Lehigh University Doctoral Student Wins the 2009 Nevada Medal for Distinguished Graduate Student Paper
“Nader M. Okasha, a doctoral student at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is the recipient of the 2009 Nevada Medal for Distinguished Graduate Student Paper in Bridge Engineering," Professor Saiidi of the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, announced recently. Mr. Okasha’s research that led to the award winning paper was conducted under the direction of Professor Dan Frangopol. Evaluators were from a group of experts in bridge engineering research and design. The award includes a plaque, an engraved 14-K gold pin, and a $1,500 check. The funding for the award is provided by an endowment established by Simon Wong Engineering of San Diego, California. Mr. Wong completed a BSCE ('79) and an MSCE ('84) degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The title of the winning paper is: "A Novel Approach for the Optimization of Bridge Maintenance." Both preventive and critical maintenance are considered with optimized solutions that address life cycle cost and redundancy. The abstract of the article is presented below.
Upon being notified of winning the award Mr. Okasha stated: “It is a great honor for me to receive the Nevada Medal for the Distinguished Graduate Student Paper in Bridge Engineering. I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Simon Wong and Simon Wong Engineering for sponsoring this award and encouraging innovation among graduate students in bridge engineering worldwide. Protecting the world deteriorating infrastructure is a great challenge and I hope the outcomes of my research will contribute toward addressing this challenge effectively.” Mr. Okasha plans to gain some work experience in design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure in the US after completing his PhD and to conduct research and teach at Birzeit University in Palestine, where he obtained his BS degree.
In this paper, a novel approach for finding optimum maintenance strategies for bridges through multi-objective optimization and using genetic algorithms is proposed. This approach is able to handle both preventive and essential maintenance types, and provide uniform and non-uniform time-interval maintenance plans. Performance indicators used are based on lifetime functions.