Background and activities


Currently, I am a full professor on Marine Structures at the Department of Marine Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). I am also affiliated with Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (SFF AMOS), Centre for Marine Operations in Virtual Environments (SFI MOVE), Centre for Floating Structures for the Next Generation Ocean Industries (SFI BLUES), Norwegian Research Centre on Wind Energy (FME NorthWind). Since 2020, I am a member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (NTVA).

I obtained my bachelor and MSc degrees in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) in China in 2000 and 2003, respectively. My MSc study focused on numerical simulations of ship-ship and ship-bridge collisions. The thesis title is "Numerical Simulation of Ship Collision and Study on Crashworthiness of FPSO's Side Structures". My supervisor was Professor Yongning Gu.

I obtained my PhD degree at NTNU on Marine Technology in 2008, with the thesis entitled "Stochastic Response Analysis of Mooring Systems with Emphasis on Frequency-domain Analysis of Fatigue due to Wide-band Response Processes". My PhD supervisor was Professor Torgeir Moan.

From 2008 to 2015, I was employed as a post-doc, a reseacher and then an adjunct associate professor at NTNU, before I became a full professor in July 2015.



Offshore Renewable Energy: numerical and experimental study of offshore wind turbines (both bottom-fixed and floating), wave energy converters (oscillating bodies and overtopping devices), tidal turbines and combined concepts; integrated methods for global dynamic load and response analysis of offshore wind turbines; hierarchical methods for local response analysis of wind turbine drivetrains; design and analysis of floating structures to support large-scale (5-15 MW) wind turbines; modeling and analysis of offshore wind turbines with geared drivetrain, direct drive and hydraulic transmission; mooring system design and analysis for offshore renewable energy platforms, including shallow waters.

Marine Operations: operational and safety criteria for marine operations related to offshore wind turbine transport, installation and access for maintenance and repair; numerical modeling and time-domain simulation of installation operation for offshore wind turbine components (such as crane operations for installing wind turbine blades, monopile, jacket and spar foundations); weather window and operability assessment using response-based criteria; assessment of uncertainties in numerical modelling and weather forecast and their effects on decision-making for marine operations.

Structural Mechanics and Dynamics: dynamic analysis of offshore structures using finite element methods; coupled mooring analysis; fatigue assessment of offshore structures; numerical simulation of ship collision and grounding.

Stochastic Analysis: frequency-domain cycle counting methods for fatigue analysis of wide-band processes; extreme value prediction and fatigue analysis of non-Gaussian processes; stochastic modeling of random waves, including spatially inhomogeneous waves; short-term and long-term statistics of wind and waves and their induced loads/responses; contour line or surface methods for long-term extreme responses of marine structures under separate or simultaneous wind and wave loads.

Machine Learning Approaches and Data-driven Models Applied in Marine Technology: forecast of short-term (1-hour to 1-day ahead) wind and wave conditions using machine-learning approaches for decision-making for execution of marine operations; forecasting of short-term (1-3 wave periods ahead) motions of vessels and wave energy converters for control purpose; machine learning approaches for fault/failure detection and diagnosis for wind turbine drivetrain/blade pitch actuator and marine structural components (such as mooring lines).

Reliability and Risk Analysis: uncertainty modeling and structural reliability assessment of offshore oil and gas platforms as well as renewable energy platforms; fatigue reliability methods applied to mechanical components (such as gearbox in wind turbines); fatigue reliability analysis of offshore wind turbine foundations (such as jacket) for inspection and maintenance planning; overload and fatigue reliability of mooring system.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Gao, Zhen. (2008) Stochastic Response Analysis of Mooring Systems with Emphasis on Frequency-domain Analysis of Fatigue due to Wide-band Response Processes. 2008. ISBN 9788247159835. Doktoravhandlinger ved NTNU (2008:11).