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Research Magazine 2009

Research Magazine 2009



Binghamton Research presents a sampling of the latest research and scholarly contributions of faculty at Binghamton University. This edition of the magazine, published by the Office of Research ...

Binghamton Research presents a sampling of the latest research and scholarly contributions of faculty at Binghamton University. This edition of the magazine, published by the Office of Research Advancement, addresses topics ranging from Parkinson's disease to experimental economics.



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    Research Magazine 2009 Research Magazine 2009 Document Transcript

    • Binghamton ReseaRch B i n g h a m t o n U n i v e r s i t y / S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y o f N e w Yo r k / 2 0 0 9 sound strategy: a symphony of finely tuned ideas helps raise the curtain on big breakthroughs In thIs Issue: Youth violence in the post-columbine era self-interest and the economY helping parkinson’s patients
    • pg. 20 Earnest money: Experimental economics puts the world of finance under a microscope
    • Binghamton ReseaRch B i n g h a m t o n U n i v e r s i t y / S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y o f N e w Yo r k / 2 0 0 9 co Nt eN t S 2 20 54 about Binghamton Research earnest money aging gracefully Experimental economics puts Binghamton University leads the 3 the world of finance under a way in meeting growing demand microscope for social workers who specialize messages in geriatrics 36 4 58 search smarts the Parkinson’s predicament a new dream New technology could leave for 21st-century science The side effects of treating Web ‘crawlers’ in the dust this devastating disease can It’s time to abandon the 40 be almost as awful as the search for a single principle illness itself cultivating entrepreneurs to explain the world 10 Binghamton proves to be fertile 62 ground for technology transfer merchants, moneylenders in Brief 44 and middlemen New view of Jewish history Whole lot of shaking offers understanding of going on capitalism, anti-Semitism Tiny devices may lead to advances for technology ranging from cell phones to air bags f e at U r eS 14 24 30 48 Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 From social Sound strategy Partnering with Industry allies networking to parents cover story: Composer The Center of Excellence swarm intelligence dissects his creative process turns corporate partners into Nurse on a mission to catalysts for discovery ‘rescue childhood’ Research shows how complex systems rule everyday life 1
    • ABoUT BINghAmToN RESEARCh new York state center of excellence Center for the Teaching of American History (CTAH) Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center Director Thomas Dublin Director Bahgat Sammakia Center for Writers (CW) organized research centers Director Maria Mazziotti Gillan Center for Advanced Information Technologies (CAIT) Clinical Science and Engineering Research Center (CSERC) Director Victor Skormin Director Kenneth McLeod Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) Institute for Materials Research (IMR) Director Bahgat Sammakia Director M. Stanley Whittingham Center for Advanced Sensors and Environmental Systems (CASE) Institute of Biomedical Technology (IBT) Director Omowunmi Sadik Director John G. Baust Center for Applied Community Research and Development (CACRD) Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC) Co-Directors Pamela Mischen and Allison Alden Director Bahgat Sammakia Center for Cognitive and Psycholinguistic Sciences (CaPS) Linux Technology Center (LTC) Director Cynthia Connine Director Merwyn Jones Center for Computing Technologies (CCT) Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) Director Kanad Ghose Director Nina Versaggi Center for Development and Behavioral Neuroscience (CDBN) Roger L. Kresge Center for Nursing Research (KCNR) Director Norman Spear Interim Director Ann Myers Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender (CHSWG) institutes for advanced studies Co-Directors Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, Center for Integrated Watershed Studies (CIWS) and Civilizations (FBC) Director John Titus Director Richard E. Lee Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture (CPIC) Institute for Asia and Asian Diaspora Studies (IAADS) Director Maria Lugones Director John Chaffee Center for Leadership Studies (CLS) Institute for Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Director Francis Yammarino Director David Sloan Wilson Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS) Institute of Global Cultural Studies (IGCS) Director Karen-edis Barzman Director Ali Mazrui Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (CSMTE) Watson Institute for Systems Excellence (WISE) Director Thomas O’Brien Director Krishnaswami Srihari Editorial Staff Binghamton University editor Lois B. Defleur Rachel Coker President art Direction and Design Gerald Sonnenfeld Martha P. Terry Vice President for Research Photography Marcia r. craner Jonathan Cohen, iStock Images Vice President for External Affairs contributing Writers Rachel Coker, Eric Dietrich, Merrill Douglas, Katherine Karlson, Binghamton Research is published annually by the Division Anne Miller, Kathleen Ryan O’Connor of Research, with cooperation from the office of University communications and marketing. copy editing Katie Ellis, John Wojcio PostmasteR: send address changes to: Binghamton Research, office of Research advancement, Po Box 6000, Illustrations Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Binghamton, new York 13902-6000. iStock Images Binghamton University is strongly committed to affirmative action. We offer access to services and recruit students and employees without regard to race, color, gender, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or national origin. www.binghamton.edu research.binghamton.edu 2
    • mESSAgES a message from the president When scholars from different fields collaborate in deep and meaningful ways, they often arrive at new perspectives and challenge commonly accepted views. At Binghamton University, these efforts include partnerships of engineers and management experts as well as poets and musicians. It requires commitment as well as time for faculty members with such varied backgrounds to develop meaningful projects and a certain kind of LOIS B. DEFLEUR courage to go beyond the familiar terrain of one’s own discipline. The University’s goal is to nurture the initial phases of these projects with campus grants because we believe in the potential and rewards of multidisciplinary work. At their best, these collaborations reward the risk-takers with unexpected innovations and even artistic breakthroughs. This was the case last year, as faculty composer Paul goldstaub and martin Bidney, professor emeritus of English, worked to set poetry to music. They allowed the research magazine to follow them through the creative process, from basic recordings of martin reading poems he had translated to Paul’s revelation that the poems could be performed in song as a dialogue between people in a relationship. The composition will come to life in a concert of new music on campus this year. I hope you will enjoy the opportunity to accompany them on their musical journey, just as I hope you will enjoy the sampling of other faculty research and scholarly work presented in our magazine. a message from the vice president for research Creative people and innovative ideas come together every day at Binghamton University, resulting in a symphony of discovery that’s making itself heard across New York state and around the world. our faculty members are conducting research that may one day ease the troubling side effects of Parkinson’s disease treatment, protect your laptop computer from damage if it falls and revolutionize the way you search for information on the Web. other experts are challenging commonly accepted views of topics such as economic history, youth violence and caring for the elderly. one especially exciting interdisciplinary collaboration promises to change the way we understand decision making and teams. Through the office of Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships and our unique industry collaborations — as well as through publishing, teaching and performing — the University community brings these breakthroughs to a wider audience. on that note, I’m pleased to say that our Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 faculty members received a record number of new patents last year. We also recorded a nearly 60 percent increase in licensing revenue. Binghamton research expenditures grew by 3 percent in 2007-08, bucking a national trend of flat or even falling figures. In addition, awards to our researchers rose by more than 20 percent last year. It’s all evidence of our sound strategy at work. GERALD SONNENFELD 3
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 4
    • The Parkinson’s predicament ThE SIdE EffECTS of TREATINg ThIS dEvASTATINg dISEASE CAN BE AlmoST AS AWfUl AS ThE IllNESS ITSElf. oNE BINghAmToN Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 RESEARChER hoPES To ChANgE ThAT. 5
    • Christopher Bishop christopher Bishop has a novel theory about how to suppress the involuntary movements associated with Parkinson’s disease. his idea could revolutionize the way patients respond Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 to the drug that has been the gold standard in treating the disease for more than 50 years and lead to vast improvements in the quality of life for the roughly 1 million americans who suffer from Parkinson’s. 6
    • ThE SITUATIoN IS AN INCREASINglY URgENT mEdICAl CoNCERN; 50,000 moRE AmERICANS ARE dIAgNoSEd WITh PARkINSoN’S EACh YEAR. Parkinson’s disease patients have trouble this deficit of dopamine can be reversed with movement. they move slowly. they with treatment using a compound called have rigidity in their limbs. they have L-DoPa. balance problems and tremors. the brain converts L-DoPa into these cardinal symptoms are a result of dopamine, which is why it’s an effective a deficit of dopamine in the brain. replacement therapy for patients. and for five to 10 years, this treatment works Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s well. essential for movement; it also plays an important role in behavior, cognition “the problem is that Parkinson’s is a and sleep. progressive disease,” said Bishop, as- sistant professor of psychology at Bing- in Parkinson’s patients, neurons that hamton University. “You lose more and make dopamine die. scientists still aren’t more of these neurons as time goes on, sure why; genetic factors are believed to so therapeutically, doses of L-DoPa play only a small role. must increase.” 7
    • many patients suffer troubling side it’s not always at the forefront of your effects as the dosage increases. mind, but it’s something you can get to if you need to,” Bishop said.“in the same “By year 10,” Bishop said, “as many as way, your ability to produce a movement 90 percent of patients will start to suffer is a memory. it’s a motor memory, but from motor fluctuations and something it’s a memory nonetheless. called L-DoPa-induced dyskinesia. so you go from a state of no treatment “We are beginning to believe that where you’re not moving well, to a state dyskinesia is actually the inability to where the drug is working well and suppress motor memories as a result of you’re moving fluidly, to a point where the drug’s stimulation. these abnormal L-DoPa doses are very high and you’re movements may be an expression of producing these abnormal, involuntary motor memories that can’t be shut movements.” down.” think of the actor michael J. Fox’s recent one possible treatment relates to glu- television appearances. the excessive tamate, a neurotransmitter in the brain movements he displays aren’t a result that can play a role in these memory of his Parkinson’s disease, but rather a processes, helping to lay down new symptom of the L-DoPa therapy. pathways for motor memories. “it’s this inability to suppress movement Bishop has developed a way to look at that’s a real problem for patients later dyskinesia as it’s occurring and measure on in the disease’s progression,” Bishop glutamate levels in different parts of said. the brain. “that is a huge leap forward,” he said, “because now we can make an and patients can’t simply stop taking association between the behavior and L-DoPa, Bishop said. if they do, they the glutamate levels. and we’re doing it face a nearly “frozen” life with incredibly in a very specific area of the brain. it’s a limited ability to move. very powerful technique.” it’s unusual that there hasn’t been a Kathy steece-collier, an associate change in the primary treatment for professor in the Department of neurol- Parkinson’s in five decades, Bishop ogy at the University of cincinnati, said. in that time, there have been huge said “surprisingly little” research effort advancements in the ways other neuro- to date has taken the direction Bishop logic disorders are treated. is pursuing. treatment. Bishop hopes to find out how With Parkinson’s, there are still a number “chris’ approach has been to delve these compounds work — and what of big unanswered questions. the cause into novel molecular mechanisms,” she dyskinesia really is. of the disease is one; how dyskinesia said. “these mechanisms have a strong develops is another. potential to provide insight into new early experimentation has supported clinical approaches that could prolong Bishop’s theories, showing a reduction in Bishop and colleagues at Wayne state therapeutic treatment and lessen side dyskinesia as the serotonin compound is University’s medical school and the Vet- effects associated with L-DoPa therapy administered. erans administration hospital in chicago in Parkinson’s disease.” Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 hope to find a way to reduce dyskinesia “Dr. Bishop’s research is important be- and suppress these movements. in 2008, Bishop and his team received cause he has focused on a brain chemical a $1.33 million, five-year grant from transmission system that may represent “We’re asking, ‘is dyskinesia abnormal the national institute of neurological a new therapeutic target for treatment learning?’ there are parts of the brain Disorders and stroke (ninDs), part of of L-DoPa-induced dyskinesias,” said that allow us to store memories. and the national institutes of health. the Beth-anne sieber, a program director that involves laying down new neuronal funding will allow Bishop and his team at the national institute of neurologi- pathways that become permanent. You to study serotonin compounds that cal Disorders and stroke. “his ninDs- can now go and retrieve that information. reduce glutamate following L-DoPa funded studies suggest that activation of 8
    • About PArkinson’s diseAse Parkinson’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor- system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. a receptor for the neurotransmitter sero- Parkinson’s usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms tonin can block overactive brain signals are subtle and occur gradually. The diagnosis is based on medical history and dampen involuntary movements.” and a neurological examination. The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. Roughly 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every Bishop said he believes L-DoPa treat- year. ment will remain in the mix of therapies, even if other advances such as stem-cell There are many theories about the cause of Parkinson’s disease, but none transplants advance to a point where has ever been proved. At present, there is no cure for Parkinson’s, but they can be used regularly. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 medications provide many patients dramatic relief from the symptoms. the situation is an increasingly urgent The disease is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, medical concern; 50,000 more americans and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. Although are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year. “that’s only going to increase as some people become severely disabled, others experience only minor motor our population ages,” Bishop said. “this disruptions. is not something that’s going away.” Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke — Rachel Coker 9
    • erchants, oneylenders iddlemen NEw viEw of JEwiSh hiStory offErS UNdErStaNdiNg of capitaliSm, aNti-SEmitiSm in developed countries today, people argue over the roles and rights of low-skilled foreign laborers. “they’re crucial to our economy,” some maintain. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 others say, “We need them, but just as guest workers.” or: “Kick them out before they drain our economy and destroy our way of life.” 10
    • At the Usurers, Edgar Bundy For hundreds of years, europeans waged Political thinkers through the years have similar debates, but not about the pros debated the economic role of Jews. Yet and cons of allowing poor immigrants to Jews who study Jewish history have long scrub floors and harvest tomatoes. they avoided the subject of economics, said argued about the benefits and dangers of Jonathan Karp, associate professor of allowing Jews to serve in their countries history and Judaic studies at Binghamton as merchants, moneylenders and other University.“these historians didn’t want kinds of economic middlemen. Did Jews to contribute to the stereotype, to the take those roles because they were at negative image of Jews as merchants or Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 heart a commercial people, or because Jews as shylocks,” he said. in the past, they weren’t allowed any other kind of when historians did address the subject, work? Was capitalism a progressive force they approached it as marxists and or a corrupting one, and what did the Zionists who hoped to transform Jews growth of a market society imply about into workers and farmers. the Jews’ purported flair for commerce? if a country let Jews run businesses, however, Karp said, it’s impossible to should it also let them own land and understand the history of anti-semitism, hold political office? or of capitalism, without taking a non- 11
    • Jonathan Karp ideological look at political theories on trade, keeping control out of the hands which to explore capitalism. Dohm felt Jewish economics. of foreign merchants. although trade that a commercial society promised might make Venetian Jews wealthy, greater equality and freedom, but he also Karp does just that in a new book, he said, unlike other alien groups they feared that capitalism might undermine The Politics of Jewish Commerce: posed no threat to the state because they traditional values. Economic Thought and Emancipation in wanted no political rights. Europe, 1638-1848. examining writings Karp’s book is significant, in part because on politics and economics published in contrast, British writer John toland he tackles a subject that many scholars throughout the period, he traces argued in 1714 that Jews should be have avoided and in part because his Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 evolving ideas about Jews’ traditional allowed to work in many spheres research is so broad in scope, said functions in the economy and, based on beyond commerce. Jews were inclined adam sutcliffe, lecturer in early modern those functions, what rights they should by heritage to make good citizens, he history at King’s college London. “he have in society. said, and they should be naturalized as ambitiously takes on a long period of British subjects. more than two centuries, straddling For example, simone Luzzatto, a the early modern/late modern divide,” Venetian rabbi and scholar, argued in in 1781, the Prussian christian Wilhelm sutcliffe said of Karp’s book. “this is an 1638 that local Jews were willing and Dohm wrote a book sympathetic toward important strength of his study, enabling able to take on the risks of foreign Jews that used them as a lens through him to provide a deep exploration of 12
    • arp’S Book iS SigNificaNt, iN part BEcaUSE hE Jews, commerce And culture tacklES a SUBJEct Jonathan Karp is delving further that maNy ScholarS into historical thought on Jewish economics this academic year havE avoidEd aNd as a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Herbert D. iN part BEcaUSE hiS Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Each year, the rESEarch iS So Broad center assembles scholars iN ScopE. from throughout the world to research and discuss an aspect — Adam Sutcliffe, King’s College London of Jewish culture. Collaborating with two other researchers, Karp helped write the proposal for the current topic, “Jews, Commerce and Culture.” the roots of the emergence of the more the holocaust. and it’s important to familiar economic associations with Jews understand the debate, because it points While in residence during in the period since 1848.” to the fact that anti-semitism didn’t 2008-09, Karp is studying the spring only from religious prejudice or Protestant Reformation, which Karp said he focused on the years 1638 distaste for moneylenders, Karp said. occurred just before the period to 1848 because that period marks it also grew out of ambivalence toward an important transition in thought capitalism. he covers in his recent book. about the economic roles of Jews. “at His aim is to look at how that the beginning,” he said, “writers and Because Jews gravitated to commerce, Christian reform movement debaters were saying, ‘sure, bring the and because people weren’t sure changed the discourse on Jews in. Let them do their magic. they whether commerce was a good or Jewish economic identity. neither want, nor will we give them, any bad force, even when Jews seemed to Other scholars in the program political rights.’ Jews were a safe bet as assimilate, people weren’t sure they specialize in a wide range of long as they remained non-citizens.” could trust them. “they’d say, ‘aha! they subjects, such as Jews in 16th- are behaving as Jews, because they are century Mediterranean trade, But the French Revolution changed the behaving commercially. these people American business history, rules. Under the new order, in many may share our language and culture, but economic life in Israel and the countries, a person who followed lo- their predominance in commerce shows cal customs and pledged loyalty to the that they have their own agenda, that economic aspects of the Hasidic state could become a citizen. in theory, they are a fifth column.’” it did not occur movement. Jews could gain political rights, but not if to people who thought this way, Karp It’s about time Jewish historians they still stood apart as a merchant class. said, that Jews’ commercial orientation “the fact that Jews were anomalous in was the result of centuries of habituation gave more thought to economic their occupations was a serious obstacle, and restriction. life, Karp said. “One scholar in the minds of many statesmen and described Jewish history as a philosophers, to their acculturation, or For this reason, the focus on traditional Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 head without a body,” he said. their subordination to the discipline of roles and stereotypes also makes “It’s as if the material, physical, citizenship,” Karp said. society faced a Jewish economics a perilous area for life-sustaining part has been dilemma: “either we have to kick them scholarship today.“it’s very tricky to talk generally ignored, and only the out, or we have to transform them and about the subject objectively, without stuff that goes on in the head reform them, so that they’ll no longer be giving perceived ammunition to anti- is what anybody pays attention a commercial people.” semitism,” Karp said. “that’s why it’s to. We’re trying to recover the such an explosive topic.” Jewish body.” that dilemma lasted well beyond the — Merrill Douglas period of the book — in fact, until 13
    • From social networking to intelligence research shows how complex systems rule everyday life a new area of research — fittingly called “complexity science” — embraces the notion that an ant colony and the human brain, Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 the stock market and Facebook all have something in common. all are complex systems, basically huge networks made up of individual components whose behavior is difficult to predict. 14
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 15
    • a deeper understanding of these sys- of course there are plenty of computer tems’ role in nature — and the emer- science- and engineer-types in coco, gence of computer science tools sophis- but they work alongside faculty such as ticated enough to analyze them — offers shelley Dionne, an associate professor scientists a more realistic framework for in Binghamton’s school of manage- solving today’s most vexing problems, ment. she’s an mBa-PhD who got her from global warming to ethnic conflict. first taste of management not as a bud- ding Wall streeter, but during a dietetic “the rise of complexity science is not management rotation toward a degree driven by researchers, but actually from in nutrition. the complexity in people’s lives,” said hiroki sayama, an assistant professor “each one of us is a unique mix,” she in the Department of Bioengineering at said. Binghamton University. “ten years ago, a network didn’t make much sense.” she was eager to join the group, but quickly discovered that when they finally today networks and complex systems got face to face, all that interdisciplinary are everywhere, and there are several joie de vivre didn’t come baggage-free. university-based centers and journals devoted exclusively to their study. “We had no idea how to talk to each other,” Dionne said. “it’s a fundamental conceptual shift,” sayama said. in other words, they had swarm intelli- gence while she had sWot, that classic It’s a different world business tool of identifying strengths, at Binghamton, an interdisciplinary weaknesses, opportunities and threats. group founded in 2007 to study the collective dynamics of complex sys- other members came to the table with tems goes by the name coco. Perhaps similar diversity: Research interests in- the most striking characteristic of the clude public administration, biomimet- group is that instead of talking about an ics and environmental toxicology. interdisciplinary approach, it lives and breathes it. it took time, Dionne said. and, it turned out, a lot of office supplies. “Week after “there are many people who claim to week, drawing pictures on white boards be interdisciplinary — it’s the computer until we were out of ink,” she said. scientist working with the electrical en- gineers,” sayama, coco’s director, said What emerged was a shared passion with a laugh. for understanding group dynamics. the Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Hiroki Sayama 16
    • computer scientists might be happily creating swarm simulators or explain- ing the latest in agent-based modeling, “the rise of complexity but, she too, could dive headfirst into creating ways for businesses to survive the shift from Dilbert days to dynamic science is not driven by global leadership. researchers, but actually “gone are the days i sit in my cubicle alone for eight hours a day,”she said, de- scribing today’s corporate environment. from the complexity “gone.” in people’s lives.” it is exactly that rapid-fire change of today’s business climate that has shown the pressing need for a new framework, — Hiroki Sayama said Ken thompson, a United Kingdom- based expert in the area of bioteaming, swarming and virtual enterprise net- works and teams, which draws heavily on the understanding of complex sys- responsiveness are king,” he said. “We tems in nature. his most recent book is urgently need to find a new model Bioteams: High Performance Teams Based which recognizes that organizations are on Nature’s Most Successful Designs. not predictable systems, like clocks, but unpredictable ecosystems, like living traditional business teams rely too things. the natural place to look for this heavily on a single dominant struc- model is nature itself with its numerous ture — command and control, also examples of self-organizing systems and known as individually led teams, he teams in ants, bees, dolphins, wolves, said, drawing from the military. such an geese and many more.” approach “served us well in the era of mass production when costs, consistency one of sayama’s research goals is to cre- and compliance were everything,” ate some way to self-organize heteroge- thompson said. neous swarms with several distinct types of particles into specific spacial patterns But that model falls well short in today’s so one can evolve the internal mecha- world full of “networks, dynamic alli- nism. he envisions a system in which, ances, virtual collaborations — where collectively, robots can spontaneously agility, innovation, added-value and create behaviors. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 17
    • From ‘fringe’ to center stage David schaffer, a member of coco and a visiting research professor in the De- “Gone are the days partment of Bioengineering who also works as a research fellow at Philips Re- search, connected with sayama through i sit in my cubicle their shared belief that the concepts from modern complexity theory have alone for eight hours something to offer societal problems. it’s an idea that didn’t seem to get much traction in the wider world until recently, a day. Gone.” he said. so it must be satisfying for scientists — Shelley Dionne such as schaffer, whose dissertation was on genetic algorithms — something once considered on the “lunatic fringe,” he said — to see their ideas get so much respect. today evolutionary computation is seeping into every aspect of engineer- “that’s the key idea of any complex ing and more applications are on the system,” sayama said. “it’s very hard to horizon, he said. predict.” “i’m kind of the utopian thinker,” schaf- But what’s not difficult to envision, es- fer said. “i think we can do better than pecially for the younger generation, is we are doing.” the concept that groups react differently than individuals when part of a network, coco’s research focus is both “new and he said. old,” said Yaneer Bar-Yam, professor and president of the new england complex think of today’s college students, saya- systems institute, a cambridge-based ma said. they get up, check Facebook, nonprofit research and education insti- send e-mails. their lives are all about tute. sayama did his post-doctoral work connection. there and they still collaborate. “they are already aware that everything it’s as old as the groundbreaking is networked,” he said. “they already economic theory of adam smith’s understand they are part of something “invisible hand,” put forth in the bigger.” 1700s, and evolution itself, which of Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 18
    • course didn’t happen by one piece, Bar- infrastructure, both physical and social, Yam said. and see the consequences unfold, some unforeseen. What’s new are the computer science- based tools available for understanding it’s much the same in the real world. and analyzing these ideas. “Patterns develop within cities based on “and hiroki is one of the pioneers in the people making personal decisions — field,” Bar-Yam said. leaving neighborhoods if they can, or staying if they can’t,” Wilson said. a recent national science Foundation “We are all interacting with each other.” grant of more than $550,000 confirms that view and provides coco at Bing- the neighborhood Project has been hamton with the resources the group able to map seemingly intangible — but will need to explore and expand its utterly familiar — neighborhood charac- evolutionary perspective on collective teristics. one part of its research found a decision making. correlation between high marks for car- ing neighbors and the level of holiday David sloan Wilson, a distinguished decorations in a neighborhood. professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton, a member of coco the juxtaposition of high science and and the director of the interdisciplinary holiday displays is nothing new. “Bing- evolutionary studies (evos) program hamton has always valued integration,” at Binghamton, said it is coco’s Wilson said, mentioning the University’s “combination of evolutionary theory and Languages across the curriculum pro- complexity theory that is so special.” gram.“i think it’s one of the great things about the University. in order to have so, too, is its emphasis on using its integration, you have to have a com- research to solve real-world problems. mon language — one is the common language of evolutionary theories and Wilson is part of the Binghamton neigh- complexity.” borhood Project, a collaboration among Binghamton faculty and community and that relatively new addition of partners that uses coco to help make evolutionary theory to the study of com- neighborhoods stronger. plexity science means a great deal more landscape for great thinkers to explore think of simcity, Wilson said, referring together. to the popular computer game that chal- — Kathleen Ryan O’Connor lenges users to create a city. You create Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Shelley Dionne 19
    • earnest money: experimental economics puts the world of finance under a microscope Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 20
    • What happens when economics steps into the lab? can you test it? touch it? Poke it? of course. the result is experimental economics, the financial crisis has left many 401(k)- a growing discipline that reaches into watchers wishing they could go back to nearly every aspect of life, from the school to learn more about terms such best auditing standards to how much as credit default swaps and “naked” candy an 8-year-old might share short selling, or understand better the with a classmate. Researchers use accounting wizardry at work behind the reproducible, scientifically rigorous massive federal bailout of Wall street. experiments to test fundamental economic questions. it also has served to bring into sharp relief the role of self-interest in financial steven schwartz, associate professor of transactions. accounting in Binghamton’s school of Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 management, is gaining notice from top self-interest takes center stage in “the academic journals for his work in the effect of honesty and superior authority field, including a recent investigation on Budget Proposals,” a paper schwartz into the interplay between authority and researched with colleagues Frederick W. honesty in the budgeting process. Rankin of colorado state University and Richard a. Young of the ohio state and his work comes at a good time for University. their findings were recently economics, if also a bad time for the published by The Accounting Review, a economy. top-three journal in the field. 21
    • Steven Schwartz here, they take previous research that the design of the experiments. the idea schwartz and his colleagues discovered shows subordinates have differing is to strike a balance between the relative that the most honesty came from giving degrees of honesty in the budget- simplicity of a controlled laboratory subordinates final say over the budget. ing process and move it several steps setting and all the messy motivations that is, when employees are trusted to further — manipulating interactions that make up human nature. do the right thing, they tend to do it. to see what produces incremental differences in honesty. For example, in order to recreate a one- this is not to say that employees should shot exchange between a manager and be trusted entirely. schwartz’s results Does it matter if the subordinate or a worker over a budget in a lab setting, also suggest that while having the superior has final say over the budget schwartz and his colleagues found a way superior set the budget may be resented approval? Will employees be more or to give participants enough experience by employees, it does benefit the firm less honest when they have to state to “get” the idea of the experiment, but through greater control. the true cost of the budget versus not skew results by having them get too something more akin to an offer? all comfortable with each other. Participants taken together, this research shows that of these, schwartz and his colleagues interacted for 20 rounds, but were companies must be careful in choosing discovered, affect honesty. and often randomly re-matched after each round. just the right amount of authority for the smallest difference in control has the their managers. give them too much biggest impact — a more finely tuned that same attention to detail was and employees will act with resentment; understanding than can be gleaned from maintained when it came to money. too little, and they will run roughshod Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 mountains of data. over corporate policies. as the budget communication schwartz, like all experimental manipulation played out, the subordinate it’s in this way that experimental eco- economists, must find creative ways either proposed an allocation of the nomics can trump traditional economic to simulate the real world — he project’s profit to the superior — they models: it is better at capturing human has also researched the best way to tagged this the “no factual assertion” behavior that isn’t always rational. teach experiments in the accounting treatment — or reported the project’s management classroom — so an exact cost to the superior — the “factual and accounting, like human nature, is incredible amount of attention goes into assertion” treatment. a natural application for the methods 22
    • steven schwartz and his colleagues discovered that the most honesty came from giving subordinates final say over the budget. that is, when employees are trusted to do the right thing, they tend to do it. of experimental economics, said shyam schwartz was attracted to experimental “You are not going to lie for a nickel,” he sunder, a professor at the Yale school of economics for its hands-on approach explained. management and a noted experimental and its respect for the enduringly popu- economist. as a largely institutional lar game theory, or how people react But boost that reward to a quarter and discipline, even small changes to ac- strategically in situations where com- all of a sudden fibbing emerges — or so counting can have large consequences. peting strategies are at work. schwartz the experiments said. describes it all simply as “fun.” “of course no experience in the labora- “But we found that’s not really the tory will give you a perfect prediction. that sense of fun has translated into case,” he said. he has seen firsthand that doesn’t happen even in science, but all sorts of creative approaches, from how subjects forgo all types of selfish it gives you some idea, on a small scale, finding a way to measure cooperation behavior in favor of more benevolent what might happen if you made this mathematically to pondering eBay’s social norms. change, and that gives you a little more feedback mechanism. schwartz has also confidence on which path to choose,” discovered that he shares a passion for so we’re not just servants of our own sunder said. the motivations of honesty and altruism self-interest? with top names in the field such as sunder recently attended a conference ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich in not at all. where a group of researchers wanted to switzerland, who recently published a know whether auditors choosing their provocative paper on the roots of sharing “People,” he said, “are much more will- Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 own standards or norms would lead to by testing children and candy. ing to return a kindness with a kindness an increase in compliance. than you think.” schwartz also shares an interest in “they found, yes, it makes a significant — Kathleen Ryan O’Connor showing how economics can turn difference,” he said. “if you have a chance conventional wisdom on its head. he to participate in deciding the norms and recalled a famous experiment, some 20 standards, you stick to them more, even years ago, in which researchers found if, in auditing context, it means personal that if lying would net you only a paltry sacrifice.” sum as a reward, you wouldn’t do it. 23
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 24 CovER SToRY
    • CovER SToRY soun strategy compoSEr diSSEctS hiS crEativE Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 procESS 25
    • CovER SToRY paUl goldStaUB rUNS a laBoratory of SortS the Binghamton University professor the poems, a series of spanish folk lyrics translated into Russian by K.D. Balmont does extensive reading and research, about a century ago, were translated into english by martin Bidney, a professor delves into the history of his field, emeritus of english at Binghamton. When Bidney first shared them with jots down ideas in a journal, performs goldstaub in 2005, there were more than 350 short poems addressing a variety of experiments and tests his theories with themes. the help of sophisticated software. then By may 2008, goldstaub had committed he watches as it all comes together in a to writing a piece inspired by this poetry in time for a premiere at the 2009 edition live concert performance. of musica nova, the annual concert of new music that he directs each February. goldstaub, an award-winning composer who joined the music Department’s “i’m very fortunate in that almost faculty in 1998, sees numerous everything i write gets performed,” similarities between his work and that said goldstaub, whose work has been of the scientists whose labs are in the played at Lincoln center, carnegie hall building next door. and as far away as Japan. “sometimes i’m writing for a specific occasion or “although we all hope for the lightning situation and that in some ways helps bolt of inspiration, whether you are a me decide the style. here at Binghamton scientist or an explorer or an artist, there with the musica nova concerts, it’s is a lot of what i call pre-compositional an atmosphere that seems to invite thinking and research going on,” he said. experimentation. People have trusted “a scientist might spend years studying me to make interesting concerts and the available literature, doing sample ex- i’m delighted to say, ‘We’re going on a periments, designing problems that lead musical journey. come along.’” up to the big question. he might spend weeks, months or years walking around harold Reynolds, a trombonist and the outside of the problem, deciding professor at ithaca college, has worked first of all: What is the question? that is Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 with goldstaub for more than 20 years. a process similar to what i go through. he has commissioned works from Before writing a note comes years of goldstaub, both as a soloist and for an general research on the topic.” ensemble. take goldstaub’s major project in 2008, “it’s really exciting to get a piece that’s for example. he spent much of the year written for you because it’s something composing a 25-minute piece inspired brand new that no one else has,” by a group of poems he first read three Reynolds said. “it’s an organic process years earlier. 26
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 CovER SToRY 27
    • CovER SToRY when you work with a composer. i find it exhilarating.” he said goldstaub has attended early rehearsals and worked with the performers, occasionally making changes in the piece. “Paul is so close to the work that he does,” Reynolds said. it’s so integral to his being that he feels like part of the piece itself. he has a built-in interest in being right in the middle of it.” Reynolds said he appreciates the personal, even spiritual quality of goldstaub’s compositions. “Paul’s works are always introspective. often they reflect deep-seated emotions he’s going through at the time. i like that because it’s really genuine. he gives a lot of thought to what he wants to say.” in 2008, that process brought goldstaub to western new York, where he sought inspiration on a working vacation near a lake. “several hours were spent just reading the poems over and over and deciding which ones spoke to me,” he said. While there, goldstaub whittled down the number of poems he was considering for the piece to about 50. he also kept a journal about the process. “it’s filled with my thoughts Baritone Timothy LeFebvre, left, about structure, questions i wanted to ask myself and references to music will perform the composition from other composers,” he said, citing featuring poetry translated by schumann, Britten and Berlioz as well Martin Bidney, center. Paul as some contemporary composers. Goldstaub, right, wrote the music. During the summer, goldstaub recorded Bidney reading many of the poems aloud and thought about how the poetry would interact with the music. “that’s a great miracle,” goldstaub said. “music Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 expands the emotion of the text.” By June, goldstaub was seeing recur- ring themes in the poems and they were beginning to coalesce into groups. after one breakthrough, he made a diagram in his journal. “i drew a picture of how i wanted the overall piece to sound,” he said. “Usually i go with a more intuitive 28
    • CovER SToRY approach. i decided in this case to do as perhaps in a quiet register? maybe yes. and doctoral degrees from the east- much pre-compositional planning and that’s sound. Does the melody consist of man school of music at the University structuring as possible. notes that are close together? Does the of Rochester. “But now i can share the melody jump around? are the harmonies sketches i’m hearing in my head with “For some other compositions i’ve stable? are they restful? Do they move others during the process, even before worked differently, which is to say, from dissonance to consonance? is it working with the actual performers. i’ll start building the front porch and the reverse? Do i want to obliterate it also means i can somehow be more maybe there’ll be a dining room and harmony? the same with rhythm. some objective. i can listen to the music as an oh, maybe the wallpaper will have meters will fit the poetry exactly, some audience member more easily and ef- stripes. that’s more intuitive, and very will not. how about that conflict? Does ficiently.” valid, but for this new piece i decided it even have to be a conflict? and there to take a more architectural approach. finally comes the question of growth, the software also makes it relatively it means that i spent time asking myself which is: What is this piece as a whole simple to experiment with various tem- a lot of quiet questions. i feel i know going to mean? What is the shape of the pos and with the ways different instru- where i’m going. i have a beginning, a entire piece?” ments might sound together. middle and an end. goldstaub came to see Bidney’s poetic By october, goldstaub had narrowed “now that i have my blueprint, the intu- translations as a sort of dialogue between the selection of poems even further. ition kicks in.” individuals in a relationship, from the it was clear that the still-untitled earliest stages of attraction — in love composition would have 10 sections goldstaub may have a plan as he works, with the loving, if you will — to darker divided into two parts, and that portions but he also strives to remain open to themes of envy and scorn and then a of the piece would be sung by a man new ideas. a sketch that initially doesn’t resolution and brightness. and three women. goldstaub had also seem to work may find its way back settled on a pianist and two or three into the composition later. “the piece “one of the mysteries of music is percussionists who would play several is constantly changing, even though i how it can open the door to various different instruments. Baritone timothy know where i’m going,” he said. interpretations,” he said. “martin LeFebvre, also a professor of music and i are looking forward to what at Binghamton, will be the featured one way he tests out ideas is through the experience of hearing the poetry performer. a computer program called sibelius. and music together will do for our the music-notation software allows listeners.” as portions of the composition came goldstaub to generate sheet music that into focus, goldstaub said he relied on — Rachel Coker can easily be read by performers. it also the five elements of music — sound, Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 enables him to save his work as an audio melody, harmony, rhythm and growth — file and play it back with any of several to inform his decisions about the piece. realistic-sounding instruments. Visit “i ask myself, What’s the best way to use “Part of a composer’s training before each of the five elements to serve the research.binghamton.edu/goldstaub the digital age was to be able to hear impression i’m getting from the lyrics? if listen as the these things in one’s head,” said gold- it’s a quiet, mellow, reflective thing, i’m composition staub, who holds a bachelor’s degree thinking, What sound world is that? is it evolves. from ithaca college as well as master’s piccolo? Probably not. is it a male voice, 29
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 30
    • Partnering Parents with Nurse on a mission to ‘rescue childhood’ ten years after the horrific massacre at columbine high school sharpened the nation’s views on youth violence, mary muscari sees cause for optimism — and for deep concern — about the way adolescents are growing up in america. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 31
    • “ Technology has changed The way kids relaTe, and iT has Taken away some of Their social skills. … iT’s noT To say Technology is a bad Thing, buT iT can be abused. ” — Mary Muscari “many things have gotten better. school shootings are horrible things, but they’re incredibly rare,” she said. “schools are still basically a safe place. however, we have enormous issues with bullying and cyberbullying. We have too many kids who don’t realize these are nasty things to do.” muscari, associate professor of nursing at Binghamton University and a nationally known expert on parenting, has worked with juvenile delinquents since the early 1980s. as a pediatric nurse practitioner, she has also worked with healthy children throughout her more than 30-year career. muscari, author of five books for parents, has conducted parenting workshops around the country on topics such as keeping kids safe from predators, bullying and how to raise nonviolent kids. she approaches the problem of youth violence using a public health model, she said. “We have primary, secondary and tertiary prevention,” muscari explained. “We have kids without any issue at all, and you’re trying to keep them on an even keel. We have kids who are at risk and need more early intervention. and then we have kids who are already having problems requiring more intensive interventions.” muscari recalls vividly how the columbine shootings, in which two teenagers killed 13 people and wounded 21 others before committing suicide, changed her professional life. she was scheduled to lead a youth violence workshop for teachers and counselors the week of the incident in april 1999 and Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 was expecting perhaps 10 or 15 people to attend. after the shootings, organizers moved her to a room that could hold 75. it filled to capacity, and muscari began making plans for what became her first book, Not My Kid: 21 Steps to Raising a Non- Violent Child. the no-nonsense book, written in language any parent can understand, includes ways to help children build self-esteem, manage stress and develop tolerance. it also encourages parents 32
    • How safe are our cHildren? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is some evidence that student safety has improved in recent years. The victimization rate of students ages 12-18 at school declined between 1992 and 2005. to watch for warning signs such as aggressive outbursts in pre- However, the center schoolers or mistreatment of animals in adolescents — and get help when they need it. reports, violence, theft, drugs and a typically reassuring passage from the book tells parents: weapons continue “if raising a teenager makes you feel like you’re losing your to pose problems mind, don’t worry. it’s normal — and temporary. sparked by in schools. During raging hormones, adolescence is a period of rapid physical and the 2005-06 school emotional transformation that can create a tenuous sense of year, the most recent for which statistics are available, balance for both teens and parents.” 86 percent of public schools reported that at least one violent crime, theft or other crime occurred at their muscari continues: “some degree of teen-parent school. In 2005, 8 percent of students in grades 9-12 friction is expected, but disruptive family conflict isn’t reported being threatened or injured with a weapon in normal. neither is persistent defiance, fighting or property destruction. this turmoil represents pathology, the previous 12 months, and 25 percent reported that and it will not be outgrown. the early appearance of drugs were made available to them on school property. antisocial behavior is associated with more serious problems In the same year, 28 percent of students ages 12- later in the adolescent period and on into adulthood.”she goes 18 reported having been bullied at school during the on to list some behaviors that warrant professional attention, previous six months. including early experimentation with alcohol or drugs, a lack Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 of close friends and themes of violence or death in writing or Among children ages 5-18, there were 17 school- artwork. associated violent deaths during the 2005-06 school year, including 14 homicides and three suicides. In muscari’s ability to address these concerns clearly and directly 2005, among students ages 12-18, there were about 1.5 has made her not only a sought-after writer but also a popular million victims of nonfatal crimes at school, including speaker with several national organizations. 868,100 thefts and 628,200 violent incidents such as assaults. “she’s one of the most down-to-earth people i’ve met,” said Dolores Jones, director of practice, education and research for 33
    • Mary Muscari the 7,000-member national association of Pediatric nurse “some of the things you want to do with kids are timeless,” Practitioners. “she has real-life examples that she’s able to she said.“they need values. We know that kids want values — bring about kids that she’s seen in her practice. she’s able to and that if they don’t get them at home they’ll look elsewhere talk about the children she has helped already.” for them. Usually when they look on their own they don’t find very good ones. We know that kids want and need attention Jones said she considers muscari a role model for other nurse and they’ll do anything to get it. negative behavior gets practitioners. “educating is one of the most vital roles that attention faster than positive behavior. it’s easier to be bad nurses play,” Jones said. “Being able to talk to the public in a than it is to be good. so some of these things don’t change way that people can understand is a special talent.” with time. Part of muscari’s motivation when it comes to working on “What i try to do is to say, ‘now how can we do that today?’ youth violence is the opportunity to break what can become a We do need to spend more time with kids; it’s not just cycle of behavior. quality. they want quantity, too. What i try to do is work with parents to find time and to say, ‘here are some “When you have a child who’s a victim and a child who’s a options.’” perpetrator, you really have two victims,” she said. “You have two lives that are damaged. We really should not have all these that might mean turning breakfast into the family meal violent kids. Kids act up, of course, but the extremes that we see if everyone’s too busy to sit down to dinner together, for are a failure of society.” instance. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 muscari begins each book project with a literature review, muscari acknowledges that parents today face certain new examining pediatric journals and other expert sources. she takes challenges. what she finds as well as what she sees in her own practice and in workshops with parents, and endeavors to come up with a the increased sexualization of childhood is one, she said, book that parents can — and will — read. recounting the story of a mother who struggled to find a bathing suit appropriate for her young daughter. another “my mantra is that kids are not just small adults,” said is the way technology has changed adolescents’ dating muscari, whose core philosophy could be summed up as relationships, allowing teens to be in touch through text old-fashioned parenting for today’s times. messages and e-mail essentially all day and all night. 34
    • Mary Muscari’s books for parents The Everything Guide to Raising Adolescent Girls (with lead author Moira McCarthy) The Everything Guide to Raising Adolescent Boys (with lead author Robin Elise Weiss) Not My Kid: 21 Steps to Raising a Non-Violent Child Not My Kid 2: Protecting Your Children from the 21 Threats of the 21st Century Let Kids Be Kids: Rescuing Childhood The first two are from Adams Media, while the other three were published by University of Scranton Press. Proceeds from the Not My Kid and Let Kids Be Kids books were donated to the Keep Your Child Safe and Secure Campaign, which promotes child mental health. “Forty years ago, mom could stop you from answering the phone,” muscari said.“it was on the wall. i know my mom did. We didn’t have the internet. technology has changed the way kids relate, and it has taken away some of their social skills. Back then, we had to talk to people face to face if we wanted to talk. it’s not to say technology is a bad thing, but it can be abused.” she also worries about how children and adults alike have become desensitized to violence through videogames, movies or other media. muscari said she often asks people whether “i think it helps that i don’t have kids,” she said. “i can be they thought for just a second that they were watching a movie objective about kids i’ve worked with as opposed to thinking when they saw coverage of the terrorist attacks on sept. 11, about what my own kids are like. some people say, ‘how can 2001. the vast majority tell her they did, she said. you write about kids when you don’t have kids?’ i think it’s an advantage because i’m never comparing to what i have. i’ve also other parenting concerns have changed relatively little over had the advantage of work experience with perfectly healthy time, muscari said. kids — and a lot of them — as well as kids with psychological problems who haven’t done anything illegal and kids who have she has adopted a fight against materialism as an ongoing broken the law. i’m fortunate to have a background that runs cause, for example. she encourages parents to ask their children Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 the gamut, from one extreme to the other.” in January what they received for christmas. “You’ll see they already can’t remember many of the gifts,” she said, suggesting muscari said she wrote her first book hoping to help at least one that parents think about whether an item will still be a prized child. she hopes now she has had an effect on many more. possession years later before putting it into the shopping cart. “it’s very rewarding,”she said.“there are results. and there’s no muscari has many qualifications for this work, including a better reward than knowing you helped a kid.” master’s degree in pediatrics, a doctorate in nursing as well as post-master’s certificates in psychiatric nursing and forensic — Rachel Coker nursing. But she is not a parent. 35
    • seaRch smaRts new technoloGy could leAve web ‘crAwlers’ in the dust Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 36
    • one day in the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to type a query into an online search engine and have it deliver not Web pages that may contain an answer, but just the answer itself. User: “Who starred in the film Casablanca?” Search Engine: “humphrey Bogart and ingrid Bergman.” not impressed? imagine asking a more nuanced question, such as “What do americans think of offshore drilling?” a search engine will be able to respond with a report indicating trends in opinion based on what has been posted to the Web. search engines may eventually be used to conduct polling and even help sort fact from fiction, said Weiyi meng, a professor of computer science at Binghamton University. he’s helping to make such futuristic possibilities a reality, both through his Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 research and as president of a company called Webscalers. the way meng sees it, big search engines such as google and Yahoo are fundamentally flawed. You see, the Web has two parts: the surface Web and the deep Web. the surface Web is made up of perhaps 60 billion pages. the deep Web, at some 900 billion pages, is about 15 times larger. 37
    • not only cAn A metAseArch enGine Probe deePer, it cAn Also offer the lAtest informAtion. google, which relies on a “crawler” to examine pages and the Web has about 1 million search engines. most universities catalog them for future searches, can search about 20 billion have search engines, most newspapers have search engines and pages, just a small fraction of the entire Web. Web crawlers many companies and organizations have search engines. since follow links to reach pages and often miss content that isn’t 1997, and with the support of five grants from the national linked to any other page or is in some other way “hidden.” science Foundation, meng and his collaborators have found innovative ways to run queries across multiple search engines meng, along with colleagues at the University of illinois at and sort through the results. chicago and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has helped pioneer large-scale metasearch-engine technology that Webscalers, founded in 2002, is now based in the start-Up suite harnesses the power of numerous small search engines to come at Binghamton University’s innovative technologies complex, up with results that are more accurate and more complete. which is home to several young companies that have their roots in faculty inventions. “most of the pages on the deep Web aren’t directly ‘crawlable.’ We want to connect to small search engines and reach the “if the Web keeps on growing, a company like google may deep Web,” he said. “that’s the idea. many people have the run out of resources to crawl all of those pages,” said Vijay V. misconception that google can search everything, and if it’s not Raghavan, a vice president of Webscalers and a distinguished there it doesn’t exist. But we should be able to retrieve many professor of computer science at the University of Louisiana times more than what google can search.” at Lafayette. “We won’t have that problem. We will scale much better.” not only can a metasearch engine probe deeper, it can also offer the latest information. the firm has already launched several metasearch products. “in principle,” meng noted, “small guys are much better able to the first is a news metasearch engine called allinonenews. maintain the freshness of their data. google has a program to available at www.allinonenews.com, it connects to 1,800 ‘crawl’ all over the world. Depending on when the crawler has news sources in 200 countries. that’s the largest metasearch last visited your server, there’s a delay of days or weeks before engine in the world. a new page will show up in that search. We can get fresher results.” Webscalers also offers mysearchView, a customized metasearch-engine generation system that allows any user the concept is not new. in fact, the first metasearch engine was to create his or her own metasearch engine just by checking Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 built in 1994. off a few options at v2.mysearchview.com. “the big difference between our technology and the ones that site is a showcase for the company’s attempts to develop pursued by other people is that most of the other technologies automated solutions to link multiple search engines. do the metasearching on top of a small number of general- purpose search engines, such as Yahoo, google or msn,”meng this kind of technology could be useful for large organizations explained. “We have a completely different perspective. We with many branches or divisions. if each one has its own search want to build large-scale metasearch engines on top of many engine, but the organization as a whole does not, a metasearch small search engines.” engine can connect all of the parts to the whole. 38
    • Weiyi Meng For example, Webscalers has developed a prototype that would allow a search of all 64 campuses in the state University of new York system as well as sUnY’s central administration. “People can use it to find collaborators,” meng said. “it could also help prospective students find programs they’re interested in.” the technology could be adapted to large companies or even the government, meng said. Webscalers has incorporated another unusual feature in its allinonenews metasearch engine called a “semantic match.” a search engine that’s capable of making such a match will find results for words with the same meaning, even if they’re not part of the original query. it will include pages with the word “ballerina” if you search for “ballet dancer,” for example, and “hypertension” if you search for “high blood pressure.” challenges for large-scale metasearch engines include determining which search engines are the best for a given query, automating the interaction with search engines as well as organizing the search results. meng and his colleagues have done extensive and pioneering research on these topics, publishing about 50 papers so far. meng hopes to one day build a grand metasearch engine that would integrate all of the 1 million small search engines into a single system. “there are still a lot of significant challenges in creating a system of such magnitude,” he said, “but i am Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 optimistic that such a metasearch engine can be built.” — Rachel Coker 39
    • cultivating entrepreneurs BINGHAMTON PROVES TO BE FERTILE GROUND FOR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 40
    • there’s Binghamton University technology inside nearly every computer. that’s because Jiayuan Fang was encouraged to follow through on a great idea he had while he was on campus. Fang, then an associate professor of electrical engineering at Binghamton, developed and patented software that can provide electromagnetic analysis of integrated circuits from chip to package to board, assessing overall power and signal performance. today, he’s the founder and president of a company that counts iBm, cisco, sony, samsung, Lg and other leading manufacturers among its clients. “Virtually all the computer companies right now are using our tools,” said Fang, who noted these tools help these firms make computer technology more reliable, faster and cheaper. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 how does a faculty member’s breakthrough concept travel from campus to the marketplace? generally, that happens through a process known as technology transfer. at Binghamton, the office of technology transfer and innovation Partnerships offers guidance and encouragement to faculty members who may have a discovery worthy of a patent. once the University invests in patent protection, the office works to license the technology’s use to an existing company or a start-up firm. 41
    • “What is the Mission of a university? it’s the creation and disseMination of knoWledge. noW think about What technology is. it’s part of knoWledge. in 2007-08, Binghamton faculty members filed 28 new technology disclosures and 19 patent applications. Royalties When you look at rose by 59 percent. While technology transfer is about ideas, not numbers, these statistics are still an important sign that the technology transfer as culture on campus is changing and that faculty members are responding to an environment that nurtures entrepreneurship, said eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president for technology a part of the creation transfer and innovation Partnerships. and disseMination of “When you talk to faculty, what excites them is an opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives, both in their community knoWledge, it becoMes and, more importantly, nationally and globally,” Krentsel said. “that’s where technology transfer comes in, because by transferring that knowledge, we’re able to change people’s part of the critical lives. that’s the driving force.” Mission of any university.” Fang’s story offers a dramatic illustration of that drive to make a difference. — Eugene Krentsel sigrity, the company he created about 10 years ago to help customers overcome design challenges due to ever-increasing circuit speed in the world of integrated circuits, packages and printed circuit boards, now employs about 100 people. it has offices worldwide, including locations in new York, california, texas, china, india, Japan and germany. sigrity negotiated an exclusive license on the patents owned by the Research Foundation of sUnY, which has generated more than $1 million in revenue to Binghamton University. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Fang was honored as the Licensee of Distinction in 2008 by the University’s office of technology transfer and innovation Partnerships, in conjunction with the small scale systems integration and Packaging center (s3iP). his entrepreneurial spirit was an important factor in choosing him for the honor, Krentsel said. Fang said he received important encouragement both from people on campus and at greater Binghamton companies to 42
    • pursue his discovery. such support is vital, especially because it can take three years or longer to complete the process of applying for a patent. scott hancock, assistant director of technology transfer at Binghamton, said the patent process is arduous but also useful and stimulating. he has seen faculty members’ work take on a new direction after meeting with a patent attorney and reconsidering one element of their idea or another. that process helps to prepare researchers to respond to the challenges that often lie ahead as licensing deals are worked out and investors consider whether to become involved in a project. “We’re trying to maximize returns to the University, inventors, the region and students,” hancock said. “We take a big-picture view. it’s a partnership. We need the faculty member’s active collaboration. it’s a hands-on endeavor that requires time, creativity and insight.” Fang said technology transfer challenges faculty members to consider the needs of industry in a way that pure research usually does not. “it certainly requires different thinking,” he said. that’s not to say that technology transfer is a distraction from research and teaching, however. in fact, Krentsel places technology transfer at the core of a research institution’s goals. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 “What is the mission of a university?” he asked. “it’s the creation and dissemination of knowledge. now think about what technology is. it’s part of knowledge. When you look at technology transfer as a part of the creation and dissemination of knowledge, it becomes part of the critical mission of any university.” — Rachel Coker 43
    • Whole lot of going on Tiny devices may lead to advances for technology ranging from cell phones to air bags the vIBratIoNS Start. a LIGht SWItch fLIPS. a car craSheS. the earth MoveS. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 a tINY StrUctUre INSIDe a MIcrochIP SeNSeS the chaNGe, aND SIGNaLS a chaNGe ItSeLf. the LIGht tUrNS oN. the aIr BaGS DePLoY. a SeISMIc Meter tWItcheS. 44
    • For years scientists have known that tiny parts within tiny chips vibrate, and those vibrations, triggered by motion stopping or starting, can in turn trigger an action. But just as mothers know chicken soup works for a cold — without understanding the science behind it — engineers are still studying why these tiny vibrations occur, and how to harness them. mohammad Younis has worked for years technology in irbid, Jordan, and came to understand the vibrations and me- to the United states for his master’s chanics of these miniscule micro-electro- and doctoral degrees at Virginia tech. it mechanical systems, known as mems. was there, in Blacksburg, Va., that Younis’ work combines materials and Younis first discovered mems. chemical engineering with physics in a multi-million-dollar Binghamton Uni- his adviser warned him that his chosen versity laboratory with a multi-disci- path of study wasn’t a typical master’s- plinary team. he believes that knowing level project — it was more. Younis still how to control the vibrations will lead to finished in a year and a half and contin- better uses of the chips — faster air bags, ued the work as a doctoral student. more accurate seismic readings or scores of other uses no one has thought of yet. the interdisciplinary nature of the study intrigued him. “it’s like the invention of airplanes,” Younis said. “the Wright brothers made “You need to know mechanical and their plane. But without understanding electrical engineering,” he said. “You the laws of physics and the airplane and need to know, for example, about solid aerodynamics, we would not have the mechanics, electricity, so it’s what i call planes we have today.” multi-physics. … i’m trying to tackle those disciplines — thermal, fluid, elec- “it’s sort of the same,” he said of mems. trical, you name it.” Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 “People fabricated mems, and then there was a lag between understanding the mems and nanotechnology ex- the physics and the fabrication.” change, a clearinghouse for mems’ interests both corporate and academic, Younis grew up in Jordan, defines mems as “the integration of where his interest in math and mechanical elements, sensors, actua- science was piqued as a child. he tors and electronics on a common sili- studied mechanical engineering at con substrate through microfabrication the Jordan University of science and technology.” 45
    • sensors gather physical data, which is ruption could cause the chip to trigger Foundation grant for their work. general processed by the chips’ electronics and, an air bag. electric, along with Binghamton’s inte- through some decision-making capabil- grated electronics engineering center, ity, directs a response. a single device that could serve as both awarded him another $50,000. sensor and trigger would be cheaper take, for example, mems uses for air to fabricate than a system that requires miles has worked closely with Younis bags in cars. Vehicles have a complicated several different parts. such a mems since Younis came to Binghamton sever- system of components, including sen- device might also use less power, and al years ago. Younis’ grasp of theoretical sors, that triggers the deployment of be less susceptible to shock, even as the mathematics and practical knowledge of the safety device, Younis said. his work mechanism’s settings could be adjusted dynamics offer a new perspective on the takes the sensor mechanism a step to cover a wide — or narrow — range of field, miles said. further, suggesting that car companies acceptable motion. the technology could could build a single device, using mems be used to protect personal electronics “he’s really working hard to take that technology, that would simultaneously such as cell phones, preventing damage stuff and figure out how to work that sense the change in acceleration and when they are dropped, Younis said. or into practical devices,” miles said. “he’s trigger the air bag. it could help govern major systems such able to have a very deep understanding as missile defense to prevent accidental of mechanics. that combination is the mems components could be pro- deployment. something that not everybody has.” grammed to expect certain velocities as the driver naturally starts, stops and Younis is one of three Binghamton Uni- the nsF grant funds Younis’ work in a drives. But an impact that suddenly halts versity faculty members, with Ronald lab testing the thresholds of mems. in a high velocity, such as a crash, could miles and James Pitarresi, who received one experiment, he mounted a chip on interrupt the mems system. that inter- a $280,000, three-year national science a shaker that in turn was connected to Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Mohammad Younis 46
    • a lamp. When the shaker caused the the project involves not only creating a chip’s vibrations to accelerate past a cer- trigger mechanism, but also crafting a tain threshold, the lamp lit. a computer layer sensitive to biological molecules, as connected to the system measured the noted by project participant omowunmi signals. sadik, director of the center for ad- vanced sensor Research and environ- For his next project, Younis seeks to mental systems at Binghamton. tap chemistry and biology to use mems to build a detection system it’s work that Binghamton is uniquely for dangerous materials such as tnt positioned to support, Younis said, vapor and anthrax, again working through the small scale systems inte- in conjunction with Binghamton gration and Packaging center devoted to researchers. Younis and his colleagues microelectronics. “i’m working on very propose to explore the feasibility of small devices and structures,” he said, including a sponge-like substance on “and the University has a unique center a chip that would trigger a response with sophisticated equipment geared for when certain particles are captured in those tiny devices.” the sponge’s cavities. the mems would react to the chemicals caught in the — Anne Miller spores much like other systems would react to a car crash — it would trigger the mechanism to respond, in this case as part of a warning system. An invenTor’s firsT pATenT Mohammad Younis received his first patent last year for a MeMS device that would detect acceleration and mechanical shock. the device, he said, would be able to recognize when something crashed with a high level of force and then perform a desirable task. applications might range from protecting the hard disk of a laptop computer to deploying a side-impact air bag. “this invention represents a revolutionary concept that provides a potentially low-cost, reliable and manufacturable solution for electronic shock sensors, which could be embedded in packages and products to detect abuse, and possibly protect sensitive components from damage,” said Steven M. hoffberg, the lawyer who worked on Younis’ patent application and a partner with the firm Milde & hoffberg of White Plains, N.Y. Younis is working on other inventions as well. he has another patent pending on a similar device that would detect a lower level of acceleration. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 that innovation could prove useful in gas drilling, navigation systems and even early earthquake detection. he’s also working with Binghamton chemistry Professor omowunmi Sadik on a “smart” sensor that can perform an action. the idea is to develop a two-in-one device that would be able to detect a small mass — such as a biological or chemical gas — and then trigger an alarm or perform some other action. 47
    • indusTry alliesThe CenTer of exCellenCe Turns CorporaTe parTners inTo CaTalysTs for disCovery Dynamic faculty-industry collaborations fostered by Binghamton University’s center of excellence result in break- throughs in disciplines ranging from chemistry and physics to computer science and mechanical engineering. the projects also help to speed up the process of discovery in new areas, said Bahgat sammakia, director of the small scale systems integration and Packaging center (s3iP). he noted that flexible electronics — one of the center’s core strengths — is such a new field that there aren’t many “rules” hindering creativity. “if you don’t have too many standards, then you have a lot of freedom,” he said. “You can do more research and discover new things.” an unusual model governs the interaction between faculty researchers and companies Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 that are members of s3iP’s integrated electronics engineering center (ieec) or center for advanced microelectronics manufacturing (camm). at the beginning of each year, there’s a meeting during which representatives of member companies discuss their research interests.“they give a perspective of short- term, mid-range and long-term issues as well as whether it’s a research challenge or a research and development question,” sammakia explained. “these are non- confidential talks, so we post them on the Web and even faculty who did not attend can access them.” 48
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 49
    • Faculty members follow up with questions and and federal sources. “it’s important to do basic develop research proposals. company engineers science just for the sake of science,” he said. “and evaluate the proposals and help prioritize them it is good to work with industry. Binghamton is a for funding and the interests of the center. sam- nascent university. it’s a relatively small campus. makia chooses 10 to a dozen projects for funding there are a lot of bright people in industry and through the ieec and a similar number for the it’s interesting to talk to them. it’s stimulating. it’s camm. “each project has not only funding but a great experience for students, too, especially if also mentors,” sammakia said. “they can work only 1 in 20 will become a professor.” together.” Faculty members present reports three times eric cotts, professor of physics at Binghamton during the year. member companies evaluate and co-director of the University’s materials sci- the research and offer feedback. this, sammakia ence and engineering Program, has researched said, is what sets the process apart from other lead-free solder with support of the ieec. strong campus-industry projects. the funding model interactions with people in industry have influ- has been around for a while, but it’s the feedback enced the focus of his work, he said. mechanism that helps ensure that projects stay on track and that the results will be useful to the “corporations tend to distill a problem and have sponsors. a lot of money focused in particular areas,” cotts said. “it’s an engineering approach. they tend to Junghyun cho, associate professor of mechanical Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 distill a problem down to its basic physics. … it’s engineering at Binghamton, is working on proj- a good marriage, if you can find a problem where ects related to thin films through both the camm you can work on the basic concepts and use their and ieec. the work could lead to flexible solar cell characterization of the problem. it’s fun.” devices and provide materials and processes that will make electronic devices smaller and lighter. cotts said he and his colleagues have taken work they’ve done with industry partners such as iBm, cho said that in one case the sponsor feedback texas instruments and Universal instruments gave him the confidence to continue with his and then developed funding proposals for state work, knowing that it did indeed “make sense.” 50
    • “The partner said, ‘This has to be a top priority.’ we upgraded the project. it led to solving some fundamental materials problems.” — Bahgat Sammakia center of excellence Goes ‘Green’ with environmentAlly friendly ProJects “Green” technologies are central to many initiatives of the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP), from solar power to lead-free electronics. n In 2008, the Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP) was established with $4 million in federal funding. CASP will focus on tapping into the sun’s immense supply of renewable energy and make it easily accessible as a flexible, large-area and low-cost power source. The multidisciplinary center, led by Director Seshu Desu, will focus on areas such as solar conversion efficiency, storage capabilities, solar module stability and power system cost reduction. CASP will enable people to use solar power in ways and places they never have before. n Faculty member Howard Wang and his colleagues continue to explore the possibilities of printed electronics, which may reduce the materials wasted and energy used in production. The key there is using an additive process, rather than a traditional subtractive process, which involves heavy-duty chemicals and wastes a tremendous amount of copper. n S3IP offered two summer programs in 2008, one for science teachers and another for promising students. The Go Green Institute brought together about 50 seventh-graders for an intensive 10-day, hands-on learning experience centered on the theme of a greener living environment. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 n The center assists with graduate-level classes in electronics packaging and flexible electronics via distance-education technology and often relies on videoconferencing technology rather than having in-person meetings that would require people to travel from around the country. n Ongoing S3IP projects also include initiatives related to low-power computing, data center thermal management and lead-free electronics. 51
    • “The companies are helping us build a technology road map for the camm. They will help us decide: how should we be building the center to be of use?” — Mary Beth Curtin other projects, he said, just wouldn’t have hap- sammakia said the regular industry-faculty pened without the industry collaborations. meetings have been so successful at the ieec that they were introduced to the camm at its “the partnerships provided motivation for founding several years ago. he anticipates the initial work and funding that could support process working across the center of excellence, graduate students, data for publication and including in the new center for autonomous proof-of-concept experiments that were vital to solar Power (casP), which last year was founded pursue larger funding from the federal and state with $4 million in federal funding. governments,” he said. “Without this, it could have been much tougher to get into this research With the addition of casP, the center of excellence area.” is building a unique operation with capabilities unmatched by any other facility in the world. the sammakia said the regular research status reports camm, which opened its roll-to-roll electronics also allow work that turns out to be especially prototype manufacturing facility in 2008, has promising to be fast tracked with additional tremendous potential in terms of new products funding and staff. that happened recently with as well as economic development, sammakia a project focused on process development for said. the first prototype products created at the packaging. “in the middle of the meeting, the University’s facility at endicott interconnect partner turned to me and said, ‘this has to be a technologies will be ready this year. top priority. We want you to increase the funding mary Beth curtin, associate director of s3iP, said for this project and here are some additional endicott interconnect is already using some of the questions we want answered.’ We upgraded the camm’s tools to investigate future products and project, a lot more work was done and, of course, try to commercialize new technologies. she noted when you do that you get more research and that member companies will continue to be an more surprises,” sammakia said.“it led to solving integral part of decisions regarding the camm’s some fundamental materials problems.” facilities and its processes. traditionally, sponsoring companies or agencies Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 “the companies are helping us build a technology do not have much contact with researchers for a road map for the camm,” curtin said. “as we go year at a time.“By that time, if you get misdirected, forward, they will help us answer questions like: you may end up not meeting the requirements What gaps in tools and infrastructure should we of your proposal,” sammakia said. “the chances be addressing? how should we be building the of success are low. You end up doing something center to be of use to our partners? What research interesting and maybe useful but it’s not what the questions should we tackle?” sponsor had in mind. We want the work to be not only relevant and important but exactly what the — Rachel Coker company needs.” 52
    • binghamton university’s center for advanced microelectronics manufacturing helps to demonstrate the feasibility of roll-to-roll (r2r) electronics manufacturing with its prototype tools and by establishing processes that produce low-volume test-bed products. the r2r manufacturing process, one step at a time, as seen at the center: 1 2 a roll of new material arrives and is the material inspected for surface particulates, is cleaned. scratches or other imperfections. 3 the roll is inspected again to verify the cleaning process. 4 the roll goes to the general vacuum tool for metallization. the machine precleans (or “wets”) the surface just before coating to improve the adhesion of the metal. 5 6 in the resist-apply phase, now there’s an ultraviolet-sensitive a photoresist material is roll of material ready to be exposed, applied with a spray system much like a roll of film. the material or through a slot-die wet goes through a projection lithography coating. (This step is the only system, which can expose up to 24 one performed off site.) linear inches per minute of web. 7 the material goes through a developer and is rinsed and dried. 8 Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 the material is etched, removing the exposed metal 10 that’s not needed. the metal-patterned roll of material 9 is ready. possible applications a stripping process include smart fabrics, sensors removes the remaining and medical devices as well as photoresist material. consumer electronics. 53
    • Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 54 l f y u l e g c a r ag i ng
    • Binghamton University leads the way in meeting a growing demand for social workers who specialize in geriatrics. the generation that first rocked out to the Rolling stones is now rolling toward retirement. By 2030 all of the baby boomers will be 65 or older. and just as they changed previously accepted views of sex, music and work, the baby boomers are going to introduce new ideas about aging. that makes the graying of america a concern for everyone from travel agents to architects. social workers are no exception. the national institute of aging estimates that 60,000 to 70,000 specialist social workers will be needed by 2020 to work with older populations, which is a 40 to 50 percent increase from the current number of gerontological practitioners. Binghamton University is at the vanguard of a movement to address these needs. With new programming and partnerships, the University hopes to help swell the ranks of social workers who specialize in geriatrics, just in time to help the nation cope with an expected tsunami of aging baby boomers in need Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 of social supports. “social work looks at the person’s relationship with the environment, and what’s going on that either supports or places obstacles in his or her way,” said Laura Bronstein, chair of the Department of social Work in Binghamton’s college of community and Public affairs. 55
    • The University hopes to boost the number of social workers who specialize in geriatrics, just in time to help the nation cope with an expected tsunami of aging baby boomers in need of social supports. most social workers are drawn to child “our career assessment showed that funds raised by the department provides and family practice, but research has 80 percent of these social work graduates $5,000 annual stipends plus tuition to shown that when graduate students are are working in geriatrics,” Volland said. graduate students. it also pays for a part- exposed to geriatric clients, as well as time supervisor with a master of social given extra support and training related starting in september 2007, sunha work degree to work with students who to working with this segment of the choi, an assistant professor of social are placed in agencies that do not have population, it motivates them to work in work at Binghamton, conducted a year- such a professional on staff. this field. long assessment of graduate students who were in these rotational geriatric “students report that field placement “this is where the jobs will be because field placements to discover if they were is the most important part of their it’s where the clients will be,” Bronstein developing more skills and a greater in- education, so this money is a wonderful said. “Whether it’s a school where the terest in the field. incentive for students to explore geriatric grandparents are raising grandchildren, social work,” Bronstein said. or the aging prison population, social students measured their gerontological workers are increasingly serving older competencies in four areas: values and the new York academy of medicine adults in every institution where they ethics; assessment; intervention; and started looking at access to health care practice.” aging services, programs and policies. a decade ago and discovered most they completed a self-assessment scale people had difficulty navigating the Unlike other master of social work pro- before, midway through and following system. those consumers who were grams, in which students spend each of the academic year. the department also also elderly and/or had chronic illnesses their two years of internship in a single recorded student focus groups answering found it nearly impossible, said Patricia field placement, some of Binghamton’s questions. J. Volland, the academy’s senior vice graduate students spend one year in president for strategy and business placements at various social service in may, the students reported gains in development. agencies or community organizations. knowledge and experience through the program. in direct contrast to september, “We realized there was already a group they spend one day a week at each they could identify specific areas in of professionals — social workers — of two different agencies during the which they would like to gain additional who could link social service systems academic year, and research has shown knowledge and skills. to health care, but weren’t trained to that this type of exposure nurtures the do this type of work for that particular future pool of geriatric specialists if one student said, “if you asked me last population segment,” she added. the placements involve elderly clients. semester, if i wanted to (work with older “it’s as much developing interest as adults), i would have said no, not really. the academy’s educational model expertise in working with older adults,” But i actually applied to some of the proposes three unique features that the Bronstein said. assisted living social work positions. … Binghamton program has adopted: Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 n it promotes school-community there is so much you can do other than agency partnerships so the education the new York academy of medicine’s just hospice with the elderly.” is based on real-world experience. social Work Leadership institute pro- n it seeks to develop competencies in vided this model of rotational field Jennifer marshall, director of field edu- geriatric care. placements, and the hartford Partner- cation for the msW program at Bing- n it includes rotational field placements ship Program for aging education hamton, noted that through the variety in its practicum component that let awarded Binghamton University’s so- of field placements, graduate students students experience the system the cial work program a $75,000 grant over observe firsthand the final stage of hu- way elderly clients do. three years. this money and matching man development. 56
    • Laura Bronstein “they learn about the issues that she also saw that these volunteers by the nuMbers affect different types of elderly might provide much-needed transport people,” marshall said, “and through for aVRe clients. the Broome county assessments, determine the appropriate office for aging will have another level of service from those social services msW intern explore how agencies available in the community.” might expand their transportation services. heidi Bowne of Binghamton, who received her msW in 2008, was placed Bronstein said this sort of insight is in two Broome county social service exactly what can be gained when social agencies: the council of churches’ work students have regular interaction Faith in action Volunteers and the with elderly clients. association for Vision Rehabilitation and employment inc. “geriatric social work specialists,” Bronstein said, “can connect older Nearly one in five U.S. “i felt privileged to hear what people adults to the community services that Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 residents is expected to be 65 said about their lives and the challenges will improve their quality of life and and older by 2030, according they faced as they aged and how they provide them with less expensive care. to the U.S. Census Bureau. accommodated them,” Bowne said. these geriatric social workers will be at the forefront of practice, program This age group is projected For the council of churches, Bowne development and policy change to to increase to 88.5 million in assessed the needs and interests of support all of us and our caregivers as 2050, more than doubling the individuals requesting assistance. this we age.” number in 2008. allowed volunteer care providers to be — Katherine Karlson compatibly matched with clients. 57
    • fACUlTY ESSAY a new dream for 21st-century science Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 It’s time to abandon the search for a single principle to explain the world An essay by Eric Dietrich 58
    • fACUlTY ESSAY an old curse supposedly goes, “may you live in interesting times.” Pretty obviously this curse, or one of its close cousins, has been hurled at us inhabitants of the 21st century, for this century bids fair to be the most interesting ever. everything will change. the way we live then newton — who gave the search, on this planet, including the way we in physics, a large and much-needed house ourselves, eat, work, learn, get dose of steroids. after the individual from one place to another, communicate sciences started to mature at their own and use currency. the way we conceive pace, developing their own theories and of ourselves and our place in the world, methodologies, the search for a unifying including the ways we think of reli- theory became, and remains today, the gion, morality, justice, our histories and search for unifying theories — each cultures and the way we define what science searching for its own. matters. With nearly seven billion of us here at the beginning of the century, we in the 21st century, we will see this search will be changing the way we think about move in two opposing directions. some reproduction, and perhaps even the sciences will move closer to their dream way it is accomplished. and all of these of a unifying theory; others will see changes will be, and are being, reflected their dream dashed to bits. Why these Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 in our art and music. two directions should prevail is itself a matter of great interest. to be specific, one of the largest changes will come let us consider two sciences: biology and to science. since at least the time of the cognitive science. pre-socratic philosophers, thinkers and researchers have dreamt of and searched Biology’s success at finding a unifying for a single principle to explain the world. theory is one of the great success stories this search for a grand, unifying theory in the history of science. the discovery continued up through Descartes and of evolution and the creation of the 59
    • fACUlTY ESSAY Eric Dietrich, professor of theory of evolution was a remarkable philosophy. it is possible that by the end philosophy, received his doctorate accomplishment. to this day, however, of the century we will know the biological from the University of Arizona many don’t appreciate how powerful the and neuropsychological reasons that theory of evolution is. this will change. humans are religious and why we parse in 1985. His areas of research the world of human actions into right and teaching include cognitive the way we humans define ourselves and wrong, good and bad, in the ways science and artificial intelligence, is deeply tied up with our religions that we do. this possibility is sobering, metaphysics, epistemology and and our moralities. as this century to say the least, but there could well be philosophy of mind. progresses, the theory of evolution will important benefits from such advances. extend its reach to cover both of these. evolutionary theory is now beginning the 21st century is likely to continue to explain why humans are religious, to be a century tortured by terrorism of why religions are structured the way various sorts. the sheer stress of popula- that they are, and even why religions tion increase will be one major contribu- have a supernatural component. tor to this. But much of the terrorism will Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 Visit evolution is also being used to explain be, as it now is, based on deep religious research.binghamton.edu/dietrich our moralities — the implicit, internal and cultural differences. it’s a reasonable rules of conduct that knit together our hope that we could place these differ- You’ll find links there for further exploration societies and are the foundation of ences in a better perspective once we of this topic. our cultures. Furthermore, evolution is know their biological and psychological linking our embrace of religion and the origins. this might allow us to mitigate way we conceive of our morality and the problem of terrorism, for often prog- moral duties. allies in this bold advance ress toward solving a problem is made include neuroscience, psychology and by knowing its cause. 60
    • fACUlTY ESSAY Some sciences will move closer to their dream of a unifying theory; others will see their dream dashed to bits. if biology’s grand unifying theory has But this is just the tip of the iceberg. such success, obviously we will all be Developing theories of memory, reason- much better off. oddly, the same is ing, learning, perception, action and true if some sciences’ dreams of finding emotion all look like they will require unifying theories fail.the most important very different methodologies. these science in this class is psychology, different methodologies, though per- specifically, cognitive science. cognitive haps not lying in completely different scientists have been looking for decades sciences, will definitely lie in quite dif- for a unifying theory to explain the ferent subfields of cognitive science. entire mind and brain. their search was modeled on other, better established the situation is exacerbated by the fact sciences, like physics (an irony, it turns that there is a paradox within biology’s out, since physics is also in this class). and cognitive science’s futures. in so far For example, one major contender in as we think of ourselves as organisms this heated race for unification is the subject to the power of evolution, we computational theory of mind. Large can explain some of our deepest beliefs parts of thought and thinking can be and motivations — one unifying theory explained as the software of a very has enormous power. in so far as we that often crisscross each other in ways sophisticated computer (one we are think of ourselves as thinking things, we may never fully understand. currently unable to even come close to we can only explain ourselves in a building). the computer is the brain, piecemeal way — one unifying theory is all of this is going to play out on the 21st and the mind is its working software. a pipe dream. But we are both a kind of century’s stage. and nowhere will this While this theory has been enormously african ape, subject to evolution, as well drama be more important than at uni- successful, it now appears as if the goal as cognizers best classified as unique in versities. the dream of one world, one of using it for a grand unifying theory the animal kingdom. Paradoxes like this, theory is dead. even the dream of one was wrong-headed. which are starting to crop up in other world, many theories is dying, for it is far sciences, make it hard to understand from clear that there is “one world.” Looking for a unifying theory of the what nature is trying to tell us. mind and brain is now being compared our students need to be given a new to looking for a unifying theory of the Furthermore, we can’t predict which dream. our students need to be given entire amazon rainforest — a theory of all the sciences will wind up like the dream that humans, the world and that explains all of its flora and fauna, cognitive science or like evolutionary the universe are far richer, far more their interactions, how they all came biology. and just because a science wonderful than any single science can to be, the rainforest’s weather and at one time is closing in on its dream handle, and indeed more wonderful its geology. no such theory is in the of unification, doesn’t mean that the than all the sciences combined. science cards: the rainforest is simply too dream will continue to unfold that way. is one of the greatest achievements of complex. the same realization is as mentioned, physics, the Platonic humankind. But one of the things science beginning to be accepted in cognitive ideal of a science, looks as if it is going reveals is the universe’s inexhaustible science: the mind and the brain that to be forced to give up its dream of supply of surprises. Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 produces it are just too complex for a grand unifying theory. so, though one theory to be able to explain all that the situation is puzzling, the message this new dream might be unsettling. needs explaining. the gap between is clear. We humans live in a vastly But it is actually far more optimistic than the dynamics of the cytoskeletons of complex universe, and this complexity the dream of unification. We need not neurons and being able to pass a class in is mirrored in our own minds. the fear this new dream, for it will reveal the history of the american novel is so furniture of the universe does not fit a universe of excellent beauty. and, as large that completely different sciences into neat categories, fixed once and Francis Bacon taught us, “there is no are going to be needed to explain the for all. Rather, it lies in categories that excellent beauty that hath not some relevant phenomena. sometimes contradict each other, and strangeness in the proportion.” 61
    • IN BRIEf evolutionarY studies goes national more homework maY not be the answer Binghamton University’s Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program When it comes to math, piling on the will serve as a model for a national consortium that will homework may not work for all stu- link institutions ranging from major research universities to dents. That’s the finding of a study community colleges in a partnership of programs. by daniel henderson, associate pro- fessor of economics at Binghamton “Evolution is usually taught University, and colleagues at the Uni- strictly as a biological subject,” versity of Nevada. said david Sloan Wilson, professor of biological sciences The study, published in the Daniel Henderson and EvoS founder. “But it is Econometrics Journal, found that equally relevant to human although assigning more homework tends to have a larger and affairs, including areas as more significant impact on mathematics test scores for high- and diverse as religion, economics low-achievers, it is less effective for average achievers. David Sloan Wilson and literature. Current trends “We found that if a teacher has a high-achieving group of in research and scholarship are not yet reflected in higher students, pushing them harder by giving them more homework education. EvoS was created to correct this imbalance.” could be beneficial,” henderson said. “Similarly, if a teacher has a The consortium will offer students a range of courses that low-ability class, assigning more homework may help since they can be taken in parallel with their traditional majors. Taught may not have been pushed hard enough. But for the average- as a set of unifying principles that cut across subject areas, achieving classes, who may have been given too much homework course topics range from the composition of dNA to the in an attempt to equate them with the high-achieving classes, nature of sexual attraction in humans and other species. educators could be better served by using other methods to improve student achievement.” A two-year, $300,000 National Science foundation grant will support the consortium project. The study examined an area previously unexplored: the connection between test scores and extra homework. “In the future, evolution will be regarded as essential for Researchers found that only about 40 percent of the students understanding humanity in addition to life as a whole,” surveyed would significantly benefit from an additional hour of Wilson said. “The EvoS consortium will help accomplish the homework each night. transition sooner rather than later.” sequels’ performance offers insight on film franchises Although movie sequels don’t always do as well at the box office as the original, they tend to do much better than non-sequels, according to a study by experts at Binghamton University and florida Atlantic University. The study, which appeared in the Journal of Business Research, found sequels do not match the box office revenues of the parent films. however, week by week, they do better than non- sequels — more so, when they quickly follow the original. “Indeed, we have found that some franchises are closely following this practice,” said Subimal Chatterjee, marketing professor at Binghamton University. “for instance, New line Studios released the lord of the Rings trilogy in almost clocklike precision: Fellowship of the Ring in december 2001; Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 The Two Towers in december 2002; and The Return of the King in december 2003. A shorter time gap for releasing a sequel is better than a longer time gap given that the ‘buzz’ and anticipation is likely Subimal Chatterjee to dissipate in consumers’ memory with a longer wait.” The study offers movie studios key managerial insight. “Studios who count on sequels as less risky ventures than non-sequels need to make sure that production budgets are carefully managed,” Chatterjee said. “Sequels may not perform as well as the original ... so studios need to manage the timing of the releases, the number of sequels and the gap in between releases.” 62
    • IN BRIEf engineer seeks to understand corrosion A Binghamton researcher hopes to shed light on why and how metals suffer corrosion, especially when under various types of stress. guangwen Zhou, an assistant professor in the department of mechanical Engineering, will use state- of-the-art techniques involving transmission electron microscopy, or TEm, to observe the oxidation process. oxidation is the loss of electrons by a molecule, atom or ion. one common example is the rust that results when a metal such as iron comes into contact with moist air. Preventing rust and related damage is of vital interest to materials engineers as well as industry An estimated 3 to 5 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product is spent on the repair of corrosion-related damage. Guangwen Zhou The study, which will help in the search for substances that can protect the surface of metals, has implications for a number of fields, including thin-film processing and fuel cells. Zhou’s work is supported by a three-year, $250,000 National Science foundation grant as well as a two-year, $50,000 grant from the American Chemical Society. he will apply stress to samples of copper and use in situ TEm to observe what happens on the nanoscale level when oxygen gas is introduced. researcher probes virtual leadership Surinder kahai is fascinated by virtual worlds and how businesses use them. he’s especially intrigued by collaboration and leadership in Second life, a vast online three-dimensional world. kahai, an associate professor in the School of management at Binghamton University, has compared the use of instant messaging (Im) with Second life in experiments designed to see how such electronic interactions help shape decision making. many companies with international workforces use virtual worlds to conduct meetings and even interview potential employees. But there’s relatively little data available about whether this practice is effective. Surinder Kahai “You need systematic studies,” kahai said. “Right now, companies — Intel, Cisco, IBm — are making these decisions to use Second life and other virtual worlds. But is it worthwhile? Is it really adding value? That’s what we’re trying to find out.” kahai and his team expected users to experience more media richness and social presence in Second life, which offers a visual environment complete with sound and even gestures, than in Im. But several studies found that wasn’t necessarily the case. The style of team leader, team orientation exercises and users’ previous experience with the technology they are using Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 all play a role in whether virtual worlds enhance media richness and social presence. “When participants have no prior experience with Second life, they rate most things, including group cohesion and media richness, which are important A scene from Second Life for collaboration, lower in Second life,” kahai said. “on the other hand, with modest experience there is a greater feeling of presence, that you’re with others, in Second life.” kahai blogs about the topic at http://www.leadingvirtually.com. 63
    • IN BRIEf folklorist focuses book explores russian poets’ lives on children The fierce determination of several Russian poets who lived and wrote in the early 20th century provided the inspiration for A Binghamton faculty member wrote a book by Binghamton faculty member donald loewen. the first book in more than 10 years to address American children’s folklore, lexington Books published The Most Dangerous Art: Poetry, traditional knowledge shared by kids, Politics, and Autobiography after the Russian Revolution by usually without adult involvement. loewen, an associate professor and chair of the department of german and Russian Studies. greenwood Press published Child- ren’s Folklore: A Handbook by Elizabeth Reading an autobiographical fragment by poet osip Tucker, an associate professor of mandelstam sparked loewen’s interest in the project, English. which grew to include Boris Pasternak and marina Tsvetaeva. “So much has “There was an incredible power in mandelstam’s prose that had a different quality happened from what you see in his poetry,” loewen said. “What he was doing was telling the in children’s story of the traumatic experiences he had for being a poet. It was the story of his life in folklore since literature. What I most admired about it was his determination not to give in.” 1995,” Tucker mandelstam, Pasternak and Tsvetaeva, he said, all turned to prose to defend said. “The world themselves as poets, poetry as a genre and the concept of the poet. has changed While their life stories are well known to those who appreciate Russian poetry, so much. So loewen may be the first to seek the common elements in their autobiographies and many rules offer a broader vantage point on the times in which they lived. about protection of children have changed. There are patterns of children playing more in sociologist examines Johannesburg structured circumstances.” martin J. murray believes cities in Africa and Asia are creating a new template for urban A child learning how to play “ring around development. The professor of sociology at Binghamton University is the author of the rosie” from parents would be an Taming the Disorderly City: The Spatial Landscape of Johannesburg after Apartheid, example of “nursery lore,” but “folklore” published by Cornell University Press. occurs when a child learns a similar murray conceived a series of three books on the city in the game from peers with rhymes that do mid-1990s after the end of South Africa’s formal system of not come from adults. This still happens racial segregation. today. “Even though everything was changing, with everyone in As she started her new research, Tucker the country having the right to vote and one of the most wondered if technological advances, progressive constitutions in the world, at the same time such as video games, the Internet and it was visible that little had changed,” he recalled. “The more television, had affected the amount enormous differentiation between rich and poor was still of active children’s folklore. there. Those who lived well continued their lives as if nothing “I found that children’s folklore was had changed.” as lively as ever,” she said. “It’s just Binghamton University / Binghamton ReseaRch / 2009 murray set out to explore questions of urban space and to understand why and how morphed into different patterns.” the affluent were able to insulate themselves from having to make any real sacrifice. Tucker, the author of Campus Legends Taming the Disorderly City focuses on the struggle between urban poor, urban planning and Haunted Halls: Campus Ghost and real estate capitalism. Stories, is also the editor of Children’s “Americans have a tendency to look at cities in Africa or Asia as lagging behind or Folklore Review, an annual publication lacking certain features,” he said. “I think it’s the opposite. The template for the future is that is the only journal in the world in Africa or Asia: an entrepreneurial or private city that has leapt beyond the U.S.” devoted to the subject. 64
    • pg. 10 Merchants, moneylenders and middlemen New view of Jewish history offers understanding of capitalism, anti-Semitism
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