Who We Are

Our Team

Foundations for Research Computing is a collaborative network of students, faculty, leadership, and staff. Spanning multiple schools, departments, and central University administrative units, the Foundations team includes teachers, researchers, event planners, communicators, strategists, technology developers, and librarians. Please get to know us below!

  • Wei Yin is the Research Support & Data Services Librarian at Columbia University Libraries. She provides campus-wide one-on-one research consultations related to data wrangling and statistical analysis in Excel, R, Stata, and SPSS, leads library-based Stata workshops, and coordinates R open-labs for the team of Research Data Services at Columbia University Libraries. She also manages Columbia University Numeric Data Collection.

    Wei is currently Columbia University's official representative to the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), and is a member of The International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology (IASSIST).

    Wei joined Columbia University Libraries in March 2017. She earned a M.S. in Human Geography at Peking University, and a PhD in Economic Geography and International Business & World Trade at The State University of New York at Buffalo.

  • Victoria Hamilton created and directs the Office of Research Initiatives at Columbia University, reporting to the Executive Vice President for Research. This Office works across disciplines, schools, and campuses to foster interdisciplinary research collaboration, particularly among scientists, engineers, and medical researchers. The Office supports efforts to secure external funding for such collaborations, and administers a seed fund for very early-stage research that falls outside the traditional boundaries. The Office also focuses on helping plan and build research infrastructure, such as the Shared Research Computing Facility and the Columbia Nano Initiative facilities.

    Prior to joining Columbia in January 2007, Ms. Hamilton was a principal of The Washington Advisory Group, consulting with both industry and non-profits on the intersection of scientific and technical research and commerce (1999 to 2006). Previously, she was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of General American Investors, a NYSE-listed closed end investment fund (1992-1998), and for ten years a senior member in SRK Management Company, a private venture capital firm (1982-1992). Ms. Hamilton holds a BA and an MBA from Harvard University.

  • Shih-Fu Chang is the Richard Dicker Professor at Columbia University, with appointments in both Electrical Engineering Department and Computer Science Department. His research is focused on computer vision, machine learning, and multimedia information retrieval. A primary goal of his work is to develop intelligent systems that can extract rich information from the vast amount of visual data including those emerging on the Web, collected through pervasive sensing, or available in gigantic archives. His work on content-based visual search in the early 90's set the foundation of this vibrant area. Over the years, he has developed innovative solutions for image/video recognition, multimodal analysis, multimedia ontology, image forensics, and compact hashing for large-scale search. His work has had major impact on various applications like image/video search engines, online crime prevention, mobile search, AR/VR, and brain machine interfaces. His scholarly work can be seen in more than 350 peer-reviewed publications , best paper awards, more than 30 issued patents, and technologies licensed to companies. He was listed as the Most Influential Scholar in the field of Multimedia by Aminer in 2016. For his long-term contributions, he was awarded the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award, ACM Multimedia Special Interest Group Technical Achievement Award, the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Amsterdam, and the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award. He received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. He served as Chair of ACM SIGMM (2013-2017), Chair of Columbia Electrical Engineering Department (2007-2010), the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine (2006-8), and advisor for several institutions and companies. In his current capacity as Senior Executive Vice Dean of Columbia Engineering, he plays a key role in the School's strategic planning, special initiatives, international collaboration, and faculty development. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), ACM, and IEEE.

  • Satwinder is the Director of Enterprise Architecture at CU Information Technology in the office of CTO, which is responsible for setting enterprise-wide vision and strategy for CU Information Technology. 

    In his role, Satwinder builds consensus and develop collegial, collaborative working relationships with a broad range of constituencies in support of the University mission and ensure that the institution has the optimal technology direction. To enable standardization across CUIT, Satwinder established Enterprise Architecture practice and introduced standard frameworks like TOGAF, ITSM, DevOps and Agile. Satwinder help business leaders understand new opportunities and partner with them, as needed, for building transformational models to reap successful business outcomes.

    Prior to joining CU, Satwinder has spent over 15 years in Information technology in the Financials, E-commerce and Retail business verticals, architecting and managing software development.

  • Ryan Abernathey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and studies the physics of the ocean, trying to understand what makes the water move. His primary research interests include:

    • The role of ocean circulation (particularly the Southern Ocean) in the climate system
    • Dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and its overturning circulation
    • Mixing and transport by ocean eddies
  • Rob Lane is the Executive Director of Information Technology in the Department of Computer Science, where he is responsible for the management and direction of all aspects of technology for the Department. He previously served as the manager of the Research Computing Services team at CU Information Technology, where he focused on building and managing high-performance computing (HPC) clusters for research. He has also taught the for-credit class, COMS3102 "Using Linux," and has hosted many workshops covering introductory topics in Linux and high-performance computing.

    Prior to joining Columbia in 2005, Mr. Lane held a variety of hands-on technical roles in a series of internet start-up companies. Before the internet boom, he spent three years at IBM, where he worked on compiler development for the AS/400. Mr. Lane has a BSc Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario.

  • Rob Cartolano is Associate Vice President for Digital Programs and Technology Services for Columbia University Libraries/Information Services. His interest in Fedora Repository development is informed by his accomplishments at Columbia Libraries/Information Services, which include development of a digital preservation storage system, the opening of three new digital centers, as well as a Blacklight-based CLIO (Columbia Libraries Information Online) discovery service. He was formerly Director of the Library Information Technology Office at Columbia.

  • As Dean of Science of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I oversee Columbia’s nine science departments. We’ve launched a new capital campaign initiative - Columbia Science Commits - to advance fundamental science discovery, and to accelerate the knowledge needed to inform solutions in neuroscience, precision medicine, climate, big data, and nanoscience. 

    I’m the founding director of Columbia’s Center for Climate and Life. We mobilize over 120 scientists to understand how climate impacts life’s essentials -  the security of food, water, and shelter - and to explore sustainable energy solutions. We partner with industry, finance, and governments, transferring knowledge to build a more resilient, sustainable world.

    My research uses deep-sea sediments as archives of past climate change. Ocean sediments accumulate slowly but continuously and provide records of past changes in Earth climate and ocean circulation over a wide range of timescales, from centuries to millions of years. I’m currently interested in paleoclimate problems that inform human dimensions of climate change. 


  • Patrick Smyth is Program Coordinator for Foundations for Research Computing and a doctoral candidate in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Before starting at Foundations, Patrick led curriculum design for the Digital Research Institute, a week-long intensive course in digital methods at the Graduate Center. Patrick is a Python and Lisp programmer, and creates applications focused on accessibility and the public humanities. He has served as a developer for DH Box, an NEH-funded project to make the digital humanities more widely accessible, and has created a web app, the NEH Impact Index, to show the local impact of humanities funding on the public. Patrick is a former Fulbright Fellow, and is a Software Carpentry certified instructor.

  • Nicky Agate is interim director of digital scholarship and assistant director of scholarly communication at Columbia University. Before that, she headed up digital initiatives at the Modern Language Association, where she was responsible for Humanities CommonsMLA Commons, and CORE, an open-access, open-source repository for humanities research. A co-PI on the HuMetricsHSS project, which seeks to establish a framework for values-based assessment and evaluation in the humanities and social sciences, she teaches at the Force11 Scholarly Communication Institute, serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, and is editor-in-chief of The Idealis, an overlay journal that promotes quality open-access scholarship in library and information science. She holds a PhD in French Literature from NYU and an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa.

  • Michael is a Software Developer and Systems Administrator in the Department of Computer Science. He’s responsible for the programming and maintenance of internal software, as well as its related hardware infrastructure.  

    Prior to joining Columbia, Michael worked in a variety of technical roles including Systems Administration for the Department of Defense, and Systems Engineering for a Health & Wellness Media Platform. In 2016, Michael took leave from the industry and was admitted to the School of General Studies at Columbia University, where he graduated with a BA in Computer Science.

  • Michael Weisner, Research Systems Engineer for the Columbia University Population Research Center (CPRC), joined RCS in 2014. Michael supports the research activities of CPRC faculty and researchers on the Morningside and the Medical Center campuses, promotes the use of existing computer resources, and manages the Secure Data Enclave pilot service for sensitive data analysis. He also leads in the strategic technical planning activities for the CPRC, coordinates secure data management activities, oversees desktop/laptop support for CPRC associates, and acts as liason with IT groups across Columbia.  He has a B.A. from New York University's College of Arts and Science in Sociology & Environmental Studies.

  • Dean Mary C. Boyce leads the education and research mission of Columbia Engineering with more than 200 faculty, 1600 undergraduate students and 2600 graduate students.

    A strong advocate of interdisciplinary research and the translation of innovation to impact, she has increased faculty in cross-cutting fields, and recently launched an inspiring new vision for the school, Columbia Engineering for Humanity.

    Her own research focuses on materials and mechanics, particularly in the areas of multi-scale mechanics of polymers and soft composites, both those that are man-made and those formed naturally. She has been widely recognized for her scholarly achievements, including election as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.

    Dean Boyce earned her BS degree in engineering science and mechanics from Virginia Tech, and her MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.

  • Marii Nyrop is the Digital Humanities Developer for Columbia University Libraries, where she builds tools and elaborates methods for digital scholarship with a focus on process sustainability and data persistence. Marii is a core member of several​ labs for humanities and computing, including History Lab, the Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities, and the Immersive Reality Lab for the Humanities. Most recently, Marii developed minimal digital exhibition software​, ​taught an undergraduate course on the politics of networked cultures, and curated an international artists' residency on the topic of cloud computing. You can find her on GitHub at @mnyrop. Marii holds a BA from Hampshire College. 

  • Marc Spiegelman develops theoretical and computational tools to understand the dynamics and observable consequences of fluid flow in strongly deformable porous media. In particular, his group has been extending magma migration theory into a more general one that describes the interactions between solids and fluids in the earth. Current application areas include the flow of magma and fluids in the deep earth, reactive cracking for geological carbon sequestration, and the general integration of computational thermodynamics and geodynamics. He also has interests in the role of fluids in the earthquake process and deformation in water-ice systems.

    His computational research focuses on methods and software for more flexible exploration and solution of these and other multi-physics problems. In particular, his group has developed the open-source software package, TerraFERMA, that leverages several advanced computational libraries (FEniCS/PETSc/Spud) into a flexible model building systems for transparent and reproducible finite element modeling of multi-physics problems.

    Spiegelman received a B.A. in Geology from Harvard University in 1985 and a PhD in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Cambridge in 1989. He holds a joint appointment between the Departments of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (APAM) and Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES) where he is an Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He is also a member of the senior staff at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) and has multiple collaborations to integrate theoretical models with Lamont's strong observational and experimental programs in petrology, geochemistry, and mantle and cryosphere dynamics.

  • Maneesha has worked at CU Information Technology since 2001, and was appointed to AVP of Academic IT Solutions in June 2016.

    In her portfolio, Maneesha oversees teaching and learning and research services for the University. She has recently led successful projects in partnership with schools/departments across the University. These include to upgrade CourseWorks (twice, to Sakai in 2011 and Canvas in 2016), Sundial replacement project and launch of University-wide online evaluation system. Maneesha provides strategic leadership in the areas of research computing, RASCAL, and Info Ed teams.

  • Kyle Mandli is Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics. He comes to Columbia from the University of Texas at Austin where he was a Research Associate at the Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences working in the computational hydraulics group. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 2011 from the University of Washington studying multi-layered flow as it applies to storm-surge simulation. His research interests involve the computational and analytical aspects of geophysical shallow mass flows such as tsunamis, debris-flow and storm-surge. This also includes the development of advanced computational approaches, such as adaptive mesh refinement, leveraging new computational technologies, such as accelerators, and the application of good software development practices as applied more generally to scientific software.

  • John Pellman has been working at the Columbia University Libraries as a systems administrator since 2017.   At the libraries, he maintains computing infrastructure for many key services such as CLIO, Academic Commons, and a variety of open access journals.  Prior to Columbia, he worked at the Child Mind Institute / Nathan Kline Institute as a research assistant providing technical support for a neuroimaging toolbox and a large open access dataset (the Rockland Sample).  His academic computing / IT journey first began in the Language, Action and Brain Lab (now at University College London) when his first principal investigator taught him the wonders of bash tab completion.  Currently, his interests include open science, open data, scientific reproducibility, and data discoverability.  He has a BA in psychology / cognitive science from Oberlin College.

  • Jeannette M. Wing is Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. She came to Columbia in July 2017 from Microsoft, where she served as Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research, overseeing a global network of research labs. She is widely recognized for her intellectual leadership in computer science, particularly in trustworthy computing.  Jeannette's seminal essay, titled “Computational Thinking,” was published more than a decade ago and is credited with helping to establish the centrality of computer science to problem-solving in fields where previously it had not been embraced.

    Before joining Microsoft, Jeannette held positions at Carnegie Mellon University and at the National Science Foundation. She served Carnegie Mellon as Head of the Department of Computer Science and as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the School of Computer Science. At the National Science Foundation, she was Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, where she oversaw the federal government’s funding of academic computer science research. Her areas of research expertise include security and privacy; formal methods; programming languages; and distributed and concurrent systems. Jeannette has been recognized with distinguished service awards from the Computing Research Association and the Association for Computing Machinery. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from MIT.

  • Halayn Hescock is the Senior Director of Research Services at CU Information Technology, which supports the University’s mission of research by providing technology solutions.  

    Halayn has led the efforts for Research Administration and Compliance applications at Columbia since 1998, and also leads the Research Computing Services team, established in 2012, which is responsible for working with faculty to design solutions for research computation, storage, training, consulting, and security needs. RCS operates a growing shared HPC service for over 24 faculty research groups.

    Prior to coming to Columbia, Halayn spent 10 years in Information Technology in the Oil and Gas industry and Telecommunications, managing new software development.

  • George Garrett has been working at Columbia since 1998. Prior to joining the Research Computing Services team in April 2014, he collaborated closely with RCS to assist in the pilot, planning, and launch of the Hotfoot, Yeti, and Habanero HPC clusters. In his current role he is working on provisioning and expanding the HPC clusters and assisting in the introduction of new research computing initiatives. George has 15 years of experience in Linux system administration and has a keen interest in graphics programming, artificial intelligence, and decentralized technologies. He has a BA in Music and an MS in Technology Management, both from Columbia University.

  • Gaspare LoDuca is Vice President and CIO at Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT). He leads a team of over 300 employees responsible for providing students, faculty and staff with central computing and communications services.

    Prior to joining the University in 2015, Gaspare worked as the Technology Managing Director for the US Higher Education Practice at the global consulting firm Accenture, with over 17 years of experience of guiding major universities in developing and implementing technology strategies. Gaspare holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University and is a member of the Board of Directors of NYSERNet, a nonprofit advocate for the expansion of research services and internet provider to educational institutions across the state.

  • G. Michael Purdy, PhD, assumed the role of Executive Vice President for Research on February 1, 2011. Reporting directly to President Bollinger, Mike works closely with Provost John Coatsworth and other University leaders on research strategy, and they share the goal of fostering an environment that attracts the brightest and most creative faculty and students to pursue questions that will elucidate and improve our world.  His office also establishes and administers the policies that govern the conduct of research and oversees the management of its research programs.  It also assists investigators seeking external funding, promotes interdisciplinary research and awards seed money for early stage investigations. 

    He received his Ph. D. degree from the University of Cambridge in the UK in Marine Geophysics in 1974 and joined Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts as a Post Doctoral Scholar. Over the next 20 years he built a successful research group specializing in observational ocean bottom seismology, studying the structure and dynamics of the earth's crust beneath the ocean. In 1991 he became Chairman of the Department of Geology and Geophysics (G&G) at WHOI, one of the world's leading Marine G&G Departments, and spent four years gaining experience in both national and international marine science planning and administration. He is author or co-author of more than 60 research articles in peer reviewed journals, more than 20 other reports and articles, and more than 100 published conference abstracts.

    In 1995 he joined the Federal Government as Director of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation, and spent five years managing an annual budget of more than $200M - the primary source of funding for ocean sciences research in the nation's universities. While at NSF he established the new multi-disciplinary research program "Life in Extreme Environments" and built several valuable interagency collaborations.

    In 2000 he joined Columbia University as the Director of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the single largest unit of the Columbia Earth Institute. In this position his primary interests were in the building of a first class interdisciplinary research institution that leads the world, not only in the quality of its research, but also in its ability to relate the results of this research to earth issues of importance to humanity.  Over 120 PhD-level researchers, 80-90 graduate students and an increasing number of undergraduates work and study at the Observatory.

  • David Madigan is a professor of statistics at Columbia University and former chair of the Department of Statistics. He also serves as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Before coming to Columbia in 2007, Professor Madigan was dean of physical and mathematical sciences at Rutgers University. He is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Christopher is a PhD student in the Billinge Lab within the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and the Brookhaven Ngrew up in Rockville Centre, New York. He attended Brown University where he earned a BS with honors in Chemical Physics. He worked with Prof. Shouheng Sun on electrochemical CO2 reduction and the structural dynamics of nanoparticles. After working at Brookhaven National Laboratory as a summer intern, he attended the University of South Carolina, working with Prof. Xiao-Dong Zhou on the atomic structure of solid oxide fuel cell components and earned a masters in Chemical Engineering. He joined the Billinge Group in 2016 and is currently working on analysis pipelines, data processing techniques and simulation software for PDF. In his free time Christopher develops for open source projects, plays woodwind instruments, enjoys good scotch and works out by playing squash.

  • My research focuses on predicting various materials properties using theoretical and computational methodologies. In particular, I am interested in materials which have potential applications for energy storage or conversion, such as battery cathodes, nuclear reactor fuels, thermoelectrics, hydrogen storage materials, etc. Understanding and capturing the physics of such a broad array of phenomena requires the use of a broad range of theories and techniques. Techniques applied in my research group range from classical molecular dynamics to density functional theory to the dynamical mean-field theory.

    From a fundamental perspective, I am most interested in materials where the electronic correlations are strong and conventional techniques such as density functional theory fail to describe observation. Strongly correlated materials are among the most exciting materials in that they exemplify some of the deepest theoretical mysteries in condensed matter physics and possess strong potential for applications. Some examples are f-electron systems like Plutonium, the cuprate high-temperature superconductors, manganite systems displaying colossal magneto-resistance, the cobaltates which are used for rechargeable batteries and have a large thermoelectric power, heavy Fermion materials, etc.

  • Cesar Arias is a Research Systems Engineer within CU Information Technology's Research Computing Services team. In his role, Cesar works with Columbia researchers, CU Information Technology technical teams, and external research computing resources on the ongoing support, planning, and design of CU's Research Computing Services.

    Over the past 15 years, Cesar has worked for companies such as Costco Wholesale, JPMorgan Chase, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and IBM, providing leadership, support, and architecture of various system applications. Cesar has a BA in Computer Science from Manhattan College.

  • Brian Luna Lucero is the Digital Projects Librarian for Columbia University Libraries. In that role, he helps Columbia faculty and librarians develop online exhibits and digital collections based in the library's archives. He was previously Digital Repository Coordinator, overseeing cataloging and metadata for Columbia’s institutional repository, Academic Commons. Brian has a PhD in history from the University of New Mexico.

  • Barbara Rockenbach, Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning, has a held a series of user-focused positions in the Yale University Libraries, JSTOR, and the Columbia University Libraries. The focus of her work has been on the intersection of collections, technology, and pedagogy including advancing research and learning through visual literacy, research education, and digital humanities. She has published and presented extensively in these areas and serves as a board member of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, a position that amplifies her commitment to public scholarship. At Columbia, Rockenbach has worked closely with faculty and students in the humanities as the Director of the History and Humanities Libraries, and has also had interim leadership roles in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and as the Associate University Librarian for Collections & Services.

    Rockenbach holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in Art History from Hunter College, and a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois.

  • Ann Thornton is Vice Provost and University Librarian for Columbia University in the City of New York, where she is responsible for one of the top five academic research library systems in North America with world-class physical and digital collections and expert staff in support of research, teaching, and learning. 

    She came to Columbia in June 2015 after serving for nearly two decades at the New York Public Library, where she was most recently the Andrew W. Mellon Director, a position she held since 2012, with responsibility for research and reference services, collection development, preservation, fellowships, and exhibitions. Ms. Thornton’s previous roles at the New York Public Library included Director of Reference and Research Services, Associate Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, and Assistant Director of Electronic Resources for the Science, Industry and Business Library.

    Early in her career, Ms. Thornton served as a systems librarian at the University of Houston Libraries. She was a Leadership Fellow in a program sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and currently serves on the board of that organization. Additionally, Ms. Thornton serves on the New York State Education Department’s Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries and on the Council of Experts for the National Academic Library and Information Systems Foundation of Bulgaria.  

  • I'm a lecturer at the Data Science Institute at Columbia University and author of the O'Reilly book "Introduction to machine learning with Python", describing a practical approach to machine learning with python and scikit-learn. I am one of the core developers of the scikit-learn machine learning library, and I have been co-maintaining it for several years. I'm also a Software Carpentry instructor. In the past, I worked at the NYU Center for Data Science on open source and open science, and as Machine Learning Scientist at Amazon. You can find my full cv here.

    My mission is to create open tools to lower the barrier of entry for machine learning applications, promote reproducible science and democratize the access to high-quality machine learning algorithms.

  • Alan has worked for Columbia for over 35 years. In the spring of 2015, he transitioned from leading the Technology Infrastructure group to crafting the strategic vision and roadmap for technology and enterprise architecture across the University. He leads a comprehensive Architecture Steering Committee to ensure that all decisions are appropriately aligned with the strategic objectives of both CUIT and the University as a whole. Alan holds both a BS and MS in Computer Science from SEAS at Columbia and is President of the Armstrong Memorial Research Foundation.

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