Caltech Engineering and Applied Science faculty research groups, which include undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, research staff, and visitors, constitute one level of organization in the Division. Next, groups of faculty have created multidisciplinary research centers which constitute another nexus of creative effort in the Division. These centers involve faculty throughout the Institute and represent some of the most exciting, "cutting edge" initiatives at Caltech.
The Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) promotes interdisciplinary research and the exchange of ideas in the expanding area of autonomous systems. These systems include, but are not limited to, drones and robots for use in science, industry, and medicine. The research conducted by the center addresses sensing, control, vision, and other emerging areas. The center promotes a synergic environment where machines and humans share the workplace. It also serves as an arena for ideas to translate into reality and be demonstrated to academic researchers as well as to the general public through educational outreach.
The opportunities and challenges of data-driven computing are a major component of research in the 21st century. The Center for Data-Driven Discovery (CD3), in strong partnership with JPL, helps the faculty across the entire Institute in developing novel projects in the arena of data-intensive, computationally enabled science and technology.
The CEMI's mission is to enable Caltech researchers to tackle important problems involving microbes in bold and innovative ways.
The Climate Modeling Alliance is a coalition of scientists, engineers, and applied mathematicians from Caltech, MIT, the Naval Postgraduate School, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They are building the first Earth system model that automatically learns from diverse data sources to produce accurate climate predictions with quantified uncertainties.
CMI is a home in which unfettered development of the mathematical foundations of information and computation can be influenced by, and influence in turn, progress in engineering and science.
CSIS studies how markets and other social systems aggregate large amounts of information that is widely distributed.
CSN is a new earthquake monitoring system based on a dense array of low-cost sensors. The goal of the system is to produce block-by-block estimates of strong shaking.
The Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) at Caltech is a Physics Frontiers Center supported by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. IQIM researchers study physical systems in which the weirdness of the quantum world becomes manifest on macroscopic scales. Their research programs span quantum information science, quantum many-body physics, quantum optics, and the quantum mechanics of mechanical systems; their faculty are drawn from Caltech's departments of physics, applied physics, and computer science. IQIM also conducts outreach programs to acquaint high school students and the general public with the wonders of the quantum world.
IST is the first integrated research and teaching activity in the country that investigates information from all angles: from the fundamental theoretical underpinnings of information to the science and engineering of novel information substrates, biological circuits, and complex social systems. IST is home to three centers: CMI, SISL, and the Lee Center.
The Jacobs Institute for Molecular Engineering for Medicine has been established to pursue biomedical research based on molecular engineering to invent the next generation of medicines and medical devices.
JCAP brings together leading researchers in an ambitious effort aimed at simulating nature's photosynthetic apparatus for practical energy production. The goal is to develop an integrated solar energy-to-chemical fuel conversion system and move this system from the bench-top discovery phase to a scale where it can be commercialized.
Established at Caltech in January 2008 with a $24 million grant over 8 years from the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Institute is a "think and do tank," whose primary purpose is to bring together a broad spectrum of scientists and engineers for sustained technical interaction aimed at developing new space mission concepts and technology.
The KNI special emphasis is upon efforts that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, with two principal areas of focus: nanobiotechnology and nanophotonics. Its common methodology in these areas is large-scale integration of nanoscale devices—that is, going beyond the present nanoscience of individual structures to realize interacting systems capable of unprecedented emergent functionality.
Founded in 2008 to address the complex issue of global climate change from a wide range of disciplines. The Center unites faculty from chemistry, engineering, geology, environmental science, and other fields. Many of the faculty members associated with the center teach and research in Caltech's Environmental Science and Engineering Department—a multidivisional program of graduate and undergraduate study.
The Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA) is a Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub founded in 2020. Our vision is to establish the science principles by which coupled microenvironments directly generate liquid fuels from sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. In addition, we are on a mission to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), aspects that are essential and foundational to expanding knowledge in science and engineering and developing the scientific workforce of the future. LiSA is led by Caltech and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. LiSA includes major partnerships at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and university partners at UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and the University of Oregon.
The goal of MSC is to develop methods required for first-principles multiscale-, multi-paradigm-based predictions of the structures and properties of proteins, DNA, polymers, ceramics, metal alloys, semiconductors, and organometallics—and to apply these methods to design new materials for pharma, catalysis, microelectronics, nanotechnology, and superconductors.
The Resnick Sustainability Institute is Caltech's studio for sustainability focused on the breakthroughs that will change the balance of the world's sustainability. It marries bold creativity and deep scientific knowledge by encouraging original thinking and orthogonal ideas. Through research, education and communication, the Institute address critical challenges in renewable energy and sustainability science directed toward outcomes that have the potential to make a global impact.
The Rosen Bioengineering Center is an interdivisional center that advances both basic scientific exploration and development of engineering analysis and synthetic approaches. Its administration is shared by the Caltech Divisions of Engineering and Applied Science, Biology and Biological Engineering, as well as Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
Across academia as well as industry, sensors and algorithms traditionally are developed independently of one another. But Caltech takes an unconventional, holistic approach. On campus and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which Caltech manages for NASA, researchers work across disciplines to design sensors and algorithms together. The goal is to detect and understand phenomena that once were undetectable, from neural circuits in the brain to rocks on Mars. Caltech's Center for Sensing to Intelligence (S2I) will strengthen existing projects, initiate new collaborations, and train generations of researchers to unite the development of theory, algorithms, and sensor technology. Just imagine the impact this approach will have on human health, scientific discovery, and sustainability.
Caltech's Seismological Laboratory, an arm of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS), was established in 1921. It has a distinguished history of leadership in science and serving the public interest. Internationally recognized for excellence in geophysical research and academics while also having outstanding facilities in seismic networks, high performance computing, and mineral physics, makes the Seismo Lab an ideal place for study and research. The Lab serves as a focal point for earthquake information in Southern California and the world.
In late 1994 the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided funds for the simultaneous establishment of Centers for Theoretical Neurobiology at five Universities around the country. These were to foster the application of tools from theoretical disciplines to questions in Neurobiology. At Caltech, the center comprises 17 faculty, supports both predoctoral and postdoctoral programs, a series of visits by theoretical neurobiologists from outside Caltech, and frequent interaction between all the fellows.
THOR brings together innovative efforts to reduce the risks and costs associated with natural hazards. Natural hazards that fall under THOR's purview include global climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, wildfires, and extreme weather events such as droughts.
While the centers below are no longer active, their websites contain many interesting and useful resources.
BNMC - Biological Network Modeling Center
The Biological Network Modeling Center brings together Caltech biologists, bioengineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists to develop and apply state-of-the-art computationaltools for modeling and analyzing complex biological systems.
CACR - Center for Advanced Computing Research
CACR exists to ensure that Caltech is at the forefront of computational science and engineering (CS&E). CS&E is the practice of computer-based modeling, simulation, and data analysis for the study of scientific phenomena and engineering designs.
The Center for Bioinspired Engineering develops new approaches to pressing technological challenges in energy, defense, and biomedicine by exploiting engineering solutions found in nature.
CCSER - Caltech Center for Sustainable Energy Research
CCSER has as its goal to transform the industrialized world from one powered by fossil fuels to one that is powered by sunlight. Initially we are focused on three efforts: (1) solar electric generation, (2) solar-driven fuel synthesis, and (3) fuel cell development. (Activity from CCSER has been incorporated into the Resnick Institute)
CSEM - Center for Science & Engineering of Materials
CSEM addresses both research and educational aspects of polymeric, structural, photonic, and ferroelectric materials that will be necessary to solve critical societal needs of the twenty-first century. The Center pioneers a number of exotic and futuristic materials and applications such as liquid metals, responsive gels, and tiny medical sensors.
DANSE - Distributed Data Analysis for Neutron Scattering Experiments
To develop software for neutron scattering research, DANSE is organized around five scientific subfields. Each subproject is a small team led by a scientist who has identified new opportunities for computing in neutron scattering science. The five subfields are 1) Diffraction, 2) Engineering Diffraction, 3) Small-Angle Scattering, 4) Reflectometry, 5) Inelastic Scattering. The five subfields require different types of data analysis, owing in part to the different physical phenomena under investigation.
Multi-University Research Initiative: Caltech Center for Ferroelectric Engineering at Caltech
Caltech has been awarded a Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative on "Multiscale modeling and process optimization for engineered microstructural complexity". Focus is on the use of appropriate theory and targeted experimentation as a tool for development of complex materials and materials systems.
Lee Center for Advanced Networking
The purpose of the Lee Center for Advanced Networking is to create a global communication system that is reliable and robust. Current wireless communication systems are plagued by static and lost connections. But Lee researchers envision a global system as reliable as a basic utility—like tap water, sewage or natural gas—which consumers will take for granted. The skeleton of this new global communication system will consist of a combination of wireless radio frequencies and high-speed fiber-optic cable.
The "Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion" Energy Frontier Research Center (LMI-EFRC) is a national resource for fundamental optical principles and phenomena relevant to solar energy conversion, and for design of the optical properties of materials and devices used for energy conversion. The LMI-EFRC features a team that spans the campuses of Caltech, Berkeley and Illinois, and creates a foundational partnership between scientific leaders in optical properties of matter with experts in solar photovoltaic and photochemical energy conversion and innovators in the design and fabrication of novel electronic and photonic materials.
Multi-University Research Initiative: Materials on the Brink: Unprecedented Transforming Materials
This ARO-administered MURI project sought to exploit principles of crystallographic compatibility and phase coexistence to discover materials that undergo extremely low hysteresis structural transformation between phases with unusual combinations of electromagnetic, optical and mechanical properties.
PSAAP - Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program
The primary goal of the Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP) is to bring about validated, large-scale, multidisciplinary, simulation-based "Predictive Science" as a major academic and applied research program. Caltech's role in the PSAAP is to establish a Multidiscipline Simulation Center (MSC) to develop a multidisciplinary Predictive Science methodology focusing on high-energy-density dynamic response of materials as it arises in hypervelocity impact. PSAAP succeeds ASCI (Center for Simulation of Dynamic Response of Materials).
UST - Ultrafast Science & Technology
The main mission of Caltech's Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology (UST) is to develop the science and technology for 4D visualization of biological complexity and materials behavior.
The VTP was established by Caltech President David Baltimore and MIT President Charles Vest in December 2000 to prevent a recurrence of the problems that threatened the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election. Specific tasks of the project include: evaluate the current state of reliability and uniformity of U.S. voting systems; establish uniform attributes and quantitative guidelines for performance and reliability of voting systems; propose specific uniform guidelines and requirements for reliable voting systems.