Colin Olson earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University in 2003 and was inspired to study Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) by a stint at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Dynamics Summer School. There he met Dr. Michael Todd and recognized an opportunity to be involved with a new lab from its inception while studying nonlinear dynamics in an SHM context. He earned his M.S. in Structural Engineering in 2005 and his Ph.D. in 2008 with support from the LANL Engineering Institute and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.
His dissertation considered the use of biologically-inspired optimization routines to design custom nonlinear vibration profiles for improved damage detection, localization, and classification using novel pattern detection algorithms. The multi-disciplinary nature of the research required an education in, among others, the fields of probability theory, time-series analysis, signal processing, nonlinear dynamics, structural mechanics, machine learning, parameter and system identification, and optimization.
He went on to a post-doctoral research position at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington D.C. with support from an American Society of Engineering Education fellowship. He is currently a research engineer with NRL where his multi-disciplinary education has proved useful for projects that include real-time detection and tracking in maritime scenes, tailored force fields for the construction of optical metamaterials, and manifold-based anomaly detection in hyperspectral images.