SimCenter Welcomes 2023 Summer REUs

June 20, 2023

The NHERI SimCenter is excited to host two REU students this summer. NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program promotes education and research through internships in active research. The two REUs join the SimCenter for an intensive ten-week internship where they complete independent research projects, mentored by domain experts on the software development team. Their research outcomes will be presented at the NHERI REU Symposium on August 10 and 11 at Oregon State University with REUs from the other NHERI sites.

Meet the REU Students

Christina Bocirnea

Christina Bocirnea is a senior in Civil Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Last year she began research in machine learning applications to earthquake engineering with her solid mechanics professor, Dr. Parida. From this research, she “learned a lot about how machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the field of natural hazards engineering.” Her professor encouraged her to apply to this program to gain more experience in the field and as a researcher.

Christina’s mentors are Abiy Melaku, Aakash Satish, and Matthew Schoettler on the project “Deep learning-based estimation of peak wind pressures on buildings from a short duration measurement.” Accurate determination of peak wind loads is essential to wind-resistant design of the building envelope. The purpose of the project is to explore and create deep learning models which can determine the peak wind pressure that a building would experience based on flow statistics acquired from a short duration simulation. Being able to do so would be beneficial to the wind engineering field because running long duration computational fluid dynamics (CFD) or wind tunnel simulations is often time consuming. The deep neural networks model will be trained using different aerodynamic datasets taken from both boundary layer wind tunnels measurements as well as CFD simulation. The output of this explorative study will benefit SimCenter’s WE-UQ tool, ultimately enabling researchers to conduct a CFD-based wind load calculation on buildings in a computationally efficient manner.

Geraldine (Geri) Lynch

Geraldine (Geri) Lynch will be a junior in Civil Engineering at California State University, Chico. She transferred from Santa Rosa Junior College after attaining her Associates of Science degree in Engineering as well as Mathematics, with honors. She was elected incoming president of the Chi Epsilon civil engineering honors society chapter at CSU Chico. Geri applied to the REU program because she “saw this research opportunity as an amazing way to have such a unique experience outside of a typical internship, and the SimCenter was my first choice because it develops computational modeling and simulation software tools. Although I have coded minimally in the past, I wanted to push myself from my comfort zone and expand my skill set while participating in the REU program.”

Geri’s mentors are Sang-ri Yi, Jinyan Zhao, and Matthew Schoettler on the project “Influence of different building damage prediction models on regional-scale seismic risk estimates.” The purpose of the project is to investigate different options in predicting building damage in regional scale earthquake response simulations. The simulations will be run through the MODF-Lu Model and the HAZUS Model, and the results will be studied and compared. The study will yield an opportunity to make suggestions for improvement of the models.