SCE civil engineering professors, Drs. ZhiQiang Chen and John Kevern were invited speakers at the March 20, 2014 Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Western Chapter (MSPE WC) monthly meeting. Continue reading
Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, a recognized disaster sensing and computing expert, is participating in a national collaborative project, Earthquake Data Enhanced Cyber-Infrastructure for Disaster Evaluation and Response (E-DECIDER). The project is a collaboration between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), ImageCat, Inc., Indiana University, University of California Davis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the US Geological Survey. Their research will be funded by a recently awarded NASA project, “Enhancing E-DECIDER with Loss and Damage Estimation Capability”.
An interdisciplinary group of researchers, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen (Civil Engineering), Dr. Yugyung Lee (Computer Science), and their graduate students, Jianfei (Max) Chen (Electrical Engineering) and Feichen Shen (Computer Science), at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering have developed a new approach for reporting damaged infrastructure: a smartphone-based application geared towards real-time damage quantification and collaborative decision making. According to the ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the GPA for the infrastructure’s condition and performance is currently rated at a D+. In addition, the monetary investment needed to repair the infrastructure to maintain a functional state (that is, to get a grade of B) is $3.6 trillion by the year 2020. Such a tremendous investment demands a critical need – innovative and rapid technologies for civil infrastructure condition assessment. Different from a Google Street View application, the app seamlessly integrates mobile imaging, interactive analytics, and cloud computing, all processed in the real time.
A massive two-mile-wide EF4 tornado (wind speeds from 166 – 200 miles per hour) hit Oklahoma City area on May 20, killing 24 men, women and children as it flattened homes, school buildings, farms and businesses. Just two years earlier, an EF5-tornado struck Joplin, Missouri taking 162 lives and incurring billions dollars of civil infrastructure and property losses. Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, SCE Assistant Professor in Civil and Computer Engineering, hopes the remote sensing and visual computing technologies he is developing will aid post-disaster rescue by providing real-time damage assessment for first responders at large-scale deadly disasters. Continue reading
Ryan Holmes, a SCE civil engineering student, was recently awarded an opportunity to attend the 2013 NSF’s NEES-REU Summer Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. This summer research program is designed for upper division undergraduate students interested in Earthquake Engineering. Ryan will spend 10 weeks at Reno and work on one of the NEES projects. The focus of his study will be on shake table modeling and seismic risk mitigation. As a part of the program, he will have the opportunity to attend a “Young Researchers’ Symposium” and the NEES Annual Meeting. Ryan Holmes has been working with Dr. ZhiQiang Chen in several research projects and has coauthored two technical papers. In the picture, Ryan Holmes (front) was preparing a unique dynamic fluid-soil-structure testing with Dr. Chen’s graduate student, Rahul Tripathi.
According to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) webpage, NSF “created the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) to give researchers the tools to learn how earthquakes and tsunami impact the buildings, bridges, utility systems and other critical components of today’s society. NEES is a network of 15 large-scale, experimental sites that feature such advanced tools as shake tables, centrifuges that simulate earthquake effects, unique laboratories, a tsunami wave basin and field-testing equipment. All are linked to a centralized data pool and earthquake simulation software, bridged together by the high-speed Internet2. The new NEESgrid system, a communications web that uses collaborative tools and tele-presence technologies, allows off-site researchers to interact in real time with any of the networked sites. With these tools, engineers and students from all parts of the country can collaborate on multi-site experiments using simulators that generate earthquake effects strong enough to bring down full-sized buildings.”
Providing SCE students educational enhancement and career development opportunities are key missions of both our UMKC Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) and our UMKC Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) student chapters. This Spring Break they teamed up to provide their members an astonishing opportunity, a travel expense paid trip to tour the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering Research Development Center in Vicksburg, MS on Monday, March 25 followed by a visit to the Lower Mississippi River Museum and participation at the Vicksburg SAME Post luncheon and presentation on Tuesday, March 26. Accompanying the students on the trip were civil engineering faculty Dr. Ceki Halmen and Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, MSPE Student Chapter Vice President Sean Rivers and MSPE Student Chapter staff advisor Jane Vogl. Funding was provided by the MSPE Student Chapter, the SCE Student Council, the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, the SCE Alumni Board, and the Greater Kansas City Post of the Society of American Military Engineers. Dean Kevin Truman, SAME student chapter faculty advisor, and Jane Vogl helped to arrange the trip.
The very worthwhile ERDC visit started with a warm welcome from ERDC Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory Director Dr. David Pittman. Dr. Pittman and his team provided SCE students information on careers at USACE and ERDC. He encouraged students to investigate the USACE for career possibilities as job opportunities become available. Students then visited each of the four state-of-the art laboratories open for public touring. With tremendous enthusiasm researchers at each laboratory discussed their work, how they conducted their research and shared some of their results. Because much of ERDC’s research is classified, especially the research intended to support and enable the warfighter, SCE students were left to ponder just exactly what was going on the dozens of building they did not visit within the complex. See the USACE ERDC overview fact sheet and the Media Fact Sheet about ERDC laboratories to obtain a perspective on the size and scope of ERDC’s work and mission.
Highlights of the ERDC tour included 1) viewing the 1-55 ft scale model of the McNary Lock and Dam and hearing about the research into lock and dam designs that are able to co-exist with local fish populations; 2) driving a barge in a simulated lock and dam; 3) experiencing and interacting with a simulation of driving a ship in San Francisco bay; 4) visiting the Hazardous Waste Research Center where research into removing lead from soil was described along with research into removing pollutants from sediments; 5) learning how ERDC utilizes an incredibly powerful centrifuge to conduct blast research; and 6) viewing 3-D simulations of research data and experiments in the Information Technology Laboratory.
Due to a happy coincidence, the Vicksburg Post of The Society of American Military Engineers monthly luncheon/presentation was the day after the ERDC tour. SCE students and faculty received a fantastic welcome, enjoyed a great lunch and found the presentation on weather trends extremely informative. After the luncheon, Colonel Kevin Wilson of ERDC and Colonel Jeffrey Eckstein of the USACE Vicksburg District talked with students encouraging them to excellence in their studies and their careers.
The Vicksburg trip is one of several professional trips being taken by SCE students this March and April. The UMKC National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Student Chapter members are participating in the NSBE 2013 Annual Convention in Indianapolis, IN and the UMKC IEEE Student Chapter members are participating in the IEEE Robotics Competition in Denver, CO.
SCE salutes the efforts of our UMKC Sustainability Team. Their efforts have resulted in UMKC being ranked nationally in the top 50 Sierra Club Cool Schools. This is the 6th year the Sierra Club has annually ranked schools and UMKC went from 95th in 2010 to 50th in the ranking just released! As the team’s coordinator Kaye Johnston noted, “All of our collective efforts are what have moved us up in the rankings and we should be really proud of the work we are doing”. We couldn’t agree more – teamwork is the KEY.
Our SCE UMKC Sustainability team members include SCE staff Selena Albert who serves as a co-chair of the Education and Funding Committee, Christina Davis and Lynn Hurd. SCE faculty Involved are Dr. Vijay Kumar and Dr. Zhiqiang Chen who both serve on the Voluntary Energy Management sub-committee. One of the research areas of their E-Save Team is the promotion of social justice in energy related issues. Dr. Chen also is a member of the Provost’s Sustainability Committee. Dr. John Kevern helped install a pervious concrete demonstration section and developed the low co2 concrete mix being used in the construction of the new Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the Bloch School of Management. In addition the Geomaterials course Dr. Kevern teaches is developing a concrete mixture which incorporates the use of ripple glass waste. He hopes to place some of mixture on campus this upcoming spring. It is efforts like these that helped UMKC jump into the top 50 Sierra Club Cool Schools.
UMKC Sustainability Team Mission Statement: The UMKC Sustainability Team at the University of Missouri-Kansas City aspires to provide the framework for environmental stewardship, natural resource conservation, emissions reductions, and sustainability. The team will act as a resource to support and promote the University’s environmental commitments and policies. The UMKC Sustainability Team is committed to enhancing awareness and understanding of the principles of sustainability throughout the University community.
Dr. ZhiQiang Chen obtained two travel grants to attend the 1st USUCGER Early Career Conference and the 14th GENI Engineering Conference from July 8~ July 11, both at Boston and sponsored by National Science Foundation. Dr. Chen presented his research methods and findings in identifying soil-structure-interaction effects using geotechnical centrifuge data during the USUCGER conference. While attending the GENI conference, Dr. Chen explored the potential with other leading researchers for the next-generation GENI-based disaster response with the conjunct use of remote sensing, real-time computing and muti-physics modeling.
About USUCGER: The United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER) was founded in 1985 to provide advocacy for the continued development and expansion of high quality geotechnical engineering research and education by US academic institutions
About GENI: GENI is a virtual laboratory at the frontiers of network science and engineering for exploring future internets at scale, and is also the backbone of the recently announced national initiative ‘US Ignite’.
SCE congratulates Professors Yugi Lee and ZhiQiang Chen! They have been awarded a 2012 research grant from the IBM Smarter Planet Faculty Innovation Program. Today’s Smart Grid, as an ‘Energy Internet’, holds the promise of transforming the behavior of individuals and communities towards more efficient and greener use of electric power but currently technological gaps exist that prevent achieving such a grand vision, especially in underserved communities and public-domain facilities. Yet technologies have not yet been realized that can provide i) non-intrusive monitoring of energy consumption and behavior at multiple scales, ii) autonomous energy saving mechanisms that are transparent to general users, iii) intelligent prediction of energy costs and expenditures, and iv) evaluation of personalized experiences of smart grid-enabled life at both residence and community levels.
Their project will develop an innovative curriculum at UMKC, titled Smart Sensing and Computing for Smarter Energy. The course is designed for students with a CSEE or CME major at the advanced level of study (senior or graduate level). In the course, interdisciplinary teams and projects were developed to devise and implement novel concepts and solutions that attempt to mitigate the above technological gaps. Ultimately, we envision that the students from this class will be instrumental towards realizing smart grid-enabled smarter buildings, communities, and cities. This is the second IBM Smarter Planet award SCE faculty have received. Dr. Praveen Rao received a 2011 IBM Smart Planet Faculty Innovation Award to develop a new curriculum for health informatics, Towards Smarter Healthcare: New Healthcare IT Curriculum.
Bridge safety is a national topic of discussion today. SCE’s ZhiQiang Chen, assistant professor of civil engineering, has received a $25,900 grant from the University of Missouri Research Board for “Design-oriented Scoured Foundation Modeling for Bridge Performance Analysis”. Slated to receive funding for a year, the project will officially begin during the summer. “The design, analysis and performance evaluation methods for scoured bridges significantly lag behind in our community,” Chen said. “One of the reviewers of this proposal actually commented that the proposed research is very timely. The long-term goal, beyond this pilot project, is to establish UMKC as a national center focusing on scoured bridge system research.” For more details see the UMKC Press Release.