September 29 - October 5, 2014


September 29, 2014

Faculty News


Prof. Royce Francis (EMSE) has received a three-year, $302,592 National Science Foundation grant for his collaborative research project "RIPS Type 2 Collaborative Research: Water and Electricity Infrastructure in the Southeast (WEIS) - Approaches to Resilient Interdependent Systems under Climate Change." This grant was awarded under the NSF Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and Systems (RIPS) competition and includes collaborators from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington. The multidisciplinary team includes civil engineers, decision scientists, behavioral economists, computer scientists, risk analysts, and hydrologists working together to study the implications of climate change for the electric power and water supply interdependent critical infrastructures (ICI) systems, developing a general methodology. These systems are closely connected in what is sometimes referred to as the "water-energy nexus." While there may be competing demands for water services that affect the availability of water for the power sector (and thus its reliability), without reliable power supply, the water supply system cannot operate. Most research on the water-energy nexus has focused on the Western U.S., where aridity and droughts are common. Climate-induced water risks in the Eastern U.S. have been less extensively studied, even though this region has large population centers and is expected to see changes in the hydrological cycle as a result of climate change. Our project focuses on the Southeast U.S.

Media Mentions:

Prof. Samer Hamdar (CEE) was quoted in the September 26 Washington Post article "Best State in America: West Virginia, for improving traffic safety."

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Adam Wickenheiser (MAE) and his students recently attended the ASME 2014 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, held September 8-10, in Newport, RI. There, they presented the papers: 1) Akash DhruvChristopher J. Blower, and Adam Wickenheiser. "A Three Dimensional Iterative Panel Method for Bio-Inspired Multi-Body Wings;" and 2) Raul OlympioJohn Donahue, and Adam Wickenheiser. "Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Frequency Up-Conversion Energy Harvesters under Human-Generated Vibrations." Prof. Wickenheiser was the chair of the conference's Energy Harvesting Symposium, and he chaired the sessions "Power Generation" and "Energy Harvesting under Random and Multi-Frequency Inputs."

Student News

On September 16, CS doctoral student Samuel Zapolsky presented the paper "Quadratic Programming-Based Inverse Dynamics Control for Legged Robots with Sticking and Slipping Frictional Contacts," which heco-authored with Prof. Evan Drumwright (CS), at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. The conference was held in Chicago, IL.

Other News

Call for Proposals: The GW Institute for Biomedical Engineering (GWIBE) Interdisciplinary Research Fund is accepting proposals from GW faculty members interested in biomedical engineering research support. The application deadline is 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 1. The competition is primarily for junior faculty to help them establish an active research program. Each award can be up to $20,000. 

Office of Graduate Admissions: Brittany Wright attended and presented at the EducationUSA Eurasia Forum in Tbilisi, Georgia, during the week of September 22. She is now in Astana and Almaty, Kazakhstan to recruit students from the Bolashak Scholars program and meet with GW SEAS alumni. This week, Graduate Admissions will recruit at the annual Tau Beta Pi convention in Spokane, WA.

The GW SEAS Graduate Career Service Team was excited by the great student turnout at the Resume and Cover Letter Workshop and the GW Career and Internship Fair last week. The GW SEAS Graduate Career Office will host a Career Resource Training Workshop on October 1, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm in 201 Tompkins Hall. For more information on upcoming workshops or to schedule an appointment, please email [email protected].

10 Signs You Might Be a GW Engineer: For those of you not following SEAS on social media, here's a little "Friday Fun," served up on Monday:

Guest Vignette

Climate Change Impacts on Interdependent Infrastructure Systems

Concern has been growing that climate change may become irreversible if anthropogenic emissions are not checked. While many efforts to address climate change have focused on reducing emissions by shifting the way we eat, changing the way we commute, and altering our indoor environment, far fewer efforts have been focused on adaptation of infrastructure to climatic changes. Climate change hazards can come in many forms, including extreme weather events such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea level rise, and extreme temperature events. All of these hazards can breach vulnerabilities in nearly every infrastructure system.

Prof. Royce Francis and his doctoral student, Behailu Bekera, have been conducting research investigating the ways that climate change hazards can cause escalating impacts through infrastructure interdependencies. For example, their current research with collaborators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Carnegie Mellon University focuses on the interdependency between water and power infrastructures. In initial studies with Dr. Olufemi Omitaomu at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they have been investigating the role of stochastic process models and statistical decision theory in characterizing drought events from the operational perspective of electric power plant owners and managers. By developing new approaches to characterizing drought under alternative climate emissions scenarios, Prof. Francis and Bekera can assist electric power infrastructure decision makers in identifying decision-relevant metrics for their site evaluations, incorporating both very large climatological and hydrological datasets and climate model results. In turn, the vulnerability of power generation under climate change can then be evaluated in the broader social and economic context bearing on water resource utilization. (Provided courtesy of Prof. Royce Francis, Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering)

SEAS Events

MAE Seminar: Genre and Structure: "Framing and Organizing Scientific Writing"
Speaker: Edward Helfers, GW University Writing Program
Wednesday, October 1
2:30 pm [Note the new time for this seminar]
2020 K Street NW, Room 24

MAE Seminar: "Predictive Modeling Of Failure In Ductile Materials"
Speaker: Dr. Krishnaswamy Ravi-Chandar, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Texas at Austin
Friday, October 10
11:00 am
736 Phillips Hall

MAE Seminar: "Spectral Methods in Motion"
Speaker: Dr. David Kopriva, Professor of Mathematics, Florida State University
Thursday, October 16
3:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

MAE Seminar: "Molecular Engineering of Microbubble Shells"
Speaker: Dr. Mark Borden, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering and Bioengineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
Thursday, October 30
3:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

Entrepreneurship News & Events

Office Hours
Wednesday, October 1
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
2033 K Street, Suite 750

DC TechDay
Thursday, October 2
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
National Building Museum
Washington, DC

Skills 101: Building Great Startup Teams with Ira Koretsky
Thursday, October 2
5:30 – 7:00 pm
652 Duques Hall

External Events

National Cyber Security Awareness Month
SEAS is hosting the following National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) events in Tompkins Hall during the month of October. To learn more about other NCSAM events at GW, please visit

Hack or Crack? – How strong do you think your password is?
Monday, October 6
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Tompkins Hall Lobby
Sign-up for SANS 'Securing the Human' training
Live demo and information booth in Tompkins Lobby

Spot a Phish!
Monday, October 13
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Tompkins Hall Lobby
Sign-up for SANS 'Securing the Human' training
Live demo and information booth in Tompkins Lobby

Symantec Endpoint Protection – Install, Scan and Stay Safe Online
Monday, October 20
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Tompkins Hall Lobby
On-the-spot spot quiz – Answer4Security
Information booth in Tompkins lobby