Department: Computer Science School: Engineering and Computing Sciences Campus: Old Westbury
Member of NYIT Since: 2011
From skyscraper design to wireless biomedicine, Wei Ding is making the most of collaborative research. In less than six months on the job, the assistant professor of computer science has already conceived three interdisciplinary projects with NYIT's New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM) and the School of Health Professionsall funded by Institutional Support for Research and Creativity (ISRC) grants.
His fourth and latest ISRC-funded project pairs him with Jason Van Nest, assistant professor of architecture, to write software for automating and optimizing designs of skyscrapers. Ding's role is applying the swap algorithm commonly used in computer programming. It can be applied to imitate nature's patterns such as the V-pattern of birds flying in flocks or the way schools of fish synchronize their turns.
"The algorithm will help us to imagine the possibilities for building layouts because it can automatically generate and visualize millions of designs and select the best ones for us," he says.
Ding specializes in wireless sensor networks (WSNs), radio frequency identification (RFID), and cyber security. He comes to NYIT from Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tenn., and has worked as a software engineer in China, where he co-invented the design of an electronic ear.
"The application of sensor networks and RFID have great potential for biomedical research and health care services," Ding says.
For example, a WSN can be embedded in a garment called a wearable body sensor network. It can also be buried in walls, floors, and ceilings to create "smart" nursing homes. Combining these two WSNs could provide 24/7 patient monitoring.
Ding's collaboration on ISRC-funded NYCOM medical research applies WSNs and RFID to improving health care services and helping the handicapped. For example, he is the principal investigator for developing autonomous navigation systemsa sort of personalized GPS worn on the bodyfor the blind. Other projects include a motorized walker to improve the gait of people with Parkinson's Disease (PD) as well as using body area sensor networks to assist in the rehabilitation of PD patients afflicted with stooped postures.
In addition, he is among a team of engineering and NYCOM faculty, who were recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health, to study the application of wireless technology to health care services.
"There are many research and development opportunities," Ding says. "Our dean, school, and department have shown a lot of support and very strong leadership for collaborative research."