Weekly Memo

Aug. 3, 2015

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     As many of you have probably already heard through the national press coverage, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to support the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics will be based in Rochester. It represents a $625 million public/private partnership, and the University of Rochester will be responsible for the allocation of $94 million of those funds aimed at packaging and assembly. The headquarters for the Institute as well as the packaging and assembly facility will all be located here in Rochester. This represents a significant opportunity for our nation, the state of New York, and our community.

    The Institute of Optics and many of our Hajim School faculty members will lead or play important roles in such core projects as sensors; testing, assembly and packaging; electronic and photonic design automation; education and workforce development; and administration. The effort built upon work by Mark Bocko and Paul Ballentine of the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, who secured funding for three of the four federal manufacturing awards: New York Photonics Manufacturing Initiative under the NIST AMTech program; Rochester Regional Optics, Photonics, and Imaging Accelerator under Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s (DOC EDA) Advanced Manufacturing Jobs Accelerator program; and Greater Rochester/Finger Lakes Manufacturing Community, awarded to the City of Rochester -- a designation under the DOC EDA FY14 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program. Duncan Moore, the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor in Optical Engineering Science, played a key role in coordinating the winning proposal. Thanks to all of our other faculty members, administrators and staff members who put in a lot of effort and long hours in preparing the winning proposal.

    Congratulations to James Allen, our John H. Dessauer Professor of Computer Science, who will lead an ambitious project to enable computers to communicate more like humans, using collaborative problem solving as a model. The project is in collaboration with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), where James is an associate director. It is funded with a $7.5 million grant from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- $2.5 million of which will come to the University of Rochester. Ehsan Hoque, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, will be PI for the Rochester part of the project; Prof. Lenhart Schubert will also be part of the team, along with a postdoc and four graduate students. This is an exciting project, with an intriguing premise; you can read more here.

    Lenhart and Ehsan have also received an NSF Eager grant to collaborate with URMC in exploring the possibility of using an animated agent with language understanding to improve social skills of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The initial results could enable them to write a large NIH grant with URMC.

    Check out the new look for our Hajim School web pages. Thanks to the AS&E Web Help Team for coming up with a fresh, interactive design that will be carried over to each of our department websites during the next two months.

    As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean