Akhil Chavan

Smart Community Corps – Akhil Chavan

Project: Smart Sea Level Sensor
Location: Chatham County

Akhil Chavan recently graduated from Georgia Tech with a BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering and is currently working with Dr. Kim Cobb, Professor- Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, on her Smart Sea Level Sensors project.  Akhil was an honors student and on the Dean’s list.

He was the Technical director for Engineers Without Borders – Uganda Chapter.  This is an international organization designed to implement sustainable engineering projects and provide clean and accessible water to villages in Northeastern Uganda.  Akhil led the technical committee in CAD designs, WaterGEMS modeling, and project planning.  He collaborated with Professional Engineers (PE), professors and international contracting companies to ensure an achievable and sustainable design.  He traveled to Uganda several times to supervise the successful implementation of the solar powered water system.  He is currently mentoring other students for the final phase of the project.

Akhil also interned at Argonne National Laboratory as a DOE intern in the engineering department of the Advanced Photon Source where he configured audio and electronics tools to record data from an Acoustic Levitator.  He then used his modeling training in MATLAB and COMSOL for post-processing, data analysis and simulation.  He co-authored a paper on Acoustic Levitator in “Applied Physics Letters”.

He also co-authored a High Temperature Liquid Metal Pump paper which was published in the journal Nature. This paper was based on his research at Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory.

Akhil will be working closely with Randall Matthews, Emergency Management Coordinator – Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA),  He will be helping Dr. Russ Clark and Professor Kim Cobb’s team with data analysis and visualization. The team will focus on understanding Randall’s emergency response protocol in Chatham county and recognizing which aspects need the most attention. This information will then be used to design a dashboard that will assist emergency responders in assessing infrastructure throughout the county. Data to build this dashboard will come from sea level sensors installed at bridges in the area as well as community partners such as Savannah Area Geographic Information System, Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Tech Savannah, and many other collaborators. By the end of the summer, the team hopes to have a working prototype that can be tested by Randall and improved over time.

In his spare time, Akhil is leading a music startup to help new artists with recording, distribution, marketing and production services.  He plays piano, drums and guitar.

Akhil’s experience with SCC:

Being a part of the Smart Cities Internship program has been an amazing experience. It is so unique in how we were able to join an applied research team while serving the community. Although I’ve worked with numerous research groups in the past, the Chatham County Smart Sea Level Sensors project has shown me how scientists can directly impact and improve the lives of citizens by partnering with city organizations to understand the local perspective on the task at hand. I truly believe that the foundation provided by the Georgia Smart program allows these projects to succeed and grow over many months and years. Most of my work has encompassed data analysis, uncertainty calculation, and visualization. I’ve had previous experience with each of these components, but it was particularly interesting to apply these skills on this project.

We are building a web portal for an individual client, the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), so it has been important to understand exactly how they will use the tool to know how to effectively present the data. By communicating frequently with Randall Mathews at CEMA and iterating within our internal team to develop this dashboard, I’ve been able to explore a lot of product development concepts that I never encountered before. This added a small business/start-up aspect to my involvement in this project, which I have been so grateful to be a part of. Dr. Kim Cobb, Dr. Russ Clark, Lalith Polepeddi, and the rest of the project team were great at getting me acclimated with the project workflow. I’ve really felt like I was part of the team, and it made my work on the project so much more valuable.

Everyone involved with the project was very motivated to help Chatham County face the increasing risk of rising sea levels. This is important to me personally, since I’m driven to work harder when I’m surrounded by people who are passionate about the work we’re doing. I’ve been able to learn so much from each of the people that I’ve worked with, which is a main reason that I enjoy working with research teams. Everyone is focused on becoming an expert in their field, so it’s inspirational to be surrounded by this energy

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