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Grosse Named Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Ian Grosse, the director of The Intelligent Modeling, Analysis, and Design Laboratory and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). According to ASME, “The Fellows Grade is the highest elected grade of membership within ASME, the attainment of which recognizes exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession.”

As Grosse has said, "For over 25 years I have been engaged in research in the area of finite element analysis and engineering design." He added that “Much of my research has focused on improving the ability of engineers to effectively use finite element analysis a design tool, and more recently using it to help understand the evolution of biological systems from a mechanical perspective.”

Finite element analysis is a computer-based analysis technique widely used by engineers to predict how engineered products perform.

During his quarter-century career at UMass Amherst, Grosse has secured over $5-million dollars of research funding from federal institutions and industry, published 110 refereed journal and conference articles, chaired thesis/dissertation committees for 34 graduate students, and taught more than 75 separate courses. During that time, Grosse has also served as UMass site director and co-director for the NSF I/UCRC Center for e-Design, served as reviewer for various ASME journals and comparative biology journals, served as associate editor for the ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering, and  been an active participant, review coordinator, and session coordinator for the ASME IDETC/CIE conferences in the area of Design Automation, Design Theory and Methodology, and Computers and Information in Engineering.

As Grosse has described his own work, “My current research activities are focused in two areas: finite element modeling and analysis of biological systems and web-enabled engineering design. In the former area we have developed and continue to develop finite element models for predicting the mechanical response of biological systems, primarily focusing on mammalian skulls (such as those of early human ancestors) and how they mechanically withstand loads induced by feeding. Our goal is to ascertain how the biomechanical demands of feeding may have affected skull morphology from an evolutionary perspective.”

Grosse’s collaborators in his finite element modeling research in biomechanics are Dr. Betsy Dumont of the UMass Amherst biology department and Dr. David Strait of the anthropology department at the University of Albany, as well as a number of researchers from several other universities.

Grosse adds that “Dr. Dumont and I have launched a website,, for supporting the community of biologists with downloadable finite element models of biological systems, as well as sharing modeling techniques, best practices, and noncommercial software tools developed in the course of this research.”

The website is the world’s foremost digital repository of finite element models of biological systems, modeling techniques, biological material property databases, and software resources. It alsoprovidesbiomechanics educational resources for K-12 biology and physics teachers.

Each year this research team also organizesand hostsa week-long “Finite Element Modeling in Biology” workshop, which has enabled Grosse and his collaborators to impart their efficient modeling techniques to over 70 researchers from around the world.

In the area of web-enabled engineering design, Grosse is engaged in research to exploit emerging semantic web technologies and facilitate the process of designing engineered products in a distributed environment. This research involves the development of a suite of customizable enterprise ontologies and specific engineering domain ontologies, as well as tools to facilitate their adoption ( This research is supported by the National Science Foundation and member companies of the NSF I/UCRC Center for e-Design. His collaborators in this research are Doctors Sundar Krishnamurty of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and Jack Wileden of the Computer Science Department at UMass Amherst.

Besides the NSF, Grosse’s research has been supported by a number of private organizations, including Raytheon, BAE Systems, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Vistagy, Inc., Engineous Software Corporation, Phoenix Integration, The General Electric Fund, and Parametric Technology Corporation.

Among the honors earned by Professor Grosse are the 2003 ASME Computers and Information in Engineering Conference Best Paper award; the 1993 Outstanding Teaching Award from the UMass Amherst College of Engineering; and the 1990 ASME International Computers in Engineering Conference Best Paper Award.

Grosse earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University in1979, and his M.S. (1983) and Ph.D. (1987) in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University.

Founded in 1880 by a small group of leading industrialists, ASME has grown through the decades to include more than 120,000 members in over 150 countries worldwide. (January 2013)