Kenneth Bryden

  • Professor
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Program Director for Simulation, Modeling and Decision Science at Ames Laboratory

Main Office

1620 Howe Hall - 2274
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-3891
Fax: 515-294-3261


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993
  • BS, General Engineering, Idaho State University, 1977

Interest Areas

Dr. Bryden’s research  interests are broad but fit well under the umbrella of integrated computational environments and engineering decision making. Today one of the most critical issues in modeling and engineering is how to use the models and computing capabilities we have to improve our engineered products and processes. We have many powerful engineering modeling tools, but in many cases we cannot bring the full power of these tools to bear on engineering problems. Computational time, differing vocabularies between various disciplines, and the disparate nature of model creation all create barriers to the use of detailed model sets in engineering decision making. The challenge is that nearly all engineered products and processes are holistic systems composed of interdependent parts. Each of these parts is commonly analyzed with a separate model or set of models, and in many cases the interaction between the models is as important as the models themselves to the behavior and performance of the engineered product. Because of this, we need to be able to readily integrate the models and information required to create robust computational systems that accurately represent the fidelity and diversity of built, social, and natural systems. Within this area Dr. Bryden has worked on model integration, linking physical and virtual systems, visualization, and optimization. Although these tools can be applied in many areas, the primary applications that Dr. Bryden is examining are in the areas of energy, environment, and sustainability. This includes developing an integrated environmental model to address the sustainability of crop residue removal for bioenergy applications, developing an open source integration framework for interacting with CAD and analysis software, and developing tools to model and understand the impact of various energy system interventions in the developing world.

Brief Biography

Dr. Mark Bryden is the founding director of the Simulation, Modeling and Decision Science program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and is a professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University. Dr. Bryden’s research is focused on the federation of information from disparate sources (e.g., models, data, and other information elements) to create detailed models of engineered, human, and natural systems that enable engineering decision making for these complex systems. Dr. Bryden has published more than 180 peer-reviewed articles and co-authored the textbook Combustion Engineering. He has founded two successful startups based on his research work, and he has founded the nonprofit ETHOS, a community of 150+ researchers focused on meeting the needs for clean village energy in the developing world. He has received three patents, three R&D 100 awards, two Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer awards, and a National Excellence in Technology Transfer award. In 2013 he and his coauthors received the ASME Melville Medal. The Melville Medal was first awarded in 1927 and is the highest honor for the best original technical paper published in the ASME Transactions in the past two years.   His professional experience includes three years as an engineer and 11 years as a manager at Westinghouse Electric in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In addition, for more than 15 years Professor Bryden has worked on energy systems for the poor in a number of developing countries.  Most recently he has worked in Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world, where he led an effort to develop the technology, infrastructure, and in-country support network needed to provide household lighting to remote off-grid villages.

Honors and Awards

  • 2013 Melville Medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2013.

"The Melville Medal was first awarded in 1927 and is the highest honor for the best original technical paper published in the ASME Transactions in the past two years."

  • Best Scientific Paper, 2013 International Symposium on Environmental Software Systems, 2013.
  • 2012 Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer, for “Virtual Paint,” National Federal Laboratory Consortium, 2012.
  • Terrestrial Energy Systems Best Paper Award, AIAA 50th Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2012.
  • R&D 100 Award, for “osgBullet,” Top 100 Research Developments of 2010, R&D Magazine, 2010.
  • 2010 National Excellence in Technology Transfer, for “Virtual Engineering – Process Simulator Interface,” National Federal Laboratory Consortium, 2010.
  • Best Paper, 19th Annual Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering Conference (ANNIE 2009), 2009.
  • R&D 100 Award, for “Virtual Engineering – Process Simulator Interface,” Top 100 Research Developments of 2009, R&D Magazine, 2009.
  • Best Paper, 18th Annual Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering Conference (ANNIE 2008), 2008.
  • Best Paper, 17th Annual Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering Conference (ANNIE 2007), 2007.
  • R&D 100 Award, for “Texture-based Engineering Tools,” Research and Development Magazine, 2006.
  • Margaret Ellen White Graduate Faculty Award, ISU, 2006.
  • Superior Engineering Teacher, College of Engineering, ISU, 2004.
  • First Place Award, Evolutionary Art, “Computer Generated Evolutionary Music,” 2004 Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC2004), 2004.
  • Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Department Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1997.
  • Power Engineering Education Foundation Fellowship, Edison Electric Institute, 1993–1997.

Selected Publications

  • Combustion Engineering, 2nd Edition, K. W. Ragland and K. M. Bryden, Francis Taylor, 2011
Journal Articles
  • N. A. MacCarty and K. M. Bryden, “An Integrated Systems Model for Energy Services in Rural Developing Communities,” Energy, 113:536-557 (2016)
  • P. E. Antonelli, K. M. Bryden, and R. LeSar, “A Model-to-Model Interface for Concurrent Multiscale Simulations,” Computational Materials Science, 123:244-251 (2016) [Editors Choice]
  • N. A. MacCarty and K. M. Bryden, “A Generalized Heat-Transfer Model for Shielded-Fire Household Cookstoves,” Energy for Sustainable Development, 33:96-107 (2016)
  • S. Suram and K. M. Bryden, “Integrating a Reduced-Order Model Server into the Engineering Design Process,” Advances in Engineering Software, 90:169–182 (2015)
  • N. G. Johnson and K. M. Bryden, “Field-based Safety Guidelines for Solid Fuel Household Cookstoves in Developing Countries,” Energy for Sustainable Development, 25:56–66 (2015)
  • D. J. Muth Jr. and K. M. Bryden, “An Integrated Model for Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal Limits for Bioenergy Systems,” Environmental Modelling and Software, 39:50–69 (2013)
  • N. G. Johnson and K. M. Bryden, “Factors Affecting Fuelwood Consumption in Household Cookstoves in an Isolated Rural West African Village,” Energy, 46:310–321 (2012)
  • D. J. Muth Jr., D. S. McCorkle, J. B. Koch+, and K. M. Bryden, “Modeling Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal at the Subfield Scale,” Agronomy Journal, 104(4):970–981 (2012)
  • K. M. Bryden, D. A. Ashlock, S. M. Corns, and S. Willson, “Graph-Based Evolutionary Algorithms,” IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, 10(5):550–567 (2006)
  • K. M. Bryden and M. J. Hagge, “Modeling the Combined Impact of Moisture and Char Shrinkage on the Pyrolysis of a Biomass Particle,” Fuel, 82(13):1633–1644 (2003)
  • K. M. Bryden, K. W. Ragland, and C. J. Rutland, “Modeling Thermally Thick Pyrolysis of Wood,” Biomass and Bioenergy, 22(1):41–53 (2002)
  • K. M. Bryden and K. W. Ragland, “Numerical Modeling of a Deep, Fixed Bed Combustor,” Energy and Fuels, 10(2):269–275 (1996)