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.
Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies
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.
Center for Data-Driven Discovery
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.
Climate Modeling Alliance
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.
Center for the Mathematics of Information
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.
Community Seismic Network
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.
Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
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.
Information Science and Technology
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, CSIS, and the Lee Center.
Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis
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.
Jacobs Institute for Molecular Engineering for Medicine
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.
Keck Institute for Space Studies
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.
Kavli Nanoscience Institute
The Kavli Nanoscience Institute
The KNI is an intellectual hub that emphasizes efforts which transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is home to an advanced nanofabrication and characterization facility that supports nanoscale research and technology on the frontiers of electronics, photonics, quantum matter and information, medical and bio-engineering, and sustainability. The KNI has been a critical element in building interacting systems capable of unprecedented emergent functionality across areas such as photonics, materials science, and biotechnology.
The Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science
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.
Liquid Sunlight Alliance
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.
Materials and Process Simulation Center
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.
Resnick Sustainability Institute
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 Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center
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.
Sensing to Intelligence
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.
Terrestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting Center
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.