Skip to main content

Research

Data Science & Machine Learning

As society’s challenges grow more complex, engineers are using data science and machine learning — a process of building models to manage and describe big data sets and automate their analysis — as an increasingly important research tool. Yet to effectively apply machine learning to real-world problems, researchers need to understand how to work with nonlinear systems, in complex environments and with ever-changing factors.

These are areas in which mechanical engineers have decades of experience. Because of their diverse background and deep knowledge of systems, sensors, controls and fluids, mechanical engineers are playing a key role in shaping the future of data science. From medical device development to alternative energy research to improving and advancing manufacturing processes, researchers across UW Mechanical Engineering are expanding future applications of machine learning.

Key research areas

  • Autonomous systems
  • Diagnostics and prognostics
  • Disease detection
  • Fault detection in manufacturing
  • Human and machine interaction
  • Order reduction of dynamical systems
  • Supply chain production and process improvement

Research highlights

ME researchers are developing and translating machine learning algorithms based on a moth’s biological neural system to improve aircraft design and manufacturing.

Boeing Advanced Research Center is developing deep learning-based methods for inspections of composite materials used in aircraft assembly to improve accuracy and automate processes.

The Molecular Biophotonics Laboratory is developing machine learning algorithms to process 3D pathology datasets and classify tissues in terms of disease aggressiveness and the likelihood to respond to treatment.

The Pacific Marine Energy Center is using machine learning to identify marine life in sonar imagery collected by Adaptable Monitoring Packages to understand how sea creatures interact with marine energy converters.

Related News

A scientific figure showing lots of advanced science stuff related to bioimaging

Mon, 01/03/2022 | NanoES

UW researchers developing miniaturized imaging device to treat heart attack, stroke

With new funding from NSF, a UW research team aims to develop a dramatically smaller endoscope to image previously inaccessible areas of the heart and brain.

Headshots of Ayokunle Olanrewaju and Mehmet Kurt

Thu, 12/09/2021

Welcome new faculty

The ME department welcomes new faculty members for the 2021–2022 school year.

Two people stand on either side of a set of advanced equipment. The one on the left is wearing a white doctor's coat.

Thu, 12/09/2021 | UW News

3D imaging method may help doctors better determine prostate cancer aggressiveness

A team led by the UW has developed a new, non-destructive method that images entire 3D biopsies instead of a slice for determining prostate cancer aggressiveness. The 3D images provided more information than a 2D image — specifically, details about the tree-like structure of the glands throughout the tissue.

a plane being assembled in a factory with two insets of PIXI-DUST graphs in the top right corner

Wed, 10/20/2021

Putting the 'AI' in airplanes

Machine learning presents tremendous opportunities to improve how we build airplanes. ME Assistant Professor Krithika Manohar is just getting started.