Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringOUR PEOPLE
Rhea LIEM 
PhD, University of Toronto
Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Professor Liem obtained her Bachelor of Engineering degree from the School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University. Her undergraduate study was supported by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with a 4-year merit-based full scholarship. She earned Master of Science (S.M.) degrees in Computation for Design and Optimization (supported by the Singapore-MIT Alliance Fellowship Award), and Aeronautics/Astronautics, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She then pursued her PhD degree in the Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) Laboratory, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), as a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar. She is also a 2012 Amelia Earhart Fellow.

Professor Liem's main research interest is in aerospace computation, specifically in the application of computational science and advanced computing capabilities to solve real-world problems in the field of aerospace engineering. At present, aerospace computation has gone beyond the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and computational structural mechanics (CSM). One prominent example is the application of constrained optimization techniques to meet the desired design objective in aircraft design process, such as minimum drag, fuel burn, or structural weight. Using intensive computation for simulation and optimization allows researchers and practitioners to model and examine phenomena that are too complex, costly, or hazardous for experimentation, and thus address problems previously deemed intractable. Computational science also makes it possible to analyze the interdependency of processes across disciplinary boundaries. In this regard, multidisciplinary design and optimization (MDO) aims to assist the design analyses and optimizations of any complex systems while accounting for the interdisciplinary coupling within the system. MDO is therefore deemed suitable for the analysis and design processes of a system as complex as aircraft.

Teaching Activities

MECH1907 Introduction to Aerospace Engineering
MECH3620 Aircraft Design

Professional Activities

  • Reviewer -- AIAA Journal, Journal of Aircraft, Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Aerospace Science and Technology
  • AIAA Member

Research Interests

  • Surrogate modeling
  • Aircraft design and mission analysis
  • Air transportation
  • Data-enhanced modeling
  • Variable-fidelity analysis
  • Multidisciplinary design and optimization
  • Computational modeling for complex systems
  • Statistical modeling and Bayesian analysis
  • Uncertainty quantification and analysis
  • Machine learning and data analytics
Selected Publications 

Liem, R. P., Kenway, G. K. W, and Martins, J. R. R. A. Expected Drag Minimization for Aerodynamic Design Optimization Based on Aircraft Operational Data, Aerospace Science and Technology, 63:344-362, 2017.

Liem, R. P., Mader, C. A., and Martins, J. R. R. A.  Surrogate Models and Mixtures of Experts in Aerodynamic Performance Prediction for Mission Analysis. Aerospace Science and Technology, 43:126-151, June 2015.
Liem, R. P., Kenway, G. K. W., and Martins, J. R. R. A. Multimission Aircraft Fuel-Burn Minimization via Multipoint Aerostructural Optimization. AIAA Journal, 53(1):104-122, 2015.

Honors and Awards

•             2nd place, Student Paper Competition, 15th AIAA MAO Conference (2014)
•             AIAA Best Paper Award in Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) (2012)
•             NSERC-Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Award (2012-2015)
•             Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Award (2012-2013)
•             Daimler-Chrysler Gold Medal Award (2003)
•             Nanyang Technological University Alumni Prize (2003)
•             NTU College of Engineering Exhibition's Consolation Prize (2003)
•             Hewlett-Packard Prize (2001)
•             Nanyang Technological University Dean's Honor List (1999-2003)
•             The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Undergraduate Scholarship
              Award (1999-2003)
Tel +852 3469 2295
Fax +852 2358 1543
Email rpliem
Office Room 2549