Manage Big Data in a Living Laboratory


External Funding



In 2014, Virginia Tech unveiled Goodwin Hall, its new College of Engineering building. The 160,000 sq ft building consists of 5 floors in an “L” shape design. While still under construction, Professor Pablo Tarazaga seized the unique opportunity to turn the building into a living laboratory. He led the Smart Infrastructure Lab (VTSIL) to outfit the building with over 200 accelerometers and other sensors (temperature, wind, etc) to study the dynamic response of the building in real-time. Goodwin Hall became the most instrumented public building in the world for vibration monitoring of both the building structure as well as human activity in the building.

Starting from early 2013, I joined VTSIL to lead the development of software and systems to collect data from sensors and then a platform to analyze, visualize, and stream the collected data. The instrumentation generates ~4GB/hour unto 1GB/min during full building monitoring. This work facilitates advances in Smart Storage and Access of digital data to create an easy-to-use test bed.

Goodwin Hall

The world's most instrumented building for vibration

Floor Plan and Sensors

The location of accelerometers and how they were wielded to the structural beams during the construction

Heat Map

Human activity levels differ from location and time


Stream & Visualize

The total power level of the building fluctuates during the day.


Demo Video: Visualize Power Spectrum Density

Patterns of the power spectrum density at different sensors across the building revealed the tiny vibration caused by the power lines and the effects of the rooftop cooling tower and HVAC systems.

Structural Health Monitoring

Using our data platform to detect structural damages to the building.

Footstep Detection

Using AI to train a model to automatically detect footsteps from the collected vibration data .

Related Publications