photo of Christopher J. Earls

Christopher J. Earls

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Hollister Hall, Room 365


Earls' research involves the development and application of new computational techniques for the study of important problems involving solids and structures, as well as other natural and engineered systems. Coupling the principled treatment of uncertainty with these computational approaches facilitates the solution of complex inverse problems. Such inverse problems arise naturally as part of Earls' research.

Earls is a member of the United States Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM), the International Association on Computational Mechanics (IACM), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

Research Interests

Earls' Group is concerned with developing novel algorithmic and computational approaches that enable new understanding concerning the actual condition, and future behavior of complex natural and engineered systems. Practical challenges concerning the principled treatment of uncertainty, sparse sensing, and the complex multi-physics response modalities of the real-world are motivational in our work. The intellectual themes that underpin our research are: computational mechanics, high performance computing, and applied mathematics. Problems of interest to us occur in the domains of engineering and applied science.

Teaching Interests

Earls' teaching focus is on undergraduate design of metal structures and structural mechanics, as well as computational mechanics at the graduate level.

Service Interests

Earls is a member of the United States Association for Computational Mechanics, the International Association on Computational Mechanics, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Selected Publications

  • Earls, Christopher J., R. Sternfels. 2013."Reduced order model tracking and interpolation to solve PDE-based inverse problems."Inverse Problems29: 075014.
  • Fountoulakis, V., C Earls. 2016."Inverting for Maritime Environments Using Proper Orthogonal Bases From Sparsely Sampled Electromagnetic Propagation Data."IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing54(12): 7166-7176.
  • Aquino, Wilkins, J. C. Brigham, Christopher J. Earls, N. Sukumar. 2009."Generalized finite element method using proper orthogonal decomposition."International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering79(7): 887-906.
  • Reed, H M., C J Earls. 2015."Stochastic identification of the structural damage condition of a ship bow section under model uncertainty."Ocean Engineering103(Elsevier): 123-143.
  • Loeb, A., C Earls. 2016."Optimized inspection design for the thermographic characterization of sub-pixel sized through cracks."NDT & E International82: 44-55.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award(The Charles E. Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech)2004
  • Outstanding Professor of the Year Award(American Society of Civil Engineers, Pittsburgh Section)2001
  • James and Mary Tien Excellence in Teaching Award(Cornell University College of Engineering)2016
  • Peter S. Michie Outstanding Teacher Award(West Point)1998
  • Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award(Oak Ridge Associated Universities)2000


  • BS(Civil Engineering),Virginia Tech,1990
  • MS(Civil Engineering),Virginia Tech,1992
  • Ph D(Civil Engineering),University of Minnesota,1995