Fall 2022 Seminar Series Schedule

NYU CUSP is pleased to host our annual Research Seminar Series, featuring leading voices in the growing field of urban informatics. The seminars will examine real-world challenges facing cities and urban environments around the world, with topics ranging from citizen and social sciences to smart infrastructure. See the Fall 2022 schedule below and stay tuned for updates!

NOTE: Seminars will be held either in-person or virtually on Zoom. In-person seminars will not include a live streaming option, but will be recorded and posted to this page for viewing afterwards. Additionally, in-person seminars are only open to faculty, students, and staff at NYU – they are not open to the public. Virtual seminars will also be recorded and posted to this page. 

Smartwatches provide rich sets of pulsatile physiological data under various modalities and circumstances. An unexploited capability is that the pulsatile physiological time series collected by wrist-worn wearable devices can be used for recovering internal brain dynamics. Two design classes of closed-loop smartwatch-brain interface architectures related to cognitive stress for tracking arousal and fatigue states are presented. The methods are validated by analyzing experimental electrodermal activity and cortisol data as well as simulation studies in the context of cognitive-stress-related arousal and fatigue. Results demonstrate a promising approach for tracking and regulating neurocognitive stress through wearable devices. Since smartwatches can be used conveniently in one’s daily life, smartwatch-brain interface architectures have a great potential to monitor and regulate one’s neurocognitive stress seamlessly in real-world situations. 

Dr. Rose T. Faghih is an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at the New York University (NYU) where she directs the Computational Medicine Laboratory. Prior to joining NYU, she was an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston. She received a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in Electrical Engineering (Honors Program Citation) from the University of Maryland, and S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from MIT, where she was a member of the MIT Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems as well as the MIT-Harvard Neuroscience Statistics Research Laboratory. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT as well as the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Rose is the recipient of various awards including an MIT Technology Review 2020 Innovator Under 35 award, a 2020 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a 2020 Research Excellence award as well as a 2020 Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering, a 2016 IEEE-USA New Face of Engineering award, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, an MIT Graduate Fellowship, and the University of Maryland’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair’s Award. In 2020, Rose was featured by the IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine as a “Woman to Watch”. Her research interests include wearable technologies, medical cyber-physical systems, neural and biomedical signal processing, as well as control, estimation, and system identification of biomedical and neural systems.

December 2nd, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  | 370 Jay St, Room 1201 (in-person only)

The Earth system is a very complex and dynamical one basing on various feedbacks. This makes predictions and risk analysis even of very strong (sometime extreme) events as floods, landslides, heatwaves, and earthquakes etc. a challenging task. After introducing physical models for weather forecast already in 1922 by L.F. Richardson, a fundamental open problem has been the understanding of basic physical mechanisms and exploring anthropogenic influences on climate. In 2021 Hasselmann and Manabe got the Physics Nobel Price for their pioneering works on this. I will shortly review their main seminal contributions. Next, I will introduce a recently developed approach via complex networks mainly to analyze strong climate events. This leads to an inverse problem: Is there a backbone-like structure underlying the climate system? To treat this problem, we have proposed a method to reconstruct and analyze a complex network from spatio-temporal data. This approach enables us to uncover relations to global and regional circulation patterns in oceans and atmosphere, which leads to construct substantially better predictions, in particular for the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon, extreme rainfall in South America, the Indian Ocean Dipole and tropical cyclones but also to understand phase transition in the past climate.

Juergen Kurths is a Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at the Humboldt University Berlin and a Senior Advisor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Before joining this, he was Professor at the University of Potsdam and the Max-Planck Society. Professor Kurths is internationally recognized for his research on complex synchronization phenomena,  complexnetworks, time series analysis and their applications in climatology, sustainability research, physiology, and engineering. His main recent interests are inferring complex networks from spatio-temporal data in climatology to characterize the underlyingdynamics and to get new kinds of predictions of extreme events there. This has enabled him to get a successful prediction of the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon, El Nino, or the Indian Ocean Dipole with a strongly extended prediction horizon. Another main direction is to develop stability concepts for complex networks. The new characteristics, basin stability, proposed by him has opened new ways for the design of future power grids where a large amount of renewable energy is included and to estimate risks for power grids due to extreme climate events. Professor Kurths is a fellow of the Academia Europaea, the American Physical Society, the Network Science Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was awarded the Fry Richardson medal of the EGU, the Alexander von Humboldt research award and the Lagrange price. He got several Honorary Doctorates and Honorary Professors.

December 16th, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  |  Zoom (virtual only)

Did you miss a seminar? Watch the recordings from Fall 2022:

Explanations for query results have been the subject of extensive research. The advantages of such explanations are evident, as they allow users to validate and justify the results of the query and deepen their knowledge about the data. However, when the query is proprietary and needs to remain confidential or when the data is cloaked by privacy restrictions, such explanations may be detrimental to the privacy desiderata. This tradeoff raises the question “can we provide useful explanations while maintaining the privacy requirements of the query and data?”

In this talk, I will present two recent works that attempt to reconcile these gaps. I will begin by discussing our work for providing provenance-based explanations for query results, while ensuring that a proprietary query remains hidden using a privacy model inspired by k-anonymity. I will proceed by presenting our work on providing predicate-based explanations for aggregate query results, while ensuring differential privacy. 

Amir Gilad is a postdoctoral researcher in the Database Group at Duke University. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tel Aviv university. His work focuses on developing tools and algorithms that assist users in understanding and gaining insights into data and the systems that manipulate it. His research relates to classic database tools such as data provenance, as well as natural language processing, causal inference, and privacy. 

Amir is the recipient of the VLDB best paper award, the SIGMOD research highlight award, and the Google Ph.D. fellowship for Structured Data and Database Management. 

Sept 30th, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  |  370 Jay St, Room 1201 (in-person only)

A new international joint venture oriented towards strengthening the inclusive development of the Global South over the next decades will be discussed in an way to foster “Human Agency” and the governance of “Data Ecologies” towards greening our economies, promoting healthier societies and reduce inequalities in the Digital age. It includes a new network of Data Centers for Earth Observation and related scientific, technological and innovation activities for blue and green growth, in fully compliance with cybersecurity

The goal is to help accomplish the target of greening our economies and promoting Sustainable and Healthy Territories, together with achieving carbon neutrality, or “net zero”, by 2050, through pilot projects providing capacity building and fostering new jobs through community-based participatory research and innovation.

The research program considers emerging trends in technology policy and paradigms in technological innovation in terms of the uncertainties we all face to deal with digital, ecological and demographic transitions, including those in association with the convergence of digital systems with physical, natural and medical sciences, as well as data and urban sciences, but in a context of a required improved understanding of “Human agency” and related collective behaviors. The challenge is to establish “Technology, Policy and Human Agency” as a field of study that focuses on complex systems and products, viewing those systems and products in their broad human, social, cultural and economic context. This requires a revisited approach of skill development, behavioral analysis, institutional innovation and smart regulation, based on a transdisciplinary commitment towards integrative analysis of data ecologies, systems design and policy research.

To address this challenge, the seminar will derive from the hypothesis that current challenges associated with increasing uncertainties and systemic crises in all our modern societies, require a novel understanding of the dynamics of emerging data ecologies integrated with complex network systems and collective behaviors in a way to promote our global well-being and accelerate the path towards carbon neutrality, avoiding a climate disaster.

The analysis takes into account emerging forms of knowledge production and diffusion in a decentralized and AI supported digital age 3 and will be focused on complex landscapes, including urban systems and rural landscapes among other complex systems (e.g., forests and the ocean), which are particularly critical for the required green transition of our societies, together with our global well-being.

Following the growth of urban areas worldwide, cities and rural landscapes have become increasingly complex and their evolution towards carbon neutrality require interdisciplinary approaches that builds upon new “data ecologies”. This requires making use of satellite-based high-resolution images, oriented towards carbon sensing, integrated with in-situ information and new data collection systems, which may offer a new way of thinking about cities and other landscapes if conveniently integrated with advanced analysis of social, economic and cultural interactions together with forms of “Responsible AI”. Different typologies of cities and emerging developments in low-density rural areas provide sample case studies for new in-depth analyses based on high-resolution carbon mapping and observation.

In addition, understanding patterns of potential technical change in urban and rural areas in any world region requires a comprehensive analysis of landscape design in terms of related socio-political and cultural dynamics, including the levels and paths of social stratification, income distribution and the opportunities for social mobility across our diversified regional contexts.

The research work will be reported as an example of the need to focus upon in-depth knowledge of real social, political and economic processes of successful science, technology and knowledge-based developments over the last decades in Europe, the Americas and Africa. The foreseen critical policy framework will address key policies and policy instruments aimed at reinforcing and consolidating knowledge based economies in emerging societies in Atlantic regions.

Manuel Heitor is a professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) the engineering school at the University of Lisbon. He served as Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education for the Government of Portugal in the period November 2015-March 2022 and as the Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education from March 2005 to June 2011. Overall, he served more than 12 years in the Government of Portugal and, among many other initiatives, he promoted the program Go-Portugal – Global Science and Technology Partnerships Portugal and the Atlantic International Research Centre – AIR centre. He helped to develop the Portuguese and European Space strategies, as well enforce research and
innovation policies, including Advanced Computing for Europe.

He founded and directed the IST´s Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research which was named as one of the Top 50 Global Centers of Research on Management of Technology by the International Association for the Management of Technology (IAMOT) in 2005. He coordinated the IST´s doctoral programs in engineering and public policy (EPP) and engineering design and advanced manufacturing”. In 2011-12, he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University. In 2022 he was awarded with an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology from Carnegie Mellon University, USA, and was nominated Distinguished Institute Professor at IST, University of Lisbon.

In 1985, he earned a Ph.D. at Imperial College in London in combustion research and did post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. He then began an academic career at IST where he pursued research and teaching in the areas of energy and the environment. Heitor served as the deputy-president of IST from 1993-1998 and has been involved in several initiatives on the study of science, technology and innovation policies, including higher education policies and management. Since 1995, he has been a research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin’s IC2 Institute. He was a founding member of the S&T Council of the International Risk Governance Council, IRGC and of Globelics: the Global Network for the Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence-building Systems. Manuel Heitor has published over 130 scientific articles and supervised over 40 post-grad students. He is co-author of, among others, New Ideas for the University (in Portuguese, IST Press, 1998) and Innovation for All? (Praeger, 2005). He was co-editor of the book series on Technology Policy and Innovation, launched by Greenwood Publishing Group and continued by Purdue University Press.

Currently, Manuel holds a Visiting Professorship at NYU, in the Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Marron Institute.

Oct 3rd, 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm ET  |  370 Jay St, Room 1201 (in-person only)

Our laboratory investigates impactful problems related to sustainability through application of chemical reaction engineering principles. There is a need for autonomous laboratory-scale flow reactors that can high-throughput screen and generate sufficient experimental data to decipher reaction kinetics and mechanisms. Integration of in-situ spectroscopic methods with microfluidics and their automation creates the possibility of computers working synchronously with a handful of key experiments. Thus, the design of artificial intelligence and machine learning methods with continuous-flow microreactors for faster discovery has become a central theme in most of our research. Rethinking how we perform laboratory experiments can reduce the chemical waste, facilities energy requirements, make experiments safer, and it can yield molecular-scale information needed for predictive models in applications across the chemicals, energy, healthcare, and materials industries. This three-part seminar will summarize our recent findings in i) materials synthesis and processing science, ii) catalytic olefin polymerizations, and iii) electrification of chemical synthesis by microplasmas, with emphasis placed on the energy transition for a sustainable future.

Ryan L. Hartman is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Prof. Hartman completed his postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge), his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University (Houghton). He is appointed to the Faculty Senate Council of New York University and the Faculty Executive Committee of NYU Tandon.  He has served in various executive leadership roles for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the President-Elect and Member of the Executive Board of Directors of the International Symposia of Chemical Reaction Engineering (ISCRE), and a Member of the Advisory Board of Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, a Royal Society of Chemistry Journal. He is also a thrust lead in the Center for Decarbonizing Chemical Manufacturing Using Sustainable Electrification (DC-MUSE).  He has been honored as Visiting Assistant Professor of the Institute of Condensed Matter Chemistry of Bordeaux (ICMCB) CNRS, as winner of the NSF CAREER Award, and a member of the National Academy of Inventors. Hartman returned to academia following his private sector career with Schlumberger Limited in which he developed energy technology.

October 14th, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  |  370 Jay St, Room 1201 (in-person only

Modeling and forecasting epidemics have had a century-long history within the scientific community, dating back from the early nineteen-hundreds. At that time, big cities began to flourish worldwide, constituting the most important fabric upon which epidemics can spread. Since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, epidemic predictions have abandoned the strict circle of scientists and have started to entice the general public, raising as much interest as weather forecast. The two activities have many aspects in common; however, forecasting epidemics is subject to additional sources of uncertainty: human heterogeneity and behavior, spatial distribution and, today more than ever, rapid travels. Still nowadays, the role of cities is key in shaping the course of an epidemic, whereby a localized spread can easily turn in a planetary threat. 

In this talk, I will revise basic concepts of epidemic modeling, starting from the forefather (and simplest) approach, which assumes that people perfectly mix all together like cocktail ingredients in a shaker, toward more and more complex modeling techniques designed to account for realistic features of humans, leveraging graph theory, statistical physics, data science and agent-based computations. I will also guide you through some milestones of our research results, obtained in collaboration with the Dynamical Systems Laboratory of NYU Tandon. We will deal with some methodological aspects and, most importantly, applications, including our efforts on Ebola in West Africa and on COVID-19 in New York State and in Italy.

Alessandro Rizzo is an Associate Professor at Politecnico di Torino, Italy, where he directs the Complex Systems Laboratory. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. Dr. Rizzo conducts and supervises research on modeling, analysis and control of complex systems and networks, distributed estimation and control, bioinspired and distributed robotics, and nonlinear dynamics. He holds two international patents; he authored one book and more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and conference proceedings. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Science Society and was the recipient of two Amazon Research Awards in Robotics, in 2019 and 2021.

October 21st, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  |  Zoom (virtual only)

Preemption occurs when a higher level of government restricts or withdraws the authority of a lower level of government to act on a particular issue. Historically, preemption was used as a point of negotiation in the legislative process. More recently, states have begun preempting local control over a wide-range of population and environmental health and social justice issues. In many cases, states are not enacting statewide standards, leaving a regulatory vacuum in those states on these topics of concern. Although state legislators often argue that preemption is necessary to provide uniform standards (which would be useful in many cases), preemption is often proposed at the behest of regulated industries as a form of deregulation rather than as a component of a statewide regulatory regime. State preemption can also undermine community self-determination and reflects a broader retreat from democratic values. Unlike state legislatures, local officials know the values and needs of their community and can aptly respond to those needs. Local governments are also often best positioned to address health and social disparities caused by inequities that are not present or obvious at a statewide level. Because values and needs at the local level may differ from those at the state level, states are increasingly using their preemption power to nullify local policies that reflect differing values between state and local (often urban) populations. This talk will explain preemption and provide examples in the context of food policy, firearm safety prevention, and paid sick leave, among others. Further, it will explain strategies that state legislators are using to pass preemption and identify legal barriers (and a few opportunities) to address preemption.

Jennifer L. Pomeranz, JD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Global Public Health at New York University. Her research focuses on public health law and policy. She is especially interested in policy and legal options to address products that cause harm, the food environment, and social injustices that lead to health disparities. Ms. Pomeranz is also one of the nation’s leading public health scholars on the legal tool of preemption. She is the first author of an upcoming textbook, Public Health Law in Practice, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2023, and authored the book, Food Law for Public Health, published by Oxford University Press in 2016, and over 100 articles in various journal-types on legal opportunities and barriers to enacting public health policies at the federal, state, and local levels. Ms. Pomeranz earned her Juris Doctorate from Cornell Law School and her Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

November 4th, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  |  Zoom (virtual only)

“I will discuss two examples of how social dynamics shapes the cryptocurrency ecosystem. First, I will focus on the network of dark web marketplaces, analysing 24 separate episodes of unexpected market closure. I will focus on “migrating users”, who move their trading activity to a different marketplace after a closure, and show that most migrating users continue their trading activity on a single coexisting marketplace. User migration is swift and trading volumes of migrating users recover quickly. Thus, although individual marketplaces might appear fragile, coordinated user migration guarantees overall resilience. Then, I will show that these marketplaces favour the emergence of decentralised trade networks around them, which further enhance systemic resilience.

Second, I will consider the coding sphere. I will show that 4% of developers contribute to the code of more than one cryptocurrency and that the market reflects these cross-asset dependencies. In particular, the first coding event linking two cryptocurrencies through a common developer leads to the synchronization of their returns. This finding identifies a clear link between the collaborative development of cryptocurrencies and their market behaviour. More broadly, it reveals a so-far overlooked systemic dimension for the transparency of general code-based ecosystems.”

Andrea Baronchelli is an associate professor at the Department of Mathematics of City University of London, Token Economy theme lead at The Alan Turing Institute, and Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies (CBT). His research interests include spreading phenomena on networks, the dynamics of social norms, online (mis)information and polarisation, collective behaviour change and cryptocurrency ecosystems. His work has appeared in a wide range of journals including Science, PNAS and Nature Human Behaviour, and has been recognized by the 2019 “Young Scientist Award for Socio and Econophysics” of the German Physical Society.

November 18th, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET  |  Zoom (virtual only)

Watch seminar recordings from previous semesters:

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