Jacobo Bielak, P.E.-Civil and Environmental Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Jacobo Bielak, P.E.

Hamerschlag University Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Office: Porter Hall 123H
Phone: 412-268-2958
Fax: 412-268-7813


Jacobo Bielak is the Hamerschlag University Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. His research interests are in earthquake engineering, engineering seismology, and more recently, in structural health monitoring. Bielak was a member of the original Applied Technology Council (ATC) committee that drafted the first seismic provisions for soil-structure interaction in the US, based mainly on his work. These provisions are now, in modified form, part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) seismic provisions.

He has recieved the Gordon Bell Prize for Special Accomplishment Based on Innovation. He is a a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Distinguished Member of ASCE, and a Fellow of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics. He is also a Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and of the Mexican Academy of Engineering.

Bielak received his Civil Engineer’s degree from the National University of Mexico (UNAM), MS from Rice University, and PhD from Caltech.

Research Group: MMC


PhD 1971 - California Institute of Technology
MS 1966 - Rice University
BS 1963 - National University of Mexico

Areas of Interest

Computational mechanics, with special emphasis on structural health monitoring of bridges and on earthquake engineering and engineering seismology. 

Selected Publications

  • Lederman, G., S. Chen, J. H. Garrett, J. Kovačević, H. Y. Noh, and J. Bielak (2017), "Track monitoring from the dynamic response of a passing train: A sparse approach," Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 90, 141-153., http:dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymssp.2016.12.009.
  • Rabinovich, D., D. Givoli, J. Bielak, and T. Hagstrom, "The Double Absorbing Boundary method for a class of anisotropic elastic media," Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg., http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cma.2016.10.035 (in press).
  • Lederman, G., S. Chen, J. Garrett, J. Kovačević, H. Y. Noh, and J. Bielak (2017), “Track monitoring from the dynamic response of an operational train,”Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 315. 190-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymssp.2016.06.041.
  • Restrepo, D., J. Bielak, J. Gómez, J. Jaramillo, and R. Serrano (2016). “Effects of realistic topography on the ground motion of the Colombian Andes—A case study of the Aburrá Valley, Antioquia, Geophysical Journal International, 204, 1801-1816, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggv556.
  • Isbiliroglu, Y., R. Taborda, and J. Bielak (2015). “Coupled soil-structure interaction effects of building clusters during earthquakes,” Earthq. Spectra, 31, 1-38. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1193/102412EQS315M
  • Zhang, X., A. Acharya, N. J. Walkington, and J. Bielak (2015), "A single theory for some quasi-static, supersonic, atomic, and tectonic scale applications of dislocations," Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 84, 145-195, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2015.07.004
  • Restrepo, D. and J. Bielak (2014). “Virtual Topography—A fictitious domain approach for analyzing surface irregularities in large-scale earthquake ground motion simulation,” Int. J. Num. Meth. Eng. 100, 504-533.  doi: 10.1002/nme.4756.
  • Cerda, F., S. Chen, J. Bielak, J.H. Garrett, P. Rizzo, and J. Kovačević (2014).  “Indirect structural health monitoring of a simplified laboratory-scale bridge model,” Smart Struct. Syst., 13, 849-868, doi:10.12989/sss.2014.13.5.000
  • Chen, S., F. Cerda, P. Rizzo, J. Bielak, J. H. Garrett, and J. Kovačević (2014). “Semi-supervised multiresolution classification using adaptive graph filtering with application to indirect bridge structural health monitoring,” IEEE Trans. Signal Process., 62, 2879-2893
  • Lederman, G., Z. Wang, J. Bielak, H. Noh, J.H. Garrett, S. Chen, J. Kovačević, F. Cerda, and P. Rizzo. (2014). “Damage quantification and localization algorithms for indirect SHM of bridges,” Proc. IABMAS 2014, doi: 10.1201/b17063-93
  • Taborda, R. and J. Bielak. (2014) “Ground-motion simulation and validation of the 2008 Chino Hills, California, earthquake using different velocity models,” Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 104, 1876–1898, doi: 10.1785/0120130266
  • Hagstrom, T., D. Givoli, D. Rabinovich, and J. Bielak (2014) “The Double Absorbing Boundary method,” J. Comput. Phys., 259, 220-241.

Recent Honors and Awards

  • 2014: named Hamerschlag University Professor
  • 2013: elected as a fellow of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM).
  • 2013: named the Paul Christiano Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Inaugural Holder).
  • 2011: elected as a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • 2010: elected to the National Academy of Engineering, for advancing knowledge and methods in earthquake engineering and in regional-scale seismic motion simulation.
  • 2009: elected University Professor
  • 2008: won EERI First Annual Graphics Competition - ShakeOut – Animation of a numerical simulation of a Mw 7.8 earthquake in southern California
  • 2007: elected to the Mexican Academy of Engineering