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The BHS - water@leeds Annual Christmas Lecture 2023


water@leeds is delighted to partner with the British Hydrological Society Pennines Group to showcase work by postgraduate researchers. The resulting Christmas Lecture Series has now become an annual tradition.

This year's online event took place on 13 December 2023, with presentations from  Thitipoom Chailert  and Maria Luisa Taccari  from the School of Civil Engineering.

Thitipoom Chailert - Enhancing flash flood forecasting accuracy via machine learning

Thitipoom's presentation focused on flash floods. They usually occur in steep, small catchment areas, making them difficult to predict due to their rapid onset. Utilizing local hydrological data with machine learning models offers a potential solution for forecasting. These models learn patterns from large local hydrological datasets to generate forecasts. Results can be compared to traditional models like The Probability-Distributed Model (PDM).

Maria Luisa Taccari - Deep Learning for Groundwater Modelling

Maria, a final-year PhD candidate delves into the development of deep learning surrogate models in groundwater flow simulation. Surrogate models serve as efficient approximations of complex numerical groundwater models, like MODFLOW, which are traditionally crucial for water resource management but come with high computational demands. Through her research, Maria Luisa has illustrated that deep learning surrogate models, encompassing standard computer vision models, transformers, and neural operators, can substantially reduce computational demands. These data-driven methods have shown the potential to mimic the capabilities of numerical techniques accurately and efficiently. Finally, the talk also touches upon the application of these models with real-world data, which present unique challenges such as accounting for time-dependent problems, sparse data, and true-world variability.

Thanks to Rob Burton and Martin Smith of the BHS Pennines Group who hosted the event, we can now share the presentations here:


Our thanks to British Hydrological Society Pennines Group for their support of postgraduate research and for making this an annual event.