2016: A Year in Review

Tandon students and faculty garner honors for their research, creations, and service to society

Tandon students and faculty

2016 is a year to remember — for so many reasons. Here at NYU Tandon our students and faculty continued to push the boundaries of using science, technology, and research to find new ways to solve society’s greatest problems. To support the Tandon community with their innovative and entrepreneurial efforts, the School unveiled the new MakerSpace in September. Here’s a look back at just some of the other highlights that made 2016 a remarkable year for NYU Tandon students and faculty:


Tandon Team Advances in International Hyperloop Design Competition
Darren Yee leads a team of Tandon undergraduates who advanced to compete in Space X’s 2017 Hyperloop Pod Competition based on their freight pod design. The Tandon team is currently building their freight pod, which will race against other university teams’ pods on SpaceX’s Hyperloop. The Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s visionary high-speed transportation system that would utilize freight and passenger pods that are faster, safer, and more sustainable than automobiles or trains. 

Verizon Futures Challenge Awards Two Tandon Teams
The Verizon Connected Futures Research and Prototyping Challenge awarded two Tandon teams for their projects on citizen journalism and interactive robotic technology to aid persons with disabilities. Graduate students Fanyi Duanmu and Shervin Minaee collaborated with Yao Wang, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and visiting professor Xin Feng, in developing algorithms that could identify videos, taken by citizens of protests, natural disasters, or accidents, that depict an event from various angles and time periods. Graduate students Jared Alan Frank and Matthew Moorhead created an application that combines interactive augmented reality and robotics to aid a person with disabilities. The individual can control a robotic system to perform tasks by interacting with through virtual reality and the software application.

Financial Engineering Students Place in International Trading Competition
A team of graduate students from Financial Engineering placed 8th at the annual Rotman International Trading Competition, an international competition in applied finance. The Tandon team competed against over 52 student teams from around the world, and were judged on categories such as Sales and Trading and Credit Risk. The student team included team captain Tinghao Li, Zhe Lu, Huichao Ye, Shu Ye, Zhengbin Yan, and Hexuan Zhu.

Tech Magazine Features Student-designed Mobile Application
Well-known tech magazine Circuit Cellar featured the mobile application designed by graduate students Anthony Brill, Matthew Moorhead, and Jonghyun Bae. The application wirelessly commands a robotic system to track a colored ball, and was developed out of the students’ advanced mechatronics course with Professor Vikram Kapila. 

Doctoral Student Chosen for Selective Seminar in France
Doctoral candidate Jared Frank, was one of only ten American students invited to France for a week by the French-American Doctoral Exchange Seminar to share his work on mobile applications for smartphones and tablet computers that integrate computer vision, augmented reality, and touchscreen interaction to create immersive interfaces.

Students Triumph in Civil Engineering Competitions
NYU Tandon School of Engineering students racked up wins in two regional contests — a model bridge competition for those who will someday engineer national infrastructure and a concrete canoe challenge that offers future civil engineers new insight into a material ubiquitous in their field.

Researchers Win Best Paper at the IEEE International Conference on Communications
The award-winning paper by NYU Tandon and Trinity College Authors demonstrates how to gain the efficiency of sending and receiving signals on the same radio wave while avoiding interference. The research paper was authored by Sanjay Goyal, a doctoral student and Shivendra Panwar, professor of electrical and computer engineering, along with researchers from Trinity College.

Student Ensuring Environmentally-Safe, Affordable Housing
Kevin Barrow, a senior in Tandon’s Sustainable Urban Environments program, was awarded the 2016 Abbey Duncan Scholarship by the NYC Brownfield Partnership. The award highlights students working with brownfields, or an urban property or commercial site that might contain hazardous contaminants or pollutants. 

Student Team Wins Prize at Cognitive Radio Challenge
Electrical and Computer Engineering masters students took home the third place prize in the Spectrum Sharing Radio Challenge, a year-long competition hosted by Virginia Tech University. The students designed ‘cognitive radios,” in which transceivers intelligently detect available communication channels, and competed against 16 other times to secure $1,500 for their source code and design. The winning team was comprised of Sampreeti Alam, Monika Chaudhari, Ajinkya Kadam, Rose Merlyn Prakash, Neha Rohilla, Rohan Shrotriya, and Jizhou Zhang.

NYU WIRELESS Doctoral Student Wins Marconi Young Scholars Award
George MacCartney, Jr., an electrical engineering doctoral student at NYU Tandon and researcher at NYU Wireless, was awarded the 2016 Paul Baran Young Scholars Award from the Marconi Society. MacCartney is the first researcher from NYU to win this award, which highlighted his work on millimeter-wave radio propagation and his contributions to wireless communication and millimeter-wave research. MacCartney has co-authored more than 20 journal and conference papers that have had major impact in fifth-generation (5G) research.

Innovative Demos Win at NYC MediaLab Summit
Three Tandon teams presenting their projects at the NYC Media Lab Summit were awarded second- and third-place prizes for their demos. Fraida Fund and Caleb Smith-Salzberg secured second place for their software that bridges gaps between software developers and end-users. Aline Bessa, Fernando Silva, and Rodrigo Nogueira developed an application, RioBusData, that monitors and analyzes outlier public buses in Rio de Janeiro. Xioaoran Ning, Yuanyi Xue, and Yilin Song launched their startup Wikkit: Retail Analytics Solution, which boasts a customer recognition system that helps small business create more customized shopping experiences.

Student Research Posters Win First and Second Place at IEEE Symposium
Ph.D. students Fraida Fund and Shahram Shahsavari won first place for their project that compared technical and economic models of resource sharing within millimeter wave cellular systems, which use high-frequency waves that could be essential to future 5G networks. In her award-winning project, Ph.D. student Parisa Hassanzadeh aimed to understand the limits “when content distributed across the network — in the caches and the cloud — are correlated, resulting in transmission of redundant information.” 

Student Hackers Excel at Citywide Hackathon to Fight Human Trafficking
Student hackers won second place at a 24-hour hackathon sponsored by Manhattan District Attorney’s office and Cornell Tech in an effort to combat human trafficking in New York City. The NYU Tandon team, known as Red Herring, was comprised of NYU students Gromit Chan, Tuan-Anh Hoang Vu, Kien Pham, and Aline Bessa, as well as Cornell Tech students Sindhu Babu and Johanan Ottensooser. 

‘Outstanding Graduate Student’ in Transportation
Diego Correa, a graduate student at NYU’s Center for Urban Intelligent Transportation Systems (UrbanITS) received the 2016 Outstanding Graduate Student Award Scholarship from the Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey. The scholarship recognizes his achievements and research into the impacts of emerging app-based for-hire vehicles on the transportation industry. 

National Financial Tradition Competition Recognizes Student Teams
Three Tandon teams of Finance and Risk Engineering students competed and placed at the University Trading Challenge on November 4. The challenge allowed the students to apply their academic skills to real-world trading simulations. The competing students included Zhen Dong, Zhengbin Yan, Yujie Zhou, Chengguo Yang, Siyu Ye, Xialiang Liu, Wenqui Zhou, Quiyu Long, and Xingyue Huang.

Cybersecurity Students Win First Place in Kaspersky Lab’s International Challenge
In September 2016 the internationally recognized computer protection firm Kaspersky Lab, in partnership with The Economist, mounted a challenge inviting teams from universities around the world to design a system for digital voting that addressed such issues as ensuring privacy and validating contested results. Students Kevin Kirby, Anthony Masi, and Fernando Maymi took home first place in the challenge with their system, Votebook, which is secure, scalable, and consistent with current voter behavior and expectations of privacy.

Dual-degree Student Awarded Civil Engineering Scholarship 
The Deep Foundations Institute Educational Trust named Julia Langewis the recipient of the Donald J. Murphy Memorial Scholarship, making her the second Tandon student to receive the award since the scholarship’s inception in 2015. Langewis is also the recipient of the 2016 John J. Kassner Scholarship and the Moles Student Award. 


IEEE Honors NYU Professor for Contributions to Cellular Communications
Sundeep Rangan, the recently appointed director of the research center NYU WIRELESS, has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Professor Recognized for his Work in Urban Informatics
Assistant Professor Constantine Kontokosta, who also serves as the Deputy Director for Academics at the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), was widely recognized for his pioneering work in the field of Urban Informatics. Some of his recent honors include a Green Building Research Grant, a best-paper award at the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) conference, and an IBM Faculty Award,

Multiple Research Papers Recognized at International Transportation Conference
Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering Kaan Ozbay, who is jointly appointed with the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), was invited along with members of his Urban Mobility and Intelligent Transportation Systems laboratory to present twelve peer-reviewed papers at the National Academies Transportation Research Board’s 95th Annual Meeting. Ozbay and his colleagues presented their research on topics ranging from pedestrian safety to climate change and urban evacuation routes to over 12,000 people at the prestigious event.

Professor Named a Rising Star of Chemical Engineering
The American Chemical Society (ACS) named Jin Kim Montclare, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, a 2016 Rising Star. The award is given by the organization’s Women Chemists Committee to female scientists who have demonstrated outstanding promise for contributions to their fields.

TED Talks Feature IDM Professor
Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media (IDM) R. Luke DuBois spoke at the 2016 TED Talk, centering on the theme of “Dream.” DuBois, who is also the co-director of IDM, participated in a series called “Code Power,” and spoke about coding as its own artistic medium aimed at evoking emotion. 

Plasma Physicist Elected to Board of Directors of National Academy of Inventors
Kurt H. Becker, the vice dean for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, has been named to the board of directors of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He was elected a fellow of NAI in 2013 and cited for his creation and facilitation of outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Dean Honored with Corporate Social Responsibility Award
City & State honored Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan with the Corporate Social Responsibility Award, making him the only academic among the honorees. The award recognizes role models in Technology, Energy, and Utilities, as well as their commitment to using their expertise and industry towards social responsibility and good. 

Professor Accepts Leadership Posts in the Chemical Engineering World
Assistant Professor Ryan L. Hartman, who oversees the Flow Chemistry with Microsystems Laboratory at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, has been elected to a five-year term as the programming chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Catalysis and Reaction Engineering (CRE) division, the largest subgroup in the national organization.

Cybersecurity Researcher Named to Popular Science Magazine’s “Brilliant 10” for His Innovations That Protect Microchips
Popular Science magazine has named Siddharth Garg to its 15th annual Brilliant 10 list, a roundup of young scientists and engineers doing world-changing work. Garg, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized for his work in the field of hardware security.

Professor Selected to Join Education Leaders at National Symposium
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Vikram Kapila was selected by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to participate in the prestigious Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, which brings together the most innovative and inspiring figures within the field. The NAE selects educators like Kapila based on their cutting-edge and impactful research, and each participant is put through a rigorous nomination, application, and selection process.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Recognized by IEEE for Outstanding Achievement
Elza Erkip, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, will be the 2016 recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Women in Communications Engineering Award for her outstanding technical work in communications engineering and for bringing a high degree of visibility to the field.