Tech Studies at NYC Universities

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Architectural rendering of the Cornell NYC Tech campus coming to Roosevelt Island in 2017. The school is currently housed at Google's offices in Chelsea.

Three New York universities are launching new tech-based programs designed to study, analyze and find solutions to real-world problems. 

Tucked away in Google’s huge office building in Chelsea, the inaugural class of applied science graduate students at Cornell NYC Tech tinkered away at new web services and apps beginning in the winter and finishing this May.

“At least for me, I think, people learn better by doing,” says student Andrew Li.

With only seven students - all men - in the first class, administrators called it their ‘beta’ semester.  Cornell is continuing to develop and expand the curriculum and degrees it will offer, as well as find ways to attract a more diverse student body.  By 2037, when the Roosevelt Island campus is expected to be completed, the school plans to have 2,000 students.

Meanwhile, NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress won’t be up to full capacity for several years, but the new applied science and engineering institute is already planning to start tackling the field of "urban informatics."  CUSP leaders say it’s the key to making cities thrive: The goal is use "Big Data" to improve transportation, health care, air quality, and perhaps even deal with incessant jack hammering.

"One of the things we would like to do is go out and systematically measure the noise for the first time, in different places in the city at different times of day,” said Steven Koonin, the center's director.  “Then we’d like to characterize that noise – is it traffic, is it wind, is it HVAC, is it construction – and then hopefully provide better information to the people who charged with enforcing those regulations.”

Columbia University is joining into the push to educate the next generation of engineers and scientists.  It is opening the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering this fall and is plans to admit 25 students.