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Ian Smith

Ian SmithBio

Ian F. C. Smith received his BASc in 1978 from the University of Waterloo, Canada and his PhD from the University of Cambridge, England in 1982. A Professor of Structural Engineering at the L'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne Switzerland, he is Head of the Applied Computing and Mechanics Laboratory (20 staff) and past Chair of the Structural Engineering Institute (100 staff).

Research activities include development of original computing applications, active structures and sensor development. Many current projects lie on the interfaces between these topics. Teaching activities include a new two-semester computer aided engineering fundamentals course that has been adopted by other universities in North America, Europe and Asia. He has also been active in providing consulting services to industry for more than twenty years.

In addition to sitting on four editorial boards of international scientific journals he is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Advanced Engineering Informatics (Elsevier) and Associate Editor of Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design, Analysis and Manufacturing (Cambridge). He is the founder and Past Chair of the European Group for Intelligent Computing in Engineering (EG-ICE) and Past Chair of the Information Technology Committee of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.

In 2003, he co-authored the text book Fundamentals of Computer Aided Engineering (Wiley). He sits on several technical committees of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) including the Executive Committee of the Technical Council for Computing and Information Technology. He is a Fellow of ASCE and in 2004, he was elected to the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences. In 2005, he received the ASCE Computing in Civil Engineering Award.

IMAC Applied Computing and Mechanics Laboratory

Areas of Specialization

Structural engineering, active structures, space applications, mechanics, information science, human-computer interaction, infrastructure monitoring, global sustainability, intelligent CAD

Recent Activities

The Applied Computing and Mechanics Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) has welcomed exchange students for periods of three and six months over the past two years. Tasks have involved finite-element modeling using ANSYS, support for testing active structures, checking course notes and proof-reading documents in English. All work has been in English although socially, students have been able to improve their knowledge of French. These exchanges have also provided a base from which students can explore the many cultures and geographical regions of Europe during their time off.

The first student had already completed her Masters degree in the UK and she stayed for six months. Since this person was already very advanced in her engineering education, she was immediately productive and her exchange quickly became a win-win situation. She was very much appreciated by all in the group. The last exchange involved a second-year engineering student from Canada. Since he was younger and had no experience in finite-element modeling, a significant amount of effort was necessary before he came up to speed. Also, his lack of experience with written engineering documents lead to a reduced level of attention, and this resulted in low-quality document checks for English mistakes. Nevertheless, the modeling experience he gained will help him significantly in subsequent engineering courses in Canada and members of the group were able to practice their English and learn about life in English-speaking Canada.