SmartGeo @ Colorado School of Mines

July 25, 2013

SmartGeo is an interdisciplinary graduate program at the Colorado School of Mines that is designed to prepare a new generation of leaders in the study and development of intelligent geosystems – engineered and natural earth structures and systems that sense their environment and adapt to improve performance. The research areas of SmartGeo include Intelligent Earth Dams and Levees and Intelligent GeoConstruction (such as tunnels). The blending of sensing, data processing, and computation while pursuing fundamental advances in complex geosystem behavior requires a multidisciplinary approach to graduate education. And beyond the technical challenges of this research lie social, political and ethical aspects that are equally important and must be addressed for intelligent geosystems to flourish.

The traditional framework for doctoral degree programs – individual research, single discipline-based Ph.D.s, little development of non-technical skills – is not well suited for pursuing substantial advances in intelligent geosystems. Advancing the understanding of intelligent geosystems and providing the required skill set for leadership in this field requires a more integrative and interdisciplinary approach.

The SmartGeo graduate program involves five key components:

  1. Students and faculty participate in Collaborative Research Teams to pursue transformative advances in intelligent geosystem concepts
  2. Science & Technology Policy Minor designed to help students address the significant social, political and ethical challenges that geosystems pose
  3. Leadership and Teamwork Development program to build skill sets required in today’s world
  4. Cross-Disciplinary Technical to truly enable students to think interdisciplinary
  5. Internships that match students with organizations who wish to advance intelligent geosystems

SmartGeo’s funding is provided with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). SmartGeo’s Co-Director, Professor Tracy Camp says, “I have really enjoyed working in the SmartGeo project partly because it’s gotten me outside my computer science box and working more with an interdisciplinary team of people from different areas. We have excellent faculty and excellent graduate students working toward important goals. It’s exciting to see the progress!”