It's Not Just Modal Anymore

February 8–11, 2021



Below is a link to the IMAC-XXXIX Technical Program presentation schedule. All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST UTC−05:00). This schedule is subject to change. Note: When viewing sessions, click "view" to see full details/abstract.

Technical Program Session Chair Responsibilities Participant Responsibilities

Picture of Russ Salakhutdinov

Keynote: Deep Learning: Recent Advances and New Challenges

Author: Russ Salakhutdinov

Building intelligent systems that are capable of extracting meaningful representations from high-dimensional data lies at the core of solving many Artificial Intelligence tasks, including visual object recognition, information retrieval, speech perception, and language understanding. In this talk I will first introduce a broad class of deep learning models and show that they can learn useful hierarchical representations from large volumes of high-dimensional data with applications in information retrieval, object recognition, and speech perception. I will next discuss deep learning models that can find semantically meaningful representations of words, learn to read documents and answer questions about their content. I will introduce methods that can augment neural representation of text with structured data from Knowledge Bases (KBs) and show how we can answer complex multi-hop questions using a text corpus as a virtual KB. I will further show how we can design modular hierarchical deep reinforcement learning agents for visual navigation that can perform tasks specified by natural language instructions, perform efficient exploration and long-term planning, learn to build the map of the environment, while generalizing across domains and tasks.

Picture of Elliot Wolf

Keynote: COVID-19 and Resiliency in Food Supply Chains: Simulation, Systems Design and Mother Nature

Author: Elliott Wolf

COVID-19-induced changes in consumer behavior exposed major weaknesses in multiple supply chains, including those for personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, non-refrigerated food, medical devices, diagnostic testing supplies and others. Although refrigerated food saw localized and temporary shortages, it (arguably) fared best among all supply chains implicated.

This talk provides an overview of the inherent fragility of the supply chains for perishable food, and of how the steps taken to harden them over centuries allowed them to weather panic-buying and supply disruptions in 2020. It details their modern incarnation, including how agent-based models, various machine learning algorithms and numerical methods factor into design and operational decisions. Such decisions include facility design, facility location, facility operational procedures, redundancy in sourcing, stock level determinations, inventory positioning and transportation routing.

The talk also details the failure modes associated with consumer panic-buying, using live operational data from the largest temperature-controlled warehouse network in the World. We feature vignettes of the “fog of war”— the emergency mathematical (re)engineering that occurred in March-April 2020 to ensure the availability of global food supplies.

Picture of Luke Martin

SAGE Publishing Young Engineer Lecture: Investigations into Structural Dynamics: Modeling Viscoelastic Materials and Multiple Degree of Freedom Vibration Environments

2021 Recipient: Luke Martin - Naval Surface Warfare Center

This lecture will cover two topics from the presenter's early career contributions. First, a novel viscoelastic material model will be briefly reviewed summarizing highlights. Secondly, contributions made over a number of years on the topic of multiple degree of freedom (MDOF) vibration environment definitions and testing will be summarized. Insights and strategies will be covered for defining field environments and challenges for researchers, analyst and testing laboratories when attempting to recreate field environments in a laboratory. MDOF tests require laboratories to monitor and question parameters which have always been present but were often overlooked or ignored. The presenter believes multiple degree of freedom vibration test are the qualification test of the future and a goal of this lecture is to help broaden the understanding of this topic. The lecture will tackle these topics from a more pragmatic point of view with the focus on marrying the theory with the practice.

Panel discussion for High-Rate Structural Health Monitoring and Prognostics

Session 58, Thursday, Feb. 11, 12:00 p.m. EST

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) includes both static and highly dynamic engineering systems. With the advent of real-time sensing, edge-computing, and high-bandwidth computer memory, there is an ability to enable high-rate SHM (HR-SHM). The prepared panel discussion defines the technical area of high-rate structural health monitoring and prognostics and discusses the HR-SHM technical grand challenges including: multi timescales of the problem, adequate sensor network and response, real-time assessment, and decision-making with quantified uncertainty and risk. The panel discussion is a companion to the IMAC XXXIX paper “High-Rate Structural Health Monitoring and Prognostics: An Overview”.


The ability to accurately monitor a structure’s functional integrity, remaining life, and react to maximize function and minimize risk is the ultimate goal of SHM and prognostics. Structures with high-rate dynamics include civil structures exposed to blast, automotive safety systems subjected to collisions, debris strikes to space shuttles, and aerial vehicles. These systems have many additional technical challenges to overcome for appropriate monitoring the functional integrity.

In May 2020, the Air Force Research Laboratory hosted a workshop “High-Rate Monitoring, Damage Detection, Structural Prognosis, and Reaction.” At this workshop, the authors discussed and defined the need for high-rate structural health monitoring and outlined technical challenges and approaches to this area. The working group identified four grand technical challenges:
  1. adequate sensing
  2. lack of system knowledge
  3. high variability in loading
  4. limited resources for algorithm implementation


The course of discussion will work to answer the following questions:
  1. what is high-rate,
  2. what are the applications,
  3. four grand technical challenges,
  4. what approaches offer potential solutions to the grand technical challenges.
A panel summary will we compiled and shared publicly thought the working-groups web-page.

Panel Members
  • Jacob Dodson, Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin AFB, FL, 32542
  • Austin Downey, 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208
  • Simon Laflamme, 3Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011
  • Michael Todd, Department of Structural Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093
  • Adriane G. Moura, Emerald Coast Division, Applied Research Associates, Niceville, FL, 32578
  • Yang Wang, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332
  • Zhu Mao, Structural Dynamics and Acoustic Systems Laboratory, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854
  • Peter Avitabile, Structural Dynamics and Acoustic Systems Laboratory, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854
  • Erik Blasch, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, VA, 22203


Picture of Happy Hour

Happy Hour: Sponsored by Dynamic Substructures (Open to All)

Date/Time: Tuesday, February 9  |  4 p.m.–6 p.m. EST

The SEM Dynamic Substructures TD is hosting a social event on Tuesday Feb. 9 from 4 p.m.–6 p.m. EST. All conference attendees are invited to stop in and step out as you are able. We will use an innovative new video conferencing system called “spatial chat,” where each attendee will appear in a virtual conference hall. You can join conversations with other attendees by moving your avatar near the person or group that you want to speak with. While we regret that we will not be able to provide you with Belgian beer, we hope that you will bring your own refreshments and enjoy catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. To join the social event, click on the link below and give the web page permission to use your camera and microphone; there should be no software to install.

We look forward to “seeing” you at IMAC.