CEDAR Events & Offerings

NEW! DS 595 Machine Learning for Engineering & Science Applications

This course surveys the application of data science (DS) and machine learning (ML) to problems arising in engineering and the physical sciences.  

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Spring 2024 Offering

Offered Thursdays, face to face

6:00 PM – 8:50 PM

Prof. Randy Paffenroth

Previous Offerings

This course opened for NRT CEDAR students in Fall 2022. Given its popularity, this course has been fully incorporated in the WPI Curriculum as a permanent course offering. 

Students can register for the course via Workday. 

CEDAR CONVERGENCE SEMINAR FALL SERIES

Designed by our CORE Faculty specifically for CEDAR Students- covering a variety of topics and interest areas from domain specific topics to professional and career development.

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Welcome/Onboarding Orientation

On behalf of NRT CEDAR, we would like to invite you to the NRT CEDAR Welcome Event.

Topic: NRT CEDAR Welcome/Orientation  

Host: PI Elke Rundensteiner & Project Coordinator Kelsey Briggs

Overview: Provide an overview of CEDAR expectations, upcoming events, meet & greet

Fall 2022: Tuesday, Sept. 27th, 2022 from 12:00PM – 1:00PM

Fall 2023: Thursday, Aug. 31st, 2023 from 12:00PM – 1:00PM

2023 Fall Offerings

Aug. 31, 2023- NRT CEDAR Welcome

On behalf of NRT CEDAR, we would like to invite you to the NRT CEDAR Welcome Event.

  • Topic: NRT CEDAR Welcome/Orientation
  • Host: PI Elke Rundensteiner & Project Coordinator Kelsey Briggs
  • Date: Thursday, August 31, 2023 from 12:00PM – 1:00PM EST

Nov. 1, 2023- Data Science Ph.D. Candidate, Eric Vertina

On behalf of NRT CEDAR, we would like to invite you to an upcoming event hosted by Eric Vertina, Data Science Ph.D. Candidate. This is one of several upcoming events/workshops in our CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series. Please see below for additional details.

  • Topic: Deep Learning for Molecular Property Prediction
  • Host: Eric Vertina, Data Science, Ph.D. Candidate
  • Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2023 from 1:00PM – 2:00PM EST
2022 Fall Offerings

Monday, October 3rd, 2022: Feat. Prof. Joseph Sarkis

Hosted by Professor Joseph Sarkis, The Business School. This is one of several events/workshops in our CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series.

  • Date: Monday, Oct. 3 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm
  • Host: Professor Joseph Sarkis, The Business School
  • Overview: Prof. Sarkis will host a workshop on the topic of the Circular Economy

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022: Feat. Prof. Mike Timko

Hosted by Professor Michael Timko, Chemical Engineering. This is one of several events/workshops in our CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series.

  • Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 9:00AM – 10:00AM
  • Host: Professor Michael Timko, Chemical Engineering
  • Overview: Timko will host a seminar on the topic of “Making waste work for us”.

Monday, November 14th, 2022: Feat. Nanocomp Technologies

Hosted by industry partners at Nanocomp Technologies, Robert Casoni, a member of the NRT CEDAR Advisory Board and his colleague, David Gailus. This is one of several events/workshops in our CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series but the first hosted by an industry partner.

  • Date: Monday, Nov. 14th from 12:00PM – 1:00PM
  • Host: Robert Casoni, Manager of Operations, Nanocomp Technologies
  • Overview: Robert Casoni and David Gailus will present on the “Methane Capture” project followed by a Q&A

Monday, December 12th, 2023: Feat. Ph.D. Candidate David Kenney

On behalf of NRT CEDAR, we would like to invite you to an upcoming event as part of the NRT CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series: Student Showcase featuring PhD Chemical Engineering Student, David Kenney.

  • Date:Monday, December 12th from Noon – 1:00PM
  • Topic: Developing a Defeatured Atom-Additive Model to Predict Single Component Partition Coefficients with Elemental Data
  • Host:David Kenney, PhD Student, Chemical Engineering
2021 Fall Offerings

Monday, November 14, 2021: Feat. Prof. Deskins

Hosted by Associate Prof. Aaron Deskins, Chemical Engineering. This is one of several events/workshops in our CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series.

  • Date: Monday, Nov. 14 from 4:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Topic: Data Science and Molecular modeling.
  • Host: Associate Prof. Aaron Deskins, Chemical Engineering
  • Overview: Dr. Deskins will discuss his research and how he is implementing DS tools- followed by a Q&A

Monday, Dec. 6, 2021: Feat. Prof. Paffenroth

Hosted by Associate Prof. Randy Paffenroth, Mathematics/Data Science/Computer Science. This is one of several events/workshops in our CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series.

  • Date: Monday, Dec. 6 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm
  • Topic: Intersection of Data Science, Mathematics, & Engineering
  • Host: Associate Prof. Randy Paffenroth, Mathematics/CS/DS
  • Overview: Dr. Paffenroth will discuss his research- followed by a Q&A. In addition, he will discuss what it means to be a PhD in industry vs. academia.

Conferences & Competitions

NRT CEDAR students have access to several on campus/local conferneces and competitions hosted by our affiliated interdisciplinary programs.

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Winter 2024: WiDS Global Dataton

Datathon 2024 Challenge Theme: Equity in Healthcare

In 2024, the Datathon focuses on equity in healthcare, with sponsor Gilead Sciences providing rich data on metastatic breast cancer treatment, providers, facilities, and patients. Participants will analyze a unique dataset to identify possible inequities in patient care, such as treatment duration and time to adoption of treatment.

More information will be distributed to the WPI community regarding rules, participation, etc. in December 2023.

Spring 2024: Women in Data Science (WiDS) Annual Conference

WPI is proud to collaborate with Stanford University and the  Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference to bring the Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference to Central Massachusetts.

The Global WiDS Conference aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and to support women in the field.

This one-day technical conference provides an opportunity to hear about the latest data science-related research and applications in a number of domains, and to connect with others in the field.

For the most up to date information and to see upcoming WiDS sponsored events, visit the WiDS Central Mass website here.

Spring 2023: Sustainability Project Showcase

WPI students are invited to participate in WPI’s 15th Annual Sustainability Project Showcase, hosted by the Office of Sustainability and Gordon Library!

Submissions are open to any student project that tackles a sustainability-related problem, local or global, with consideration to at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Key dates:

  • March 24: Online Registration Deadline
  • March 31: PDF and Video Submission Deadline
  • April 5-12: Virtual Showcase
  • April 14: Celebration Event & Winners Announced

We welcome and encourage participation by all students!

Questions?  Contact green@wpi.edu.

Winter 2023: WiDS Global Datathon: Adapting to Climate Change

The 6th Annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) Global Datathon 2023 took place in Spring 2023. WiDS Central Mass, hosted here at WPI in partnership with the Data Science Program, is proud to collaborate with WiDS Global for this year’s datathon challenge.

WiDS Datathon 2023 Challenge

Topic: Adapting to Climate Change by Improving Extreme Weather Forecasts

This year’s datathon will focus on longer-term weather forecasting to help communities adapt to extreme weather events caused by climate change. The dataset was created in collaboration with Climate Change AI (CCAI). WiDS participants will submit forecasts of temperature and precipitation for a short-term forecast, competing against the other teams as well as official forecasts from NOAA.

Who can participate? Anyone! If you are in DS, CS, BCB, Robotics, Math, Business, Engineering, etc. this competition is for you and designed for all skill levels!

To learn more, contact datascience@wpi.edu.

Fall 2022: Industry Datathon with Thermofisher Scientific

This event is open to any WPI student regardless of degree level or major. If you are able, please share the information below:

Are you looking to improve your Data Science skills and gain real-world problem-solving experience?

Want a chance at winning $2,000.00?!

Join us on Halloween Weekend!

On behalf of the Data Science Program in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, we invite you to participate in the upcoming Datathon for Life Sciences Tools Industry. Please see the information posted below. Registration is required via the QR code – all students are invited to register/attend.

We look forward to seeing you on October 29th/30th for the event! Please feel free to share this information with any faculty/students you think would be interested in attending this event.

CEDAR Social Series

In partnership with the Data Science Program and Data Science Council at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, NRT CEDAR Trainees have several opportunities throughout the year to connect with students & faculty from Data Science and other interdisciplinary programs. 

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Game Night

In partnership with the DS Council, game night is offered once a month and open to all DS affiliated students- including NRT CEDAR Trainees. 

Coffee Klatch

In partnership with the DS Council at WPI, the “Coffee Klatch” is offered weekly on Fridays and open to all DS affiliated students. These informal meetings are a way for the data science community to get together and socialize over a “Bring Your Own” (BYO) lunch. They’re a great opportunity for students and faculty to get to know each other better, and to even get guidance from colleagues about course scheduling, research, etc. Best of all – free coffee for everyone. 

CEDAR Professional Development Offerings

CEDAR offers professional and career development opportunities hosted by our affiliated interdisciplinary programs and in partnership with Graduate Studies. 

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STARS Series

Hosted by Graduate Studies, the Graduate Student and Training Readiness Sessions – STARS – is an annual series of workshops organized by the Office of Graduate Studies that provides overviews on important career and professional development topics. 

Registration is required for each session. 

The 2022 Fall STARS Sessions include:

  • September 16, 2022 – Navigating a career fair
  • October 7, 2022 – Developing Cultural Competencies
  • October 28, 2022 – Business Development Skills
  • November 11, 2022 – Finding and Securing Internships

 

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IDP Program

WPI IDP series is an annual workshop series for WPI graduate students to learn how to effectively manage their careers through the development of an IDP. The program is intended for PhD students and postdocs, however masters students are welcome to participate as well. The program will focus on self-assessment, career exploration, networking, and goal setting. 

Dates and times for the 2022 Fall IDP program are: 

  • 10/25/2022 Workshop 1: Career management, self-assessment, and IDPs 
  • 11/1/2022 Workshop 2: Career exploration, informational interviewing, and networking
  • 11/8/2021 Workshop 3: Goal setting, self-advocacy/promotion, and obtaining mentoring needed 

 Click here for more information and to register. 

Speaker Series

“Climate Resilience and Conflict: Is Regional Cooperation a Way Forward?”

  • Date/Time: Tuesday, October 11th, 11:00AM – Noon
  • Overview: Invited speaker Tareq Abu Hamed serves as the Director of the Arava Institute and a researcher at the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center. The title of his talk is “Climate Resilience and Conflict: Is Regional Cooperation a Way Forward?”

“Circular Economy & Safety Implications”

  • Date/Time: Thursday, October 13th, 10:00AM – 11:00AM
  • Overview: CEDAR PhD Student Zhuowen Chen from the WPI Business School focuses her research on the lithium-ion battery supply chain, especially the end-of-life management of these batteries.In this talk, she explores safety concerns for the management of End-of Life Lithium-Ion Batteries.
Graduate Research Innovation Exchange (GRIE)

The Graduate Research Innovation Exchange is a marketplace where students across disciplines get to know each other and share discoveries and new ideas. It is also a great way to get feedback on research in-progress—input that can help students prepare for sharing their work down the line through papers and presentations.

  • GRIE is open to all WPI PhD candidates, MS students engaged in thesis or similar research, or MS candidates completing a course- or program-related capstone project.
  • The Student Training and Readiness Sessions (STARS) program (as listed above) developed by the Office of Graduate Studies offers sessions specifically designed to help graduate students prepare for participation in GRIE.

Talks & Speakers

CEDAR offers professional and career development opportunities hosted by our affiliated interdisciplinary programs and in partnership with Graduate Studies.

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Spring 2024: Sustainability Seminar Series ft. the Circular Economy

The Business School is hosting a Sustainability Seminar Series featuring 4 short presentations directly related to circular economy research and practice.

Date: January 31st, 2024

Time: 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Location: Olin 107

Fall 2023: Workshop: Synergies between Actionable Research & Implementation Science

Janet Hering 10-3-23 Poster

Workshop: Synergies between Actionable Research & Implementation Science

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 4-6 pm, 116 Kaven Hall

With Professor Janet G. Hering
Director Emerita, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Elected Member, U.S. National Academy of Engineering and of Academia Europaea

Professor Hering’s research interests include biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in natural waters, technologies for removal of inorganic contaminants from drinking water, and knowledge exchange at the interface of science with policy and practice. She is actively engaged in promoting diversity in academia, particularly in supporting women in academic leadership.

 

The goal of actionable research is to be useful in informing policy and practice.  Fulfilling this intention requires research design that incorporates several aspects.

1)Desired project outcomes should be explicitly included in project design and planning.  Target outputs that would foster such desired outcomes should be identified and incorporated as goals for the project.

2)Integration and synthesis should be explicitly identified as necessary activities throughout the project and as a goal for the project.

3)Milestones that can be linked to eventual uptake of project results should be identified and tracked during the project and also after its completion.

Designing effective actionable research requires serious attention to the needs and interests of potential implementation partners (and ideally direct involvement of their representatives) at formative stages of project development.  These aspects are also characteristic of implementation science, which offers a variety of frameworks and tools to promote the sustainable uptake of research into practice.  These overlapping approaches will be examined in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Time and resources must also be budgeted for knowledge exchange, which may benefit from involvement of (non-academic) knowledge brokers.  Equitable acknowledgement of contributions made by project participants with varying background and expertise can help to foster the partnerships needed for effective actionable research.  Contact with non-academic project partners and stakeholders can also support early career researchers in identifying alternative career tracks.  Finally, diversity in project teams should be fostered as a source of innovation.

Fall 2023: Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA) for the Circular Economy: Evidence from Japanese Companies

Wednesday, Aug. 30th, 2023
12:00PM – 12:50PM
Atwater Kent 233

Qi Wu
Associate Professor
Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
Kyoto University of Advanced Science

Profile:
Currently, my work is focused on establishing an environmental management control system towards the circular economy. I previously worked on the research project of Environment Research and Technology Development Fund, which has been led by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment since 2016 to research “Policy Design and Evaluation to Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns in Asian Region”. This project investigated and compared the development of effective environmental management control systems in companies in Thailand and Vietnam. It also examined environmental management control systems’ positive impact on promoting sustainable consumption and production policies within organizations. Since 2019, my main areas of expertise have included environmental management control systems, sustainability accounting, natural capital accounting, circular economy, and SDGs.

Abstract
The purpose of this study is to address the question of whether Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA) can contribute to the circular economy. MFCA is an environmental management accounting tool that simultaneously assesses a company’s material and financial flows. It is expected to contribute to the circular economy by helping companies achieve environmental and economic goals through resource efficiency. In short, the anticipated linkages between MFCA, companies’ environmental and financial goals, and the circular economy are inputs, outputs, and outcomes. However, there is a lack of consensus on their potential, perhaps due to the scarcity of studies, most of which are models and case studies without readily generalizable results. To address this gap, we analyze the triadic relationship between MFCA, environmental, and economic performance using a two-stage regression of data from Japanese listed companies. Based on the estimation results, we find that since MFCA can improve several aspects of environmental performance by saving resources, it can enhance productivity by improving a range of environmental performance indicators. In particular, MFCA can improve firm productivity and profits by reducing the waste produced. This supports the view that MFCA is an effective tool for contributing to the circular economy.

Fall 2023: "Let's Make this Waste Work for Us" ft. Prof. Mike Timko
Material Science & Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Seminar: 
Professor Michael Timko, WPI, “Let’s Make this Waste Work for Us”
Wednesday, December 13, 2023 @ 12:00 pm
Floor/Room #233
 
OR
 
 Zoom Link
Abstract
Waste is the natural byproduct of our extractive economy. Accumulation of waste, including everything from atmospheric gases to water pollutants, threatens our ecosystems and increasingly our health. When the waste ends up in communities populated by disadvantaged communities, clean up takes on aspects of social justice. Why should the poorest bear the greater burden of waste? Our waterways and oceans are particularly vulnerable, as these have accumulated tremendous amounts of waste plastics over the decades. The problem of waste, however, is largely one of perspective. Waste is not without value, provided that we have ways to valorize it. In my research, we use develop new ways to valorize waste as energy, fuels, chemicals, and materials. In this talk, I will describe one of my group’s journeys in our quest to make waste work for us. We begin our journey in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, sometimes referred to as a “plastic island” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Using thermodynamic analysis, we find that the plastic contained in the Garbage Patch should be sufficient to power its clean up, provided that care is taken in the clean up process. We then move to riverways, the source of nearly all of the plastic found in the Garbage Patch. Using machine learning analysis, we develop a predictive tool for estimating energy yields that can be obtained from pyrolysis of riverway plastic, finding again that the plastic flowing out of remote river mouths should be sufficient to power cleanup in most cases. We finally move to the land, specifically to municipal recycling facilities, where we use our model analysis and develop new technologies for cost effective plastic recycling as chemicals and blended plastics. Plastic waste is a problem that we all must face, and continued efforts can make a difference. 
Biography
Prof. Michael Timko is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Dr. Timko’s main research interests involve the study of new technologies for production of sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials. He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award and the American Chemical Society’s Glenn Research Award. Prof. Timko is on the editorial boards of Sustainable Chemistry and Global Challenges and a member of AIChE’s Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Diversity Task Force. His work has been featured in The Boston Herald, The Worcester Telegram, the Biofuels Digest, WGBH’s All Things Considered, and NBC 10 News, among other outlets. In summer 2022, he was a visiting researcher at the Institute for Condensed Materials Chemistry in Bordeaux France, which was supported by the Fulbright Foundation. He is co-PI of an NSF Research Training Grant on the combination of chemical sciences, data sciences, and social sciences. He is co-founder of River Otter Renewables, a 2023 startup that has received many accolades including recognition by Mass Econ as one of the Commonwealth’s new businesses of the year. Prior to joining WPI, Dr. Timko was a Principal Engineer at Aerodyne Research Inc. and a Research Engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His training is in chemical engineering and chemical physics at The Ohio State University (B.S.), MIT (M.S. and Ph.D.), and Harvard University (post-doc). 
2023 Spring Offerings

Friday, January 13th, 2022: Fairness in Energy Transitions

Feat. Dr. Nathan Wood is a visiting scholar in DIGS, from Utrecht University. 

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023: ChatGPT, A Solution or a Problem?

2022 Fall Offerings

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022: Feat. Cell Press Publishing

Sent on behalf of Mike Timko, Chemical Engineering and Co-PI on the NRT CEDAR

  • Do you want to learn more about publishing papers?
  • Do you want to learn about alternative science and engineering careers?

Attend next week’s visit from Cell Press editors to demystify the publishing process and learn about career opportunities in academic publishing.

Publishing papers and navigating career opportunities are two of the big challenges of a graduate career. We’re happy to host three editors from Cell Press – a prestigious scientific publisher – at WPI to answer questions about their careers in publishing and to demystify the publishing process. The event will be held over term break, Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 11am, in Higgins Lab #102. See below for an abstract.

Title: Editorial Insight into Scientific Publishing

Abstract: Editors from Matter, iScience and One Earth will give a short talk about the scientific publishing industry and then open the floor up to questions. We plan to include:

  • A brief overview of the publishing ecosystem at Cell Press, including Matter, iScience and One Earth journals.
  • Scientific editing as a career path. What’s a typical day like? How do you go from a research Ph.D. to a scientific editor?
  • The “black box” of the publishing. We’ll try to demystify the process and go over determining journal scope, the editorial process, and what happens after you hit submit. Get answers to your questions about how your manuscript is assessed, how reviewers are selected, and the best way to respond to reviewer #2.

Monday, December 12th, 2022: Feat. Ph.D. Candidate David Kenney

On behalf of NRT CEDAR, we would like to invite you to an upcoming event as part of the NRT CEDAR Convergence Seminar Series: Student Showcase featuring PhD Chemical Engineering Student, David Kenney. The goal of the student showcase series is to provide the opportunity for students to present their research and receive feedback from a broader audience.

Title: Developing a Defeatured Atom-Additive Model to Predict Single Component Partition Coefficients with Elemental Data

Description:

Octanol-water partition coefficients (K­ow­) are a useful tool for determining solute-solvent partitioning behavior as it provides insights towards the lipophilic or hydrophilic nature of compounds. Single component values can be identified experimentally, from first principle ab initio thermodynamics or, more commonly, approximated by regressive algorithms. However, current methods fall short in understanding complex systems with thousands of unique compounds such as those present in oil spills and bio-oil production. Fourier Transformation Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectroscopy (FT-ICR MS) is a powerful analytical tool that identifies molecular formulas and relative abundances of ions based on their excitement in a magnetic field.

In this work, we developed a number of machine-learned models (linear regression, random forest, gradient boosted, etc.) that predict single component partition coefficients based on the data available through FT-ICR MS. By using web scraping methods, a database of 18,091 data points, with 7,098 unique molecular formulas, were collected along with their experimental partition coefficient value. The data was regressed using multiple techniques and found that partition coefficients could be determined on minimal information. Using an independent validation set of nearly 3,000 compounds, our model can produce a mean absolute error of 0.52. Combining this new regression algorithm with FT-ICR MS of complex oil-water systems provides insights into the molecular makeup and partitioning signatures of complex oils.

Details:

  • Host:David Kenney, PhD Student, Chemical Engineering
  • Room Reservation:Unity Hall 471
  • Date:Monday, December 12th from Noon – 1:00PM