Dr. Z’s Corner

Dr. Z

Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E., Ph.D., Fellow-NSPE, Fellow-ASCE is an award-winning professor, structural engineer, author and mentor living in Washington, D.C. Since joining academia, "Dr. Z", as he is known by his students and colleagues, has distinguished himself on campus and beyond. He is passionate about engineering, gifted in teaching, and is a true champion for professional licensure. Dr. Z. has extraordinarily high standards; has produced award-winning designs; is prolific in professional service; and infects others with these same values. He is the recipient of numerous local, regional and national awards, including recent national awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Since 2014, he has been regularly writing monthly articles for “Dr.Z’s Corner “ and offering hundreds of engineering problems, for free, every month for students, engineers and engineering educators worldwide. Dr. Z. also offers pro-bono Saturday classes for students and engineers; his free classes are open to all in the greater Washington metro area and cost nothing, nada, zilch! Starbucks coffee is always a must have for Dr. Z.

Dr. Z's Corner

Dr. Z’s Corner (202003)

On Building Industry-Academia Collaborations

This month, my guest author Dr. Byunggu Yu, a well-known researcher and educator in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, will be exploring new ideas on Industry-Academia Collaborations:

There is a widening gap between academia and industry in the area of product development platforms (including technologies, knowledge, and techniques therein). Industry’s adoption of new development platforms is agile and additive, while academia’s adoption is conservative and supplanting.

We are in an era of rapid prototyping. Every industry player is looking for new product development platforms for competitive advantages. The variety of industry adopted platforms is rapidly growing. On the other hand, academic degree programs have a limited capacity in leading or catching up the inflation of the platforms. This is due to the fact that the programs are constantly required to meet various internal and external accreditation requirements. Therefore, the adoption of new product development platforms in academic curricula is conservative and supplanting.

Unlike academia, industry players have to keep their stakes in each adopted platform often through its legacy stages. They are mandated by existing customers/clients or by contracts to continue to maintain or service legacy systems, while competition in growth is constantly encouraging them to be agile in adopting new platforms. Therefore, industry’s adoption of new development platforms is often additive, further increasing the variety of development platforms they use.

Particularly in disciplines related to software engineering, such as computer science and its variants, there are hundreds of software development platforms and new platforms are being born every day, accelerated by the worldwide open source trend. The industry is much more agile in these changes than academia. Therefore, academic curricula, that also need to satisfy the slowly changing accreditation guidelines, cannot catch up the widely varying and rapidly evolving needs of the industry. For example, in the area of web applications, there are 28 development platforms listed on https://www.w3schools.com/whatis/ and even more open-source platforms that are not listed there. While our academic programs can cover a small subset of the platforms there, it is not and will never be enough. In fact, this gap between industry and academia has been rapidly widening.

The challenge we face here is summarized as follows: the percentage of new graduates from academic degree programs who can find exact job matches is decreasing. Therefore, both initial student success rates as well as our industry’s competency are being suppressed. Because this challenge is rooted at the interplay of the two different value systems – industry and academia – our approach should be collaborative. To be successful and effective, such collaborations need to be mutually beneficial.

This semester, we are conducting two experimental projects to address this challenge with our industry partners (companies). Project One is to build a system of industry-proposed projects for experiential learning in our classrooms; Project Two is to develop pre-employment weekend programs. Both projects are designed and conducted by industry-academia teams spanning graduating seniors, graduate students, faculty, and companies in various industries including health, logistics, marketing and advertising, information technology, and finance.

Project One can provide participating students with hands-on and experiential learning opportunities regarding various industry applications and development platforms beyond their curricula. At the same time, the industry partners can build a collaboration basis with the participating professors, which can extend their research capacity with a quick turnaround option. For Project One, we are collaborating with CapSource (www.capstonesource.com). CapSource has kindly helped us initiate and design various industry-academia collaboration projects.

For Project Two, our sponsoring companies including Precise Software Solutions developed a notion of “pre-employment certification program” as follows:

1. Company “C” wants to hire new graduates with a certain skill set (e.g., low-code programming on Appian and Agile-Scrum-Sprints);
2. A free tailor-made weekend or summer training program is designed and offered to graduating seniors;
3. The training sessions are taught by experts from Company “C” and optionally by participating professors;
4. Company “C” sponsors industry-recognized certifications and hires a number of top-performing students closing the program.

We have found that this kind of collaboration can produce Win-Win-Win if well designed and carefully communicated with high work standards and ethics: Students get a free training, certification, and employment opportunity; Professors can contribute to student success and get hands-on exposure to industry technologies and platforms; Sponsoring companies can identify and hire best tailor-made employees.

Projects One and Two were just born (Spring 2020) and highly experimental. We expect that the projects will undergo a lot of changes in the near future. If you are interested in partnering with us, please do not hesitate to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via my LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/in/byunggu-yu-79a70551/ anytime. We are constantly looking for new partners.

Dr. Byunggu Yu,

Professor of Computer Science
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/byunggu-yu-79a70551/


Dr. Z’s Corner (202002)

Are You Ready for the New Computer Based Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam?

Are You Ready for the New Computer Based Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam? Finally, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) made the important announcement regarding the new Fundamentals of Engineering Civil-Computer Based exam specifications. For our new readers, before discussing the new changes, we would like to start with a brief overview of the FE exam. The FE exam is a computer-based test (CBT). It is closed-book with an electronic reference (FE Ref. Handbook, v.9.5). Examinees have 6 hours to complete the exam, which contains 110 questions. The 6-hour time also includes a tutorial and an optional scheduled break. The FE exam uses both the International System of Units (SI) and the U.S. Customary System (USCS).

New Exam Specifications: Modified Knowledge Areas and Number of Questions

(Published by NCEES here)

I. Mathematics and Statistics (Number of Questions: 8–12)

A. Analytic geometry
B. Single-variable calculus
C. Vector operations
D. Statistics (e.g., distributions, mean, mode, standard deviation, confidence interval, regression and curve fitting)

II. Ethics and Professional Practice (4–6)

A. Codes of ethics (professional and technical societies)
B. Professional liability
C. Licensure
D. Contracts and contract law

III. Engineering Economics (5–8)

A. Time value of money (e.g., equivalence, present worth, equivalent annual worth, future worth, rate of return)
B. Cost (e.g., fixed, variable, direct and indirect labor, incremental, average, sunk)
C. Analyses (e.g., break-even, benefit-cost, life cycle, sustainability, renewable energy)
D. Uncertainty (e.g., expected value and risk)

IV. Statics (8–12)

A. Resultants of force systems
B. Equivalent force systems
C. Equilibrium of rigid bodies
D. Frames and trusses
E. Centroid of area
F. Area moments of inertia
G. Static friction

V. Dynamics (4–6)

A. Kinematics (e.g., particles, rigid bodies)
B. Mass moments of inertia
C. Force acceleration (e.g., particles, rigid bodies)
D. Work, energy, and power (e.g., particles, rigid bodies)

VI. Mechanics of Materials (7–11)

A. Shear and moment diagrams
B. Stresses and strains (e.g., diagrams, axial, torsion, bending, shear, thermal)
C. Deformations (e.g., axial, torsion, bending, thermal)
D. Combined stresses, principal stresses, and Mohr’s circle

VII. Materials (5–8)

A. Mix design of concrete and asphalt
B. Test methods and specifications of metals, concrete, aggregates, asphalt, and wood
C. Physical and mechanical properties of metals, concrete, aggregates, asphalt, and wood

VIII. Fluid Mechanics (6–9)

A. Flow measurement
B. Fluid properties
C. Fluid statics
D. Energy, impulse, and momentum of fluids

IX. Surveying (6–9)

A. Angles, distances, and trigonometry
B. Area computations
C. Earthwork and volume computations
D. Coordinate systems (e.g., state plane, latitude/longitude)
E. Leveling (e.g., differential, elevations, percent grades

X. Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (10–15)

A. Basic hydrology (e.g., infiltration, rainfall, runoff, watersheds)
B. Basic hydraulics (e.g., Manning equation, Bernoulli theorem, open-channel flow)
C. Pumps
D. Water distribution systems
E. Flood control (e.g., dams, routing, spillways)
F. Stormwater (e.g., detention, routing, quality)
G. Collection systems (e.g., wastewater, stormwater)
H. Groundwater (e.g., flow, wells, drawdown)
I. Water quality (e.g., ground and surface, basic water chemistry)
J. Testing and standards (e.g., water, wastewater, air, noise)
K. Water and wastewater treatment (e.g., biological processes, softening, drinking water treatment)

XI. Structural Engineering (10–15)

A. Analysis of statically determinant beams, columns, trusses, and frames
B. Deflection of statically determinant beams, trusses, and frames
C. Column analysis (e.g., buckling, boundary conditions)
D. Structural determinacy and stability analysis of beams, trusses, and frames
E. Elementary statically indeterminate structures. Loads, load combinations, and load paths (e.g., dead, live, lateral, influence lines and moving loads, tributary areas)
F. Design of steel components (e.g., codes and design philosophies, beams, columns, tension members, connections)
G. Design of reinforced concrete components (e.g., codes and design philosophies, beams, columns)

XII. Geotechnical Engineering (10–15)

A. Index properties and soil classifications
B. Phase relations
C. Laboratory and field tests
D. Effective stress
E. Stability of retaining structures (e.g., active/passive/at-rest pressure)
F. Shear strength
G. Bearing capacity
H. Foundation types (e.g., spread footings, deep foundations, wall footings, mats)
I. Consolidation and differential settlement
J. Slope stability (e.g., fills, embankments, cuts, dams)
K. Soil stabilization (e.g., chemical additives, geosynthetics)

XIII. Transportation Engineering (9–14)

A. Geometric design (e.g., streets, highways, intersections)
B. Pavement system design (e.g., thickness, subgrade, drainage, rehabilitation)
C. Traffic capacity and flow theory
D. Traffic control devices
E. Transportation planning (e.g., travel forecast modeling, safety, trip generation)

XIV. Construction Engineering (8–12)

A. Project administration (e.g., documents, management, procurement, project delivery methods)
B. Construction operations and methods (e.g., safety, equipment, productivity analysis, temporary erosion control)
C. Project controls (e.g., earned value, scheduling, allocation of resources, activity relationships)
D. Construction estimating
E. Interpretation of engineering drawings

Until next time,

Ahmet Zeytinci, (Dr. Z.)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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