Donald Estep and Troy Butler Awarded Prestigious NSF Grant

Donald Estep, (University Interdisciplinary Research Scholar and Professor, Departments of Statistics) and Troy Butler (Research Scientist, Department of Statistics) are principle investigators on a prestigious $550,000, three-year grant from the new National Science Foundation Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CDS&E-MSS)  program. The project, Data-Driven Inverse Sensitivity Analysis for Predictive Coastal Ocean Modeling, is aimed at improving predictive capabilities of computational models of the coastal ocean, with a focus on the impact of storm surge during a hurricane.

Advanced computer models that capture the complex processes of the coastal ocean can be used to predict the impact of storm surge as hurricanes approach landfall. A team of investigators from Colorado State University, Notre Dame University, and University of Texas at Austen will tackle two aspects of predicting hurricane impact. First, they will develop new methods to solve the inverse problem associated with calibration of input data for the models to observable quantities. Second, the team will investigate uncertainty quantification of prediction results by accounting for the effects of errors and uncertainties in model approximations and experimental measurement.

The Notre Dame and UT Austen team members are providing the expertise in physical and computational modeling of storm surge while the CSU team of Dr. Estep are providing new mathematical and statistical theory to undertake solution of the calibration inverse problem and quantifying uncertainty in model predictions.

The computational methodology and tools developed under this project are applicable to other problems in coastal engineering, marine science, material science and other engineering disciplines. Technology transfer of the mathematical and numerical methodologies developed under this project will occur with the coastal ocean modeling community, and with agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, the Department of Homeland Security, state and local agencies, industry, and other universities in the U.S. and abroad.