Jennifer Forrester works with aerospace partners to develop methods for incorporating measurement data into automated design processes in order to inform design decisions by investigating the effects of uncertainty upon probabilistic performance. The emphasis of her work is on the practical implementation of state-of-the-art methodologies alongside existing computational analysis codes, most recently for enabling machine learning based approaches to be used for geometric design. Jennifer is also a chartered engineer with a background designing composite marine structures and leading consultancy projects for international clients.
- Geometry representation for machine learning
- Robust design and uncertainty propagation
- Structural design with composites
Jennifer’s latest research is being conducted as part of the Rolls-Royce plc led COLIBRI (Collaboration Across Business Boundaries) project. Her research supports the aim of improving design and automation by integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence with design processes. This work follows on from Jennifer’s previous project incorporating robust design and uncertainty propagation into shape design.
To enable machine learning based techniques to be applied to geometric design, her latest work focuses on the digital representation of geometry as discrete occupancy-based pixels or voxels. These require a practical means of integration with existing polygon- or spline- based boundary representations (b-reps) and meshes, used for CAD-based design and manufacturing specification or finite element (FE) analysis and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Given significant numbers of relevant data sets, these methods could enhance digital-twin based approaches, robust design methods, and non-parametric topologically flexible design processes.
COLIBRI is co-funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and includes consortium partners alongside Rolls-Royce plc and the University of Southampton: CFMS, Aircraft Research Association Ltd, BAE Systems Ltd, Cambridge Flow Solutions Ltd, GE Aviation, International TechneGroup Ltd, MBDS UK Ltd, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Cranfield.
Having obtained a Master of Engineering Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Southampton in 2001, Jennifer began engineering yacht and other composite marine craft structures as part of a consultancy team at the then SP Technologies Ltd., now Gurit (UK). She specified laminates and designed support structure on multiple custom yachts. As her experience grew she began to take the lead in engineering for a number of high-profile projects, including the Sebastian Schmidt designed Decision 35 One-Design catamaran class for Lac Leman, the MShip co. M80 Stiletto stealth technology demonstrator, and craft such as the Baltic 152 Pink Gin.
In September 2006 Jennifer took up a post at the University of Southampton in the Research Institute for Industry to expand her knowledge in computational engineering methods, working initially on two projects sponsored by Rolls Royce plc. over two years: a study into the achievability of a bolted joint design for increased load bearing capability using Altair HyperMorph, and a research project looking into the feasibility of a knowledge-based system to develop the design process for laser-cut sheet metal fixtures with patented features.
Following these two initial projects, Jennifer has since been involved in a number of further research projects funded through the Rolls-Royce plc. university technology centre at the University of Southampton, including demonstrating use of the Value Driven Design methodology for aircraft engine components and, since 2009, on the Strategic Investment in Low-carbon Engine Technology (SILOET II) programme and its predecessor, supported by Rolls-Royce plc. and the UK Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, managed by the Technology Strategy Board. This programme has supported Jennifer’s work on measurement processing for uncertainty propagation and robust design.
For three years, Jennifer was an active member of the Equality and Diversity Committee within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, working to ensure that any faculty-specific inequalities are highlighted and addressed and that processes are implemented to maintain the ATHENA SWAN Bronze Award, with application for Silver during 2016.
Alongside her part-time consultancy role, Jennifer completed her PhD “On the characterization of measured geometry for the facilitation of uncertainty propagation and robust design” in 2019 and is continuing to develop methods to further enhance designs based on geometric data.