Research & Innovation

Two New NSF CAREER Awards to Stevens Faculty

Funding will support work in bioinspired materials, big-data analysis methods

Professors Hang Liu and Weina Meng

Two Stevens faculty members have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards to support projects with applications in materials and data analysis, respectively.

Civil engineering professor Weina Meng will work to enhance the mechanical properties of cementitious materials by mimicking the properties and architectures of nacre, a strong, lightweight compound naturally produced by some mollusks.

The newly developed materials will have broad applications for building and transportation infrastructure construction; energy facilities; and aerospace.

In her project, "Consecutive Assembly-and-Mineralization Processed Calcium-Silicate-Hydrate Nacre with High Specific Flexural Strength and Fracture Toughness," Meng's team will design and control the growth of novel calcium-silicate-hydrate mesocrystals to form nacre structures using fabrication techniques such as freeze casting, controlled mineralization, organic phase infiltration, and hot-pressing. Machine learning tools will also be deployed in the design process.

Electrical and computer engineering professor Hang Liu will pursue algorithm and system co-designed methods that can power the development of more rapid, efficient and effective graph analytics in his NSF CAREER project, "An Algorithm and System Co-Designed Framework for Graph Sampling and Random Walk on GPUs.”  

Liu will integrate and innovate upon his previous research into graph sampling and random walk methods, both of which substantially reduce the graph size and required computing power to perform complex graph analysis on real-world graphs. He plans to create scalabale techniques that can take advantage of existing computing facilities as well as future exascale systems to accommodate graphs at the trillion-edge scale, providing a foundational tool for practitioners in academia, national research laboratories and industry.

Potential applications of the work include pandemic research, circuit design and software vulnerability evaluation.

Both projects are expected to continue through 2026.