SAGE Publishing Young Engineer Lecture: Daniel Rohe

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando, FL  |  January 29–February 1, 2024


Daniel Rohe:
A Case for Using Open-Source Software in Structural Dynamics

Tuesday, January 30, 2024  |   11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

With the conference theme of “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”, we recognize that as researchers and practitioners, our contributions to the field of Structural Dynamics are often incremental, building off the ideas and contributions of those who came before us. The concept of building from previous successes is heavily reliant on having access to those previous successes, so they can be implemented, analyzed, and improved. While this concept is prevalent in publishing research, one could argue that the same concept should be prevalent in the software we use for that research. Fortunately, open-source tools are becoming widespread in several scientific disciplines. The free and open-source Python programming language has become a serious alternative to MATLAB as a scripting language for performing scientific analyses, and there are now several major Structural Dynamics Python packages that are in development or have been released, such as PyFBS, Rattlesnake Vibration Controller, SDynPy, and SDyPy. It is now possible to perform the entire Structural Dynamics workflow using only free and open-source software. Moving Structural Dynamics into open source has the potential to provide numerous benefits: students can examine code to learn exactly how various algorithms work, researchers can tinker with the code to explore new solutions without having to code everything from scratch, and practitioners can execute their tests or analyses in software that isn’t simply a “black box.” This lecture will make a case for moving structural dynamics into the open-source domain, presenting several successful open-source projects and success stories from using open-source tools.

Dan Rohe is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. He works in the Experimental Structural Dynamics department where he specializes in dynamic characterization testing using non-contact diagnostics and MIMO vibration control. Dan has spent the last few years writing software for structural dynamics applications which have been released open source as Rattlesnake, a MIMO Vibration Controller, and SDynPy, a Structural Dynamics Python Library. Dan received his Undergraduate and Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin under Professor Matt Allen, and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Lowell under Professors Zhu Mao and Pete Avitabile.