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March 4, 2004


Partners in collaborative research

Karl Lawrence (L) and Qasem Al-Mdallal
Photo submitted
Karl Lawrence (L) and Qasem Al-Mdallal won first place in the poster competition at the MITACS Atlantic Interchange, held at Dalhousie University March 24, 2003. MITACS is the Networks of Centers of Excellence for Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems.

By Kristin Harris
SPARK Correspondent

Thesis work for the graduate student is often a long and solitary road. However, Qasem Al-Mdallal, PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Mathematics, and Karl Lawrence, M.Sc student in the Computational Science program, have come together under the guidance of their mutual supervisor, Dr. Serpil Kocabiyik, Math and Statistics.

While the two students are pursuing independent theses, their work shares a similar mathematical modelling. Under the umbrella of theoretical and computational fluid dynamics, they are examining various aspects of cylinder configuration that can be applied to various engineering structures, such as offshore structures, marine risers, and power cables. Their work partly focuses on the impact of currents on structures to accurately predict the design life of these structures.

Mr. Al-Mdallal and Mr. Lawrence’s work can be delineated into two main areas: theoretical, which includes mathematical modeling and applied analysis; and computational, the main elements of which are software programming and flow visualization.

Dr. Kocabiyik, the supervisor of both students, said that Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Al-Mdallal are working in, “one of the most promising and cutting edge research in fluid mechanics – flow topology and control.” She sees their work as integral in helping to advance these relatively new areas in fluid dynamics, and sees their collaborative work as having a positive effect on both their theses.

Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Al-Mdallal are both quick to credit the other for his success. Because they come from different academic backgrounds, each contributes his expertise towards their common goal. In addition, they work well personally. Mr. Lawrence said, “If we were working individuals, we wouldn’t be as far ahead as where we’re at now.” Added Mr. Al-Mdallal, “it is a good experience to work with someone who has a strong background in areas different from myself.” They both agree that Dr. Kocabiyik’s encouragement regarding their collaborative efforts has been beneficial.

Recognition has also come the way of Mr. Al-Mdallal and Mr. Lawrence. While both students’ final objective is the thesis, they have also received joint awards for their shared work to date. While Mr. Al-Mdallal acknowledges that each award is special, they both agree that they are especially appreciative of the three major awards they have received together in various poster competitions.


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Next issue: March 18, 2004

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