CDA provides special conference activities created by and targeted to younger professionals.
CDA has no threshold for who constitutes a "young professional"; however, for guidance purposes, CDA notes that the International Commission of Large Dams uses up to age 35 as its definition of a young professional.
Young Professionals Technical Session
Samuel A. Proskin, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Countering Uncertainty in Dam Engineering: The Role of Geotechnical Instrumentation
Soil mechanics and foundation engineering evolved out of necessity in the early 20th century as the industrial revolution taxed civil engineer’s abilities to deliver structures to serve the public good. The observational method is one particular method for overcoming the uncertainty of the methods and tools we use in geotechnical analysis and design. Geotechnical instrumentation was incorporated by Ralph Peck as one means of providing the observations necessary to assess field performance and provide a feedback loop to operations, maintenance and future design. Geotechnical instrumentation has a recognized role in managing the uncertainty associated with the construction and operation of earth and rock fills built to retain water or tailings.
Although technology has improved significantly since Peck’s 1969 paper, the principles of effective and wise use of geotechnical instrumentation remain valid. Technology development has led to a proliferation of sensors now available to measure, directly or indirectly, deformation, deflection, pressure, temperature and other properties linked to the performance of these structures. Meanwhile the combination of internet, world wide web and telecommunications options (satellite, cellular, wifi) have enable the end user to access the instrumentation datasets in real time at locations far removed from the instruments. On large projects several types of instrumentation may exist in a network providing a stream of data that may be hard to analyze and difficult to discern significant trends. Increasing amounts of data means it is even more important to visualize the data in terms of the observational method.
The responsibility of self-regulation in Canada means we have an obligation to protect the public from unsafe structures. The presentation will argue that the proper use of geotechnical instrumentation combined with the observational method can provide economical means to designing, building and operating safe earth and rockfill structures.
Dr. Proskin is a senior geotechnical engineer with Thurber Engineering Ltd. and has 20 years of experience in consulting engineering related to resource and infrastructure development in northern and western Canada. He was involved with the geotechnical instrumentation program for Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.’s A154 and A418 rockfill dyke projects that encompassed slope inclinometers, thermistor strings, piezometers, and extensometers in an automated data acquisition system. Dr. Proskin is a co-founder of NOR-EX Ice Engineering Inc. which provides consulting services for ice roads, ice platforms and winter roads. He has a B.Sc. in geological engineering from the University of Manitoba and an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering from the University of Alberta.