• “The Smart Communities Challenge is a great way for communities of all sizes to start thinking about how they leverage their public, private, and non-profit assets towards preparing for the future.”

    -Chris Clark, CEO, Georgia Chamber

Research Partners & Advisors

Research Partners & Advisors

Georgia Smart projects must include a research component as part of the community’s project plan. This research component should be designed in conjunction with a Georgia Tech researcher who will lead the research effort and who may also be used for general assistance during the proposal and project execution phases. The research component is open-ended, but it must be technology-focused and it must directly advance the community’s project goals, or otherwise generally align with the community’s overall needs, goals, and vision.

Faculty research partners will be available during the workshop on April 9, but before that, communities can learn about potential research collaborators and get ideas for their research component. Communities are encouraged to reach out and connect with these Georgia Tech researchers for more information about their research and availability for consultation or teaming.

Subhro Guhathakurta, Ph.D.

Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta is the Director for the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization and a professor in the School of City and Regional Planning in the College of Design. Dr. Guhathakurta was previously associate director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU) and among the founding faculty members of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Dr. Guhathakurta’s research focuses on computational infrastructure for assessing how decisions made about urban growth and change by urban actors (households, firms, civic leaders, etc.) relate to sustainability outcomes. He has developed metrics and benchmarks for assessing sustainability outcomes as well as having an interest in making communication in the sustainability field intuitive and visualization techniques relevant to non-experts.

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Kari Watkins, Ph.D.

Dr. Kari Watkins, P.E., is the Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Watkins’ teaching and research interests revolve around multi-modal transportation planning and the use of technology in transportation, especially as related to transit planning and operations and improved traveler information. Dr. Watkins co-created the Cycle Atlanta smartphone app for recording bicycle trips by Atlanta cyclists (http://cycleatlanta.org) and while at the University of Washington, co-created the OneBusAway program (http://onebusaway.org) to provide real-time next bus countdown information and other transit information tools for transit riders in the greater Seattle-Tacoma.

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Christopher Le Dantec, Ph.D.

Dr. Christopher Le Dantec is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. His research is focused on the area of digital civics emerging from the intersection of participatory design, digital democracy, and smart cities. Dr. Le Dantec co-created the Cycle Atlanta smartphone app for recording bicycle trips by Atlanta cyclists (http://cycleatlanta.org). The GPS data collected will assist city planners in making data driven planning decisions relating to new bike lanes, cycle tracks, trails, and other facilities.

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Doug Bodner, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Doug Bodner, P.E. is an instructor in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering and principal research engineer with the Tennenbaum Institute, where he leads a research program focusing on computational analysis and decision support for design, operation and transformation of systems and enterprises. This work combines systems engineering, operations research and interactive computing to seek novel solutions to large-scale problems such as cost-performance trade-offs in complex system design and development, efficient logistics for installation of wind energy farms, and counter-measures for mitigating adverse effects from counterfeit parts in supply chains.

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Ted Russell, Ph.D.

Dr. Armistead (Ted) Russell is the Howard T. Tellepsen Chair and Regents Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Russell’s research is aimed at better understanding the dynamics of air pollutants at urban and regional scales and assessing their impacts on health and the environment to develop approaches to design strategies to effectively improve air quality. He currently co-directs the Southeastern Center for Air Pollution and Epidemiology and the NSF Sustainability Research Network “Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy and Livable Cities” project.

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Jon Sanford

Jon Sanford is a Professor in the School of Industrial Design and director of the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access. Mr. Sanford is internationally-recognized for his expertise in universal design, accessible design, and design for aging, and is the director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability, supported by DHHS.

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Michael Hunter, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Hunter is an Associate Professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His primary teaching and research interests are in transportation operations and design, specializing in adaptive signal control, traffic simulation, freeway geometric design, and arterial corridor operations. Before academia, Dr. Hunter worked as a transportation engineer at the Sear-Brown Group in Rochester, NY and has conducted numerous traffic impact studies, signal timing projects, freeway operation evaluations, and toll plaza analyses.

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John Taylor, Ph.D.

Dr. John Taylor is the Frederick Law Olmsted Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Taylor studies the dynamics where human and engineered networks meet encouraging engineered infrastructure to be resiliant and serve society’s needs while creating more livable and healthy communities. Dr. Taylor developed a virtual reality system integrating spatial and temporal data collected from real and simulated sources into a system for planners and analysts to perform "what if" scenarios on realistically complex data sets.

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Ellen Dunham-Jones

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Director of the Master of Science in Urban Design degree. She is an authority on sustainable suburban redevelopment and a leading urbanist. Dunham-Jones serves on several national boards and committees, is former Chair of the Board of the Congress for the New Urbanism, lectures widely and conducts community workshops. In both her teaching and research she focuses on helping communities address 21st century challenges including autonomous vehicles and coping with climate change and suburban blight.

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Dennis Shelden, Ph.D.

Dr. Dennis Shelden is an associate professor and Director of the Digital Building Laboratory in the School of Architecture. Dennis is an expert in applications of digital technology to building design, construction and operations, with experience spanning across research, technology development and professional practice including multiple architecture, building engineering and computing disciplines. He led the development of architect Frank Gehry’s digital practice as Director of R&D and Director of Computing from 1997-2002. In 2002, he co-founded Gehry Technologies where he served as Chief Technology Officer, launched the development of several commercial software products, and was project executive on several of the world’s most recognizable and advanced building projects.

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Carl DiSalvo, Ph.D.

Dr. Carl DiSalvo is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Dr. DiSalvo directs the Public Design Workshop: a design research studio that explores socially-engaged design and civic media, is co-director of the Digital Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Center and its Digital Civics initiative, and leads the Serve-Learn-Sustain Fellows program. Current research domains include civics, smart cities, the internet of things, food systems, and environmental monitoring. Across these domains, Dr. DiSalvo is interested in how practices of participatory and public design work to articulate issues and provide resources for new forms of collective action. He is currently involved in a project with the City of Atlanta to construct a robust archive of environmental data, from multiple sources using environmental sensor technologies.

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Jennifer Clark, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Clark is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy where she is Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Dr. Clark teaches courses on urban and regional economic development theory, analysis, and practice, as well as research design and methods. She specializes in the theory and analysis of the spatial organization of economic activity and regional economic development policy. Dr. Clark’s current research project includes a new book: Making Smart Cities: Innovation and the Production of New Urban Knowledge (Columbia University Press).

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Marilyn Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Marilyn Brown is a professor in the School of Public Policy where her research focuses on the design and impact of policies aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of sustainable energy technologies. Dr. Brown co-founded the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and chaired its Board of Directors for several years. She has served on the boards of directors of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy, and was a commissioner with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She has served on 8 National Academies committees and currently serves on the editorial boards of three journals. She is serving her second term as a Presidential appointee to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public power provider, and she serves on DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee.

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Yao Xie, Ph.D.

Dr. Yao Xie is an assistant professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering where her research focuses on signal processing, statistical methods, big data analysis, and machine learning. In 2017, Dr. Yao used machine learning tools to mine unstructured Atlanta police report data to uncover hidden and complex correlations between crime incidences leading police to become more effective while encouraging better outcomes in the community.

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Russell Clark, Ph.D.

Dr. Russell Clark is a senior research scientist in the School of Public Policy where his research focuses on mobile development, networking, and the Internet of Things. Dr. Clark is the co-director of the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC) and principal leader of the Convergence Innovation Competition. He has played a leadership role in the NSF GENI project, leading both the GT campus trials effort as well as the GENI@SoX regional deployment and the Software Defined Exchange (SDX). Dr. Clark is active in the startup community, including roles with the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program and as a principle with Empire Technologies during its acquisition by Concord Communications.

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Beril Toktay, Ph.D.

Dr. Beril Toktay is Professor of Operations Management, Brady Family Chairholder and ADVANCE Professor in the Scheller College of Business. Her primary research areas are sustainable operations and supply chain management and currently teaches Business Strategies for Sustainability in MBA and Executive Education programs. Dr. Toktay is the founding Faculty Director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business and the co-architect and Executive Co-Director of Georgia Tech's Serve.Learn.Sustain Quality Enhancement Plan.

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Heyward Adams

Heyward Adams is the Division Chief for the Sensor Intelligence & Visualization Group at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Mr. Adams' research areas include the Internet of Things, Natural Language Processing, Machine Vision, and Real Time Analytics. He was involved with GTRI researchers in the development of a framework for standardizing communications for the Internet of Things and assited with the development of middleware software to demonstrate how these concepts allow for the seamless integration and interoperability between disperate technology ecosystems.

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Chris Cordell, Ph.D.

Dr. Chris Cordell is a research engineer in the Physics Modeling Group at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Dr. Cordell's research areas include natural system modeling and policy centric simulations. Dr. Cordell was involved with GTRI researchers in the development of an agent-based, policy-centric simulation framework to help study how the design of transportation networks, the behavior of agents, natural and man-made disasters, and control policies impact the performance of transportation systems. The framework allows analysts and city planners to assess "what-if" scenarios as part of their planning exercises.

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Alex Samoylov, Ph. D.

Dr. Alex Samoylov is a senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Dr. Samoylov's research areas include Intelligent Transportation Systems, Traffic Modeling, and Transportation Safety and Emissions. He is currently researching improved modeling for transportation systems and traffic analysis.

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Omar Isaac Asensio, Ph.D.

Dr. Omar Issac Asensio is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy. His research focuses on big data and public policy. He conducts field experiments and uses evidence from big data to make causal inferences about incentives and behavior in areas such as energy, transportation and urban sustainability. His research has been published in general interest journals such as Nature Energy and PNAS. He is winner of the 2015 ONE-NBS Research Impact on Practice Award by the Academy of Management ONE Division. At Georgia Tech, he is also affiliated with the Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS), the Strategic Energy Institute, and the Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory (CEPL).

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Baabak Ashuri, Ph.D.

Dr. Baabak Ashuri is Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Building Construction as well as the Director of the Construction Research Center. His research focuses on Economic Decision Analysis of Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Systems. This multidisciplinary field lies at the intersection of Project Management, Asset Management, and Quantitative and Computational Finance. His work has significant implications for improving long-term planning and integrated decision-making processes for buildings and infrastructure assets, as well as advancing economic/financial valuation methods for investments in major capital projects while preserving environmental and social conditions to foster resilient and sustainable development.

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