Second staff exchange in the DRIVEN project

Dr. Jack S. Hale, Research Scientist and Raphaël Bulle, PhD student, University of Luxembourg, took part in the second staff exchange within the University of Texas at Austin.

Jack Hale and Raphaël Bulle visited the Willerson Center for Cardiovascular Modelling and Simulation, within the Oden Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES). The Willerson Center is led by Prof. Michael Sacks, a world authority on cardiovascular biomechanics with a focus on quantification and simulation of structure-mechanical properties of native and engineered cardiovascular soft tissues.

The primary purpose of the trip was to kick-start the knowledge exchange action under the “Mathematics of Data-Driven Modelling” sub-topic of the DRIVEN project. All the staff from UT Austin involved in the discussion presented their scientific interests and specific knowledge to be exchanged within the DRIVEN project. The feedback was positive, with a number of staff agreeing to visit UL to exchange knowledge over the project period.

Prof. Sacks’ group presents a perfect opportunity to collaborate on the topic of data-driven modelling, as the synthesis of experimental data and state-of-the-art cardiovascular models has been a critical research question within his laboratory for many years.

Dr. Hale and Dr. Bulle had very interesting discussions and received high-quality training on relevant scientific topics as described below:

  • Dr. Emma Lejeune gave training on the “Modelling of valve interstitial cells” using the FEniCS Project and uncertainty quantification in the context of traction force microscopy.
  • Dr. Wenbo Zhang gave training on “Trileaflet valve constitutive modelling using machine learning” and especially how machine learning can be used to produce accurate surrogate models of complex constitutive models for the human heart.
  • Discussion with Prof. Michael Sacks on a joint collaboration on the role of machine-learning in constitutive modelling using a national funding call in early 2020.
  • Discussion with Asst. Prof. Fernanda Leite, who participates in the Texas Grand Challenges project and use various data-driven approaches for improving building quality and sustainability, including: automatic error detection and correction in building planning and construction, and virtual reality checking of complex chemical engineering plants.
  • Discussion with Asst. Prof. Tan Bui-Thanh on the method of active subspaces, optimal transport problems applied to Bayesian inverse problems and his general philosophy towards solving difficult problems in data-driven modelling.
  • Dr. Peng Chen, who is working on novel derivative-based variance reduction methods for Monte Carlo methods.
  • Finally, Dr. Hale and Dr. Bulle visited the Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC), where they have met Dr. Viktor Eijkhout and Dr. Bill Barth and gave a seminar showing the FEniCS Project and the research performed by the University of Luxembourg, before being given a detailed tour and history of the machine room at TACC.