Faculty Profile

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  • Ph.D. Purdue University Civil Engineering 1989
  • M.S.C.E. Purdue University Civil Engineering 1986
  • B.A.I. (Honors) Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland Civil Engineering 1980
  • B.A. Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland Mathematics,1980
  • Diploma Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland Technical French 1979

Dr. J. David Frost is the Elizabeth and Bill Higginbotham Professor of civil engineering. He received B.A.I and B.A. degrees in civil engineering and mathematics, respectively, from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland in 1980 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering in 1986 and 1989 from Purdue University. Prior to serving as a member of the faculty at Purdue University and Georgia Tech, he worked in industry in Ireland and Canada on a range of natural resource related projects ranging from tailings impoundments to artificial sand islands in the Arctic for oil exploration. At Georgia Tech, where he has been for almost 20 years, he has served as head of the Geosystems Engineering Group and as founding director of the Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program and subsequently the Georgia Tech Savannah campus.

A core focus throughout Frost’s career has been the study and analysis of natural and man-made disasters. His research is centered on the development and implementation of digital data collection systems for studying subsurface problems related to earthquakes and other disasters at multiple scales and he has received two U.S. patents for multi-sensor subsurface data collection systems. For more than 20 years, he has served on or led NSF-supported post-disaster study teams following earthquakes in US, Turkey, India, China and Chile as well as at the World Trade Center complex following the 9/11 attacks and he served as a member of the external review board for the NIST report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers. He is a founding member and co-chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, (http://www.geerassociation.org/) an NSF sponsored organization that responds to natural and man-made geotechnical disasters worldwide. He has organized numerous workshops and conferences on the applications of spatial analysis tools to study both regional effects and damage patterns from earthquakes and well as the micro-scale response of liquefiable soils under various loading conditions. He is a regularly invited participant in conferences and workshops on disaster prediction, assessment and response. Most recently, he has been exploring how to bring experiences in disaster impacted areas into the classroom and has given presentations at TEXx Creative Coast and other meetings on “Ideas Stimulated by Extreme Events”.

Dr. Frost has been recognized for his teaching and research, including being a recipient of the ASCE Technical Council on Forensic Engineering Outstanding Paper Award, an NSF National Young Investigator Award, the ASCE Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the ASTM International Hogentogler Award and the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers Engineer of the Year in Education Award. He has also been recognized for his volunteer efforts in economic development including the Coastal Business & Education Technology Alliance Leadership Innovation Award, the Savannah Science Seminar Science Leadership Award and the Savannah Technical College Community Star Award. Dr. Frost serves on a number of national and regional committees and boards. He is an active member of a number of professional organizations including ASCE, ASTM, EERI, CUREE and GEER. He serves as chair of the board of the Savannah Area Geographic Information System (SAGIS) and as a member of the Board of the Creative Coast Alliance. He is a member of the ASCE Geo-Institute Geo-Legislative Committee as well as the ASCE Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee and participates in annual legislative fly-ins to Washington, D.C. He is a registered professional engineer (PE) in the US and Canada and a Fellow of ASCE.

In addition to his work at Georgia Tech, Frost is co-founder/owner of a software company that develops digital data collection software and systems with an emphasis on subsurface information. This company has provided data collection and management software systems for more than 350 clients worldwide.


  • Engineering the behavior of soils under static and dynamic loading
  • Digital image processing and analysis in geosystems engineering
  • Spatial information systems in subsurface hazard assessment
  • Performance of soil-polymeric material composite systems


  • Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International, 2012.
  • ASCE Fellow, Elected 2011
  • Savannah Mayor and City Council Service Recognition Award, 2011
  • Geo-Shanghai 2010 International Conference, Best Paper Award, ASCE GSP#200 on Soil Behavior and Geo-Micromechanics, 2010.
  • Savannah Technical College Foundation, Community Star Award, 2010.
  • Burmister Lecture, Columbia University, 2008.
  • Georgia Society of Professional Engineers, Engineer of the Year in Education, 2008.
  • Institute Faculty Outstanding Service Award, Georgia Tech, 2006.
  • Savannah Science Seminar, Science Leadership Award, 2004.
  • Coastal Business & Education Technology Alliance, Howard J. Morrison Leadership Innovation Award, 2004.
  • ASTM International Hogentogler Award, 2003.
  • ASTM Standards Development Award, 2002.
  • ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, 2001.
  • Best Paper Award, Sigma Xi – Georgia Tech Chapter, 2001.
  • Kentucky Geotechnical Engineering Group Distinguished Lecture, 2000.
  • Outstanding Service Award, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech, 2000.
  • Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award, School of Civil & Environmental Eng., Georgia Tech, 1998.
  • Research Program Development Award, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech, 1996
  • Advisor, Sigma Xi, Undergraduate Research Award Recipient, Georgia Tech Chapter, 1995.
  • National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award, 1994-1999.
  • ASCE Technical Council on Forensic Engineering, Outstanding Paper Award, Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 1994.
  • National Science Foundation Research Initiation Award, 1990-1993.
  • Georgia Tech Foundation Teaching Fellow, 1993.
  • Alberta Heritage Fund Wilfrid R. May Scholarship, 1988.
  • Maple Point Foundation Scholarship, Purdue University, 1988.
  • Canadian Council of Professional Engineers-North American Life Scholarship, 1987.
  • David Ross Fellowship, Purdue University, 1986.


  • Zheng, D., Liu, F.Z., Ju, N.P., Frost, J.D., and Huang, R.Q., (2016), “Cyclic Load Testing of Pre‐stressed Rock Anchors for Slope Stabilization”, Journal of Mountain Science, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 126‐136.
  • Martinez, A, and Frost. J.D., (2016), “Particle‐Level Effects on the Global‐Scale Behavior During Axial and Torsional Interface Shear”, International Journal of Analytical and Numerical Methods in Geomechanics, published on‐line.
  • Martinez, A., and Frost, J.D., (2017), “The Influence of Surface Roughness Form on the Strength of Sand‐ Structure Interfaces”, Geotechnique Letters, published on‐line.
  • Martinez, A., Frost, J.D., Hanumasagar, S.S., and Jin, L., (2017), Discussion, “Fines Classification Based on Sensitivity to Pore‐Fluid Chemistry”, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geo‐environmental Engineering, published on‐line.
  • Zhao, W., Frost, J.D., Huang, R., Yan, M., and Jin, L., (2017), “Unloading Characteristics and Zoning of Slopes at a Proposed Large Hydropower Station Dam Site in Southwestern China", Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment, in revision for re‐review.
  • Co-Editor, Proceedings of International RILEM Symposium on “Multi-Scale Modeling and Characterization of Infrastructure Materials”, Stockholm, 2013, Springer, 434 pp.
  • Guest Editor, Earthquake Spectra Journal Special Issue on February 27, 2010 Maule, Chile Mw 8.8 Earthquake, EERI, 2012.
  • Editor, Proceedings of International Research Symposium on “Characterization and Behavior of Interfaces”, Atlanta, 2010, IOS Press, 155 pp.
  • DeGroot, D.J., DeJong, J.T., Frost, J.D., and Baise, L., Proceedings of GeoCongress 2006, “Geotechnical Engineering in the Information Technology Age”, Atlanta, 2006, ASCE, CD-ROM.
  • Chameau, J.L., Clough, G.W., Frost, J.D., and Reyna, F.A.M., “Liquefaction Characteristics of San Francisco Bayshore Fills”, in US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1551-B, The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989 – Liquefaction, Editor T.L. Holzer, 1998, pp. B9-B24.
  • Frost, J.D., Martinez, A., Su, J. and Xu, T., (2016), “Discrete Element Modeling Study of the Interactions between Soils and In‐Situ Devices”, Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Geotechnical and Geophysical Site Characterization, Queensland, Australia, USB.
  • Frost, J.D., and Martinez, A., (2016), “Axial‐Torsional Interface Shear Studies Using GRC‐3 Lunar Simulant and Textured Penetrometer Sleeves”, Proceedings of 15th Earth and Space Conference, Orlando, USB.
  • Karademir, T., and Frost, J.D., (2016), “Influence of Temperature on Geotextile – Textured Geomembrane Interface Shear Behavior”, Proceedings of 3rd Pan‐American Conference on Geosynthetics, Geo‐Americas 2016, Miami Beach, Florida. USB.
  • Frost, J.D., (2016), “The Evolving Role of Materials in Infrastructure Systems”, Proceedings of Civil Engineering Research in Ireland Conference, Galway, pp. 31‐36.
  • Frost, J.D., Martinez, A., Mallett, S.D., Roozbahani, M.M., and DeJong, J.T., (2017), “The Intersection of Modern Soil mechanics with Ants and Roots”, Proceedings of ASCE‐GI Geotechnical Frontiers Conference, Orlando, USB.
  • Invited Lecture, “Earthquake Reconnaissance – Turning Disaster Into Knowledge”, Atlanta Science Tavern, Alliance Francaise – Goethe Institute, April, 2014.
  • Invited Lecture on “Exploiting Interfaces for Enhanced Seismic Subsurface Characterization and Infrastructure Performance”, E-Defense/NEES Symposium, Kyoto, Japan, December, 2013.
  • Invited Lecture on “Importance of Interfaces in Geotechnical Engineering”, School of Geology and Geomatics, Chang’An University, Xi’an , China, November, 2013.
  • Invited Lecture on “Importance of Interfaces in Geotechnical Engineering”, State Key Laboratory for Geo-Hazard Prevention, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, China, November, 2013.
  • Invited Lecture on “Considerations for Improving Performance at Geotechnical-Structural Interfaces”, J-Rapid Symposium, Sendai, Japan, March, 2013.
  • Multi-Friction Sleeve Penetrometer Apparatus and Method – US Patent 6,701,771B2 (Device licensed for commercial sale by GT to Applied Research Associates).
  • Apparatus and Method for Determining In Situ Pore Fluid and Soil Properties Using Multi-Sensor Measurement Systems – US Patent US 7,201,060 B2.