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Okan Pala

Senior Research Scholar


Engineering Building II (EB2) 3320


Dr. Okan Pala functions in various capacities at the NC State University. He is a senior research scholar at the Department of Computer Science (Jan 2023) where he also teaches programming classes (since Fall 2018). He also is an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Geospatial Analytics (CGA) at NCSU where he previously worked as a Research Associate (2015-2022). In his last three years at CGA, he served as the main PI on three projects with funding totaling over 500K.
Dr. Pala earned his PhD in “Software and Information Systems” from UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing (December 2014) and previously received his MSc degree from NC State’s College of Natural Resources with a concentration in GIS and Remote Sensing (May 2005). Dr. Pala has federal government work experience with the US EPA, US NPS, Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as industry experience with Lockheed Martin and the Computer Science Corporation.


In my research I focus on Geospatial analytics, modeling and visualization applied alongside network science, machine learning and graph theory to solve grand challenges at the intersection of food-energy-water-transportation systems, climate change adaptation, critical/cyber infrastructure systems, disaster recovery, public engagement, and STEM education.