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NSF awards 10 Cornell faculty Early Career Development grants

13
Apr '07
Ten Cornell researchers have been awarded Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) this year. NSF established the awards to emphasize the importance the foundation places on the early stages of academic careers dedicated to stimulating the discovery process, in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning.

Kavita Bala, assistant professor of computer science, received a five-year, $450,000 grant to create a more realistic computer-generated "virtual reality." Bala's approach will take advantage of the limitations of human perception, supplying the features that an observer will notice while ignoring others. The method will produce visually realistic images of scale-complex scenes that include indirect lighting, motion blur and light scattering.

Robert Kleinberg, assistant professor of computer science, received $400,000 over five years to develop algorithms (the underlying strategies on which computer programs are based) that can make the best possible decision in situations where all the variables are not known. Kleinberg's approach aims to discover decision-making procedures with provable performance guarantees, using what he calls the "power of agency", i.e., the decision-maker's ability to go out and collect the information it needs in order to improve its choices.

Aaron Wagner, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, with a grant of $400,000 over five years, will work on the way compression of such audio and video images as JPEGs and mp3 music files is handled in distributed networks, such as peer-to-peer file-sharing or wireless "mesh" networks where several users wirelessly share their Internet connections.

Sunil Bhave, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received $400,000 over five years to study dielectrically transduced MEMS resonators for communication and computation. The project proposal focuses on the key challenges for solid and liquid dielectrically transduced, high-quality factor radio-frequency resonators, including tuning methods, electrode optimization, substrate isolation and large array synchronization behavior.


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