Monday, 29 May 2017

A conference, a workshop and one seminar: some experiences in order to presents the results of our research

Hi Fellows, 

welcome back! Summer is almost here, finally! Do you feel it? =) 

During April and May, I had the opportunity to attend to a conference, a workshop and a seminar. 
In these situations, I presented the results of our research project to experts and decision-makers. Indeed, I attended the Stephenson conference in London, at the end of April, where I met both experts from industry (such as railway companies, e.g. Bombardier, Network Rail, etc. and consulting firms, e.g. Amey, Mott MacDonald Group, etc.), and professors and researchers from international universities. There, I have given a 20-minutes presentation in order to discuss the first results of the project, which were achieved during the first year of the PhD (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Presentation at the Stephenson conference.

In a similar way, the 24th and 25th of May, I attended the first TRUSS workshop, where I discussed about my research project with international attendees. During the first day of the workshop, each ESR had a poster presentation in order to explain the objectives of his PhD and discuss possible methods and collaborations with the attendees (Figure 2). On the contrary, during the second day of the workshop, each ESR carried out a presentation with the aim of discussing the last achievements of the research (Figure 3). 

Figure 2. The poster session at the TRUSS workshop

Figure 3. Research progress presentation at the TRUSS workshop.
Finally, in the next days, the 30th and 31st of May, I attend the 52nd Esreda semianr in Kaunas, Lithuania. There, I am going to present my research in front of an international audience that is made of professors, decision-makers and critical infrastructure experts. 

I will keep you updated with the new adventure of the project!! 


Friday, 10 March 2017

Data-mining and future prediction of railway tunnel behaviours

Hi fellows, 

Here we are again. 
I hope this post finds you well!! Are you ready for the spring? =) 

In this post, I am going to explain why I worked on the monitoring of the health state of a tunnel during my secondment, which has been carried out from September to December 2016 at AECOM. Firstly, the secondment is important during the Marie Curie programme, as it gives the possibility to each Marie Curie fellow to experience new work activities in different frameworks (industries, new academics groups, etc.). 
Particularly, the goals of my secondment were defined with the aim of applying the mathematical methods that I have developed at the university, into the real daily world. 

Mathematical methods? Yes, guys, the aim of my PhD is the development of mathematical methods, which are able to automatically monitor the health state of railway bridges by analyzing the data provided by a measuring system (that is sensors) installed on the bridge!! Did you remember? 

However, during the first month of the secondment, the company was monitoring in real time the health state of a railway tunnel due to the fact that the tunnel was requiring some works. Consequently, it was an ideal situation to try my mathematical methods in a real-case study by analyzing and monitoring the tunnel behaviors! 
However, before working on it, I had to convince my bosses by asking to the project-coordinator of the Marie-Curie scholarship the authorization to switching topic of the secondment... and fortunately, during the last week of October, I get the green light!! (Thank you Mr. project-coordinator)

Anyway, AECOM has monitored in real time a railway tunnel (for example, see the figure below) by using a measurement system made by more than 300 sensors for more than 4 months, as the monitoring process started in August. Each sensor provided a value of the tunnel behavior, for example displacement of the tunnel walls, or strain, etc., every second basically, 24/7. Therefore, you can easily understand that the first problem was the data analysis of such big database.

Example of railway tunnel (property of Community Rail Lancashire)

I would like to give you as many information as possible regarding the method that we applied in order to identify the typical behavior of the tunnel and, more important, to point out the unexpected tunnel behavior, but as we are drafting research articles on it, I cannot. I am sorry. 
I can say that we (TRUSS people) developed and applied a data-mining algorithm, followed by a machine-learning method that is able to predict the behavior of the tunnel in the future, and, as this was pretty good luckily, AECOM asked us for the copyright of the codes in order to embed them into their analysis methods. Not to bad, isn't?

Finally, yes, I know what you are thinking, and I agree, 100%. However, you have to seek your fortune sometimes... =) 

See you soon!! 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Introduction of the TRUSS project to the University of Nottingham students

Hello fellows!

I hope you are doing well.
In the last post, we discussed the new challenges of the new year, and we have some great news!!

Firstly, I have worked at AECOM in the last months in order to perform my secondment. During these months, some really interesting results have been achieved and I am going to post them soon. Trust me, very soon!

Then, during November 2016 a new research group has been launched by the university of Nottingham, the Resilience engineering research group (RERG), which is the group where I am working right now. In order to introduce the RERG to the university staff members and students, a workshop was organized on the 9th of November.

4 Academics, 11 research fellows and 16 PhD students compose the operative brain of the RERG group, that aim to develop innovative and efficient methods for asset management, system monitoring (fault detection and diagnosis, prognostic methods), reliability, safety and risk analysis of systems.

The presentation of the group has been held at the conference center of the University of Nottingham on the 9th of November 2016. There, I gave a 20 minutes talk introducing the TRUSS project by explaining its goals, partners, beneficiaries and research programs around Europe. Then, I explained the goals of my PhD ( by showing a case study, which has been developed during the first year of the PhD and that will be presented at two conferences during the next months. The audience was mainly formed by students and academics of the University of Nottingham.

Presenting at the RERG workshop

Finally, I would like to give you a quick preview of the next posts:

1. one post will discuss the results of the secondment explaining the reason why I worked on the monitoring of a railway tunnel. Yes, I know, a tunnel is different from a bridge, and my PhD analyses  railway bridges. However, we develop mathematical methods, and Mathematics does not care about the nature of the data, She (meaning her majesty the Mathematics) can assess the health state of every kind of system (or infrastructure) by simply analyzing a continuous flow of data, which are provided by a monitoring system installed on the infrastructure of interest.

2. in another post, I am going to talk about my experience as inspector of a railway bridge during a visual inspection program of a 170-years old railway bridge!

That's all folks!!
Thanks for reading!