Hassanzadeh awarded Young Investigator Program research grant

Rice mechanical engineering professor is one of 26 recipients of U.S. Office of Naval Research grant.

Pedram Hassanzadeh

Pedram Hassanzadeh, assistant professor of mechanical engineering (MECH) and of earth, environmental and planetary sciences, is one of 26 recipients in the nation awarded a Young Investigator Program (YIP) research grant by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

His proposal is titled “Using Artificial Intelligence and Inexact Computing to Improve Modeling of Multi-scale, Multi-physics, Chaotic Dynamical Systems with Applications to Weather Predictions.”

“The goal of the project is a novel integration of artificial intelligence-based data-driven techniques with mixed-precision computing to develop a computational framework for improving the modeling of complex, high-dimensional, nonlinear dynamical systems, including weather and climate,” Hassanzadeh said.

His research has focused on using computational, mathematical and statistical models to study atmospheric and oceanic flows, in particular those related to such extreme-weather events as heat waves, hurricanes and droughts.

“The conventional ways to model complex, multi-scale chaotic or turbulent systems have reached their limits,” Hassanzadeh said. “AI and mixed-precision computing are ways to increase the simulation accuracy without requiring additional computational resources. I will use them to improve modeling of complex dynamical systems, join their strengths, and integrate them to develop novel computational frameworks. One application of particular interest to the Navy is weather forecasting, but this work will help modeling of other engineering and natural systems.”

Hassanzadeh earned his M.A. in mathematics and Ph.D. in MECH from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He was a Ziff Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment (2013-2015) and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard University Department of Earth and Planetary Science (2015-16). He joined the Rice faculty in 2016.

This year’s YIP recipients will share $14 million in funding to conduct research intended to benefit the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Typical grants range from $510,000 to $750,000 over a three-year period. Hassanzadeh expects to use his grant to support a postdoctoral researcher, among other expenses.