Wednesday, 27 September 2017

APESS'17 summer school attendance in Yokohama, Japan

Hello guys!

How is the beginning of the fall season been treating you?

In this post, I will write about an extremely exciting and enriching activity in which I participated for three weeks. I'm talking about the 2017 edition of the Asia-Pacific-Euro Summer School on Smart Structures Technology (APESS) that took place at the Yokohama National University in Japan between July 17th and August 4th.

In this event, together with my colleagues ESR7 (Farhad Huseynov), ESR9 (Matteo Vagnoli) and ESR10 (JJ Moughty), I attended three-week lectures given by experts in civil engineering, structural dynamics and control, smart structures technology and structural health monitoring.

This was the tenth edition of this summer school, being that the first edition was held in 2008 in KAIST South Korea and the last edition held at Cambridge University, U.K. in 2016. Other editions of this summer school were held in different locations including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in the U.S., the University of Tokyo in Japan, Tongji University in China, Indian Institute of Science in India and the National Taiwan University in Taiwan.

This edition was the biggest so far with 60 young researchers enrolled in the program from all over the world. Coming from China, Japan, South Korea, Europe, India, United States of America, Taiwan, Canada and Hong Kong.

APESS'17 group photo
This was a program full of incredibly interesting lectures with distinguished speakers from all over the world covering topics from advanced structural engineering and dynamics, structural control and applications, smart structures technology, sensing and materials, structural health monitoring and assessments. The activities program can be found here.

Attending lectures
Group photo after one of the lectures
Furthermore, we were able to participate in compelling technical visits. One of these visits was to the Shinjuku Mitsui Building in the heart of Tokyo, where we attended a presentation on the seismic upgrading project of this building and were able to then visit the TMD's (Tuned Mass Dumpers) allocated on the top of building as a result of this project! You can see some pictures bellow.

Another visit was to the Kajima Technical Research Institute. Kajima Corporation is one of the four biggest construction companies in Japan, and its technical research institute department was established as the construction industry's first research institute in Japan in 1949.
In this visit, we attended a presentation where the main goals and line of work of this company were demonstrated followed by a visit to its laboratories and research facilities which included a wind tunnel and a large scale shaking table. Unfortunately, there are no photos of this visit.

Furthermore, during the time of this summer school, we attended the ANCRiSST 2017 - 13th International Workshop on Advanced Smart Materials and Smart Structural Technologies - at the University of Tokyo, where many lecturers of our summer school were also presenting. Here you can see some photos of this event as well.

Group photo of ANCRiSST 2017 attendees

Attending one of the presentations

In addition, for this conference dinner, we were treated to a cruise on the Tokyo Bay with incredible views of the city and some cool structures such as the Rainbow Bridge that you can see in the following picture.

Moreover, during this summer school, we attended a demonstration on trials of method and practice of bridge inspection area. Here three different methods of damage identification were demonstrated: two based on camera images and one based on visual inspection. This was a highly interactive and enticing way to see in first hand the used practices in bridge inspection from the more traditional to the more recently developed techniques. You can see some images of this visit below.

Finally, as one of the main tasks of this summer school, we were sorted into different groups where we were to apply some of the knowledge we took during the lectures and technical visits into two laboratory projects. The first laboratory experiment consisted on the operational model analysis of a bridge located in the Yokohama National University campus. 

Instrumented YNU bridge

My group for the laboratory experiments

The second experiment consisted on the load estimation of an aluminium beam structure using static strain data acquired by Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors. 
Dimension of the beam structure and FBG sensor location 
Photo of the instrumented beam

Afterwards, on the final day of the summer school, each group made a presentation on its results.

Presenting the group project
Overall this was an incredible experience, where a great deal was learned and witnessed firsthand on the topic of structural health monitoring. Furthermore, we got to know and befriend young researchers from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures and also get to know some of the biggest established researchers on the topic of civil engineering SHM.

Receiving the certificate of participation on APESS' 17 from Prof. Yozo Fujino
So, this is all from me now and I hope to have the time to write here again in a near future to tell you more about the latest activities regarding my project so please stay tuned.


Friday, 28 July 2017

UPC's Doctoral School open day

Hey guys!

How's everything going? Hope everything is going great and you guys are ready to read some of the latest developments regarding my life as an ESR.
So today, I will talk with you about the UPC's Doctoral school open day that occurred some weeks ago and where I and JJ Moughty (ESR 10) were able to participate.

This was an event held at the main auditorium of the Vertex building in UPC north campus on the 8th of June and was mainly attended by master students. The layout of the program for this event is visible in the next picture.

Program of UPC's doctoral school open day

The main goal was to present to these students the advantages of obtaining a doctoral degree while displaying the needed requirements and the different ways that are possible to undertake in order to obtain such degree. Furthermore and as part of this initiative, the testimony of two PhD students was presented in order to give a more personal and real view of taking this choice. It was in this part where I participated by doing a small presentation about my own personal experience while conducting my PhD studies in UPC.

Talking about my personal PhD experience to prospective students

In this presentation, I talked a little bit about my arrival to UPC from Portugal, introduced the topic of my project while also explaining how Marie-Curie ITNs (more specifically the TRUSS ITN) work and finally described how this experience is being on a more personal level. Bellow, you can see some photos of this presentation.

In the second part of this event, both I and JJ answered to questions and doubts presented by some students regarding our experience while doing the PhD and more directly related to the civil engineering field. Unfortunately, there are no photos of this part of the open day.

All in all, it was a delightful and engaging experience where hopefully a large number of students got inspired and encouraged to pursue a doctoral degree, and in this way, help us in continuing to advance the knowledge of science.

So this is all from me now. Next month I will get back to you with some more stories and developments of my project so please stay tuned!


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Last TRUSS meeting and ESREL conference

Hey guys!

How's everything? I know I haven't written anything here in a while but time has been quite short on the past months. However, I will try to write again more often and keep you updated on the latest developments and events happening in my project.

So to start, today I'm going to talk with you about a TRUSS meeting that we had some weeks ago in London and my attendance with the rest of my ESR's colleagues in the ESREL 2017 conference just last week.

The TRUSS meeting corresponded to the planned annual plenary meeting which also included a Workshop on the topic of Structural Safety & Infrastructure Management. This event took place at the beautiful headquarters of Lloyd's Register in Fenchurch Street in London, UK on the 24th and 25th of May.

The workshop took place on the first day with the following keynote speakers:

  • Robert Dean, Principal Engineer (Structures) at Network Rail, UK, “Bridge Asset Management at Network Rail”
  • John Doran, Chair of the Infrastructure Operators Adaptation Forum and Infrastructure Expert at John Dora Consulting Limited, UK, “Thoughts about the Risks in Adopting Risk-Based Strategies”
  • Mark Girolami, Professor at Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, UK, “Data Centric Engineering”
  • James Brownjohn, Director at Full Scale Dynamics Limited and Professor at University of Exeter, UK, “Resilient Infrastructure: the Role of Structural Health Monitoring”
  • Michael Habvro Faber, Professor at Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University, Denmark, “Decision Theoretical Framework to Offshore Structural Integrity Management”
  • Alan O’Connor, Director at Roughan & O’Donovan Innovative Solutions and Associate Professor at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, “Probabilistic Assessment of Bridges – Case Study Presentation –”
  • Thierry Yalamas, Director at Phimeca Engineering, France,“Methods and Tools for Reliability Assessment”
Furthermore, a poster exhibition by all the ESR's on their respective topics was also present at this event. 
The next day was followed by short presentations by all the ESR's on their research progress and the usual doctoral study panels meetings.

Below you can see some photos of this.

Workshop on Structural Safety & Infrastructure Management

ESR's posters exhibition

Presenting research progress

Group photo

More recently, i.e., last week all of the ESR's participated in the annual European Safety and Reliability Conference ESREL 2017. Here, as planned in the beginning of this project, a mini-symposia of TRUSS was organized within the topic of this conference. This event took place between the 18 and 22 of June in the city of Portoroz in Slovenia. 

Here are some pictures of the conference.

ESREL 2017 conference

Some of the members of the TRUSS ITN

Attending other ESR's presentation 
Presenting at ESREL 2017

This, as always, was a great opportunity to network and observe and get to know some interesting and innovative research that is beeing conducted throughout the world on the topic of safety and reliability.

So this is all from me right now. Time to get bet to work and I promise I will take less time to write another blog post with the latest developments of my project.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

TRUSS 2nd Training Week at UPC-BarcelonaTech

Hey everyone!

How is everything going? Handling this cold weather alright? Well, here in Barcelona it has been quite different from the sunny and warm days that you would associate with this city.
That was what my fellow ESR colleagues and rest of the TRUSS members discovered last week when they were here for the 2nd training week of our project. That's right, last week we had almost every member of our research group attending this event and that's what I'm going to describe you on this month's post.

Firstly, since I didn't write about the 1st conducted training week (it preceded the first post on this blog, you can read all about it here), I probably should explain to you what are these training weeks and their role within our research project. As I've mentioned in previous posts, TRUSS, as it stands for Training in Reducing Uncertainty in Structural Safety, is an innovative training network that brings together an intersectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration between academia and industry in order to conduct innovative research on the topic of structural safety. Part of this is achieved by providing to the 14 fellows local and network-wide training activities. It's in this last one, that these training weeks have a role. It basically consists of core (research methods and business skills), specialist and communicational skills modules given to the early stage researchers enabling us to improve the quality of our research and receive important and valuable training that will better prepare us towards our future career paths, either in academia or industry. You can learn more about the structure and objectives of this type of activities in this link.

In this training week, at Barcelona, it was no different. This training week was held at the north campus of Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya from the 16 to the 20 of January. We ESR's had a full and productive week, where we received training in technical areas such as "Multi-Level Monte Carlo Methods for stochastic analysis and robust optimum design", "Vulnerability and Risk Assessment",  "Reducing Uncertainty in Structural Safety through Static Non Destructive Tests", "Observability Techniques for Uncertainty Reduction", "Survival Analysis and Discrete Event Simulation applied to Structural Reliability", "Reducing uncertainty through the Structured Expert Elicitation", "Uncertainty Quantification and propagation for sensitivity or reliability purpose", "Practical Reliability Engineering - Case Studies" and "Advanced Finite Element Modelling".

ESRs attending training on technical modules

We also received training on Research Methods such as "Knowledge management: The path to innovation" and "Responsible conduct in research and innovation".

Moreover, each ESR made a presentation on the progress of their research and respective project as it happens in all of these meetings. This was followed by the usual Doctoral Studies Panels where feedback is given to each ESR by external advisors in form of advice and comments regarding the project evolution and its next actions. This is an excellent opportunity for the evaluation of the situation point of each project and to assess if different paths should or not be taken.

Presenting my Research Progress in this 2nd Training Week
But don't worry, not everything was work. We also had time for leisure moments. We had the opportunity to take a cultural and technical visit to one of the most important (if not the most) landmarks in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia! Here we received a presentation of the history and situational point of this incredible structure by project architect Jaime Serrallonga. Afterward, we had a guided visit where we were able to contemplate and admire this sublime monument.

TRUSS members in guided visit to Sagrada Familia
So, as you can imagine this was an incredibly fun and enjoyable week where it was possible to continue to develop important technical and communicational skills and also appreciate the company of all my fellow ESR colleagues in the marvelous city of Barcelona.

Now it's time to get back to work since a lot of tasks are due in these next few months. In the next post I will get back to you with more information regarding my project, so please stay tuned.