Rensselaer Professor Ali Tajer Receives NSF CAREER Award

Part of Tajer’s CAREER Award will support the Rensselaer Engineering Ambassadors program.

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February 11, 2016

Rensselaer Professor Ali Tajer Receives NSF CAREER Award

Information theorist seeks to enhance information security in power grids

Information theory and signal processing expert Ali Tajer, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“We congratulate Ali for receiving an NSF CAREER award to support his timely and promising research on information security of electricity grids,” said Shekhar Garde, dean of engineering. “Dr. Tajer’s research exemplifies Rensselaer’s research on data analytics, cybersecurity, and modernizing electric grids. We are proud to have him as a colleague.”

Tajer will use the five-year $500,000 grant, titled “Fundamental Security-Performance Tradeoffs in Power Grids,” to investigate and address the security challenges associated with modernizing cyber and physical operations of power grids. This project will produce a decision-theory approach that includes security as an integral part of the modern power grid design, making power grids inherently secure. Tajer’s CAREER Award also will support a variety of educational and outreach activities at Rensselaer, including outreach to K-12 and undergraduate students through the Rensselaer Engineering Ambassadors program.

The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF’s most competitive awards, placing emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

Tajer’s research interests include mathematical statistics and network information theory with applications in power grids, wireless communications, and complex networks. He joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2014, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, and a master of arts in statistics and doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University.

Tajer’s work is an example of how Rensselaer embodies The New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for teaching, learning, and research. Rensselaer leads by using advanced technologies to unite a multiplicity of disciplines and perspectives, in order to take on large, multifaceted challenges to become transformative in three fundamental ways: in the global impact of our research, in our innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of our students.

For more information on Tajer’s research at Rensselaer, go to https://www.ecse.rpi.edu/~tajer.