I am an engineering research scientist based in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. I lead and manage research projects to develop next generation diagnosis and prediction technology. My work involves combining modern multi-modal sensing technology with signal processing, statistical analysis and learning algorithms to detect flaws, characterize materials, and predict future behavior. My specific focus is with ultrasonics and wave propagation based methods, optical/thermal/hyperspectral imaging, sensor fusion and data analysis, signal processing technology, and applied mechanics problems in general. More details can be found on my Resumé page.

I am an alumnus of Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) and Jadavpur University, and hold degrees in Engineering Mechanics (Ph.D., from VT) and Mechanical Engineering (BME, from JU).

My Ph.D. dissertation research was focused on damage development and failure prediction in laminated composite materials. I developed tools and techniques to estimate the damage state and remaining useful service life in composite materials. To know a little bit more about my area of research, see this series on health-monitoring that I’m writing. (It’s not much yet, but there’ll be more.) I am also a proficient computer programmer and am interested in developing software tools for novel engineering applications.

I have previously worked as Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Advanced Automotive Research (CAAR) at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), where I contributed to several government and industry sponsored research projects on automotive safety research. I have designed and performed experiments at the Virginia Smart Road, and worked on US-DOT research with major auto-makers involving crash safety technology.

Outside of work, I am a photographer and blogger — although the extent of activity ebbs and flows periodically. I take an interest in engineering, technology and the sciences in general, political and economic causes and effects, and most things that can possibly have a ‘why’ attached to them.

I come from India, and my mother tongue is Bangla. My name ‘Arnab’ best translates to ‘Ocean’ in English— which explains my domain name here and usernames elsewhere. You were wondering, weren’t you. 😃

Web Development

This website began as much as a side project, to learn and implement the latest web standards, as to actually build and maintain my own website. The first iteration involved my hand-coding everything, using only the latest HTML5 and CSS3 specifications, excluding Javascript almost completely (to make the website faster but also because I didn’t know any Javascript), and using Remy Sharp’s script to make darned Internet Explorer understand modern HTML5. That situation has now changed dramatically. I’m way more comfortable now with HTML and CSS, and want to incorporate Javascript even though I still don’t know much about it.

Instead of hand-coding I’ve recently rebuilt the website using the static website generator Octopress. I think Octopress is brilliant. There are negatives to the situation — such as having to always be in front of my computer to be able to post anything to the website, but web design-wise, this solution beats hand-coding, well— hands down.

Update in 2020: Octopress was brilliant when I made the switch… but it hasn’t been updated in the last 5 years. Their last public blog post was in Jan 2015. The Octopress Github seems quite inactive too. The lead developer, Brandon Mathis, has a currently defunct home page listed on his Github profile. So… if you’re starting a static html website today, Octopress should not be your answer. Instead, my suggestion would be to look at Jekyll (which is Ruby-based, like Octopress), or Pelican (which is Python-based). Hugo and Hyde seem to be other popular options.

In fact, the website that you’re now reading has been recently completely redesigned using Pelican. When I last rebuilt my website, Pelican was still in its infancy, and I had no preferences regarding programming languages. Now, Pelican is way more mature, and Python is now my primary programming language. It was a no-brainer, really. (I will write a dedicated blog post—at some point—detailing the move to Pelican.)


All the fonts I’m using are from Google Web Fonts. In particular:

An excellent repository of icons is available for free at The Noun Project, from where I have used icons with the following attributions:

If you must use your own font files, Dafont.com is an excellent source of free, well-designed fonts. More regarding fonts, Paul Irish’s bulletproof @font-face syntax and the excellent FontSquirrel.com are quite indispensable if you plan on implementing custom fonts on your own. (I did previously, but not anymore.)

Among others, some excellent resources for tutorials and troubleshooting related to web development and design are NetTuts+ and Stack Overflow.

Browser Compatibility

This website should render well on most modern standards-compliant browsers, including Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera. To test your browser against HTML5 standards, visit html5test.com. If your browser isn’t updated, please do update it, and browse happy!