I am a postdoctoral associate in Mechanical Engineering working with Professor Themis Sapsis on prediction of extreme events in chaotic systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I recently defended my thesis, Resolvent modeling of turbulent jets, on February 4th and for anyone who like to view the defense, here is the recording. Some technical difficulties right before the presentation had me a bit flustered for the first couple slides until we get to the ‘‘good stuff’’.

I completed my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering working with Professor Tim Colonius on reduced-order turbulence models at the California Institute of Technology. I began my studies (B.S.) at Case Western Reserve University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Summa Cum Laude) and continued with a Masters (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering studying building energy efficiency data analytics. I have work experience with Philips Healthcare, NASA, and the Great Lakes Energy Institute. In these roles I spent time working as a prototype engineer, a thermodynamic system modeler, and a building energy data analyst. Currently, I am pursuing research at the intersection of computational fluid dynamics and data science.

Spectral Proper Orthogonal Decomposition and Resolvent Analysis of a Mach 1.5 jet.
Pickering et al., Journal of Fluid Mechanics (2020)

Data-Driven Turbulence Modeling

My research investigates the fundamental mechanisms that exist in complex and chaotic fluid flows by leveraging large, high-fidelity datasets to inform and validate reduced-order modeling strategies. These mechanisms are of importance as they govern engineering quantities such as noise, drag, and efficiency. Unfortunately, both high-fidelity datasets and reduced order models, alone, can only provide limited insight into these mechanisms. In much of my research, I look to pose optimization problems where our models assimilate/learn various properties of turbulence from the data to yield reduced-order models that are both predictive and general (i.e. applicable to other flows geometries and conditions). In short, this research takes a constrained-‘‘machine learning’’ approach, where the Navier-Stokes equations remain a central component of the model.

To learn from the data, turbulent flows are decomposed into their most energetic components (using Spectral Proper Orthogonal Decomposition) and then modeled via linear amplification theory of the equations of motion (Resolvent Analysis). Check out the video above on how we decompose massive datasets (numerous TB) into SPOD modes and then seek to model their theoretical equivalent with resolvent analysis.


Dr. Ethan Pickering

  • (2021- ) Postdoc ME, MIT
  • (2016-2021) Ph.D. ME, Caltech
  • (2018) M.S. ME, Caltech
  • (2016) M.S. ME, CWRU
  • (2015) B.S. MAE, CWRU


15 March, 2021

Submitted a new paper to JASA! We use reduced-order modeling for capturing physics of turbulet jet noise.

4 February, 2020

Defended my thesis, Resolvent modeling of turbulent jets, check out the recording!

22 May, 2020

Just submitted a new paper to JFM! We use data to determine an optimal eddy-viscosity for resolvent analysis.

14 April, 2020

Lift-Up in turbulent jets paper accepted to JFM!

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Upcoming Events

November 22-24, 2020

APS Division of Fluid Dynamics
Chicago, Illinois USA

December 8-12, 2020

179th Meeeting of the Acoustical Society of America
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August 22-27, 2021

25th International Congress on Theroretical and Applied Mechanics
Milano, Italy