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Computer Science & Engineering

Department of

Department Lead: Dr. Larry McMahan

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Area of Research: Machine Learning, Quantum physics / computing, autonomous vehicles


PhD, Electrical Engineering | Rice

MS, Rice University

BS, Physics and Math, Rice

35 years industry experience (25 @ Hewlett Packard)


Advisors & Principal Investigators

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Marx Akl

Computational Physics, Material Science, Modeling and Simulations:  DFT and MD, Data Science and Machine Learning

Dr. Marx Akl stands as a distinguished physicist, holding a Ph.D. in Physics from the esteemed Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his groundbreaking dissertation delved into "The Mechanical Response of Materials at the Nanoscale via Simulations." This academic prowess extends to master's degrees in Physics and Mechanical Engineering from RPI and the University of Southern California, underscoring a comprehensive and well-rounded educational journey.
With a rich tapestry of over a decade in research and professional experience, Dr. Akl occupies a unique intersection of Computational Physics, Material Science, and the avant-garde applications of machine learning and data science. His expertise is not confined to the theoretical realm; instead, it's a dynamic interplay with practical applications. Dr. Akl is renowned for employing sophisticated techniques such as density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics (MD) modeling and simulations, unveiling new perspectives in solid-state

physics and materials. What sets Dr. Akl apart is his ability to seamlessly traverse diverse domains, where his work becomes a nexus of modern materials, theoretical and quantum physics, and the cutting edge of machine learning. This distinctive skill set positions him as a driving force in groundbreaking advancements at the confluence of these disciplines. Dr. Akl's journey is not just one of academic achievements but a testament to his capacity to merge theoretical insights with tangible, real-world applications, making him a transformative force in the realms of physics and data science.

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Omar Amer

Civil Engineering

Omar is a postdoctoral researcher from the Civil Engineering Department at Clemson University. Ph.D. from Clemson University and a Master's degree from San Diego State University. My research focuses on the sustainability of construction materials and finding beneficial uses of industrial wastes in construction.


Chris DeGrendele

Electrical Engineering

Chris DeGrendele is a computation scientist who is working on his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at the University of California Santa Cruz. He is currently a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center in the Advanced Supercomputing Division - Computational Aerosciences Branch.


Pragati Dharmale

Electrical Engineering

Pragati Dharmale has 14 years of academia / industry research experience and received her M. Eng in Digital electronics and M.S. in computer science from Southern New Hampshire University, NH.  Her research interest includes application of EEG analysis with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as STEM based applications designed for Raspberry PI with Python programming. 


Robert A. Downing

Data Science, Astronomy, Cryptography. Emeritus Chair, Computer Science & Engineering

Prof. Downing has 40 years of industry research experience from 3COM and IBM and as a former adjunct professor. The Downing research group applies the tools of data mining and data science to astronomy and cryptography. Through applied computer science and data science, the group hopes to move towards deciphering the Voynich manuscript and also detecting near-earth objects using signal-to-noise detection mining of NASA datasets. He is also the director for the Astrophysics Research Institute at ASDRP.


Prabin Lamichhane

Mathematics, Statistics and Data Science

Mr. Prabin Lamichhane received his MS in Mathematics and Statistics from South Dakota State University and comes to ASDRP with several years of experience in developing data models for applications in industry. statistical analysis, machine learning, and data visualization. During his academic journey, Prabin collaborated on impactful research projects, delving into topics such as predictive modeling, natural language processing, and forensic analysis as well. As a data analyst at CNA Insurance, I honed my skills in data manipulation and interpretation. Prabin is experienced in utilizing a diverse set of tools, including Python, R, and SQL, to analyze large datasets, identify patterns, and develop data-driven strategies. Outside of the professional sphere, Prabin is an advocate for and actively participates in data science communities, attends industry conferences, and contributes insights to open-source projects. 


Joseph Laurienzo

Computer Science, Physical & Biological Systems Simulation

Joseph Laurienzo is an ambitious interdisciplinary scientist specializing in latent pattern recognition and simulation of physical and biological systems. Joseph received his BS in math and physics and MS in applied math from Case Western Reserve University, along with a BA in Japanese, and has collaborated with the University of Tokyo in condensed matter physics. Joseph’s research interests include the application of novel mathematical techniques in the assessment of brain activity patterns to construct cognitive models, as well as game theory. Joseph’s personal interests include world literature, Jiu Jitsu, and competitive Esports.

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Dennis Liu

Director of IT; Mathematics & Computer Science

Mr. Dennis Liu is a product of Georgia Tech (MS Computer Science / Human Computer Interaction) and UC San Diego (BS Mathematics - Computer Science; BS Cognitive Science / Human Computer Interaction). Prior to joining us this spring in his new role, Dennis has previously served on ASDRP's admissions team, and will be assuming the role of Director of IT in addition to leading research groups at ASDRP in the fields of computer and cognitive science. Dennis comes to ASDRP with 8 years of IT experience - from UC San Diego Information & Technology Services as a Service Desk Technician, IBM Quantum as both a client facing technical support developer and software engineer, and more recently at VIZIO as a software engineer - prior to rejoining ASDRP.


Larry McMahan

Electrical Engineering, Computer Science

Dr. McMahan received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Rice University. His research group utilizes computer science modeling to understand phenomena at the quantum level and is interested in quantum computing applied to small molecule and single-atom perturbations, materials science and engineering, and chaos theory as it relates to chromodynamics and photophysical phenomena. Dr. McMahan oversees our quantum computing emulator.


Phil Mui

Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computer-Human Interaction

Dr. Mui received his B.Sc., M. Eng, and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an M.Phil from Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, and is currently a Senior Vice President of technology at SalesForce. The Mui group studies the impact of computer algorithms (particularly machine learning and artificial intelligence) on society at large.  His recent students are engaged in research on algorithmic bias, AI ethics, data analyses of impact of the pandemic and the justice system on different groups around the world.


Valens Nteziyaremye

Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Valens Nteziyaremye was born in Kigali, Rwanda. In 2008 he was selected among the top students in science in Rwanda and received the Rwandan Presidential scholarship to study at the University of Arkansas at Little, USA in Systems Engineering Mechanical from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.


He received his PhD and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida where he worked on the interface of surface engineering for biomedical devices. He has worked for Intel, Tokyo Electron (TEL) and Lam Research Corporation.


Suresh Subramaniam

Data Science 

Suresh is a seasoned executive and data scientist with experience in managing large operations and applying data science to solve business problems. His group works on data science and its various applications to society, policy, and organizations. 


Huifang Qin

Data Science & Finance

Dr. Huifang Qin received her PhD in EECS from UC Berkeley. Huifang brings over 20 years of experience solving technology and business problems with data science. She led Data Science teams in autonomous driving, social media, digital advertising and finance technology companies to conduct research and build impactful products. Her group at ASDRP conducts finance research through practicing data science skills including data mining, statistical analysis, predictive modeling and optimizations. 

Facilities & Instrumentation

Princeton Applied Research Scanning Potentiostat

Our Princeton Applied Research scanning potentiostat is utilized for electrochemical measurements and for monitoring of redox-active materials. 


3D Printers

ASDRP operates four 3D printers for model production and for engineering and fabrication of turbines, components for hardware, and much more. Students learn how to operate the 3D printers and use cad software in the 3D printing course.


Quantum Computing Simulator Environment

Our server cluster operates a quantum computing emulator which allows research students and research groups to launch jobs that require QC applications.


Raspberry Pi systems

ASDRP has several raspberry pi miniature computers used in research students' projects.


High-Throughput Computing Server & Cluster

ASDRP operates four industry-grade Dell PowerEdge serves equipped with Xeon 48-core processors, over 64 GB RAM, and remote access to meet the needs of our computational students.


Laser Cutter

Our industrial-grade laser cutter is used for research students who construct and engineer components or models. It uses a high-power laser to cut wood, plastic, and other materials. 


Former Advisors


Asmita Dani

Electrical Engineering, Applied Radiofrequecy Physics

Dr. Dani received her  MS and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado. Her research interests involve using radiorequency (RF) physics to understand the world around us, and her research group at ASDRP applies a combination of hardware, software, and mechanical-electrical engineering to solve such problems.

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Sam Fendell

Software Engineering, Machine Learning

Sam is a UC Berkeley graduate with several years experience as a software engineer at Google and Amazon. His group is interested in using machine learning to classify and analyze real-world problems - specifically, the utilization of machine learning to perform sentiment analysis on large datasets from social media platforms towards understanding how society responds to global events such as climate change and, more recently, COVID-19.

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Calvin Leung

Quantum Mechanics and Applied Physics

Calvin Leung is pursuing a PhD in physics at MIT studying the phenomena of fast radio bursts: brief, intense flashes of radio-frequency light originating from outside the Milky Way. His past research interests have included quantum communication and searching for dark matter using atomic clocks. In addition, he was a vibration engineer working on the Falcon 9 at SpaceX. Students interested in joining his group should reach out to him.


Nicholas Papano

Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science

The Papano research group at ASDRP is interested in applying the tools of 3D printing and computer science towards applications in physics, engineering, and mechanical design. The group has been previously involved in aerodynamics research, using 3D printing to optimize turbine design - this summer he will be involved in capturing gigajansky radiobursts using a trans-national Raspberry Pi cluster.

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