practices in science. Dennis Shasta, a Courant professor who serves as the assistant director of Tandon’s NYU WIRELESS research center, was also one of the six 2020 recipients of the award, in recognition of his work on meta algorithms for machine learning. 

Ramesh Karri

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYU Tandon, Co-founder and Co-chair of the NYU Center for Cyber Security

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellowship

Karri was recognized by the IEEE for his contributions to and leadership in trustworthy electronic hardware. His seminal work is helping ensure that the global hardware supply chain is as secure as possible — an especially great concern in an age when chips are being manufactured at supplier foundries far from where they are designed, giving bad actors ample opportunity to install malicious “Trojan horse” circuits or to pirate intellectual property. Vulnerabilities in the chain threaten not only personal computers and smartphones but automotive systems, major utilities, the aerospace industry, nuclear facilities, and industrial equipment. Karri is widely acknowledged for bringing the pressing need for strong hardware security to the attention of the industry and for placing NYU Tandon at the forefront of the vital field. 

Thomas L. Marzetta

Distinguished Industry Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Director of NYU WIRELESS

National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education. The NAE specifically cited Marzetta’s contributions to massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna arrays in wireless communications. Massive MIMO — considered a key enabler for the fifth generation of wireless technology, or 5G — utilizes numerous small, individually controlled, low-power antennas to direct streams of information, selectively and simultaneously, to many users. This confers spectral efficiency orders of magnitude greater than that experienced in 4G service, along with high-quality service throughout the cell, simplicity and scalability, and outstanding energy efficiency. 

Miguel Modestino

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

MIT Technology Review “Innovators Under 35and NSF CAREER Award

Both the NSF and MIT Technology Review recognized Modestino’s work to integrate renewable-energy processes into the chemical industry and develop a path to environmentally sound chemical production. Chemical manufacturing currently consumes roughly 10% of the world’s energy demand, mostly in the form of fossil fuel-generated heat for thermochemical reactions, but Modestino’s research is advancing organic electrosynthesis — which relies on electricity, not heat, to drive reactions — and which can be generated by solar, wind, or other renewable means, thereby reducing carbon emissions compared to current methods for thermochemical reactions, which rely on petroleum or coal. He has explained that if the industry transitions from thermochemical to electrochemical processes involving clean electricity sources, the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would be enormous. He estimates that implementing organic electrochemical processes at large scale, driven by solar or wind power, could result in the sustainable production of well over a third of all chemical products currently being manufactured. 

Theodore "Ted" Rappaport

David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering; Founding Director of NYU WIRELESS

Wireless Hall of Fame and IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award

Rappaport, who is also a faculty member of NYU Courant and the School of Medicine, was recognized by both the IEEE and Wireless Hall of Fame as one of the preeminent thought leaders in the wireless field. His pioneering research on radio wave propagation, wireless communication system design, and broadband wireless communications circuits and systems at millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies (30 to 300 gigahertz) blazed a trail for the commercialization of fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology. Before Rappaport published his seminal 2013 paper, “Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work,” in an IEEE journal, few experts even acknowledged the possibilities of tapping that underutilized spectrum. Now, NYU WIRELESS, which Rappaport launched upon arriving at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in 2012, is moving well beyond 5G research to explore the frontiers of 6G and beyond. 

Katepalli Sreenivasan

Dean Emeritus of NYU Tandon; Eugene Kleiner Professor for Innovation in Mechanical Engineering

American Physical Society Fluid Dynamics Prize; Honorary Fellowship at India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award; Society of Engineering Science (SES) G.I. Taylor Medal

Over the last several months, Sreenivasan — who is also on the faculty of the NYU College of Arts and Science and NYU Courant and is one of the rare few to hold the NYU distinction of being named a University Professor, a title conferred upon scholars whose work is interdisciplinary and reflects exceptional breadth — has added numerous laurels to what was already a lengthy list. The American Physical Society noted his “fundamental contributions to fluid dynamics, especially turbulence from quantum to astrophysical scales,” while ASME (in conjunction with the Pi Tau Sigma Honor Society) cited his “outstanding achievements in mechanical engineering for twenty years of more following graduation.” The Taylor Medal was bestowed in recognition of his “outstanding research contributions in either theoretical or experimental Fluid Mechanics or both.” Sreenivasan’s honorary fellowship at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, in Mumbai, is a distinction shared by only 19 others from around the world, several of whom are Nobel laureates and Fields medalists. 

Julian Togelius

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Outstanding Early Career Award

The IEEE Computational Intelligence Society honored Togelius, who directs Tandon’s Game Innovation Lab, for his contributions to the field of computational intelligence and games. A frequently-cited researcher, Togelius did some of the world’s first work on automatic game design, including co-authoring research on modeling player behavior and experience. He is the co-author of the 2019 paper “Playing Atari with Six Neurons,” which demonstrated that even simple AI systems can learn and which won the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) 2019 Best Paper Award. “Essentially my work involves asking what AI can do for games, and what games can do for AI,” said Togelius. “I want to make computer games adapt to their players through finding out what players want (whether they know it or not) and creating new game levels, challenges, or rules that suit the players.” He is currently working on enabling tools to help game designers be more creative and using games to diagnose the shortcomings of reinforcement learning.