The Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory (SDS Lab) develops novel insights in the interdisciplinary sciences of climate extremes and the engineering principles of networked lifelines to inform adaptation and policy. Physics-integrated spatiotemporal machine learning and nonlinear dynamics, especially from large-scale numerical model-simulations and remote or in-situ sensor data, enable the discovery of new insights in climate extremes and uncertainty, while network sciences and optimization along with engineering or ecological principles aid in understanding infrastructural or ecosystem vulnerability. Decision sciences and policy imperatives are integrated in the scientific discovery and technological invention processes to embed stakeholder perspectives.
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The SDS Lab, supported by the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA, is located right across the heart of the city across the Reflection Pool near the Prudential.
Product Development: The SDS Lab prides itself on the products, ranging from climate science discovery and novel engineering principles to peer-reviewed papers in top journals and highly selective conferences, as well as patents, text and edited books and chapters, besides connections with the private and public sectors, national laboratories and federal research organizations such as US DOE’s PNNL and ORNL and NASA Ames, along with local and city governments. The SDS Lab and its prior incarnation at ORNL has authored 65 peer-reviewed journal articles with 5 more in review, 7 highly-selective and 41 selective peer-reviewed conference papers for a total of 136 conference presentations, 3 books and 24 book chapters, 11 technical notes and delivered 96 invited talks. The SDS Lab has developed 2 US patents, one in climate risk and one in infrastructure resilience, 3 invention disclosures, and spawned a climate analytics startup called risQ. The SDS Lab PI (Auroop Ganguly), with his students, postdocs and visiting professors, have published in top disciplinary and interdisciplinary venues in climate science (such as Nature, PNAS, and Nature Climate Change), lifeline engineering (e.g., IEEE Transactions and ASCE) and data science (e.g., KDD and IJCAI) with best paper awards in ACM KDD and SIAM Data Mining as well as best poster awards at AGU and AMS, leading to citations in the United Nations intergovernmental and United States national reports, highlights in scientific venues such as the journal Nature and in the National Science Foundation media, invitations at UN panels and as author or co-author of focused sections, as well as quotes and citations in the national and global media. The SDS Lab does not have any long-standing connections or commitments to governmental or intergovernmental bodies of national or global bodies but has cultivated relations with private-public-government research and practice communities.
Workforce Contributions: Northeastern SDS Lab (and prior incarnation at ORNL) alums and research mentees of the SDS Lab PI have assumed key research and leadership roles in the private sector, government research institutes, and in academia. Our graduate and postgraduate alums are in US federal agencies such as NASA and in US national laboratories such as DOE’s ORNL and DOT’s VOLPE, as well as in niche and leadership roles in the US private sector in areas such as machine learning, risk modeling and engineering. One PhD alum is the co-founder and CEO of a growing climate analytics startup, while several other PhD or postgraduate as well as visiting faculty alums are in the US and Indian academia include award-winning professors at multiple campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology. Our undergraduate alums are spread across the private and public sectors and have been accepted in top graduate programs in the US, including MIT, Stanford, Berkeley and in rare occasions absorbed within Northeastern. A few of our graduate alums have chosen to join the finance and insurance sector.
Funding Grants: The SDS Lab has been and continues to be generously funded by US federal agencies such as NSF, DOD, NASA, DHS, DOE and DOE Labs. Occasional funding and in-kind support have been received from the private and public sectors. During the last 17 years as an independent researcher, first at US DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and now at Northeastern University, the total dollar value of the grants in which the PI Auroop Ganguly has taken part or continues to take part is of the order of US $60 Million. The PI has prior background in the private industry, including Oracle Corporation and a best-of-breed company called Demantra Inc. that was acquired by Oracle, and has co-founded two startups including risQ. The PI is currently a joint scientist at US DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Chief Scientific Adviser at risQ. The students and postdocs, as well as visiting faculty, at the SDS Lab benefit from our strong experiential relationships with federal agencies such as NASA Ames and DOE Labs such as PNNL and ORNL, as well as the private and public sectors including the Lab spinout startup risQ.
The Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences (JGR-Biogeosciences) has accepted for publication our collaborative paper with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The paper titled ‘Quantifying Carbon Cycle Extremes and Attributing Their Causes Under Climate and Land Use & Land Cover Change from 1850 to 2300’ is led by SDS Lab PhD student Bharat Sharma, and besides Auroop Ganguly, includes the following (ORNL scientists) as co-authors: Jitendra Kumar, Forrest Hoffman, and Nathan Collier.1. June 2022
The temperature extremes section of the just released Greater Boston Research Advisory Group report (GBRAG report) on climate assessment of the Boston area was led by former SDS Lab PhD alumnus Evan Kodra with contributions from (then current, now graduated) SDS Lab PhD students Kate Duffy and Mary ('Lizzy') Warner. This follows the original BRAG report where the temperature extremes section was led by Auroop Ganguly with contributions from Evan Kodra and then Northeastern professor Matthias Ruth.26. May 2022
SDS Lab PhD alums and current NASA scientists, Thomas J. Vandal (CEO and co-founder) and Kate M. Duffy (CPO and co-founder), have been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to launch their AI-inspired weather and hydrologic data analytics and forecasting startup Zeus AI (formerly called GeoLens).15. May 2022
NASA selects the SDS Lab led 'Category 1' proposal titled 'Remote-sensing data driven Artificial Intelligence for precipitation-Nowcasting (RAIN)' for funding in water resources. The team led by Auroop Ganguly at Northeastern includes the Tennessee Valley Authority, NASA Earth Exchange, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and RTI International.13. May 2022
Auroop Ganguly is co-organizing the Fragile Earth 2022 workshop in conjunction with the ACM KDD 2022 conference. The focus of the workshop this year is on 'AI for climate mitigation, adaptation, and environmental justice'. The paper submission deadline is May 26.5. May 2022
A part of Kate Duffy's dissertation research, which focused on Deep Emulation in Satellite Remote Sensing and was joint with NASA (including former SDS Lab PhD alumnus TJ Vandal), is now published in IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems.4. Apr 2022
The SDS Lab's publications have been cited in each of the three recent climate reports forming the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC). The reports on the physical science basis (Report, NYT news); impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (Report, NYT news); and mitigation (Report, NYT news) were published in late 2021 to early 2022 timeframe. Please note that the SDS Lab neither participates in the IPCC writing or review processes nor lobbies for citing publications.30. Mar 2022
SDS Lab PhD student Nishant Yadav accepts an offer to join Microsoft Azure AI as a senior research scientist. In his new role, Nishant hopes to get an opportunity to work with Microsoft AI for Earth, originally founded and led by Dr. Lucas Joppa. A prior comment article in the journal Nature by Dr. Joppa provided a shout-out to an award-winning SDS Lab Climate-AI paper by a former SDS Lab PhD student (and current NASA scientist) TJ Vandal.06. Feb 2022
SDS Lab PI Auroop Ganguly co-led a panel discussion in a workshop hosted by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, on February, 2022. The workshop (report under preparation) was titled Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to Advance Earth System Science. A recording is available on Vimeo (Ganguly's short talk is from around 1:37:00). Ganguly's previous NAS-hosted presentation was as a keynote speaker in a 2019 Urban Sustainability workshop (report here , and Vimeo there: first ~24 minutes).