Never before has the University played so central a role
in generating the fundamental insights and developing the basic technology which will shape humanity’s future. The researchers and visionaries profiled here illustrate the ways Clarkson faculty members are working at the cutting edge of biometric security techniques, modeling dynamic systems as diverse as the spread of oil and the spread of gossip, creating biofuel-producing organisms, interpreting complex pricing mechanisms in the global economy, and forecasting how knowledge is managed and communication reimagined in our electronic, information-saturated world.
Technology’s promise for the future is being realized today at Clarkson.
Larry Compeau understands consumers
better than they understand themselves.
Compeau has devoted much of his professional life to understanding how and why consumers behave the way they do in response to shifts in the marketplace.
And in today’s economic downturn, Compeau says, “Cost is king.”
“Consumers drive the marketplace,” he says. “And consumer demand for low-cost products has never been higher. For companies, the pricing strategy is no longer one component in an overall marketing scheme; it is the most significant part of a business model.”
Consumer protection laws bar companies from engaging in deceptive pricing strategies, but that doesn’t always stop them. Compeau is the go-to expert in legal cases when companies stand accused of making misrepresentations of pricing to the public. He has been called on to provide expert testimony in numerous cases, including actions against a major computer manufacturer and a major Internet retailer for deceptive price advertising.
His impact in the field is reflected in his numerous book contributions and influential articles. He was recently named editor of special issues on pricing for two top journals in the field: the Journal of Retailing and the Journal of Product & Brand Management.
A severed hand.
Fingers carried in ziplock bags. Back alley eye replacement surgery. These are scenarios used in blockbuster movies like “Minority Report” and “Tomorrow Never Dies” to illustrate how unsavory characters in high-tech worlds beat sophisticated biometric security and identification systems.
Sound fantastic? Maybe not.
As security systems become more advanced, so do the methods used by hackers to beat the systems. That’s where Stephanie Schuckers comes in.
Schuckers is one of America’s top experts in biometric computer security. Her work focuses on developing computer formulas that can authenticate biometric material and protect biometric security systems from hackers. Her research has been funded by the Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Air Force Research Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
With Schuckers’ expertise in the area, the NSF designated Clarkson the lead site for its Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), one of NSF’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers.
Social networks. Disease outbreaks.
Plankton blooms. The flow of information.
Where some see chaos, Erik Bollt sees order and patterns.
Bollt is an expert in nonlinear dynamical systems, and in particular, using these skills to model physical phenomena. He takes complicated systems, reduces them to their essential data features and analyzes the behavior of the system, often including computer models to characterize the behaviors and predict the outcomes. These models can reveal future behavior, such as how a disease — or even a rumor — will spread.
When the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf, scientists needed to predict how and where the oil would spread to minimize coastal damage. Using satellite monitoring data and oceanographic flow data, Bollt developed a method of transport analysis of the oil based on the flow dynamics of the Gulf.
Bollt has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and his research is supported by governmental agencies, including the NSF, the NIH, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Office and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as corporate sponsors.
Johndan Johnson-Eilola has an interesting
take on information, its organization and management.
His ideas on the “datacloud,” or the environment of information we live in — whether in the real world or the virtual world — have earned him an international reputation and a following in the technical communication field. One of the first to use the term datacloud to refer to the entire intellectual atmosphere around us, Johnson-Eilola says that we all build up a cloud of information around us, and reach into it and restructure it into new material. It is this restructuring that creates new value and meaning out of old information.
Johnson-Eilola has a term for that, too. It’s called “assemblage,” a word he uses to refer to a text built primarily from existing texts. Think of the use of remixing in the creation of new songs.
He explores these ideas in his numerous award-winning articles and books, including Datacloud: Toward a New Theory of Online Work. His work is frequently cited by scholars in the field and routinely assigned in technical communication courses at universities across the country.
Evgeny Katz has a lot of numbers
he can point to when he talks about his scientific success — millions of dollars in research funding, for instance. Or his 2011 inclusion on the Hirsch (or H-) Index of the world’s most cited chemists.
Katz’s H score is 66, which means that he has written 66 papers (among more than 300) that have been cited at least 66 times each. Two of his papers have been cited more than 1,000 times. That places the Clarkson professor among the most influential chemists in the world.
Katz and his team of more than a dozen researchers work on the chemical building blocks for technologies that combine biology and nanotechnology. Recently, Katz implanted a biofuel cell in a living snail. This is the first incidence of a battery creating sustainable electrical power using a living creature’s own glucose as fuel.
“This could lead to cyborg snails powering medical devices in the future,” says Katz. For now the team is experimenting with other creatures.
Enter the lobster.