Sychterz named NCSA Faculty Fellow


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Ann Sychterz
Ann Sychterz

Assistant professor Ann Sychterz is one of six new Faculty Fellows named by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the 2020-2021 academic year. The fellowship provides seed funding for Fellows and NCSA experts to collaborate on individual projects.

Sychterz’ project is titled Virtual Reality Interactive Experience for Actively Controlled and Deployable Tensegrity Footbridges:

Tensegrity structures are pin-jointed systems of bars and cables held stable in a state of self-stress; they are lightweight and can change shape with minimal activation energy. Simulations of tensegrity structures are challenging to visualize and comprehend, which may prevent engineers from including these structures in their projects. By providing a virtual reality (VR) interactive environment to demonstrate to researchers, practicing engineers, students and the general public the feasibility of a deployable and controllable tensegrity footbridge the researchers will educate people about these deployable systems. The VR interactive environment will utilize form-finding to determine the stresses and deformations of a deployable tensegrity structure, vibration characterization for damage detection, statistical model-data methods for finding potential broken elements following a damage event and advanced computing algorithms for mitigating the effect of damage on the structure using actuation. The researchers hope this outreach will lead to advanced future technical capabilities for structural engineering in the construction industry.

NCSA's Faculty Fellowship program provides an opportunity for University of Illinois faculty to develop research collaborations between University of Illinois departments, research units and the NCSA. For information about the other 2020-2021 Faculty Fellows and their projects, visit

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This story was published July 14, 2020.