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Home page of Derek Dalle

Picture of me with a replica of the NCAA Basketball Division 
	I championship trophy

My name is Derek Dalle, and I am a Ph.D. graduate (May 2013) from the Department of Aerospace Engineering program at the University of Michigan. My research adviser was Prof. James F. Driscoll, director of the Propulsion and Combustion Engineering Laboratory. I am now working at NASA Ames Research Center in the Applied Modeling and Simulation branch (ARC-TNA), which is in the NASA Advanced Supercomputing division. It might be natural to expect me to consider myself a specialist in computing, but that's not really the case. My focus is applied aerodynamics, and this is just a very good place to do aerodynamics with high impact. Currently my focus is the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be NASA's new launch vehicle starting in 2017 or 2018.

SLS is a pretty big deal to me because it's the first heavy-lift vehicle since the Saturn V (and the second of all time). I'm very excited to be a part of it. It's also an interesting challenge to build such a large vehicle with today's NASA budgets versus the Apollo-era budgets. Basically, it's difficult to do all the wind tunnel testing we would like, and that makes NASA's supercomputing facility more important than one might expect for building a rocket in many ways similar to one built 50 years ago.

At Michigan, my dissertation research focused on flight dynamics, modeling, and propulsion of air-breathing hypersonic vehicles. Most importantly, I am interested in the way these things interact. For example lift on such a vehicle is strongly dependent on the amount of fuel that is injected. Because the lift cannot be written as a function of the angle of attack alone, many of the useful results from traditional aircraft do not apply.

Generic hypersonic vehicle with stylized shocks and flame.

Now my research interests are expanding into other areas. There's a research page that talks about them in more detail, but let's just say the main theme is multidisciplinary, multifidelity optimization. Also, I'm pretty interested in novel ways to calculate or approximate derivatives.

Outside of research, my interests include track, college football, geography, Linux (particularly desktop environments), linguistics, policy decisions, and some stuff I'm probably forgetting. Hopefully I will take some time to post some insights on these thing, like to tell you that Kazakhstan is a very interesting country with strong economic growth.

I've also posted some of the tools I've made over the years on this site, under codes. I hope you enjoy!

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