UAlbany Dean Adds to Solid College Foundation with Addition of 14 New Faculty

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The dean of the University at Albany’s new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) has convened world-class faculty to prepare the next generation of engineering innovators.

CEAS Dean Kim Boyer recruited these 14 individuals to support the College’s key mission of providing quality, access, and opportunity to UAlbany’s new crop of computer engineering students, following the program’s approval in July 2016.

Boyer was appointed dean in September after serving as interim dean since joining the University in September 2015.

"With the addition of these esteemed faculty members, the University has added to a solid foundation for an engineering school that will serve students in the Capital Region and beyond," said Darrell P. Wheeler, interim provost, UAlbany. "It is our vision that the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will become the area's engineering school of choice and excellence, offering comprehensive programs that are in demand by students and industry alike."

The new faculty come from both private and public institutions across the country. They include:

·         Ming-Ching Chang, assistant professor, whose expertise includes video analytics, computer vision, and machine intelligence. After graduating from Brown University with a Ph.D., he worked as a computer scientist in the Computer Vision Lab of GE Global Research, where he was a member of the distinguished Visualization and Computer Vision (VCV) Group. Chang has worked on major external government programs, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

·         Charalampos Chelmis, assistant professor who came to UAlbany after serving as a senior research associate with the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. His research interests include modelling, algorithmic, computational, and practical aspects of all V's of Big Data.

·         Guy Cortesi, lecturer, who was an integral part of the development team for UAlbany’s new computer engineering program. He holds 35 years of experience in various engineering and leadership positions at companies including IBM and Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in the Naval Nuclear Program. He received his Ph.D. from the University at Albany and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses for almost two decades.

·         Aveek Dutta, assistant professor, was previously with the University of Kansas and Princeton University. Dutta earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. His research lies at the crossroads of communication theory, networked systems and radio architectures including modern wireless and cognitive radio networks.

·         Hany Elgala, assistant professor, who previously was a research professor at Boston University and the Communications Testbed leader at the NSF Research Center. He also worked with Airbus Germany to realize a cellular optical network in airplane cabins. Hany works in the area of optical & radio frequency communications, digital signal processing and embedded systems. He received his PhD from Jacobs University in Germany.

·         Chinwe Ekenna, assistant professor, recently obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Texas A&M University. Her research centers on intelligent motion planning applied to robotics and proteins. Her research interests include robotics, machine learning, and computational biology. 

·         Yelin Kim, assistant professor, recently received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research focuses on human-centered and affective computing, developing systems and devices for automatic sensing, quantification, and interpretation of affective and social signals during interactive communication.

·         James Randal Moulic, associate dean and professor, whose 39-year career prior to joining academia included worldwide research activities with IBM on wireless, mobile systems and cloud-based services. His research interests include digital electronics, computer architecture, very large scale integrated systems, and parallel programming.  He earned his Ph.D. from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

·         Dola Saha, assistant professor, who joins following positions at the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) and Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Rutgers University. Her research interests includes wireless networks, digital communications, cognitive radios and mobile computing. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder.

·         Shaghayegh Sahebi, assistant professor who recently earned her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. Her scholarly interests include application of machine learning in recommender systems, educational data mining, and social networks. Her research is focused on finding creative ways to use external information in these problems, adopting approaches such as transfer learning, tensor factorization, and topic models. 

·         Tolga Soyata, associate professor, who joins UAlbany from the University at Rochester. His research interests include cyber physical systems, digital health, and GPU-based high-performance computing. He received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Rochester.

·         Weifu Wang, assistant professor, who recently received a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. His research interests include general motion planning for robots, optimal control, robotic manipulation, and mechanism design.  His most recent work has been on developing approaches for robotic knot tying using simple devices, models, and controls.

·         Mariya Zheleva, assistant professor, who previously served as a visiting assistant professor at the University after receiving her Ph.D. in Computer Science at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focus is in the intersection of wireless networks and information and communication technologies for development. She is broadly interested in wireless networks, deployment and monitoring, cognitive radio and dynamic spectrum access, and networking for developing regions.

·         Daphney-Stavroula Zois, assistant professor, who joins UAlbany from the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Zois’ research interests include decision making under uncertainty, machine learning, Internet of Things & e-health applications, detection & estimation theory, intelligent systems design, signal processing & communications, optimization, pervasive computing, sensor networks, and stochastic control and embedded systems. She received her Ph.D. from the University of 

Next Steps for CEAS

Boyer and his team are busy developing new undergraduate programs in electrical engineering and environmental engineering, as well as master’s and doctoral programs in electrical and computer engineering.

“In five years we project 1,600 students across eight disciplines in six departments, more than 60 faculty members, and $10 million annually (and growing) in extramural research expenditures.”

In addition, the College is working diligently to secure the $60 million funding necessary to renovate the Schuyler Building on UAlbany’s Downtown Campus which is designed to bring more than 1,100 students, faculty and researchers to that corridor of the City.”

Boyer added, “The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will be an important pipeline to meet unmet demand for engineers in the local and state economies, which is projected to grow by 27.4 percent between 2014 and 2024. However, demand for students may go unmet if the University does not have the resources to construct a building for the Engineering School, hire additional faculty and/or create new programs.”

The College’s new faculty are a part of the more than 70 new full-time faculty members who joined UAlbany this fall.

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