Dr. Mustafa Altinakar receives the prestigious 2019 Terry L. Hampton Medal awarded by ASDSO


Dr. Mustafa Altinakar received the prestigious 2019 Terry L. Hampton Medal from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials – ASDSO (https://damsafety.org/) in recognition of his contributions to research and practices in hydrologic and hydraulic engineering for dams through the development of the Decision Support System for Water Infrastructural Security Lite (DSS-WISE Lite) system. The award was presented to Dr. Altinakar during a ceremony held on the first day of the ASDSO Dam Safety 2019 conference held in Orlando Florida on September 9-12, 2019.

The Terry L. Hampton Medal was established in 2007 by the ASDSO Advisory Committee (AdCom), to recognize Terry L. Hampton’s lifetime achievements in the field of hydrology and hydraulics and his contributions to ASDSO and the AdCom. The Terry L. Hampton Medal is not awarded every year. Prior to 2019, it was awarded to five recipients. In 2019, AdCom awarded the medal to Dr. Mustafa Altinakar, of the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering atthe University of Mississippi, and Dr. Sherry L. Hunt, of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

The medal recognizes outstanding contributions of individuals who conduct research and development work in the fields of dam safety, hydrology, and hydraulics.. The recipients must have conducted hydrologic or hydraulic research and development related to dams, with significant impact to dam engineering. They must participate in organizations focused on dams, dam safety, dam engineering, and they must have made significant contributions to the practice of hydrologic and/or hydraulic engineering for dams.


Dr. Altinakar (right) receiving Terry L. Hampton Award from the President of ASDSO, Mr. Hal Van Aller (left).


Mr. Greg Paxson of Schnabel Engineering and Chair of the AdCom presented Dr. Altinakar at the award ceremony. He highlighted the importance of the DSS-WISE Lite system developed by Dr. Atinakar and his team for the dam safety community in the USA. He underlined the value of rapid and cost-effective dam inundation simulations and estimation of human consequences provided by DSS-WISE Lite system for the dam safety community. He recognized that the introduction of DSS-WISE Lite system has changed the way dam safety emergencies are handled by the states and federal agencies and allowed state dam safety offices to perform hazard classification and prioritization of dams to ensure safety. When Mr. Paxson asked if there were any users of the DSS-WISE Lite system, a large number of participants raised their hand proving the importance of DSS-WISE Lite to a growing user community.


Dr. Altinakar (right) receiving Terry L. Hampton Award from the President of ASDSO, Mr. Hal Van Aller (left).

In his acceptance address, Dr. Altinakar recognized the funding provided by various agencies, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that provided the five-year sole-source contract that made the development of DSS-WISE Lite platform possible. He recognized the outstanding work of the members of the DSS-WISE Lite development team and thanked them for their dedication and creative contributions. He also acknowledged the additional funding received from the Division of Safety of Dams, Department of Water Resources of the State of California, the Division of Science and Technology of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS S&T), and the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). Dr. Altinakar underlined that the collaboration with these federal and state agencies and the dam safety officials is key to the development of a state-of-the-art numerical model-based decision support system, such as DSS-WISE Lite for the stakeholder community.


Members of the DSS-WISE Lite team with Dr. Gokhan Ince from FEMA, the technical coordinator of the DSS-WISE Lite development project. From Left to right: Marcus McGrath, Dr. Gokhan Ince, Dr. Mustafa Altinakar, and Dr. Vijay Ramalingam.