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2020-05 04 Important News

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] From Seawater to Fresh Water

Droughts and water shortages are serious global threats. However, many technical developments are in progress to resolve these problems, and one of them is desalination. Desalination is the process of separating the salt in seawater from the water in order to get usable fresh water. However, the currently available technologies have the problem of sustainability, for they require fossil fuel and costly factories to be constructed. To suggest an alternative, Professor Kwak Rho-kyun (Department of Mechanical Engineering) is researching electro-membrane desalination. Professor Kwak Rho-kyun (Department of Mechanical Engineering) has been working on the topic of electro-membrane desalination for 10 years. Electro-membrane desalination uses the division of positive ion and negative ion when salt dissolves in water. The positive and negative ions are drawn to each pole when voltage is applied. Intersecting the membrane that makes each ion between electrodes pass through, called the exchange membrane of positive and negative ions, salt ions can be collected and removed. What is left is fresh water with the saline ions removed. Kwak has been working on the topic for 10 years, since he was a doctoral student. He said he first began his research inspired by the idea from his Ph.D. advisor that the unusual migration phenomenon of biomaterials such as DNA and ions would also occur in the electric membrane desalination system. His first goal was building a system of electro-membrane desalination to check whether the migration of biomaterials such as DNA and ions appear in the system of electro-membrane desalination, and visualizing the migration of the ions inside. Based on the visualization research, Kwak studied various subjects such as improving the efficiency of existing desalination devices and of treating the produced water. Kwak expressed special gratitude toward his graduate students who have helped him throughout the research process. Kwak said the significance of the study lies in that it developed a promising futuristic desalination technology, enabling Korea to become a global powerhouse to solve the future water shortage problem. Kwak’s innovative research has been highly acknowledged, introduced in journals like PRL and JOFM and others on the topics of desalination and water research. Kwak also expressed gratitude toward his graduate school students who have helped him throughout the research process. “I really want to thank my students. Their hard work was what made it possible to achieve such good research results,” said Kwak. Hwang Hee-won whitewon99@hanyang.ac.kr

2020-05 03

[Academics][Excellent R&D] How Data Science Connects with Society

Data science is the use of the scientific method to obtain useful information from computer data. As it gives new insights into a vast amount of data, there exists an interdisciplinary approach in social science to compensate for what they might have missed through traditional methods with data science. Professor Cha Jae-hyuk (Division of Computer Science and Engineering) developed a platform that accelerates the convergence of the two disciplines. Professor Cha Jaehyuk (Division of Computer Science and Engineering) established a platform that merges data science with social science. Data science is expected to bring about a new horizon in social science as social issues are becoming more complex. “We are now in a hyper-connected society where small changes bring about significant ripple effects,” explained Cha. Traditional social research methods could easily result in biases as they rely on surveys which only take a small amount of data into consideration. Cha expects computational social science to contribute to the analysis of potential risk factors and to establish sustainable policies for vulnerable, multi-dimensional social issues. Cha is currently working to build a platform that integrates data science into social science. The platform consists of three subgroups that make social models through continuous monitoring and data collection. One deals with societal anxiety through analysis of social networking, whereas another group covers disability rights in relation to social mobility. The third digs deeper into public health issues, especially related to infectious disease control. Cha’s role is the general management of the platform. He added that the research is mainly done in association with seven social scientists and nine data scientists. There are the three subgroups which researchers use to create social models through monitoring and data analysis. (Photo courtesy of the Computational Social Science Center) Cha highlighted the importance of the platform as a channel for conversation. “Interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches open the way into problems that are difficult to address through the methods of traditional disciplines,” said Cha. This platform lets researchers from two disciplines share the outcomes and objectives of the study through visualization. Cha also revealed his plans as a director of the Computational Social Science Center. “I have seen researchers struggling due to academic barriers between the two disciplines,” said the director. Cha expects to foster interdisciplinarians who grasps the essentials of both data science and social science and can bridge the gap between the two fields of study. A breakthrough occurs when we bring down boundaries and encourage disciplines to learn from each other. Cha is opening the way to the resolution of social issues through the convergence of data science and social science. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr