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The Engineering Institute: A Collaborative Graduate Education And Research Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

New Trends in Engineering Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1422.1 - 12.1422.11



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Paper Authors


Charles Farrar Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Chuck Farrar has 25 years experience as a technical staff member, project leader, and team leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory. While at Los Alamos, he earned a Ph. D. in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico in 1988. He is currently working jointly with engineering faculty at University of California, San Diego to develop the Los Alamos/UCSD Engineering Institute with a research focus on Damage Prognosis. This initiative is also developing a formal, degree-granting educational program in the closely related areas of validated simulations and structural health monitoring.

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Michael Todd University of California-San Diego

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Michael Todd received his B.S.E. (1992), M.S. (1993), and Ph.D. (1996) degrees from Duke University's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. From 1996-2003 he served as Research Engineer and later Section Head of the Fiber Optic Smart Structures Section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. In 2003, he joined the faculty of the Department of Structural Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he currently serves as Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Engineering Institute. He conducts research in structural health monitoring strategies, nonlinear time series modeling applications, and fiber optic measurement systems.

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Phillip Cornwell Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Phillip Cornwell is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1989 and his present interests include structural dynamics, structural health monitoring, and undergraduate engineering education. Dr. Cornwell has received an SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in 1992, and the Dean’s Outstanding Teacher award at Rose-Hulman in 2000.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Engineering Institute – A Collaborative Graduate Education and Research Program


Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have taken the unprecedented step of creating a collaborative, multi-disciplinary graduate education program and associated research agenda called the Engineering Institute. The technology thrust of the Engineering Institute is damage prognosis, a multidisciplinary engineering science concerned with assessing the current condition and predicting the remaining life of a wide variety of structural systems. The mission of the Engineering Institute is to develop a comprehensive approach for conducting LANL mission-driven, multidisciplinary engineering research and to improve recruiting, revitalization and retention of the current and future staff necessary to support LANL’s nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship responsibilities. The components of the Engineering Institute to be discussed in this paper are 1) the Los Alamos Dynamic Summer School (LADSS), 2) a joint LANL/UCSD degree program with a unique focus in validated simulations, structural health monitoring, and damage prognosis, 3) joint LANL/UCSD research projects, and 4) industry short courses. This program is a possible model for future industry/government interactions with university partners.


Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) contributes to national security by ensuring the safely and reliability of the US nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and by solving problems related to energy, environment, heath, infrastructure and national security. The newly formed Los Alamos Institutes represent a substantial LANL investment dedicated to developing the next generation of scientists and engineers, revitalizing current LANL technical staff and retaining these staff. These Institutes are collaborative efforts with university partners and represent a significant investment of money. When these Institutes are viewed in conjunction with LANL’s wide range of existing critical skills development programs that address K-12, undergraduate and graduate student development, it is evident that LANL has been a leading innovator in addressing technical work force development issues for many years.

These Institutes also directly address US economic competitiveness issues raised in the National Academy of Science’s recent Rising Above the Gathering Storm report1. These Institutes are LANL’s attempt to take an even more aggressive approach than suggested in this report by working with its university partners to not only increase the number and quality of technical graduates and educators, but to also develop new multidisciplinary curricula based on LANL’s strategic technical needs. If the US is to maintain its technology lead, it will not only need more scientist and engineers, but it will also need to train them in evolving curricula that are at the forefront of emerging technology. The new and unique aspect of critical skills development that distinguishes these Institutes from the numerous Centers at LANL and other Department of Energy (DOE) labs is the emphasis on working with the university partners to develop and

Farrar, C., & Todd, M., & Cornwell, P. (2007, June), The Engineering Institute: A Collaborative Graduate Education And Research Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1484

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