2019 NSF CAREER Award Winners: Soumik Sarkar

Mechanical engineering’s Soumik Sarkar is among three Iowa State University Cyclone Engineers selected for the 2019 National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER).

CAREER awards are the NSF’s most prestigious awards given to early-career faculty. The program aims to build a firm foundation for leadership in integrating research and education.


Soumik Sarkar

associate professor of mechanical engineering

Robustifying Machine Learning for Cyber-Physical Systems

Sarkar will build computational techniques to detect and mitigate risk in using machine learning and artificial intelligence for cyber-physical systems, such as self-driving cars. His framework and algorithms will help deep learning models better address “edge cases” where the real-life situation isn’t represented well in the training data set – and to fend off adversarial attacks on  machine learning based decision systems. Algorithms will be validated on experimental self-driving cars and robotics test beds.

Sarkar will also develop new curriculum, research experiences, and other outreach activities for high school students and teachers in the critical interdisciplinary area of system theory and data science.