Ian Smith promoted to full professor at the EPFL
Measurement and information systems in the service of structures
Today, the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology promoted Ian Smith to Full Professor of Structural Engineering in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC). Already Chair of the Structural Engineering Institute, his dynamism, his applied research results and his potential for scientific creativity will continue to have an impact in the field of civil engineering.
For Ian Smith, structural engineers are central actors in an economically important industry. Through more rational use of opportunities such as those offered by measurement systems and information technology, engineers could increase their capacities to carry out key tasks. For example, fibre-optic sensors permit the measurement of phenomena that were previously unmeasurable in existing structures; algorithms support more systematic and rational use of sensors; measurements improve the quality of modelling, and a combination of measurement and computing leads to bio-inspired control of active structures.
In addition, the development of software that is appropriate for full-scale engineering tasks advances information science in aspects such as model based reasoning, search for solutions in complex non-linear solution spaces, diagnostic decision support and engineer-computer interaction.
Of Swiss and Canadian nationality, Ian Smith was born in 1955. After obtaining his Bachelor degree in civil engineering at the University of Waterloo (Canada) in 1978, he went to work in industry. In 1982, he obtained his Doctorate in mechanics and materials science at Cambridge University (Great Britain) and then came to the EPFL, where he was successively a Research Associate and a Scientific Adjoint. In 1986 he finished a Certificate of Postgraduate Studies in computer science, became an Assistant Professor in 1996 and then an Associate Professor in 2000. It was at this time that he took over the direction of IMAC (Applied Computing and Mechanics Laboratory). He was appointed Chair of the Structural Engineering Institute in 2001.