Monthly Archives: May 2016

2016 “Spread Your Wings” Adventure Race

Adventure Race!

Too Cool Adventure Race

..a 1500 foot sherpa line, paddling in crystal clear waters, 14+ miles of sweet, sweet single track, mine maze, skeet, water slides and a 3000 foot Zipline are just a few of the things you will find at the Too Cool – Spread Your Wings adventure weekend. It’s summertime and Dr. Nicholson is heading down to Texas Hill Country near Rocksprings, TX at Camp Eagle to participate in the 10th anniversary of one the funnest, coolest adventure races around!

Nicholson will be competing with one of his best friends from Texas, Nate Simmons, as a two-man team in the 12-hour race which will Adventure Raceinclude 1-3 miles river paddling, 30-40 miles mountain biking on roads, jeep trails and single track, 15-20 miles trekking, orienteering, ropes stuff and special tests.

The team “F5” will start the race at 7:30 AM on Saturday, May 28 and hopefully finish before the cut-off time at 9:00 PM.

Last time this team participated, the 12 hour race turned into about 15 hours and we had to give up after getting completely lost in the middle of the woods in the dark…  however, this time we are even LESS prepared — neither Nicholson or Simmons remember how to read a topographic map, plot coordinates, plan a route, count paces, and neither has ridden their mountain bikes in a couple of years, and apparently the race area has expanded to include another 5000 acres…  so, this should definitely be an adventure!

Too Cool Adventure Race Map

Adventure Race – topographic map


Welcome students!


Welcome! Bienvenidos!  欢迎! خوش آمدی

Very happy to welcome some new students to the Analytics Lab!  Some of these will be working with Dr. Nicholson for their Master’s thesis, others are working on special studies projects or practicums — regardless, those of use in the lab are glad you are around and looking forward to the Summer and Fall ’16 and beyond!

  • Alex Rodríguez – MS thesis — Alex will be working on NIST Community Resilience Project
  • Yanbin Chang – MS thesis — Yanbin will be working on NSF Resilience Analytics Project
  • Samineh Nayeri – special studies (decomposition algorithm for a network flow model)
  • Megan Snelling – MS thesis (I got a great NIST Community resilience project waiting for you!)
  • Alex Beene – practicum (OKC Thunder)
  • Emily Grimes – practicum (Nerd Kingdom)
  • Shejuti Silvia – practicum (GE Oil and Gas)
  • Stephen Gonzalez – MS thesis — I have some good ideas for you!
  • Hamoud Obaid – special studies (economic optimization modeling) –> congrats to Hamoud: he is getting married over the Summer!

Welcome phrase in different languages. Word clouds concept.

Summer 2016 updates!

Summer 2016 is here!


The last of the ISE/DSA 5113 finals has been taken, all pencils are down, and students are heading out for new adventures.

  • Cyril Beyney has just accepted an offer to become the lead data scientist for Nerd Kingdom and is moving to Dallas, TX!
  • Weili Zhang is headed up to Pittsburg for a Summer internship
  • Param Tripathi heading down to San Antonio for a Summer internship
  • Olivia Perret has already moved up to New York for her new job
  • Naiyu Wang and Peihui Lin (from the CORE Lab) are headed to China for a month or two
  • Mohammad Tehrani is presenting at the Probabilistic Mechanics & Reliability Conference 2016 at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN and then heading to Iran for a visit

I am very excited about the students staying in or coming to Norman!

  • Alexander  Rodríguez Castillo is joining our team from Peru to start his MS in DSA and then a PhD in ISE!peru
  • Alexandra Amidon is around for the Summer starting her MS thesis work in predictive modeling
  • Emily Grimes is beginning her practicum in analytics working with Nerd Kingdom

Dr. Nicholson will be around most of the Summer, but there are a few things on his agenda too:

  • Starting the Summer off right with a 12-hour adventure race down in Texas: mountain biking, orienteering, and kayaking
  • Taking the kids to Disney World!
  • Cimbing at least one 14,000+ mountain in Colorado with the wife
  • Panelist at the 41st Annual Natural Hazards Workshop in July in Colorado


COE Community Resilience Meeting

COE Resilience Research

A team from the analytics lab presented and competed at the NIST-funded Center of Excellence (COE) for Community Resilience biannual research meeting. Dr. Nicholson facilitated a session on Decision Algorithms and Weili Zhang participated in the poster competition with two submissions: “A multiobjective optimization model for mitigating community economic loss and population dislocation” and “Resilience-based risk mitigation and recovery for highway transportation networks”.

Here is Dr. Nicholson in mid-sentence — we think he is singing the chorus from “Who are you?” by The Who.

NIST-funded COE Community Resilience presentation

Leading the conference in the chorus to the The Who’s “Who are you?” or presenting on Decision Algorithms? We may never know…

During the meeting, the Center presented a live webinar  to offer the public more information about the NIST-funded Center, how the Center is developing a computational environment to help define the attributes that make communities resilient, recent accomplishments and the current path forward. The video is available here.

COE poster competition

Resilience poster competition

Weili Zhang presenting his interdisciplinary work with collaborators from Civil Engineering (OU), Economists (CSU), and Social Scientists (Texas A&M).

COE poster competition: Weili Zhang

Weili Zhang poster competition at Resilience meeting

There were about 90 researches representing Universities across the nation as well as high-level members of NIST attending the meeting in Ft. Collins in April 2016.   OU was well-represented in in the meeting — our contingent of 9 consisted of Dr. Naiyu Wang, Dr. Charles Nicholson, Dr. Amy Cerato, Weili Zhang, Peihui Lin, Yingjun Wang, Mohammad Tehrani, Xianwu Xue, and Jia Xu.

After the meeting, Dr. Nicholson met up with some friends to go on a nice Spring hike in the mountains.  However, the snow came in pretty heavy as they attempted to climb 14,000 ft Mt. Bierstadt.

Beautiful snow scape

Beautiful snow scape

On the road to the trailhead

On the road to the trailhead

Post COE meeting hike

Nicholson hiking Mt. Bierstadt — its time to think about how to mitigate this disaster…

Fun climb

Fun climb and back alive

Wind-burnt and ready for beer

Wind-burnt and ready for beer