Professor Prasanth B. Nair
University of Toronto
Institute for Aerospace Studies
4925 Dufferin St., Ontario, Canada M3H 5T6
Email: pbn (AT)

Prasanth Nair is the Canada Research Chair in Computational Modeling and Design Optimization Under Uncertainty and a Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). His research interests lie in three main areas: (1) computational modeling of deterministic and stochastic systems governed by partial differential equations (PDEs), (2) optimization algorithms for design, control and parameter estimation, and (3) greedy algorithms and Bayesian methods for function approximation.

Professor Nair obtained his doctorate degree in Computational Engineering from the University of Southampton in 2000, and his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai in 1995 and 1997, respectively. After completing his PhD, he was appointed as a Research Fellow in the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton. He was promoted to University Senior Research Fellow in 2002 and he became a Senior Lecturer in 2007. He joined UTIAS in March 2011 and he also holds a visiting position in the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton.

Professor Nair is the co-author of a book on Aerospace Design (Computational Approaches for Aerospace Design, John-Wiley and Sons, 2005) and over 100 articles in referred journals, edited books and conference proceedings.

Research Highlights

Computational Modeling Under Uncertainty

Research in this area is focusing on

  • Alternating Galerkin projection schemes for randomly parameterized linear and nonlinear PDEs
  • Decoupling Galerkin projection schemes via adaptive function decomposition strategies
  • Krylov methods for large-scale linear and nonlinear random algebraic equations arising from semi-discretization of stochastic PDEs
  • Stochastic projection schemes for the algebraic random eigenvalue problem
  • Nonintrusive Bayesian methods for constructing emulators of spatio-temporal datasets
  • Software development issues and development of automatic source code translation utilities

Collaborators: Par Hakansson, Christophe Audouze, Ivan Voutchkov, Neeraj Cherukunnath, Florian De Vuyst, Andy J. Keane

Recent Publications

  1. P. B. Nair, ''Stochastic subspace projection schemes for dynamic analysis of uncertain systems,'' Proceedings of the IUTAM Symposium on Vibration Analysis of Strucures with Uncertanties, 5-9 July 2009, St. Petersburg.

  2. C. Audouze, F. De Vuyst and P. B. Nair, ''Reduced-order modeling of parameterized PDEs using time-space-parameter principal component analysis,'' International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, Vol. 80, No. 8, 2009, pp. 1025-1057. DOI:10.1002/nme.2540.

  3. P. S. Mohan, P. B. Nair and A. J. Keane, ''Uncertainty in thermal analysis of gas turbine blades'', Proceedings of the 11th AIAA Non-deterministic Approaches Conference, AIAA Paper No. 2009-2262, Palm Springs, California, 2009.

  4. P. S. Mohan, P. B. Nair and A. J. Keane, ''Inexact Picard iterative scheme for steady-state nonlinear diffusion in random heterogeneous media,'' Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 79, 046706, 2009. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevE.79.046706

  5. P. S. Mohan, P. B. Nair and A. J. Keane, ``Multi-element stochastic reduced basis methods,'' Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, Vol. 197, No. 17-18, 2008, pp. 1495-1506. DOI:doi:10.1016/j.cma.2007.11.021


Design Optimization

The focus of ongoing research is on efficient surrogate-assisted optimization algorithms for robust design of engineering systems in the presence of uncertainty. I am also involved in work on statistical modeling of engineering components using noisy and sparse measurement data.

Selected Publications

  1. A. Kumar, P. B. Nair, A. J. Keane and S. Shahpar, ``Robust design using Bayesian Monte Carlo,'' International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, Vol. 73, No. 11, 2008, pp. 1497-1517. DOI:10.1002/nme.2126
  2. Y. S. Ong, P. B. Nair, K. Y. Lum, and Z. K. Zhang, ``Hybrid evolutionary algorithm for aerodynamic design using Hermite radial basis interpolants,'' Computational Optimization and Applications, Vol. 39, 2008, pp. 97-119. DOI: 10.1007/s10589-007-9065-5

  3. A. Kumar, A. J. Keane, P. B. Nair and S. Shahpar, ``Robust design of compressor fan blades against erosion,'' ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, Vol. 128, No. 4, 2006, pp. 864-873. doi:10.1115/1.2202886

  4. Y. S. Ong, P. B. Nair and K. Y. Lum, ``Max-Min surrogate-assisted evolutionary algorithm for robust aerodynamic design,'' IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol. 10, No. 4, 2006, pp. 392-404. doi:10.1109/TEVC.2005.859464

  5. Z. Zhou, Y. S. Ong, P. B. Nair, A. J. Keane and K. Y. Lum, ``Combining global and local surrogate models to accelerate evolutionary optimization,'' IEEE Transactions on Systems Man and Cybernetics, Part C, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2006, pp. 814-823. 10.1109/TSMCC.2005.855506

  6. Y. S. Ong, P. B. Nair, and A. J. Keane, ``Evolutionary optimization of computationally expensive problems via surrogate modeling,'' AIAA Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4, 2003, pp. 687-696.

Generalized Function Approximation

Research in this area is focusing on

  1. adaptive function decomposition schemes for high-dimensional problems
  2. deterministic and randomized greedy algorithms
  3. numerical solution of partial differential equations using radial basis functions
  4. Bayesian methods for function approximation and solution of operator equations

Selected Publications
  1. P. Chinchapatnam, K. S. Rhode, M. Ginks, P. B. Nair, R. Razavi, S. R. Arridge, M. Sermesant, ''Voxel based adaptive meshless method for cardiac electrophysiology simulation,'' Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Functional Imaging and Modeling of the Heart (FIHM), 3-5 June, Nice, France, 2009, pp. 182-190. DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-01932-6_20.

  2. P. P. Chinchapatnam, K. Djidjeli, P. B. Nair and M. Tan, ''A compact RBF-FD based meshless method for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations,'' Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment, Vol. 223, No. 3, 2009, pp. 275--290. DOI:10.1243/14750902JEME151

  3. P. P. Chinchapatnam, K. Djidjeli, and P. B. Nair, ``Radial basis function meshless method for the steady incompressible Navier-Stokes equations,'' International Journal of Computer Mathematics, Vol. 84, 2007, pp. 1509-1526. DOI:10.1080/00207160701308309

  4. P. B. Nair, "Greedy unsymmetric collocation,'' ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Meshless Methods, Lisbon, July 11-14, 2005. Download Paper.

  5. P. B. Nair, A. Choudhury and A. J. Keane, ``Some greedy learning algorithms for sparse regression and classification with Mercer kernels,'' Journal of Machine Learning Research, Vol. 3, 2002, pp. 781-801. [Download Paper]
Biomedical Engineering

Research in this area is focusing on:

  • Statistical shape and intensity modeling of the human femur and knee using ensemble computer tomography data
  • Multi-patient simulations of the intact and implanted human femur and knee
  • Computational and experimental investigations into robustness of cementless total hip replacements
  • Real-time prediction tools for total hip arthoplasty

Collaborators: Rebecca Bryan, Hatice Ozturk, Francis Galloway, Mamadou T. Bah, Christophe Audouze, Martin Browne, Mark Taylor

Recent Publications

  1. R. Bryan, P. B. Nair and M. Taylor, "An automated, large-scale finite element study into the influence of femoral head resurfacing on load transfer in the proximal femur,'' submitted for review.

  2. R. Bryan, P. S. Mohan, A. Hopkins, M. Taylor, P. B. Nair, ''Statistical modelling of the whole human femur incorporating geometric and material properties, Medical Engineering and Physics, 2009, DOI:10.1016/j.medengphy.2009.10.008

  3. M. T. Bah, P. B. Nair and M. Browne, ''Mesh morphing for finite element analysis of implant positioning in cementless total hip replacements,'' Medical Engineering and Physics, 2009, in press. DOI:10.1016/j.medengphy.2009.08.001

  4. R. Bryan, P. B. Nair and M. Taylor, ''Use of a statistical model of the whole femur in a large scale, multi-model study of femoral neck fracture risk,'' Journal of Biomechanics, Vol. 42, No. 13, 2009, pp. 2171--2176. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.05.038