Department News

Troy, N.Y. — Last September, the Smithsonian Institution opened its newest museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC). The celebration will now reach beyond Washington, D.C., to the City of Troy, New York as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus presents: A Place for All People: Introducing the National Museum of African American History and Culture. On Saturday, Feb. ...read more

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Announcements

The School of Science Performance Plan is designed to realize the goals of the Rensselaer Plan 2024 by focusing on a forward-looking multi-year strategy based on the FY2018 Institute-Wide Highest Priorities (IWHPs).
School of Science Spring 2017 Town Meeting: Milestones and Vision
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY is offering up to four endowed positions for exceptional faculty in a broad range of fields as part of the institute’s Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM) Constellation within the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS).
We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 School of Science Research Photo Contest. This year’s exceptional entries demonstrated the broad scope of research being conducted within the School as well as the creative skills required to capture the nature of the research. Thank you to all who participated in the contest and congratulations to our winners!

In the News

  • Are Lake Species Becoming Salt-Tolerant?

    February 2, 2017 -

    Among  its  many  other products and by-products, the Jefferson Project is teaching scientists more than has ever been known before about the effects of road salt on fresh water ecoystems.

  • The Future Called, it Wants its Cloud Back

    January 5, 2017 -

    “Cloud telephony is a new name for something called Voice Over IP, except in a business context,” said James Hendler, director of the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA) and the Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. “It’s been used by consumers for 10 or 15 years,” he said, mostly by people who wanted to make long-distance calls on their computers to avoid phone bill charges.

  • New Boat Helping RPI Survey Lake George's Fish Population

    December 13, 2016 -

    “The food web is a key to water quality,” says RPI professor Rick Relyea, the director of the Jefferson Project. And at the top of that web is the  fish  population,  which  shapes the size and the distribution of the organisms that sustain it.

  • Invasion of the Aliens: Body Snatching Worms, Cold Winters May Rout Lakes’ Enemies

    November 30, 2016 -

    Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) in Bolton Landing, N.Y., are studying a worm, named Chaetogaster limnaei, that has a taste for Asian clams. It’s the first species in Lake George known to prey on Asian clams. The work is funded by the LGA and the LGPC.

  • Study: Road salt skews future frog, amphibian generations

    November 28, 2016 - Tainted water can skew population toward males, study reveals
  • RPI's Hendler On What We Are Learning From Election Data

    November 15, 2016 -

    The numbers from the election are still coming in, but one analysis indicates that despite what many of the pundits believe, the Trump victory was not driven as much by the white working class, but more by the fact that Democrats stayed home. Jim Hendler is the Director of the Institute of Data Exploration and Applications at RPI. He says while the numbers are still preliminary, it is clear that the Clinton campaign failed to get enough Democrats to the polls.

  • Research pair outlines new field of 'web science'

    November 11, 2016 -

    A pair of web scientists has written a Technology Perspective piece for the journal Science outlining the newly developing field of "web science." In their article, James Hendler with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Wendy Hall, with the University of Southampton, also offer some arguments for the importance of social sciences regarding the internet as technology continues to change our world and the way people interact.  

  • Insight into Pseudomonas aeruginosa survival mechanism

    November 11, 2016 -

    The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa can thrive in environments as different as the moist, warm tissue in human lungs, and the dry, nutrient-deprived surface of an office wall. Such adaptability makes it problematic in healthcare.

  • RPI researchers use nanoparticles to treat influenza in mice

    November 4, 2016 -

    Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrated in a paper published last month how they successfully treated immune-compromised mice exposed to the influenza virus with a new nanoparticle drug.

  • Lake George Sensor Network to Be Completed With $917K National Science Foundation Grant

    November 2, 2016 -

    A high-tech sensor network for Lake George is on track for completion with a $917,000 National Science Foundation grant.

  • Lake Science: Water Clarity As Important as Air Temperatures in Respond to Climate Change

    November 2, 2016 -

    A new paper released this week demonstrates how even small changes in water clarity  over time can have big impacts on water temperatures.

  • The Analytical Scientist - The Power List 2015

    October 27, 2016 -

    The Analytical Scienctist has selected Linda McGown for the 2016 Power List of Top 50 most influential women in the analytical sciences. 

  • The World's Smartest Lake is Getting Smarter

    October 27, 2016 -

    A grant worth roughly $1 million has been awarded to the Jefferson Project to add more sensors to a network that is already giving scientists a remarkably detailed understanding of Lake George, an understanding that will help advocates and policy makers preserve its clarity and purity.

    The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency and one of thesingle largest sources of funds for scientific research,  to  a  team  of researchers led by Rick Relyea, an RPI professor who serves as the director of the Jefferson Project, a collaborative effort of RPI, IBM and The Fund for Lake George.

  • Heparin derived from cattle is equivalent to heparin from pigs, study finds

    October 6, 2016 -

    As demand for the widely used blood thinning drug heparin continues to grow, experts worry of possible shortages of the essential medication. Heparin is primarily derived from pigs, and to reduce the risk of shortages, cattle have been proposed as an additional source. A new study by a team of researchers, including corresponding author Robert J. Linhardt, and nine co-authors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. has found that heparin derived from cattle (known as bovine heparin) has equivalent anti-clotting properties to heparin derived from pigs (porcine heparin).

  • The Smartest Lake on Earth

    October 6, 2016 -

    Can technology keep Lake George pristine? Bill McKibben explores the Jefferson Project.

  • Comet may have struck Earth just 10 million years after dinosaur extinction

    September 30, 2016 -

    Some 56 million years ago, carbon surged into Earth's atmosphere, raising temperatures by 5°C to 8°C and causing huge wildlife migrations—a scenario that might mirror the world's future, thanks to global warming. But what triggered this so-called Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) has remained a mystery.

  • Glass bits, charcoal hint at 56-million-year-old space rock impact

    September 30, 2016 -

     A period of skyrocketing global temperatures started with a bang, new research suggests.

    Too little is known about the newfound impact to guess its origin, size or effect on the global climate, said geochemist Morgan Schaller of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. But it fits in with the long-standing and controversial proposal that a comet impact caused the PETM. “The timing is nothing short of remarkable,” said Schaller, who presented the discovery September 27 at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.

  • Will robots help or harm? It's time for 'big thinking,' AI experts warn

    September 22, 2016 -

    “The bigger issue is that humans and AI will outperform humans working alone—that’s the one we need to pay attention to,” said Jim Hendler, professor of computer, web and cognitive sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “The existential threat is not AI, it’s not using the AI we have correctly.”

  • Rensselaer Receives $2.2 Million DOE Grant to Develop Ion Conductive Alkaline Membrane Materials

    September 19, 2016 -

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been awarded $2.2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop innovative ion conduction materials for next-generation renewable energy conversion and storage technology.

  • Ask The Experts: A Bit about Bitcoin

    August 9, 2016 -

    In an era dominated by digital technology it should come as no surprise that someone has developed a digital currency. Paypal is a digital payment system but Bitcoin, developed in 2009, is an actual digital currency that, in the last several months, has generated excitement and interest – and yes, a little concern --  in the financial services industry.

  • After the quake — data can help predict consequences of the next event

    August 2, 2016 -

    Later this year, seismology geophysicist Steve Roecker will travel to Illapel, Chile, to remove instruments which have been tracking the struggle between two tectonic plates that caused a magnitude 8.3 earthquake on September 16, 2015. While areas to the north and south of Illapel — where the Nazca plate dives beneath the South American plate — have been studied, until now the complexity of the boundary in the area of Illapel has deterred research.

  • How A 'Nightmare' Law Could Make Sharing Passwords Illegal

    July 15, 2016 -

    People share passwords all the time. A husband might give his wife his bank account login so she can pay a bill. A professor might ask a secretary to check emails. Comedian Samantha Bee's segment on Syrian refugees featured her teaching them essential phrases in U.S. culture, including "Can I have your HBO Go login?"

    But a recent federal court ruling has advocates, researchers and the dissenting judge worried that sharing passwords, even in seemingly innocuous circumstances, could be considered illegal. That's because the anti-hacking law used is so vague that Columbia law professor Tim Wu called it "a nightmare for a country that calls itself free."

  • Heidi Newberg, RPI – The Size of the Galaxy

    July 15, 2016 -

    This universe of ours is pretty big, and it might be bigger than we think.

    Heidi Newberg, astronomer and physicist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is studying the size of the galaxy.

    Dr. Heidi Newberg has worked in many areas of astronomy over the course of her career. She did her Ph.D. with the Berkeley Automated Supernova Search, which measured the supernova rates as a function of supernova type in Virgo-distance galaxies; and the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP), which is measured the cosmological parameters Omega and Lambda using the light curves of distant supernovae. She shared the Gruber Cosmology Prize for her work with SCP.

  • Scientists Explore Properties Of Wonder Material Phosphorene - See more at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/155904/20160505/scientists-explore-properties-of-wonder-material-phosphorene.htm#sthash.3XBTj2xl.dpuf

    May 19, 2016 -

    In a collaborative and multidisciplinary study, scientists develop methods to explore phosphorene and its properties. Phosphorene, discovered in 2014, is related to the two-dimensional graphene and has been established to have numerous photonic applications. The majority of these properties, however, is its capacity for anisotropic electron conduction. This means that its electron conduction property changes depending on the crystal orientation.

  • The brainiest of lakes

    May 6, 2016 -

    In 1791, Thomas Jefferson describes Lake George as "the most beautiful water I ever saw." Today, scientists are using gee-whiz technology to make it the smartest lake on the planet.

  • Fear Not, AI May Be Our New Best Partners in Creative Solutions – A Conversation with Dr. James Hendler

    April 7, 2016 -

    Statements about AI and risk, like those given by Elon Musk and Bill Gates, aren’t new, but they still resound with serious potential threats to the entirety of the human race. Some AI researchers have since come forward to challenge the substantive reality of these claims. In this episode, I interview a self-proclaimed “old timer” in the field of AI who tells us we might be too preemptive about our concerns of AI that will threaten our existence; instead, he suggests that our attention might be better  honed in thinking about how humans and AI can work together in the present and near future.

  • Totally Wired: State Grant Helps Jefferson Project Complete Web of Lake Sensors

    February 23, 2016 -

    A $500,000 grant from New York State will enable the Jefferson Project to add ten more sensors to a system that is designed to give scientists a remarkably detailed understanding of the lake, an understanding that will help advocates and policy makers preserve its clarity and purity.

  • Jefferson Project to expand research gathering

    February 22, 2016 -

    This year, researchers will have a more complete understanding of Lake George than ever before.

    The remaining 21 sensor platforms that have yet to be deployed as part of The Jefferson Project at Lake George are scheduled to take their places in and around the lake by the end of this year. So far, 20 have been deployed, mostly in the southern basin and the Narrows. This year, data-collecting and transmitting sensors will be deployed in and around the northern end of the lake.

    The sensor network, made of four types of sensor platforms, collects massive amounts of information from the lake, its tributaries and wetlands, and sends data to supercomputers for analyses.

    “We’ll try to complete that picture. We have about half the picture now,” said Jefferson Project Director Rick Relyea.

  • State funding pushes Lake George research project to finish

    February 10, 2016 -

    The state is kicking in a half-million dollars to complete the Jefferson Project, a multimillion dollar environmental research effort aimed at making Lake George the most measured and best understood body of water on the planet.

    On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomoannounced that the project, launched in 2013 by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM and the conservation group Fund for Lake George, will get funding through the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program.

    "We are very grateful for state funding," said Rick Relyea, project director at RPI. "This pushes the project to the finish line."

  • Top 100 Science Stories of 2015 - #59 A Wider, Groovier Milky Way Galaxy

    January 8, 2016 -

    The starry disk that is our galaxy may extend at least 50 percent farther from its apparent edge than we thought. Instead of being flat, the Milky Way appears grooved like a vinyl record, upping its width to at least 150,000 light-years, researchers now say.

  • Jefferson Project Makes Waves With a 'Smart' Lake

    October 21, 2015 -

    Over a few short years, the Internet of things has morphed from a fascinating concept into reality. It is rapidly redefining a wide array of industries and delivering greater insights into science and research. 

    At New York's Lake George, a 32-mile-long lake located in the Adirondack Mountains, more than 60 researchers are now turning to sensors and connected systems to better understand environmental threats—including road salt, agricultural contaminants, invasive species and the growth of algae—so that they can better protect the lake and its water.

  • Jefferson Project's Newest Research Vessel: The Minne Ha Ha

    October 6, 2015 -

    Every day, every hour or so, the Minne Ha Ha departs the Steel Pier, its chirping steam whistles, calliope licks  and  the  bright  foam  of  its paddle wheel infusing the air with a holiday sweetness. Who knew that it’s actually a research vessel?

  • Frogs mount speedy defence against pesticide threat

    August 18, 2015 -

    This is the first-known example of a vertebrate species developing pesticide resistance through a process called phenotypic plasticity, in which the expression of some genes changes in response to environmental pressure. It does not involve changes to the genes themselves, which often take many generations to evolve.

    The frogs' speedy response raises hope for amphibian species, of which one-third are threatened or extinct, says Rick Relyea, an ecologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and the team's leader.

  • Jefferson Project update offered at Fund for Lake George annual meeting

    August 17, 2015 -

    This year at the Fund for Lake George annual meeting at the Sagamore resort, a crowd of roughly 170 caught glimpses of the computer modeling being done from a deep level of research that is helping shape a science-based treatment for the lake.

  • High-tech fishing project needs public’s help collecting information

    July 31, 2015 -

    From minnows to deep-water whoppers, researchers are conducting the first comprehensive fish survey in more than 30 years as part of a multi-million dollar effort to determine the lake’s health.

    "We’re trying to find out who’s here, where they are, how many there are and if so, how and why they’re changing,” said Rick Relyea, Jefferson Project director.

  • Five questions for Rick Relyea

    July 31, 2015 -

    A variety of instruments have been deployed that collect all kinds of data that give scientists and researchers a “real-time” view of what’s happening in the lake as it happens. This allows them to monitor where potentially harmful impacts like road salt, nutrient runoff, contaminants and invasive species are coming from, and what the consequences might be if their presence increases.

  • IBM Pushes Deep Learning with a Watson Upgrade

    July 31, 2015 -

    “A key challenge for modern AI is putting back together a field that has almost splintered among these methodologies,” says James Hendler, director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for Data Exploration and Applications in Troy, New York. RPI has access to an early version of Watson donated to the university by IBM, and Hendler teaches courses based on the technology.

  • Lake George Jefferson Project provides model for waters elsewhere

    July 14, 2015 -

    Cyber-infrastructure, above and beneath the waves, is giving researchers a high-tech look at factors impacting Lake George water quality. The Jefferson Project is a long-term collaboration between IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The Fund for Lake George that has cost more than $10 million just to ramp up.

  • IBM Makes Lake George World's Smartest Lake

    July 14, 2015 -

    When you think of the Internet of Things, you probably don't think of lakes. But IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Fund for Lake George are using IoT technology to make New York's Lake George a "smart lake." 

  • On New York’s Lake George, researchers fire up a state-of-the-art observatory

    July 13, 2015 -

    Academic researchers and computer giant IBM are aiming to make Lake George, a 52-kilometer-long body of water in New York state, one of the smartest lakes in the world. Late last month, scientists formally began to capture data from the first of 40 sensing platforms that will give researchers a detailed glimpse into lake behaviors such as water circulation and temperature. The information will be fed into computer models that the researchers say could help managers protect Lake George from threats such as invasive species, excessive nutrients, road salt, and pollution.

    The effort, known as the Jefferson Project, involves more than 60 scientists from theRensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York; the FUND for Lake George, a regional conservation group; and IBM research labs in Brazil, Ireland, Texas, and New York. The researchers are using Lake George as a test bed for an array of sophisticated “smart” sensors that will monitor 25 different variables, including biological characteristics and water chemistry and quality. The sensors will not only report data back to laboratories, often in real time, but be able to respond to changes in the lake environment. “Our sensors can look at other sensors around [them] and say, ‘I’m seeing something a little unusual, are you seeing it too?’” says RPI’s Rick Relyea, director of the Jefferson Project. “If so, the sensor can make the decision to sample more frequently or sample in a particular depth of water more. They have a great deal of intelligence.”

    The data the sensors collect will be fed to an IBM supercomputer that will help researchers develop five different computer models that will enable one of the Jefferson Project’s main goals: visualizing Lake George’s behavior. For example, using high-resolution weather forecasting technology developed by IBM, researchers will be able to see how runoff from big storms moves through the 600-square-kilometer Lake George watershed. Other models will allow researchers to examine the impact of the use of road salt on water quality, see how water circulates throughout the lake, and visualize lake food webs.

    The Jefferson Project isn’t the only effort to harness new technologies to wire up and study lakes. The U.S. National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network is using similar approaches to study the impact of climate change, land-use change, and invasive species on aquatic ecosystems. Internationally, the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), a grassroots network of ecologists, IT experts, and engineers, also uses new technologies to study how lakes respond to environmental change.

    This Jefferson Project isn’t the first time IBM has experimented with instrumenting a body of water, says Harry Kolar, an IBM researcher and an adjunct professor of physics at Arizona State University, Tempe. The company has helped develop many of the technologies being used at Lake George by participating in other projects, including the River and Estuary Observatory Network, an observatory system tracking the Hudson River at Denning’s Point in Beacon, New York. In 2009, IBM also launched a joint project with Ireland’s Marine Institute to monitor water quality and marine life in Ireland’s Galway Bay.

    What makes the Jefferson Project different, Kolar says, is not only the smart sensors and the high frequency with which they will collect data, but how the data will be used to help inform the models. And Paul Hanson, a limnologist at the University of Wisconsin (UW), Madison, says that although the Jefferson Project is similar to other lake-monitoring projects, “they’re doing it on steroids. More variables, more frequency, and with better integration [with] models.”

    Overall, researchers plan to equip the lake with 40 sensor-carrying platforms, some on land and some in the water; they have deployed 14 thus far. The platforms come in four “flavors”: vertical profilers that send instruments into the lake’s depths to monitor things such as water temperature, chlorophyll, and dissolved organic matter; weather stations that measure humidity, barometric pressure, and wind velocity; tributary stations that study water entering the lake; and acoustic Doppler profilers, underwater sensors that measure lake currents.

    Kevin Rose, a postdoctoral associate at UW Madison, who is active in GLEON, says IBM’s involvement makes the Jefferson Project stand out. “Private-public partnerships are going to be a hallmark of how more research is done in the future and this is a great model to see that in action,” he says.

    The ultimate test of the Jefferson Project’s value, Hanson says, will be whether local and regional officials are able to use the information to better manage and protect the body of water known as “the Queen of American Lakes.”And project director Relyea says they are aiming high. “Ultimately,” he adds, “our goal is to make this project a blueprint for understanding lakes” that can be replicated elsewhere.

    The project, which is expected to run for at least 3 years, is jointly funded by the three groups; leaders say it has a total budget “in the millions,” including direct spending and in-kind contributions. Researchers expect the Jefferson Project to have all of its systems fully integrated by the end of 2016.

  • Local developers, businesses contribute to Internet of Things revolution

    June 19, 2015 -

    Cars that drive themselves, phones that find empty parking meters, and wind turbines that talk to one another.

    These are all possibilities in the near future under what is known as the Internet of Things.

    So what is the Internet of Things?

    It doesn't have so much to do with the Internet that we know, which we typically use to search for news, connect with friends and shop online.

  • Science by robot: Outfitting the world’s “smartest” lake

    April 20, 2015 -

    Over 30 years ago, Rensselaer established its field station at a donated property in the town of Bolton Landing. (The space was previously a lodge, and it still provides a place to sleep for visiting students and scientists.) This station has served as a base for long-term monitoring of Lake George, as well as other research in the area—including monitoring a number of Adirondack lakes following the acid rain regulations passed in 1990. Now, it is home to the Jefferson Project. And with IBM's technological and financial support, researchers are getting ready to take advantage of a whole new approach to studying Lake George: Big Data.

  • Neuromorphic Processors Leading a New Double Life

    April 16, 2015 -

    A team of researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute led by Christopher Carothers, Director of the institute’s Center for Computational Innovations described for The Platform how True North is finding a new life as a lightweight snap-in on each node that can take in sensor data from the many components that are prone to failure inside, say for example, an 50,000 dense-node supercomputer (like this one coming online in 2018 at Argonne National Lab) and alert administrators (and the scheduler) of potential failures This can minimize downtime and more important, allow for the scheduler to route around where the possible failures lie, thus shutting down only part of a system versus an entire rack.

  • Zealots Help Sway Popular Opinions

    April 6, 2015 -

    Boleslaw Szymanski, a computer scientist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, said that the team's findings could provide some general guidance for how companies could better manage their brands.

  • Mathematicians solve 60-year-old problem

    March 25, 2015 -

    A team of researchers, led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Yuri Lvov, has found an elegant explanation for the long-standing Fermi-Pasta-Ulam (FPU) problem, first proposed in 1953, investigated with one of the world's first digital computers, and now considered the foundation of experimental mathematics.

  • Rensselaer Pairs Business Students with Researchers to Aid Commercialization

    March 25, 2015 -

    Graduate-level business students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are working with science and engineering faculty to assist researchers in the commercialization process.

    http://bit.ly/1N7N3vz

  • Children Learn Cursive by Teaching Robots

    March 18, 2015 -

    "One of the breakthrough technologies we're seeing in robotics is an increasing ability for robots to be trained, rather than programmed, by humans thanks to new sensor- and machine-learning technology," Hendler pointed out.

  • VIDEO: Milky Way Galaxy Is MUCH Bigger Than We Thought

    March 17, 2015 -

    The Milky Way Galaxy was thought to be about 100,000 light years across, but it may be more like 150,000 light years. Matt Sampson has the details on why that's the case.

  • Ripples in the Milky Way

    March 16, 2015 -

    When you think of our Milky Way Galaxy, you might imagine a smooth disk with spiral arms embedded in it, like swirls in a peppermint. But a second look at observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) suggests that our galaxy’s disk is actually corrugated.

  • The Milky Way May Be More Enormous Than We Ever Imagined

    March 12, 2015 -

    How big is the Milky Way? Way bigger than we thought, it seems.

  • The Milky Way May Be 50 Percent Bigger Than Thought

    March 11, 2015 -

    A ring-like filament of stars wrapping around the Milky Way may actually belong to the galaxy itself, rippling above and below the relatively flat galactic plane. If so, that would expand the size of the known galaxy by 50 percent and raise intriguing questions about what caused the waves of stars.

  • Researchers developing more efficient solar panel using photosynthesis as model

    March 9, 2015 -

    K.V. Lakshmi, an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Solar Energy is leading a team of 14 scientists working to unlock the secret of how plants use sunlight to split water molecules and release electricity. 

     

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute begins seed fund for researchers

    March 4, 2015 -

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has created a seed fund to support multidisciplinary research at the private university.

  • Study: Clams in Lake George transported by boat anchor sediment

    January 13, 2015 -

    Researchers have pried open some information on how Asian clams move around Lake George.

    At the December Lake George Park Commission meeting, the Darrin Fresh Water Institute’s Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer and Jeremy Farrell reported findings from their research on the aquatic invasive species first spotted by Farrell in August 2010 off Lake Avenue Beach in the village.

  • A clearer view

    January 6, 2015 -

    ... in Bolton Landing, Rick Relyea sat in comfortable new conference room at RPI's Darrin Freshwater Institute, using a massive video screen to demonstrate what is called the "data visualization laboratory."

    Here is where lake, stream and weather data drawn from a network of up to 40 sensors, once crunched in massive computers, will be turned into graphic displays to explain how the 32-mile lake behaves and how it might change if some troubling trends continue. Surface sensors are connected to the lab via cellphone signal.

  • Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe

    December 11, 2014 -

    Take, for instance, chemical compounds called antioxidants. Health-conscious consumers are snapping them up because there's some evidence that these substances repair damaged cells in our body, reducing the risk of cancer and heart problems.

  • New AAAS Fellows Recognized for Their Contributions to Advancing Science

    December 11, 2014 -

    Francine Berman, a professor in the computer science department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was elected a AAAS Fellow "for distinguished contributions to the field of computer science and community leadership in data cyber-infrastructure, digital data preservation, and high performance computing." A former chair of the AAAS section representing Information, Computing, and Communication, Berman was delighted to learn that she has been elected a AAAS Fellow.

  • Private effort aims to wire Lake George into world’s ‘smartest lake’

    November 7, 2014 -

    The project aims to instrument New York’s Lake George with five vertical profilers, 12 tributary stream monitors, eight acoustic Doppler current profilers and 11 weather stations by 2015. Organizers say the effort will make it the world’s “smartest lake.”

    “IBM, as part of their Smarter Planet effort to use cutting-edge tech, is using Lake George as a proving ground for their sensors,” said Rick Relyea, scientific lead of the Jefferson Project at RPI. “So we do have sensors from YSI (deployed), but on top of that, IBM uses its own computer boards to make them smarter.”

  • ScienceLives Interview with Francine Berman

    November 7, 2014 -

    Francine Berman is a professor of computer ccience at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She serves on a broad spectrum of national and international leadership groups and committees, including the newly-established Research Data Alliance, which involves more than 120 U.S. and international participants, and enables researchers around the world to share and collaboratively use scientific data to speed up innovation. She also serves as a member of the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Advisory Committee.

  • Winter Road Salt – the Next Acid Rain? – May Threaten Adirondack “Queen of American Lakes”

    November 4, 2014 -

    Lake George is waiting, her future in question.  For the first time in the history of the 32-mile-long lake – a gift from long-ago glaciers that once covered the land, then melted – our actions may have imperiled her health.

  • Jefferson Project Ensures Long Term Health of Lake George

    October 28, 2014 -

    A more than decade long, multi-million dollar partnership formed to ensure the long-term health of Lake George is already making progress, barely a year after getting started. Matt Hunter has a closer look at the Jefferson Project.

  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Alan Turing and Enigma

    October 27, 2014 -

    Jim Hendler, professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, has taught a course on Turing. He called Turing's work in the 1940s "stunning." "He revolutionized cryptography, the modern field of computer science, [and] the subfield of artificial intelligence," Hendler said. "A lot of the math with those things goes right back to Turing."

  • Collaboration + Data = Ability to Answer Environmental Science's Big Questions in 2034

    October 23, 2014 -

    Biology professor Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer participated in an open call from The Science Coaltion for leading scientists to predict what their field will look like in 2034:

  • RPI biotechnology center celebrates first decade

    September 12, 2014 -

    TROY >> Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s $100 million Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, now 10 years old, began as a vision shared by RPI President Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson in her 1999 inaugural address.

  • Decade of growth in RPI biotech unit

    September 10, 2014 -

    It was 15 years ago that newly inauguratedRensselaer Polytechnic Institute PresidentShirley Ann Jackson called for the creation of a biotechnology institute that would draw on multiple disciplines to produce breakthroughs in health and medicine.

    Rensselaer's Center for Biotechnology andInterdisciplinary Studies, which opened its doors five years later, will celebrate its 10th anniversary Wednesday.

  • New Report Result Of 30 Years Of Research On Lake George

    August 18, 2014 -

    Researchers and advocates for Lake George have released a report that comes as a result of more than three decades of monitoring on the Adirondack lake.

    The Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute and the FUND for Lake George have released The State of the Lake: Thirty Years of Water Quality Monitoring on Lake George.

    The report says the 32-mile lake known for its clear waters was in “remarkably good condition,” but it also outlined several areas of concern that pose a threat to water quality.

  • Academic Minute: Carlos Varela's Improved Autopilot Technology

    July 25, 2014 -

    “We have computers that can beat the best human Jeopardy! players, and yet we rely on these relatively weak autopilot systems to safeguard hundreds of people on each flight. Why don’t we add more intelligence to autopilot systems?”

    Carlos Varela, an associate professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Insitute, asked this question in a recent Science Daily article.

    His research aims to improve auto-pilot technology such that errors are caught before they become large scale aviation disasters.

  • The search begins: Young scientists compete to see who can tell the best science tale

    July 23, 2014 -

    TROY — A large stage, four curious judges and 10 contestants with only three minutes to perform.

    It may sound like “American Idol,” but this contest is for young scientists, and it’s right here at RPI’s EMPAC Theater.

    It’s called FameLab, and it’s a competition where scientists must communicate intricate topics in layman’s terms in three minutes’ time in front of a panel of judges. No slides or charts are allowed, and the stories must be interesting and hold the attention of everyday folk.

  • RPI President George Low’s role in moon walk recalled

    July 21, 2014 -

    TROY >> Forty-five years ago – July 20, 1969 – when man first landed on the moon, former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president George M. Low had a hand in planning the giant step for mankind.

    Low joined the National Aeronautics Space Administration soon after its formation in 1958, and was chairman of Manned Lunar Landing Task Group, which investigated technical and planning requirements for the mission and provided technical background for President John F. Kennedy’s decision to promise a manned moon landing by the end of the 1960s.

  • Getting to the bottom of the problems: Data from sonar survey helps identify threats to Lake George

    July 7, 2014 -

    Lake George

    To understand forces that are slowly clouding Lake George's legendary clear waters, a unique 3-D map is being made of the lake and surrounding mountain streams that feed it.

    The map is the first step in the multimillion-dollar Jefferson Project, which was announced last fall between IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Fund for Lake George to make the lake the most "wired" on the planet.

  • Mapping gives unprecedented view of Lake George

    June 30, 2014 -

    LAKE GEORGE — The first phase of the Jefferson Project at Lake George is wrapping up, laying the groundwork for scientists to develop an unprecedented understanding of the ecology of the famed Adirondack lake.

    The bottom of the lake has been precisely mapped for the first time, the initial step in a three-year, multi-million dollar scientific research effort aimed at safeguarding the lake's ecosystem and protect the qualities that make it a major tourist destination.

  • Lake George to have high-tech monitoring

    June 27, 2014 -

    BOLTON LANDING >> Some of the most sophisticated technology in our universe is helping save one of the most beautiful lakes on the planet.

    Crews from Portsmouth, N.H.-based Substructure Inc. have finished mapping the bottom of Lake George and its surrounding watershed, setting the stage for a high-tech monitoring system designed to counteract forces that threaten its water quality such as road salt, stormwater runoff and invasive species.

  • HPC Speeds Desalination Effort

    May 8, 2014 -

    According to new research from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a hybrid material, called graphene oxide frameworks, or GOFs, could provide a big advantage over the inefficient desalination processes currently in use.

    Water is trying to avoid being in contact with graphene, so you can design it in such a way that you’re forcing the water not to be close to one layer but also not to be close to the other,” Meunier said. “This effect creates channels, which direct water through the system very quickly.”"

  • Making Autopilot Systems Safer

    April 11, 2014 -

    "We actually put all the data from the flight recorder in Air France 447 into our models and our computer software and we were able to recover the [correct] airspeed in 5 seconds," said Varela. "We know in aviation you have to learn from accidents to prevent future tragedies. If the software were to be included in future flight systems, we would avoid this kind of accident, I think," said Varela.

  • RPI fraternity to make neighborhood grants

    April 2, 2014 -

    A $50,000 micro-grant program sponsored by Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity that is intended to improve the quality of life in the Mount Ida neighborhood will be launched on Wednesday. The fraternity, whose members attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will hand out grants of up to $1,000 to homeowners, landlords, nonprofit groups and business owners in the community. The fraternity will award 50 grants over a five-year period.  

  • High Schoolers break out the robots for battle

    March 19, 2014 -

    It's all about robotics today at RPI. Thirty eight High School teams are showing off their creations in the Tech Valley Regional Competition. It's the first time this regional event has been held in the Albany area. Photojournalist Rich Frederick takes a look.

  • Troy Record: High school students gather at RPI for annual robotics competition

    March 19, 2014 -

    More than 1,000 high school students, along with hundreds of teachers, college and professional mentors, parents, and 3,000 pounds of metal, gears, and electronics will converge at the East Campus Athletic Village at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institue in Troy, N.Y., for two days of compeition today and Saturday.  

  • Western Pa. students prepare for robotics competitions

    March 19, 2014 -

    Area high school students will take robots this weekend to Troy, N.Y., and Youngwood.

    While McKeesport Area students pack for Troy and the first of two FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional tests, others are headed for competition at Westmoreland County Community College. 

     

  • 25 Years Old, the World Wide Web’s Potential Still Untapped

    March 17, 2014 -

    James Hendler is the director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications in Troy, New York ... Hendler pointed out that even 25 years after its invention, only a fraction of the web’s potential has been realized. “Here is this force that has really changed society in so many different ways. We understand sort of the mathematics of the computer network underneath and the engineering of that but we really don’t understand the social impact.  There’s more and more research that’s starting to study what are those different effects?

  • The Gurus Speak

    March 12, 2014 -

    Here we highlight the predictions of some of the people most deeply involved in shaping our digital present ... Jim Hendler, a professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, wrote, “Three forces will continue to interact, weaving a braid that will be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

  • NASA plots daring flight to Jupiter's watery moon

    March 5, 2014 -

    NASA is plotting a daring robotic mission to Jupiter's watery moon Europa, a place where astronomers speculate there might be some form of life.

    The space agency set aside $15 million in its 2015 budget proposal to start planning some kind of mission to Europa. ...

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute astronomer Laurie Leshin said it could be "a daring mission to an extremely compelling object in our solar system."

  • RPI group makes learning fun for Troy students

    February 21, 2014 -

    The ambassadors, part of a large initiative to encourage engineering and the sciences with chapters at other regional higher education technology schools, have visited the Troy school district, along with other schools in Albany, Schenectady, Greenville and Ballston Spa, for the past three years.

     

     

  • Career fair season in full force at Albany-area colleges

    February 20, 2014 -

    When Russ Grant was a senior atRensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006, he didn't attend career fairs because he already was working at BullEx.

  • Your Senior Project: Get a Real Job

    February 20, 2014 -

    So, who are the hot employers this year on area campuses?

    At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, DreamWorks Animation SKG will make its first appearance, next week, creating a stir on campus by meeting with faculty and select students.

    After all, who wouldn't want to work for the California creator of "Shrek" and "How to Train Your Dragon"?

  • Photos: Spring Career Fair at RPI

    February 20, 2014 -

    The Spring Career Fair was hosted by The Center for Career and Professional Development at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Wednesday. Representatives from nearly 150 public- and private-sector employers participated in the annual event.

  • Google Likely Acquired Artificial Intelligence Startup To Improve Image Search

    February 12, 2014 -

    “Rumour is that Google is getting very good at identifying individuals in photos, but they are holding off from rolling out that technology,” said Jim Hendler, an artificial intelligence researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, whom we spoke with recently. “From what I understand, Google is going after contextual image recognition, such as identifying whether a photo is of a social setting, if it was taken outdoors, indoors, etc.,” Hendler told us.

  • Why Free Government Data Remains A Tough Sell

    February 7, 2014 -
    But Francine Berman, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute computer science professor, said making government data more accessible addresses only part of the open data challenge. Berman chairs the US Research Data Alliance and directs the Center for a Digital Society. She raised concerns about the future of the data economy. In particular, she worries about the risks of data blackouts -- when data feeds become unavailable, as happened during the recent government shutdown -- and the long-term sustainability of research data as business and funding models evolve.
  • Alzheimer's disease: NMR pinpoints genetic clue

    January 24, 2014 -

    "The mutations that cause FAD lead to an increased ratio of amyloid beta-42 over amyloid beta-40," Wang explains. "That's the biochemistry, and that has been observed by many people. But the question we asked is: how? How do the mutations lead to this increased ratio?"

  • Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at Rensselaer

    January 15, 2014 -

    Part of The Best Of Our Knowledge's series on astrobiology, this piece visits the the sixth annual Exxon-Mobile Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at Rensselaer. The story features commentary from physics professor Wayne Roberge.

  • RPI team a force in robotic competition

    January 13, 2014 -
    Humanoid robots that could be used in such emergency situations as the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in March 2011 are the goal of a competition this weekend at a Florida speedway. A team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is among the 17 from around the world that are competing — and by at least one estimation RPI has the edge.
  • Mining Internet for chunks of gold

    December 17, 2013 -

    "Computer searches currently have certain limitations. If you want to use Google, for example, you have to come up with intelligent keywords, you can only search in your own language and your search may return thousands of documents," said Ji. "A computer that could understand natural language could overcome those limitations, and our goal is to build that computer."

  • NASA Curiosity rover discovers evidence of freshwater Mars lake

    December 10, 2013 -

    “Curiosity’s measurements demonstrate clearly that Mars was a habitable world. We still don’t know whether it was or is inhabited, but we know life could have flourished early in Martian history in the aqueous environment we found,” said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and a scientist who has worked on the Curiosity mission.

  • Curiosity sample shows astronauts could mine water from Martian soil

    October 7, 2013 -

    To figure out what was in the dirt, the Mars Science Laboratory Team used a device known as the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM. As lead author Laurie Leshin, dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, puts it, a baby aspirin-sized piece of the sample was fed into a tiny cup in Curiosity, then heated to temperatures of 835 degrees Celsius (over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.) The gases that came off revealed the composition of the soil inside.

  • Curiosity Rover Makes Big Water Discovery in Mars Dirt, a 'Wow Moment'

    October 7, 2013 -

    NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has found that surface soil on the Red Planet contains about 2 percent water by weight. That means astronaut pioneers could extract roughly 2 pints (1 liter) of water out of every cubic foot (0.03 cubic meters) of Martian dirt they dig up, said study lead author Laurie Leshin, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

  • This Scoop of Mars Soil is Two Percent Water

    October 7, 2013 -

    “One of the most exciting results from this very first solid sample ingested by Curiosity is the high percentage of water in the soil,” said Laurie Leshin, Dean of Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, N.Y., and lead author of one of the studies focusing on SAM analysis of Mars ‘fines.’ “About 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically.”

  • Where’s the Water on Mars? Everywhere!

    October 7, 2013 -

    “Laurie Leshin fell in love with Mars when she was 10 years old. It was 1976, the year NASA landed its twin Viking probes on the surface of the Red Planet, beaming back the first closeups of the rocky, rust-colored surface of Earth’s nearest neighbor. “They put the Viking mission on the cover of TIME,” she recalls. From that point on she knew she wanted to study Mars.”

  • Hitting Pay Dirt on Mars

    October 7, 2013 -

    In October, Curiosity visited the dirt pile — a stationary Martian dune piled up by gale-force winds 50,000 to 200,000 years old — and performed the first soil test in its chemistry laboratory, which is packed into a space the size of a microwave oven. The fine dust in the pile, which was named Rocknest, was expected to be a mix of what is blowing around the entire planet. “It looks pretty similar everywhere we go,” said Laurie A.

  • Move Over, Watson!

    October 7, 2013 -
    A powerful new supercomputer is going online at the Rensselaer Technology Park in North Greenbush. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Thursday took the wraps off  AMOS - the Advanced Multi Processing Optimized System. It's an IBM supercomputer that the college is partnering with the famous WATSON supercomputer from TV Jeopardy! fame, making RPI one of the strongest research institutes in the nation.
  • Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center: Far, Far More Than Meets The Eye

    September 26, 2013 -
    There’s an old joke that goes: How Many PhD’s Does It Take To Turn On A Lightbulb? The punchline: Four – one to do it and three to co-author the paper.  That may not be fair, or true.   But it is the case that it takes a number of highly intelligent people to undertake the necessary work at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (LRC). Here’s why: lighting is not about simple illumination any more.  In fact, it never was. We just didn’t know it. 
  • Saving Lake George: Can Sensors And Big Data Protect $1 Billion In Tourism?

    September 9, 2013 -

    Enter the Jefferson Project at Lake George (named for the third president of the United States, who was a fan), spearheaded by IBM Smarter Water experts, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the non-profit FUND for Lake George. Their idea is to use a combination of data analytics, three-dimensional (3-D) computer models, and 30 years worth of historical data to improve scientific understanding of how stuff is circulated around the lake.

  • Using Web to appeal for financing

    September 9, 2013 -
    It begs the question, why would you give money to a stranger online. "People want their donation, of time or money, to matter," said Jim Hendler, a professor and the director of the RPI Institute for Data Exploration and Application. "In traditional philanthropy, someone with a lot of money gives a million dollars to the Met, let's say, and everyone thinks, "That's cool," but if you have $10 to give, you won't see the effect it has.
  • Proved: Why LED efficiency drops at high current

    September 9, 2013 -
    Researchers at the US Rensselaer Polytechnic have proven a link between LED efficiency drop at high current and carrier mobility. Better lighting LEDs could result. “Efficiency droop, first reported in 1999, has been a key obstacle in the development of LED lighting for situations, like household lighting, that call for economical sources of versatile and bright light,” said the university.
  • GE partnering with RPI to support data research

    September 9, 2013 -
    General Electric Global Research in Niskayuna, NY, is joining Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Data Science Research Center to push the development and education of data science. General Electric is investing $30,000 to join other companies that are working with RPI to tackle challenges in the fields of cyber security and data analysis. The college’s research center focuses on developing technology to study complex data.
  • Obama and Romney big data experts continue the battle as businesses

    September 9, 2013 -
    Political campaigns have been using data for years to develop sophisticated understanding of voters.
  • Sequester Strains Science Researchers

    September 9, 2013 -

    Aside from pushing young scientists away from research, the reduction in federal funding also has the potential to create problems for those researchers trying to climb the ranks within academe. The increasing scarcity of federal funding opportunities may make it more difficult for faculty to obtain tenure, according to Jonathan S. Dordick, vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  

  • Internet speed gap in Tech Valley

    August 29, 2013 -
    Speed does matter, said Jim Hendler, the head of the computer science department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. For instance, just a few years ago, streaming video was only available to high-end Internet users, but today it is commonplace. But things like 3-D movies or multi-user voice and video connections still require more bandwidth than most people can access at their homes today. "As more bandwidth becomes available, more and more of these services become accessible at lower cost," Hendler said.
     
     
  • How to Share Scientific Data

    August 14, 2013 -
    A deluge of digital data from scientific research has spawned a controversy over who should have access to it, how it can be stored and who will pay to do so. The matter was the subject of discussion after the journal Science published a paper on Thursday by Francine Berman, a computer scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who is a leader of a group that focuses on research data, and Vinton Cerf, the vice president of Google.