CEEatGT Update: September 2018

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Tradition, extendedThe School of Civil and Environmental Engineering's undergrad civil program is No. 2 in the nation and environmental is No. 4, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2019 survey (graphic includes photo of the Ramblin' Reck).
The latest rankings of engineering schools from U.S. News and World Report extended a historic streak of excellence for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The civil engineering undergraduate program, at No. 2, has been a top-five program for the entire 21st century. And at No. 4, the environmental engineering bachelor’s has been a top-10 program since its inception a decade ago.

Exascale computingAn illustration depicting chemical catalysis on surfaces and nanostructures. A new $2.8 million study led by School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Phanish Suryanarayana will harness the power of future supercomputers to understand the interactions that take place in these kinds of chemical reactions. (Image Courtesy: Andrew Medford)

Associate Professor Phanish Suryanarayana is leading a team on a new U.S. Department of Energy-funded project to study the interactions of atoms using quantum mechanics. Building on computer code his team has developed, the algorithms they design will make use of new supercomputers coming online in the next few years that will be capable of one quintillion calculations per second, harnessing all of that power to understand chemical systems that include up to 10 million atoms. Current state-of-the-art algorithms can handle systems in the range of about 1,000 atoms.

Water for energyPower poles stretch into a bright sun with mist hovering just above the ground.

The precise amount of water we withdraw from the environment to produce energy has never been quantified — until now. Emily Grubert, who joins the School as an assistant professor in January, led a study that finally came up with a number: 10 percent of all water withdrawals. That's quite a lot, she said, considering that agriculture uses 70 percent to 80 percent of water. The analysis was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
PODCAST: Who Needs a Mentor? (You Do!)

PerseverancePh.D. student and Sandia National Labs intern Rebecca Nylen kneels next to blasted steel cylinders, some of her handy work as a computational shock physicist. (Photo: Randy Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories)

Ph.D. student Rebecca Nylen has been working as an intern at Sandia National Labs for two summers — despite a broken ankle, no security clearance, and little familiarity initially with her group’s work. But she has persevered, and she’s already planning a third summer at the lab, where she’s helping to refine the accuracy of computer simulations of damaging blasts.

40 Under 40Amanda Wall Vandegrift, BSCE 2012, MSCE 2013, one of Mass Transit magazine's Top 40 Under 40 for 2018. (Photo Courtesy: InfraStrategies LLC)

She calls herself a “transponerd.” Mass Transit magazine says she’s one of the top 40 transportation professionals in the nation under 40. Amanda Wall Vandegrift works in transportation funding and finance, spending her career at big firms like WSP and HDR before recently becoming a senior consultant at a new firm, InfraStrategies.

Srinivas Peeta, the Frederick R. Dickerson Chair in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. (Photo: Luke Xinjing Xu)

Reinventing transit Srinivas Peeta joined transportation ministers and industry leaders in tech and transportation at a two-day summit in India this month to create game-changing approaches to transportation. Peeta, the Frederick R. Dickerson Chair, was the featured speaker and panelist for discussions on reinventing public transportation. He focused on transit’s role in quality of life, livability and sustainability.

Professor Kostas Konstantinidis, who will attend the 2018 Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering and Medicine at the invitation of the National Academy of Science. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)

Frontiers Professor Kostas Konstantinidis will mull over big data, the microbiome, air quality, and next-generation buildings and infrastructure with some of the brightest young scientists and engineers in the United States and the Arab world this fall. He's attending the invitation-only Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering and Medicine symposium, which gathers top young leaders in those fields for three days of conversation and collaboration.

Graduate student Cynthia Lee, left, and Assistant Professor Iris Tien with their first-place infrastructure paper aware at Resilience Week 2018. (Photo Courtesy: Iris Tien)

Resilience Two Georgia Tech researchers have won the first-place paper award in infrastructure at Resilience Week 2018 for their work using a variety of data sources to better understand and design infrastructure systems. It’s the second consecutive year that Assistant Professor Iris Tien and one of her students have won a top paper award at the conference.