Rensselaer Graduate Wins Prize for Entrepreneurship

June 5, 2024

Computer programming

Gabriel Jacoby-Cooper ’24 was awarded the Glenn Martin Mueller ’64 Prize at Rensselaer’s School of Science Commencement brunch. The annual prize was established to honor Glenn Martin Mueller, former Rensselaer Trustee and a 1964 RPI graduate. A leading venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, Mueller was a champion of the entrepreneur, funding many successful start-up companies. The prize is given to a computer science major who is deemed to be the most entrepreneurial. 

Jacoby-Cooper just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and philosophy. With a remarkable 3.93 GPA, Jacoby-Cooper not only excelled academically but also made substantial contributions to Rensselaer’s campus community. 

Among their many accomplishments, Jacoby-Cooper has been programming in Swift, a language developed by Apple for use on all Apple platforms as well as others, since the day the language was released in 2014. They published their first app in the Apple App Store at age 11.  

As a dedicated participant in a computer science course in open source, Jacoby-Cooper took a leadership role in the Shuttle Tracker project, a vital service tracking campus buses and schedules. Facing challenges such as reduced shuttle schedules due to COVID-19 and the retirement of tracking hardware, they successfully implemented a two-fold technical plan that temporarily pivoted the team from a reliance on GPS tracking hardware to a crowdsourced approach where students riding the bus took the place of the hardware trackers. They then worked with shuttle drivers to develop new hardware that was acceptable to the shuttle company. As a result, Shuttle Tracker successfully survived the crisis and deployed new hardware trackers based on a student design. 

Throughout the process, Jacoby-Cooper worked with multiple groups to move their project forward. Along with being a Rensselaer Center for Open Source (RCOS) project, Shuttle Tracker is run and deployed through the Web Technologies Group of the Student Senate. Jacoby-Cooper became an advocate for the project to the student government and obtained funding for the new hardware development and deployment. They coordinated and trained teams of up to 20 students divided into hardware, website, and app groups.  

Beyond that, Jacoby-Cooper’s academic exploration encompasses formal logic and symbolic artificial intelligence, focusing on the interplay between human cognition and formal reasoning tools, in collaboration with Bram van Heuveln, Ph.D., from the Department of Cognitive Science. Additionally, alongside Deborah McGuinness, Ph.D., and Dennis Shelden, Ph.D., they have contributed to the field of semantic technologies, description logics, and symbolic artificial intelligence through the Tetherless World Constellation. Their collaborative efforts culminated in an accepted paper for presentation at the 2023 workshop on the Semantic Web of Constrained Things (SWOCOT ’23) during the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) in Greece.

Written By Katie Malatino
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