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International Participation at Big Data Workshop

Clinton Carter (Utilities Service Alliance) leading opening panel on industry needs and challenges

On December 10 and 11, the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering hosted the Big Data for Nuclear Power Plants Workshop in Columbus, Ohio. 

The workshop was organized with help from Ohio State nuclear engineering faculty and staff. Professor Carol Smidts and assistant professor Marat Khafizov served on the Technical Organizing Committee. Postdoctoral researcher Xiaoxu Diao and research associate engineer Yunfei Zhae led the local organizing committee. 

The two-day event focused on big data, a term describing large volumes of high velocity, complex and variable data, and its applications to the nuclear industry. The main goal of the workshop was to identify research issues and needs, as well as opportunities for applications of big data and artificial intelligence. “We are trying to focus on operation, maintenance and advancement,” said MAE professor and workshop organizer Carol Smidts. 

The annual workshop brings in nuclear energy researchers and industry experts from across the country, but this year also brought international participants for the first time. Japan and Norway were represented by participants including Emil Wingstedt, a research scientist from the Institute for Energy Technology in Halden, Norway who presented during a section on diagnostics and prognostics. 

Dr. Ed Herderick, principal engineer OSU CDME, presenting on advanced manufacturingThe workshop kicked off with two panel discussions. The first panel on industryneeds and challenges was delivered by industry professionals from Utilities Service Alliance, the Electric Power Research Institute, Rolls-Royce and Framatome. This was followed by presentations on advanced manufacturing and nuclear materials from a panel that included speakers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, and Edward Herderick from the Ohio State Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME).


Sherri Buchanan (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)The afternoon presentations were divided into two tracks. Participants in track A heard presentations on diagnostics and prognostics. This included a presentation from Yunfei Zhao, a mechanical and aerospace engineering research associate, who spoke about component degradation modeling and maintenance optimization in the nuclear industry. Track A also included speakers from the University of Pittsburgh, North Carolina State University, Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory. 

Track B held session that heard presentations on cyber and physical security as well as information science. Pavan Kumar Vaddi, a graduate research associate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, spoke about increasing threats of cyber-attacks on nuclear power plants. Vaddi also shared his experimental results in classifying cyber security threats. The final presentation of the evening was given by MAE PhD student, Wei Gao. Gao shared his research in using neural network models to automatically derive information on components and their identifications from piping and instrumentation diagrams.  

The second day of the Big Data for Nuclear Assistant Professor Khafizov and Professor Smidts leading a breakout sessionPower Plants Workshop began with two breakout sessions. One breakout moderated by MAE assistant professor Marat Khafizov discussed advanced manufacturing and nuclear materials. The second breakout covered nuclear operation and maintenance. 

Final presentations were given in morning sessions with Track A covering integration with physics-based modeling. Track B’s focus was on sensors and included a presentation from MAE graduate fellow Anthony Birri on using an optical fiber-based gamma thermometer array to infer reactor core power distribution.

This was the third year of the Big Data Workshop. Next year’s workshop will be held December 9 and 10, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. The 2020 workshop will focus on furthering the investigation of big data and how it can be applied to various segments of nuclear science and engineering.

by Sam Cejda, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering