National Academy of Engineering Selects Two Georgia Tech Professors to Attend Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Two Georgia Tech professors are among 84 of the nation's top young engineers selected by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to take part in its annual Frontiers of Engineering symposium, which brings together engineers age 30 to 45 who are performing leading engineering research and technical work.
Gregory D. Abowd, an associate professor in the College of Computing, and Fotis Sotiropoulos, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will take part in the three-day event to be held Sept. 19-21.
The participants - from industry, academia, and government - were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations and were chosen from a field of nearly 150 applicants.

"Frontiers of Engineering is a unique opportunity for outstanding young engineers from a variety of disciplines to meet one another and discuss cutting-edge topics in the field," said NAE President Wm. A. Wulf. "This symposium brings together talented individuals who represent the future leaders in engineering."

Sotiropoulos' research focuses on the development of computational methods for simulating complex flows and the application of these methods to solve fluid mechanics problems encountered in a wide range of engineering applications. He has made novel research contributions in a diverse and multi-disciplinary range of topics in hydraulic engineering, environmental fluid mechanics, mechanical and biomedical engineering, ship hydrodynamics, and the application of chaos theory and non-linear dynamics to the study of fluid mixing.

Sotiropoulos has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to develop advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods for simulating bridge foundation scour in natural rivers. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Hydroturbine Program, he is also developing CFD techniques for predicting turbulent flows in hydropower installations in order to assess and minimize the impact of turbulence on the aquatic ecosystem.

Sotiropoulos is currently serving as an associate editor for the ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering.

"I am honored to be invited to participate in such a high-level forum for shaping the national engineering research agenda, especially because this year CFD is prominently featured among the symposium topics," Sotiropoulos said. "I am looking forward to broadening my own research horizons by interacting and exchanging ideas with such a talented group of colleagues."

The second participant from Georgia Tech, Abowd is known for his innovative research projects. From Classroom 2000, (later re-named eClass) to the Aware Home Research Initiative (AHRI), both sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Abowd has led some exciting projects using available technology in new ways to improve people's lives.

His research interests lie in the intersection between Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction, specifically ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) and the research issues involved in building and evaluating ubicomp applications that impact everyday lives.

His eClass project uses technology to free students from the laborious task of trying to capture every word of a lecture and allows them to participate more in classroom discussion. The lectures are captured on audio, video and in writing, and students can access and review the notes later via the Web.

"I am particularly excited by this opportunity to catch up on some of the important advances in engineering and to reflect on what grand challenges remain," Abowd said. "This year's symposium will focus on quantum computing and human factors engineering, among other topics, and I am honored to be considered a relevant contributor to these discussions."

As director of AHRI, Abowd has shepherded a number of innovative projects in this multi-disciplinary research program focused on developing applications and technologies in a home environment that perceives and assists the occupants. Most of this research takes place in the Broadband Institute Residential Laboratory (BIRL) on Tenth Street -- a lab equipped with the latest in broadband networking and sensing technologies that looks like a house.

The Frontiers of Engineering symposium will be held at the National Academies' Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif., and will explore topics in chemical engineering, human factors engineering, nuclear energy, and quantum information technology. Andrew Viterbi, president of Viterbi Group and co-founder of Qualcomm, will be a featured speaker.

Frontiers of Engineering is funded by the National Academy of Engineering and government and corporate sponsors. This year's sponsors are the U.S. Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Microsoft Corp., Ford Motor Co., IBM Corp., and Cummins Engine Co.