Professor Claudia Marin to Lead NSF Convergence Accelerator Team

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Claudia Marin, Ph.D., P.E. is leading a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Convergence Accelerator team to develop an Intelligent Surveillance Platform for Damage Detection and Localization of Civil Infrastructure. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Dr. Marin a $760,000 grant over nine months for Phase I of a two-phased project through the NSF Convergence Accelerator program which is a highly competitive program designed to leverage a convergence approach to transition basic research and discovery into practice. Howard University is the institutional lead in collaboration with the University of Kentucky, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Architecture Professor Bradford Grant will be contributing to the research alongside Dr. Marin.

“Many simple structures range from transmission and communication towers, residential and office buildings, solar structures, chimneys, and even trees; that can fail under earthquakes and strong wind and cause tremendous disruption. The envisioned damage assessment platform will provide data to timely inform decision-makers on possible damage, then actions can be taken to prevent and/or mitigate the impact of those failures,” said Dr. Marin.

The NSF Convergence Accelerator program supports use-inspired, team-based, multidisciplinary strategies that address challenges of national importance and will produce deliverables of value to society at an accelerated pace. The deliverables of this project have the potential to reduce the societal and economic impact of aging, deterioration, and extreme events on civil infrastructure by facilitating widespread monitoring and condition assessment of constructed structures. The development of accurate, field-calibrated damage detection tools is needed to reduce the theory-to-practice gap. In turn, this project will promote the wellbeing of the community by reducing the societal and economic impact of aging, deterioration, and extreme events on civil infrastructure.

“This project will provide leading predictive measures to better insure the health and longevity of our buildings and city's infrastructures. Working with our diverse team also highlights the importance and advantage of interdisciplinary and collaborative research,” said Professor Bradford Grant.

This project will integrate advances in Machine Learning (ML) and pattern recognition disciplines with physics-based reasoning to develop a novel, accurate, field-calibrated and verified computational platform for in-situ monitoring of civil infrastructure. The result of this project is an intelligent computational platform consisting of data and algorithms for video-based damage detection and monitoring of civil engineering structures. Monitoring the health of civil infrastructure to allow prioritization of maintenance and replacement is of great social importance. Phase I will focus on the selection of the benchmark structures, collection of data, and the development of a prototype of the platform, which will be field calibrated in Phase II. Selected teams from Phase I will proceed to Phase II, with potential funding up to $5M for 24 months.

“Dr. Marin and her multi-institutional research team are in the vanguard on matters of vital national and global infrastructure concerns. We are extremely grateful for her research coupled with the NSF support,” said Bruce Jones, Ph.D., Professor and Vice President for Research.

(Pictured: Dr. Claudia Marin [left] and Professor Grant [right])


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