ISE PhD Graduate Chris Gatti Awarded Springer Thesis Prize, then Off to Cirque du Soleil!

Chris Gatt, an ISE doctoral student, has just completed his Ph.D. requirement in July under the mentorship of Professor Mark Embrechts. His dissertation, "Design of Experiments for Reinforcement Learning," was awarded the Springer Thesis Prize, and will be published by Springer as part of the new Dissertation Series. Chris is also an outstanding gymnast. Started at age 4, he trained and competed nationally through high school and college. After graduation, he was offered a position with Cirque du Soleil and is now training in Montreal with the first assignment in South America. Links to Chris' instagram and Youtube channel

New NSF Grant Awarded to ISE Faculty Mendonca and Grabowski

ISE Associate Professor David Mendonça, in collaboration with Martha Grabowski of ISE, was recently awarded a three-year $337k grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate teamwork in organizations following large-scale disasters. Using data from debris clearance operations following a series of calamitous tornado storms in Alabama in 2011, this work will investigate how team-level processes contribute to overall performance of the debris removal mission. In collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers and NY State's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Mendonça and Grabowski expect to develop analytic and computational methods that will expand understanding of teamwork in disasters and contribute to performance improvements in the multi-billion dollar enterprise of debris removal. Mendonça's research builds on his prior experience with debris removal teams at Ground Zero after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy. A short video on the Sandy research was recently produced by RPI.

Martha Grabowski led National Academy's Report on Arctic Oil Spill Response

As the oil industry prepares to exploit the Arctic's vast resources, the United States is inadequate in its preparedness for an oil spill in the region, according to a report released on April 23 by the National Research Council (NRC). ISE Research Faculty Dr. Martha Grabowski is the chair of this report. The 183-page report marks the first time in more than ten years that the NRC, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has taken a comprehensive look at the impact of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. In the intervening decade, sea ice cover hit a record low, shipping traffic increased dramatically, and the price of oil rose sharply, prompting such companies as Shell, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips to acquire new leases for oil and gas. The panel briefed Senator Begich (D-Alaska) staff, Senate Commerce Committee, House Transportation & Infrastructure committee (USCoast Guard oversight committee), Senate Energy Committee (NOAA, US Coast Guard oversight committee), and Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) staff.