Our homes and offices are only as solid as the ground beneath them. When that solid ground turns to liquid — as sometimes happens during earthquakes — it can topple buildings and bridges. This phenomenon is known as liquefaction, and it was a major feature of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, a magnitude 6.3 quake that killed 185 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

A pair of startups powered by technology created in labs at the Cockrell School of Engineering have raised fresh rounds of funding to continue their growth. The rounds for EnergyX and Harmonic Bionics are the latest examples of startups with ties to Texas Engineering gaining momentum. The deals come on the heels of an alliance between hydrogen startup Celadyne and energy giant Shell.

Sharon Wood has been appointed executive vice president and provost of The University of Texas at Austin and will start July 19. She is currently the dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin. The provost is the chief academic officer and leads efforts to deliver world-class educational experiences and produce high-impact research and scholarship. This includes academic programs and initiatives that span the university’s 18 colleges and schools, which serve more than 51,000 students and support more than 3,000 teaching and research faculty members.

Texas Engineers have turned to the research community to help solve a complicated energy problem, one that is likely top of mind for many Texans after the February storms that knocked out power for millions. The CityLearn Challenge, now in its second edition, tasks research teams from around the globe with creating control systems for virtual neighborhoods composed of nine buildings to best maximize energy efficiency. The teams must program an "intelligent agent" that uses a machine learning model called reinforcement learning, a way of training machine learning models to make a sequence of decisions with a specific goal or reward in mind and a trial-and-error component. Participating teams’ intelligent agents must make energy usage decisions with a goal of reducing the load on the grid during times of high demand.

The Cockrell School of Engineering’s Texas Rocket Engineering Lab (TREL) is one step closer to the edge of space following the successful liquid hot-fire test of their liquid bi-propellant rocket, Halycon. This milestone moves TREL toward their goal of becoming the first-ever student team to design, build and launch a liquid-propellant rocket to the Karman Line.

Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering have, for the first time, applied a machine learning algorithm to measure the surface roughness of different types of land with a high level of detail.  The team used a type of satellite imagery that is more dependable and easier to capture than typical optical photographs but also more challenging to analyze. And they are working to integrate this data into storm surge models to give a clearer picture of what will happen during major weather events.

The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has named Donald Siegel, a professor at the University of Michigan and an internationally recognized computational materials scientist, as the next chair of UT’s Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering. He will assume his position on Sept. 1, 2021, succeeding the department’s current chair, Rick Neptune.

PETEX, the Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP) and PetroSkills have joined together to develop the Catalyst workforce development program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to both assess existing educational curriculums and design a platform for future standardization and workforce integration. The program’s goal is to align industry training needs with the educational and training ecosystem’s ability to deliver those skills.

As we prepare to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride month throughout June, we sat down with two recent Texas Engineering graduates, Emil Yongoueth (B.S. ASE 2020) and Joey Saad (B.S. ChE 2020), to talk about their experiences as students and professionals and their involvement leading the Out 4 Undergrad (O4U) Engineering Conference, an event put on by the O4U organization geared toward helping LGBTQ+ undergraduate students excel.

Despite one of the most challenging years of their academic careers, the Texas Engineering Class of 2021 persisted and persevered to finish their final year. On Friday, May 21, hundreds of Texas Engineering students crossed the stage with friends and families in tow for our Graduate Recognition Moments, held in the Engineering Education and Research Center. While not our conventional commencement ceremony, the atrium was filled with excitement and pride from all members of our community.