New Faculty Member, 2020–21
Earlier in his career as a construction coordinator, Thomas Czerniawski discovered a huge problem in the industry: miscommunication.
“So, I developed an expertise in information systems and computer vision and hope to improve the way information about the built environment is used and managed,” he says.
He uses artificial intelligence — “a field that is experiencing near-daily, wonder-inducing developments” — in his research to alleviate communication pitfalls in the industry.
However, it was a low-tech approach that drew Czerniawski to creating and improving upon his own built environment.
“When I was young, my friends and I would go jumping on our mountain bikes,” Czerniawski recalls. “I would always eagerly bring my shovel to construct our gravity-defying ramps. These early adventures taught me that forces, gradients, velocity, compaction and scale have real-world consequences.”
Since then, he has built a career working on subway tunnels, hydroelectric dams and nuclear reactors.
“I am fascinated by large-scale operations and love the coordination systems required to make them move toward an objective,” he says.
As a new assistant professor of construction management at Arizona State University, Czerniawski will be inspiring students to tackle physical construction challenges with digital tools. Through CON 251: Microcomputer Applications for Construction, students will learn about software tools that are “fundamental to the practice of construction.”
“I will show how computers can be used to augment our abilities to think, remember and communicate,” Czerniawski says.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a greater need for digital technologies on construction sites to facilitate social distancing. Czerniawski plans to take advantage of these new developments to explore the future of remote inspection.
But his first task is to determine what to research and to connect with industry to see how computer vision can meet their needs.
Czerniawski enjoys the challenge of finding solutions “often beyond the threshold of imagination” and the opportunity for “endless deep thought” those challenges provide.
Czerniawski is excited to be embarking on this journey at ASU. He was drawn to the university leadership’s aspiration to be a model for the 21st-century public research university, and for “its fearless approach to innovation, its visionary president and its world-class construction management program.”
Aside from engineering, Czerniawski rounds out his technical side with interest in strength sports, even training and competing with the University of Texas at Austin gymnastics team for several years. He also reads widely and creates art pieces in a variety of media.