The Professor De Winter Award, for a high-impact publication by an outstanding female scientist at the University of Twente, this year goes to Anouk Bomers for her publication in the Journal of Hydrology: ‘Predicting Outflow Hydrographs of Potential Dike Breaches in a Bifurcating River System Using NARX Neural Networks‘’. Anouk Bomers is assistant professor of Numerical methods and Numerical models for river hydraulics within the Marina and Fluvial Systems group of the ET faculty. The award will be presented at the 60th anniversary of the University of Twente in May 2022, the DIES Natalis (Foundation Day).
Detailed hydraulic models are needed to predict whether river dike sections will fail when the water level is high. Because of long computational times the current models cannot be used to make real-time predictions: neither where nor when it might occur nor the corresponding outflow of water. This means that the necessary measures cannot always be taken on time.
Dr Bomers has developed a new, faster method, making use of neural networks (networks that are trained on the basis of input-output data). This is an advanced machine learning technique. The Rhine delta was used for the case study. The accurate results show the potential of using neural networks. This has opened up a new field of research. The ultimate goal is to develop a system that is capable of predicting flooding in real time, in advance and during the event.
The research is of topical importance. Water Engineering and Management has very great social relevance in times of climate change. Flooding is expected to affect 1.3 billion people worldwide in 2050. We are therefore dependent on good evacuation plans to limit damage and the number of people affected.
Anouk Bomers did the research and wrote the article on her own. During her academic career to date she has written ten journal articles. Both her master’s thesis and her PhD thesis attracted national acclaim.
The Professor De Winter Award is named after Prof. Herman de Winter, professor of applied physics in the early years of UT, who was very committed to his students and to the study association Arago. After his death in 2005 his widow set up the Professor De Winter Fund. When Mrs De Winter died, her heirs, Henk Hoving and Thijs van Reijn, decided to continue the annual donation to the university fund.
The 60th Dies Natalis 2021 has been postponed. At the heart of the special jubilee edition of the Dies Natalis, on 20 May 2022, are people’s stories and their inspiring, moving and often surprising connections. You can register online and experience the power of sixty years of personal commitment. You will discover that there is a connection between everything at UT – and beyond – and, even more importantly, that “every connection has a story". Let’s celebrate the fact that we have been telling inspiring stories for sixty years now.