Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Aynaz Biniyaz

I started my journey at Michigan Tech by joining the Ph.D. program in Geotechnical Engineering in Spring 2019. Dr. Zhen Liu’s research group (LiuRG) provided me with an environment to grow and thrive in my future career. The current goal of LiuRG is to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning algorithms to solve geotechnical engineering problems more efficiently. My Ph.D. research focuses on the development of intelligent geosystems with AI, multiphysics, and system analysis to help mitigate natural hazards, especially landslides. An autonomous water pumping system in slopes exemplifies an intelligent geosystem. The objective of my study is to reduce the operational costs and enhance slopes safety by proposing an autonomous pumping system enabled by Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL), which is a subfield of machine learning for automated decision-making. Such a system can learn from past experiences like a human to improve the safety, resilience, and cost of the system. This system can benefit geotechnical practitioners during flooding and extreme weather events to prevent landslides and disasters.

I want to express my gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Zhen Liu, who supported me along the way. Also, I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate Dean Award Advisory Panel for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship. This will allow me to focus on completing my dissertation and defending it.