Cornell NYC Tech Bolsters Faculty with Four New Star Professors

World-class faculty bring industry experience, innovative research rooted in real-world applications to Cornell Tech

Released: 15-Oct-2013 1:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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Newswise — NEW YORK – Cornell NYC Tech on this week announced that four new professors have joined the ranks of the campus’ all-star tech faculty as the first Fall class of graduate students begins classes.

Furthering Cornell Tech’s mission to build a new graduate tech education model that fuses academic excellence with real-world applications, all of the world-class professors bring cutting-edge research, industry connections and their own ventures to the campus. The new professors will help shape the innovative research and teaching model already being developed at Cornell Tech being pioneered by professors Deborah Estrin and Rajit Manohar and Chief Entrepreneurial Officer Greg Pass.

“At Cornell Tech, we are looking for faculty members who bring the highest academic standards combined with entrepreneurial experience and spirit,” said Dan Huttenlocher, Dean of Cornell Tech. “All four of our new faculty are not only on the cutting edge of research but are actively translating their work into real, practical solutions for everyday life. I’m thrilled to welcome each of them to Cornell Tech.”

The new professors include:
Serge Belongie: Professor Belongie, a specialist in computer vision and machine learning, was named one of the top 100 young tech innovators in the world by the MIT Technology Review in 2004. He is the co-founder of Digital Persona, Inc., one of the world’s leading biometrics companies with global technology partnerships (including Dell and HP) and over 200 million users worldwide. Professor Belongie also co-founded Anchovi Labs, a photo album organization company focused on logo and vehicle recognition that was acquired by Dropbox, Inc. and Orpix, Inc. Professor Belongie is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He comes to Cornell Tech from the Computer Science and Engineering Department at U.C. San Diego. Professor Belongie received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at U.C. Berkeley.
Mor Naaman: Professor Naaman, the first faculty member hired at the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII) at Cornell Tech, is a social media expert and entrepreneur. He will be splitting his time between Cornell Tech and his start-up Seen (http://seen.co), which was founded to make sense of the real-time Web by summarizing and organizing social media content. Professor Naaman comes to Cornell Tech from Rutgers University, where he founded the Social Media Information Lab, now housed at JTCII. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, as well as research awards from Google, Yahoo! and Nokia among others. Originally from Israel, Professor Naaman received his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and is a former professional basketball player.
Rafael Pass: Professor Pass works on cutting edge research in cryptography, the study of securing communication and information. He comes from Cornell’s Ithaca campus and is embarking on his own start-up project to use cryptography to create privacy-preserving electronic services. Professor Pass, originally from Sweden, is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, the Air Force for Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and the Microsoft Faculty Award.
Ramin Zabih: Professor Zabih is a leader in the field of computer vision, which enables computers to understand and analyze images. His work and research in computer vision is focused on how it can be used to improve health and medicine, and how physicians can use these new technologies. Professor Zabih comes from Cornell’s Ithaca campus and will continue to split his time between Cornell Tech and the Weill Cornell Medical College, where he is on staff in the radiology department. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers, received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and the founder of a non-profit that is speeding the adoption of open access in the computer vision community.

As with all Cornell faculty members located at Cornell Tech, these faculty members will be actively engaged with the main campus in Ithaca through their appointments in academic departments in Computing and Information Science.

The addition of new faculty is another major milestone for the campus. Cornell Tech’s first Fall class of highly talented, entrepreneurial students began classes this fall. Cornell Tech is rapidly rolling out new academic programs and making progress on construction of its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island, which will break ground early next year.

In April, Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs, made a $133-million gift to Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII), a key component of Cornell Tech. The gift will help support curriculum initiatives, faculty and graduate students, and industry interactions in a two-year graduate program.

Cornell Tech was joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and leading media companies earlier in October to launch the first degree program to be offered by JTCII. The two-year masters degree in Connective Media is designed to train the entrepreneurial engineers and technologists desperately needed in the media sector. The Connective Media program will produce the next generation of tech talent to respond to, and drive, the digital transformation of publishing, advertising, news and information, and entertainment. Graduates of this dual degree program will receive a degree from Cornell University and from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Corporate collaborators who will help shape the novel Connective Media hub include Hearst, Medium, Facebook, Betaworks, Tumblr, WordPress, and The New York Times.

Additionally, the Johnson MBA at Cornell Tech was announced in July this year. The new program, currently accepting applications, will fuse business, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in a fast-paced, hands-on learning environment.

The City's Applied Sciences NYC initiative was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s dedication to creating a more diversified and competitive economy for the future. In December 2011, the Cornell and Technion partnership was selected by the City as the first winner of the Applied Sciences competition. When completed, the Roosevelt Island campus will house approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students.

Cornell University has television and ISDN radio studios available for media interviews.


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