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Multidisciplinary Research Efforts in Post-Earthquake Civil Infrastructure Reconnaissance

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engaging Faculty Across Disciplines, Colleges, and Institutions

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jack Bergquist California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jack Bergquist is a undergraduate student at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo with a major in architectural engineering and minor in Italian. He has formally been engaged in earthquake engineering and reconnaissance research for the past year, and has a specific interest in the seismic performance of historic and vernacular structures. After graduation, he plans to continue working in this field as a structural engineer for a non-profit organization focusing on building development and disaster recovery in developing countries.

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Anahid Behrouzi California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Anahid Behrouzi is an assistant professor of architectural engineering at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. She has been involved with STEM education beginning in 2003 as a volunteer and summer instructor with the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science. She has been engaged with undergraduate/graduate course delivery in the topic areas of engineering problem-solving, structural engineering, and reinforced concrete design at North Carolina State University (2008-2011), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2012-2015), Tufts University (2015-2016), and Cal Poly - SLO (2016-present). She has a BS in civil engineering and BA in Spanish language & literature from North Carolina State University, and a MS/PhD in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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To address existing challenges with filtering and classification of post-earthquake structural damage images, the authors are engaged in a multidisciplinary project to develop and train a machine-learning algorithm that identifies relevant photographs and assigns damage tags to those images. The research team is predominantly comprised of undergraduate students and is led by a structural engineering and a computer science faculty. While machine-learning algorithms have been successfully used for image tagging in a variety of fields (health care, manufacturing, etc.), the extension of this approach for earthquake reconnaissance is only just beginning. As such, the creation and development of this tool is a new and dynamic project-based learning experience for both the students and faculty involved.

This collaborative project emphasizes student initiative and innovation where they are active in all development stages of the tool ranging from collection and tagging of earthquake damage images, coding and testing the machine-learning algorithm, to writing papers for and presenting at conferences. In addition, the unique nature of this project exposes students to a field and possible career path they may not have encountered in their typical course of study. The authors provide a comprehensive discussion of the results of faculty and student surveys/ interviews and conclude by highlighting some of the greatest benefits of the multidisciplinary project. They also point out lessons learned engaging in a project with a large scope, diverse experts (who have limited knowledge of the partnering disciplines), and a number of undergraduate students who began as novices in their respective research area.

Bergquist, J., & Behrouzi, A. (2018, June), Multidisciplinary Research Efforts in Post-Earthquake Civil Infrastructure Reconnaissance Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30830

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