In the fall semester of 2022, Cornell Engineering welcomed eleven new faculty members. While their fields of study run the gamut from gauging financial risk to understanding and controlling quantum materials, they share a commitment to combining leading-edge research with innovative teaching.
Many of them answered some questions about their research, their inspirations, and what they are looking forward to at Cornell. Below are some highlights, and you can click each individual’s name to see their full Q&A.
Sanjiban Choudhury, Computer Science: "I am passionate about the fundamental theory and practical algorithms that enable robots to continually interact with both humans and their environment. Much of my research has been deployed on real-world robot systems — mobile manipulators, self-driving cars, and full-scale helicopters."
Ankit Disa, Applied and Engineering Physics: "My research centers broadly around understanding and controlling the properties of quantum materials at the smallest length and time scales possible. Quantum materials exhibit some of the most interesting phenomena in physics – for example, the ability for electrons to flow without any resistance (superconductivity) or the spontaneous formation of microscopic patterns of swirling magnetism and charge."
Allison Koenecke, Information Science: "Inequity is a constant theme in our lives, in the news, on the internet. I want to do my part in chipping away at it. I use computational tools – like machine learning and causal inference – to study inequity in algorithmic systems, spanning domains from automated speech-to-text systems to online advertisements for welfare benefits."
Ian Lundberg, Information Science: "I develop and apply computational methods to study economic inequality. As a sociologist by training, I love collaborating not only with other social scientists but also with computer scientists and data scientists. The best research ideas often come from teams with diverse backgrounds, which is why I am so excited to be part of Cornell Information Science."
Thijs Roumen, Information Science: "I am focused on human computer interaction with a focus on digital fabrication--using computers to control physical matter. As a researcher I cannot wait to work with some of the best brains in the world on further advancing my research agenda, and inspiring new PhD students to follow their dreams the same way I was fortunate enough to turn my dreams into a real life."
Mark Wilde, Electrical and Computer Engineering: "What are the ultimate limits that nature imposes on communication and computation and what are effective procedures for achieving these limits? These are the questions that drive my research, and in order to answer them convincingly, we must reassess the theories of information and computation under a 'quantum lens.'"
Johannes Wissel, Operations Research and Information Engineering: "As a Professor of Practice my primary focus is on teaching, though I also see some wonderful opportunities to dive more deeply into research questions I became interested in while in the financial industry. I am interested in exploring how expertise in the field of financial engineering could be used to answer some questions of price and efficiency that are arising in the transition to a new model of energy production and distribution."
Manxi Wu, Operations Research and Information Engineering: "I have always loved mathematics and this field gives me the opportunity to combine math with game theory and machine learning algorithms to make an actual impact on real-world problems. This is the beauty of operations research as a field: you have interesting problems and in the process of solving them you delve into new tools—you have both theory and applications."
Yu Zhong, Materials Science and Engineering: "Innovations in materials have profoundly transformed every aspect of society. As a material scientist trained in chemistry, I was intrigued by the unlimited flexibility of designing materials at the bottom, i.e., tailoring the structure and properties of materials at the molecular- and nano-scale. For this reason, I started my research career in organic electronics to develop next-generation flexible and wearable devices."