Benjamin Z. Dunham

Benjamin Z. Dunham

Ben Dunham is a PhD candidate in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. His reserach interests include algorithmic computation of simulation derivatives; multidisciplinary optimization; uncertainty quantification; analysis and optimization on a manifold; and, in general, any way to optimize or automate the design process. 


  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, May 2014 (exp)
  • MS, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, May 2011
  • BA, Mathematics, Carroll College, Helena, MT, May 2009
  • BA, Computer Science, Carroll College, Helena, MT, May 2009

Research & Work Experience
Aug 2009 - Present: Research Assistant
Busemann Advanced Concepts Laboratory, University of Colorado, Boulder
Research assistant working multi-disciplinary optimization of high speed propulsion systems. His research also focuses on adding sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification to his optimization to ensure system robustness.

Jan 2012 - Present: Teaching Assistant
ASEN4013 Foundations of Propulsion, University of Colorado, Boulder
Teaching assistant for an introductory class to the fundamental principles and concepts of aerothermodynamics and propulsion systems, including turbojets, ramjets, and rockets. Duties included holding recitation sessions and evaluating students' work.

Jun 2007 - Aug 2007: NASA Intern
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Interned at NASA in Greenbelt, working on the Polar Operational Enivornment (POES) satellite. Performed telemetry trending related to an anomaly investigation on the NOAA-N Satellite.

Jun 2006 - Aug 2006: NASA Intern
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Interned at NASA in section 315 as a programmer. Wrote a PHP/MySQL script to generate a Deep Space Network tracking profile for use in cost estimates of early-phase mission proposals.

Selected Awards
2010 - Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
2009 - Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program 
2009 - Bishop Gilmore Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship – Carroll College
2009 - Alfred J. Murray Award in Mathematics – Carroll College
2009 - Thomas G. Stewart Award in Computer Science – Carroll College
2006 - Outstanding Winner ranking in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) 
2005 - Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science Achievement Award – Carroll College

Selected Publications

  1. Dunhma, B., and Starkey, R., "QCG: Quasi-Complex Gradients for Efficient and Accurate Computation of Any-Order Derivative Tensors," 12th AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations (ATIO) Conference and 14th AIAA/ISSMO Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference, 2012.
  2. Dunham B., Francischetti S., Nixon K., “Sprinkler Systems for Dummies: Optimizing a Hand-Moved Sprinkler System”, UMAP Journal, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2006.