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Category: Civil Engineering

Researcher studies cross-laminated timber as seismic retrofit tool

Cross-laminated timber. Credit: Oregon State University Safer historic buildings and more jobs for the timber industry are the goals of a partnership between an Oregon State University structural engineering researcher and a newly formed nonprofit group in Corvallis, Oregon. Andre Barbosa of the OSU College of Engineering is collaborating with Cascadia Seismic Strategies on a $150,000 project to study the use of cross-laminated timber panels for seismic retrofits on unreinforced masonry buildings.  A grant coordinated through the Downtown Corvallis…

Helping Guests Make Informed Decisions with Market Insights

Two common decisions that our guests are making are: Should I book now for better availability or later for better flexibility? Which of the listings should I book? As the service provider, we have broad views of the entire market and guest behaviors that individual guests do not necessarily have. This information usually provides helpful insights to solve guests’ puzzles. Market insights are one channel where we interact with our guests at various stages of the booking flow. We provide…

Developer Experience Lessons Operating a Serverless-like Platform at Netflix

By Vasanth Asokan, Ludovic Galibert and Sangeeta Narayanan The Netflix API is based on a dynamic scripting platform that handles thousands of changes per day. This platform allows our client developers to create a customized API experience on over a thousand device types by executing server side adapter code in response to HTTP requests. Developers are only responsible for the adapter code they write; they do not have to worry about infrastructure concerns related to server management and operations. To…

Engineering Data Analytics with Presto and Parquet at Uber

From determining the most convenient rider pickup points to predicting the fastest routes, Uber uses data-driven analytics to create seamless trip experiences. Within engineering, analytics inform decision-making processes across the board. As we expand to new markets, the ability to accurately and quickly aggregate data becomes even more important. In early 2014, Uber only had several hundred employees worldwide. But by late 2016, we had over two thousand people running more than one hundred thousand analytic queries daily. We needed…

Introducing ELF: An extensive, lightweight and flexible platform for game research | Engineering Blog | Facebook Code

Games provide a useful environment for artificial intelligence research. Within a game environment, the amount of labeled training data available for training AI models is nearly infinite, low-cost, replicable, and more easily obtained at a much higher rate than in real-world experiments. These attributes are helping facilitate research underway in Facebook’s AI Research lab (FAIR) to explore both short-term milestones like demonstrating the strength of AI in multiple complicated game environments, and long-term goals aimed at applying AI to real-world…

Virtual laboratory—fast, flexible and exact

From input data obtained through experiments, via the virtual laboratory, to creation of material cards for component simulation. Credit: © Photo Fraunhofer IWM During the forming process, sheet metal materials are often stressed to their limits. Computer simulations are used to test how far it is possible to go in production. However, the simulation is only ever as exact as the data on which it is based. Fraunhofer scientists have now developed a virtual test laboratory that allows them to…

Innovative bracing for durable structures

Across the world, severe earthquakes regularly shake entire regions. More than two billion people live in danger zones – many of them in structures not built to withstand an earthquake. Together with partners from industry, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI are developing building materials designed to prevent buildings from collapsing in a natural disaster. Earthquakes repeatedly claim too many lives, a fact that experts trace back to a lack of preventative measures – particularly when it…

Engineering Ethics Blog: The Legacy of Hanford

One era’s triumph can turn into another era’s disaster, and perhaps no better example of that in the field of nuclear energy and weapons is the Hanford Site in south-central Washington State, about 200 miles from Seattle.  During the height of World War II, physicist Enrico Fermi designed a nuclear reactor for the Dupont Corporation to produce plutonium that was needed for nuclear weapons, as part of the ultra-secret Manhattan Project.  The small farming community of Hanford, Washington was selected…

Engineering On-Demand Transportation for Business with Uber Central

When Uber launched in 2009, our mission was simple: make transportation as reliable as running water everywhere, for everyone. While our mission remains the same today, the number of Uber use cases have grown dramatically, motivating our engineers to think creatively about how we leverage our existing tech stack. In April 2017, Uber re-launched Uber Central (Central), an on-demand transportation solution that gives organizations a more efficient way to manage business travel. With Central, businesses can request a ride for…

Saving the planet with flexible electronics

Fig. 1 Push coating devices onto substrates with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films. 1. Deposit approximately 5 microliters of solution on a substrate; 2. Press the PDMS stamp against it. 3. Wait for the solvent to diffuse inside PDMS and remove PDMS. Credit: University of Electro Communications “My research on organic photovoltaic (OPVs) devices reflects my fascination with electronic gadgets and concerns about the environment,” says Varun Vohra, tenure-track assistant professor at the Department of Engineering Science, UEC, Tokyo. “So I want…