Congressman Ed Towns sees PolyThinking in action

Congressman Ed Towns (left) gets a feel for a cutting-edge material that’s strong enough to deflect blast debris and light enough to be used in space shuttle construction.

From securing cyberspace to harnessing high-performance computing power for the Army, Poly researchers are making advances with real world impact.

Congressman Ed Towns, who represents the 10th Congressional District of Brooklyn, which is home to Poly, has been instrumental in securing federal funding for some of those pioneering advances. During a special university tour on March 31, Congressman Towns saw firsthand how his support is coming to life at Poly.

“We’re honored to have Congressman Towns here today,” said President Jerry M. Hultin. “He’s a long-time friend of Poly who has encouraged the promising work that puts us at the innovation forefront of applied science and technology.”

Building the materials that will build tomorrow
While on campus, the Congressman visited Poly’s Composite Materials and Mechanics Lab where the Lab’s director, Assistant Professor Nikhil Gupta, demonstrated various lightweight, advanced composites that his research team is developing in collaboration with Assistant Professor Maurizio Porfiri of the Dynamical Systems Lab.

These materials are exceptionally strong, and because they are also exceptionally lightweight, they can be used in a range of applications that includes space shuttles, marine structures, and blast-resistant armor. They also promise to be environmentally- and cost-friendly. To transport, they’ll cost less and use less energy than similar materials; as a building material, they’ll save energy by providing good insulation. (story continues below)

Congressman Towns learns about switch fabrics and a chip that controls the flow of information between processors in a high-performance computing network.


Bringing high-performance computing to soldiers
Congressman Towns visited a lab where Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Head Professor Jonathan Chao and Professor Garrett Rose are conducting research supported by federal funding from the Army that the Congressman helped secure for Poly.

The Professors are using state-of-the-art networking to create a high-performance computing system or “supercomputer.” The system will be versatile so it can suit a number of needs – for soldiers in the field, in the office, and for potential commercial products.

One possible application is sensor fusion in which the system would centralize information about weather conditions, for example, being gathered by multiple sensors in multiple locations.

Making cyberspace a safer place
Poly’s Information Systems and Internet Security lab (ISIS) is a testing-ground where researchers and students alike are solving critical cyber security problems.

Congressman Towns visited the ISIS lab which is directed by Professor Nasir Memon, a leading cyber security expert. ISIS researchers and students investigate pressing topics of computer and network security such as digital forensics, digital watermarking and steganography. (story continues below)

 L to R: Congressman Towns and President Hultin meet with Didi Dione, Founder and President of Dione Systems, a BEST start-up that offers an emergency evacuation applications and technology, and Bruce Niswander, Director of BEST.


Fostering Brooklyn entrepreneurship
Poly shares Congressman Towns’s dedication to Brooklyn’s economic vitality. A key example is its Enterprise on Science and Technology (BEST), an incubator for science- and technology-based start-up companies.

Congressman Towns has been involved with BEST since its inception and helped secure its funding. He visited some of BEST’s current companies that are growing with the help of hands-on management assistance, access to financing, business and technical support services, as well as shared office services, access to equipment and flexible leases.