Nithya envisions a not-too-distant future where collecting environmental data from any source will be cheap, ubiquitous, accurate, and readily available to everyone. She aims to achieve this reality by using her expertise as a computer scientist to design technology specifically for environmental applications and to serve as a bridge between those who design technology (computer scientists) and those who use it (environmental scientists). Nithya has focused on the design and application of wireless sensing technology to study soil and groundwater systems. For one of her thesis projects, she initiated a multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort between three major universities to apply this technology to better understand the large-scale public health disaster of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh's groundwater. With funds obtained from the NSF, she led the technical design and implementation of this project. The sensor data collected from this system have already led to novel, unexpected findings which have spawned new areas of research. As a result of the project's success, Nithya was invited to and subsequently co-authored an EPA white paper on the application of distributed wireless sensing to the study of water quality. As one of the rare computer scientists who actually enjoys being knee-high in mud when solving technical problems, Nithya hopes to bring a unique perspective to the design of technology for environmental applications.
Fellow at a Glance
Los Angeles, California 90095-1596