House<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/WU_D5_DIGITAL_04_2016-12-15-medres-760x428.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​Concrete is durable, inexpensive and ubiquitous. But is it sustainable?​<br/><br/>Yes, argues <a href="">Hongxi Yin</a>, I-CARES associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Though the manufacturing process emits carbon dioxide, those emissions are offset by the material’s longevity and unique thermal properties.<br/></p><p>“Concrete will last 100 years,” explains Yin, an internationally recognized expert on green development. It also boasts a high heat capacity, or thermal mass. On a summer afternoon, concrete walls absorb the warmth of the sun, slowing the rise of interior temperatures. On a summer evening, natural ventilation releases the heat back outside, dispersing it into the cool night air.<br/></p><p>“Ancient peoples used thermal mass, but we’ve ignored that potential,” Yin says. “If you design it well, with the right systems and insulations, you can make a net-zero-energy concrete building.”<br/></p><h3>Solar Decathlon</h3><p>Now that argument is being put to the test as students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the School of Engineering & Applied Science prepare for <a href="">Solar Decathlon 2017</a>.</p><p>Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the biennial competition challenges university teams from around the world to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses. This year’s event, which takes place in Denver Oct. 5-15, will feature cutting-edge prototypes ranging from 650 to 1,000 square feet.</p><p>Winners will be selected on the basis of: design excellence and innovation; energy and water efficiency; and market potential. Each structure must be capable of running typical household functions using only global solar radiation. Any other energy sources, such as batteries or AC grid energy, must be offset by an equal or greater amount of energy produced.</p><p>At stake is $2 million in prize money.</p><p>“Architecture is about bridging the gap between concept and reality,” says faculty project architect <a href="">Pablo Moyano</a>, senior lecturer in architecture in the Sam Fox School, who is leading the studio with Yin and faculty project manager Ryan Abendroth. “In a typical studio, students can make impressive designs. But with Solar Decathlon, they actually have to build them.</p><p>“Students are exposed to the entire process, from conceptual design to construction and operation,” Moyano adds. “That’s a unique experience and a valuable lesson.<br/></p><h3>Team WashU</h3><p><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Hongxi-Yin-panel-construction-225x300.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/>Though Denver is still six months away, <a href="">Team WashU</a> has been hard at work for nearly two years.</p><p>In fall 2015, Yin and Moyano offered the first of four semester–long studios. Students began by creating individual proposals, which gradually merged into a final design. They also investigated sustainable strategies for heating, cooling and ventilation, looking for ways to reduce and/or offset energy consumption while still maintaining a comfortable, functional space.<br/></p><p>“The trickiest part has been crystalizing four semesters’ worth of design ideas into a single project,” says Adam Goldberg, a dual master’s candidate in architecture and construction management. “So much of the design world, and architecture education, is theoretical. Solar Decathlon forces you to really grapple with every detail and connection.”</p><p>Meanwhile, computer science students, working under the direction of <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Chenyang-Lu.aspx">Chenyang Lu</a>, the Fullgraf Professor in Computer Science & Engineering, have worked to develop a custom operating system for the house. Yin and adjunct engineering professor Tim Michels co-taught a course on building energy.</p><p>In all, more than 100 graduate and undergraduate students have participated so far. The budget of about $550,000 represents a mix of university contributions, external fundraising and industry sponsorships.</p><p>“This is a research project,” Yin says. “Our challenge is not to deliver one building. Our challenge is to create a transdisciplinary framework that will improve efficiency throughout the industry.</p><p>“Buildings account for up to 40 percent of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions worldwide,” Yin adds. “To conquer global warming, we have to find ways of dealing with buildings in the most natural, most affordable ways possible.”<br/></p><h3>CRETE House</h3><p><img src="/news/PublishingImages/WashU%20Engineering%20Solar%20Decathlon.jpg?RenditionID=1" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/>Many of this year’s Solar Decathlon entrants draw from a similar palette of design ideas: solar panels, green roofs, flexible floorplans and sophisticated monitoring abound. Virtually all rely on light-frame wood or steel construction.</p><p>CRETE House, the entry by Team WashU, stands in marked contrast. The 995-square-foot structure, which will eventually serve as a long-term residence for scientists at <a href="">Tyson Research Center</a>, will be built from six large precast concrete panels. Oversized gutters will provide shade support, extending the living space outdoors. A water collection system and series of modular planters will support hydroponic gardening.</p><p>“Concrete has a lot of upsides,” Moyano says. “It’s resistant to fire, humidity, mold and insects. It’s resistant to extreme weather, such as hurricanes and tornados. It’s durable. The main downside is weight. Concrete is heavy.”</p><p>To counteract that weight, students have worked with the Precast/Prestress Concrete Institute — particularly its Midwest, Mountain States, Central Region and Illinois & Wisconsin affiliates — to design and cast <a href="">sandwich panels</a> using <a href="">Ductal</a>, a new, high-performance mixture. “Ductal is six times stronger than regular concrete,” Moyano says. “This allows us to create panels that are thinner and about 30% lighter than standard precast concrete.”</p><p>Perhaps most strikingly, the house does not contain a traditional HVAC system. Instead — capitalizing on concrete’s high thermal mass — the house is primarily warmed and cooled by water coils embedded within the panels.</p><p>“It’s a hydraulic system,” Yin says. “The thermal mass radiates a uniform, comfortable temperature.”</p><p>In the coming weeks, students will begin assembling CRETE House at Washington University’s North Campus, and will spend much of the summer refining and testing its systems. Then, in late August, they will take the house apart, ship it to Denver and assemble it again for the competition.</p><p>“Solar Decathlon is a big challenge, but also a great educational tool,” Yin concludes. “Students integrate cutting-edge architectural research with structural engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing, computer science and biology.</p><p>“But the larger goal is to prepare students to face the future. How do we serve the community? How do we increase efficiency?  And how do we help to solve global warming and environmental issues?”<br/></p><div><a href=""><img src="/news/PublishingImages/WashU%20Engineers%20Solar%20Decalthlon.gif" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></a><br/></div><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Mission: Create a More Sustainable Future<br/></h3><ul><li> <a href="" style="font-size: 1em; background-color: #ffffff;">WashU Team Website</a><a href=""><br/></a></li><li> <a href="">Facebook</a><br/></li><li> <a href="" style="font-size: 1em; background-color: #ffffff;">@TeamWashUSolar</a><br/></li><li> <a href="">#SD2017</a><br/></li></ul><p></p></div>A water collection system and series of modular planters support hydroponic gardening. (Image: Team WashU)By Liam Otten and Beth Miller is durable, inexpensive and ubiquitous. But is it sustainable?<p><span style="font-size: 1.05em;">Sam Fox School teams with Engineering & Applied Science for 2017 Solar Decathlon</span></p> students receive prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships <p>​Three seniors and a doctoral student in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis have been chosen for the competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. <br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/washu%20engineering%20commencement.JPG?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>The fellowship, the oldest of its kind, awards a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 as well as a $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education. From more than 13,000 applications received for the 2017 competition, the NSF awarded 2,000 fellowships.</p><p>The new fellows are:</p><ul><li><p><strong>Savannah Est</strong>, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in materials science & engineering;</p></li><li><p><strong>Roger Albert Iyengar</strong>, a senior majoring in computer science; </p></li><li><p><strong>Corban Swain</strong>, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering;</p></li><li><p><strong>Ian Berke</strong>, a first-year doctoral student in biomedical engineering. </p></li></ul><p>Three undergraduate Engineering students and two alumni received honorable mentions, which is considered a significant national academic achievement. They are: </p><ul><li><p><strong>Ananya Benegal</strong>, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in mechanical engineering and a master's student in mechanical engineering;</p></li><li><p><strong>Arnold Tao</strong>, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering;</p></li><li><p><strong>Louis Shen Wang</strong>, a senior majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in chemistry;</p></li><li><p><strong>Timothy Bartholomew</strong>, who earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 2015 and is now a graduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University.</p></li><li><p><strong>Pratik Singh Sachdeva</strong>, who earned a bachelor's degree in applied science in 2015 and is now a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.<br/></p></li></ul><p>The Graduate Research Fellowship has a history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. Many become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners; U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; Google founder Sergey Brin; and Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt. Since 1952, NSF has funded more than 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants. <br/></p>Beth Miller 2017-03-20T05:00:00ZThree seniors and a doctoral student have been chosen for the competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Science doctoral student wins Best Paper Award<img alt="" src="/Profiles/ResearchImages/shield_red.jpg?RenditionID=6" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​​Lav Gupta, a computer science doctoral student in the lab of Raj Jain, the Barbara and Jerome Cox Professor of Computer Science, won a best-paper award at the IEEE Annual Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference Jan. 9-11 in Las Vegas. </p><p>The paper, co-written by Gupta, Mohammed Samaka, Raj Jain, Aiman Erbad, Deval Bhamare and Chris Metz, was titled "COLAP: A Predictive Framework for Service Function Chain Placement in a Multi-cloud Environment," and received the award in the Cloud Computing and Data Center Systems category.<br/></p>2017-03-01T06:00:00ZThe paper received the award in the Cloud Computing and Data Center Systems category. launches site celebrating immigrant entrepreneursStudies show that 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. In other words, by people like <a href="">Jordan Gonen</a>, son of an Israeli immigrant and a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis.<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/celebrating%20immigrants.JPG?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>This week, Gonen and his friend Henry Kaufman, of Colorado, launched the site <a href=""></a>, an ever-growing list of immigrants who founded innovative American businesses, ranging from  Irish immigrant James Gamble of Procter & Gamble to South African-born Elon Musk of Tesla. The site is Gonen’s response to debate over recent changes to U.S immigration policy and has attracted visitors from 100 nations.</p><p>Here, Gonen, who is studying finance at Olin Business School and computer science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, shares why he created the site, how viewers have responded and what other projects are on his plate.</p><p> <strong><em>What was the genesis of the site?</em></strong></p><p>It was 11 o’clock at night on Saturday and I had just seen the movie “Founder,” which is about the founder of McDonald’s. I was thinking about the drive and determination it takes to start a business — qualities immigrants frequently possess. I was talking to Henry and we decided we should do this. We worked until 3 a.m. and launched. I don’t consider myself a politically involved person, but I don’t think of immigration as a political issue. This is more of a life debate.</p><p> <em><strong>You are the son of an immigrant. How has the experience shaped your views?</strong></em></p><p>My dad came to the United States with $2,000 stuffed in his socks and  worked hard to succeed. What I’ve learned through my dad’s culture and also from the tech world is that doing matters more than talking, whether that means launching a small side project like or starting a new company. It’s about going for it and testing your ideas. A lot of immigrants really embrace that concept. Many start with little to no resources in their new country. And they still manage to make things happen.</p><div style="float: left; margin: 0px 20px 20px 0px; width: 300px; font-style: italic; font-size: 0.9em; text-align: center;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/gonen.jpg" alt="Jordan Gonen"/><br/>Jordan Gonen </div><p> <strong><em>How did the list come together? </em></strong></p><p>We built this site solely on the premise of bringing more recognition to founders that we looked up to. We compiled the list manually and we know we left some people out. We added a “suggest a founder” button that should help with that. Everyone knows about Elon Musk, but there are so many amazing stories out there, from Ukrainian immigrant Igor Sikorsky, who founded Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and built the first helicopter, to Iranian-American Arash Ferdowsi, founder of DropBox. </p><p> <strong><em>You also are very entrepreneurial and innovative. What projects have you launched?</em></strong></p><p>In October, a friend and I launched  Disrupt Cards, a Silicon Valley version of “Cards Against Humanity” (sample cards: Angel investing in toddlers, the Satanic chanting of Jeff Bezos, Clippy). We were on CNN and got a lot of other cool press. It’s kind of offensive but also funny. Henry and I also launched another project last week called WritingClub, which provides a writing prompt every day (Sample prompts: “The biggest mountain you have to climb this year,” “The most important piece of technology.”)</p><p>And right now I’m working on a new company called Scaphold, which helps people build apps faster using GraphQL. I have a few more projects that will launch soon. One is called Book Club, which allows users to create and share lists of books. A lot of people wait until they have the perfect idea, but for me, it’s about just doing it.</p><p>​</p> <span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>Media Coverage</h3><div> Student Life: <a href="">Sophomore creates website to celebrate achievements of immigrants in U.S.</a></div></div></span>Jordan Gonen launched in response to the executive order suspending immigration from seven nations.Diane Toroian Keaggy, source.wustl.edu Gonen launched in response to the executive order suspending immigration from seven nations. develop software to connect homeless agencies<p>​While it might seem counterintuitive to ask computer programmers from around the world to help solve the homelessness problem in St. Louis, that's exactly what a local organization did in October. </p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/GlobalHack_3078.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>GlobalHack holds 48-hour intensive software development sessions, called hackathons, twice a year to give computer programmers and developers the opportunity to create a product prototype toward an assigned challenge. The company has hosted six hackathons since its beginning in 2013, all of which have included students and alumni from the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, who have been successful in winning cash prizes and even getting jobs through the experience. </p><p>In the October event, <a href="">GlobalHack VI</a>, a team of School of Engineering & Applied Science students and an alumnus took third place in the College division, which brought with it a $25,000 cash prize. Members of the winning team, called STLUnited, were Daniel Borstelmann, who earned a bachelor's degree in applied science (computer science) with a minor in architecture in 2016; Ben Bush, a junior majoring in computer science; Darius Calliet, a senior majoring in computer science, applied science and business administration; and Justin Guyton, a junior majoring in computer science with a minor in electrical engineering. All four are veterans of the GlobalHack competitions and have been on teams that have won previous competitions. Thirty-six other WashU students also participated in the event on other teams.</p><p>While STLUnited brought their skills and lessons learned from previous competitions into GlobalHack VI, the event had a different mission than earlier ones: each team was challenged to create software that would help the 60 St. Louis-area agencies, such as the St. Patrick Center, that provide services to the homeless to do so more seamlessly. </p><p>To ensure that this becomes a reality and not only a weekend project, GlobalHack is targeting 2018 for its next 1,000-person hackathon and will use $250,000 of the $1 million designated for GlobalHack VI to focus on making this software a reality. </p><blockquote>"We found that a lot of developers were in it for the social part, not for the money," said Delia Chassaing, recruitment and outreach coordinator for GlobalHack and a 2016 Washington University graduate with a bachelor's degree in economics and healthcare management and a minor in Italian. "We wanted to be building software that mattered globally and take a more hands-on approach." <p></p></blockquote><p>Bush said the team knew in advance that the challenge would involve homelessness. Once the team received the challenge at the event's beginning on Friday evening, they had a few hours to brainstorm. </p> <p></p> <p>"There are a lot of excellent services in St. Louis that provide different resources and aid to homeless citizens, but from our perspective, what they were missing was a centralized system to share resources and more effectively communicate about who they were helping," Bush said. "We are tech-minded people – we don't know how to solve homelessness in St. Louis, but we have the ability to develop tools that can help people who do know how to solve homelessness."</p><p>The team developed a web application that lists all shelters in the area and the availability of their resources, such as open beds, meals, or ability to take children. Their idea was that a homeless person could fill out an application with their basic information using the app, then two things would result: the person would receive an immediate recommendation on where to go for the resources they needed, and the person's information would appear in a centralized database the team built that goes to all social workers. </p><p>Calliet, who has participated in about a half-dozen hackathons keeps returning because he says he enjoys the environment. </p><p>"We have one purpose, and that one purpose is to build this idea," he said.</p><p>While hackathons involve dedicating 48 hours to one project — with little or no sleep — which may not appeal to everyone, Chassaing recommends that WashU students, no matter their major, learn the basics of computer programming. </p><p>"I think it's a powerful tool becoming more and more so every day," she said. "I would encourage every WashU student to take CS 131 (Introduction to Computer Science). It's a different mindset, and the combination of that mindset and the skills that can be acquired in an intro class are fantastic.</p><p>"There is going to be a large gap in the workforce in terms of how many people have coding skills, and how many of those jobs are being filled," Chassaing said. "More and more focus should be on teaching coding skills and igniting a passion for that mindset as early as possible."</p><p>Dedric Carter, vice chancellor for operations and technology transfer and professor of practice in Engineering, says hackathons have much to offer students.</p><p>"The interesting opportunity of a hackathon such as GlobalHack is for students to transcend the lab and classroom to address challenging, and often complex real-world problems," he says. "These experiences shape a hunger for learning and solidify the skills necessary for the next generation of engineers.  Engineers characterize, envision, solve, and build.  GlobalHack provides an opportunity to touch on all of these areas."</p><p>Borstelmann, who was on a team that won Global Hack 1 in 2014 and now works for TopOpps, said that event changed his life. </p><p>“If I had not gone to GlobalHack 1, I wouldn’t have gotten the job I have now,” he said. “Through hackathons, I had my eyes opened to this whole other side of entrepreneurship and web startups. What hackathons gave me was the ability to see a different side of the real world. They expanded my perspective and sent me down a track where I was able to leave college with a whole new set of skills gained through work in the real world.”</p><p> <br/> </p> <span> <hr/></span> <p>The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 88 tenured/tenure-track and 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,200 undergraduate students, 1,200 graduate students and 21,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners — across disciplines and across the world — to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.</p><p>​</p> <span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>WashU Engineers at GlobalHack </h3><div> <strong></strong></div><p></p><ul><li>Justin Guyton<br/></li><li>Ben Bush<br/></li><li>Daniel Borstelmann<br/></li><li>Darius Calliet<br/></li></ul><p></p><p></p></div></span>A team of Washington University School of Engineering & Applied Science students took third place in GlobalHack VI held in October. (From left) Justin Guyton, Ben Bush, Daniel Borstelmann, Darius Calliet, with Laurie Phillips, CEO of St. Patrick Center. Beth Miller2017-01-20T06:00:00ZA team of Washington University School of Engineering & Applied Science students took third place in GlobalHack VI.<p>​WashU engineers took third place in <a href="">GlobalHack VI</a></p>