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ANSLab Studentships

Studentships Currently Available

Studentship opportunities for 2013 admission will depend on the availability of funds. At this point, I expect to have funding for one or two new students. Possible projects include:

1. Improving discretization schemes for unstructured finite volume methods. In numerical methods for partial differential equations, truncation error measures the amount by which a discrete solution fails to satisfy the PDE. Recent studies have shown that truncation error in finite volume schemes on unstructured meshes arises in part because of noise in the computed gradients. There are several possible alternatives for calculating this gradients; this project will explore whether these can have a positive impact on truncation error.

2. Improving unstructured finite volume solutions by generating better meshes. Current work in my group is examining how mesh quality affects solution quality. As our understanding of these effects grows, we will be able to describe what the mesh should look like to improve accuracy and/or stability of numerical methods. This, in turn, will dictate changes in our mesh generation algorithms to produce the proper meshes.

3. Meshing operations on modern high-performance computer architectures. For the past two decades, high-performance computing has been increasingly dominated by architectures that are, for practical purposes highly efficient clusters of workstations. Recently, multicore and manycore CPUs and GPUs have changed the programming paradigm required to make efficient use of available hardware. This turns out to be particularly challenging for mesh generation and modification algorithms. This project is aimed at developing the algorithms and/or data structures required to address this challenge.

What Kind of Guy Am I to Work With?

I firmly believe that the most important thing a grad student learns is how to do research independently, in the sense that when they're done, they should be able to successfully complete a research project of comparable complexity to their thesis without direct supervision. Not too surprisingly, this means I'm not a micro-manager. Obviously in the early stages, supervising a grad student includes a lot of one-on-one tutoring to get a student to the point where they understand the background well enough to proceed effectively. As time goes on, I try to transition from telling students what to do, to helping identify what directions to work in next, to offering advice to improve the plans that students have already formed. By that last stage, the main learning objective of the thesis is over, and it's a matter of getting to that satisfying result that you can communicate to the world (another important objective, obviously). I run a very informal group, in no small part because I consider grad students to be junior colleagues rather than minions. Besides, frequently a student will do something clever that I hadn't thought of (or thought was impossible), so crushing creativity would be a bad idea.

Depending on their projects, my students also tend to collaborate with each other. For example, a recent student I had who was working on mesh adaptation was working both with a student working on mesh generation (to fix bugs he'd discovered in the insertion code) and a student working on flow solver stuff (who was a "customer" for him).

General Info about Graduate Programs

All students accepted into the group are hired as research assistants. MASc students receive a stipend of Can$18,500, guaranteed for two years, subject to satisfactory academic progress. PhD students receive a stipend of Can$20,500, guaranteed for four years, subject to satisfactory academic progress. The primary duty of research assistants is research work aimed towards their thesis, though other related small projects may be assigned occasionally.

Students with reasonable knowledge and English skills can easily supplement that by about $2K/semester with teaching assistantships, which typically require 56-84 hours/semester. (For reference, in my fluids class, the TA is responsible for running the tutorials, holding some office hours for students, and marking the midterm for ~100 students; that and a few minor add-ons works out to about the full 84 hours. Other faculty no doubt have different expectations....)

As for time requirements, for a MASc, a typical time to completion is about two years + one semester (28 months). In terms of actual degree requirements, our current course requirement is 18 credits beyond the BASc, plus a 12-credit thesis. 2 credits go to a mandatory seminar course, which would leave you with five courses to take, if you pick the right five.

PhD students typically require three-four years after the MASc. The course requirement (in practice) is 15 credits beyond the MASc, including a 3 credit mandatory seminar course, leaving you to take four courses.

How to Apply

Interested students should apply for graduate admission to the UBC Department of Mechanical Engineering. Simply contacting Dr. Ollivier-Gooch isn't sufficient, as candidates can not be accepted without completing the full UBC graduate application.

Students are also strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Ollivier-Gooch, providing a cover letter, a recent CV, and electronic copies of unofficial transcripts.

Also, candidates should answer the questions found here; these are intended to provide information that is very useful in making admissions decisions that doesn't ordinarily appear on a typical CV.

Finally, candidates for whom English is not their native language, should where possible submit evidence of English language proficiency, either by confirming that they have a degree from a university whose language of instruction is English or by providing a score on one of the standardized tests of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, etc).

If you'd like confirmation that I've gotten your email, request a return receipt when you send your email.

About UBC

The University of British Columbia is located in beautiful Vancouver, on Canada's west coast. Both mountain and ocean activities are easily accessible, as well as the amenities and attractions of Canada's third-largest city.

For further information

Please contact Dr. Carl Ollivier-Gooch.


  • ANSLab is pleased to welcome Dr. Daniel W. Zaide as a Post-Doctoral Researcher.
  • ANSLab is also pleased to welcome David and Liang as new masters students.
  • Congrats to Alireza and Mahkame for completing their Masters.



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Faculty of Applied Science
Department of Mechanical Engineering

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