Ph.D., Electrical EngineeringRed tide and other toxic algae blooms can lead to severe economical and ecological impacts, particularly in the coastal areas, and can threaten human and marine health. For his recently completed dissertation, Dr. Ruhul Amin, BE '05, PhD '10, developed algorithms to help better detect these menaces from space.
Dr. Amin, a native of Bangladesh who chose to study computer engineering at CCNY after graduating from high school in his home country, is one of the many graduate students at CCNY who have earned their PhD as a member of the college's NOAA-CREST center, which is a national leader in remote sensing applications. He was drawn to CREST because as an undergraduate major in computer engineering he liked working with satellites.
While satellites can track algal blooms over great distances, there are many obstacles to obtaining useful data, he explains. "When you look at a signal from space, 90 percent of what you get is atmosphere. Also, it is difficult to detect cloud shadows over water, particularly in deep ocean areas."
Dr. Amin developed several algorithms to remove atmospheric interference from satellite data. "It is possible to quantify geophysical parameters such as chlorophyll from space, but first it is imperative to remove the effect of the atmosphere. Even a small error in atmospheric corrections can lead to significant errors in the retrieved products."
Today, Dr. Amin works as a National Research Council Research Associate with the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. His research interests include algorithm development for cloud shadow detection, atmospheric corrections and sun glint corrections. However, presently all his time is occupied developing an algorithm for monitoring from space the oil slick now threatening the Gulf of Mexico.
While he is trying to decide whether his long-term career path will lead to academia or industry, he notes that CCNY trained him well for his current assignment. "When I came to Stennis, I had no trouble doing what I was assigned to do. City College had prepared me for all."
"When I came to Stennis, I had no trouble doing what I was assigned to do. City College had prepared me for all."
- Ruhul Amin