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MRI images of the human brain, remote data on landscapes, protein databanks, and genomic databases contain unprecedented detailed, quantitative information about biological systems that are transforming the way researchers do almost all biology. The effective use of these and other new sources of data requires a new breed of scientist with interdisciplinary skills in computation, mathematics, statistics, and the physical sciences, as well as in biology.
Computational biology research at Cornell is concentrated in four areas: bioinformatics and data mining, biomolecular structure, evolutionary biology, and systems biology. It is an area where Cornell's great breadth in the sciences and tradition of interdisciplinary research pays off.
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The digital computer was invented for numerical calculation, specifically to compute solutions to problems that are too lengthy to be solved "by hand.'' Computational Science and Engineering (CS&E) describes the use of computers to solve problems in science and engineering. It is an enterprise that permeates the entire breadth of science and engineering, with computation taking its place alongside theory and experiment as a way of "doing'' science. It is also an enterprise that is thoroughly interdisciplinary, drawing on computer science and mathematics for its methodology as it addresses scientific problems.
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Combustion accounts for 85 percent of the energy used in the U.S., and it is likely that such a high percentage will remain for some time to come. Vast amounts of fossil fuel are consumed, and significant amounts of pollutants are emitted in transportation, power generation, and process industries. More advanced combustion technologies are required to address the vital issues of energy conservation and environmental protection. Computational modeling of turbulent combustion plays an increasingly crucial role in the design and development of advanced combustion equipment. In addition to its practical importance, turbulent combustion poses a great intellectual and computational challenge.
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Christine A. Shoemaker, Joseph P. Ripley Professor of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, applies computational mathematics to the solution of optimization and environmental problems. Optimization methods are computer algorithms that search for the "best solution" to a problem that is defined by a set of equations. For example, Shoemaker applies optimization methods to the problem of finding the least expensive combination of locations and rates of pumping from wells used to remove contamination from groundwater. This prevents pollution of drinking water.
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Dynamical systems theory elucidates general phenomena occurring in the solution of ordinary differential equations. Sometimes called "chaos theory," it explains how deterministic systems can give rise to unpredictable, seemingly random dynamics in a robust manner. The broad applicability of these theories is astonishing. Guckenheimer has collaborated with physicists, chemists, engineers, and biologists, and has published work in all of these disciplines. His book, Nonlinear Oscillations, Dynamical Systems, and Bifurcation of Vector Fields, co-authored with Philip Holmes, has been a basic reference and text for 20 years.
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Research in Information Science concentrates on the areas where computer science and the social sciences overlap and reinforce each other. As digital technologies have become pervasive in our culture, researchers have found that technical, human, and social questions are interwoven and must be studied together. Information Science has a strong technical core, but it studies equally the human and social context in which information systems are employed. The faculty come from disciplines as varied as computer science, communication, science and technology studies, cognitive psychology, operations research, linguistics, economics, sociology, and law.
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Research in Progress

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Outreach

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Economic Development

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Undergraduate Research

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Technology Transfer

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Research in Focus

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© 2003 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research [OVPR], Cornell University