Funding given to highly exploratory collaborations with industry

Written by
Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research
March 22, 2017

A number of innovative research projects ranging from the sciences to the arts and engineering have been granted funding through Princeton's Office of the Dean for Research.

Each year, the Dean for Research Innovation Fund gives support for exploratory research projects that might not otherwise qualify for external grants. 

"I am pleased that the University is able to provide funding for these original and creative research projects," said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. "Each year our selection committees identify the best proposals from a truly outstanding collection of faculty submissions. This year's selected projects represent a wide range of exciting research directions across the disciplines."

New Industrial Collaborations

Assuring security for computer-based services 

A collaboration between Princeton and a major internet company will enable researchers to develop solutions for the security challenges that threaten current and future computer systems. To address problems in computing security, Aarti Gupta, professor of computer science, and Sharad Malik, the George Van Ness Lothrop Professor in Engineering, will team with industrial partners to develop novel techniques for verifying security concerns across hardware and software to provide protected foundations on which computer-based services can depend.

Decarbonization of the grid 

A collaboration between Princeton's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and NRG Energy, the largest competitive power producer in the United States, aims to better understand how to "decarbonize" the U.S. electrical power grid by transitioning the nation's power supply from its reliance on high-carbon-emitting power sources to a greater use of renewable and low-carbon-emitting fuels. The collaboration builds on the shared interests of the Andlinger Center and NRG Energy to create a low-carbon future for the U.S. power sector. Andlinger's Energy Systems Analysis Group, which includes Energy Systems Modeler Thomas Kreutz, Senior Research Engineer Eric Larson and Senior Research Scientist Robert Williams, will work with NRG analysts to build a model of the grid that will enable investigations of the prospective impacts of alternative new electricity pricing policies, carbon pricing policies, and advanced generation and storage technologies.

Personalizing the user experience through algorithms

When people browse online, algorithms are atwork behind the scenes to serve content tailored to users' needs and interests. A new collaboration between Robert Tarjan, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science, and researchers at Microsoft led by Siddhartha Sen, who earned his doctorate degree at Princeton in 2013, aims to enhance the browsing experience by creating data structures and algorithms that enable systems to efficiently organize and retrieve data. These data structures and algorithms explore new approaches to eliminate performance bottlenecks, enable new functionality, and advance machine learning applications such as personalizing news, identifying viral content, and optimizing data storage and retrieval.