Martha Kim, associate professor of Computer Science at Columbia University and director of the ARCADE Lab, has been named a recipient of the annual Borg Early Career Award(BECA). Conferred by the Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W), the award honors Anita Borg, the founder of the Borg Institute and an early CRA-W member committed to increasing the participation of women in computing research. The award is bestowed annually to one or two women in computer science or engineering, who like Kim, have made early-career research contributions and at the same time have committed themselves to encouraging young women to enter the computing field.
Kim’s research contributions are in the area of computer architecture, where creative solutions are needed if computing power is to keep pace with increasing demands, especially those posed by big data sets. Packing and operating more transistors on a single chip—the previous solution—no longer works due to the problem of heat buildup. Further computing advances require efficiency at every aspect of the chip, whether that means using new types of parallel processing, employing specialized circuits called accelerators, or introducing entirely new computer architectures. Kim’s research explores all of these solutions, each one highly complex in its own way.
She focuses particularly at the point where hardware and software meet, looking at how characteristics of one may be leveraged to improve operation of the other, thus realizing efficiencies not possible when each is examined in isolation. Accelerators she designed for database processing—specifically optimized for the row, column, table abstractions of database operations—resulted in 70x throughput improvements while saving three orders of magnitude in energy compared to traditional software database approaches. Her architectural designs include an intelligent data flow that optimizes resource usage by having processing units distributed across the chip perform calculations as their inputs are ready.
The quality of her research is reflected in the number of prestigious venues that have featured her work (including ISCA, ASPLOS, and HPCA). For three straight years (2013, 2014, 2015), papers she co-authored have been among the 10-12 selected each year by the IEEE to be “Top Picks in Computer Architecture.” Her research has also won her numerous awards, including the 2013 Rodriguez Family Award, the 2015 Edward and Carole Kim Faculty Involvement Award, and a 2013 NSF CAREER award. In July, she will serve as Program Co-Chair at the IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization.
Equally impressive to her research is Kim’s impact on advancing women in computing research. In making the award, CRA-W cited an expansive portfolio of outreach efforts: participating in high-school oriented conferences such as Code Like A Girl; reviewing and revising her high school’s approach to STEM education; acting as a faculty co-advisor for the Artemis Project, a summer school for rising 9th and 10th grade girls from local, underserved schools. Kim also devotes considerable time to performing service to the research community through program committees, journal reviewing, and conference organizing activities.
One tangible result of Kim’s outreach to women: her first two graduated PhD students are both women as are two-thirds of her current doctoral advisees.
Julia Hirschberg, chair of Columbia’s Computer Science Department, says the following of Kim. “Martha is an outstanding researcher recognized by her peers as being among the most innovative in her field. She is passionate about her research, and passionate also in her commitment to increasing the participation of women in computing. She is poised to become a leader in the field of computer systems.”
When as a Houston high school student Deborah Owolabi ’16 enrolled in a summer engineering program, a professor posed a question she never forgot: if humans were limited to just three industries, which three are most essential for survival? The room quickly settled on the food industry and medicine, but students were stumped as to the third.
“Civil engineering,” the professor answered. “Since the dawn of time, people have been civil engineers, building homes and shelters and constructing roads to develop surrounding areas.”
Knowing at that moment she was destined to become a civil engineer, Owolabi was soon drawn to Columbia by the interdisciplinary focus. At SEAS, she has worked closely with Professors George Deodatis and Shiho Kawashima and Lecturer Julius Chang, learning to integrate the theory and practice of building complex structures. She’s also served as a work-study intern at the IEOR Department, her “second home,” for three years.
“It’s exciting to get to partake in the building of something that never was, and being able to drive past projects that I’ve worked or interned on is absolutely amazing to me,” Owolabi says. “Many times engineering is only seen for including science, technology, and math, but being an engineer, and for me a civil engineer, incorporates art, beauty, and aesthetics.”
Owolabi and 10 other civil engineering seniors recently completed their senior design project, a proposed network arch bridge including all components of its design, construction, and impacts on all levels. The project was on display at the School’s annual Senior Design Expo, held on May 5.
Outside the classroom, Owolabi has served in senior positions on the boards of the National Society of Black Engineers at Columbia and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., on and off campus. She has also performed extensively with the Columbia University Gospel Choir.
Recently named a SEGUE Scholar by the National Science Foundation, Owolabi will remain at Columbia Engineering for another year, conducting research with Kawashima and earning her master’s degree in construction engineering management. In the longer term she plans to enter industry and earn an MBA, aiming for projects that are “purposeful” and improve people’s lives.
“Getting an engineering degree from this school is not a small feat,” Owolabi says. “All the work and stress have prepared me to enter the industry knowing that I have the ability to learn, to work on teams, and to strive for excellence in everything I do.”
Register here for this exciting 6 week webinar series designed to empower women in STEM!
Raha Hakimdavar, a second-year PhD candidate in civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has won a Fulbright research grant to further study and develop a sensor- and satellite-driven network for flood management in areas with high flood risk. Sponsored by the Netherlands America Foundation (NAF), a bilateral group that supports educational, cultural, and business exchange between the Netherlands and the United States, this Fulbright award will fund Hakimdavar’s ongoing flood management research focused on the southwestern coast of Haiti.
For Hakimdavar, who actually wanted to be a journalist before she ultimately found her way to engineering, winning the Fulbright grant is a great honor. “But more than that, it feels wonderful to have somebody believe in your ideas and potential enough to invest in you,” she says. “I feel very fortunate for the opportunity because not only do I get to expand my knowledge on work that I’m very passionate about, I also get to experience something entirely new in my life.”
Southwest Haiti in particular poses numerous challenges with respect to flood management, explains Hakimdavar, because of its extreme deforestation, soil degradation from poor agricultural practices, high urbanization rate, and susceptibility to extreme climate and climate change. With the Fulbright award, Hakimdavar will conduct studies in the Netherlands—a nation that has a long history with flood management and where researchers have already made headway in developing successful approaches to understanding and mitigating flood risks in the country. She will apply what she learns from this research to her work in Haiti. Read more...
NEW YORK, March 26, 2013 — Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced his appointment of Mary Cunningham Boyce as the new Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective July 1, 2013. Professor Boyce comes to Columbia after more than 25 years at MIT, where she is currently the Ford Professor of Engineering and Department Head of Mechanical Engineering.
“Columbia is fortunate to welcome such an impressive dean at a time of both signal accomplishment and new opportunity for our School of Engineering and Applied Science as it approaches its 150th anniversary,” said Bollinger. “Professor Boyce has distinguished herself throughout her academic career not only as a scholar but also as a teacher and mentor driven by an abiding commitment to nurturing the next generation of engineers.” READ MORE...
For biomedical engineering PhD candidate Kacey Ronaldson, the monthly L2 Ladies Luncheons hosted by the School’s GradSWE (Society of Women Engineers) chapter have been more than just a nice meal with friends — they’ve been an invaluable career development experience as well.
Ronaldson, who is president of GradSWE at the Engineering School, initiated these monthly luncheons to help women sharpen their networking skills as well as connect with successful women engineers who share their own personal experiences balancing life, career, and professional development.
“I do feel women innately do not network in the same way that men do,” says Ronaldson. “Providing opportunities for women to network with one another, and more importantly, to learn how to effectively network, is very important to me.” Networking also means supporting one another to “reach their fullest potential,” she adds, “and to develop a foundation to support one another whenever needed or to just share a laugh.”
The L2 Ladies Luncheon series, co-sponsored by the School's Office of Graduate Student Affairs, began last year as a way to provide networking opportunities and facilitate mentorships and collaborations within and across engineering disciplines. Featured luncheon speakers have included Read more...
Nina Tandon featured on Katie Couric's Talk Show as part of the "Women Who Should Be Famous" segment
There’s no one more excited about science than Nina Tandon. She’s a 32-year-old tissue engineer at Columbia University and she’s growing… wait for it… heart! That’s right, she’s growing one of the most complex organs in the body.
Not only does Nina grow living heart, she makes it sound easy.
“I like to say it’s a lot like a mix between gardening and cooking because you need the right ingredients and then you need to follow the recipe. And in our case a little system we call a bioreactor… we flow the ingredients through the tube and we have cells inside the system and we have electrical signals come from the outside and often we learn what the recipe should be.”
While Nina was on stage with Katie talking about her groundbreaking work, her female mentees were giggling in the Katie green room filming Nina on TV with their iPhones. “If this doesn’t show we’re nerds, I don’t know what does!”
Nina is a self-professed nerd and she’s proud of it. She even wore a necklace with the word “NERD” to our taped interview. But when she talks about her younger years, she remembers her low self-esteem and not feeling like the leader she is today. It was her fluffy hair, or “fro” as she calls it, that embarrassed her back then… but makes her laugh today.
Thinking back on those early years, Nina attributes her pursuit of science to her father, who always knew she had a knack for the subject. An engineer himself, Nina’s father told her that she owed it to women to go after math and science and that in doing so she would inspire other women.
Nina is now on a mission to spread that message, to tell young people – and especially young girls – that science is fascinating and “cool.” Six senior thesis students from Cooper Union intern for Nina in her lab at Columbia University. Just last weekend, Nina gave her third TED Talk and this time, to high school students. She encouraged them to get excited about science and reminded them how science can change the world.
Nina is a woman that we think should be famous and a woman that we believe will someday change the world.
Read the full story online.
Tiffany Shaw, assistant professor of applied mathematics, has been awarded a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, a prestigious honor given to a group of the most promising and innovative researchers who are at the beginning stages of their careers. Shaw, who has a joint appointment in Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science, is one of 16 fellows named who will each receive an unrestricted grant of $875,000, distributed over five years.
Shaw studies the fluid dynamics of Earth’s weather and climate, using a combination of theory, observations, and numerical models. Her research focuses on understanding how moisture is transported and how it interacts with large-scale flow patterns, such as the summer monsoon, and the impact of climate change.
“Receiving the Packard Fellowship is truly a great honor,” says Shaw. “I am very grateful to the Packard Foundation for their support. [This] will provide me with a unique opportunity to pursue big and bold ideas that I might not otherwise pursue.” Read more...
From left to right: Kacey Ronaldson, Gwen Effgen, Analisa Balares, & Clarissa Peña
This month's invited speaker to the GradSWE Ladies Luncheon was Analisa Balares, CEO and founder of Womensphere (www.womensphere.org), a unique leadership community and global social enterprise that brings together people, networks, companies, and institutions for the shared purpose of unleashing women's potential. Analisa discussed her background and establishing Womensphere, as well as, the current status of gender equity in the work place and what our role as women leaders should be.
After sharing her story and her interest in promoting women in the workplace and in society by educating and informing them she took questions from the audience. She also engaged the audience with questions of her own like what they thought as young women in engineering about the concept of a gender bias and how to overcome it. Learn more about Womensphere and Analisa below.
Analisa's Blog: www.analisabalares.com
About Womensphere: www.womensphere.org
Need an artery for bypass surgery or custom cartilage for that worn-out knee?
Need a new knee? What about an artery for bypass surgery? Some researchers are experimenting with techniques that build human tissue using patients' own cells. WSJ's Robert Lee Hotz reports.
In about a dozen major university and corporate laboratories, biomedical engineers are working on ways to print living human tissue, in the hope of one day producing personalized body parts and implants on demand. Still far from clinical use, these tissue-engineering experiments represent the next step in a process known as computerized adaptive manufacturing, in which industrial designers turn out custom prototypes and finished parts using inexpensive 3-D computer printers.
Instead of extruding plastic, metal or ceramics, these medical printers squirt an ink of living cells. Researchers call it by the shorthand bioprinting.
The machines can build up tissue structures, layer by layer, into all sorts of 3-D shapes, such as tubes suitable for blood vessels, contoured cartilage for joints, or patches of skin and muscle for living Band-Aids, recent laboratory studies have demonstrated.
"You can print a tissue dot by dot," says bioengineer Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic at Columbia University's Laboratory for Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering. "Bioprinting is a very clever technology which actually brought a completely new use to something very old that we all have at home, which is the inkjet printer."