Carnegie Mellon University

Jacobo Bielak, P.E.

Jacobo Bielak, P.E.

Hamerschlag University Professor Emeritus, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


Jacobo Bielak is the Hamerschlag University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. His research interests are in earthquake engineering, engineering seismology, and 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 received the Gordon Bell Prize for Special Accomplishment Based on Innovation. He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Distinguished Member of ASCE, an Honorary Member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, 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.


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


Research Group: MMC


Bielak, J. (2021), “Foreword – Special Issue on Regional seismic ground-motion simulation and observation with engineering applications,” Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 50, 4-5

Riaño, A., J. C. Reyes, L. E. Yamín, J. Bielak, D. Restrepo, & R. Taborda (2021), “Integration of 3D large-scale earthquake simulations to the assessment of the seismic risk of Bogota, Colombia,” Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 50, 155- 76,

Rabinobich, D., D. Givoli, J. Bielak, & E. Turkel (2021), "Scatterer identification in 2D geophysical medium using an augmented computational time-reversal method," International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, 45, 867-892,

Veeraghavan, S., J.L. Coleman, & J. Bielak (2020), “Simulation of site and topographic effects on ground motion in Los Alamos, NM mesas,” Geophysical Journal International, 220, 1504-1520, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggz448.

Liu, J., Chen, S., Bergés, M., Bielak, J., Garrett, J. H., Kovačević, J., & Noh, H. Y. (2020), "Diagnosis algorithms for indirect structural health monitoring of a bridge model via dimensionality reduction," Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 136, 106454.

Liu, J., Chen, S., Lederman, G., Kramer, D. B., Noh, H. Y., Bielak, J., Garrett, J.H., Kovačević, J., & Bergés, M. (2019). "Dynamic responses, GPS positions and environmental conditions of two light rail vehicles in Pittsburgh," Scientific Data, 6(1), 1-11.

Rabinovich, D., S. Vigdergauz, D. Givoli, T. Hagstrom,  & J. Bielak  (2019), "Optimized First- order absorbing boundary conditions for anisotropic elastodynamics," Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 350, 719-749,

Lederman, G.H., Chen, S., Garrett, J.H., Kovačević, J., Noh, H.Y., & Bielak, J. (2017), "A data fusion approach for track monitoring from multiple in-service trains," Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 95, 363-379.

Lederman, G.H., Chen, S., Garrett, J.H., Kovačević, J., Noh, H.Y., & Bielak, J. (2017), "Track monitoring from the dynamic response of a passing train: A sparse approach," Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 90, 141-153.,

Lederman, G.H., Chen, S., Garrett, J.H., Kovačević, J., Noh, H.Y., & Bielak, J. (2017), “Track monitoring from the dynamic response of an operational train,” Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 315. 190-221.

Restrepo, D., Bielak, J., Gómez, J., Jaramillo, J., & Serrano, R. (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., Taborda, R., & Bielak, J. (2015), “Coupled soil-structure interaction effects of building clusters during earthquakes,” Earthquake Spectra, 31, 1- 38. doi:

Zhang, X., Acharya, A., Walkington, N.J., & Bielak, J. (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:

Restrepo, D. & J. Bielak (2014), “Virtual Topography—A Fictitious domain approach for analyzing surface irregularities in large-scale earthquake ground motion simulation,” International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering. 100, 504-533. doi: 10.1002/nme.4756.

Cerda, F., Chen, S., Bielak, J., Garrett, J.H., Rizzo, P., & Kovačević, J. (2014), “Indirect structural health monitoring of a simplified laboratory-scale bridge model,” Smart Structures and Systems, 13, 849- 868, doi:10.12989/sss.2014.13.5.849

Taborda, R. & J. Bielak (2014), “Ground-motion simulation and validation of the 2008 Chino Hills, California, earthquake using different velocity models,” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 104, 1876– 1898, doi: 10.1785/0120130266

Hagstrom, T., Givoli, D., Rabinovich, D., & J. Bielak (2014), “The Double Absorbing Boundary method,” Journal of Computational Physics, 259, 220-241.

Areas of Interest

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

Recent Awards

  • 2020: elected as an Honorary Member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)for his work in fundamental areas of earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, including soil-structure interaction (SSI) and the understanding and characterization of strong earthquake ground motion.
  • 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, for his pioneering work in creating three-dimensional models that simulate how earthquakes impact buildings, bridges, and other critical infrastructures; for demonstrating the use of high-performance computing in engineering practice; and for educating the next generation of 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