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Featured Researcher: Shahrad Shakerian

Posted on March 12, 2021

Meet our new featured researcher, Shahrad Shakerian. Shahrad is doctoral student in architectural engineering who aims to predict failures in facility maintenance before they happen. His research focuses on reducing expenses of material and human resources by using predictive maintenance with the help of data science.

What is your academic background?

I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2017 and a master’s degree in construction engineering and management in 2019. Currently, I am a second-year Ph.D. student at Architectural Engineering Department at Penn State.

How did you get into this research field?

I was so interested in the application of new technologies in the construction industry. Working under supervision of Prof. Jebelli provided this opportunity to apply new emerging technologies such as wearable biosensors for different issues in the construction industry (e.g., workers’ safety). After working on the application of wearable biosensors for workers’ heat stress assessment, I started working on application of operational data collected from embedded sensors for failure prediction of building facilities.

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

My research consists of four objectives and the goal of the research is designing a platform for facility maintenance management at Penn State. This platform continuously monitors and analyzes facilities’ operational data and aims to predict failures and send feedbacks to facility managers.

What are the big problems you hope this research solves?

Institutions like healthcare, military, and higher education have large and expansive building and infrastructure systems.  Penn State for example, has multitude buildings in its portfolio worth over $7.5 billion in replacement value.  All of these facilities are in various condition states requiring different levels of investment. This research aims to change the facility maintenance strategy from corrective maintenance to predictive maintenance, which can prevent frequent breakdowns in facilities and reduce expenses in terms of material and human resources.

What is the biggest surprise for you personally that has come out of your journey?

This journey familiarized me with the capabilities of data science and how new techniques in data analysis can solve vast variety of issues and reduce expenses for organizations, which was a great surprise for me. I used to think that only new technologies can solve long-lasting issues in different industries; however, new data analysis tools can offer new management strategies, which improve organizations’ performance with no additional costs.

What’s your favorite sound?

My favorite sound is the sound of piano specially when it is mixed with violin. This can make my day!

If you had unlimited money, what projects would you take on?

If I had unlimited money, after buying a mansion in Miami Beach, I would invest in projects related to artificial intelligence and electric cars as the future of smart cities.

What is your advice for would-be scientists?

My primary advice is to always improve your skills by self-education and self-learning through online courses and seminars, and not to only count on the courses you take at university.

What is in your song’s playlist?

My playlist mainly includes Drake songs and some deep house music.

What profession other than your own would you enjoy?

One of the professions that I really enjoy is real estate and I usually watch YouTube videos about that and follow successful people in this profession on social media such as Manny Khoshbin.


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