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Office: 158 Fitzpatrick Hall
Summary of Activities/Interests
In recent decades increased urbanization and mass migrations towards cities have contributed to population shifts and infrastructure growth –leading in extreme cases to the formation of megacities– in some of the world’s most hazard-prone areas. The inevitable result is particularly large life and economic loss potential, something that has unfortunately been confirmed far too often by the thousands of lives lost and communities devastated in recent events like hurricanes Katrina and Ike and earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand and Japan. Unfortunately, accurate assessment and mitigation of risk in such complex environments are non-trivial to achieve using traditional approaches. Even in the absence of extreme events, maintenance of our aging infrastructure network is emerging as another critical engineering challenge. Although Civil Infrastructure is second only to the health care industry in annual expenditures in the United States, it does not efficiently implement similar advanced diagnostic and decision support tools. While embedded sensors for continuous monitoring of bridges could help to deliver the data necessary for diagnostic and prognostic efforts, a rational and consistent framework that can use the vast assimilated data to guide the decisions about optimalinfrastructure maintenance has yet to be delivered. These threats posed by natural hazards and aging civil infrastructure are acknowledged as grand challenges of the 21st Century by both the National Academy of Engineering and American Society of Civil Engineers, as they have the potential to undermine the most fundamental pillar of our society. As such, Civil Engineers have a great opportunity and an even greater responsibility to provide innovative solutions to these problems, for both the developed and developing world, and simultaneously prepare and motivate the next generation of engineers to continue on this path.
Motivated by this, the research, teaching and outreach of Dr. Taflanidis is an integrated effort to counter these threats, related to natural hazard risk assessment and mitigation and optimal infrastructure maintenance, through the implementation of advanced probabilistic methodologies, simulation-based engineering science, cyber-collaborations, and a variety of knowledge diffusion mechanisms and venues, including outreach in Haiti. In parallel the research of his group (HIPAD laboratory at Notre Dame) extends to the probabilistic analysis and design of any engineering system warranted to exhibit higher performance, i.e. optimal life-cycle cost/benefit, maximum reliability, or minimal downtime, under regular operation and/or extreme loading conditions (for example optimization of offshore wind turbines and offshore energy conversion devices). Uncertainties related to the characteristics of these systems and their operational environment significantly impact their performance and ultimately their optimal design.
The work of' the HIPAD lab also addresses the probabilistic quantification of model uncertainties but primarily focuses on efficient computational methodologies for the propagation of these uncertainties to calculate the system probabilistic performance (for example, risk assessment), for optimization of that performance (for example, risk mitigation) or for updating it when additional knowledge becomes available through monitoring data (for example infrastructure condition assessment through health monitoring implementation). The HIPAD laboratory is equipped with Pershephone, a high-performance cluster (forty two nodes, each with eight Nehalem computational cores), Prometheus, a 1792 CUDA core GPU perosnal supercomputer, and a variety of tools for structural and stochastic simulation/optimization. This provides HIPAD great opportunities to investigate applications of simulation-based science to efficiently and accurately address modeling uncertainties in natural hazard risk mitigation, infrastructure condition assessment, and in the analysis and design of complex engineering systems. The group additionally addresses the development of automated assessment tools for knowledge dissemination and for allowing non-technical end-users to leverage the full potential of the established research advancements.
Current research projects include development of advanced stochastic simulation techniques for probabilistic assessment and sensitivity analysis, implementation of surrogate modeling in stochastic analysis, development of novel tools for optimization under uncertainty problems and investigation of high-performance computing applications in probabilistic mechanics. The applications examined focus primarily on natural hazard risk assessment and mitigation with emphasis on earthquake and hurricane hazards. The relevant problems currently investigated extend to protection of base-isolated structures against near-field ground motions, life-cycle cost estimation and optimization for civil engineering structures, protection of critical isolated building contents, selection of ground-motion models for efficient description of seismic hazard and real-time estimation of hurricane surge and wave risk. Applications related to large-scale optimization of grids of offshore turbnes or wave-energy conversion devices and to development of an automated decision support system for optimal monitoring and maintenance of infrastructure systems, are also currently examined.
For furhter details on research interests, specializations and current projects please visit the HIPAD lab website http://hipad.nd.edu
Outreach in Haiti
Two years after the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, despite the millions of dollars pledged through foreign aid and well-intended efforts of the international community, the sad reality is that the majority of the families displaced due to the earthquake [over 600,000 Haitians] are still waiting in transitory shelters, without a clear roadmap towards safe permanent housing they will be able to call “home”. While many agree that sustainable redevelopment and self-reliance is essential for Haiti, few appreciate how it can be practically achieved, particularly in the domain of urban residential redevelopment. As the poorest Western nation with the highest import taxes and severe deforestation, construction practices cannot rely on the many engineered materials that are required in traditional code-compliant designs used in other seismically active regions and even other parts of the developing world due to the lack of affordable local inventory. The pre-existing lack of education, codification and oversight to regulate the construction processes adds to such challenges. Dr. Taflanidis has made four trips to Haiti post quake and is co-founder and integral member of Engineering2Empower, which is committed to provide an affordable, sustainable, safe housing solution for the bottom of the economic pyramid Haitian families. Visit http://Engineering2Empower.org to learn more
Ph.D. 2007: California Institute of Technology—Civil Engineering with Minor in Control and Dynamical Systems.
M.S. 2003: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki—Civil and Environmental Engineering; Master’s program on “Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures”.
B.S. 2002: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki—Civil and Environmental Engineering. Major on Structural Engineering.
Alexandros Taflanidis received his diploma in Civil Engineering with a major in Structural Engineering from the Civil Engineering Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2002. He completed the master's program "Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures" in 2003 in the same department. He received his Ph.D. in 2008 in Civil Engineering with a minor in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology. Subsequently he conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University. He joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame in 2008. Dr. Taflanidis currently oversees the operation of the High Performance system Analysis and Design (HIPAD) laboratory. He is also part of the University of Notre Dame team (Engineering2Empower) that is committed to scholarship and service for Haiti following the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
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Awards and Distinctions
Best Young Researcher Paper award in the 1st International Conference on Soft Computing Technology in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, 2009, Madeira, Portugal, for the paper "Stochastic Subset Optimization with Response Surface Approximations for Stochastic Design" by A.A. Taflanidis.
Award for academic excellence in entire Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2000-2001 by International Rotary Society of Thessaloniki
Technical Chamber of Greece – Award for academic excellence in each year of undergraduate studies (1997-2002) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Ministry of Education of Greece and Greek Math Foundation – Awards (one from each) for excellence in Greek national placement exams (1997) for admittance to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Kijewski-Correa, K. and A.A. Taflanidis (2012). “The Haitian housing dilemma: Can sustainability and hazard-resilience be achieved?”. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, 10.1007/s10518-011-9330-y.
Taflanidis, A.A., and S.-H. Cheung (2012). “Stochastic sampling using moving least squares response surface methodologies”. Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics, 10.1016/j.probengmech.2011.07.003.
Taflanidis, A.A (2012). “Stochastic Subset Optimization incorporating moving least squares response surface methodologies for stochastic sampling”. Advances in Engineering Software, 44: 3-14.
Taflanidis, A.A (2011). “Optimal probabilistic design of seismic-dampers for protection of isolated bridges against near-fault seismic excitations”. Engineering Structures, 33 (12): 3496–3508.
Mix, D., Kijewski-Correa, T. and A.A. Taflanidis (2011). “Assessment of Residential Housing in Léogâne, Haiti after the January 2010 Earthquake and Identification of Needs for Rebuilding”. Earthquake Spectra, 27 (S1): S299–S322.
Taflanidis, A.A., and G. Jia (2011). “A simulation-based framework for risk assessment and probabilistic sensitivity analysis of base-isolated structures”. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 40: 1629–1651.
Taflanidis, A.A., Scruggs, J.T, and J.L. Beck (2010). “Robust stochastic design of linear controlled systems for performance optimization”. Journal of Dynamic Systems Measurement and Control ASME, 132 (5): 051008.
Taflanidis, A.A. and J.T Scruggs (2010). “Performance measures and optimal design of linear structural systems under stochastic stationary excitation”. Structural Safety, 32(5): 305-315.
Taflanidis, A.A. (2010). “Reliability-based optimal design of linear dynamical systems under stochastic stationary excitation and model uncertainty”. Engineering Structures, 32 (5): 1446-1458.