Qi Zhou

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil Engineering


Cornell University, 2015


Cornell University, 2014


Stanford University, 2010


Nanyang Technological University, 2009

Contact information


Office: 403.220.5505

Web presence

Google Scholar


CNRL Engineering Complex : ENF 254



Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics (ENME 341.02)

Scientific Computing for Engineers (ENCI 619.01)


Hydraulics (ENCI 402)

Preferred method of communication

I am currently seeking 1 MSc student and 1 BSc summer student to join my research group in 2021. The MSc candidate is expected to have a solid background in fluid dynamics and/or numerical methods; familiarity with or strong interest in data science and machine learning would be a plus. The BSc summer student is encouraged to apply for the NSERC USRA and the UCalgary PURE awards (https://research.ucalgary.ca/students) to secure financial support; please email me with your CV and unofficial transcript if you are interested – I will let you know if I see a fit and will help you with your award applications.


Research areas

  • Engineering for the environment
  • Intelligent and autonomous systems
  • Clean technology
  • Environment and climate change
  • Software and analytics
  • Water and wastewater technologies
  • Pollutant fate and transport
  • Assessing risk and mitigating hazards
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Sustainable water management
  • Advanced analytics and AI
  • Scientific computing
  • Computational fluid dynamics

Research activities

Environmental fluid mechanics

Dr. Zhou’s research uses numerical, analytical and experimental tools to study the movement of water in natural and engineered systems, such as oceans, estuaries, lakes and reservoirs. The environmental quality of these systems depends critically on the fluid flows through and within them, and understanding the fluid mechanics of these flows is crucial for an engineer whose goal is to describe or predict the influences of these physical processes on the environment, for example, how turbulent mixing which occurs at a very small scale could affect the overall distribution of heat, nutrients and pollutants within the bodies of natural waters. 

In his research, Dr. Zhou performs cutting-edge computer simulations of flow processes of interest at parameter values as close as possible to those encountered in the environment. High-performance parallel computing is routinely used for these simulations, and state-of-the-art data analytics tools are leveraged to interpret various flow phenomena and extract dynamical insights from the big data generated by massive simulations. Dr. Zhou’s research aims at developing simple yet robust models which are capable of predicting the impact of climate change and other human influences on Canada’s most precious water resources. The research is inherently interdisciplinary and involves interactions with fluid dynamicists, oceanographers, applied mathematicians and computer scientists.


Dr. Qi Zhou has been an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering since 2017, following two years at the University of Cambridge in the UK where he worked as a postdoctoral researcher. Dr. Zhou completed his PhD thesis on internal waves and stratified turbulence at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 2015. Before moving to the East Coast in 2010, he studied at Stanford University in California and at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.


Halawa B, Xu C, Zhou Q. Reduced-order representation of stratified wakes by proper orthogonal decomposition utilizing translational symmetry. Journal of Visualization, accepted.

Cen H, Zhou Q, Korobenko A. Simulation of stably stratified turbulent channel flow using residual-based variational multiscale method and isogeometric analysis. Computers & Fluids. 214: 104756. 2021.

Rowe K, Diamessis PJ, Zhou Q. Internal gravity wave radiation from a stratified turbulent wake. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 888: A25. 2020.

Halawa B, Merhi S, Tang C, Zhou Q. Three-dimensional visualization of stratified turbulent wakes at varying Reynolds number. Journal of Visualization. 23: 437-447. 2020.

Zhou Q, Diamessis PJ. Large-scale characteristics of stratified wake turbulence at varying Reynolds number. Physical Review Fluids. 4: 084802. 2019.

Lefauve A, Partridge JL, Zhou Q, Dalziel SB, Caulfield CP, Linden PF. The structure and origin of confined Holmboe waves. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 848: 508-544. 2018.

Zhou Q, Taylor JR, Caulfield CP, Linden PF. Diapycnal mixing in layered stratified plane Couette flow quantified in a tracer-based coordinate. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 823: 198-229. 2017.

Taylor JR, Zhou Q. A multi-parameter criterion for layer formation in a stratified shear flow using sorted buoyancy coordinates. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 823: R5, 13 pp. 2017.

Zhou Q, Taylor JR, Caulfield CP. Self-similar mixing in stratified plane Couette flow for varying Prandtl number. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 820: 86-120. 2017.

Zhou Q, Diamessis PJ. Surface manifestation of internal waves emitted by submerged localized stratified turbulence. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 798: 505-539. 2016.

Watanabe T, Riley JJ, de Bruyn Kops SM, Diamessis PJ, Zhou Q. Turbulent/non-turbulent interfaces in wakes in stably stratified fluids. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 797: R1, 11 pp. 2016.

Zhou Q, Diamessis PJ. Lagrangian flows within reflecting internal waves at a horizontal free-slip surface. Physics of Fluids. 27(12): 126601, 15 pp. 2015.

Zhou Q, Diamessis PJ. Reflection of an internal gravity wave beam off a horizontal free-slip surface. Physics of Fluids. 25(3): 036601, 29 pp. 2013.

Cheng NS, Zhou Q, Tan SK, Zhao K. Application of incomplete similarity theory for estimating maximum shear layer thickness of granular flows in rotating drums. Chemical Engineering Science. 66(12): 2872‑2878. 2011.

Zhou Q, Cheng NS. Experimental investigation of single particle settling in turbulence generated by oscillating grid. Chemical Engineering Journal. 149(1-3): 289-300. 2009.


SSE Remote Teaching Award, University of Calgary, 2020

SSE Early Research Excellence Award, University of Calgary, 2020

SSE Faculty Fellowship, University of Calgary, 2020–21

Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award, University of Calgary, 2020

Engineering Students’ Society Professor of the Year for Civil Engineering, University of Calgary, 2020

SSE Teaching Excellence Award, University of Calgary, 2019

SSE Teaching Achievement Award, University of Calgary, 2019 & 2020

John E. Perry Teaching Assistant Prize, Cornell University, 2014

John K. Vennard Civil Engineering Scholarship, Stanford University, 2009

Larry C.K. Yung Graduate Student Fellowship, Stanford University, 2009

Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal, Nanyang Technological University, 2009