Office of the Vice President for Research

Signature Research Thrusts

  • ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND SMART SYSTEMS

    In Energy, Environment, and Smart Systems, we explore renewable technologies, energy efficiency, and the understanding of global environmental change to preserve the bio-diversity of the planet.

  • BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE LIFE SCIENCES

    In Biotechnology and the Life Sciences, we are creating new routes to drug discovery and development, and understanding the fundamental mechanisms of disease, from Alzheimer’s and diabetes to cancer.

  • MEDIA, ARTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

    Research in Media, Arts, Science, and Technology facilitates new approaches to networking, advanced visualization, sensor design, haptics, and multiscale modeling and simulation, which are supported by the core capabilities of EMPAC.

  • COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

    Enabled by the capabilities of the CCI, Rensselaer has developed important programs in Computational Science and Engineering focused on high performance computing, big data, and data analytics, which supports research and innovation across a broad front.

  • NANOTECHNOLOGY AND ADVANCED MATERIALS

    Our excellence in Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials builds from the fundamental understanding—experimental, theoretical, and computational - of the underlying atomic and molecular properties of a wide range of nanostructured materials. We now are developing robust, affordable, and sustainable methods for manufacturing new functional hybrid materials, and the hierarchical systems and products based upon them.

In the News

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

    November 30, 2016 -

    Public enemy number one, it might be called: Eurasian watermilfoil. It’s not on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, but maybe it should be, say scientists who study lakes. The invasive weed’s crime? It crowds out native underwater plants, fouls boat propellers and smothers swimming areas in freshwater lakes across the northern U.S.

    The invader’s name strikes fear in the hearts of boaters, marina owners, bathers and fishers in places like Lake George in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The 32-mile-long, mountain-ringed lake is known across the country as the Queen of American Lakes for its clean, clear waters.

    To date, Lake George’s waters have been classified by New York State as AA-Special: drinking water. As far back as the early 1920s when biologists first conducted research on the lake, “readings showed that the water was unusually transparent,” the scientists wrote in a 1922 report, Biological Survey of Lake George, N.Y.

    How long will this deep lake, a gift of the glaciers that covered the Northeast 10,000 years ago, remain unspoiled?

    “That may depend on whether we’re able to keep out invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil and Asian clams,” says Walt Lender, director of the Lake George Association (LGA), a group that works to safeguard the lake. The Asian clam, native to the fresh waters of eastern and southern Asia, is Lake George’s public enemy number two. The clam threatens more than Lake George; like Eurasian watermilfoil, it has made its way into lakes far and wide.

    Answers are on the horizon, researchers say. Some may be hidden in the depths of Lake George. Others require far-reaching changes: a return to the cold winters of the past.

    Plant-with-a-spear: Eurasian watermilfoil

    Eurasian watermilfoil is native to freshwater ecosystems in Europe, Asia and North Africa. The plant, also called spiked watermilfoil for its “spear” that extends above the water’s surface, was discovered in Lake George in 1985.

    This year, divers working for the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) – a state agency that has joined forces with the LGA and The FUND for Lake George, an organization dedicated to protecting the lake – hand-harvested some 100,000 pounds of Eurasian watermilfoil. “That’s more than the weight of three school buses,” says Dave Wick, executive director of the LGPC. “So far, hand-harvesting has been the most successful way of keeping watermilfoil at bay.”

    Marching in: Chinese mystery snails, spiny water fleas

    Eurasian watermilfoil and Asian clams haven’t invaded Lake George alone. Chinese mystery snails, spiny water fleas and curly-leaf pondweed have also arrived in force.

    “As bad as that sounds,” says Eric Siy, executive director of The FUND for Lake George, “Lake George is surrounded by waterways with dozens of invasive species.” Lake Champlain has 50; the St. Lawrence River, 84; the Hudson River, 122; and the Great Lakes, 184, according to a report by The FUND.

    “Take quagga mussels,” says Siy. “They’ve been called ‘zebra mussels on steroids.’ These mussels blanket the bottoms of the Great Lakes, and are largely untreatable. Now they’ve made their way into New York.”  But not Lake George – yet.

    Last summer, according to Siy, Lake George had a quagga “near miss.” The mussels were discovered on a trailered boat coming into the Adirondacks from Lake Erie. The boat’s owners were about to launch at Lake Placid – less than 90 miles from Lake George – when the unwelcome stowaways were routed out.

    Invaders on the shore

    It’s the quagga’s mollusk relative, the Asian clam, that could become the bane of Lake George. One Asian clam can produce up to 70,000 eggs each year. Because the clams are such prolific breeders, they compete with native species for space on lake bottoms and for food in the form of plankton, ultimately affecting fish and other organisms higher up the food chain. If beds of Asian clams are large enough, the nutrients they recycle may fuel unwanted algae blooms.

    On a warm summer afternoon, Dave Wick zoomed in on a park commission boat to pick me up at a dock near Lake George Village. We were off on a day of eradicating Asian clams and other invasive species. Wick and I headed for Warner Bay on the lake’s east side, where divers pulled up Eurasian watermilfoil and piled it into mesh bags.

    Wick pointed to waters with little to no milfoil – clear with fish darting in and out of healthy native aquatic plants. Where milfoil choked the bay, the waters had turned dark. “Warner Bay is in better shape than it was, though,” offered Wick on a hopeful note. “We’ve found large patches of milfoil and removed them, returning the bay to more of a natural state.”

    From Warner Bay, we crossed to the lake’s west side, stopping just north of Boon Bay at Cotton Point. There we lowered the boat’s ladder, climbed down a rung or two, then jumped into the water with sieves to sift sand for Asian clams. The clams, first found in the lake six years ago, thrive in shallow waters with sandy bottoms like those in Boon Bay.

    Wick brought up a sieve filled with the invasive clams. The LGPC and other organizations tried to eradicate the clams by covering them with plastic mats weighed down with sandbags and steel rebar. “That worked, but only so well,” Wick admitted.

    Naturally vanquished

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

    Chaetogaster slithers its way into the mantle cavity of an adult clam, explains biologist Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, associate director of the DFWI. There it eats developing young clams before they can be released into the water.

    “The worms have been found in Asian clams in some places in the lake, but not in others,” she says. She compared Asian clams with and without worms at three Lake George locations to find out whether Chaetogaster could be used as a biological control.

    The worms are a step ahead. They’re already doing the job.

    In two of three study sites, adult clams weren’t infected by Chaetogaster. “We found abundant small, young clams at these two sites, so adults there were successfully reproducing,” says Nierzwicki-Bauer.

    At the third site, Chaetogaster had settled into the adults’ gills. “This spot had very few juvenile clams,” Nierzwicki-Bauer says. Chaetogaster had presumably devoured the young while they were still inside the adults.

    Bad news for the clams, Nierzwicki-Bauer says, is good news for the lake.

  • Why Rensselaer's engineering dean wants to keep growing women's enrollment

    November 28, 2016 -

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has more than 1,000 women enrolled in its undergraduate engineering programs for the first time in the school's history.

  • 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.

  • Terms and Consequences: How a click could cost you money

    November 11, 2016 -

    “For some folks, the convenience of targeted advertising is always going to trump the privacy for them,” said Kristine Gloria, PhD candidate of cognitive science at RPI. ... Who has been studying public policies and computer algorithm designs.

  • Five reality TV show strategies Donald Trump has used throughout his campaign

    November 8, 2016 -

    In a recent article that appeared in Quartz magazine, titled: Five reality TV show strategies Donald Trump has used throughout his campaign, the article notes that Donald Trump is a political candidate unlike any other. But while his tactics are novel within the world of politics, in an interview with June Deery, media studies professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she believes they should be very familiar to those who watch reality TV.

  • 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.

  • Changing semiconductor properties at room temperature

    November 2, 2016 -

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers developed a method that changes temperature by one degree to alter the colour of light that a semiconductor emits.

  • 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.

  • This Living Wall Cleans The Air Inside New York's New Emergency Center

    July 11, 2016 -

    By design, New York City’s new Public Safety Answering Center in the Bronxis a building that will be a tough place to work. Little natural light will enter into the imposing, blast-resistant cube, due to security concerns. Inside the skyscraper monolith, workers will take 911 calls all day and night. The center is also designed to act as a secure base in the event of a natural or manmade emergency. It officially opened in June after years of construction.

  • A new approach to building efficient thermoelectric nanomaterials Read more: A new approach to building efficient thermoelectric nanomaterials

    June 21, 2016 -

    By doping a thermoelectric material with minute amounts of sulfur, a team of researchers has found a new path to large improvements in the efficiency of materials for solid-state heating and cooling and waste energy recapture. This approach profoundly alters the electronic band structure of the material – bismuth telluride selenide — improving the so-called “figure of merit,” a ranking of a material’s performance that determines efficiency in applications and opening the door to advanced applications of thermoelectric materials to harvest waste heat from power plants to computer chips.  

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Albany researchers' laser test holds promise for earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis

    August 17, 2015 -

    NY CAP Research Alliance funding to UAlbany and Albany Med scientists yeilds new method for earlier diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. 

  • Engineering A New Chemical Communication System Into Bacteria

    August 10, 2015 -

    Previously, synthetic biologists had only engineered synthetic quorum-sensing systems in gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli. But gram-positive bacteria are heavily used in the biotech industry to synthesize enzymes. So Cynthia H. Collins of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and colleagues wanted to build systems that would function within these commercially important bacteria.

  • 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.

  • A Robot Passed the Self-Awareness Test and This Is How It Did It

    July 20, 2015 -

    When talking about robots and self-awareness, I think most people would just freak out, but there are some people who would be extremely excited and interested about these things. But I don’t think freaking out would be the case here, even though a robot just passed the first self-awareness test ever.

  • 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.

  • Albany-area primary care doctors try medical scribes

    May 18, 2015 -

    When Leslie Palmer went to see her longtime primary care physician, Dr. Paul Barbarotto, earlier this month, there was an extra person in the room ...

  • 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.

  • EMPAC Shrugs Popularity to Promote Creative Liberty in Troy, N.Y.

    March 30, 2015 -

    On Saturday evening, chilly and foggy here, a small group of people stood at the edge of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus and gazed up at the looming facade of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.

  • 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.

  • Developing infrastructure for data sharing around the world

    March 11, 2015 -

    "Impact is a primary focus for RDA," said Fran Berman, chair of RDA/U.S. "In only two years, RDA has begun fulfilling its mission to build the social and technical bridges that enable the open sharing of data."

  • 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. 

     

  • The Art of Experience - EMPAC at RPI

    March 6, 2015 -

    Technology and art have always been intertwined. ... At the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC for short) on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Insittute (RPI) campus, scientists and artists are collaborating, in the state-of-the-art facility, to address some of these interfaces in a direct and sconscious way.

  • Human-Centric Lighting: The Real Work Begins

    March 6, 2015 -

    Professor Robert Karlicek described methods for integrating “non-invasive” sensors into lighting systems to produce light optimized for a given activity — hands-free because the sensor’s system autonomously categorizes the human activity. 

  • 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.

  • Region lands $500K for biomed effort

    December 19, 2014 -

    The NY Cap Research Alliance is one of 93 projects in the Albany region receiving a share of $60 million through a state funding competition. The alliance won $500,000 last week to create a capital investment program for biomedical researchers at area colleges and health care organizations.

  • 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.

  • Bright idea aims to minimize hospital-acquired infections

    December 11, 2014 -

    “Individuals can go into a hospital and end up even more sick than when they enter,” said Colleen Costello, a young biomedical engineer, who realized the magnitude of this problem when her grandmother contracted MRSA during a hospital stay. Her company, Vital Vio, is trying to tackle the issue by creating bacteria-killing lights.

  • What is 4chan and where did it come from?

    November 13, 2014 -

    "Generally the rules are as light as they can keep them," said Jim Hendler, a computer science professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York ... The site's "random" board gets the most notoriety, but it's just a "small part of a much larger entity," Hendler said. "Despite the infamy, it really does some positive things. It creates community," he said, adding that 4chan remains very much user-focused in the most basic sense of the term. The site "wanted to stay most true to the notion that you could be anonymous, you could talk about whatever you wanted, that you could control the conversation."

  • 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.”

  • 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."

  • RPI shows off promise of robots as aides

    September 30, 2014 -

    RPI has robots designed for industrial use. Whalen approached experts there with a question: Could they help me in some way? Thus was born an idea inching closer to reality: converting a fixed industrial robot one would find in a factory into an affordable, mobile, in-home aide for the elderly and others, including those with paralysis of multiple limbs. The result was on display Monday in the Low Center for Industrial Innovations on the RPI campus. 

  • RPI faculty, students building cost-effective robot

    September 30, 2014 -

    RPI faculty and students are working to build a cost-effective robotic caregiver. Robotic caregivers can offer assistance to the elderly and physically disabled individuals, but many cost $400,000 and are not affordable. But now faculty and students at RPI are hoping to make them less expensive. The team has started down a path of industrial assembly line designed robotics. They believe they have found the answer in Jamster: a dual-arm mobile assistive robot.

  • STEM gives an 'arm' and a 'leg' to those who really need it

    September 30, 2014 -

    Robots can do all sorts of things. They work on assembly lines helping build cars and also on high tech jobs. “The robots stay away from humans or humans stay away from robots because robots can hurt humans. They're very rigid, very strong and very fast,” said John Wen, an RPI professor. With that in mind, professors at the RPI robotics lab wanted to take it one step further. “We should have robots that work alongside humans in a friendly way,” Wen explained.

  • RPI Showcases Helper Robots

    September 30, 2014 -

    RPI students are getting involved as well. "We're building projects to help people. Other research I've done, it stayed in the lab, so it's amazing to me that I can take people's feedback and then use my technical expertise to design and help people and it's just a really satisfying line of work,” RPI senior Andrew Cunningham said.

  • A big assist from Jamster

    September 30, 2014 -

    Individuals who've suffered spinal cord injuries and older people who aren't as mobile as they once were are among those who one day might benefit from the work being done by a team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Professors John Wen and 

  • Despite Growing Data, Infrastructure Stands Still

    September 16, 2014 -

    By FRANCINE BERMAN | Data increasingly drives innovation in virtually every area of inquiry. Whether the data helps to reveal the existence of the “God particle,” the discovery of a new planet, the behavior of crowds, or the spread of disease, it is key to discovery and innovation. Data is also a national priority around the world. In the United States, White House initiatives are focusing on public access to research data, big data, and government open data.

  • 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.

  • RPI supercomputer 43rd fastest, new report says

    September 5, 2014 -

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s newest supercomputer, named AMOS for Advanced Multiprocessing Optimized System, ranked 43rd fastest in the world in the latest TOP500 list of supercomputers. It was clocked at 1048.6 teraflops, placing it just behind Moscow State University’s Research Computing Center machine. It ranked third fastest among American academic institutions and 13th fastest among academic institutions worldwide, RPI said. AMOS, switched on last fall, was produced by IBM and consists of a rack of  five Blue Gene/Q supercomputers plus additional equipment.

  • 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.

  • TRANSFER Bill Aims To Boost Hi-Tech Upstate

    July 24, 2014 -

    U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has hopped on the bandwagon to broaden New York’s mark on advanced technology. She appeared at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this morning stumping for new legislation to cement high-tech innovation and industry in the Capital Region ... RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson says the region is at the beginning of a new era, with global implications. RPI "Now this new era is generating changes in all areas of our lives, including celebrating the important resurgence of manufacturing, which then opens new opportunities for entrepreneurship."

  • Gillibrand wants to help college research thrive

    July 24, 2014 -

    U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Monday to announce a new bill to help local college research thrive in the business world ... “This new era is generating changes in all areas of our lives, including accelerating the important resurgence of manufacturing, which then opens new opportunities for entrepreneurship,” college president Shirley Ann Jackson said Monday.

  • Watson may study new field: humans

    July 24, 2014 -

    Watson is entering his sophomore year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and as the supercomputer’s role continues to evolve,Watson may never graduate. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York was the first university to receive a Watson system, made famous by beating “Jeopardy” champions in 2011. IBM Corp. sent a modified Watson system to Rensselaer in January 2013.

  • 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.

  • How Artificial Intelligence Could Change Your Business

    July 3, 2014 -

    The scale of information growth – driven by the pace of information change – has reached the point where humans simply cannot handle it without the aid of intelligent computers, said Dr. Jim Hendler, director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Application (IDEA), who leads the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute project to explore new uses and directions for AI technology.

  • 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.

  • RPI researchers design robots to do the right thing

    June 25, 2014 -

    It's the stuff of countless songs and stories — knowing that something you want to do is wrong, doing it anyway and then regretting the choice.

  • Rensselaer, Tufts, Navy explore robotic technology

    June 16, 2014 -

    Tufts University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Navy are partnering on a research project with a goal to develop robots that can think for themselves, making moral judgments and performing tasks according to how they weigh right, wrong, and the gray in between.

  • 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.

  • Energy Center annual meeting Wednesay

    February 7, 2014 -

    The Center for Future Energy Systems at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will hold its annual conference from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy. John Rhodes, CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will be the keynote speaker for the event that features discussions of the latest advances in energy technologies.

  • What Facebook Wants With Artificial Intelligence

    December 12, 2013 -

    Precisely what LeCun will do at Facebook remains to be seen. James Hendler, the director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications, wrote to me in an e-mail that Facebook needs “to better understand its content, and to do it at the massive scale.” In a phone call this afternoon, LeCun told me that “the big challenge is how to build tunable systems that can draw inferences and do real reasoning.”

  • 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. 
  • 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.