Friday, November 29, 2019

To inquiring students

Since a few years, I am receiving emails from students inquiring for the possibility of doing Ph.D studies with me. The letter is usually of this type :

"Dear Dr. Riccardo Rigon,

Hope my email finds you well.My name is Donald Duck and I would like to hereby ask about the possibility of working under your supervision as a PhD student. I have received my MSc degree in * and **.

Sometimes, the candidate also says something like:
"I possess 5 years of work experience as a researcher, instructor and Environmental Consultant and have a related research background which led me to present 18 conference papers, 2 published papers and 3 submitted papers which are detailed in my CV.”
They continues,
"I was reading about your recent works on the website and due to the alignment of my research interests with your expertise in Environmental Engineering and the academic position of your university, I believe the valuable experience that I would have under your supervision will provide me with the ground to achieve my academic goals.
I am deeply interested to begin a PhD program at your university  [...]"

Best regards,

Donald Duck

Receiving many of this letters, I have prepared an answer below, which I hope is useful to clarify some points and my feelings. 
I do research in Hydrology and you can be enrolled to our doctoral school by participating to a call, usually in the first months of every year. The Applicants are examined by a committee that tries to  choose the bests. We are always looking for outstanding students and dedicated people (not only me but also my colleagues).
For producing an endorsement for a candidate I do not personally know,  and forwarding it to the selecting committee,  I require the student to study the material of the last Winter School on GEOframe (on catchments studies)  or of the Summer School (on soil-plants-atmosphere interactions, process-based modelling), or apply to one of the Schools. I can wave their school fees if  they specify they wants to try to be enroll as a doctoral student. 

If the applicant agrees,  I and the group of GEOframers will dedicate some of their time helping  in the installations of  our software and eventually perform some case study. This application can be in the field of catchments hydrology (on the example of Dr. Abera papers cited below) or applications using the tools more explicitly developed to work on the Critical Zone (Richards equations coupled to the energy budget and evapotranspiration) on which I can give material and direction.
After the completion of the above task, I will be able to weigh their skills, to know how they can work in  my group and to consider them as interesting candidates for a Ph.D. with us (this does not mean they is not an interesting and skilled candidate for other groups or colleagues).
The enrollment though is not guaranteed, since the selection is  a public competition and many apply. However, my endorsement can help. Besides, it can be used also elsewhere, since it will be provided with a certification of having completed the GEOframe studies, and the candidate certainly did not waste their time having learned something useful for their hydrological career.  
I cover various topics in hydrology, and, all of them are explained in my blog AboutHydrology. Therefore, the astute candidate has to consider to browse what I do. Besides advancing theoretical parts of Hydrology, usually a Ph.D. student in my group is intended to produce working and tested codes (i.e. doing programming). All the code developed will be regularly uploaded to Github (or similar platform), inside the GEOframe community space, and will be Open Source according to the GPL v3 license. I am not usually interested in  doing research with SWAT, HEC_HMS or other hydrological models, different from those I develop. 

Further information of the policies of the research group can be found:

P.S. 0 - For getting a Ph.D. opportunity or a postdoc position, one valuable way  is to subscribe to the AboutHydrology google group where you can find appropriate announcements

P.S.  I- About coding - The candidate will take care of implementing, besides the code, the appropriate procedures for continuous integration of the evolving source code, and s/he will be also asked to maintain a regular rate of commits to the common open platform. Despite these conditions, and being free and open source, the code will be intellectual property by the coder.
This will be guaranteed also by the components-based infrastructure offered by OMS3, which allows to better define the contributions of anyone.The implementation part will be followed, accompanied by testing activities, either for mathematical consistency, than for physical consistency with experiments and field measurements.The Ph.D. student is intended to produce, besides working and tested codes, also at least three papers in major journals (VQR Class A), of which, at least one as first Author. Duration of the doctoral studies is three years.

P.S. II - I am also considering with favor:
Applicants who wants to apply to build the new GEOtop snow model but with attention to forest-snow interactions.
Who wants to work on the infrastructure of the OMS3, GEOframe systems.
Who wants to exploit the capabilities of the GEOframe system to pursue the modelling of the river Adige (and/or other rivers in the world), including human infrastructures.


Abera, Wuletawu, Giuseppe Formetta, Marco Borga, and Riccardo Rigon. 2017. “Estimating the Water Budget Components and Their Variability in a Pre-Alpine Basin with JGrass-NewAGE.Advances in Water Resources 104 (June): 37–54.

Abera, Wuletawu, Giuseppe Formetta, Luca Brocca, and Riccardo Rigon. 2017. “Modeling the Water Budget of the Upper Blue Nile Basin Using the JGrass-NewAge Model System and Satellite Data.Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 (6): 3145–65.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Future Hydrology and Leonardo da Vinci

I was asked to talk about Leonardo da Vinci (see here about his resumé) and project in the future its intuitions about doing science and hydrology. Not an easy task tough. Fortunately there were large analogies with some recent reflections I made on this blog, especially regarding patterns and patterns description.
What I produced, indeed,  would need some further thinking and deepening, but, at the talk I had some time constraints and I could not expand further (I took a lot more time than planned, when the Convener told us, we have more time). Anyway, the result is here below
and you can click on the Figure to see the presentation (some Figure may not be visualised in the on-line preview).  A little of bibliography here:
  • Bancheri, M., Serafin, F., & Rigon, R. (2019). The Representation of Hydrological Dynamical Systems Using Extended Petri Nets (EPN). Water Resources Research, 8(01), 159–27.
  • Capra, F.,2007, The Science of Leonardo, The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York. 
  • Corsini, A. (2018). Modeling (understanding and controlling) turbulent flows: the heritage of Leonardo da Vinci in modern fluid dynamics (pp. 1–15). Budapest.
  • Dietrich, W. E., Wilson, C., Montgomery, D. R., McKean, J., & Bauer, R. (1992). Erosion thresholds and land surface morphology. Geology, 20, 675–679.
  • Geymonat, L. (1970). La tecnica nel quattrocento - Lenardo da Vinci. In Storia del Pensiero Filosofico e Scientifico, Vol II (pp. 48–59).
  • Giometto, M., Christen, A., Egli, P. E., Schmid, M. F., Tooke, R. T., Coops, N. C., & B, P. M. (2017). Effects of trees on mean wind, turbulence and momentum exchange within and above a real urban environment. Advances in Water Resources, 106, 154–168.
  • Macagno, E. (1991). Some remarkable experiments of Leonardo da Vinci. La Houille Blanche, (6), 463–471.
  • Monaghan, J. J., & Kajtar, J. B. (2014).  Leonardo da Vinci’s turbulent tank in two dimensions. European Journal of Mechanics B/Fluids, 44, 1–9.
  • Montgomery, D. R. (1999). Process domains and the river continuum. Journal of the Water Resources Association, 397–410.
  • Pacioli, L., De Divina Proportione, Milan, 1509
  • Reichstein, M., Camps-Valls, G., Stevens, B., Jung, M., Denzler, J., Carvalhais, N., Prabhat. (2019). Deep learning and process understanding for data-driven Earth system science. Nature, 566(7743), 1–10.
  • Rigon, R. (A. Rinaldo, supervisor), Principle of self-organization in the evolutive dynamics of river networks, Universities of Padua, Florence and Trento, Ph.D. dissertation, 1994) 
  • Stroock, A. D., Pagay, V. V., Zwieniecki, M. A., & Michele Holbrook, N. (2014). The Physicochemical Hydrodynamics of Vascular Plants. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 46(1), 615–642.
  • Weinan, E. (2019). Machine Learning: Mathematical Theory and Scientific Applications. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 66(11), 1813–1820.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Some about the legacy of model topology in estimating travel times

This talk is connected to the paper in preparation about the equivalence of hydrological dynamical systems (HDSys), and on the Extended Petri Nets. We discuss how to pass from the water budget to the related system of age-ranked functions and  show some simple solutions of the master equations of the related travel times.

Our thesis is that once you have the structure of the water budget model, you can get the equations for the age-ranked functions automatically. Under the hypothesis of uniform mixing, you also know the solutions of your system ....