Today is my first day! Well.. ok, let me re-phrase that. It’s my first day at work. I arrived in Oregon just a little over 3 weeks ago now, and have spent the time exploring some of the beautiful sights to be found in Corvallis and beyond – The spectacular Crater Lake, a Volcano within a lake.. within a volcano, being a particular highlight and a view that I will not soon forget!
This being my first day on campus, it’s been a whirlwind of new faces, places and acronyms to remember. It’s heartening to see that the organisational structure of their research department here is just as bamboozling as back home!
So what is it that brings me half-way round the world; and has me leaving the small city of Cork for the even smaller city of Corvallis? I’m here as a Fulbright-Marine Institute student to undertake a research project on the application of Machine Learning techniques to Marine Renewable Energy for the next year. (If you just came for the pretty travel pictures and you’d like to bow out now, the link to my instagram is in the sidebar). Corvallis hosts Oregon State University, which boasts both a phenomenal Mechanical Engineering Department and Computer Science faculty, but is also home to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre and the Pacific Marine Energy Test Centre – making it the ideal confluence of technology and practical application in this field.
The aim of my research project for the upcoming year is to create a Machine Learning Model which enhances the accuracy, dependability and predictability of our wave resource, and utilises disparate datasets of wave buoy and wave model data to enable the best possible prediction of energy production for Marine Renewable Energy devices in a given climate.
It is something I’ve been working on as part of my PhD for almost two years now, and the Fulbright-Marine Institute award has given me the opportunity to focus solely on this in the upcoming year.
A large part of the reasoning for locating myself here has been to determine if the results of the modelling I have been doing will hold up as well in the Pacific as they have in the Atlantic. Arriving at Otter Rock to see thundering waves crash over the rocks, throwing huge plumes of water into the air, and witnessing the “Sneaker wave,” phenomenon first-hand has already shown that there are certainly going to be some diverse aspects of the local wave climate that will prove uniquely fascinating to study! One thing that is certain is that the impact of climate change, with these extreme conditions here being nestled amongst Storm Ophelia and Storm Brian back home, has never been more overt.
I am looking forward to blogging my time as a Fulbright Student as I know it’s going to provide me with a ton of interesting research and experiences to share. I strongly feel that the plain english dissemination of knowledge, and opening up interesting topics for broad discussion are a cornerstone of academia – ones that are all too often lost amidst the pressure to publish and the tendency to obfuscate! I hope this will provide a platform to educate people about my research and also an interesting and engaging depiction of what it means to be a Fulbrighter! I look forward to continuing to provide updates on what I’m doing, and I hope that you will enjoy following along.
I’ll leave you with some pictures of the highlights of my travels thus far.