Securing a Successful Future
Rubens Lacouture, E and ME’21, is focused on improving computational performance and algorithm efficiency, including software security
A native of Haiti, Rubens Lacouture, E and ME’21, moved to Boston in 2010 after a devastating earthquake. With a lifelong interest in science and engineering, he first enrolled at Northeastern as a Foundation Year student, taking classes through the College of Professional Studies, then transferred into the College of Engineering his second year.
“In high school, you’re often babied by your teachers, but college is challenging―in a good way, a way that encourages you to find your own path,” Lacouture explains. “The Foundation Year program was a great opportunity to make that transition and prepare myself for all the opportunities available at Northeastern.”
A computer engineering major, Lacouture quickly identified software development as his passion. “I like the fact that software engineering unleashes your creativity,” he says. “I’ve been able to focus on developing embedded security solutions that make software impervious to hacking, and I’ve also been able to define algorithms and parallel processing solutions that make complex problems easier to solve. Software is all around us, so I believe my work is important.”
Lacouture has performed research at the Northeastern University Computer Architecture Research (NUCAR) Lab, as well as the Lustig Chemical Engineering Lab, where he worked on various scientific computing and high-performance computing projects. In co-ops with CPII and Draper Laboratory, he gained experience solving real-world problems related to computer engineering and embedded systems. For example, at Draper he developed distributed simulation platforms, key management protocols, and quantum-secure encryption strategies that contributed to the lab’s goal of accelerating technology development.
In early 2020, he was named a Fellow by the National GEM Consortium, which identifies and prepares technical leaders for advanced careers in industry, academia, and government agencies. Lacouture’s GEM Fellowship was sponsored by Draper, and he spent the summer working as a member of BreakerSpace, an offensive security team at Draper dedicated to developing computing frameworks to protect cyber-physical systems from cyber-attacks.
Northeastern’s accelerated masters program is enabling Lacouture to graduate a BS in Computer Engineering and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering next spring. Lacouture is focused on completing his masters thesis, which brings together high-performance computing, computer architecture, and graphics processing unit (GPU) computing. He is currently working as a graduate researcher at NUCAR on these topics.
Lacouture is also busy applying to PhD programs, including Northeastern, with the goal of working at a national research lab one day. “I love investigating problems in an innovative manner and using my creativity to change the way engineers do things,” he notes. “There are so many rules and accepted methods in the field of software and computer engineering. I’d like to take a leadership role in examining those and discovering new solutions. That’s the only way we can make quantum leaps that take computing to the next level.”
Looking back, Lacouture appreciates the mentors at Northeastern who helped guide his career path, as well as the rigorous nature of his research and coursework. But he’s especially grateful for the sense of community he found in the College of Engineering.
Lacouture is a member of IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (the electrical and computer engineering honor society), Tau Beta Pi (the engineering honor society), and the Black Engineering Student Society (BESS). He has also served as a math tutor for Foundation Year students, and an electrical and computer engineering tutor as part of IEEE Eta Kappa Nu.
“I’ve been able to meet so many people and make so many connections at Northeastern,” Lacouture points out. “My work here has been challenging, but I’ve also enjoyed so many opportunities and so much support. Northeastern has really shaped me, and I definitely made the right choice in coming here.”