December 11, 2013
Movshon Wins “Golden Brain” Award for Research on the Neuroscience of Vision
J. Anthony Movshon, director of NYU’s Center for Neural Science, was named the recipient of Minerva Foundation’s 2013 Golden Brain Award “for his foundational contributions to the field of visual neuroscience,” the organization said in announcing the honor.
The award, now in its 29th year, recognizes outstanding contributions in vision and brain research.
Movshon, also a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, predicted and discovered the existence of neurons in the brain that enable global motion perception, which is at work when we process the complex visual scenes that surround us. “I was looking for what I considered to be the holy grail,” he says. “No one else had ever used perceptual evidence as the basis for a search for neurons involved in a higher-order stage of visual cortical analysis.”
Courant’s LeCun Recognized for Technological Breakthroughs in ‘Deep Learning’
Yann LeCun, a professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has been named the recipient of the IEEE Neural Networks Pioneer Award, which is given by the Computational Intelligence Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The award, which recognizes contributions to the field at least 15 years prior to the award, will be given to LeCun during the institute’s 2014 World Congress on Computational Intelligence in Beijing in July.
LeCun is one of the leading scientists behind the recent surge of interest in “deep learning”—the latest development in artificial intelligence in which researchers aim to emulate humans’ auditory and visual systems. Deep learning methods, particularly convolutional networks, are used for a wide variety of applications—including speech and image recognition—by companies such as Google, NEC, Microsoft, IBM, and Baidu.
Earlier this year, LeCun became the founding director of NYU’s Center for Data Science, a research and education institution focused on the automatic extraction of knowledge from data and on the application of massive data analysis to science, medicine, business, and government.
NIH Awards Grant for New NYU-Step Program Created to Bolster Biomedical Research Training
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a five-year grant to Keith J. Micoli, postdoctoral program director of NYU’s Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, and Carol Shoshkes Reiss, a professor in the Department of Biology and the Center for Neural Science at NYU, to enhance the training of biomedical graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to prepare them for a wide range of careers.
“We believe that creating a comprehensive training infrastructure and a defined career planning and exploration pathway will result in a more efficient, effective, and satisfying training experience,” says Micoli. “We will transform the nature of scientific training at NYU from a one-size-fits-all approach into a tailored program that can be broadly applicable across institutions nationally.”
The grant, totaling just under $2 million, is among the first given under NIH’s Broadening Experience in Scientific Training awards program. It will fund the new NYU Scientific Training Enhancement Program (NYU-STEP), a partnership between NYU School of Medicine and NYU. The program will help prepare approximately 1,100 trainees, including postdoctoral scholars and PhD students, in the sciences for careers that extend beyond university campuses and into the for-profit industry, government, communication, and non-profit corporations.
Historian Wosh Recognized by Society of American Archivists
Peter Wosh, director of NYU’s Archives and Public History program, received the 2013 Council Exemplary Service Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA).
“The award recognizes a special contribution to the archives profession, and especially to SAA,” the organization said in its announcement.
Wosh, a professor in the Department of History, served as SAA Publications Editor from February 2007 through February 2013. During his tenure, 20 books were published by SAA and joint opportunities were pursued with allied publishers. Wosh also pursued collaborations with the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan to publish Campus Case Studies series and with Brigham Young University to publish The Interactive Archivist.
Carter Journalism Institute’s James McBride Receives National Book Award
James McBride, distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for his Civil War-era novel, The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead).
McBride’s previous works include:
The Color of Water and Miracle at St. Anna, which Spike Lee (Tisch ’82, Honorary ’98) turned into a film of the same title, as well as Song Yet Sung, also set in the Civil War era.
In a cover page review of The Good Lord Bird for The New York Times Book Review, Baz Dreisinger wrote that aspects of the book “signaled a new way of talking—indeed joking—about race in America today.”
Hardware Security Researchers Take Top Honors
A doctoral student, an undergraduate student, and faculty members of NYU-Poly and NYU Abu Dhabi took top honors at the Conference on Computer and Communications Security, the premier annual event of the Special Interest Group on Security, Audit, and Control of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Their paper was chosen from among 530 submissions for the Best Student Paper Award.
The team, comprised of NYU-Poly doctoral candidate Jeyavijayan (JV)
Rajendran, undergraduate student
Michael Sam, NYU Abu Dhabi assistant professor of computer engineering Ozgur Sinanoglu, and NYU-Poly professor of electrical and computer engineering Ramesh Karri, presented their paper, “Security Analysis of Integrated Circuit Camouflaging,” at the ACM conference in Berlin in early November.
Cybersecurity Researcher Joins the Ranks of the ‘Brilliant’
NYU-Poly’s Justin Cappos joins an elite group of 10 young researchers named by Popular Science magazine as this year’s “Brilliant 10.” Cappos, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering, was recognized primarily for his work on Seattle, a free open-source cloud computing system that allows anyone to experience the Internet from the perspective of any location around the globe. Although some users employ Seattle for content distribution or to circumvent censorship, it also provides a safe platform for students to experiment with cybersecurity, mobile devices, and the Web. A dozen universities around the world have already used Seattle in 45 classes, mainly to study networking and cybersecurity.
NYU-Poly Professor Honored for Contributions to Nonlinear Control Theory and Design
Zhong-Ping Jiang, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NYU-Poly, has been named a fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control in recognition of his fundamental contributions to nonlinear control theory and design and applications to underactuated mechanical, communications, and biological systems.
Jiang has recently shifted his research on the mathematics and feedback mechanisms behind control systems to emerging fields such as the smart electrical grid, intelligent transportation systems, social networks, and the smartest and most complex control system of all: the human brain. Working with neuroscientists and his students, he hopes to use the knowledge gained in researching mechanical systems to explain and relieve neurological diseases in which feedback is problematic, such as Parkinson’s and schizophrenia. The National Science Foundation has been among the sponsors of his research into the broad scope of nonlinear dynamical systems and feedback control.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Awards Maurizio Porfiri
Maurizio Porfiri, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU-Poly, has been given the ASME Dynamic Systems and Controls Division 2013 Outstanding Young Investigator Award for his contributions to biomimetic underwater robotics and collective dynamics of networked dynamical systems.
Porfiri’s most widely known research centers on biomimetic robotic fish to aid the understanding of animal collective behavior. They may someday result in robots that could lead live fish away from dangerous areas. Beyond his fundamental contribution to this emerging domain of ethorobotics, Porfiri has made substantial contributions to the field of network theory, dynamical systems, and multiphysics modeling of complex systems.