Carnegie Mellon University

CEE Graduate Seminar Series

Fall 2017

All seminars will be held at 12:00PM-1:20PM in 4401 Gates Hall unless otherwise noted.

All seminars are open to the campus community. The use of electronic devices is prohibited during seminar. 

Data Analytics for Assessing the Safety and Environmental Performance of Passenger Vehicles


As society advances to expect deeper understanding of human, natural and engineered systems, the methods needed to support public decisions also must advance. While systems engineering and analysis methods have flourished for years, emerging tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing data are changing the way we understand and manage systems.

As public agencies are increasingly held to high standards of cost-effective program management, open data initiatives will lead to increased access to data.  As such, the bar must be raised in terms of how government decision makers understand the data life cycle in the social systems they manage.


At the same time, the era of connected and autonomous vehicles is emerging, which will cause dramatic changes on transportation infrastructure, but also will require government activities like vehicle inspection and maintenance programs to adapt quickly to the new challenges presented from these technological advances.


In this talk, I demonstrate several examples where changes in technology, practice, or data availability raise new questions about which policies should be put in place to maintain or improve safety and environmental performance. I will discuss assessing safety of current and emerging vehicles, and the reliance on on board diagnostic (OBD) technology in vehicles, and show various data analytic methods used to assess how we might continue to keep vehicles safe and clean.


Scott Matthews is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a member of the Green Design Institute, an interdisciplinary research consortium at Carnegie Mellon focused on modeling energy and environmental problems as systems, building decision support tools, and supporting robust policy decisions under uncertainty.  

Matthews’s research and teaching focuses on valuing the socioeconomic implications of social systems, such as energy and transportation infrastructure. His work intends to facilitate economic and social decision-making under uncertainty via large datasets, computation, and visualization methods. 

Matthews has previously contributed to development of tools for environmental and energy life cycle assessment (LCA) of products and processes (such as the EIO-LCA model), estimating and tracking environmental effects across global supply chains (such as carbon footprinting), and the sustainability of infrastructure systems.

Matthews has served as chair of the Committee on Sustainable Systems and Technology with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and on the Executive Committee for the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment. He participated in the National Research Council study on the Hidden Costs of Energy and is a member of the NRC Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology.

At Carnegie Mellon, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the Departments of Economics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy, and Computer Science.   

Electric Vehicles in the Smart Grid: Optimization & Control


The rapid electrification of the transportation fleet imposes unprecedented demands on the electric grid. If controlled, however, these electric vehicles (EVs) provide an immense opportunity for smart grid services that enable renewable penetration and increased reliability.

In this talk we discuss paradigms for aggregating and optimally controlling EV charging. Specifically, we discuss (i) distributed optimization of large-scale EV fleets, (ii) aggregate modeling via partial differential equations, (iii) and plug-and-play model predictive control.

The talk closes with future perspectives for EVs in the Smart Grid, and a short description of new project-based courses on Design of Cyber-Physical Systems taught at UC Berkeley.


Scott Moura is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in Civil & Environmental Engineering. He is also Director of eCAL, Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and PI at the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute. He received the PhD degree from the University of Michigan in 2011, the MS degree from the University of Michigan in 2008, and the BS degree from the UC Berkeley, in 2006 - all in Mechanical Engineering. Moura was a postdoctoral scholar at UC San Diego in the Cymer Center for Control Systems and Dynamics, and a visiting researcher in the Centre Automatique et Systèmes at MINES ParisTech in Paris, France.

Moura is a recipient of the O. Hugo Shuck Best Paper Award, Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award, Hellman Faculty Fellows Award, UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Michigan Distinguished ProQuest Dissertation Honorable Mention, University of Michigan Rackham Merit Fellowship, and Distinguished Leadership Award. He has received multiple conference best paper awards, as an advisor and student. His research interests include control & estimation theory for PDEs, optimization, machine learning, batteries, electric vehicles, and the smart grid.

Striking the Balance: How environmental, regulatory and scientific experience bring value to your company


Why did an environmental scientist and former regulator end up at one of the largest manufactures in the world? Sheryl Corrigan, Director of Environmental, health and Safety for Koch Industries, Inc., understands that successful industrial innovation requires efficiencies that create in-demand products and services that use less resources. Large manufacturers need employees that understand the balancing act of addressing environmental needs, business growth priorities, and consumer demand. Devoted to environmental work from the beginning, Sheryl’s career included roles at 3M and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency where her passion for environmental science and safety grew and was matched by valuable leadership experience. She then brought that passion and experience to her role at Koch where she serves as the Director of Environmental, Health and Safety, driving environmental excellence initiatives across all Koch companies. By focusing on responsible operations and efficiency, Koch industries is not only making products and services we use every day, but meeting the challenge of producing more using less resources. As of 2012, there has been a 33% reduction in production related waste across Koch Companies while meeting market demands. Koch Industries has been recognized by the EPA for the third year in a row for being among the top two companies with the most pollution prevention initiatives.
During this seminar, Sheryl will discuss how a diversity of experience and approach can make you one of the most valuable people at the table and explore the interesting career paths at Koch Industries. With 120,000 employees worldwide and 70,000 strong in the U.S., Koch is integral to creating the essential products that benefit daily life most: food, shelter, clothing and transportation. By focusing on people and values, while having access to a multitude of industries and resources, employees have the opportunity to make a real impact in their careers.


Sheryl Corrigan is director of environmental, health and safety for Koch Industries, Inc., driving discovery of excellence and innovation opportunities, and providing oversight of Koch companies' environmental performance. Previously, Ms. Corrigan was senior vice president of environmental, health and safety for Flint Hills Resources, LLC; a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

Before joining Koch, Ms. Corrigan was commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, advising the governor and helping set the strategic direction for the state on environmental matters. She has also worked for 3M in a number of positions focusing on environmental, health and safety operational excellence.

Ms. Corrigan earned a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology.

Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America with annual revenues as high as $115 billion, according to Forbes.

It owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining, chemicals, grain processing and biofuels; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; electronic components; commodity trading; minerals; energy; ranching; glass; and investments.

Since 2003, Koch companies have invested more than $70 billion in acquisitions and other capital expenditures. With a presence in about 60 countries, Koch companies employ more than 100,000 people worldwide, with about 60,000 of those in the United States.

From January 2009 to present, Koch companies have earned more than 1,000 awards for safety, environmental excellence, community stewardship, innovation, and customer service. Familiar Koch companies' brands include STAINMASTER→ carpet, LYCRA→ fiber, Quilted Northern→ tissue, and the Dixie→ brand of cups, plates and cutlery.

Sustaining Water Availability in Rural Communities: Expanding Use of Poor Quality Waters

Danny ReibleProfessor Reible is the 2017 Kappe Lecturer sponsored by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. The Kappe Lecture is jointly sponsored by the CEE departments at both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.


Water is critical, not only to meet personal water needs, but to support a healthy economy and to meet the challenges of food for an ever growing world population. Increased climate variability and conflicting demands for water requires us to fundamentally rethink how we should manage our limited groundwater and surface water resources so that energy production and economic vitality does not come at the cost of potable water availability, food security and environmental quality.

Much of the recent research has focused on securing water for large urban centers. While the challenges facing large urban centers are significant, these communities typically have much greater resources to address their problems than small communities and rural areas where water security challenges are equally serious. Particularly challenging is water for agriculture and agricultural communities which receive important but limited economic benefits from water and therefore are hard pressed to support expensive solutions. Further stressing rural and agricultural water sources in some areas is intensive water use for energy development such as oil and gas production. Water systems in rural and small urban communities are also less resilient to both human and natural factors.

These issues will be explored using the example of the southern high plains emphasizing cost-effective solutions for the water challenges facing rural and agricultural areas and to support water-intensive industry in such areas. The primary focus will be on taking advantage of poor quality water including saline and brackish waters to supplement conventional water resources. Energy production, and the extraction of petroleum and other minerals, use enormous amounts of water but much of this demand could be met with poor quality waters including brackish groundwater and produced water. Brackish waters could also be employed for agriculture and agricultural communities to extend conventional water resources. Cost-effective approaches for use of these waters will be explored and challenges to their implementation identified. More effective exploitation of these poor quality waters can protect potable and near-potable waters for human consumption and food production and help sustain rural and agricultural communities.


Dr. Danny D. Reible is the Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair at Texas Tech University. He was previously the Bettie Margaret Smith Chair of Environmental Health Engineering in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and the Director of the Center for Research in Water Resources at the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Reible holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer, a Professional Engineer (Louisiana), and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005 for the "development of widely used approaches for the management of contaminated sediments".

His research is focused on the fate, transport, and management of contaminants in the environment and the sustainable management of water resources. The research has been applied to the management of a number of large contaminated sites including sites such as Portland Harbor, OR, Hudson River, NY, and the Fox River, WI.

Dr. Reible has authored or edited six books and more than 150 journal articles and book chapters.

Structural Testing at the Micro and Nano Scales: Breaking Invisible Specimens with Zero Force


In this talk, I will describe how a bunch of clever and hardworking students and research associates have pioneered the use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) platforms to measure the mechanical response of materials and structures at the micro and nano scales.

Selected examples include measurements of strength, toughness, high cycle and static fatigue of brittle MEMS materials, the strength, ultimate strain capacity and viscoelastic response of individual collagen fibrils, and the fracture energy of the carbon nanotube-epoxy matrix interface.

A brief description of several the theoretical and computational models that were inspired by the experimental observations will also be presented.



Dr. Roberto Ballarini is Thomas and Laura Hsu Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Houston. He joined the University of Houston after having served for eight years as James Record Chair at University of Minnesota and for twenty year as Leonard Case Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Ballarini’s multidisciplinary research focuses on the development and application of theoretical and experimental techniques to characterize the response of materials to mechanical, thermal, and environmental loads. He is particularly interested in formulating analytical and computational models for characterizing fatigue and fracture of materials and structures.

His research has been applied to problems arising in civil engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, materials science, electromechanical systems, biological tissues and prosthetic design. His current research involves theoretical, computational and experimental studies of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoscale biological and synthetic materials, bioinspired design of composite structures and materials, seismic-resistant structural steel systems, size effects in quasibrittle materials and structures, and the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis.

He is the Past-President of the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute and serves as Editor-in-Chief of ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics.


An inside look at the construction leaders in Western PA, including firsthand experience from contractors. 

Members of Mascaro Construction, Rycon & PJ Dick will be representing the Master Builder’s Association (MBA) of Western PA’s Young Constructors Group providing an inside look at what the MBA is and ways to use it as a networking and resource tool post graduation.  There will be brief introductions of the presenters and their backgrounds in the construction industry and brief overviews of projects in and around the city that they have been directly involved in, from preconstruction, to estimating, through project management.  Q&A will be available for students to ask questions regarding the construction industry, the presenters personal experiences with projects and any other questions pertaining to career paths in construction management. 


Bios: Bill Charles (Mascaro)  //  Brian Budny (PJ Dick)  //  Jason Sigal (Rycon)