Professor Romeil Sandhu Combats ‘Information Fragility’ with NSF CAREER Award

Professor Sandhu NSF CAREER

Romeil Sandhu, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) jointly administered by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Medicine, has earned a 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award. Sandhu received the $500,000 award for his work on combating the fragility of networked systems. 

As Sandhu explains it, “The thematic vision for this program is based on my previous work and recently discovered fact that the geometric notion of curvature, or how objects deviate from being flat, is positively correlated with a system’s functional robustness and its ability to adapt to dynamic changes. The usage of networks to model dynamical systems arises in a variety of fields, yet we are constantly seeking to make these systems more secure and less vulnerable to disruptions.”

One area in which this research may prove invaluable is information warfare conducted by nation-state actors. Social networks are systems that have shown themselves to be particularly susceptible to misinformation. Professor Sandhu’s research could help to make these systems better able to combat these types of intrusions. However, the potential usefulness of this work extends well beyond social systems to areas in cancer biology, power distribution, and communication networks.  

In addition to the proposed research, the NSF CAREER will also work with the Institute for STEM Education (I-STEM) to develop an outreach for U.S. Veteran highschool dependents.  “I am truly grateful that NSF recognized not only the merits of the research, but also provided the opportunity to develop an educational outreach for vet dependents - an issue close to my heart.  Being raised in the military community of Huntsville, AL, I have always felt indebted to give back to those that serve our country. Providing guidance and opportunities to children who often have a parent deployed overseas is the least we can do for a segment of society that has sacrificed so much. Our ultimate goal is to build a self-sustaining program.”

“The NSF CAREER award is a milestone achievement and the most prestigious recognition that can be bestowed by NSF for junior faculty,” said Joel Saltz, MD, Cherith Professor and Founding Chair of BMI. “On the heels of a prestigious honor from the AFOSR, Rome’s research is a great example of the kind of visionary work being done in our department and at Stony Brook as a whole.”

Professor Sandhu, who is also affiliated with the Departments of Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Computer Science, joined the faculty of Stony Brook in Fall 2016. His research focuses on topics ranging from network science, computer vision, machine learning, to systems biology with a particular emphasis on utilizing the confluence of geometry, statistics and  (interactive) control.

- Dick Wolfe