June 28, 2012

Deborah Estrin is first NYC tech campus faculty member


Cornell has announced the hiring of Deborah L. Estrin as a professor of computer science and the first professor for CornellNYC Tech, the new tech campus being developed on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

Estrin is the founding director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing -- funded by the National Science Foundation -- and a professor of computer science at the University of California-Los Angeles.

She is a pioneer in networked sensing, which uses mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real-time data about the physical world. Estrin's work has shown how the data streaming from networks of such devices as smartphones and cameras can enrich our understanding and management of complex problems -- from personal and public health to traffic patterns and civic engagement. She has also shown a commitment to K-12 education, spearheading a groundbreaking internship program for Los Angeles high school students in mobile technologies and data.

"Deborah was the perfect choice for CornellNYC Tech's first academic hire because her ability to translate cutting-edge research into real, practical solutions for everyday problems is exactly the work we want the tech campus to inspire," said Dan Huttenlocher, dean of the new campus. "We are looking for faculty members who have made an impact in the academic, commercial and societal realms, and she's a superstar in all three."

"Deborah Estrin is a terrific hire for CornellNYC Tech," said Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "She is highly respected in both academia and industry, and is a major contributor to the work of the National Academy of Engineering. Her forte is building real systems that solve societal and industrial problems. Students, faculty and the high-tech community all will benefit from her energy and innovative contributions."

Estrin is a co-founder of Open mHealth, a nonprofit working to create an open-source infrastructure for mobile health, which uses live data made possible by mobile technology to revolutionize patient care.

Her work connects directly with CornellNYC Tech's healthier life and built environment hubs, where Estrin believes that mobile technology will be used to transform the worlds of public health and patient care, urban planning, design and sustainability.

"My entire career has been about applying technology to improve people's lives, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to help CornellNYC Tech create a new university model that removes the barriers between research and application," Estrin said. "CornellNYC Tech will help us use technology to lead healthier lives, to protect our environment and to change the way we communicate with each other, and it was something of which I just had to be a part."

Estrin is a member of the NAE. She is the winner of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame Award (2008) and Anita Borg Institute's Women of Vision Award for Innovation (2007), and she serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the President's Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee. She was named one of the "Brilliant 10" in Popular Science magazine's list of elite researchers, one of Wired Magazine's 2012 "50 People Who Will Change the World" and one of CNN's "10 Most Powerful Women in Tech."

Since CornellNYC Tech was named the winner of New York City's Applied Sciences competition in December, leadership of the new campus has been named; Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne has been chosen to design the first academic building on the Roosevelt Island campus; several meetings have been held on Roosevelt Island to inform residents about how the campus will benefit the entire island; and it was recently announced that the tech campus would launch in temporary space this fall in Google's building in Manhattan.