SCE Fluids Lab: Spillway Model

In the SCE Fluids Lab, Dr. Jerry Richardson and graduate student Jonathan Daldalian have contracted with Water Resources Solutions to assist in the building of the Woodson County Fishing Lake spillway model. In 2016 severe rainfall failed the spillway of this reservoir. This is similar (but smaller) to what happened with the Oroville Dam in California last spring. Dr. Richardson and Jonathan were able to model the spillway failure and propose and test a redesigned spillway using a physical model combined with advanced 3-dimensional CFD modeling. Their redesigned model is scheduled to be implemented by April before the next flood season.


Alumni Q+A: KK Kailasam

Full Name: KK Kailasam
Job Title: VP, Engineering Fellow
Employer: Cerner
Graduation Year: 1992
Degree: MS Computer Science
Current City: Kansas City, KS (Work); Olathe (Home)
Hometown: Originally from Chennai, India; living in Olathe, KS

Tell me about an average day at your job.
I lead a team of talented software engineers in Cerner’s decision support organization designing and implementing solutions that provide cross-venue care. Our solution suite includes data transformation services, clinical ontologies, and software agents to implement Cerner Math developed models that predict outcomes. The transformation services handle large volumes of data in a big data environment, and process unstructured clinical documentation using natural language processing techniques. The ontology services enable specification of a clinical program in a consistent and standards-based approach. The software agents use the data transformation services and clinical ontologies to execute mathematical models and predict outcomes such as hospital readmissions, risk of suicide etc.

How did UMKC prepare you for your career?
One aspect that I remember very well to this day, is the faculty’s interest in staying connected with the industry. The assignments and projects often simulated real-world situations. And several decades later, as a member of the advisory committee, I see the same enthusiasm and excitement among the faculty. The committee is represented by leaders from many different industries and there is always a good dialog in terms of the types of courses and projects that will help prepare students to connect theory with practice.

How did you decide what area you wanted to work in?
In all honesty, I was lucky. In the early 1990s, the hype was mostly around networking and telecommunications. The only certainty was my interest in developing application software. It was after joining Cerner that I learned the potential for software in the field of health care. It started with solutions related to digitizing records and assisting care providers with timely interventions. And the journey continues. If you are trying to decide, the intersection of Heath Care and Information Technology is a great place. The complexity and hence the challenges are significant. There is a sense of personal satisfaction in this area. Whether it is about making it safer or more efficient or using data to derive new knowledge, the opportunities are plenty.

How do you keep up with the rapidly changing field of technology?
Early in my career I learned from my leadership about the importance of continuously expanding one’s boundaries. I follow many great minds on Twitter to learn what they are reading and talking about. Colleges like Stanford offer many courses online; I take them, especially the ones without a timeline.

What advice do you have for students entering the field?
1) Learn to write code and continue to improve upon it.
2) Learn to write code in more than one language.
3) The real world is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary in nature. Take classes from other areas like Math, Linguistics, Biology etc.

The Top Kansas City Holiday Activities

Crown Center Ice Terrace

KC’s outdoor skating rink opens back up again in November! Admission is only $6 and skate rentals are $3.


See a show at the KC Rep Theatre

You can see A Christmas Carol at the KC Rep starting November 17th. It’s a Kansas City holiday tradition! Students can get discounted tickets with an ID.


Union Station Holiday Kick Off

The Union Station Holiday Kick Off is a free event in Grand Plaza with tons of different activities. Make sure to check out the Annual Holiday Lighting on November 19th!


Plaza Holiday Lights

The Plaza lights are truly a sight to see! Head to the Plaza at 6:00pm on Thanksgiving Day for the lighting ceremony followed by fireworks!


Union Station Classic Holiday Movie Series

Catch one of your favorite holiday movies at Union Station’s GIANT 5-story Extreme Screen! This year you can see Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and The Polar Express for only $3!


Power & Light Christmas Decorations

Take a walk through the Power & Light district to see beautifully lit trees and decorations.


Downtown Dazzle Trolley Tour (Power & Light, Crown Center, River Market District)

This year, the Downtown Dazzle runs from November 24th-December 31st with a lot of fun holiday activities for everyone including a free trolley ride!


Christmas in the Park

Your holidays aren’t complete until you take a journey through Jackson County’s Christmas in the Park! There are more than 300,000 lights to see and it’s completely free!—Dec-31-Christmas-In-The-Park