Posted on September 13, 2023 by Sean W. Wood

Civil engineering doctoral student Chinedu Okonkwo won first place in the poster competition at this summer’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Conference in Computing in Civil Engineering (i3CE).
Chinedu Okonkwo wins first place at ASCE Conference in Computing in Civil Engineering

Chinedu Okonkwo wins first place at ASCE Conference in Computing in Civil Engineering

The competition was intended to advance knowledge in applying emerging technologies in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) education. Okonkwo’s poster was on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge into construction education curriculum. His case study was an application for predicting the properties of concrete. 

 “This study was part of a broader project in which we incorporated course contents about programming, sustainable construction materials, and team building into our construction materials and testing course here at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA),” said Ibukun Gabriel Awolusi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Division Leader of Construction Science and Management. He also served as advisor and principal investigator on the project. “This recognition is a testament to the impactful work being conducted at UTSA and puts the institution at the forefront of cutting-edge research, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.” 

 Determining the properties of construction materials can be time consuming, according to Okonkwo’s poster. In this study, he presented the use of AI to analyze data containing concrete parameters like density, consistency, and the water-to-cement ratio to facilitate the prediction of the compressive strength of concrete. The purpose was to expose students in the AEC industry to the potential applications of programming and AI. It was also to help students understand there are other ways to estimate material strength rapidly in lieu of material testing and to help students develop their programming skills. 

 Okonkwo gave credit to Awolusi and his co-principal investigator Jiannan Cai, Ph.D. 

 “Receiving the first-place award shows the importance of the study and the effort of the team led by Dr. Awolusi and Dr. Cai,” he said. 

 The project was jointly funded by the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design, and the UTSA Office of Sustainability. 

— Sean W. Wood