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Harvard University - 2016

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Research Description

Research Description By Graduate Engineering Department

Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematics' focus is on the creation and study of mathematical and computational tools broadly applicable in science and engineering, and on their use in solving challenging problems in these and related fields. From ecological modeling to electromagnetic theory, from robotics to meteorology, the areas in which students concentrate are highly diverse. Research areas include: control theory and communications; mathematical biology; mathematical geophysics; numerical analysis; physical and engineering mathematics; and theoretical computer science.

Applied Physics

The frontier of high-energy physics is "the ever smaller" and that of astrophysics "the ever larger." Applied physics, of which condensed matter is a large part, has its own frontier: "the ever more complex." The number of ways in which fundamental insights into the nature of matter and fields can be combined and applied to yield new materials, devices and systems is indeed vast. The current intense activity in nanoscience and technology is but the latest demonstration of how much can be discovered at the confluence of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. Areas of research include: biophysics; electronic and magnetic systems and devices; materials science; oceans, atmospheres, and geophysics; optics, electromagnetics, and light-matter interactions; soft condensed matter; surface and interface science; and theory and simulation.

Computational Science and Engineering

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is an exciting and rapidly evolving multidisciplinary field that uses advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve complex problems. CSE research focuses on a variety of approaches including mathematical techniques for modeling and simulation of complex systems; parallel programming and collaborative software development; and efficient methods for organizing, exploring, visualizing, processing and analyzing very large data sets.

Computer Science

Computer science at Harvard is part of a hub that links to research throughout SEAS and to the rest of the University, drawing from fields such as Electrical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, as well as the social sciences and Harvard's professional schools in medicine and business.

Computer scientists at Harvard are pursuing ground-breaking work in a wide range of areas including theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence, developments at the interface of economics and computer science, adaptive and trustworthy systems, intelligent interfaces, computer graphics, computational linguistics, privacy and security, robotics, data-management systems, networks, energy-efficient architectures, program languages, and machine learning and visualization.

Students and researchers are involved in an increasing number of interdisciplinary initiatives within SEAS and across the University, such as the Center for Research on Computation and Society, the Institute for Applied Computational Science, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Engineering Sciences

Harvard offers degrees and/or tracks in the following Engineering disciplines:

Bioengineering - Bioengineering uses engineering principles and tools to advance the understanding of biological systems and to improve health care. It draws on the physical, chemical, and life sciences as well as mathematics and computer science. Through the use of engineering techniques for analyzing and controlling systems across a wide range of size and complexity scales, bioengineers address problems at the intersection of engineering, biology, and medicine. Areas of research are: biomechanics; cell and tissue engineering; neural signal processing; and surgical robotics.

Electrical Engineering - EE at Harvard is an interdisciplinary program that builds on Harvard’s core strengths in math, physical- and life-sciences. EE addresses information flow and interconnections, and plays a pivotal role in power and energy distribution, communications and computation. EE faculty create bridges that connect diverse sets of disciplines including material science and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and robotics, physics and bioengineering. Today’s EE researchers utilize nano-wires, optical fibers or new conduits of diamond to carry power and information, create networks of communications that may be wireless or involve neurons, process signals from ultra-sensitive detectors that respond to single photons of light, build microprocessors and motors that guide flying robots that fit in the palm of a hand. Electrical Engineering education focuses from the outset on hands-on engagement. In-laboratory experiences provide working understanding of the building-block concepts; independent and team-based projects foster creativity and deeper exploration of concepts. EE activities benefit from electronic design and construction services offered by the well-equipped Electronic Instrument Design Laboratory. The EE community plays a role in many interdisciplinary research centers at Harvard including the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials, the Harvard Quantum Optics Center, the Wyss Institute for Bioinspired Engineering, the Center for Nanoscale Systems, Center for the Environment, Center for Green Buildings and Cities, etc.

Mechanical Engineering - Research at Harvard ranges from fundamental work in solid and fluid mechanics to diverse studies in materials, mechanical systems, and biomechanics. The mechanics of materials, structures, and geophysical and biological systems involves phenomena such as elasticity, plasticity, buckling, fracture, and wave motion. Characterizing the performance of such systems often depends on understanding behavior at several scales, requiring, for example, the mechanics of dislocations and other imperfections, grain boundaries, interfaces, and material heterogeneity. Similarly, the dynamics of fluid systems, whether in engineering, chemical, biological or materials applications, involve phenomena such as viscous resistance, thin films, wetting phenomena, the influence of external (e.g. electric and magnetic) fields, and boundary layers. Further complexity can arise from the interplay of elastic and viscous responses. Studies of fluid systems extend from macroscopic scales down to near molecular-level dimensions. Mechanical systems research analyzes the behavior of complex systems using principles from a variety of disciplines, including dynamics, solid and fluid mechanics, and automatic controls. Research in this area at Harvard includes studies of animal locomotion, including fish swimming and bird flight, as well as dexterous manipulation in both humans and robots. In addition to these scientific pursuits, there are a number of projects aimed at determining design principles for the next generation of mechanical systems.

Environmental Science and Engineering - Harvard has long been a pioneer in environmental education and research. This continues today with our faculty actively engaged in research on engineering solutions to problems in the atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic compartments of the earth's environment. Research ranges from atmospheric sciences to microbiology, climate, oceanography, environmental chemistry, water and wastewater treatment plants, and international environmental policy. Research areas include: atmospheric chemistry and climate modeling; climate dynamics and physical oceanography; environmental chemistry; environmental microbiology; environmental systems, resource management, and planning; geomechanics; meteorology and atmospheric dynamics; and risk analysis and public health.

Research Description By Engineering Research Center

Center for Integrated Quantum Materials at Harvard

The Harvard-led Center for Integrated Quantum Materials is funded as part of NSF's Science and Technology Center (STC) program. The center supports science and education programs that explore the unique electronic behavior of quantum materials. CIQM draws on expertise in materials synthesis, nanofabrication, characterization and device physics through Center partnerships with MIT, the Museum of Science in Boston, and Howard University. Among the more notable facilities are Harvard's Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), Howard's Nanoscience and Engineering Facility (HNF) and MIT's Materials Resource Center (MRC). The integration of expertise and partners across diverse disciplines and institutions is at the core of CIQM's vision: "Extraordinary new quantum materials enable atomic-scale electronics and photonics that transform signal processing and computation."

The center also encourages students to pursue careers in science and engineering through an affiliated college network that attracts students from diverse backgrounds to science and engineering and provides them with unique opportunities for scholarship and leadership. Two prestigious women's colleges, Mount Holyoke and Wellesley, as well as Gallaudet University, which focuses on undergraduate liberal arts education, career development and graduate programs for the deaf, engage young people who are traditionally less represented in science and engineering. Massachusetts' Bunker Hill Community College, with its special recruitment program for military veterans, and Olin College of Engineering, with its technical focus, each bring different perspectives to the collaboration, as does Prince George's Community College in Maryland.

Center for Research on Computation and Society

Harvard's Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) brings computer scientists together with a broad range of scholars from other fields to develop new computer science theory and technology in the public interest, informed by a deep knowledge of the societal issues at stake, and by a commitment to advancing the human condition through cutting edge collaboration between computational and social science. Current areas of interdisciplinary study include Economics & Computer Science; Healthcare Informatics; Privacy & Security; Technology & Accessibility; and Automation & Reproducibility of Data Analysis.

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Harvard is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. It fosters and supports collaborative research within and across departments, provides seed support for promising new projects, and develops and maintains central research facilities. Among the more notable are: a surface facility, maintained jointly with MIT, consisting of an ion accelerator for Rutherford backscattering and channeling, an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (both at Harvard), and a scanning Auger spectrometer (at MIT); an electron microscopy facility, consisting of a Philips 420 STEM with X-ray and electron-loss attachments, a new JEOL scanning electron microscope also used for CAD-driven electron-beam lithography; a clean room with photolithography and thin-film deposition capabilities; and facilities for mechanical testing and scanning probe microscopy.