Smart Grids, Future Labs, and a Lesson in Tandon History at the Latest Faculty-Meets-Faculty Event

Attendees at the latest faculty-meets-faculty luncheon heard from one of Tandon’s newest faculty members, Assistant Professor Yury Dvorkin of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who discussed his work developing design-support tools based on mathematical modeling of great use to the energy industry as it balances long-term planning with immediate operational concerns.

Smart grids, he explained, are characterized by integrated generation and storage options, resiliency to disasters and attacks (and the ability to self-heal in the aftermath of such incidents), operational efficiency, customer participation, and power quality for 21st-century needs, among other such factors. Transitioning to smart grids will thus take working at the intersection of engineering, ecology, economics, and policy.

“New York City is a wonderful place to be doing this type of work, because of its high density and infrastructure,” he said, “and NYU provides synergistic opportunities to conduct research across numerous relevant disciplines, including electrical engineering, computer engineering, civil engineering, economics, law, and public health.”

The day’s second speaker, Vice Dean for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Kurt Becker, also touched upon the development of the academic entrepreneurial environment at Tandon to an audience that included representatives from PowerBridgeNY, a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-sponsored proof-of-concept center that helps academic researchers shepherd their technology to market. Becker’s presentation traced the history of Tandon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem — from 2009, when the school’s first business incubator opened on Varick Street, to the present day network of Future Labs, which nurture start-ups focused on data, digital media, artificial intelligence, clean energy, and more. 

“Thus far, we’ve graduated 68 companies, helped create 1,300 jobs, and had an economic impact on the city of about $500 million,” Becker explained.

The look back at past accomplishments — and look forward to possible future developments — had everyone excited for the next such event. While the speakers have yet to be announced, they’ll have a hard act to follow.