Professor Jason Hicken Wins AFOSR Young Investigator Award

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Jason Hicken has won a Young Investigator award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

Hicken, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer, will use the three-year, estimated $300,000 grant to further his research into developing new computational techniques for improving the design process of complex engineering systems. The grant was awarded through the AFOSR’s Young Investigator Research Program.

“Big data and computation are playing an increasingly important role in modern engineering applications,” said Shekhar Garde, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “Dr. Hicken’s research exemplifies Rensselaer’s growing strength in big data, analytics, large-scale simulations, and computation. Jason is a fantastic researcher and educator. We congratulate him on winning AFOSR Young Investigator award, and look forward to his future successes.”

Hicken’s AFOSR project, titled “Optimization of Complex Systems using Imperfect Data from Large-scale Simulations,” aims to help engineers address challenging design problems, especially those governed by uncertain, chaotic dynamics that can defy intuition. The resulting optimization tools hold the potential to be used in a range of applications. Of particular interest to Hicken are new ways to reduce aircraft emissions by reducing the drag on aircraft wings, a challenging task complicated by the unsteady flows of air during flight.

Hicken joined the Rensselaer School of Engineering faculty in 2012, following a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University. His fellowship was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

He received his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Waterloo in 2002, his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Dalhousie University in 2004, and his doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Toronto in 2009.