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.

See our (Publications and Patents here) !

The research vision and thrust of the SDS Lab is captured through recent presentations (listed in chronological order) by the PI Auroop Ganguly: A 2019 US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) workshop on urban sustainability (Ganguly's keynote is here), a collaborative presentation in 2021 on infrastructure and installation resilience subject to compound extremes (here), a NAS workshop on AI/ML for earth systems in early 2022 (Ganguly's short panel presentation is here), and a couple of presentations on climate science and adaptation engineering in late 2022, specifically, an invited talk at SC22 (here) and an invited plenary talk at TIES 2022 (here). Our research (see Scholar profile) has been published in interdisciplinary climate journals such as Nature, Nature Climate Change, and PNAS, won best paper awards in highly selective AI/ML conferences such as ACM KDD, and appeared across disciplinary journals in climate, water, infrastructures, remote sensing, data science, machine learning, and nonlinear dynamics. The SDS Lab connects strongly with two institutes within Northeastern University (NU), specifically, the Global Resilience Institute (GRI) and the Institute for Experiential Artificial Intelligence (EAI), in addition to two institutes directly connected with NU, specifically, the Roux Institute and the Kostas Research Institute (KRI). Our education and workforce development mission includes spawning entrepreneurial activities in the private sector (example here) and the public sectors (examples here and there), teaching climate science, engineering adaptation, and policy to undergraduates, both as on-campus and study abroad (see here) courses, each with different flavors, as well as teaching graduate courses on climate science and engineering, time series and geospatial data sciences, and critical infrastructures resilience (see our CIR textbook here). Our recent media highlights include articles in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Independent, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as a NASA feature, a PNNL spotlight, and an NU news, while previous highlights have appeared in the journal NatureNSF news, and the Boston Globe, among many others. The SDS Lab, supported by the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA, is physically 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.

Experiential Collaborators:


November 2022

SDS Lab PI Auroop Ganguly delivers an invited plenary at TIES 2022 and an invited talk at SC22, even as the Lab prepares to welcome three new postdoctoral research associates in climate, infrastructures, and data sciences, with PhDs from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Brown University, and the Indian Statistical Institute.

October-November 2022

A climate-ecology Article and an accompanying Research Briefing by (recently graduated) SDS Lab PhD student Kate Duffy gets published in the November issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, and has been highlighted by Northeastern News, PNNL Spotlight, and NASA Feature.

November 4, 2022

SDS Lab PhD student Jack Watson gets the Society for Risks Analysis (SRA) Student Merit Award from the Resilience Analysis Specialty Group second year in a row for work on resilience of multiscale rail networks under compound extremes, as part of a PNNL-Northeastern collaboration.

August-October 2022

SDS Lab PI Auroop Ganguly's media quotes: the New York Times on building back better after hurricanes and on hurricanes and hospitals, Newsweek on global weirding and climate extremes, the 2022 California heat waves, drought impacts on Lake Mead, and fish suffocation in North Carolina's Lake Wilson, the National Geographic on the role of dams, the BBC World Service on Hurricane Ian (12:30 - 13:15), the Independent (UK) on the 2022 Pakistan floods, Boston 25 News on heatwaves and the power grid, and Berkeley KPFA on hurricanes in Florida (35:45 - 44:40).

10. July 2022

The startup risQ, a spinout from our SDS Lab, and alumnus Dr. Evan Kodra (CEO of risQ and a co-founder along with Lab PI Auroop Ganguly and NU alumnus Colin Sullivan), gets featured in the Wall Street Journal. A Northeastern news article about risQ was published on January 21.

2. June 2022

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).


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