First the Ph.D., then it’s all downhill

A picture of Amy Glen and Stephen Ramsey talking.

Amy Glen loves skiing, so much that it factored into her decision to attend the University of Vermont, where the Alaska native majored in biology and competed with the university’s ski team.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Glen worked at a lab that conducted analytical chemistry studies for pharmaceutical companies, where she worked with a lot of Excel spreadsheets. She realized that automating the manual data entry tasks would help her become more efficient in her job, but she didn’t have any programming background.

“I learned enough Visual Basic for Applications to write a macro and I thought, wow, this is awesome,” Glen said. “So I started learning more programming from there, a little bit at a time.”

That small taste sparked Glen’s interest in computer science, and she decided to enroll in Oregon State University’s online postbaccalaureate program in computer science in 2017.

“I was really grateful that the program existed,” Glen said. “I considered doing a master’s program in computer information systems at another university, but that wasn’t quite what I wanted to do, and I didn’t have the necessary prereqs for a computer science program.”

She also didn’t want to go back to school full-time to get another bachelor’s degree, and Oregon State’s online program allowed her to set her own pace while continuing to work full-time. The flexibility of the program also allowed Glen to take a break in 2018 to help set a startup company on its feet, which required her full attention for a year.

An undergraduate research experience changes everything

She resumed online classes in 2019. Knowing that she eventually wanted to get an advanced degree with the goal of conducting research in academia or industry, Glen applied for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in Associate Professor Stephen Ramsey’s lab.

Ramsey, who holds a joint appointment in computer science and biomedical sciences, applies bioinformatics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and systems biology to the identification and treatment of diseases.

Glen worked on one of Ramsey’s research projects, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, to integrate large volumes of data from myriad sources in biomedicine to help health professionals find possible solutions to treat rare diseases.

Glen’s background in biology is a great match for this research area, providing her a different perspective from that of most computer scientists.

“At first I was a little bit sad that I missed out on an undergraduate computer science experience,” Glen said. “But as I got up to speed and I didn’t feel behind my peers, I realized that it’s totally an asset coming from a different background like I do.”

Her previous career is giving her an advantage as well.

“Her experiences working at a lab in industry and as a startup founder give her really great instincts for working on a software team,” Ramsey said.

Glen thought she would wait about a year before attempting an advanced degree, but Ramsey encouraged her to apply for computer science doctoral programs right away.

“She has a knack for solving technical problems quickly and decisively,” he said. “On her own initiative, she solved a key challenge for our research that I had shied away from working on because I thought it would be too hard — this before she even started on her Ph.D.!”

Amy Glen skiing
Amy Glen loves skiing and takes the opportunity to hit the slopes on the mountains in nearby central Oregon.
Taking the leap to graduate school

Though she wasn’t sure she had the qualifications to get accepted to a graduate program, Glen applied at six schools in fall 2019 and was accepted at four universities, including Oregon State.

She decided to continue her studies at Oregon State because she enjoyed the research she was working on. Making her decision a bit easier, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offered her a fellowship in the Outstanding Scholars Program. Glen is also an ARCS scholar.

Though she didn’t finish the postbacc degree in computer science, Glen jumped right into her Ph.D. program and continued to work with Ramsey on the same research project she had started as an undergraduate.

Glen and Ramsey are working with the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle and Penn State to integrate large amounts of information in disparate and heterogeneous databases.

“For instance, there are databases that connect genes with diseases, or proteins and their mechanism of interaction with drugs,” Glen said. “There are so many databases, but they’re all in different formats and are so disjointed that it’s difficult to piece together all that information to allow reasoning across the whole dataset.”

The goal is to integrate all those sources and make them speak a common format so they can create a querying system that health professionals can use to help find possible answers for rare diseases.

Glen still loves skiing. Since moving to Corvallis, she’s been able to take advantage of the town’s proximity to the mountains. She also enjoys mountain biking and rock climbing. After she graduates, Glen plans to work for a nonprofit research institute or in academia. Wherever it is, it will likely be where she can hit the slopes often.


June 15, 2022

Bioengineering faculty member stokes passion for interdisciplinary research

April 22, 2022
Heidi Kloefkorn
Heidi Kloefkorn, assistant professor of bioengineering

Heidi Kloefkorn, assistant professor of bioengineering

Before joining the College of Engineering in 2021 as an assistant professor of bioengineering, Heidi Kloefkorn had mastered the art of pursuing multiple interests. No wonder she was drawn to the field of biomedical engineering.

“I’m in a field that has no united definition, and no degree holder is the same,” Kloefkorn said. “Bioengineers and biomedical engineers have a unique position, talking to scientists, engineers, and the medical field. We welcome all; it’s a fun space to be in.”

Discovering this space was a process fueled by Kloefkorn’s curiosity. Growing up, she gleaned career insights from her father, an electrical engineer, and her mother, a hematologist; however, her main catalyst was a virology seminar she took in high school.

“My teacher got me excited about public health — not only the biology of viruses, but engineering controls we use to protect ourselves and equipment we use to understand organisms. That was just as interesting to me as all the biological aspects,” Kloefkorn said.

Pursuing this interest, Kloefkorn enrolled at Georgia Tech to study biomedical engineering and joined the honors program, which provided the opportunity to perform research in a comparative neuromechanics lab.

“My first experiment was comparing different prostheses for below-the-knee amputee patients in terms of quantifying gait locomotion, three-dimensional kinematics, and kinetics,” Kloefkorn said. “Then, I had an entirely different research experience in electrophysiology. I knew nothing about neuroscience and had never worked with animals before, but I was paired with an amazing postdoc who mentored me. I decided I wanted to continue research because it was fun to go to the lab every day and do something different.”

Kloefkorn’s decision led her to the biomedical engineering doctoral program at the University of Florida, where she worked in a lab specializing in emerging diagnostics and therapeutics for joint disease, specifically working in preclinical osteoarthritis models. She developed hardware systems for conducting noninvasive gait biomechanics research in rodents as well as histological scoring analytics.

“We could ask and answer questions nobody had before, which was exciting,” Kloefkorn said. “Our work improved animal measures to better study and predict osteoarthritis pathogenesis in ways impossible to conduct in humans, with the ultimate goal to improve preclinical-to-clinical translation.”

Upon earning her doctorate, Kloefkorn moved to Emory University for a postdoctoral scholar position with the National Institutes of Health-sponsored FIRST Program. Her decision was inspired by her postdoc mentor, Katherine Wilkinson, who had held the same position when she worked with Kloefkorn at Georgia Tech.

Through FIRST, Kloefkorn obtained pedagogical training and classroom experience at Morehouse College, where she taught first-year biology. During this time, her research focus shifted from osteoarthritis to neuroscience, and her faculty advisor was glad to incorporate Kloefkorn’s experience in animal behavior in their lab.

“I worked with cutting-edge technology to build new tools to measure animal physiology and behavior noninvasively from outside the homecage — something no one had been able to do before,” Kloefkorn said. “We measured fundamental physiology and behavior, like respiration, heart rate, and motor behavior. The animal doesn’t even know they're being recorded; that’s the magic of it.”

Kloefkorn brings skills in developing noninvasive observation technology, experience in degenerative and chronic pain models, and histological and electrophysiological tissue analysis. She is setting up her lab with workstations for spatiotemporal and dynamic gait biomechanics, automated computational analytics, tissue histology, animal behavior, and electrophysiology. This breadth allows for interdisciplinary collaboration, as Kloefkorn fosters a team-based dynamic among her trainees.

“I’ve had a history of amazing mentors and advocates. They’ve been part of my journey, something I’m grateful for and try to pass forward. Including undergrads in research gives them practical experience to apply what they’ve learned in a setting that doesn’t have a textbook. The long-term plateau I’m hoping to achieve is three or four graduate students and several undergrads at any given time,” Kloefkorn said.

Kloefkorn encourages her students to specialize in two areas of her research program while becoming proficient in others. Using the equipment developed in her lab, Kloefkorn and her team intend to conduct parallel translational studies, measuring the same physiological phenomenon in animals and humans simultaneously to minimize the preclinical-to-clinical gap.

“Biomedical engineering is a collaborative empowerment to answer the next stage of difficult medical questions,” Kloefkorn said. Every advance has an impact and bolsters that foundation for your next steps. There’s so much unknown we need to discover and many people we need to help. This freedom of creativity to just go and try something — that’s what’s exciting.”

Associated Researcher

Yue Cao earns NSF CAREER Award

Three engineers working on machine

Yue Cao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Energy Systems research group, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. The award includes a grant of nearly $500,000 over five years.

Traditional energy storage systems encompass what Cao calls “real” storage, such as batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. Cao’s research aims to also incorporate currently overlooked “virtual” resources, such as HVAC systems or water heaters.

“I call those systems ‘virtual,’ because storing energy is not their primary purpose, but they consume electricity and are tied to the grid or other energy resources,” Cao said.

The purpose of Cao’s research will be to create a universal equivalent circuit for multiple energy storage systems that are controlled by connected power electronics. Cao will then develop a design approach to optimally size the hybrid energy storage systems and increase their life and reliability. By dynamically regulating virtual energy mass, this new approach aims to modulate energy usage from the grid.

“For example, if I have rooftop solar panels on my house, and it’s a sunny day and the air conditioner is on, and in the next minute a cloud blocks the sun, solar power will be reduced,” Cao said. “Current systems would use power from the grid to keep the air conditioner running. With an integrated energy system, however, the power used by the air conditioner, or the virtual resource, could be adjusted temporarily to match the reduced power of the solar panels, without my noticing a difference in temperature.”

Cao is already working on research projects that involve energy storage problems including fast charging stations for heavy-duty trucks on rural highways, electrification of locomotives, and wave energy.

March 21, 2022

Barbara Simpson earns NSF CAREER Award

A woman with a protection hat and glasses working on a project.

Barbara Simpson, assistant professor of structural engineering, has received a Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, award from the National Science Foundation. The award includes a grant of nearly $600,000 over five years. 

Simpson proposes to lay the algorithmic foundations for high-fidelity simulations of complex structural systems using graphics processing units, or GPUs. Her research could significantly advance the fundamental understanding of the risks posed by natural hazards to the built environment. For example, soil-structure interaction is critically important for how tall buildings respond to earthquakes, but the variable is often neglected in building design because of high computational costs and physical testing constraints. 

“We intend to harness the massive parallelism of GPUs to overcome computational bottlenecks in structural simulations, specifically real-time hybrid simulations,” Simpson said.  

In hybrid simulations — a powerful tool for analyzing structural systems — physical tests are combined with numerical models. They’re typically applied to systems that are too large or complex to undergo conventional physical testing alone. 

“We can already do some hybrid simulations in real time,” Simpson said, “but for very complicated problems, like soil-structure interaction, it’s just not feasible from a computational standpoint. If your numerical model is slow, it’s difficult to couple experimental and numerical components in real time.” 

That’s where GPUs come in. As their name suggests, GPUs were originally designed for graphics rendering. But their ability to simultaneously execute numerous discrete calculations has proven valuable for a growing number of applications, including high-speed simulations. 

Simpson will be using GPUs in Oregon State’s NVIDIA DGX-2 computing cluster, as well as GPUs in the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

“By leveraging the computational power of GPUs,” Simpson said, “I want to reduce computational times from hours down to minutes and seconds and use this technology to support real-time hybrid models of very complex structural problems.”

March 7, 2022

Materials scientist spins sustainable products

Kenya Hazell working in the lab to develop polymer composites.

Since she began studying materials science as a graduate student at Oregon State University in 2015, Kenya Hazell, a GEM Fellow and recent environmental technology researcher and development intern at Corning, has sought to discover ways to sustainably create and apply polymer composites — unique materials with synergistic properties, formed by combining reinforcement materials with polymer matrices.

“Everything’s a polymer, even DNA,” Hazell said. “It’s hard to narrow down the field, because there are so many uses for composites. They’re in a ton of products you need for your everyday life, like your fridge, your desk, your car.”

Hazell was first turned on to the seemingly endless possibilities of polymer composites during a trio of internships — Garlock Sealing Technologies, UTC Aerospace Systems, and Clausthal University of Technology, in Germany — near the end of her time at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

“After those internships, I decided I wanted to delve more into that realm and go to grad school,” Hazell said. “I chose Oregon State, because there are so many possibilities, in terms of research geared toward sustainable engineering.”

As a master’s student at Oregon State, Hazell worked on projects involving wood composites and plant fibers, including an exploration of how hemp fibers can be modified to yield greater thermal sustainability during the manufacturing process.

“Can I make a more sustainable product? Can the manufacturing process be more sustainable? And an end goal is: How can we recycle this?” Hazell wondered.

Kenya Hazell

Now, Hazell’s doctoral research, which she conducts in the lab of Vincent Remcho, professor of chemistry, focuses on electrospinning as a way to produce nanoscale fibers for thermal applications. She primarily works with structural composites similar to those used in exteriors of products such as cars and aircraft.

Complementing Hazell’s research are her recent internships with Georgia-Pacific Chemicals in 2020 and with Corning in the summer of 2021. For her research and development role at Georgia-Pacific, which she began shortly before the pandemic, she helped design experiments to study the properties of resin as a composite material and assisted in studies of wood composites. Beyond her own research, Hazell liked that chemists and chemical engineers working in different labs were eager to tell her about their projects.

“If I didn’t have anything to do, I just walked over to another lab, and if they weren’t too busy, they would tell me everything. I learned a lot about how an R&D lab works,” she said.

A year later, at Corning’s headquarters in New York, Hazell performed research and development work in the company’s environmental technology unit, where she examined methods to characterize the real-life properties of a gel material. 

“That gave me a view of what a company invested more heavily in their research sector looks like,” Hazell said.

Hazell’s internship at Corning was connected to her GEM Fellowship, through which Oregon State and Corning provide funding for her Ph.D. studies. In addition to financial support, GEM offers professional networking, conferences, and career development, and many Fellows go on to secure jobs with their internship organizations. 

As for her postdoctoral future, Hazell looks forward to making an impact on the materials science industry’s sustainability practices.

“Not everyone wants to be forced to choose a material that’s not environmentally friendly,” Hazell said. “So, how can we make a product that’s competitive to this nonrenewable product? How can we provide more ways for people to make environmentally conscious decisions? I’m creating new options for people.”

Feb. 11, 2022

The softer side of electronics

Callen Votzke working on a robot.

Soft robots are made of pliant, supple materials, such as silicone. Some can squeeze through tiny spaces or travel over broken ground — tasks that stymie rigid robots. The field of soft robotics is still in the early stages of development, but it offers remarkable potential. One day soon, soft robots may be used in applications as diverse as searching collapsed buildings or as exosuits that facilitate recovery from injuries or strokes.
But soft robots need soft circuits that can bend and stretch with the devices they inhabit. “Regular circuit boards are too rigid,” said Callen Votzke, a doctoral candidate in robotics and electrical and computer engineering, and a graduate fellow with the Semiconductor Research Corporation. His research has been devoted largely to developing circuits for soft robots and other stretchable electronics. 

A crucial component of those circuits is liquid metal made of gallium, indium, and tin, mixed with nickel microparticles, whose consistency resembles that of toothpaste. It’s used to connect microchips or sensors to create fully functional circuits, all encapsulated in channels within the silicone. 

The possibilities seem endless. For example, stretchable electronics could be used in physical therapy. “Imagine a silicone exosuit that makes sure rehab patients are doing their exercises correctly, and even assists their movements,” Votzke said. “As the liquid metal wires stretch and contract with the exosuit, their electrical resistance changes, and that information can be used to measure motion.” Using an early prototype, Votzke successfully demonstrated the idea’s feasibility. 

He’s also made important progress toward the development of a soft robotic gripper, which will be studded with dozens of microprocessors and sensors, all networked with liquid metal connections. (Rigid microprocessors and sensors  are so small nowadays that many of them can be embedded in a soft robot without compromising mobility.) Ideally, it will use only tactile feedback for determining the position and shape of objects and for grasping. “That would be a huge improvement on many current grasping technologies, which rely a lot on visual input,” Votzke said.  

Votzke and his colleagues in the lab of Matthew Johnston, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, meet regularly with another group of Oregon State researchers, led by Joe Davidson, assistant professor of robotics, whose goal is to build robotic grippers capable of picking fruits and vegetables. “Replicating that action with robotics is extremely challenging, but we’re getting closer,” Votzke said. 

Votzke says he feels lucky to attend Oregon State University for his doctorate. “The faculty have given me a tremendous amount of latitude, but also welcome guidance, to explore this field and to build things that almost nobody else in the world is building,” he said. “And I’ve developed industry connections that have given me a sense of where I can fit in after I leave the university to further develop my work.” 

Feb. 11, 2022

A circuitous path leads student to create light-sensing technology

Debbie Chou working with electronics

Debbie Chou, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering at Oregon State University, is a researcher at heart. This is how she knew that Oregon State’s College of Engineering, where she also earned her master’s degree, was her ideal graduate milieu.

“I was studying at National Taiwan University for my undergrad and thinking of the U.S. for graduate school,” Chou said. “I was doing IC (integrated circuit) design, and Oregon State has a great electrical engineering program, especially in IC design. My undergrad professors shared scientific papers from some of the groups at OSU with us, so I knew there was important work being done at the university.”

Coming into her master’s program in 2019, Chou was interested solely in integrated circuits. However, she had the opportunity to make important advances in a recent graduate’s project, working on an optical sensor called a single-photon avalanche diode in the Sensors and Integrated Microelectronics Lab supervised by Matt Johnston, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Having learned a lot from this experience, she began to expand her areas of research interest.

“At first, I just focused on the IC design part, but because I had to get to know every facet of the project, I started to take courses about semiconductors and process integration. The core semiconductors course in our program, ECE 614, has been especially helpful,” Chou said.

Less than two years later, Chou placed third in the 2021 MWSCAS Best Student Paper contest for her work on the SPAD optical sensor. That same summer, she also completed a virtual internship with TDK-affiliated InvenSense, where she helped design analog circuits for motion sensors, such as gyroscope sensors found in smartphones. Just as she intended, Chou has learned to comfortably navigate the complex relationship between IC and semiconductors. 

“I’m now trying to explore the applications of my work,” she explained. “For example, think of HDR imaging. When your cellphone switches to HDR mode, it sees the bright and dark parts of images. I’m working on creating a wide dynamic range optical sensor similar to the HDR mode in cellphones, but this sensor is for biomedical experimental applications, where the targeted illuminance is lower and fluorescence detection needs to be better.”

In terms of eventual career goals, Chou, who has just begun her doctorate, will remain flexible and open to any research-related opportunities. Being flexible and proactively participating in class is also her advice for future College of Engineering graduates with similar goals.  

“My courses at OSU have given me a lot of experience in designing, improving my skills, and working in the lab. The professors are very helpful; we all cooperate together,” Chou said.

Feb. 11, 2022

More from less

Soumya Bose standing next to his research presentation board.

At Intel Labs in Hillsboro, research scientist Soumya Bose, Ph.D. electrical and computer engineering ’19, develops circuits to speed up optical data communications while reducing the amount of power they need. 

Optical links are already capable of quickly moving enormous quantities of data within and between computer networks. But still faster links will be needed to handle the world’s incessant demand to move and process data. Higher speeds, though, come at the cost of greater energy consumption, which quickly adds up in the hundreds of giant data centers around the world. 

“The high-speed, power-efficient optical links of the future will enable higher data transfer and computing capacities per unit of energy,” Bose said. “Among other things, this will enable advanced data training and analysis capabilities in applications such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.” 

For example, new machine learning methods designed to process large datasets of neural recordings could revolutionize neuroscience by providing new insights into the workings of the human brain.

High-speed optical data links are widely used for transmitting data between servers. But within servers themselves, data transmission is predominantly done electrically. At higher data rates, electrical links are less energy-efficient and more prone to errors. 

“My work, and our research at Intel Labs, focuses on bringing optical communication closer to the processor itself,” Bose said. He added that converting to optical communications at the level of computer circuit boards and chips will result in faster, more accurate data transfers between core processors and peripheral storage devices. 

Bose’s doctoral work included building energy-efficient circuits that enable portable biomedical sensing devices to operate on minuscule amounts of power generated by converting body heat into electricity. 

“The voltage from the transducers ranges from tens of millivolts to a few hundred millivolts, which is not enough to power an integrated circuit,” Bose said. “The fundamental challenge was to run semiconductors at a very low input voltage.” Bose’s solution was a new circuit architecture that started operating with only 50 millivolts. It then amplified the voltage enough to sustain long-term operation. 

Bose is the lead inventor on a patent for technology related to ultra-low-voltage circuits, as well as on a patent application for a wearable, batteryless heartbeat monitor designed to continuously gather data about a patient’s heart health. These patents also include College of Engineering faculty Matthew Johnston, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Tejasvi Anand, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. 

According to Bose, Oregon State University was an excellent training ground. 

“Doing my doctoral work at the College of Engineering really helped me get to where I am now,” Bose said. “It’s a vibrant program where I had an opportunity to meet leaders in the field of circuit design, and I was able to work alongside great researchers on high-impact work.” 


Feb. 9, 2022
Associated Researcher

Intel engineer adapts computational chemistry skills learned at Oregon State

A picture of Kingsley Chukwu looking at a piece of machinery.

After obtaining his Ph.D. from Oregon State University’s College of Engineering in 2021, Kingsley Chukwu has transitioned to a successful career as an electronic design automation tools software engineer at Intel. However, Chukwu is not your typical software engineer; while he has a minor in computer science, his degree is in chemical engineering with a focus on computational chemistry.

“I use computer quantum software to understand how atoms and molecules will behave on catalyst surfaces,” Chukwu said. 

Chukwu’s doctoral research, a National Science Foundation-funded project, was conducted in the lab of Líney Árnadóttir, associate professor of chemical engineering. He implemented computational methods to better grasp how water and other solvents affect the selectivity and rate of acetic acid-based chemical reactions on palladium and platinum surfaces.

Notably, Intel is famous for manufacturing semiconductors, not catalysts. Even though Chukwu’s research was not directly related, the company understood that his training and perspective as a chemical engineer would be invaluable. 

“It is challenging for experimentalists to understand the mechanisms underlying chemical reactions on catalyst surfaces, because most of the time they can only observe the products or some intermediates,” Chukwu said. “As a computational chemist, I fundamentally understand the mechanisms behind these chemical reactions on catalyst surfaces, so we can design a catalyst system to get a certain product.”

Chukwu conceptualizes his team at Intel as “gatekeepers.” They are responsible for verifying the design of products in the final stages before they are manufactured.  

“I write software for physical design verification of chips or microprocessors before they go to the foundry, mostly making sure that spaces between wires or the geometry in the design matches the design specifications before manufacturing,” Chukwu said.

Chukwu says a combination of transferable and technical skills he honed at Oregon State — problem-solving, critical thinking, project management, and good old Beaver grit — prepared him to excel at Intel. His proficiency with the Linux operating system and the programming skills he developed as a doctoral student writing scripts in Python and C++ have benefited him. He specifically recalls a VLSI system design course with Houssam Abbas, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“That class gave me the confidence that I can work in a place where I can design chips or verify chips using computer-aided designs,” he said.

As future College of Engineering graduates prepare to join Chukwu at Intel, he recommends they continuously strive to improve their programming skills and take courses to boost proficiency in the use of CAD tools for chip design. This will increase their employability, he says, reflecting on his own experiences in the college:

“They offered me all the opportunities that allow me to do what I’m supposed to do here.”

Feb. 7, 2022

Lidar-based building information models

A visualization of Lidar techonology for seeing the structure of buildings.

Oregon State researchers, led by Yelda Turkan, assistant professor of civil and construction engineering, are using deep learning algorithms to discover better, faster way for architects and engineers to design, construct and manage buildings.

Turkan and her colleagues in construction, geomatics, and computer science have been developing building information models, or BIMs, from lidar data. Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing method that collects detailed 3D measurements of the built environment. But it is prohibitively expensive to manually convert that data into useful, digital information models. 

“Our team is turning lidar data into BIMs by automating the tedious and time-consuming manual work required to develop and maintain a BIM,” said Yelda Turkan, the project’s lead principal investigator. “We are doing this with deep learning algorithms to process the lidar data. Modelers – the people who convert lidar data into BIMs – will be able to model buildings within hours instead of weeks and thus transform how the built environment is managed and maintained.”

BIMs are used to create and document building and infrastructure designs. Each detail of a building comprises a model used to explore design options and to create visualizations that help people understand what a building will look like before it’s constructed. The model is also used to generate the design documentation needed for the construction process.

BIMs are also used for managing existing buildings, facilities, and infrastructure. This can be more challenging than using BIM for design because what exists in the real world, including imperfections, must be captured and modeled.

The team’s AI-based algorithms automatically segment, classify, and extract real-world features to create intelligent models for building design, energy management, renovation, and emergency planning.

The end product of the OSU team’s work will be a combination of a database and a deep learning framework that accelerates the creation of BIMs from lidar data, Turkan said.

The project is part of a National Science Foundation effort called the Convergence Accelerator program that seeks to drive transformative research in artificial intelligence and quantum technology. Following a successful phase one development period, NSF has awarded Turkan and her collaborators a two-year phase two grant worth $5 million to continue the work. College of Engineering collaborators include Rakesh Bobba, associate professor of electrical engineering, Fuxin Li, associate professor of computer science, and Mike Olsen, professor of geomatics.

Dec. 30, 2021
Associated Researcher
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