Press Releases

The Water Institute congratulates Nick Howes for his promotion to Analytics, Computing, and Technology Manager

Feb 9, 2023

BATON ROUGE, La. (Feb. 9, 2023) – Nick Howes was recently promoted to the position of The Water Institute’s Analytics, Computing, and Technology (ACT) Manager. In this role, he will oversee a team developing the technology that enables The Water Institute scientists to use large-data, high performance computing and artificial intelligence to stay at the forefront of impactful research.

Howes joined The Water Institute in 2022 as a research scientist bringing years of experience in applied science and machine learning to the team.

“Nick’s experience with machine learning and his applied research skills made him the perfect choice as we formalize ACT in order to build on our existing reputation in physics-based modeling, and now data science,” said Alyssa Dausman, The Water Institute’s senior vice president and chief scientist. “A strong ACT program is essential to staying at the cutting edge of scientific methodology, helping us better solve increasingly difficult and urgent challenges facing communities and ecosystems. We’re so pleased Nick is onboard to help us achieve that goal.”

Prior to joining The Water Institute, Howes was a Senior Technical Consultant with MathWorks, where he helped organizations scope, develop and deploy science and engineering solutions. In that role, he led projects in areas of artificial intelligence, experiment management, big data, software engineering and supported projects in enterprise integration and application development.

In addition, during his eight years as an applied scientist at Shell, he worked on a research team tasked with improving methods to characterize the details of sediment layers beneath the earth’s surface, based on data such as well logs, seismic images and cores. In 2016, he was appointed a subject-matter expert in the geology of shallow marine and river reservoirs. During this time, he developed a new method to store geologic and remote sensing records, automate the process to pull out features of interest from the data, and apply machine learning to assess sites for exploration potential and reduce uncertainty in the geology.

During the last year at The Water Institute, Howes has led the development of tools to forecast Mississippi River conditions on multiple timescales to support management decisions: SmartPort uses survey and vessel depth data to forecast the need for dredging; and the Lowermost Mississippi River Management Program assesses long term scenarios for sediment and water, balancing navigation, flood risk, and ecosystem restoration.

Howes’ machine learning project portfolio includes energy, utilities, medical, semiconductor and finance industries, applications of image-based and sequence-based deep learning, as well as cross-sectional, geospatial and forecast-based machine learning.

“Nick brings a wealth of experience in applying machine learning and analytics to real world challenges and his leadership on our ACT team will be vital in applying these skills to our work,” said Justin Ehrenwerth, The Water Institute president and CEO.

Howes’ geoscience research expertise and interests include how coastal areas change over time when impacted by short-term events like storms and long-term events like relative sea level rise, and how these changes impact people, as well as waterway management. Howes received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Earth sciences from Boston University.