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 research consultations and data literacy instructions related to data finding, data wrangling and data analysis (using Excel, R, Stata, SPSS and Python), and lead library-based Stata and R workshops for the team of Research Data Services at Columbia University Libraries. She also manages Columbia University Numeric Data Collection.
Wei joined FORC when it was initiated in 2018 and she is a Data Carpentry Instructor, certified by The Carpentries, a global community teaching foundational computational and data science skills to researchers in academia, industry and government.
Wei is currently Columbia University's official representative to the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), Columbia University’s representative at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, and 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.
Tian Zheng is currently Professor and Department Chair of Statistics at Columbia University. She obtained her Ph.D. from Columbia in 2002. In her research, she develops novel methods for exploring and understanding patterns in complex data from different application domains such as biology, psychology, climatology, and etc. Her current projects are in the fields of statistical machine learning, spatiotemporal modeling, and social network analysis, collaborating with ecologists and earth scientists. Professor Zheng’s research has been recognized by the 2008 Outstanding Statistical Application Award from the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Mitchell Prize from ISBA, and a Google research award. She became a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2014. Professor Zheng is passionate about education and mentoring. From 2015-2016, she was one of the series creators for Columbia’s edX Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) series on data science. From 2017-2020, she was associate director for education of Columbia Data Science Institute. She led a number of education programs, including the MS in Data Science program at Columbia, data science capstone projects with data ethics components, DSI Scholars program that connects students with academic research projects in data science, the Collaboratory program for interdisciplinary data science curriculum development, a number of popular Data Science boot camps. She created DSI’s working group on Data Science Education and has been coordinating data science education efforts across Columbia. Professor Zheng is the receipt of the 2017 Columbia’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. In 2021, she was recognized by a Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award that recognizes the excellence of faculty as teachers and mentors of both undergraduate and graduate students.
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 Sr. 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.
PhD Candidate studying abstraction, generalization, and decision-making.
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.
Mary C Boyce is a Professor of Engineering at Columbia University. She was Provost of Columbia University from July 2021 to June 2023. From 2013 to 2021, she was Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor. In that role, she led the education and research mission of Columbia Engineering with more than 230 faculty, 1,700 undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students.
A strong advocate for interdisciplinary research and innovation, Boyce significantly increased the faculty in cross-cutting fields, expanded funding for faculty and student research together with design and entrepreneurship programming, and strengthened outreach efforts to attract diverse talent to Engineering. During her tenure, she also oversaw a robust program of renovations, build-outs, and expansions to spaces, including research laboratories, shared facilities, undergraduate teaching laboratories, gathering spaces, and creation of the Columbia Makerspace. In 2016, she launched an inspiring new vision for the school, Columbia Engineering for Humanity.
Boyce’s own research focuses on nonlinear mechanics of soft materials; 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. Most recently, Boyce was recognized with the ASME 2020 Timoshenko Medal, considered the highest scholarly recognition in the field of applied mechanics.
She earned her BS degree in engineering science and mechanics from Virginia Tech, and her MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.
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. She added Emerging Technologies to her portfolio in 2018.
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 Associate 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.
Kitty Kay Chan is a Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies and also serves as Academic Director for the Master of Science in Applied Analytics program. Dr. Chan specializes in quantitative analyses for practical application in regulatory oversight, law enforcement, performance and damage valuation, strategic development, and policy assessment. Her career has spanned state and federal government as well as the private sector and academia. She has experience with a wide range of industries, including agriculture, computers, electric utilities, entertainment, financial services, health care, internet, telecommunications, transportation, public integrity and safety, and real estate.
Prior to joining SPS, Dr. Chan led data analytics efforts for New York State. As the Chief Data Analytics Officer, she served as the State’s expert in data analytics and worked with stakeholders to develop strategies and build analytics products to derive actionable information from data across State agencies and functions. Before that, Dr. Chan served as the Chief Economist at the New York State Department of Financial Services, which supervises and regulates thousands of banks, insurance companies, public pensions, and other financial institutions. She oversaw quantitative analysis and provided expert advice and evaluation including risk assessment, pricing, regulation design, emerging economic and industry trends, data management, and investigations.
Dr. Chan also served as the Chief Economist and Director of Audit and Examination for the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, and as a Deputy Inspector General for the New York State Inspector General’s Office. She built and led a new quantitative analysis division at each of these entities to monitor and investigate waste, fraud and abuse, and implement strategies to improve efficiency and transparency through audits and examinations. Previously, as the Director of Economics for the New York State Office of the Attorney General and in her positions at the US Federal Communication Commission, the US Department of Agriculture, and a private economic consulting firm, Dr. Chan applied quantitative techniques to a range of legal, regulatory, and policy issues, including mergers, bid rigging, market timing, utility rate filings, economic development, and international trade and investment.
Dr. Chan has published in academic journals, books, and technical reports, and has served as an expert in litigations, investigations, regulatory filings, professional trainings and global initiatives. She has taught and been a Research Fellow at New York University. She was a National Science Foundation Fellow and holds a B.A., M.A., as well as a Ph.D. in Economics, and a Doctoral Certificate in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Engineering from the University of Southern California.
Jonathan Reeve is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, specializing in computational analysis of literature. He leads the projects Corpus-DB, a scriptable textual corpus database and API for the digital humanities; and Open Editions, richly-annotated TEI XML scholarly editions of public domain literature.
Jeannette M. Wing is the Executive Vice President for Research at Columbia University and Professor of Computer Science. In her EVPR role, she has overall responsibility for the University’s research enterprise at all New York locations and internationally. The New York locations include the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Nevis Laboratories. She joined Columbia in 2017 as the inaugural Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute.
Prior to Columbia, Dr. Wing was Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research, served on the faculty and as department head in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, and served as Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Wing’s research contributions have been in the areas of trustworthy AI, security and privacy, specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her 2006 seminal essay, titled "Computational Thinking,’’ is credited with helping to establish the centrality of computer science to problem-solving in fields where previously it had not been embraced, and thereby influencing K-12 and university curricula worldwide.
She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. She received distinguished service awards from the ACM and the Computing Research Association and an honorary doctorate degree from Linköping University, Sweden. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in computer science, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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.
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.
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.
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.