Thursday, 20 November 2014

SUSI 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

SUSI 2014
The 13th International Conference on Structures Under Shock and Impact (SUSI) took place in the New Forest, organised by the University of Liverpool and the Wessex Institute. The meeting was sponsored by the International Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements and the International Journal of Safety and Security Engineering.

The Honorary Chairman was Prof Norman Jones, Member of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Emeritus Professor of the University of Liverpool. The Chairmen were Prof Carlos A Brebbia, from the Wessex Institute, and Dr Graham Schleyer, from the University of Liverpool.

The conference started in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989 and since then has been successfully held in other interesting locations around the world.

The increasing need to protection civilian infrastructure and industrial facilities against unintentional loads arising from accidental impact and explosive events, as well as terrorist attacks is reflected in the sustained interest in this SUSI meeting over nearly three decades. While advances have been made over this period, nevertheless many challenges remain such as to develop more effective and efficient blast and impact mitigation approaches than currently exist. The primary focus remains survivability of physical facilities and the protection of people as well as reducing economic losses and impact on the environment with emphasis on innovative practical technologies to support the needs of an economically growing modern society. The application of this technology ranges from transportation of dangerous and combustible materials to defence against natural hazards, such as flood, wind, storm, tsunami and earthquake.

Large scale testing is prohibitive and small scale testing results in scaling uncertainties. Continuing research is therefore essential to improve knowledge on how these structures behave under a variety of local actions, some of which interact making it even more complex and difficult to define. Consequently, more use of advanced numerical simulations for load and structural response calculations is common practice in industry and research. Such calculations can be used in design and risk assessment calculations but also be applied as impact to more simplified design tools and design works. Whether manual or analytical techniques are employed, experimental validation is vital for the acceptance of the approach to be used.

The SUSI meeting over the years has fulfilled many objectives, not least to provide a forum for exchange of research ideas and results to promote a better understanding of these critical issues relating to the testing, behaviour, modelling and analyses of protective structures against blast and impact loading.

 

 Opening of the Conference

The Conference was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who welcomed the delegates to the New Forest and explained the aims of Wessex Institute as a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge at international level. WIT – Carlos explained – has developed novel computational techniques based on the boundary element method which have important applications in engineering practice. The Institute at present carries out research and development in the field of petroleum engineering, aerospace and others.

The strength of the Institute – Carlos said – is based on its vast network of academic and industrial contacts around the world.

The Conference programme is an essential part of WIT research and continues to attract delegates from all over the world. It is also closely linked to the operation of WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute, which not only publishes conference proceedings but a substantial number of other books and a series of international journals.

The SUSI 2014 book, for instance, is part of the WIT Transactions on the Built Environment and widely distributed throughout the world in hard cover and digital formats. In addition, the papers are archived online in the WIT eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/), where they are permanently available to the international scientific community.

Carlos ended his remarks by welcoming the delegates once more and thanking them for their support of the WIT conference programme.

 Keynote Address

The keynote speaker was Prof Norman Jones, who gave a presentation on “The credibility of predictions for structural designs subjected to large dynamic loadings causing inelastic behaviour”. The talk based, on his considerable research and industrial experience, described the main drawbacks of accepting experimental or numerical results without a critical approach.

 Invited Presentations

There were a series of other invited presentations delivered by well-known colleagues:

  • “Impact loading of stepped circular plates”, by Jaan Lellep, University of Tartu, Estonia.
  • “Numerical evaluation of the performance of two-way RC panels under blast loads”, by Mohamed Abdel-Mooty, The American University of Cairo, Egypt.
  • “Hydrodynamic ram analysis of aircraft fuel tanks with different composite T-joint designs”, by Sebastian Heimbs, European Airbus Group, Germany.
  • “Impact resistance of pre-damaged ultra-high performance fibre-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) slabs”, by Graham Schleyer, University of Liverpool, UK.
  • “Soft retention in height fall safety devices”, by Ramon Irles, University of Alicante, Spain.

 

 Conference Sessions

The conference presentations were arranged in the following sessions:

  • Impact and blast loading
  • Response of buildings to blast
  • Computational and experimental results
  • Dynamic analysis of composite structures
  • Energy absorption
  • Seismic behaviour

 

 Social Occasions

The delegates were taken to Lymington during the lunch break of the first day of the conference. Lymington is now a charming town well know for sailing. Historically it was an important New Forest port renowned as much for its smuggling activities as the legal trading taking place there. It has since ancient times held a Saturday market along its High Street, one of the best known in the area. The delegates were given a walking tour of the main sights of the town, pointing out its association with the Civil War, the refuge given there to royalist troops following the French Revolution and its industrial past, which includes not only the manufacture of sea salt but also important mechanical engineering works which made a contribution during the two World Wars.

There was a joint meeting of the International Scientific Advisory Committee and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements. During the first part the conference topics and objectives were discussed and nominations were put forward for new Committee members. The second part of the meeting discussed the aims and coverage of the Journal and the possibility of appointing new editorial Board members. The meeting took place over dinner at a local restaurant renowned for the quality of its cuisine and wines.

The Conference banquet took place in the unique setting of the Rhinefield House, an impressive Manor House in the New Forest, now converted into a luxury hotel.

The guests were able to see some of the main rooms in the building, including the entrance hall with its hammerbeam roof and its ancient fireplace - the only remainder of the old hunting lodge; the panelled dining-room with its wood carving of the battle of Trafalgar, and the Moorish room, built in a style reminiscent of the Alhambra.

The house built in 1890 by the Munro-Walker family resembles a ScottishCastle from the outside but its rooms combine a wide variety of styles. It is surrounded by a most beautiful English garden with its ponds, maze, grass amphitheatre and many interesting shrubs and trees. Carlos explained to the delegates the history of Rhinefield House and the Munro-Walker family and thanked them for supporting the meeting.

The menu consisted of lamb, for which Hampshire is renowned, accompanied by excellent wines. The evening was most enjoyable and the delegates appreciated the occasion to see different parts of the venue.

The delegates were invited to a lunch time BBQ in the Campus of Wessex Institute where they had the opportunity of seeing the work carried out at the Institute and visit some of the premises. The BBQ provided an occasion of getting to know each other in a relaxed setting. The weather – up to then unstable - was sunny and warm for the occasion.

 Closing of the Conference

The Conference was closed by Carlos and Graham, the latter making a few remarks about the success of the meeting and confirming that the conference will be reconvened in 2016 in a location and at a time to be decided shortly.

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings SUSI 2014 – Structures Under Shock and Impact XIII, 512pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-796-4; eISBN: 978-1-84564-797-1) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 141 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 Related Conferences

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Urban Transport 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Urban Transport 2014
The 20th International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment took place in The Algarve, organised by the Wessex Institute, represented by the Conference Chairman, Prof Carlos A Brebbia.

The meeting which started 20 years ago in Southampton continues to attract delegates from all over the world and is well established as the premier event of its type.

Transportation in urban areas and in particular their efficiency and convenience is one of the most challenging areas of research and development in our society. Transportation is one of the largest consumers of energy, particularly hydrocarbons, and has a considerable share of the economy in governments, industry and households. As the world continues to develop towards a global economy, the importance of transportation grows and, consequently, the need to find new solutions.

Transportation in urban areas, with its resulting environmental and social impacts, is a topic of significant concern for both policy makers and governments, as well as most citizens who need efficient and effective transport systems.

 Opening of the Conference

The meeting was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who explained the importance of the conference series to fulfil the objectives of WIT, ie to act as a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge at an international level.

Carlos explained that the strength of the Institute activities centred on its existing network of associated institutions and industries around the world. WIT – Carlos said – has a substantial number of links with organisations in many different countries. This contributes to making the Institute much more relevant and up to date.

Another activity in which the Institute has achieved worldwide recognition is the application of advanced computational techniques to solving complex engineering problems. WIT has developed new computational tools based on original research which is now applied through BEASY (Boundary Element Analysis Systems) computer code.

The other important by-product of WIT’s research and training activities has been its publishing arm, WIT Press, the publisher of the conference volume. WIT Press has grown into a considerable size since starting as a unit for publication of WIT conference books. It now produces many other volumes in addition to conference books and continues to launch a series of new Journals focusing on interdisciplinary research.

Carlos ended his welcoming address by thanking all participants for their presence at Urban Transport XX and wishing them a very successful conference.

 

 Conference Topics

The Conference attracted a substantial number of publications, grouped under the following topics:

  • Transport strategies
  • Public transport systems
  • Intelligent transport systems
  • Experiences from emerging countries
  • Transport safety and security
  • Infrastructure
  • Environmentally friendly transport modes
  • Environmental impact
  • Land use and transport integration

 

 Invited Presentations

A series of invited presentations by well know colleagues helped to highlight topics of current interest:

  • “Intermodel transportation perspectives in South Africa: a case study of its application within the GautengProvince and lessons learned for other metropolitan areas” by Carel Schoeman, North West University, South Africa.
  • “Bus Rapid Transit: what can change in travel strategies?” by Maisa Tobias, Amazonia University, Brazil.
  • “Replanning public transport services in the case of budget distraction” by Luca D’Acierno, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.
  • “The comparison of regional and urban transit bus driver distraction” by Kelwin D’Souza, Hampton University, USA.
  • “The environmental and economic effects of innovative measures in urban parcels delivery” by Stefano Ricci, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’, Italy.

 

 Social Occasions

The Conference offered plenty of opportunities for the delegates to interact and get to know each other better. In addition to coffee breaks and complimentary lunches, there was a specially arranged banquet.

The Conference banquet took place in a typical Portuguese restaurant located in a beautiful village near the hotel where the meeting was held. The main dish consisted of lamb cooked in a Portuguese style and accompanied by excellent wines. A special programme of fado folklore-music was arranged. The singer was accompanied by Portuguese and classical guitar players and she went through a range of different pieces. At the end of the meal Carlos toasted to the success of the meeting in the hope that it will help to strengthen links between delegates from so many different countries. He also distributed a piece of ceramic to each participant. They were made and hand painted in a local pottery that retains the original designs and craftsmanship, an art that is being rapidly lost. Carlos hoped that the souvenir will help them to remember the happy occasion and the very successful conference.

The International Scientific Advisory Committee met during the Conference to discuss ways in which it can be improved in 2016, taking into consideration new research directions and future trends on transportation. The need for further integration and international transport studies was highlighted, as well as having to respond to the evolving energy production and management situation. New members for the Committee were also nominated, some of which will be approached when preparing the 2016 Call for Papers.

 

 Closing of the Conference

Carlos closed the meeting reminding the presenters of the possibility of submitting an extended version of their paper to one of the WIT Press journals and hoping that they will consider participating in Urban Transport 2015, which is to take place in Valencia from 3-5 June 2015.

 

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings Urban Transport 2014 – Urban Transport XX, 700pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-778-0; eISBN: 978-1-84564-779-7) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 138 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 

 Related Conferences

Monday, 17 November 2014

In Honour of Professor Jerry J Connor, MIT, on the Occasion of his Retirement

A special event was recently held at MIT to pay tribute to the many achievements of Professor Jerry J. Connor of the Civil Engineering Department on the occasion of his retirement.
Prof. Jerry J Connor
Jerry's career is closely associated with the development of MIT as the foremost School of Engineering in the world. His achievements are many in terms of research and teaching, and he was an outstanding mentor to several generations of engineers, who are now in positions of responsibility in academia and industry all over the world.
The meeting at MIT consisted of a series of papers presented by colleagues, collaborators and past students, demonstrating the influence of Jerry's work, and a number of personal reminiscences delivered by his close collaborators.
The event was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute of Technology in the UK, who recalled how he was introduced to Jerry as the best person at MIT to supervise his doctoral thesis. At that time Jerry was interested in a new type of engineering science, which was to be called computational mechanics. Carlos' research was on the solution of curved shell problems using finite elements. The result of their collaboration gave rise to Carlos' first two Journal publications, which set the basis for his career as an engineering scientist. The other supervisor of Carlos' thesis at the time was the late Prof Hugh Tottenham and the collaboration gave rise to a long and fruitful association between Jerry and Southampton University in the UK, where Prof Tottenham was teaching.
Jerry's influence – Carlos said – was decisive for his career and his own research work acquired clarity and improved quality through his association with Jerry. His support, Carlos explained, went beyond academic matters, as he became a major influence in his family life. Carlos also benefitted from trying to emulate – not always successfully – Jerry's calm approach to all problems, whether scientific or personal, his impeccable gentleman's behaviour and his total honesty, unable to speak badly of anybody. On many occasions Carlos valued Jerry's unshakeable support in personal as well as professional matters.


Carlos' own idea of Boundary Elements was deeply influenced by Jerry's work on mixed principles which were related to the variational concepts of Eric Reissner, his original mentor at MIT. It took some time after leaving MIT for him to appreciate the importance of Jerry's ideas and it was then that he combined the advantages of finite elements in the form of surface elements only with mixed principles and the use of classical Green's type functions. This was very much a consequence of Jerry's originality and clarity of thought. The fact that Jerry liked the idea was the high point of Carlos' engineering research career, the proof that he needed to start developing what has become a very successful engineering tool. He knows he owes him a great deal.
The idea of Boundary Elements was substantially different from Carlos' original topic of research on Shell Analysis, and he would not have been able to arrive to it without Jerry's mentoring.
Some of the participants
Jerry's contribution to the founding and development of Wessex Institute was crucial for WIT to grow into a renowned institution with its own Campus. His support was always there – even during the initial and difficult times – and Jerry continues to serve as a member of the WIT Board of Directors. This is where his input is most valuable, as he proposes new ideas and strategies and advanced lines of research. Jerry has the unique ability to predict evolving trends and directions for research when they are not yet evident to most other scientists.
Jerry – Carlos said – has been an outstanding teacher as well as an original researcher. His professional work has allowed him to put into practice some of his ideas in major consulting engineering work.
He is author of a series of engineering books, as well as editor of many others. His activities in terms of novel engineering science ideas have been many, including some unique contributions on tall buildings and forensic analysis of major structural failures.
Carlos concluded by saying that it is as a teacher and mentor of several generations of engineering students that Jerry dedicated his full potential. His research gave rise to many groups around the world.
Prof. Connor and Prof. Brebbia
Carlos then presented Jerry with an antique map of Massachusetts, including a plan of Boston, dating back to before the Civil War, saying he hoped this would serve as a reminder of the occasion and a token of appreciation from all the participants.

The next speaker, Prof Jose Roesset from Texas A&M, and formerly of MIT, remembered the time when Jerry started to teach at MIT. Jerry's teaching at the time brought a breath of fresh air to the Civil Engineering Department, contrasting the clarity and simplicity of his lectures with the prevalent complexity of other lessons. Jerry always managed to sort out the most complicated problems, reducing them to the fundamentals and applying simple concepts. Jose was then particularly impressed by the way in which Jerry was able to explain nonlinear buckling problems in a new light.
He also referred to the many changes taking place at MIT at that time and how they influenced Jerry's life and outlook. MIT became a magnet for many researchers and students from all over the world and Jerry participated in a special programme aimed at attracting
Jose thought that this influx – which included Carlos – was decisive in convincing Jerry that there was a world worth seeing beyond the boundaries of Massachusetts. From then on Jerry became an international traveller, visiting a wide variety of countries and spending, along with his wife Barbara, and their six children, a valuable sabbatical at Southampton University, invited by Carlos.
"Jerry is foremost a teacher and a true scholar", said Roesset. In spite of his many publications and his international reputation, his main concern has been with quality, unconcerned with the current trends in measuring research in terms of impact factors and other metrics. He contributed also to the production of outstanding books as a result of his teaching, all of them excelling in clarity.
Prof. Komodromos
The next to pay tribute to Jerry was Dr Mauricio Sarrazin, Head of his own Consulting Engineering firm and Professor at the University of Chile. He referred to the importance of Jerry Connor in the development of his own career from the time he started work on his PhD thesis at MIT.

Mauricio then gave a short technical presentation on the solution of nonlinear Equilibrium problems, a line of research he is now pursuing and one that has also been influenced by Jerry Connor.
Prof Petros Komodromos from the University of Cyprus expressed his appreciation to Jerry for his support during his PhD studies and his consequent research. He delivered a paper on the Response of Seismically Isolated Buildings, a problem of great importance in Cyprus, as well as many other parts of the world.
(Komodromos' work has been published in book form by WIT Press under the title "Seismic Isolation for Earthquake Resistant Structures".)
Prof. Ove Gudmestad
Prof Ove Gudmestad from the University of Stavanger, Norway commented on the importance of Jerry Connor's career for his own research. The quality of his teaching and Jerry's advice convinced him to work on the then new and exciting field of Offshore Structures. Some of these courses were on Boundary Elements, a technique that indirectly introduced him to the work of Carlos Brebbia.
Ove wrote the bulk of his PhD thesis when at MIT, mentored by Jerry, before returning to his native Norway where it was submitted. After that Ove started working for Statoil and invited Jerry to Norway to see some of the many offshore platform projects taking place there.
As a product of his collaboration with Jerry, he continued to work with dynamic response of steel framed structures, and new models were developed to account for the hydrodynamic forces. This research progressed to cover earthquake effects.
Other new topics of Ove's research that were influenced by Jerry include the development of arctic engineering and how to build oil and gas facilities on ice.
Ove's work continued to evolve as a result of the collaboration with Jerry, to include the study of concrete structures and the effects of soil foundations on their structural response.
Jerry also impressed on Ove the need to carry out research work thoroughly, the need to work as a team with your colleagues and to have a critical approach to management. Ove ended by acknowledging his deep debt to Jerry.
(Part of this work has been published in book form by WIT Press under the title "Petroleum Resources", authored by Ove Gudmestad et al.)
Prof. Pierre Ghisbain
Prof Pierre Ghisbain, now at MIT, completed his PhD thesis under Jerry on the topic of Damage Engineering. The idea behind the research is that over the life of a structure, smaller but more frequent earthquakes contribute more to the cumulative damage than the larger earthquakes, on which structural damage is traditionally based. He presents the argument in favour of designing structures beyond what the codes require for their safety.
Pierre proposed a new design method as a result of Jerry's mentoring, involving combining probabilistic principles with traditional structural analysis. The result is an estimate of damage. The case studies presented by Pierre support a drift towards more resilient structures designed to mitigate structural and non-structural damage beyond the traditional life-safety requirements.
Pierre ended his presentation by thanking Jerry for his support and encouragement during his research. (WIT Press has published a book version on this research entitled "Damage-Based Earthquake Engineering".)
Prof. John Niedzwecki
Prof John Niedzwecki from Texas A&M reflected on his arrival at MIT to work with Jerry on a topic related to Artificial Intelligence. It was at a time when Intelligent Systems gave room to Intelligent Design of Knowledge Based Systems dealing with Structural Analysis and Design, amongst others. This resulted in John meeting Ove Gudmestad in Norway and learning the importance of practical knowledge, a constant precept of Jerry's, who has always emphasised the need to solve real engineering problems.
John said that Jerry had a tremendous impact on his career when he started to work on offshore structures. This led more recently to establishing a strategy for sensor placements which was the topic of John's technical presentation.
John is grateful for the advice that he received from Jerry, including not to worry if somebody today takes your idea; ideas will keep coming to you and you will be able to provide better ones in the future. John ended by thanking Jerry for being a great friend, a mentor and an example to emulate.
Prof. Herbert Einstein
Prof Herbert Einstein, of the Department of Civil Engineering at MIT, referred to the important work that Jerry did for the Department.
"Thanks, Carlos, for giving me the opportunity to say a few words and I really will be very short. What I want to do is express my gratitude. On a personal level, I would not have been tenured if it had not been for Jerry's effort. Much more importantly, the department and the profession owes him much. Jerry was, and I have to emphasize, is always ahead of what needs to be solved. He is a committed innovator. He brought materials research and education into the department when it was considered irrelevant. He initiated design education discussions with colleagues in architecture that led to the major revisions and reforming of our education. He took the lead in using artificial intelligence in civil engineering. We all know what a gifted teacher he is, and I think he produced more new courses than all of us together. An example is the steel bridge course - When the students wanted to do this who did they go to? Jerry. We also know of the major role he played in the Master of Engineering program. Both are very typical of the professional relevance of what he is teaching.
This brings me to an interesting and final word: In discussions with Jerry he always said that he is an analyst and he is certainly brilliant in this area. But if we look at the impact it is in engineering, and I would like to end with what I consider of greatest importance: Jerry is an engineer's engineer!!"
Prof. Simon Laflamme
The next speaker was Prof Simon Laflamme, now at Iowa State University, who referred to the importance of Jerry's influence on his life.
Jerry always interacted well with the students, and one of the highlights of this interaction was the organisation of the Master of Engineering Programme, which included at the end, a trip abroad to places of general interest as well as to visit outstanding engineering works. During these trips, Jerry was like one of the students, always enthusiastic and alert.
"Jerry was always updating his courses, teaching in his unique way, which demonstrated his gift as a communicator", Simon said. His input has had an impact on generations of students, changing Simon's life and imparting a love for research.
Prof Oral Buyukozturk from MIT mentioned that when coming to the Department of Civil Engineering, he understood Jerry to be a "finite element" man. Nothing was further from the truth as he showed himself to be fully acquainted with the whole engineering field.
Oral acknowledged his debt to Jerry as an outstanding mentor and thesis advisor.
Dr Hayat Tazir, from T Y Lin Consulting in San Francisco, told of her first encounter with Jerry and how much she enjoyed his way of teaching and lecturing. Coming from Algeria to the new environment of MIT, the thing she appreciated most was the way in which Jerry helped her to settle.
Hayat referred to having had many instructors during her academic years, but Jerry was the most outstanding teacher of them all.
Carlos then read an email sent by John Williams from MIT who could not attend the event. John stated that "In over 20 years I have never heard Jerry say an unkind word or do anything that was destructive or mean" and "Jerry has always been able to see trends far in advance of most of us. He saw concepts such as the Smart City become a reality.
John concluded "It is true to say that Jerry's retirement marks the passing of an era".
Prof. Dick Dippery
Prof Dick Dippery from Kettering University, referred to the influence Jerry had on him through his work on Boundary Elements with Carlos, from whom he became aware of Jerry's contribution in the field.

Dick considers himself more an engineer than an academic. His interest in theoretical mechanics started with the need to solve real engineering problems. He decided to learn Boundary Elements and in this way became aware of Jerry's work, after appreciating the beauty and simplicity of the method and its important applications in practice.
He was also aware of Jerry's name in the field of offshore structures and when he met him, also started to appreciate his qualities as a teacher. Furthermore, he thought that Jerry's books were perfectly structured, showing first the theory and progressing towards the practical applications, with the solid basis of a well understood theory.
After these remarks, Carlos asked Jerry to comment and share his ideas with the audience.
Jerry referred to his nearly 60 years of study and service at MIT, an unusual place in which one is surrounded by very clever people. The secret of his continuous success has been to listen and respect all of his colleagues and students. His kind personality and generous hospitality will be remembered by many, with gratitude.
He started his research career at the best possible time, when the emergence of finite elements and computer processes generated the new research field of computational mechanics. The first generation of computer codes such as STRUDL developed at the Civil Engineering Department of MIT were to set the guidelines for the rapid expanse of FEM tools. Jerry contributed to this in the field of Structural Mechanics before turning his attention with Carlos to the new topic of Computational Fluid Mechanics. This collaboration resulted in two FEM books, one on structures and the other on Fluid Mechanics.
Prof. Jerry Connor
Jerry was later attracted to the possibility of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how to apply it in practice. The idea has somewhat returned with the recent emergence of Intelligent Engineering. At that time however, AI died out rather quickly and he was to return to more classical structural research.
Different interests came together in the setting up of the Master of Engineering programme, which continued for 20 years, producing 20 graduates per annum. This gave rise to a network of very successful graduates, now in positions of responsibility in academia and industry. The programme has now unfortunately ceased.
A lifetime's work was condensed into Jerry's book on "Fundamentals of Structural Engineering". It starts with basic concepts and builds up to the use of structural software. Its idea is to prepare the reader for the challenges of a modern world.
He remains interested in changing the way in which structural design is taught, focusing on motion rather than strength. This is a topic closely related to future changes which require resilient design to withstand extreme events, including those related to climate change.
Jerry concluded his remarks by stressing the need to be kind to each other, particularly to young people. Students – he said – should be treated as equals, installing in them the confidence that they will require in their future professional lives.
The participants were invited to a banquet organised by Jerry in a downtown restaurant during which they relaxed in a friendly and convivial atmosphere, further remembering their time at MIT working with Jerry.

Participants at the banquet

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Urban Water 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Urban Water 2014
The Second International Conference on the Design, Construction, Maintenance, Monitoring and Control of Urban Water Systems took place in the Algarve, Portugal, organised by the Wessex Institute, UK and sponsored by the WIT Transactions on the Built Environment and the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning. The meeting was reconvened following the success of the first conference, held in the New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute, in 2012.

The Conference Chairmen were Prof Stefano Mambretti from the Politecnico of Milano and Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute.

As our cities continue to expand, the urban infrastructures need to be re-evaluated and adapted to new requirements related to the increase in population and the growing areas under urbanisation. The Conference dealt with those problems considering two main topics: water supply systems and urban drainage.

Topics such as contamination and pollution in urban water bodies, as well as the monitoring of water recycling systems are currently receiving a great deal of attention from researchers and professional experts working in the water industry. Water distribution networks often suffer substantial losses which repeat wastage of energy and treatment. Effective, efficient and energy saving management is necessary in order to optimise the performance. Sewer systems are under constant pressure due to growing urbanisation and climate change, and the environmental impact caused by urban drainage overflows is related to both water quantity and water quality.

Prof Carlos Brebbia opened the Conference by pointing out the importance of these meetings to the objectives of Wessex Institute. WIT – Carlos explained – is committed to the dissemination of knowledge at an international level. It interacts with many institutions around the world and supports industry, particularly in the energy and aerospace fields.

Another important activity of WIT – Carlos said – is the publication of advanced technological and scientific books and journals. Papers presented at WIT conferences are published in WIT Transactions and appear regularly in important databases, including referencing and abstract services. They are also archived online in the WIT eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/), where they are permanently available to the international scientific community.

Carlos ended his welcoming address by thanking the delegates for their participation in Urban Water and hoping that the Conference will be useful to them in terms not only of acquiring new knowledge but finding ways to study with colleagues from all over the world.

 Invited Presentations

There were a series of invited presentations during the meeting, given by well know colleagues:

  • “Tests on a polyvinyl chloride pipe from an existing water distribution system” by Beata Kowalska, Lublin University of Technology, Poland.
  • “Dealing with uncertainties in losses assessment in water supply networks: preliminary results” by Stefano Mambretti, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
  • “Identification of the best flood retrofitting scenario in an urban watershed by means of a Bayesian Decision Network” by Goffredo La Loggia, University of Palermo, Italy.
  • “Probabilistic analysis of spills from stormwater detention facilities” by Gianfranco Becciu, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

 

 Conference Topics

All other papers were grouped under the following topics:

  • Water supply networks
  • Network design
  • Water quality
  • Leakage and losses
  • Combined sewer networks
  • Flood control
  • Modelling and experimentation

 

 Special Session

Prof Gianfranco Becciu from the Politecnico di Milano, organised a special session on “Urban Drainage Systems for Water Sensitive Cities” which consisted of three other excellent papers, in addition to his keynote address. They were as follows:

  • “Reliability analysis of sustainable storm water drainage systems”
  • “Design rainfalls in a climate changing world”
  • “Permeable pavement used on sustainable drainage systems (SUDs): a synthetic review of recent literature”

 

 Social Occasions

The conference offered the participants many occasions to meet in an informal setting outside the formal sessions. The location of the hotel is one of the most beautiful parts of the Algarve, and contributed to enhance the social events, which included complimentary lunches.

The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner at one of the many excellent fish restaurants in the Alvor Marina. They discussed how to enhance the appeal of the meeting by revising and updating the list of topics covered by the conference. Also they discussed several nominations for new members to the Committee and the location for the 2016 conference, some of which are to be investigated by the WIT Conference Director.

The Conference banquet took place in a typical Portuguese restaurant located in a beautiful village near the hotel where the meeting was held. The main dish consisted of lamb cooked in a Portuguese style and accompanied by excellent wines. A special programme of fado folklore-music was arranged. The singer was accompanied by Portuguese and classical guitar players and she went through a range of different pieces.  At the end of the meal Carlos toasted to the success of the meeting in the hope that it will help to strengthen links between delegates from so many different countries. He also distributed a piece of ceramic to each participant. They were made and hand painted in a local pottery that retains the original designs and craftsmanship, an art that is being rapidly lost. Carlos hoped that the souvenir will help them to remember the happy occasion and the very successful conference.

The Conference was closed by Carlos who wished the delegates a good trip home and invited them to visit Wessex Institute next time they are in the region.

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings Urban Water 2014 – Urban Water II, 444pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-776-6; eISBN: 978-1-84564-781-0) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 139 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498, Digital ISSN 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 

 Related Conferences

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Water Pollution 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Water Pollution 2014
The 12th International Conference on Modelling, Monitoring and Management of Water Pollution was recently held in The Algarve, Portugal, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology. The meeting was sponsored by the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning and the International Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements.

The Water Pollution conference started in Southampton 1991 and since then has been held in a variety of different locations, with the previous conference taking place in the New Forest, UK, home of the Wessex Institute of Technology. All papers since 1993 have been widely distributed around the world and are permanently archived in the eLibrary of WIT Press, where they are widely available to the international scientific community.

Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute, opened the conference. He stressed the importance that WIT attaches to disseminating scientific and technological information as widely as possible. This ensures that papers also regularly appear in different databases, referencing and abstract services. This contributes to the success of the Wessex Institute conferences, such as Water Pollution, and helps to create an atmosphere conducive to the exchange of information amongst the participants.

The research presented at Water Pollution – Carlos said – discusses the interdisciplinary character of Water Pollution problems, which is essential to achieve solutions that respond to socio-economic factors, as well as being scientifically sound.

The deterioration of water quality has become a cause of concern all over the world. Solutions need to be taken within an international framework and require cooperation across national boundaries.

Carlos pointed out that the conference attracted participants from many different countries contributing to a variety of experiences and different perspectives. He ended by thanking the delegates for their participation and hoping that they will be able to become more involved with the work of the Wessex Institute in the future.

 Invited Presentations

The papers presented at the conference included a series of invited presentations:

  • “Water quality deterioration of the EuphratesRiver before entering Iraqi lands” by Hussein S Al-Bahrani, University of Kufa, Iraq.
  • “Pollutants in sewage effluent and sludge and their impact on downstream water quality: a case study of Malamulele sewage plant, South Africa” by Jabulani Gumbo, University of Venda, South Africa.
  • “Retention of pharmaceutical residues: the example of the Altendorf retention soil fitter” by Ekkehard Christoffels, Erftverband Bergheim, Germany.
  • “Impacts of submarine groundwater discharge on KuwaitBay” by Mohamed Al-Senafy, Water Research Centre, Kuwait Institute for Water Research.
  • “Assessment of environmental conditions in Civitavecchia (Rome, Italy) harbour” by Giuseppe Zappala, National Research Council and Tuscia University, Italy.

 

 Conference Sessions

The rest of the programme was classified in the following sessions:

  • Water quality
  • Health risk studies
  • Wastewater treatment and management
  • Groundwater and aquifer issues
  • Monitoring and modelling
  • Environmental modelling

 

 ISAC and Conference Dinners

The meeting of the International Scientific Advisory Committee took place in a local fish restaurant on Alvor Marina where the participants had the opportunity to taste the renowned dish Cataplana (which is a fish stew cooked in a special closed metal container). The excellent food was accompanied by good Portuguese wines. The participants discussed the conference topics and nominated new members, as well as proposing a few locations for the conference in two years’ time.

The Conference banquet took place in a typical Portuguese restaurant located in a beautiful village near the hotel where the meeting was held. The main dish consisted of lamb cooked in Portuguese style and accompanied by excellent wines. A special programme of fado folklore-music was arranged. The singer was accompanied by Portuguese and classical guitar players and she went through a range of different pieces. At the end of the meal Carlos toasted to the success of the meeting in the hope that it will help to strengthen links between delegates from so many different countries. He also distributed a piece of ceramic to each participant. They were made and hand painted in a local pottery that retains the original designs and craftsmanship, an art that is being rapidly lost. Carlos hoped that the souvenir will help them to remember the happy occasion and the very successful conference.

 Closing of the Conference

At the end of the conference, Carlos addressed the participants to thank them in the name of his Institute for having participated in a very successful conference. This success – Carlos said – guarantees that the meeting will be reconvened in 2016, in a location and at a date to be announced shortly.

Carlos stressed the importance of these conferences to make new contacts and share experiences in an informal manner as well as during the discussions taking place in the conference sessions.

He hoped that all participants will consider visiting the Wessex Institute when they are in the region, so that they can better appreciate the work of WIT.

 

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings Water Pollution 2014 –Water Pollution XII, 412pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-780-3; eISBN: 978-1-84564-781-0) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 182 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 

 Related Conferences

 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Prof. Brebbia Admitted into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts

The Annual General Meeting of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts recently took place in Salzburg, Austria.
The Meeting celebrated the achievements of Cardinal König, famous Bishop of Vienna, and one of the founders of the Academy, as well as being the occasion for the induction of new members.
Prof. F Unger
The Academia Scientiarium et Artum Europaea is a learned Society, whose members are selected to discuss and resolve the many pressing questions facing Europe and the world today. It counts among its members 1,500 top scientists and artists, and the list includes 29 Nobel Laureates.
The organisation is supported by the European Union and the Austrian Government. It was established with a view to bringing together different disciplines and promoting the exchange of ideas. Cardinal König in particular was interested in the question of ethics in science. He also was of the opinion that the differentiation of specialist fields and research constituted a risk.
Nikolaus Lobkowicz, a political scientist and philosopher, another of the founders, sought the possibility to stem the decline in values which he observed taking place in Europe.
More recently the Academy has established its own University "Alma Mater Europaea" with campuses in Maribor and Salzburg. The President of the University is Prof Felix Unger, a heart surgeon to whom the original idea of the Academy is due. Professor Unger wanted to contribute in this manner to the harmonious development of European societies and cultures.
The Meeting took place in the Aula Magna of the University of Salzburg and was opened by Prof Unger and Dr Wilfried Haslauer, Mayor of Salzburg. Following this, the life achievements of the late Cardinal König, a founder of the Academy were described by Professor Unger.
After a brief musical interlude, the new members were admitted to the Academy, among them Professor Carlos A. Brebbia, Director of the Wessex Institute, in the category of Technical and Environmental Sciences.
Prof. Brebbia receiving his certificate of membership from Prof. Unger

Prof Brebbia is the Founder and Director of the Wessex Institute and is renowned for his contribution to the development of Computer Methods in Engineering. He is widely acknowledged as the creator of the Boundary Element Method, a technique for which he developed numerous applications in engineering and sciences. He is the author of many books and editor of numerous publications, including conference proceedings and state of the art books and journals. As part of the Institute's activities, he chairs a series of international conferences held in many different countries.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr Maimilian Fussl, former Commissioner for Agriculture for the European Union. The title of the address was "Europe at the Crossroads" and he spoke about the many problems that besiege Europe at present and the need to find new directions for European integration, referring in particular to making the governance of Europe more democratic, with the political appointees collaborating with the stakeholders and voters.
The Meeting closed with a short recital playing the European Anthem.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Environmental Impact 2014 Post Conference Report

Overview

Environmental Impact 2014
The Second International Conference on Environmental and Economic Impact on Sustainable Development took place in Portonovo, Conero National Park near Ancona, organised by the Politecnica University of Le Marche, Italy and the Wessex Institute, UK.

The meeting was chaired by Prof Giorgio Passerini of the Politecnica University of Le Marche and Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of the Wessex Institute.

The conference provided an international forum to discuss the most serious problems affecting sustainable development. It considered the impact of economic constraints on the environment, taking into account the social aspects as well as the overuse of natural resources. Uncontrolled development can also result in damage to the environment in terms of the release of toxic substances and hazardous waste.

Environmental Impact should not always be associated with negative effects as many changes have shaped present day nature and life, and some of those which are man made have, in many cases, represented considerable enhancements. It is important to estimate the true extent of benefits or drawbacks of any action in order to find appropriate suitable solutions. The aim of the conference was to arrive at constructive and progressive approaches to ensure sustainability. Fundamental to these concepts is the analysis of the inherent risks and the development of appropriate strategies.

The Conference opened in the Aula Magna of the Politenic University of Le Marche which is housed in a beautiful heritage building in the centre of Ancona. The Rector of the University, Prof Sauro Longhi, opened the proceedings, welcoming the delegates and pointing out the international dimension of the meeting with delegates from nearly 50 different countries. This was followed by welcoming addresses by the Dean of Engineering, Prof Dario Amodio and the Head of the Industrial Engineering Department, Prof Fabio Polonara, the latter explained the interest of his Department in the environmental problems discussed during the Conference.

Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute, then referred to the function of these conferences within the objectives of WIT and mentioned that its collaboration with the University of Le Marche gave rise to a series of different meetings held in Ancona and an interchange of researchers which continues to develop, particularly now that Prof Passerini sits on the Board of Directors of the Institute. WIT Press – Carlos said – has published several books (in addition to conference proceedings) authored by researchers at the University of Le Marche.

The final remarks were down to Prof Passerini who stressed the commitment of his group to international collaboration.

 Special Session

Following the opening remarks a special session was held in the Aula Magna. It comprised several keynote addresses:

  • “Reputed asset and environmental liability”, by Rolf Sjöblom, Luleå University of Technology and Tekedo AB, Sweden
  • “Sustainable energy production”, by Giuseppe Genon, Politecnic University of Torino, Italy.
  • “Genetically modified food and its impact on the environment”, by Shahla Wunderlich, Montclair State University, USA.
  • “Optimal management of renewable and fossil fuel energy systems in a smart community”, by Fabio Polonara, Politecnica University of Le Marche, Italy.
  • “The recent trend of e-waste recycling and rare metal recovery in Japan”, by Hideaki Itoh, Nagoya University and Raremetal Recovery Institute, Japan.
  • “Tropospheric ozone behaviour as a function of precursor emissions”, by Giorgio Passerini, Politecnica University of Le Marche, Italy.
  • “Environmental impact of the Energía Costa Azul LNG terminal at Ensenada, BC, México”, by Margarito Quintero-Núñez, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico
  • “Cleaner air in seaport container terminals: assessing fuels”, by Jaap Vleugel, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.
  • “The environmental impact of human activities on the Mexican coast of the Gulf of Mexico: review of status and trends” by Jorge Benitez-Torres, Epomex Institute, Mexico.
  • “Treatment of acidic mine waters containing metals: past practices and new approaches” by Roger Olsen, CDM Smith, USA.
  • “Choice of techniques revegetation of degraded areas using assessment of environmental damage in the Amazon forest, Brazil” by Admilson Ribeiro, UNESP, Brazil.

 

Conference Sessions

The rest of the presentations at the conference were grouped in a series of sessions under the following headings:

  • Environmental assessment
  • Sustainable cities
  • Environmental policies
  • Economic impact
  • Energy and the environment
  • Environmental health risk
  • Waste management

 

 Conference Dinner

The Conference banquet took place in the unique setting of a Napoleonic Fort, a heritage structure on the sea front, now converted into a hotel with an excellent restaurant. The Fort, which was built at the time of the Napoleonic wars to protect Ancona from a possible attack by the English Navy, has now been carefully restored.

The delegates were welcomed on the terrace from where they could see the sun setting behind the surrounding cliffs, and proceeded to a meal consisting of a series of excellent regional dishes, accompanied by the renowned wines of Le Marche.

Carlos and Giorgio proposed a toast to thank the participants for having attended the conference and wishing for the success of the international contacts and friendships that have developed during the meeting. They stressed the importance of international collaboration and interdisciplinary work.
The evening was a great success and everybody was most appreciative of the unique setting and the excellence of the cuisine.

 International Scientific Advisory Committee Dinner

The members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner to celebrate the success of the conference. Carlos also thanked them all in the name of the organisers for the work they had done in reviewing abstracts and papers. He also wanted to have their feedback regarding new topics and possible locations for 2016 when Environmental Impact will be reconvened, as the meeting continues to attract good quality presentations and excellent discussions. The general feeling from the conference participants was most positive.

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings Environmental Impact 2014 – Environmental Impact II, 768pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-762-9; eISBN: 978-1-84564-763-6) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 181 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 Related Conferences