<![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Undergraduate Jathan Caldwell]]> 28766 Jathan Caldwell is many things: third-year student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), talented photographer and musician, Tower Gold Award recipient, social media content creator for the humanitarian organization World Relief, two-time summer intern at McKinsey & Company, entrepreneur, and vice president for external affairs for Georgia Tech’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (GT-SHPE).

It was in the context of that last detail that ISyE reached out to Caldwell, who enthusiastically agreed to share – among other topics – his thoughts on how his Ecuadorian family has shaped his personal values, what it’s like to be a Hispanic STEM student at the Institute, and the impact of GT-SHPE on his college experience. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

We are in a time where conversations around the experiences of people of color are being rightfully foregrounded. What thoughts have you had about this cultural moment?

Our nation has not only grappled with a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting minority communities, but we also have been repeatedly shocked by instances of police brutality that are just a glimpse of what the Black community in the U.S. regularly faces. The dire need for social action is inescapable.

Yet I look ahead, feeling both challenged and optimistic. More than ever before, people are awakening to these perpetual injustices – although the reluctance to make substantive change and “what about-isms” unfortunately has been quick to follow. I personally wish to work toward making this moment a catalyst for a focused movement that is built for the long-term. Our generation has a momentous calling to funnel innovation and conscience into needed social change.

Tell us about your background and family origin. How has being of Ecuadorian extraction impacted your life?

My parents met in the small town of Sucúa, Ecuador. My mother, a town resident, was a waitress, and my father was a Peace Corps volunteer from the U.S. Both struggled with jobs that paid less than minimum wage, and they moved to the U.S. with few financial resources and big dreams of being able to support their family. Raised traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Ecuador, I was deeply molded to value the integrity of community and the significance of culture; this truly informed the ambitions I have and the value I hold for serving others. I am thankful for a heritage that has inspired me to spark innovation for the underserved and to never lose sight of la familia’s profound importance. 

What would you like the ISyE and larger Georgia Tech communities to know about being a Hispanic student at the Institute? 

I am so grateful for the way our Institute not only values diversity and supports our Latinx/Hispanic community but also amplifies our voices and unlocks opportunities for us to advance with confidence through the Office of Hispanic Initiatives, the Office of Minority Education, and other core initiatives at Tech. There are certainly barriers and stereotypes that have posed challenges throughout my college journey. At the same time, I still face biased perceptions around my very presence in STEM and have been kept out of internships, organizations, and professional opportunities simply for not having a more traditional background and “fit.”

Fortunately, ISyE and the broader Tech community have forged a culture that embraces differences and truly sets the tone for leading with diversity. Now in my third year, I look back at having been selected for the pilot Freshman Diversity Leaders Internship with McKinsey & Company as a testament to Georgia Tech’s leadership on this front, as it was one of the few schools in the U.S. to be part of this launch propelling top diverse students.

When did you get involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and how has the organization contributed to your college experience?

I got involved with GT-SHPE my very first semester at Georgia Tech, and it has honestly been a transformative experience. I find GT-SHPE to be an organization that is unique in the different experiences it offers students, both professionally and socially. I have had a chance to be involved with everything from our Mini World Cup, singing for the Taste of Latin America (an event showcasing Hispanic culture for all students), being a PEP mentor, and – currently – serving as external vice president. GT-SHPE is a place where I have truly felt at home, with people who resonate with my background and connect on shared interests and passions.

As the second largest collegiate SHPE chapter in the U.S., we now have 340 members. Having raised about $40,000 just this semester to fund all programmatic activities, it has been immensely rewarding for me to lead our corporate relations and events, national convention, and professional experience program. This is a community I have been able to lean on and grow with, and in return, it is one I wish to propel further so each member can achieve their dreams. 

Tell us more about PEP.

PEP stands for our Professional Experience Program. At its core, PEP is an opportunity for motivated students – PEPies – to be individually paired with older students – PEPos – who serve as mentors. This program is extremely actionable and provides a phenomenal outlet for students (particularly first-years) to transition into Georgia Tech with a gust of wind in their sails. As part of the program, students participate in everything from workshops on resume writing and personal brand building to learning how to navigate all aspects of their Georgia Tech journey. PEPies are encouraged and equipped to believe in their exciting potential as Hispanic students at Georgia Tech.

For me, it’s full-circle to have been a PEPo last year and now to be leading the program of 50 or so students. These one-on-one interactions that take place through the program are some of the most meaningful to me.

Anything final thoughts?

I believe that an integral part of the narrative of future innovation is being written by the ideas that receive venture capital backing, yet with funding only going to 9% women, 1% Black, and 2% Latinx founders, there is a glaring need to improve entrepreneurial diversity. 

At the start of this school year, I connected with local VCs, entrepreneurs, and Institute program directors to share my idea for a Georgia Tech-based, student-run VC that would specifically support underrepresented minority student founders. I am currently in the process of building this fund, Futuro Ventures, with support from CREATE-X leadership. If you are a student, faculty member, or alum interested in learning more either about the funding or operating side, feel free to reach out to me!

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1601578940 2020-10-01 19:02:20 1684341377 2023-05-17 16:36:17 0 0 news Jathan shares how his Ecuadorian family shaped his personal values, what it’s like to be a Hispanic STEM student at Georgia Tech, and the impact of GT-SHPE on his college experience.

2020-10-01T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-01T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-01 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639807 639807 image <![CDATA[Jathan Caldwell]]> image/jpeg 1601576532 2020-10-01 18:22:12 1601576532 2020-10-01 18:22:12
<![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Alumna Errika Moore]]> 28766 Errika Moore (BIE 1996) is a standout alumna of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). She has won numerous awards as a mentor and a community builder for her dedication to increasing Black representation in STEM fields, both in terms of educational opportunities and in professional careers. Moore has served on many different boards, including the ISyE Advisory Board, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization, the American Diabetes Association, Out Teach, and Per Scholas. She is currently the senior program officer at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

In this interview, Moore discusses her own experiences as a Black woman in STEM, why she is so passionate about increasing Black representation in STEM, and her hopes for the young Black students who are currently at Georgia Tech. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

 What has been on your mind while watching the civil unrest related to this summer’s deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others – especially since you’re raising two Black sons?

 As a mother of two teenage boys, my heart goes out to all of mothers and fathers who’ve had to bury their children in the last few years due to senseless, avoidable deaths. My sons are now 18 and 16. After a racial incident occurred at their private school last fall, I shared with the the administration that I unfortunately have had to prepare my sons for these kinds of life tragedies their entire lives. My greatest fear when my oldest son began driving was not that he’d get into a car accident but rather that he’d be pulled over by the police – and now that he’s 18, that fear has heightened.  

I’m frustrated that I’ve had to spend more time the last two years not encouraging my son to enjoy life and spending time with friends but instead urging him to watch where he goes, to be prepared for his “passive” response to law enforcement, and to recognize that his academic excellence and honors at a nationally recognized high school means nothing to those he might encounter who would wish to harm him.

Could you share some thoughts about what it has been like to be a Black woman in STEM – that intersectionality – beginning with your undergraduate years at Tech Institute and continuing to where you are today?

Midway through my undergraduate career at Tech, I realized the intersectionality of being a Black woman in STEM was a highly marginalized position when the professor teaching my circuits class told me, “Black women have no business in engineering.” And although one of my greatest joys in life will always be having seen that same professor sitting on the dais as I crossed the stage at Commencement, one of the most pivotal aspects about that moment is that I became committed to ensuring all Black women in STEM have the opportunity to be uplifted and honored instead of being marginalized or dismissed.  

Throughout my life, I’ve had a significant level of encouragement from my parents, mentors, sponsors and uplifting organizations like the Georgia Tech chapter of National Society of Black Engineers and the Xi Alpha chapter of  Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. But what about the young Black women who can’t leverage these support systems?

Statistically, half of them decide not to pursue a STEM education before they even graduate from high school. For those who enter college, another 50% opt not to graduate in STEM.  And the next large drop in numbers occurs before those STEM graduates complete eight years in their professional careers. Thankfully, programs like the Million Women Mentors movement, Women in Technology (WIT) GirlsBlack Girls Code, and IT Senior Management Forum’s (ITSMF) Emerge Academy exist to support young Black girls and women to excel in STEM. 

You have had an incredibly successful career – and have specifically held professional positions and volunteer leadership positions in organizations that work toward increasing diversity in STEM. What has driven your missional mindset behind this?

My parents taught me at a very young age that we are “blessed to be a blessing.” Currently, my personal mantras are “The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose” and “I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change; I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” I know that I’ve been blessed to represent diversity in STEM, and I’m extremely grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to lead efforts, boards, and organizations with this same focus for the past 30 years: working to encourage, enable, uplift, and fortify others so that they too have the opportunity to represent diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.

Why is diversity in STEM so important?

Statistics reflect, and companies have proven, that diversity in STEM creates better business models, better ideation, more inclusive technology, and products that are more reflective of their consumers. In fact, Georgia Tech alumna Joy Buolamwini (CS 12) – recently featured in Fast Company magazine as the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) – has literally proven this through her research and her MIT thesis. 

Her thesis methodology uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services from companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. AJL was created to form a world with more ethical and inclusive technology. Because the reality is, without diversity in STEM we won’t have diverse minds, diverse thoughts, or diverse discoveries to challenge and hold these racial and gender bias “norms” accountable. 

Given this, we need more K-12 educational systems, higher education institutions, and corporations to actively focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. And until that happens to the point of changing outcomes and the number of Black students in STEM, I’ll continue to be a staunch advocate and change agent.

What are your hopes for the present moment in our country, and for the generation of young Black students currently at Georgia Tech? 

Unfortunately, the present moment doesn’t reflect hope. We’ve lost iconic leaders like John Lewis, and the lives of future leaders have been sacrificed. So, my hope for the Black students currently at Georgia Tech is that they will think beyond the here and now, that they will look to the future and think about the world they want to create for the generations to come. My hope is that they do know that their lives matter – and not only do their lives matter, but that what they intend to do with their lives matters.

Our diverse STEM future rests in their hands – and that is where the hope is. 


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600881264 2020-09-23 17:14:24 1684341369 2023-05-17 16:36:09 0 0 news Errika shares her thoughts on the ongoing civil unrest in the U.S., her experiences as a Black woman in STEM, and her hopes for the current generation of Black Georgia Tech students.

2020-09-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-23 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639430 639430 image <![CDATA[Errika Moore]]> image/jpeg 1600880595 2020-09-23 17:03:15 1600880595 2020-09-23 17:03:15 <![CDATA[ISyE Alumna Errika Moore: Making an Impact in STEM]]>
<![CDATA[In Conversation: Samantha Guada on Finding Family and Opportunity in SHPE]]> 28766 Originally from Venezuela, Samantha Guada and her family emigrated to Panama to avoid the economic challenges and political strife taking place in her home country. Although never a student at Georgia Tech, Guada’s father loved Georgia Tech, and it became Guada’s dream school too. Throughout her time as an undergraduate in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), she invested herself in student organizations. Guada’s chief role at Georgia Tech was serving as president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), where she was committed to not only empowering Hispanics to overcome adversity and succeed but also to sharing Hispanic culture with the entire campus.  

Now an alumna of the Institute, Guada is beginning the next chapter in her life. She recently moved to Seattle, Washington to work for Microsoft as a program manager. She plans on remaining involved in SHPE on a larger scale so she can continue to give back to others and help others find their support system just as she did.

In this interview, Guada discusses the role of SHPE at Georgia Tech and its significance for her college years, and she describes her experience of being a female Hispanic international student.

Why industrial engineering?

I have wanted to study engineering ever since I was little, but I didn't know what kind. I knew I didn’t want to focus on buildings, chemicals, or anything specific. So, as I was researching engineering as a high school student, I noticed that ISyE was the broadest engineering field and that I could decide later what exactly I wanted to do with it. As time passed, I fell in love with it. I’m constantly trying to make things more efficient, so it is a perfect fit for me.

Where did your involvement in campus organizations begin?

The Hispanic Recruitment Team (HRT) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. In my first semester, I applied to be part of the board of directors for SHPE, and I didn’t get the position. I decided to become more involved in HRT by going to different high schools and hosting visits to promote Georgia Tech.  

In my second semester, a position opened for SHPE, and the president encouraged me to apply. I became the leadership planning chair and oversaw the mentorship program. Older members would provide support and advice to first-years in order to help them succeed. I was a first-year who was leading other first-years, which allowed me to know exactly what we wanted to see from the program.

What was your motivation for leading so early in your college experience?

I came to Georgia Tech wanting to take advantage of valuable opportunities and wanting to meet new people, so joining SHPE was inevitable. As a first-year, I looked up to the president, and I just knew I would be in that position one day. I wanted to give back not only to the first-years but also to the whole organization. Making a big impact on campus was very important to me and encouraged me to want to lead.

What are SHPE’s most important initiatives?

With 280 members and a $90,000 budget, we can do a lot. Our biggest event is Taste of Latin America, which is a whole day of Hispanic food and culture with hundreds of people in attendance. Over 10 countries are represented on Skiles Walkway. There is a lot of learning and bonding with Hispanics. Afterward, people showcase their country’s dancing, acting, and comedy.  

We also provide scholarships that support members’ educations. SHPE aims to empower Hispanics to be confident in academics and STEM fields. We offer a lot of academic opportunities such as time management workshops, post-graduate workshops, and mentoring programs. I would say that our biggest focus is the professional aspect. Companies will come to events and recruit our members.  

There is a philanthropic aspect to SHPE as well, where we give back to the community. Usually we participate in other organizations’ events, but this past year, we decided to develop our own philanthropy events where we created kits for the homeless sponsored by Eaton and sold candygrams to support the Latin American Association.

On top of that, we do social activities as an organization such as paintball, ice skating, and bowling. SHPE has so much to offer its members and caters to many different needs.

What is something that the average Georgia Tech student doesn’t know about SHPE?

One misconception that I want to address is that SHPE is only for Hispanic engineers. The truth is that we are a very inclusive organization, and there isn’t a need to be Hispanic or to be an engineer. Forty percent of our members are international. We’re super inclusive because we want to share our culture with many different people.

Also, SHPE provides opportunities to its members that are truly once in a lifetime. I found my internships as a result of being a part of SHPE, and these opportunities served as huge learning experiences. It allowed me to take the next step in my education and in my career. There is a national SHPE convention where members can find internships and research opportunities. Overall, the organization unlocks amazing opportunities to go further with your Georgia Tech education.  

What is the best thing about being Hispanic at Georgia Tech? Conversely, what is the most challenging aspect?

It is very hard to move to a new country with a new culture, not knowing anyone going to your school while everyone else seems to know at least one person. It was a huge leap of faith for me. Initially, it was very challenging, and I thought I wouldn’t make it through four years.

However, I found a support system that made me feel right at home, and that was with SHPE. As a Hispanic, finding other people who like the same food as you or looking for restaurants where you can get food from home is very important to feel comfortable. It’s also great to have a place where you can speak Spanish, participate in events related to your culture, and bring to campus aspects of your culture. We like to call ourselves familia because we’re family to each other.

If you're interested in learning more about SHPE, or any of the Institute's nearly 400 student organizations, you can attend the virtual Fall Organizations Fair, which will be held August 24-August 28, 2020.




]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1596647804 2020-08-05 17:16:44 1684341360 2023-05-17 16:36:00 0 0 news ISyE undergraduate Samantha Guada served as SHPE's president for the 2019-2020 academic year.

2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

637535 637535 image <![CDATA[Samantha Guada]]> image/jpeg 1596646034 2020-08-05 16:47:14 1596646034 2020-08-05 16:47:14
<![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Undergraduate Jore Oni]]> 28766 Jore Oni, who will be an undergraduate senior in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) when the fall semester begins in a few weeks, has been a standout student at the Institute. He has served in the Student Government Association for several years in various capacities, has been on the executive board for both Theta Xi fraternity and ISyE Student Ambassadors, and has completed a co-op with Coca-Cola. He has been recognized for his achievements and leadership by being selected as a Mr. Georgia Tech finalist and as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar. Oni’s academic accomplishments have included Dean’s List, Faculty Honors, and a Provost Scholarship.

Given the continuing civil unrest and the national conversation about race and white privilege, ISyE recently reached out to him to ask if he would like to comment on these events. Oni is currently finishing an internship with Amazon Web Services as a demand generation intern, and he provided his response to our questions by email. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

What have your thoughts and feelings been over the past few weeks as the U.S. has witnessed the deaths of young Black men like you at the hands of police? What would you like the ISyE and larger Georgia Tech community to know?

To say these past few weeks have been hard would be an understatement. Simply put, it hurts. It hurts a lot. It pains me to see people who look like me be discriminated against and treated so unfairly just because of the color of our skin. I acknowledge that in some cases individuals may have committed an offense, resisted arrest, etc., but the root cause of these initial altercations and hostility is always because of our skin color. And that mentality at its very core is racism.

These few weeks seem all too familiar to years past – Trayvon Martin (2012), Eric Garner (2014), Alton Sterling (2016), and on and on. I still remember one night when my twin brother came home in tears. He was stopped by a policeman that night and shared how the fear for his life in that very moment became real. Similarly, my biggest fear is that one day my kids will have to endure these same hardships.

This is not to say all cops are bad, but the few are enough. They’re enough to validate the Black community’s fear, to motivate us to advocate for conversation, dialogue, and reform for real change to happen. And collectively we want the ISyE and whole Georgia Tech community to hear and resonate with our concerns – to really dig deep to try and understand the pain Black people have for so long endured. In that way, we can stand together, as one, and truly be the change for our next generation.

More specifically, as a young Black man in a STEM field, is there anything you want to share about your experiences in this arena?

As a young Black man in engineering, I feel as if I am always trying to prove myself. Throughout my four years, I have constantly had my achievements belittled and brought down because I am Black. “You got into Tech because you are Black.” “You got your co-op and internship at great IE companies because you are Black.” “You were selected a Georgia Tech ambassador because you are Black.” “You were named a Mr. Georgia Tech finalist because you are Black.”

Over and over again, I feel that no matter how hard I work both academically and professionally, my accomplishments will always be diminished. I understand my skin color may bring some advantages through diversity metrics as I pursue my career, but the truth is it brings more obstacles, as I have to first navigate through stereotypes and implicit racial biases. We – the members of the Black community – want to succeed and make a name for ourselves, just like our white peers and classmates. But it hurts when we work twice as hard to be then only given half the value of its merit. We use this to fuel our motivation, but we long for the day where our accomplishments can be validated by our work ethic, rather than the color of our skin.

Why is diversity and representation important in STEM?

Diversity, representation, and inclusion in STEM are of the utmost importance. The National Science Foundation reports that 84% of working professionals currently in science and engineering jobs in the U.S. are white or Asian males. STEM jobs are growing faster than any other industry and are expected to increase by 17% in the next five years. But less than a quarter of this pool consists of minorities. The Pew Research Center reports that the median salary men in STEM fields earn is $84,000; women, in contrast, earn a median salary of $60,828 – a difference of over $23,000. The median salary for Black people working in STEM is $58,000, compared with the median white salary of $71,897 – a difference of nearly $14,000. As we progress as a nation, we need to do more to close such disparities.

As I grew up, I struggled to find role models in STEM who looked like me. Often, Black people are told that to be successful, we must pursue an athletic career as our only option. It is so important to promote diversity and representation so that future generations can pursue whatever their dreams may be. It is paramount that we give them the belief that they too can be problem-solvers, world-changers, and leaders.

You have been recognized for your leadership in various roles at the Institute. Have recent events changed or shaped your plans to continue leading, and if so, how?

I am thankful to have been seen as a leader on campus, even as a Black student. I have always tried to use my platform and sphere of influence to inspire my peers and underclassmen. But upon reflection regarding these recent events, I need to be doing more for my community, right here in Atlanta. Despite Georgia Tech’s location in one of the most diverse cities in the world, Black students comprise less than 7% of the student body. That’s a staggering statistic.

I want to push for more equal representation by reaching out to Black high school students and encouraging them that they too can be just as successful as their white peers. My first year at Tech, I mentored a student named Alpha at a predominantly Black high school. This experience showed me firsthand the obstacles he faced and the struggle it takes to escape one’s socioeconomic class. We need to be doing more to meet such students halfway, to provide not only more equal opportunities, but more equitable ones. My sister said it best: “Equality is giving everyone the same opportunity, while equity considers the background, needs, and circumstances of each individual. It effectively provides the necessary resources in order for them to be successful and achieve an equal outcome.”

Due to the systematic racism that began with our ancestors, Black people have always been at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, the effects of it are still present today in our criminal justice system, income inequality, and even education. As an Institute that prides itself on progress and service, we need to be doing more to level the playing field for all.

Mentorship has always been a passion of mine. This past year I have been able to serve middle school students at my church, where I help lead discipleship and small group discussions on a spiritual level. This experience has shown me the true impact of giving back to those younger than me. I want to continue to serve not only them, but now because of these events, more people like Alpha: Students who need others to know that there are people who look just like them, speaking up and fighting for their chance to pursue their dreams and chance at a brighter future.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1594914324 2020-07-16 15:45:24 1684341351 2023-05-17 16:35:51 0 0 news In this interview, Jore shares his perspective on the current civil unrest and his experiences as a young Black man in STEM.

2020-07-16T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-16T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-16 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

636999 636999 image <![CDATA[Jore Oni]]> image/jpeg 1594913005 2020-07-16 15:23:25 1594913005 2020-07-16 15:23:25
<![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Alumna Ndeyanta Jallow on Current Events]]> 28766 In early January, we interviewed Ndeyanta Jallow, a fourth-year undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). Jallow, who graduated from Georgia Tech in May, was at that time serving as president of the Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers (GTSBE), and we discussed with her her view of leadership, what her participation in GTSBE meant to her Tech experience, and the importance of GTSBE as an organization on campus.

Following the events of the past few weeks – the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman and the subsequent protests around the globe in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, we spoke to Jallow again. In this interview, she shares her thoughts on the current moment and why GTSBE is more essential than ever. Now at home in Connecticut, Jallow is spending the summer studying for the GMAT and will begin full-time work with Accenture Strategy in Atlanta this September.

Thank you for speaking with us, Ndeyanta. Can we start out by talking about what’s been on your mind these past couple of weeks?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, worrying, and praying for change. I have two younger siblings – including a little brother – and I’ve been having important conversations with them about everything that’s happening. And honestly, these are conversations I wished I didn’t have to have.

I’m encouraged to see how people are responding to these events – people who are speaking out when they’ve previously been silent – and I’m hoping that there will be real change. But we have a long way to go, as the problem is bigger than just police brutality.

What do efforts like last week’s #ShutdownSTEM and #ShutdownAcademia accomplish, if anything?

Giving dedicated time and space to have conversations about what is happening is good, but it’s also important to give Black people time and space to talk about these issues outside of when traumatic incidents occur. Many of my Black friends have said they’re expected to go to class or into work and engage as if these protests and this social upheaval isn’t happening. And that’s certainly emotionally difficult.

In our previous interview, you talked about the significant underrepresentation and the lack of recognition of Black people in STEM fields. Do you see this topic gaining currency, and what effect do you expect it to have?

I was just talking with my friends about this. The representation of Black and African American students at Georgia Tech is already low, but the work we do in spite of this is incredible. But it doesn’t get showcased unless the work is really “big,” and there are so many “smaller” stories about Black students that are worth amplifying. These can be showcased in addition to the diversity organizations and platforms our campus has.

Outside of being recognized for awards won, I’ve seen how a Black student in class may answer a professor’s question, and their input will go unrecognized. But then a white student will say the same thing, and they receive the recognition. My friends have also told me that this happens to them, and it’s quite troubling.

At the very least, conversations about these issues that needed to happen for a long time are finally starting to happen. For example, over the past few weeks, President Cabrera and Dean McLaughlin have contacted GTSBE’s executive board. Rather than coming to us in a stance of, “Here’s what we’ll do for you,” they have said, “What do you need us to do?” which oftentimes results in a very different outcome.

I hope that the increased support of Black and African American students at Georgia Tech continues, as I truly believe it will ultimately lead to a stronger community overall at the Institute.

What would you like to say to the current GTSBE community and GTSBE alumni in this moment?

To the GTSBE community, I will say that we are at the very beginning of all this, as many of you would agree. However, as always, our organization will always be here to support you in whatever you choose to do, whether now or in the future. You are not alone.

To alumni, it’s been amazing to see your generous financial contributions to the Black community at Georgia Tech – especially supporting the fundraisers held by the African Student Association over the past few weeks. This money has gone to supporting petitions demanding justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and for causes like providing bail funds for protestors.

All this helps affirm to current student members that they have a community – a family – within the Black student organizations. In times like these, that’s even more important to be emphasized.

In our earlier conversation, you talked about your leadership style being one of serving people and why that’s important to you. Has your perspective on this shifted at all in response to current events?

I want to provide safe spaces for my community to have these important conversations. Even though I’m an alumna of the Institute now, I have told the current GTSBE leadership that if they need anything at all, I’m available for them – I will meet them for coffee, have lunch, or even talk on the phone with them to discuss about what they’re experiencing and how they’re doing. I care for the GTSBE community and its executive board immensely, and it’s important that I demonstrate that. Not just as a leader, but also as a friend – whether someone is feeling happy, sad, or needing to vent, I’m here.

Where – if you are – are you finding spaces for joy and self-care in the middle of all this?

Right now, there are so many documentaries to watch on Netflix, for example, and TV shows that explain the history behind these protests and this movement. And of course, it doesn’t just stop at TV and movies. There are so many books about this that can help instruct every single one of us. I’ve taken it upon myself to continue watching, reading, and educating myself as I continue to have important conversations with family and friends.  

Aside from this, it has also been important to take time for self-care and joy, as you have asked. My normal go-to activity for relaxing and enjoying time to myself would be getting a manicure and pedicure, which I obviously can’t do right now! Luckily, we have a pool in our backyard, so I’ve been getting some sun every day since returning home from Atlanta.

As I mentioned earlier, I have two younger siblings, so I’ve also been able to spend more time with each of them. My brother and I enjoy setting aside time in the day to get in an outdoor workout, and my sister has tried hard to get me to join in on her dance videos. As of late, spending time with my family has been extra special.


The GTSBE website has resources for Black students, including mental health resources here. Allies of the Black community can also find there petitions to sign and ways to donate to the Movement for Black Lives.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1592242790 2020-06-15 17:39:50 1684341341 2023-05-17 16:35:41 0 0 news We spoke to ISyE alumna Ndeyanta Jallow, who served as GTSBE president while a student, about her thoughts and hopes for the current moment. 

2020-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-15 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

636233 636233 image <![CDATA[Ndeyanta Jallow]]> image/jpeg 1592241014 2020-06-15 17:10:14 1592241014 2020-06-15 17:10:14 <![CDATA[ In Conversation: ISyE Undergraduate & GTSBE President Ndeyanta Jallow]]> <![CDATA[Video: Ndeyanta Jallow on Her Involvement with GTSBE]]>
<![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Undergraduate & SGA President Pooja Juvekar]]> 28766 Fourth-year Pooja Juvekar is the latest in a long line of Student Government Association (SGA) presidents from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). Juvekar’s preparation for this position began early in her college career. When she arrived at Tech, she joined FreShGA, an SGA organization that enables first years to gain leadership experience by planning campus-wide events, such as The Final Stand in December. And it was her FreShGA experience, as Juvekar explained in her SGA presidential platform, that began her love for SGA.

From there, Juvekar became the freshman and sophomore representative in the Undergraduate House of Representatives. She also held executive positions in her sorority, in the Georgia Tech chapter of Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineering, and in SGA, where she was vice president of internal affairs. This role meant that she served on then-SGA President Evan Gillon’s executive cabinet and headed up four committees including leadership development and FreShGA.

In deciding to run for the SGA’s top position last spring, Juvekar took all of these experiences into consideration. She also thought about her own leadership style and how she could give back to Georgia Tech. Ultimately, Juvekar was elected president for the 2019-20 academic year; Haigh Angell, a fourth-year economics and international affairs major,was elected alongside her as executive vice president.

In this interview, Juvekar elaborates on her leadership style, details the specific initiatives she’s implementing to address Institute-level challenges, and describes her favorite Tech traditions.

What is your leadership style, and how did that develop?

For me, being a leader has always been about being open-minded, ambitious, and putting other people first. These were all qualities my parents taught me – to work hard and to have a good heart are equally important. Here at Tech, I’ve additionally learned that as a leader, it’s important to listen as much as you talk, and that it matters how you choose to both uplift the people around you and how you execute on tasks and initiatives. In my role as SGA president, there are so many selfless people around me that I’m continuing to learn from – I see that and want to embody that as well.

What are some of the biggest challenges currently facing Georgia Tech?

We have identified general interaction with the Institute’s administration, campus services, and mental health as opportunities for improving communication and collaboration with the student body, as there is often a lot of frustration within these areas.

For example, we know that we need to be evaluating not only how we talk about mental health issues but also the current resources available to students. I’ve been having ongoing conversations with Tiffany Hughes-Troutman, who directs CARE (Center for Assessment, Referral, and Education), as well as fellow student leaders in the mental health space to ensure that operations there are better than they were before.

Also, data is important – tracking things on a long-term timeline. How has CARE improved since it began? How do we make sure the Counseling Center is benefitting everyone and not just one population segment? Are we implementing programs that will last more than two or three years? How do we verify that there is continuous improvement in all of the Student Life-facing operations? I have a systems perspective on things like this, given my ISyE training.

You have also said that as SGA president, you would like to see an increased focus on the arts at Tech. Why is that important in a STEM-heavy environment?

We have so many students who are artistically talented, and I think there’s actually considerable interest in making the arts more prevalent on campus. Emphasizing the arts has a variety of benefits. It helps our students to be well-rounded people and contributes to wellness. Tech has always been a school that prides itself on being innovative, and there so much innovation to be had with how we give students the opportunity to interact with the arts.

The arts committee -- and actually this has already begun under the direction of Genny Kennedy, our wonderful vice president of student life -- works to make art more accessible and apparent in students’ lives and also to make sure that we as an Institute are prioritizing art. That could be something as small as professors talking about a piece of art that is personally meaningful to them in their classes, or working toward bringing all the art organizations together to talk about the gaps in spaces on campus or support given. 

What kind of legacy do you want your presidency to have?

I want students to know that SGA is committed to being intentional with how we support students on campus and with the way we address campus issues with the administration. This intentionality doesn’t mean that we have Band-Aid solutions for things, but rather that we try to come up with solutions that are sustainable for a long time.

And also that we have fostered positive relationships with people all across campus, and that students feel in control of their college experience. I want Tech students to recognize that their voices are important, and that SGA cares about them and their ideas.

Outside of your SGA activities, what has been your most meaningful Georgia Tech experience?

I went to Georgia Tech-Lorraine after my sophomore year, and we were in France for the World Cup victory. That was incredibly memorable!

What is your favorite Georgia Tech tradition?

Midnight Bud, the “Horse” at athletic events, and I really love the fight song. There’s a piano version of the song you can find on YouTube, and I have it recorded on my phone – I know I am such a geek!

The cool thing about Georgia Tech traditions is that they’re being created every day. There are fun traditions, like Taste of Latin America or the annual Holi Show put on by all the Indian dance teams. These aren’t the oldest Tech traditions, but they happen every year, and students value them and how they contribute to our campus culture.

When Tech was started, the student body obviously didn’t look the way it does today. Given that, I think that traditions like these help the campus community here now to connect with the Institute as a whole and to connect with one another.

I recently read the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, and in it she writes, “When I’m around people, my heart and soul radiate with awareness that I am in the presence of greatness. Maybe greatness unfound or greatness underdeveloped, but the potential or existence of greatness. Nevertheless, you never know who will go on to do good or great things, so treat everyone like they are that person.”

When I read that, I thought about how much that sounds like the people who are here at Georgia Tech. It’s the people who are with you during your college experience that will matter after you graduate. And – going back to traditions – the best Tech traditions connect us all with one another.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1578412222 2020-01-07 15:50:22 1684341327 2023-05-17 16:35:27 0 0 news Fourth-year Pooja Juvekar is the latest in a long line of SGA presidents from ISyE. Her preparation for this position began early in her college career.

2020-01-07T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-07T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-07 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

630670 630675 630672 630670 image <![CDATA[ISyE fourth-year Pooja Juvekar is this year's SGA president.]]> image/jpeg 1578411776 2020-01-07 15:42:56 1578411776 2020-01-07 15:42:56 630675 image <![CDATA[As SGA president, Pooja Juvekar addressed Georgia Tech's incoming first-years at Convocation.]]> image/jpeg 1578411901 2020-01-07 15:45:01 1578411901 2020-01-07 15:45:01 630672 image <![CDATA[SGA President Pooja Juvekar and Executive Vice President Haigh Angell]]> image/jpeg 1578411825 2020-01-07 15:43:45 1578411825 2020-01-07 15:43:45
<![CDATA[How Senior Design Teams Succeed in the Middle of a Pandemic]]> 28766 Completing a Senior Design project is a rite of passage for all engineering undergraduates at Georgia Tech; it’s a required course for graduation. For students in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), this means spending a semester on what amounts to a part-time job. Teams of six to eight students tackle a real-world problem faced by companies that often are household names – UPS, The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, Waffle House, Chick-fil-A, and The Coca-Cola Company.

During a typical semester, the teams devote 12 to 15 hours a week making multiple visits to their clients’ headquarters, defining the problem they will address with their industrial engineering skills, gathering data in order to devise a solution, and modeling and testing their solution. Clients frequently implement some or all of their team’s solution, saving considerable time and money as a result.

But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with shelter-in-place orders implemented by state and local governments, and businesses and academia moving online, this is hardly a typical semester. So, how have this semester’s 30 ISyE Senior Design teams successfully adapted?

As it turns out, communication and flexibility – two qualities necessary for a successful Senior Design team during a normal semester – are even more crucial in the current situation.

 For Brice Edelman, whose team client is Kinaxis, a Canadian supply chain management software company, the adjustments made by his group have been close to home – literally.

“I live 40 minutes north of Atlanta, so my ‘isolation’ meant a short drive home to be with my family,” he says. “But I have groupmates whose closest family members are thousands of miles away – in India, in Brazil, or scattered across the U.S. – who have had to figure out what to do, where to go, and otherwise handle things that were easy for me. They are in stressful, scary situations, but even so, they've continued to exceed the standard and create excellent results.

“Earlier in the semester, we found that structure was important for our project – now, it’s absolutely critical,” Edelman continues. “Scheduling and adhering to regular check-ins, double-clarifying expectations, and setting deadlines for work are prerequisites to success in this new work environment. Our group is full of hard workers, but this structure and extra communication ensures that we're all doing the right work.”

Katie Neil’s team, which worked with Buffalo Wild Wings, had a similar experience.

“At the beginning of the semester, our team discussed what we wanted to achieve in Senior Design,” Neil explains. “Once we were all safely settled at home, we had an open and honest discussion about the ensuing changes. While it was a tough conversation, I think being candid about the situation and discussing its repercussions was important. Additionally, I think we've become quite creative when it comes to being productive and motivated - whether that's FaceTime calls to silently do work to stay accountable, BlueJeans meetings with our advisor so we all remain on the same page, and even Discord meetings to chat and remind ourselves that social distancing doesn't mean emotional isolation!” 

The team recognized the extremely unusual nature of the current situation, and in response, they built additional flexibility into the product they created for the restaurant chain.

“We have focused on what ‘sustainability’ means in a corporate setting, in other words the longevity of a product or model,” Neil says. “At the end of this project, our product needs to be useable years into the future. Our final deliverable is a demand forecasting and product mix optimization tool, which means the models are trained on historical data. Obviously, there’s a question as to the validity of historical data for the first few months – if not longer – of 2020 and how it could skew forecasts. In response, we built our product to be flexible when it comes to selecting which data to train our models on. That way, if the client chooses to forgo selecting certain time periods of data, they can do so.”

Another Senior Design team was able pivot in a few short days to address their client’s needs that arose specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They worked with Goodr, a food waste management startup that recovers leftover food from food businesses and delivers it to either non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or farms.

Youngjoon Lim, the team leader, says, “Our team helped Goodr with three main deliverables: a logistics routing tool to reduce driving time for food pickups and deliveries, a new pricing strategy to maximize revenue and profit, and a carbon footprint tool to increase the visibility of Goodr's environmental impact.

“In this pandemic situation, Goodr has been delivering groceries to families in need in the Atlanta area. They reached out to our team and asked for a variation of the routing tool that could be used for these deliveries, as they had hundreds of different stops. We were able to shift gears in a couple days and provide a routing tool specifically for this situation. It was great to see one of our tools in action, especially in a way that was able to help the Atlanta community in this time of need.”

ISyE Director of Professional Practice and Senior Design Coordinator Dima Nazzal  says, "The hardships of delivering Senior Design projects during a pandemic equipped our students with a valuable skill; they’re more prepared today to deal with distant collaborations in the workplace, which could very well be a defining feature of future business operations.”

In other words, these Senior Design teams are doing exactly what they’ve been trained for: creating efficiencies and optimizing under constraints -- just what you would expect for students in the No. 1-ranked industrial engineering program in the U.S.

The Kinaxis team includes Nosrat Chowdhury, Brice Edelman, Osman Ghandour, Aniruddh Hari, Yash Lunagaria, Alice Pagoto, and Maria Yagnye.

The Buffalo Wild Wings team includes Diego Granizo, Ashwin Haritsa, Selin Karaoguz, Philip Murray, Katie Neil, Katie Wah, and Wilson Pu.              

The Goodr team includes Efe Birkan, Sarah Hamer, Youngjoon Lim, Ji Won Kim,  Ji Won Kim, Alejandro Sosa, and Da El Um. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in the cancellation of the spring Capstone Expo, where Senior Design teams from across the Institute present their projects to the public. ISyE additionally hosts its own Best of Senior Design competition, which will still take place virtually on Tuesday, April 28. Three to five ISyE teams will be chosen to give their project presentation via BlueJeans to faculty and students, with one team selected as the semester’s most outstanding.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1587746521 2020-04-24 16:42:01 1631151221 2021-09-09 01:33:41 0 0 news ISyE's Senior Design teams have successfully completed their projects despite extremely challenging circumstances.

2020-04-24T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-24T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-24 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634712 634715 634717 634712 image <![CDATA[The Kinaxis Senior Design Team]]> image/png 1587743666 2020-04-24 15:54:26 1587743666 2020-04-24 15:54:26 634715 image <![CDATA[The Buffalo Wild Wings Senior Design Team]]> image/jpeg 1587744887 2020-04-24 16:14:47 1587744887 2020-04-24 16:14:47 634717 image <![CDATA[The Goodr Senior Design Team]]> image/jpeg 1587744988 2020-04-24 16:16:28 1587744988 2020-04-24 16:16:28
<![CDATA[Mission Mars: Professor Nagi Gebraeel Helps NASA Develop Autonomous Habitats]]> 28766 Someday soon — perhaps sooner than we can imagine — NASA will put astronauts on the surface of Mars. And when this happens, these astronauts will need a place to live and work.

To facilitate this, NASA has awarded a $15 million, five-year grant to the HOME Institute (Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration), which unites seven higher education institutions — including Georgia Tech — with several industry collaborators in one of NASA’s four Space Technology Research Institutes. The goal of HOME is to develop autonomously functioning habitats known as SmartHab that are essentially self-maintained.

What this means, according to Nagi Gebraeel, Georgia Power Early Career Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is that NASA wants to initially build a lunar-based habitat that is “self-aware and self-sufficient” in its surroundings, much like a highly amplified Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

Once lunar habitats have been perfected, NASA will turn its attention to Mars. For this phase of development, Gebraeel says that “the habitat will be able to determine its own state of health, particularly its physical systems — ranging from environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) to electric power systems (EPS) -- to ensure that the habitat can remain operational.”

Such autonomy is necessary because Mars-to-Earth communication (and vice versa) will have a high degree of latency. The SmartHab needs to be able to make decisions on its own without waiting for instructions from human beings on Earth (which is how, for example, the International Space Station operates).

NASA has said that its experts will use “early-stage technologies related to autonomous systems, human and automation teaming, data science, machine learning, robotic maintenance, onboard manufacturing, and more” in order to accomplish this — all fields tailor-made for an industrial engineer, even though space issues may seem atypical.

As part of meeting this challenge, HOME needed an expert in predictive analytics and machine learning for asset management and optimization. Gebraeel has done such work extensively with power and manufacturing systems and is ready to turn his skills to space.

“We’re so used to developing analytical models for systems that operate with a significant human-in-the-loop component,” Gebraeel noted. “But this problem requires a wholly new perspective, because we are totally removing the human element and are designing analytical algorithms as well as decision optimization models that are completely independent and autonomous.

“As far as industrial engineering is concerned, deep space is a new and unique application domain, and we are excited about the opportunity to be first-movers in this area," Gebraeel added.

Gebraeel is joined by an interdisciplinary team of Georgia Tech faculty: Associate Professor Joseph Saleh in the Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering; Professor Thomas Orlando in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Assistant Professor Matthew Gombolay in the College of Computing; and Stephen Balakirsky at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586535954 2020-04-10 16:25:54 1627830190 2021-08-01 15:03:10 0 0 news Through his expertise in predictive analytics and machine learning, Professor Gabraeel is helping NASA develop autonomously functioning habitats for use on the moon and Mars.

2020-04-10T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-10T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-10 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634269 634270 634269 image <![CDATA[Mars, where NASA plans to eventually establish a base for astronauts to live long-term.]]> image/jpeg 1586535458 2020-04-10 16:17:38 1586535458 2020-04-10 16:17:38 634270 image <![CDATA[Georgia Power Early Career Professor Nagi Gabraeel]]> image/jpeg 1586535581 2020-04-10 16:19:41 1586535581 2020-04-10 16:19:41
<![CDATA[Jeff Wu Receives Sigma Xi’s Monie A. Ferst Award]]> 28766 Jeff Wu, Coca-Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been honored with Sigma Xi’s Monie A. Ferst Award. This national-level award, sponsored by Georgia Tech’s Sigma Xi chapter, recognizes those who have made "notable contributions to the motivation and encouragement of research through education." Wu joins just a handful of Institute faculty members who have been so recognized since the award’s inception in 1977.

Wu’s dedication to educating future researchers can be seen throughout his distinguished academic career. He has supervised 49 doctoral students, 35 of whom are teaching in major research departments or institutions in statistics, engineering, and business around the globe.

In their award nomination letter, ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn, A. Russell Chandler III Professor Roshan Joseph, and Associate Professor Enlu Zhou noted that “Dr. Wu has influenced multiple generations of researchers and students through his devoted teaching and mentoring. … More than 1,800 papers are published by his students to date without Dr. Wu being a co-author. Four of his former students have become editors of Technometrics and Journal of Quality Technology, two of the most prominent journals in engineering statistics. His students would agree on one thing: Dr. Wu is more than a research advisor. He remains in their lives as a mentor, friend, and guide even after graduation.”

The Monie A. Ferst Award is not the only prestigious honor Wu has received this spring. He has also been given the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honor Georgia Tech can bestow on a faculty member. These two awards are the latest in a long line of accolades for Wu, which include his 2004 election to the National Academy of Engineering as the first academic statistician so chosen. In addition, Wu has won almost all awards given in the field of engineering statistics, including the ENBIS Box Medal and Shewhart Medal.

“This award came as a pleasant surprise and gives me consolation during this difficult time,” said Wu. “Educating and mentoring students is like polishing diamonds – it takes patience and effort, and the whole process is inspiring and rewarding.”

The Monie A. Ferst Award is named eponymously for the engineer and businessman who graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1911 and helped found the Georgia Tech Research Institute. The award comes with a medal and $10,000. In addition, a day-long symposium is held to showcase the achievements of the winner’s former students. Given the current necessary strictures on in-person events because of Covid-19, the symposium in honor of Wu is tentatively scheduled for spring of 2021.

Founded at Cornell University in 1886, Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society, is the international honor society of science and engineering. One of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the world, Sigma Xi has a distinguished history of service to science and society. It has nearly 60,000 members in over 500 chapters around the world.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1592941745 2020-06-23 19:49:05 1624478190 2021-06-23 19:56:30 0 0 news The award recognizes those who have made notable contributions to the motivation and encouragement of research through education.

2020-06-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-23 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

621780 621780 image <![CDATA[Coca-Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics and Professor Jeff Wu]]> image/jpeg 1558356066 2019-05-20 12:41:06 1558356066 2019-05-20 12:41:06 <![CDATA[Wu Honored with Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award]]>
<![CDATA[The Future of Energy in Rwanda]]> 28766 Energy access in sub-Saharan Africa is extremely limited, and much of the energy currently consumed is used to cook food. Most people use biomass — organic materials such as wood, plants, or waste — for this purpose. This is a widely accepted and affordable way for individuals to cook their meals, but it poses some significant problems.

“It takes people a long time to gather their firewood,” explained Valerie Thomas, Anderson-Interface Professor of Natural Systems in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).

“A lot of these areas face deforestation, which not only cuts down on wildlife but also makes it harder for people to gather firewood; as the trees get cut down, the forest gets further away from the village.”

In addition to these deforestation challenges, cooking indoors with biomass fuels (which many people do) creates air pollution, leading to negative health effects. Thomas is conducting research on solar cooking and parabolic stoves, studying how this simple technology can help people in Rwanda address both issues.

“I’m really enthusiastic about finding better ways for people to cook, especially using solar,” Thomas said. “There are limitations — for example, you can’t do your cooking when the sun isn’t out. But there are also a lot of advantages. You don’t need to gather anything, it works well, it’s very inexpensive, and there are a lot of different options.”

The cooking initiative is one part of the work Thomas has been doing in Rwanda. Since 2016, she has collaborated with industry practitioners, as well as researchers and students from ISyE, to determine the best way to bring sustainable energy to the people of rural Africa.

“There is minimal access to grid electricity in rural Africa,” said Thomas. “We’re using operations research techniques to examine future development scenarios that will help governments make better infrastructure decisions and balance supply and demand.”

In addition to the lack of energy infrastructure, Africa also faces a shortage of Ph.D.s to help solve these complex issues. To address this problem, Thomas serves as an international advisor to graduate students at the African Center of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development, a pan-African program at the University of Rwanda established with support from the World Bank Group. Supporting trained Ph.D.s and students in Africa who will continue to research these issues is key to the region’s future success.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586361402 2020-04-08 15:56:42 1622208777 2021-05-28 13:32:57 0 0 news ISyE Professor Valerie Thomas is researching ways to bring sustainable energy to the people of Rwanda.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634164 634166 634164 image <![CDATA[A home in Rwanda with a solar panel on the roof]]> image/jpeg 1586360801 2020-04-08 15:46:41 1586360801 2020-04-08 15:46:41 634166 image <![CDATA[Anderson-Interface Professor of Natural Systems Valerie Thomas]]> image/jpeg 1586361496 2020-04-08 15:58:16 1586361496 2020-04-08 15:58:16
<![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak on the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Benefits of Social Distancing]]> 34760 As the coronavirus pandemic (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread in U.S. cities and around the world, experts are sharing their advice to help determine a safe path forward. One such expert at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) is Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair and professor in ISyE, College of Engineering ADVANCE Professor, and co-founder and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems.

Keskinocak has focused her career on heath and humanitarian systems, including hospital operations management, infectious disease modeling, and evaluating the effectiveness of intervention strategies. Since the initial coronavirus outbreak, she has worked on developing a comprehensive agent-based disease spread model, in collaboration with ISyE Professor Nicoleta Serban and Ph.D. students Buse Eylul Oruc, Arden Baxter, and others. The model estimates the spread of the disease geographically and over time; resource needs such as hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators; and enables the team to evaluate the impact of various intervention scenarios to determine the best course of action.

In a recent CNN interview, Keskinocak discusses the impact of social distancing and current shelter in place orders. She cautions that a careful, gradual approach is needed as society plans to go back to work and social life, a balancing act between public health and the economy. She emphasizes the importance of the need to continue social distancing to slow down COVID-19 spread, flatten the curve, and save lives.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1587134175 2020-04-17 14:36:15 1619023253 2021-04-21 16:40:53 0 0 news As the coronavirus pandemic (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread in U.S. cities and around the world, experts are sharing their advice to help determine a safe path forward.

2020-04-17T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-17T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-17 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634475 634475 image <![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak]]> image/jpeg 1587133564 2020-04-17 14:26:04 1587133594 2020-04-17 14:26:34
<![CDATA[ Georgia Tech Engineering Grad Dances in Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show]]> 28766 She’s a full-time engineer and consultant — and a professional dancer who just performed on one of the world’s biggest stages.

Raianna Brown auditioned just a few months ago to dance at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. That audition came not too long after she earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech in industrial engineering. And after being selected as part of an elite cadre of performers, the work began.

“We rehearsed for about a month,” Brown explained. “It was definitely one of the best dance experiences I’ve had. Working with this team has taught me so much about large-scale performances and how to truly put on a show to be seen around the world,” Brown says. It’s estimated that 102 million viewers tuned in to the game.

The dancers were all styled exactly the same, so it’s difficult to tell them apart. Brown says, however, you can spot her pretty easily in the final pose of Shakira’s performance.

“I’m the third head down from the top.”

While this might be the biggest stage, Brown is used to performing in front of a crowd.

She danced with Georgia Tech’s Goldrush, and was a mainstay on the sidelines at Georgia Tech football and basketball games.

“I really feel like that prepared me to perform in Hard Rock Stadium this past Sunday,” she says.

Georgia Tech also primed her with the skills she needs to keep up with an incredibly hectic schedule. When she’s not dancing professionally, Brown is head of software development at CMB Global Partners, a consulting firm in Atlanta. On any given day, she could be splitting her time between coding and choreography.

“My time at Tech really prepared me for how to balance my career and dance,” Brown says.

She says she’s also thankful for the support she’s received from the greater Georgia Tech community. Aside from being featured by Instagram main account during the Super Bowl, Brown also got a shoutout from her former college.

“They used my hashtag I started #WhoSaysEngineersCantBeDancers, and that really meant a lot to me.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1581616299 2020-02-13 17:51:39 1612368720 2021-02-03 16:12:00 0 0 news Industrial engineering graduate Raianna Brown was selected to dance at Super Bowl LIV with Shakira.

2020-02-10T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-10T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-10 00:00:00 Steven Norris
Institute Communications
Social Media

632256 632258 632257 632256 image <![CDATA[ISyE Grad Raianna Brown Performs in Super Bowl Halftime Show]]> image/jpeg 1581357867 2020-02-10 18:04:27 1581357867 2020-02-10 18:04:27 632258 image <![CDATA[ISyE Grad Raianna Brown Performs in Super Bowl Halftime Show]]> image/jpeg 1581358207 2020-02-10 18:10:07 1581359046 2020-02-10 18:24:06 632257 image <![CDATA[ISyE Grad Raianna Brown Performs in Super Bowl Halftime Show]]> image/jpeg 1581358043 2020-02-10 18:07:23 1581358996 2020-02-10 18:23:16
<![CDATA[ Maithili Appalwar Shares Innovative Technologies with India’s Farmers]]> 28766 Acquiring an internship at a Big Four consulting company is considered quite an achievement by most undergraduate students in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). However, this was not Maithili Appalwar’s experience. “The company was actually a great place to work, but it wasn’t for me,” she said. “It was really confusing, because getting this internship seemed like a box I had to check to be successful, but I’d come home every day feeling empty.”

Appalwar grew up in India seeing her parents successfully meet the challenges of running their own business. Additionally, she had taken a class on social entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech, in which students discussed how businesses can help solve social problems. So when Appalwar began thinking about what she really wanted to accomplish and how, pivoting to start her own company for social good seemed a natural next step.

Appalwar and her father co-founded Avana, a startup that creates affordable farming technologies. Farming in India can be an extremely challenging occupation because rainfall is so erratic, and water storage is a problem. In coordination with the farmers, the father-and-daughter duo came up with a solution.

“What’s the simplest way to store water?” Appalwar said. “It’s literally digging a pit in the ground.” The farmers suggested the ponds, and the Appalwars — who own a family-run polymer processing plant — devised a wide polymer material to line the ponds, thus enabling farmers to store water cheaply ($1 for 2,700 liters per year).

After she graduated in December 2018, Appalwar returned to India to concentrate on growing Avana and expanding its impact on the country’s farming communities. Avana now employs 30 people, has 150 field partners, and since 2016 has saved an estimated 200 billion liters of water.

Avana has received considerable attention for the water storage techniques you and your dad have developed. Does the organization have a larger focus?

Water storage is something we are very passionate about, and it enabled us to get connected with farmers. But we came to realize that the problem of farmer poverty is very complex, and one technology — one product — is far from solving it. We are having an impact, but we need to do much more in order to disrupt Indian agriculture and make farmers prosperous, which is Avana’s ultimate goal.

For example, while many people want organic food, it’s generally only available in stores frequented by high socioeconomic classes. And the marketplaces involve lots of middlemen, who mark up the price. Most Indians can’t afford it. We want to connect farmers directly with consumers through 100% supply chain transparency. That way we can pay farmers more and city residents can buy organic produce more cheaply, making it available to the urban middle class. We also want to focus on precision agriculture.

What exactly is precision agriculture, and how will Avana help farmers implement it?

Precision agriculture is a farm management system that relies on real-time data, rather than farmer intuition or anecdotal evidence. Currently, precision agriculture solutions in India are extremely expensive. They cost $18,000 for 20 acres of land or smaller. This price is not viable for most Indian farmers, whose lands cover less than five acres.

We are looking at using machine learning and thermal image processing technology to help farmers use the least amount of water and get “more crop per drop.” Many farmers are still using drip irrigation or sprinkler watering systems, so we divide farms up into grids, then figure out when and for how long the drip should operate based on real-time farm moisture data.

How are the devastating heat waves India has been experiencing — with temperatures above 100° F lasting for weeks — impacting your plans for Avana’s development?

The heat waves are a symptom of the extreme climate change that the entire world is facing. Another symptom of that climate change is intense, sudden downpours, which make water storage necessary so the water can be used later. The heat waves, however, mean that stored water will evaporate faster.

To prevent this, we have designed an affordable evaporation cover that uses a floating lining filled with recycled empty water and aerated drink bottles, which reduces evaporation losses by 85%.

We’ve also realized an increased urgency for better water management, so we’re launching our Precision Water Management System in March 2020. This system aims to reduce water usage on farms by 20% — agriculture is a real water guzzler and uses 80% of India’s water. Our goal is to bring the cost of the system down to approximately $60/acre.

In addition to the crop optimization tool you mentioned earlier, how are you using your ISyE skills with Avana?

The optimization tool is a good example of how I use my ISyE skills, because so many ISyE classes incorporate coding, which we have to implement when looking at that tool. In addition, I’m going to get to use my industrial engineering skills when working on transforming the food supply chain.

I took a supply chain projects class as an undergraduate, where the students were put into teams and each team had a product. Ours was snowboards, and we looked at the entire supply ecosystem for these snowboards: How was the company acquiring its snowboards?How was it providing snowboards to its customers? How do we decide where to put the distribution centers? How do we cut out the middleman? It was a great overview of how to set up an entire supply chain to minimize costs, increase employee satisfaction, and grow the business in a sustainable and scalable manner.

What has been your biggest take- away from growing a startup?

I think the challenge for me was to realize that the farmers we are working with live incredibly dif- ferent lives from me. So going into these environments, you don’t want to be patronizing and act like you’re there to solve all their problems.

Avana is a brilliant solution, and the reason that it’s brilliant is because it came from the community. We went in and asked the farmers, “What do you think would be a good way to save water?” And they said, “If we had a big pond on the farms, that would be helpful.”

In order to get to solutions like that, you have to be able to listen.

Appalwar provided an update as of mid-January 2020:

We have been expanding the territories Avana is working in. We're now present in four states in India: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.

In addition, we have also developed a new type of pond - called Jalasanchay Super - that reduces evaporation rate and works really well for fish farming. Jalasanchay Super is made with a patented technology, where we use material science innovations to create a blue-coloured fabric with enough carbon for five years of UV stability in the Indian heat.

The blue color reduces evaporation losses and promotes algal growth, which helps fish grow bigger. Fishing helps add a source of revenue for farmers; we are working with them to create appropriate recipes for fish nutrients and antibiotics that will help the fish grow. We are able to use our original distribution channels to add new revenue streams for the company and iare making farmers richer in the process.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586366557 2020-04-08 17:22:37 1612368474 2021-02-03 16:07:54 0 0 news ISyE alumna Maithili Appalwar co-founded Avana, which provides simple technologies to help farmers store water.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634169 634170 614668 634169 image <![CDATA[ISyE alumna Maithili Appalwar]]> image/jpeg 1586365232 2020-04-08 17:00:32 1586365232 2020-04-08 17:00:32 634170 image <![CDATA[A pond lined with Avana's wide polymer material allows farmers to store water for crop irrigation. ]]> image/jpeg 1586365333 2020-04-08 17:02:13 1586365333 2020-04-08 17:02:13 614668 image <![CDATA[An Avana pond in Jalgaon Maharashtra]]> image/jpeg 1543346090 2018-11-27 19:14:50 1543346090 2018-11-27 19:14:50 <![CDATA[ ISyE Student Maithili Appalwar Founds Startups for Social Good in India]]> <![CDATA[Moment of Reflection: ISyE Student Maithili Appalwar Will Deliver Fall Commencement Speech]]>
<![CDATA[ISyE Alumna Wonya Lucas Named CEO of Hallmark Channel]]> 28766 After five years at the helm of Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA), Wonya Lucas, ISyE graduate (BIE 83), will leave that position to be the next president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, the company that oversees several cable networks including Hallmark Channel as well as its subscription streaming service.

Lucas will begin her position August 10. She will report to Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry. Crown Media Family Networks is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards.

"Hallmark has been central to my life since I can remember, starting with those Hallmark Hall of Fame movies that were as enriching as they were entertaining," Lucas told The Hollywood Reporter. "In some ways, my entire career has led me to this incredible opportunity to use the breadth of my experience and skills to evolve an iconic and beloved brand, a culture and a business. I am honored to link arms with the multi-talented leaders and their teams at Crown to build toward an exciting future."

Lucas, an Atlanta native, joined PBA, the parent company of WABE-90.1FM and WPBA-TV 30 in 2015. Prior to joining PBA, she was president and CEO for the cable television company TV One. Lucas previously held management positions at Discovery Communications, The Weather Channel, and Turner Broadcasting System.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1596637279 2020-08-05 14:21:19 1612368099 2021-02-03 16:01:39 0 0 news After 5 years at the helm of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, Wonya Lucas is leaving to become the next president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks,

2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05 00:00:00 637526 637526 image <![CDATA[Wonya Lucas]]> image/jpeg 1596636846 2020-08-05 14:14:06 1596636846 2020-08-05 14:14:06 <![CDATA[Wonya Lucas: Dreaming Big]]>
<![CDATA[ISyE Alumnus Pivots Company to Manufacture Reusable Antimicrobial Face Masks]]> 28766 At the beginning of March, Bryan Kilbey spoke with a business partner in France about the novel coronavirus that was spreading across Europe, causing widespread social lockdowns, straining healthcare systems, and fomenting economic instability.

Kilbey, an ISyE alumnus (IE 1982), quickly realized that Covid-19 would have a similar impact in the U.S. and began contemplating how his company, EZY Wrap, could be part of the solution. PPE — specifically surgical and N95 face masks — were already in high demand by medical and essential workers. It was a natural shift for EZY Wrap, a medical device manufacturer, to begin making face masks.

Two days after Kilbey heard from his colleague, the company had a workable prototype for a new kind of mask: fully adjustable for people of any size, thanks to the Velcro ear straps; reusable (when handwashed and air-dried); and remarkably breath­able. A week after that propulsive conversation, the company had filed patent applications in the U.S. and the European Union and had begun round-the-clock manufacturing. 

An additional quality of the EZY Wrap products sets them apart: They are treated inside and out with an antimicrobial agent that is 99.99% effective. 

“Covid-19 comes from a novel coronavirus, but it has ‘brothers and sisters’ in other coronaviruses,” Kilbey noted. “SARS, MERS, H1N1 — they come from the same gene pool as Covid-19, and the antimicrobial treatment on our mask has been shown to kill them all. We are confident that it will kill Covid-19 as well.”

Sales of EZY Wrap’s antimicrobial mask number in the millions. The company has also donated thousands of them to groups in Florida, where it is headquartered, ranging from first responders to private busi­nesses seeking to protect their employees. And Kilbey was able to provide help in yet another way, hiring people who had been laid off because of the pandemic to staff the ramped-up production lines. 

EZY Wrap has developed a second-generation product — a multilayer mask with a reusable N95 filter — and is pursuing FDA Class 2 registration for it.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1605211227 2020-11-12 20:00:27 1612367389 2021-02-03 15:49:49 0 0 news A week after Bryan Kilbey recognized how the Covid-19 pandemic would impact the U.S., his company had filed a patent for a resuable mask prototype and begun round-the-clock production.

2020-11-12T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-12T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-12 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

641273 641272 641273 image <![CDATA[The EZY Wrap face mask is unique in that it is coated with an antimicrobial agent that is 99.99% effective in killing coronaviruses related to the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.]]> image/jpeg 1605210824 2020-11-12 19:53:44 1605210824 2020-11-12 19:53:44 641272 image <![CDATA[Bryan Kilbey]]> image/jpeg 1605210196 2020-11-12 19:43:16 1605210196 2020-11-12 19:43:16
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Team Wins $1 Million Grant to Lead University Transportation Center]]> 28766 A team of Georgia Tech researchers has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to address declining transit ridership.

The grant establishes a Georgia Tech-led team as one of four new Tier 1 University Transportation Centers (UTCs), which are funded to address critical transportation challenges facing the United States.

Just four teams were selected from nearly 70 applications to receive the UTC grants.

“These investments in four new transportation research centers will help advance innovation and create new solutions to increase accessibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Georgia Tech is leading a research consortium as part of the University Transportation Center they’ve named T-SCORE: Transit - Serving Communities Optimally, Responsively, and Efficiently.

The team is directed by Kari Watkins, the Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and includes fellow civil engineering professors Michael Hunter and Srinivas Peeta, along with Pascal Van Hentenryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. The Georgia Tech researchers are joined by partners from the University of Tennessee, the University of Kentucky and Brigham Young University.

“Our team is thrilled to have the opportunity to envision how public transportation should move into the next phase of serving the American public,” Watkins said. “We have already assembled a fantastic advisory committee that brings together transit professionals from the local regions of our universities and nationally to help guide the center to ensure our results are actionable in the transportation world.”

Through a project sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, the team has already spent two years studying the underlying factors that have led to a recent decline in transit use.

In 2018, bus ridership in the United States was down 12% from its 2012 peak and rail ridership had declined 4% from its 2014 peak. This surprising drop came amid both transit service expansion and economic growth, leaving researchers to search for explanations.

The T-SCORE Center plans to continue this research as well as focus on solutions. The goal is to guide public transportation into a sustainable and resilient future while equipping local planners with the tools needed to enact their strategic visions into communities.

Those strategic visions could include a focus on serving riders who depend on transit the most, consolidating services to high-ridership corridors with high levels of congestion, integrating on-demand transit that looks more like services such as Uber, or using pricing and incentives to make it easier for transit to compete with other modes of transportation.

This work takes on new urgency in light of the effects of the Covid-19 virus on transit ridership and will include recovery strategies for a post-pandemic reality.

The researchers are planning a two-track research approach. The Community Analysis Track will further assess ridership trends, identify and measure the markets most effectively served by transit, and assess transit’s ability to respond to a changing environment.

The Multi-Modal Optimization and Simulation Track -- which is where Van Hentenryck's Socially Aware Mobility (SAM) Lab will particularly lend its expertise -- builds on previous research to allocate which services should be traditional transit routes with a set schedule and which services should be flexible on-demand. This will consider competition from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, which are a key contributor to declining transit ridership.

"The SAM Lab is delighted to participate in the UTC led by Associate Professor Kari Watkins on the current and future state of transit," said Van Hentenryck. "SAM will contribute its expertise in the design, implementation, and high-fidelity simulation of on-demand multimodal systems, as well as leading its educational initiative through the Seth Bonder camp."

All together, this research will provide transit agencies with a starting point corresponding to each strategic direction, enabling them to adapt more quickly to changing conditions.

“In many ways, this has been a tough time for transit even before the Covid-19 epidemic, but now agencies are struggling with how to serve critical workers who rely on their services while simultaneously keeping costs down and riders safe,” Watkins said. “We need to help transit agencies find solutions for how transit can be more nimble to respond when crises occur and to thrive on a typical day.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1603384896 2020-10-22 16:41:36 1610749702 2021-01-15 22:28:22 0 0 news The team includes ISyE Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck and the Socially Aware Mobility Lab.

2020-10-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-22 00:00:00 Melissa Fralick

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

640483 640483 image <![CDATA[Pascal Van Hentenryck]]> image/jpeg 1603384213 2020-10-22 16:30:13 1603384213 2020-10-22 16:30:13
<![CDATA[Pascal Van Hentenryck and Interdisciplinary Team Model Risk-aware Use of Natural Energy Sources]]> 28766 As U.S. power grid operators increasingly incorporate natural sources such as solar and wind into their energy mix, they must grapple with the irregular supply of such resources. In contrast, while conventional energy resources such as natural gas and coal contribute to climate change, they are advantageous in their predictability. Grid operators have been able to accurately forecast their supply and demand for decades, resulting in reliable power availability for their customers.

In order to find a way to manage the intermittency – or stochasticity – of natural energy sources that introduce additional risks and uncertainties into energy supplies, the Department of Energy has awarded a three-year, $3.25 million grant to an interdisciplinary team led by Pascal Van Hentenryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). In addition to ISyE, the team includes the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Their project, “Risk-aware Market Clearing for Power Systems” (RAMC), will examine how to assess and minimize risks when integrating renewable sources of energy, and how to advance stochastic optimization, machine learning, and their integration to meet the challenges of integrating substantial shares of renewable energy in the generation portfolio.

Van Hentenryck is particularly enthusiastic about working with MISO. The RAMC team will begin by learning from six years’ worth of operational data from MISO, which has a large and complex power system that stretches from Minnesota to Louisiana and incorporates numerous windfarms. The collaboration is also unique in that MISO has a strong research team that has already been actively working to solve the challenges of using natural sources of energy.

“MISO is one of the most innovative transmission operators in the U.S.,” Van Hentenryck said. “This partnership means that the research will be driven by real models and data, and will evaluate, with high fidelity, the impact and benefits of the optimization models the RAMC team creates.”

The Vanderbilt team brings decades of experience in risk assessment, which will be an integral part of the paradigm shift needed to address the increased stochasticity in load and generation. The goal is to transfer, adapt, and expand risk models from the financial industry and other engineering disciplines.

The group from ISyE includes A. Russell Chandler III Professor Roshan Joseph, Anderson-Interface Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Andy Sun, and Coca-Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics Jeff Wu, as well as undergraduate, Ph.D., and postdoctoral  students. They are specifically looking at how to solve the stochastic optimization problems arising in MISO’s real-time operations. Their high dimensionality, and the real-time constraints, raise fundamental challenges in computational statistics, stochastic optimization, risk assessment, and machine learning.

“The entire RAMC team brings a distinctive multidisciplinary expertise,” Van Hentenryck noted. “It is only through the tight integration of these fields that we can hope to overcome the computational barriers."

Accurate modeling of supply and demand for wind and solar is also a boon for consumers and national security interests, lowering costs and reliance on energy providers outside the U.S. Ultimately, the RAMC team intends to generate scalable solutions that can be adopted by other grid operators in addition to MISO.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1594923766 2020-07-16 18:22:46 1610749671 2021-01-15 22:27:51 0 0 news Thanks to a $3.25M grant, the team will examine how to account for and minimize risks when renewable energy sources are incorporated into the electrical grid.

2020-07-16T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-16T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-16 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

637023 637024 637023 image <![CDATA[Pascal Van Hentenryck]]> image/jpeg 1594922736 2020-07-16 18:05:36 1594922736 2020-07-16 18:05:36 637024 image <![CDATA[The RAMC Project Logo]]> image/png 1594922944 2020-07-16 18:09:04 1594922944 2020-07-16 18:09:04
<![CDATA[Keskinocak Named One of Motherboard’s 2020 Humans of the Year]]> 34760 For its 2020 Humans of the Year series, Motherboard selected 20 scientists, engineers, and visionaries who have done remarkable work to make the world a better place. One honoree was Pinar Keskinocak, the William W. George Chair and Professor at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).

Keskinocak, who is also the co-founder and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems at Georgia Tech, has dedicated her career to the applications of operations research and management science with societal impact, particularly health and humanitarian applications and supply chain management. Most recently she has focused her efforts on vaccine distribution and infectious disease modelling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic highlighted the weaknesses in many of our ‘systems’ like never before. Its impact, similar to many other previous disasters, has been disproportionately high on vulnerable or underserved populations,” Keskinocak said in the article.

“When we prepare for or respond to a complex emergency, we need the public and the private sectors to speedily coordinate, with all players understanding what is needed from them, when, and where, so that we achieve synergies, providing resources and services that are the right place at the right time. This requires coordination on a national and sometimes global scale, which has been lacking in many of the complex emergencies in the past, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

You can read the entire article about Keskinocak’s work here.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1609269602 2020-12-29 19:20:02 1609774748 2021-01-04 15:39:08 0 0 news For its 2020 Humans of the Year series, Motherboard selected 20 scientists, engineers, and visionaries who have done remarkable work to make the world a better place.

2020-12-29T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-29T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-29 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

639348 639348 image <![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak]]> image/jpeg 1600704217 2020-09-21 16:03:37 1600704217 2020-09-21 16:03:37
<![CDATA[As Online Shopping Skyrockets, Industries Adapt]]> 34760 The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably impacted the holiday shopping season. For example, the National Retail Federation reported an 82% year-over-year increase in data traffic alone in early November. Supply chains are showing some strain.

However, UPS Professor of Logistics Alan Erera says that supply chains are generally responding well. And retailers prepared by beginning their holiday sales earlier.

The so-called Christmas creep and the expansion of Black Friday sales serve to spread out peak sales. While this has always been important for the supply chain, it is even more important for the 2020 holidays.

“If companies can get you to shop earlier for the holidays, they would love that,” Erera said. “We'll see if it persists in the future, but it's absolutely the case that spreading the peak helps on the operation side for these companies.”

And, he says, this level of reliance on e-commerce is likely here to stay: “It's not going to go back to the way it used to be. The good news is that there has been tremendous growth in robust platforms for enabling e-commerce, even for smaller players and local businesses.”

Read more of Professor Erera's insights on the Georgia Tech Professional Education website here.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1609179751 2020-12-28 18:22:31 1609184417 2020-12-28 19:40:17 0 0 news Logistics expert Alan Erera shares his thoughts on this year's holiday shopping season.

2020-11-30T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-30T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-30 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

614441 614441 image <![CDATA[UPS Professor of Logistics Alan Erera]]> image/jpeg 1542694627 2018-11-20 06:17:07 1542694881 2018-11-20 06:21:21
<![CDATA[Despite Challenges, Fall Senior Design Cohort Finishes Strong]]> 28766 Over 600 students composing 117 teams from across Georgia Tech’s colleges of engineering and design successfully completed fall semester Senior Design projects, despite unusual conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. This included 18 Senior Design teams from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). 

Professor Emeritus Leon McGinnis noted, “This was a particularly strong ISyE Senior Design cohort. Kudos to all the students: They overcame a compressed semester, social distancing requirements, technical difficulties in collaboration, and the accumulated stress of this year to do remarkable work for a broad range of clients. Congratulations to the faculty advisors, who overcame similar difficulties to connect, encourage, and inspire these teams. It has been very gratifying to be involved and to be inspired by everyone’s contributions.”

For the first time since 2014, an ISyE team received the Capstone Expo People’s Choice Award. (The Capstone Expo was held virtually.) The “Emission Experts” worked with UPS to help redesign the company’s carbon reporting process and included Wages Carroll, Natalie Lucco, Maggie Monahan, Geneva Rumer, Michael Saia, William Salzano, Joseph Stapf, and Joshua White. They were advised by A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Alexander Shapiro.

The “Swing Space Champs” won the Capstone Expo award for Best ISyE Project. This team was also selected as a finalist for the Fall 2020 ISyE Best of Senior Design Competition. They worked with Georgia Tech’s Capital Planning and Space Management (CPSM) to evaluate how campus spaces are allocated during renovations.

Specifically, when instructional spaces are renovated, courses must be relocated to rooms that have sufficient capacity, time availability, and equipment. The Swing Space Analysis tool uses a CPLEX solver and adjustable constraints to assist Capital Planning and Space Management with balancing the 240 space user needs. This tool recommends swing space solutions that limit course capacity reductions and remote course offerings. Locating sufficient swing space shortens renovation timelines, potentially realizing millions of dollars in savings for the Institute over the next decade.

CPSM Data Scientist Jimmie Hardin, who served as client liaison for the team, praised the students’ work: “It was an absolute pleasure working with these students. We are ecstatic with the results and the dedication displayed by this team to make sure we were receiving an outcome that would be impactful and useful to the future planning of Georgia Tech facilities. This project has raised the bar on what we feel we can accomplish through student project collaborations and proves yet again what an incredible resource we have right here on campus.”

Team members included Prerna Balaji, Savannah Chunn, Zach Hess, Chidambaram Kadiresan, Makala Muhammed, Abbey Nannis, Sarah Poff, and Sena Sennaroglu. They were advised by Associate Professor Steve Hackman.

The other two ISyE Best of Senior Design finalist teams – ultimately selected as joint winners – were “Should It Stay or Should It CIS-GO” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Hartsfield.” 

Team “Should It Stay or Should It CIS-GO” worked with Cisco Systems to evaluate and optimize Cisco’s global supply chain network. The team explored network design alternatives, investigating trade-offs among costs, carbon emissions, and lead time. Cisco was provided comprehensive models and interactive visualizations enabling ongoing exploration along these dimensions, allowing better-informed decisions about future optimizations. The team demonstrated these tools, proposing enhancements to Cisco's current network with projected savings of up to $29 million and a reduction in carbon emissions of 76,000 tons.

ISyE alumna Rachel Zhu (IE 2018, MSSCE 2019) worked with the team as Cisco’s client liaison. She said, “As an ISyE graduate myself, it was really cool to be able to work with the students on the client side. It provided me with a unique experience to lead and give back to the No.1 program in the U.S. The synergy and information flow between the cross-functional internal teams we made were incredible, and we discovered things about Cisco’s network that are now being reviewed at the SVP level. The students provided top-tier deliverables, and we are working on implementing them as soon as possible. A big ‘thank you’ to ISyE and these smart, talented individuals for their dedication and hard work these last seven months. What an unforgettable privilege this has been.”

Team members included Ishita Date, Isabel Jaffoni, Karim Layoun, Karen Loscocco, Amanda Nima, Deep Patel, Jay Patel, and Parth Patel. They were advised by Professor Craig Tovey.

Team “Don’t Go Breaking My Hartsfield” worked with Delta Air Lines to reduce wait times at the domestic TSA Checkpoint of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is the busiest in the world. The team analyzed the service rate of the TSA Checkpoint to create a scenario-based approach for recommending lanes at the checkpoint by creating a simulation model to represent the security checkpoint process. This approach will reduce the average wait times by 12% and reduce the number of passengers waiting over 15 minutes by 20%.

“I had the pleasure of supporting the Delta Senior Design team this semester. Previously, our lane plan[s] did not account for variability of data (at the security screening process) and had many other flaws. The team always kept a good attitude, was eager to understand the TSA screening process and how it can be improved, and [their work] increased the accuracy of the lane plans to a great extent,” said Maya Lachev, a third-year ISyE student who is currently completing a co-op as part of Delta’s Passenger Facilitation Division. “It will be exciting to see wait times at TSA positively impacted by the team’s work.”

Katlin Burpee, manager for the Passenger Facilitation Division, added, “[Delta] plans to take the team’s deliverable and continue to use it and even expand it in the future.”

Team members included Valentina Betancourt, Zach Connolly, Vinay Dalal, Jose Correia, Yuhe Chen, Ricardo Estrada, and Marcel Mensch. They were advised by Associate Professor Steve Hackman.

Dima Nazzal, ISyE Senior Design projects evaluator and program coordinator, explained, “Both teams were exceptional in different ways, and it was impossible to determine a single standout team. Team Cisco built a comprehensive model of Cisco's complex warehousing and logistics network, and generated solutions that have huge cost and carbon emission savings. They took their well-developed models steps further by analyzing the tradeoffs between the different objectives and integrating the outputs into a data visualization dashboard.

"Team Delta had an exceptionally challenging project,” Nazzal continued. “With no access to the physical system due to the pandemic, but through outstanding engineering work their approach and developed analytical tools transform the current security checkpoint planning and operational processes, and thus impacting all passengers with flights originating from Atlanta. The solution is seamlessly implementable and has been piloted at Hartsfield-Jackson this semester and shows excellent outcomes.”

As a further indication of an extremely strong Senior Design cohort, three additional teams were selected for Honorable Mention in the ISyE Best of Senior Design competition. These teams were as follows:

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1608136037 2020-12-16 16:27:17 1609174793 2020-12-28 16:59:53 0 0 news Eighteen teams of ISyE students navigated a compressed semester, social distancing requirements, and technical difficulties in collaboration to do remarkable work for a broad range of clients.

2020-12-16T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-16T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-16 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

642168 642151 642150 642155 642168 image <![CDATA[Senior Design Team "Don't Go Breaking My Hartsfield"]]> image/jpeg 1608137765 2020-12-16 16:56:05 1608137765 2020-12-16 16:56:05 642151 image <![CDATA[Senior Design Team "Should It Stay or Should It CIS-GO"]]> image/jpeg 1608128365 2020-12-16 14:19:25 1608128365 2020-12-16 14:19:25 642150 image <![CDATA[Senior Design Team "Swing Space Champs"]]> image/jpeg 1608128283 2020-12-16 14:18:03 1608128283 2020-12-16 14:18:03 642155 image <![CDATA[Senior Design Team "Emissions Experts"]]> image/png 1608129102 2020-12-16 14:31:42 1608129102 2020-12-16 14:31:42
<![CDATA[Covid-19 Interventions Can Cut Virus Infections, Severe Outcomes, and Healthcare Needs]]> 28766 A new paper authored by ISyE's William W. George Chair and Professor Pinar Keskinocak; Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban; Ph.D. students Arden Baxter and Buse Eylul Oruc; and Metron Research Scientist John Asplund confirms what public health experts have been asserting: Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as voluntary shelter-in-place, quarantines, and other steps taken to control the SARS-CoV-2 virus can reduce the peak number of infections, daily infection rates, cumulative infections, and overall deaths.

Using data from the state of Georgia, the study determined that a combination of non-pharmaceutical interventions, with various levels of compliance that change over time, could in some instances cut cumulative infections in half and reduce the peak number of infections to about a third of what could have been seen, “flattening the peak” to avoid overwhelming a state’s healthcare system. 

You can read a complete analysis of the ISyE team's findings here.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1608323157 2020-12-18 20:25:57 1609174772 2020-12-28 16:59:32 0 0 news In a new paper, a team of ISyE researchers confirm that non-pharmaceutical interventions can help slow the spread of Covid-19.

2020-12-18T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-18T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-18 00:00:00 John Toon

Research Horizons

642280 636594 642280 image <![CDATA[Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as voluntary shelter-in-place can reduce the peak number of infections, daily infection rates, cumulative infections, and overall deaths.]]> image/jpeg 1608321153 2020-12-18 19:52:33 1608321153 2020-12-18 19:52:33 636594 image <![CDATA[Social Distancing on Campus]]> image/jpeg 1593459032 2020-06-29 19:30:32 1593459032 2020-06-29 19:30:32
<![CDATA[ASQ Elects Roshan Joseph as Fellow]]> 28766 The American Society for Quality (ASQ) has elected Roshan Joseph, an A. Russell Chandler III Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), as a Fellow. In particular, ASQ cited Joseph “for outstanding contributions to statistical theory and methods for quality improvement; for dedicated teaching and service to the profession.”

“I started my career as a quality consultant through the Indian Statistical Institute, which motivated my doctoral study at the University of Michigan on statistical methods for quality improvement,” noted Joseph. “A major part of my research still focuses on quality engineering and therefore, this recognition from ASQ means a lot to me.”

Joseph’s research interests are in the broad areas of applied and computational statistics. A major focus of his research is in developing novel statistical methods for solving complex engineering problems. He has several years of consulting experience in solving quality-related problems in industries. 

Joseph has received numerous honors for his statistical research. This includes the Jack Youden Prize from ASQ in 2005; the Edelman Laureate from INFORMS in 2017; the Statistics in Physical & Engineering Sciences Award from the American Statistical Association in 2019; and the SPAIG Award from the American Statistical Association in 2020. He is also a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (2012) and is currently serving as the editor-in-chief of Technometrics, a journal of statistics jointly published by ASA and ASQ.

“Roshan Joseph is recognized as a world leader in engineering statistics and quality engineering. In my opinion, he is the best researcher of his generation in these two areas. Election to the ASQ Fellowship is one more recognition of his high status among his peers,” said ISyE Coca-Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics and Professor Jeff Wu, who works closely with Joseph.

ASQ empowers people, communities, and organizations of the world to achieve excellence through quality. 

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1608312471 2020-12-18 17:27:51 1608312471 2020-12-18 17:27:51 0 0 news ASQ cited Joseph “for outstanding contributions to statistical theory and methods for quality improvement; for dedicated teaching and service to the profession.”

2020-12-18T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-18T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-18 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

642266 642266 image <![CDATA[Roshan Joseph]]> image/jpeg 1608312280 2020-12-18 17:24:40 1608312280 2020-12-18 17:24:40
<![CDATA[Jialei Chen Wins Two Best Student Paper Awards at the 2020 INFORMS Conference]]> 28766 Jialei Chen, a doctoral student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and a graduate research assistant in the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI), won two Best Student Paper Awards at this year’s 2020 INFORMS Conference. The annual INFORMS conference on business analytics and operations research brings together nearly 1,000 leading analytics professionals and industry experts to share ideas, network and learn about a range of current topics and trends that can help businesses and organizations improve their analytics prowess by applying science to the art of business.

Chen won the Best Student Paper Award in the Quality, Statistics, and Reliability track for “Adaptive Design for Gaussian Process Regression under Censoring.” This paper presented an experimental design and modeling method for censored physical experiments. Censoring is commonly encountered in experimentation due to the limits in a measurement device, safety considerations of the experimenter, and a fixed experimental time budget. To tackle this, he proposed a novel adaptive design method, which first estimates the possibility of censoring and then adaptively chooses design points to minimize predictive uncertainty under censoring. He demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method in two real-world applications on surgical planning and wafer manufacturing.

Chen received the Best Student Paper Runner-up Award in the Data Mining track for “APIK: A Physics-Informed Kriging Model with Partial Differential Equations.” This paper presented a learning framework that combines limited data and the auxiliary partial differential equations. One of the key challenges in applying state-of-the-art machine learning methods in real-world engineering applications is that the available measurement data is scarce. In this work, he proposed to incorporate the auxiliary partial differential equations in the learning model and therefore improve the predive performance. The proposed APIK model can leverage linear and nonlinear PDEs and enjoy simple and closed-form prediction and uncertainty quantification. He applied the proposed method to two real-world applications on flow dynamics and thermal processes.

Chen’s advisors for both papers are A. Russell Chandler III Professor Roshan Joseph and Harold E. Smalley Professor Chuck Zhang.

“I’m honored to have won best student paper award in the quality, statistics, and reliability track at INFORMS 2020, and to have another paper win second place in the data mining track,” said Chen. “My research focuses on engineering-driven learning methodologies, and data-driven modeling for complex engineering and manufacturing systems. The two awards are a great encouragement for me and inspire me to accomplish more in-depth and impactful works in the future. I would like to express my highest gratitude to my supervisors, professors Chuck Zhang and Roshan Joseph. I would also like to thank the support and assistance from GTMI, which helped to make the two projects possible.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1608063178 2020-12-15 20:12:58 1608127089 2020-12-16 13:58:09 0 0 news ISyE Ph.D. student Jialei Chen won the awards for the INFORMS QSR and Data Mining tracks.

2020-11-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-17 00:00:00 Walter Rich

637328 637328 image <![CDATA[Jialei Chen, a Ph.D. student in the H. Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech]]> image/png 1595961109 2020-07-28 18:31:49 1595961526 2020-07-28 18:38:46
<![CDATA[SIReN Lab Brings Immersive Technologies to Supply Chain and Logistics Research]]> 28766 The Georgia Tech Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL) is the largest such group in the world, and it provides researchers with many opportunities to help solve global supply chain and logistics problems. The latest addition is the SIReN (Sentient Immersive Response Networks) Lab, dedicated to research leveraging immersive technologies to enhance human capabilities for engineering and managing supply chains and logistic systems.

The SIReN Lab is an associate international laboratory, the result of a partnership between SCL’s Physical Internet Center and IMT Mines Albi, part of the Mines-Telecom Institute in France. The two organizations have historically collaborated on research surrounding artificial intelligence and its interface with these immersive technologies. The SIReN Lab is an extension and formalization of that relationship.

The U.S. arm of the lab is housed in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and is directed by Benoit Montreuil, Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair and professor in ISyE. Montreuil is also co-director
of SCL and director of the Physical Internet Center. The French lab is led by Frederick Benaben, head of the Interoperability of Organizations research team at IMT Mines Albi. Because of the virtual nature of the work, it is possible to have researchers from both labs working on the same experiment, in the same environment, at the same time.

SIReN Lab research is centered around four main types of response networks — demand, health, humanitarian, and crisis — and the human response to them. A demand response network focuses on how the supply network responds to demand and how to prepare for this response, rather than the other way around. The health and humanitarian response networks, which have become increasingly visible due to the Covid-19 pandemic, relate to issues like disaster recovery and various healthcare supply chains.

The French lab has a significant emphasis on crisis response networks, in which a group of people work together to respond to a crisis in a smart, fair, and efficient manner.
“We currently have a crisis management project where 10 people in France and a few in the U.S. are working together at the same time in a digital twin environment,” said Benaben. “For example, we can have everyone in a building where they can fight a fire, but we can also have some of them in a virtual control room exchanging ideas and making decisions. The options are limitless.”

Researchers are using tools such as dashboards, simulations, games, and in some cases virtual or augmented reality to allow participants to see — and in some cases experience — a vivid picture of a situation with other players in the network.

“In augmented reality, we reinforce what participants see with facts, maps, graphs, and other information that enhance what they are experiencing,” explained Montreuil. “In virtual reality, we project the user into a virtual world, which can be a very vivid representa-tion of the current world, or it can be an abstract world. It can be a very powerful tool.”
“When we put someone in an environ-ment where they can touch, learn, train, experiment, and ultimately decide, it changes the way they approach the problem,” added Benaben. 
The French lab launched on Nov. 15, 2019. While the spring 2020 launch of the U.S. lab was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the team already has several projects underway and is fully operational. Eventually, they would like to see additional SIReN labs join the network to further scale the work being conducted.

“We want to become a global leader in making response networks become more sentient and immersive,” said Montreuil. “This is an exciting new approach that we are bringing to ISyE and to the domain.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1608046587 2020-12-15 15:36:27 1608047749 2020-12-15 15:55:49 0 0 news This recent addition to the SCL research ecosystem leverages immersive technologies to enhance human capabilities for engineering and managing supply chains and logistic systems.

2020-12-09T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-09T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-09 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

642052 642053 642052 image <![CDATA[IOMEGA virtual reality platform in the SIReN Lab]]> image/jpeg 1607636595 2020-12-10 21:43:15 1607636595 2020-12-10 21:43:15 642053 image <![CDATA[Images taken from virtual building crisis simulation in SIReN Lab]]> image/png 1607637184 2020-12-10 21:53:04 1607637184 2020-12-10 21:53:04 <![CDATA[SIRen Lab at IMT Mines Albi]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Physical Internet Center]]>
<![CDATA[College of Engineering Introduces Dean’s Scholarship Program, Funded by ISyE Alumnus]]> 28766 First-year Bethanie Penna may be new to Georgia Tech, but she is already making history as the first Dean’s Scholar from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Penna is the youngest of 10 siblings. Not only did she stand out in her academics and extracurriculars in high school, but her passion for community service also proved her an exceptional candidate for this scholarship. Her resume is packed with activities and accomplishments such as class valedictorian, president of her school’s National Honors Society chapter, and varsity athlete in soccer, softball, and cross country. 

The College of Engineering (COE) Dean’s Scholarship Program, modeled on the existing Dean’s Scholarship Program in Scheller College of Business, was introduced in Fall 2020 through the philanthropy of David Flanagan, an ISyE alumnus (IE 76), and his wife, Ann. The Flanagans had noticed a need for a similarly successful program in the College of Engineering.

Each Dean’s Scholar receives $40,000, generally distributed for four years, with an additional one-time $2,000 enrichment fund. The ISyE seat in the cohort is endowed; the other engineering seats are distributed across the rest of the College. The supplementary funds are a unique addition to this program, in that they enable each scholarship recipient to participate in experiences such as study abroad, undergraduate research programs, and conferences. This supplement aims to eliminate the stress of medium-range expenses that can be challenging for students. 

What does it take to earn this estimable award? 

“The goal was to find extremely meritorious students who are not only successful academically but who have also exceeded in their contributions to their community leading up to their college careers,” David Torello explained. Torello, an academic professional in the George F. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, is the faculty mentor for the program.

One cause that Penna is passionate about is increasing female representation in STEM. In high school, Penna discovered her love for research, especially statistical analysis. In her junior year, she published a research paper concerning the preparedness level of undergraduate students for higher-level education.

“In my research, I noticed a stark difference between women and men in STEM, and women felt significantly less prepared than men in the same career with the same degree,” she said. 

She decided to apply that research by tackling the problem head-on, visiting five different elementary schools and six different middle schools to speak to young girls about STEM. Her goal was to introduce them to STEM careers and fields where women are underrepresented and instill confidence in their abilities. 

Penna is dedicated to continuing this work at Georgia Tech. She has joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE)and is already planning on attending the national conference. Additionally, she is a part of Connect, a First-Year Leadership Organization, (FLO) where she helps other out-of-state students like herself acclimate to the Institute’s campus and culture.

Another goal of the Dean’s Scholarship program is to create a diverse cohort of excellent students with varying backgrounds and interests. The cohort-style program allows students to not only have an instant group of friends to rely on but also creates a sense of accountability among them. 

 The cohort meets with the COE Dean each year in a formal setting where they discuss their ambitions, their challenges – and simply what is going on in their lives. Torello has noticed two benefits of these meetings: “Speaking with the Dean, the students either get reinforcement on their current plans, or they learn about opportunities that they did not know were available to them, so the experience is extremely valuable.”

The Flanagans are pleased with the students chosen for the first cohort. “I hope that when this group of students become financially successful alumni, they, too, will help ensure other top students get a world-class education at Georgia Tech,” David said. 

The Dean’s Scholars program is a life-changing opportunity for Penna. Her plans for the enrichment fund are to fulfill her dream of studying abroad at the Georgia Tech-Lorraine campus in Metz, France.

“I was so fortunate to receive this scholarship, which relieved the financial burden of college for me and my family,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful.”  

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1605298950 2020-11-13 20:22:30 1607957967 2020-12-14 14:59:27 0 0 news First-year ISyE student Bethanie Penna, who arrived at Georgia Tech with an already impressive resume, is the first recipient of the brand-new College of Engineering Dean's Scholarship.

2020-11-13T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-13T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-13 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

641296 641296 image <![CDATA[Bethanie Penna]]> image/jpeg 1605298416 2020-11-13 20:13:36 1605298416 2020-11-13 20:13:36
<![CDATA[Turgay Ayer and Interdisciplinary Team Develop COVID-19 Policy Simulator]]> 34760 In late January, the first case of the novel coronavirus — the virus which causes COVID-19, a highly contagious disease that originated in China — was confirmed in the U.S. Due to the rapid spread of the disease in other areas of the world, many U.S.-based researchers began working to help keep Americans safe.

One such researcher was Turgay Ayer, George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and associate professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). He has focused his career on health care analytics and has created models to help slow the spread of various infectious diseases, including Hepatitis C. He also serves as the research director for health care analytics and business intelligence in the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems at Georgia Tech and holds a courtesy appointment at Emory Medical School.

Along with ISyE Ph.D. student Jade Yingying Xiao, Ayer partnered with a research team from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, led by Assistant Professor Jagpreet Chhatwal, and a team from Boston Medical Center, led by Associate Professor Benjamin Linas. Together this group created the COVID-19 Simulator. The simulator, an interactive tool designed to inform COVID-19 intervention policy decisions in the U.S., is also available to the general public. It evaluates the impact of different social distancing interventions on the reduction in spread of coronavirus in the U.S., on both a national and state level.

“We have leveraged our previous expertise in epidemiological and infectious disease modeling, from a model-building perspective,” explained Ayer. “However, we could not utilize our knowledge from any other diseases in terms of the spread of this virus because it is so different. The speed at which the virus spreads from one person to another and how long an infected individual can be asymptomatic — these values are unique to COVID-19. We needed to dig deeper into the literature and observed statistics to parameterize the model.”

In early March, many states in the U.S. began implementing social distancing practices — which included limiting social gatherings, staying six feet away from others, wearing masks in public, closing schools and businesses, teleworking, and other measures to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the disease. The COVID-19 simulator is designed to predict the outcomes of the various levels of social distancing to help policy makers make educated decisions when lifting the various restrictions and give individuals information to determine their own actions going forward.

According to Ayer, the simulator, which is updated on a weekly basis, is an SEIR compartmental model — the data sorts individuals into groups in various stages of the disease: susceptible, exposed, infected, and recovered. It combines established epidemiological and infectious disease modeling with state-of-the-art statistical modeling to reflect the most recent forecasts given a variety of scenarios. Intervention levels include “minimal restrictions,” like increased handwashing and avoiding sick individuals; “stay-at-home” orders, where people are advised to stay at home unless they need to pick up groceries or other essential goods; and lockdown, the most extreme level, as exercised in other parts of the world such as China and India.

The simulator has received a great deal of attention since its April 24 launch. In the first week, the website received more than 100,000 hits, and the simulator has been featured on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Fox News, and numerous other media outlets.

The team is currently working to incorporate cell phone tracking data into the model to assess how increased mobility as businesses open will influence projections. In the future, they plan to expand the simulator globally.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1589481096 2020-05-14 18:31:36 1607437628 2020-12-08 14:27:08 0 0 news The simulator, an interactive tool designed to inform COVID-19 intervention policy decisions in the U.S., is also available to the general public.

2020-05-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-14 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

634176 634176 image <![CDATA[George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Turgay Ayer]]> image/jpeg 1586367708 2020-04-08 17:41:48 1586367708 2020-04-08 17:41:48
<![CDATA[Create Dedicated Pandemic Clinics Now to Address COVID-19]]> 28766 COVID-19 has caught Pinar Keskinocak well prepared. For years, she has studied how societies manage pandemics, and how outbreaks overtax the health care system and wrack supply chains to worsen pandemics. Here she shares her insights.

Empty classrooms and supermarket shelves marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Keskinocak expects more signs of the times to come – such as pop-up pandemic clinics and the shortage and rationing of medical supplies beyond masks and ventilators.

Keskinocak is the director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which studies how government and private sectors can cooperate to handle health and humanitarian crises. And she is William W. George Chair and Professor in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

In previous research, Keskinocak’s team created a model that accurately ran the course of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, and when COVID-19 struck, her team was already in the middle of modeling how special clinics could significantly slow a pandemic. In the meantime, temporary clinics in Wuhan, China, appear to have validated her model.

Healthcare expansion now

The surge of COVID-19 patients pushed Italy’s health care system into a very ugly crisis, and the U.S. needs to take measures now to handle similar patient surges. Pandemics often strike in two waves or more, and the second is usually the worst, so measures need to be lasting, Keskinocak said.

Even without COVID-19, the U.S. healthcare system has been under strain. Emergency rooms are often overcrowded; it takes a long time to schedule an appointment, and there is a chronic shortage of nursing staff.

[Read Keskinocak's guest op-ed in the New York Daily News: COVID clinics now]

“We need to expand capacity and unleash creative flexibility in our healthcare systems. We should use more telemedicine and create self-service stations for testing. I would particularly like to see specialized COVID-19 clinics established now,” Keskinocak said.

“Special clinics could be separate spaces in existing facilities or standalone facilities. As COVID-19 spreads, we expect a lot more people with cold- and flu-like symptoms to seek testing and care. The healthcare capacities are just not there for a business as usual approach, and taking it could harm patients by delaying care and increasing risk of infection.”

Gathering COVID-19 patients in tight spaces like waiting rooms with other patients would increase the coronavirus’ spread, and patients with preexisting conditions could face mortal threat. Contagion could also spread into hospitals.

“Dedicated pandemic clinics could implement targeted hygiene, air filtration, and specialized protective equipment beyond masks and gloves for healthcare workers. They can tailor workflows to test and care for patients quickly and effectively and keep them away from other patients and staff,” Keskinocak said.

Payment needs to be easy, too, including financing the uninsured. In the middle of a public health emergency, it is vital to not get bogged down by restrictions meant for normal times.

Potentially dangerous shortages

Toilet paper will make a comeback in supermarkets, but in its place, life-saving medications could become perilously scarce. Countries need to act now to prevent this from compounding the COVID-19 crisis.

“Dwindling availability of hospital beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment like masks and gloves during a patient surge – those are the obvious things. But we could also see shortages of items like asthma medication or antidepressants. Worst case, even food supplies could run low,” Keskinocak said.

[Read Keskinocak's guest op-ed in The Hill: medical supply chain dangers]

Here’s how shortages work and can lead to price gouging and also rationing. The latter can have good effects.

“Shortages are the result of supply-demand imbalance caused by either an unexpected increase in demand or unexpected decrease in supply or both. Shortages are common in crises such as natural disasters or health emergencies. But given the worldwide slowdown of economic activity in pandemics, disruptions could get much worse this time,” Keskinocak said.

“Supply chains are actually intricate webs of multiple parts that span the globe. Pandemics damage many of those parts, and it can take time to recover. This creates a more serious and worrisome imbalance between supply and demand.”

Toilet paper will return because people fear-hoard it in a panic but consume it at normal rates. When the panic runs its course, demand slows back down to the actual rate of consumption and its normal supply chain, which is relatively simple, catches up.

“With medicine and healthcare services and supplies, the increase in demand is typically already in line with consumption, so a shortage in supply or increase in demand can create a supply-demand gap that continues for a long time,” Keskinocak said. “Medical supply chains are also very complex and fragile.”

Future vaccine distribution

In normal times, most supply chains work at a plodding pace, and when crisis strikes, it is tough to ramp them up due to expensive equipment, complex logistics, and strict regulations, particularly in health care. Even temporary shortages of medicines and medical devices can have consequences for patients who need them.

“If shortages become serious, rationing – with a priority allocation to those most in need – can help balance demand and supply for critical items like medications.”

Once created and approved, the production of vaccines or antivirals for COVID-19 will ramp up slowly and could be in short supply at first. Decision-makers need plan investments now in the supply chains necessary for their effective distribution.

This will include painful, necessary decisions like prioritizing first doses for healthcare workers, people with pre-existing conditions, and the elderly. The current system of restocking vaccines in the U.S. after initial distribution also has serious gaps that need fixing to save many more lives.

In the meantime, social distancing is one of the best ways to protect everyone and reduce the patient surge into clinics. Do it if you or anyone in your household has any cold-like symptoms.

[Read Keskinocak's commentary on social distancing on AJC.com]

Also read: Vaccine Supply Gaps Can Make Pandemics Deadlier

Media contacts: Ben Brumfield (ben.brumfield@comm.gatech.edu) and John Toon (john.toon@comm.gatech.edu)


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1585926912 2020-04-03 15:15:12 1607437610 2020-12-08 14:26:50 0 0 news According to ISyE Professor Pinar Keskinocak, COVID-19 needs pandemic clinics focused on treating it and keeping it away from non-COVID patients.

2020-03-25T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-25T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-25 00:00:00 Ben Brumfield

Senior Science Writer

Institute Communications

632533 616022 616025 616023 616014 633641 632533 image <![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair and Professor; Director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems ]]> image/jpeg 1581958983 2020-02-17 17:03:03 1581958983 2020-02-17 17:03:03 616022 image <![CDATA[1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic tent clinic]]> image/jpeg 1546891700 2019-01-07 20:08:20 1585150419 2020-03-25 15:33:39 616025 image <![CDATA[1918-19 Spanish flu police with masks]]> image/jpeg 1546892049 2019-01-07 20:14:09 1546892049 2019-01-07 20:14:09 616023 image <![CDATA[1918-19 Spanish flu Red Cross]]> image/jpeg 1546891906 2019-01-07 20:11:46 1546891906 2019-01-07 20:11:46 616014 image <![CDATA[1918-19 Spanish flu ambulance]]> image/jpeg 1546890643 2019-01-07 19:50:43 1546890643 2019-01-07 19:50:43 633641 image <![CDATA[Coping with COVID]]> image/png 1584493388 2020-03-18 01:03:08 1584561934 2020-03-18 20:05:34
<![CDATA[Coronavirus Vaccine Approval Will Launch Unprecedented Public Health Initiative]]> 28766 When the FDA approves one or more Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use -- which could happen by mid-December -- this will launch the largest public health and logistics initiative in U.S. history.

Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses will be shipped and distributed, and they will have to be kept very cold. In addition, people will need to be conscientious about getting both shots of the vaccine for strongest immunity, and vaccine skeptics will have to be convinced that the medicines are both safe and effective.

In a new article from Georgia Tech's Research HorizonsPinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems, provides insight into the enormous challenges presented by this mammoth vaccine distribution. Even though distributing and administering vaccines is something the U.S. healthcare system does routinely, the size and timeline of this project are unprecedented, she noted.

Keskinocak is cautiously optimistic that the challenges will ultimately be addressed.

“There are certainly still lots of unknowns,” she said. “But the state plans I have seen look reasonable from a supply chain standpoint. Some of the decisions will be made once the states receive the vaccine, and exactly how they do it will be somewhat up to the local jurisdictions. There are still many things that need to be decided to make this unprecedented initiative live up to its goals.”

You can read the entire article on the Research Horizons website here.




]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1606938936 2020-12-02 19:55:36 1607437557 2020-12-08 14:25:57 0 0 news When the FDA approves one or more Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use -- likely by mid-December -- this will launch a public health and logistics initiative unlike any in U.S. history.

2020-12-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-02 00:00:00 John Toon

Research Horizons

641790 634475 641790 image <![CDATA[When the FDA approves one or more Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use -- likely by mid-December -- this will launch a public health and logistics initiative unlike any in U.S. history.]]> image/jpeg 1606937818 2020-12-02 19:36:58 1606937818 2020-12-02 19:36:58 634475 image <![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak]]> image/jpeg 1587133564 2020-04-17 14:26:04 1587133594 2020-04-17 14:26:34
<![CDATA[ISyE Faculty and Students Receive Awards at INFORMS Conference]]> 28766 At the annual Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) conference, a number of faculty members and students from Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) received awards for their research. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 conference was held virtually from November 7-11.

A. Russell Chandler III Professor Santanu Dey was awarded the inaugural Egon Balas Prize from the INFORMS Optimization Society. The prize was established to honor an early career individual who has made significant contributions to the field of optimization.

Professor Renato Monteiro received the INFORMS Computing Society Award, along with his former student Sam Burer (Ph.D. 2001). Monteiro was also given this honor in 2001, making him one of the few researchers to receive it more than once.

Alumnus Weijun Xie (Ph.D. OR 2017) was honored with the INFORMS Optimization Society Prize for Young Researchers for his paper, "On Distributionally Robust Chance Constrained Programs with Wasserstein Distance," Mathematical Programming (Series A). He was advised by the late Professor Shabbir Ahmed.

First Place
Ph.D. student Arden Baxter won the Registration Award in the Bayer Women in Operations Research Scholarship Competition. Advisor: William W. George Chair and Professor Pinar Keskinocak.

Ph.D. student Jialei Chen won the 2020 INFORMS Best Student Paper Award in the Quality, Statistics, and Reliability Track for “Adaptive Design for Gaussian Process Regression under Censoring.” Advisors: Harold E. Smalley Professor Chuck Zhang and A. Russell Chandler III Professor Roshan Joseph

Ph.D. student Ana María Estrada Gómez won the QCRE Best Sudent Poster Award for “An Adaptive Sampling Strategy for Online Monitoring and Diagnosis of High-Dimensional Streaming Data.” Advisor: Fouts Family Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Kamran Paynabar.

Second Place
Digivijay Boob
 received second place in the INFORMS Optimization Society Student Paper Prize for “Stochastic First-Order Methods for Convex and Nonconvex Function,” jointly authored with Associate Professor George Lan and Qi Deng.

Ph.D. student Jialei Chen received the INFORMS Best Student Paper Runner-up Award (second place) in the Data Mining Track for “APIK: A Physics-Informed Kriging Model with Partial Differential Equations.” Advisors: Chuck Zhang and Roshan Joseph.

Daniela Hurtado-Lange and Fouts Family Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor Siva Theja Maguluri received second place in the INFORMS Junior Faculty Interest Group (JFIG) Best Paper competition for “Heavy-Traffic Analysis of Queueing Systems with No Complete Resource Pooling.”

Ph.D. student Shixiang “Woody” Zhu received second place in the Best Paper Competition for the 15th INFORMS Workshop on Data Mining and Decision Analytics. His paper is titled “Sequential Adversarial Anomaly Detection for Dependent Events.” Advisor: Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Yao Xie.

Third Place
A poster presentation by Arden Baxter on behalf of a Georgia Tech team (Baxter, William W. George Chair and Professor Pinar KeskinocakBuse Eylul Oruc, Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban, and John Asplund), “Homebound by Covid-19: The Benefits and Consequences of Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention Strategies,” received third place in the INFORMS Poster Competition.

George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Turgay Ayer was selected as a finalist for the Sanjay and Panna Mehrotra Research Excellence Award, which recognizes a mid-career researcher for significant contributions to the practice of health applications through operations research and management science modeling and methodologies.

The paper, “Optimal Shape Control via L-Infinity Loss for Composite Fuselage Assembly,” coauthored by Juan DuShanshan Cao (Ph.D. 2019), Jeffery Hunt, A. Russell Chandler III Professor Xiaoming Huo, and Carolyn J. Stewart Chair and Professor Jan Shi, was a finalist for the Best Paper Award from the INFORMS Data Mining Section.

Andi Wang and Jan Shi were finalists in the INFORMS QSR Best Refereed Paper competition for “Holistic Modeling and Analysis of Multistage Manufacturing Processes with Sparse Effective Inputs and Mixed Profile Outputs.”

Lujia Wang was a finalist for the Best Paper Award (applied track) in the 15th INFORMS Workshop on Data Mining and Decision Analytics. Advisor: Professor Jing Li.

INFORMS Student Chapter 
The Georgia Tech INFORMS Student Chapter received cum laude recognition. The chapter is advised by Assistant Professor Lauren Steimle.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1607108972 2020-12-04 19:09:32 1607108972 2020-12-04 19:09:32 0 0 news ISyE research was honored for excellence across a wide range of categories.

2020-12-04T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-04T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-04 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

641875 641875 image <![CDATA[The INFORMS Annual Meeting was held virtually November 7-11, 2020.]]> image/jpeg 1607106089 2020-12-04 18:21:29 1607106089 2020-12-04 18:21:29
<![CDATA[Teaching in the Time of Covid-19]]> 28766 In a new article from Georgia Tech's College of Engineering, four faculty members from across the College who -- because of the instructional challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic -- taught outside the box.

ISyE Fouts Family Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor Swati Gupta explains why, a month into the semester, she encouraged her undergraduate students to go outside for "walking lectures" and the other ways she changed up her pedagogical style.

You can read the entire article here.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1606942230 2020-12-02 20:50:30 1607105689 2020-12-04 18:14:49 0 0 news This article highlights four College of Engineering faculty members who - because of instructional challenges imposed by Covid-19 -- have taught outside the box this semester.


2020-12-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-12-02 00:00:00 Georgia Parmelee

College of Engineering

641806 637528 641806 image <![CDATA[Fourth-year Suma Gangasani participated in ISyE Assistant Professor's "walking lectures" this semester.]]> image/jpeg 1606941609 2020-12-02 20:40:09 1606941609 2020-12-02 20:40:09 637528 image <![CDATA[Swati Gupta]]> image/jpeg 1596638267 2020-08-05 14:37:47 1596638267 2020-08-05 14:37:47
<![CDATA[How the Covid-19 Pandemic Will Impact the Holiday Buying Season ]]> 28766 Traditionally, Thanksgiving weekend signals the beginning of the U.S. holiday shopping season, with big chain stores opening late on Thanksgiving night or early on Black Friday, and crowds of shoppers lining up to take advantage of doorbuster deals.  

However, this year -- like almost everything in 2020 -- holiday gift buying will be different because of Covid-19. We spoke to three logistics experts at Georgia Tech’s No. 1-ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering who forecasted how the pandemic may impact consumer purchasing in November and December. 

1. The Black Friday shopping weekend already looks different. 

Retailers are responding to the impact of the pandemic by announcing that stores will be closed or have significantly reduced capacity on Black Friday weekend. Some retailers began offering Black Friday deals immediately after Halloween, which will stretch the seasonal shopping calendar. 

“Because the Covid-19 pandemic is limiting retailers’ resources, these companies are offering a longer sale period as a way of mitigating peak demand for seasonal employees,” explains Benoit Montreuil, who studies smart, hyperconnected, and sustainable supply chains. 

2. Store shelves may be empty. 

For many Americans, the erratic availability of toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning products earlier this spring remains an all-too-fresh memory. With supply chains for consumer goods from Asia still shaky, buyers may find in-demand gift items are hard – if not impossible – to find on store shelves. But availability may be variable. 

“The big chains like Target and Walmart, and of course e-commerce giants like Amazon, will have greater access to important product suppliers when compared to smaller retailers and local stores,” says Alan Erera, an expert in transportation and logistics systems planning and control. “They will be less likely to have shortages of popular items.” 

3. Online shopping will continue to grow exponentially. 

“Because of the pandemic, e-commerce in the U.S. grew from 15% market penetration to 35% this spring,” notes Chip White, who researches supply chain productivity and risk mitigation, citing a McKinsey & Co. analysis. “That’s 10 years’ worth of growth in three months.” 

With Covid-19 cases surging again around the country, e-commerce remains a key way for consumers to get what they need. Holiday shopping will put further pressure on supply chains and delivery systems. 

"Last-mile deliveries will increase dramatically as a result of increased e-commerce penetration during the holidays," White says. 

4. Last-mile delivery may be challenging. 

The “last mile” represents shippers getting packages from a delivery hub into the hands of the consumer, and this is a significant stress point in the supply chain. Delivery companies traditionally hire seasonal workers to deal with the increased delivery volume during the holiday shopping season. With demand at an all-time high, these companies are already directly competing with one another to employ additional workers. 

Amazon is the behemoth to beat in all of this. In March, the company hired 175,000 new workers to help manage the surging demand in e-commerce. They have since announced that they will permanently retain 70% of those new employees and hire an additional 100,000 seasonal workers. This will help solve the company’s own last-mile delivery challenges, but every worker employed by Amazon means one less person available to UPS, FedEx, and USPS for their last-mile deliveries. 

“The 2020 holiday season will set the stage for retailers adapting to the rapidly approaching ‘new normal,’” says Montreuil. “Last-mile delivery, especially in dense metropolitan areas, is under considerable pressure to become more efficient, reliable, and convenient. Cities and retailers will have to get smart at incentivizing delivery service providers and citizens to share delivery assets and consolidate flows – and to avoid city-wide situations where there are multiple, nearly empty delivery trucks on the same street at the same time.”  

5. Delivery times could be delayed. 

Given the aforementioned item scarcity and last-mile delivery issues, consumers should not rely on projected delivery dates for the goods they purchase online. 

“There will inevitably be issues with getting purchases delivered in a timely fashion for the holidays,” explains Montreuil. “Don’t believe the delivery schedule a retailer gives you. Nothing is guaranteed until the purchase is physically placed on your doorstep or in your mailbox.” 

6. Begin your holiday gift buying sooner rather than later. 

Given all of the uncertainty around holiday buying, what’s the best approach for shoppers? 

“Start shopping – right now,” advises Erera. “Don’t wait until Black Friday. If consumers start buying holiday items sooner rather than later, they are more likely to find what they’re looking for and to avoid shipping delays that may result from pressures on last-mile delivery capacity.” 

“And by starting early, it’s more likely that shoppers will have their items delivered and in hand before the celebrations where gifts will be exchanged,” Montreuil says. “Retailers and their supply and logistic partners indeed face enormous uncertainty in demand, in delivery capacity, and in product availability. These companies must be agile, smart, and proactive to make most deliveries successful -- and this is a huge challenge.” 

The key to gift buying this year, as with so many other pandemic-related challenges, is to be flexible and kind: Almost everyone will be feeling these impacts. Have backup ideas for gifts you want to give. And – while this goes without saying by now – if shoppers do venture into stores in search of the perfect present, they should wear face coverings. 

“That protects everyone,” adds White. 

Alan Erera is UPS Professor of Logistics and co-executive director of the Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation & Research Center. Benoit Montreuil is Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair and Professor and Director of the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute, the world’s largest logistics institute. Chip White is Schneider National Chair in Transportation and Logistics and professor. All three are faculty members of Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. 
Visit Unprecedented Holidays for more holiday season insights from Georgia Tech researchers.



]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1605116803 2020-11-11 17:46:43 1606226771 2020-11-24 14:06:11 0 0 news Overtaxed supply chains and unreliable delivery dates will likely inform the 2020 holiday shopping experience. 

2020-11-11T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-11T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-11 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

641216 641216 image <![CDATA[This year's holiday shopping season will -- like almost everything in 2020 -- be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.]]> image/jpeg 1605115510 2020-11-11 17:25:10 1605115510 2020-11-11 17:25:10
<![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Alan Adams on Georgia Tech’s Sports Business Club and What It Offers Students]]> 28766 Alan Adams is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). The combination of his ISyE major, his minor in business strategy and innovation, and his life-long passion for playing, watching, and analyzing sports made for a natural fit with Georgia Tech’s Sports Business Club (SBC). 

Adams joined SBC his first year at the Institute and rose through its leadership ranks to serve as president for the 2019-20 academic year, where he was instrumental in reviving the organization’s presence on campus. He continues to be involved with the organization as an advisor.

To start off, give us the basic facts about the Sports Business Club.
Sports Business Club is a community of Georgia Tech students interested in the sports industry. The organization engages its members through professional lectures, projects, conferences, and other networking opportunities. Our mission is to provide educational and professional opportunities for Georgia Tech students interested in the sports industry.

SBC has been around since 2015, but the executive board took it through a big revamp effort last year to expand our programming and capabilities. This has led to significant growth in membership, as we now have over 100 members! We have continued meeting virtually this semester and hope to continue progressing with our mission despite current circumstances. 

When and why did you get involved with SBC?
I joined SBC my first year at Tech after a friend recommended the club to me. I went to the first few meetings of the semester and was immediately interested in getting more involved. I have always enjoyed all aspects of sports – playing, watching, analyzing – so when I heard there is a club that provides the opportunity to learn about and gain experience in the sports industry, I was very excited to join.

Can you tell us more about how SBC provides its members with those opportunities for experience in the sports industry?
The most significant opportunity we offer is to learn from and network with industry professionals that we bring in as guest speakers at our biweekly meetings. In addition, we created a member resume book to pass along to our speakers and alumni network, so that when opportunities come up, our members are considered. We also go outside the classroom by going to pro sports games, behind-the-scenes stadium tours, and sports analytics conferences. Lastly, we have been working to offer more tangible experience working in sports business and analytics through group projects and this semester’s case competition.

What did you accomplish while president of SBC?
The president’s role is centered around setting goals for and facilitating both the executive board and general member programming – specifically our biweekly club meetings. I worked closely with SBC’s executive officers this past year to not only continue the work each position had been doing in the past but also to improve each position’s contributions.

More specifically, I think we were able to give the club more structure by offering consistent programming and engaging with our members to hear what their interests. Additionally, a major change is that we added two new executive positions: vice president of external relations and vice president of club development. By focusing more on connecting with our members within the club and having consistent outreach with professional sports networks, we can build a stronger community and expand our opportunities. Our progress this past year has given a foundation for the club to build on, and I am happy that we have continued building on that this year.

What has been your favorite experience and your biggest challenge with the SBC?
My favorite experience was attending the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this past February. Along with a group of fellow SBC members, I was able to hear about trends from industry leaders, attend sports analytics project workshops, and network with many professionals and like-minded students from other universities. In addition to being extremely interesting, the conference showed me the endless opportunities our club has to expand our reach, such as with this fall’s case competition.

I would say that the biggest challenge was revamping the club’s capabilities this past year. In previous years, we had mainly brought in industry guest speakers for meetings, but our executive board realized that there was far more we could offer our members. We have worked to better understand our members’ interests and have expanded programming accordingly this year. Our biggest need was to create more action-oriented programming, so we have been working to create an alumni mentorship network and facilitate sports analytics projects for our members to gain more tangible experience.

ISyE Professor of the Practice Ron Johnson, who serves as the SBC faculty advisor, is something of a legend on Tech’s campus. He himself has experience in professional sports, since he served as the first senior vice president for referee operations for the NBA. How does Professor Johnson’s presence strengthen the club, and what was it like to work closely with him?
SBC would not be where it is today without Professor Johnson. He has given us great guidance all along the way in our journey from an inactive club to a growing organization. This comes from both his extensive knowledge of the sports industry and effective team building skills. Working with him is great – he always brings energy and creative thinking to the group. We had the opportunity this past spring to hear about his career path, specifically his experience starting the NBA referee analytics program, and it was a great inside look into in-game sports analytics.

Why would the Sports Business Club be of special interest to ISyE students? Is there something about the ISyE major that might give them a particular affinity for what they could learn by joining it?
I think that many ISyE students would be interested in SBC because we offer a combination of hands-on project experience and great networking opportunities. A significant focus of ours is in the sports analytics field, which ISyE students fit perfectly with, given the data-driven methods we learn through our coursework. Additionally, members get exposure to other industry functions – such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations – which help develop a more holistic business acumen, something that I have found valuable in my work experience. Overall, the sports industry is an exciting and growing field, especially with respect to analytics, so ISyE is an ideal major for SBC involvement.

What’s the easiest way for students to get involved in the Sports Business Club?
Our current membership model is very open, so all students can join SBC by emailing us to subscribe to our email list and paying small semesterly dues that fund our programming. The best way to get involved once you join is to attend meetings and engage with other members, as well as our industry guest speakers. Additionally, I would recommend getting involved in the small groups and projects that we are starting up.

You’re graduating in December. Do you have any plans to continue being involved in the sports industry in some way?
I am not planning to start my career in sports, but I do hope to stay connected within the industry and continue personal sports analytics projects. It is a competitive industry to break into, and that is really why I wanted to revamp SBC – hopefully, incoming students with a passion for sports will have more access to opportunities within the industry!

The Sports Business Club recently hosted its inaugural innovATL Case Competition, which was sponsored by AMB Sports + Entertainment (a subsidiary of AMB Group LLC, comprising the Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and Atlanta United FC). Twenty-five teams entered the competition, and five teams advanced to the final round. Finalists earned the opportunity to network with and present their analysis to AMBS+E Executives, and they were also surprised with suite tickets to an upcoming Atlanta Falcons game. The winning team shared a $5,000 cash prize.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1606166159 2020-11-23 21:15:59 1606166159 2020-11-23 21:15:59 0 0 news Adams helped revive the Sports Business Club at Tech and served as its president for AY 2019-20. In this interview, he discusses the opportunities the club offers its members.

2020-11-23T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-23T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-23 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

641592 641594 641593 641595 641592 image <![CDATA[Alan Adams]]> image/jpeg 1606163173 2020-11-23 20:26:13 1606163173 2020-11-23 20:26:13 641594 image <![CDATA[The Georgia Tech Sport Business Club logo]]> image/jpeg 1606163584 2020-11-23 20:33:04 1606163584 2020-11-23 20:33:04 641593 image <![CDATA[Members of the Sports Business Club with Georgia Tech Athletic Director Todd Stansbury]]> image/jpeg 1606163357 2020-11-23 20:29:17 1606163357 2020-11-23 20:29:17 641595 image <![CDATA[Members of the Sports Business Club attended the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in February.]]> image/jpeg 1606163742 2020-11-23 20:35:42 1606163742 2020-11-23 20:35:42
<![CDATA[Ph.D. Student Tyler Perini Receives 2020 ICS Best Student Paper Award]]> 28766 Tyler Perini, a Ph.D. student studying operations research in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been given the 2020 Best Student Paper Award by the INFORMS Computing Society. His winning paper is “A Criterion Space Method for Biobjective Mixed Integer Programming: The Boxed Line Method," which appeared in the INFORMS Journal on Computing 32:1, 16-39 (2020).” Perini’s co-authors include ISyE faculty members Fouts Family Professor Natashia Boland and James C. Edenfield Chair and Professor Martin Savelsbergh, and Diego Pecin, assistant professor at the Erasmus School of Economics in Rotterdam, Holland.

In the following Q&A, Perini discusses his research, how his ISyE skills have developed throughout the course of his graduate studies, and what he plans to do after graduation.

Can you provide a high-level description of your research, and also share why you’re interested in these particular topics?

I work on multi-objective optimization algorithms, which extends classic optimization methods to problems with two or more competing objectives. I love this topic because I think that – slowly but surely – there will be a major paradigm shift in operations research where single objectives become mostly obsolete. Most problems in industry have naturally competing objectives, but they are often modeled by a substitute single objective, which easily misses valuable solutions. 

You received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship your first year as a Ph.D. student at ISyE. How have your research and ISyE skills progressed since receiving that award?

Due to the focus of my dissertation work, I have certainly improved in developing algorithms and testing algorithms. I have also refined soft skills as a researcher, including working with two international collaborations, one in Germany and another in Australia. This year, I have also created a Covid-19 dashboard for the public, which provides interactive tools to view risk around Georgia. 

You once said that you considered becoming a high school math teacher. How and why did your love of math begin and evolve to where you are today?

I think part of loving math for me was that it usually came easily to me in middle school and high school. I knew that I was good at problem solving, and I enjoyed working with and tutoring others to teach them as well. During my undergraduate studies [at the College of Charleston], I realized I could use math to solve real-world problems, and I saw so much potential in operations research. Here at Georgia Tech, I’ve learned how to create advanced tools for solving large-scale problems. However, I have still yet to sink my teeth into many real-world problems; so that’s my goal for a postdoctoral research position.

What did it feel like to be notified that you won this year's ICS Student Paper Prize?
It was both so surprising and so satisfying. I’ve often felt that multi-objective optimization research gets siloed away into its own corner, so I didn’t really expect to be seriously considered. Even then, I wasn’t confident that what I thought was novel and important in this paper would really be award-worthy. Obviously, I am very pleased to be wrong about both.

Can you tell us – again, from a high-level – what your paper is about, and the conclusions you draw in it?

This is an algorithm paper that presented a new approach for a broad class of problems with the following features: (1) some continuous variables; (2) some discrete variables; (3) two objectives; and (4) everything is linear. 

The algorithm follows simple intuition. It finds pieces of the Pareto frontier, usually somewhere in the middle, and in a reasonable chunk. Both of these features mean that we can provide a very diverse approximate of the Pareto frontier very quickly, and that we can actually bound the number of subproblems we solve by the total number of chunks in the frontier. 

This latter complexity result was the first of such results for this class of algorithms, and I believe that’s an important reason why it won this award.

What are the next steps for your academic career?
I am in my last year of my doctoral program at Georgia Tech. I am searching for postdoc research opportunities, mostly abroad, and after that I will likely apply for a faculty position – somewhere in the world!

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1606147929 2020-11-23 16:12:09 1606159310 2020-11-23 19:21:50 0 0 news In this Q&A, Perini discusses his research, how his ISyE skills have developed throughout the course of his graduate studies, and what he plans to do after graduation.

2020-11-23T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-23T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-23 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

641561 641561 image <![CDATA[Tyler Perini]]> image/jpeg 1606147584 2020-11-23 16:06:24 1606147584 2020-11-23 16:06:24
<![CDATA[Interdisciplinary Team Contributes to Georgia Tech’s Secure and Safe Elections Research Project]]> 28766 An interdisciplinary group of Georgia Tech faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students have combined forces as part of the Safe and Secure Elections (SSE) research group. The team has developed tools that will allow election officials in Fulton County – Georgia’s most populous county – to balance the competing demands of election management, help enhance security and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic at polling locations, reduce voting waiting times, and expand voter access.

The Georgia Tech team, which includes individuals from the College of Computing and the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), is working with faculty and students from French university Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT), to test the tools in Fulton County. This will enable the team to address voting issues that might occur in other jurisdictions in the U.S., both for tomorrow and future elections.

The developed tools are scientifically based on queueing theory, analytics, simulation, and logistics methodologies. They can help decision-makers and poll managers objectively weigh the different tradeoffs involved in designing, allocating resources, and operating the election system. Ultimately, the tools will be available to the general public and election officials nationwide so that people can better understand how public elections are conducted, which increased confidence in the outcome. 

Dima Nazzal and Benoit Montreuil, faculty members from ISyE and the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute, jointly described the essence of the approach, which is based on the idea that queues form when capacity and demand are mismatched. 

“The project had multiple workstreams to estimate both demand (voter turnout) and capacity (length of time a voter spends at each station),” the researchers said. “We projected Election Day turnout by considering early and mail-in voting and estimating the processing times. Using this data, the team created discrete event simulations to optimize the equipment allocations for each polling place. The turnout prediction is based on a combination of past election turnouts (2020 primary, 2016 general, and 2008 general), and Georgia polls data such as those administered by New York Times/Sienna College and Emerson College. 

“Polling location layouts have been designed to allocate space to the equipment while maintaining physical distancing for voters,” continued Nazzal and Montreuil. “And finally, an agent-based simulation precisely models the polling location under several scenarios, including machine failure. McCamish Pavilion was the perfect case study for this project because it’s in our backyard. The poll managers are Georgia Tech students, so we worked together to design the space for Tuesday, Nov. 3.”

When in-person voting begins tomorrow, the SSE group will measure and report live wait times to voters at the 250 polling locations in Fulton County. An easy-to-use website, wait.gatech.edu, will go live that day, and would-be voters can easily search for a particular precinct and view the estimated wait time. The site also displays wait times recorded throughout the day.

During early voting for the 2020 general election, a student-led team implemented a pilot test at four polling locations in Fulton County. Signs at the polling locations prompted voters to text their wait times after voting, while an optional survey asked them provide additional details about voting equipment quality, Covid-19 concerns, and more.

“By expanding the scope of safe and secure elections from narrow technological problems to addressing physical access, availability, and public health, this project brings a new dimension to the design of modern voting systems,” said Richard DeMillo, principal investigator for the SSE project and chair of Georgia Tech’s new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy. “This team has the entire election ecosystem in its sights,” DeMillo said. “Rigorous analysis and powerful tools for designing and conducting elections will help ensure that voting is transparent, secure, and safe, even in times of public health crises and social unrest.  What we learn in Fulton County can be applied nationwide.” 

The Election Day effort ties into a larger six-month project by the SSE group that is supported by the Public Interest Technology University Network. It focuses on understanding the quantitative tradeoffs that local election officials are forced to make and provides tools to help them better manage the voting process. 

“Tradeoffs are involved in allocating constrained resources such as check-in poll pads, voting machines and scanners, and physical space when you’re trying to keep a safe and secure distance between voters,” explained Nazzal. “You want to have enough equipment to minimize waiting times, but you’re also limited by the constraints of physical space and equipment availability. Too many machines at one location might deprive another location that has higher turnout and create long lines there.”

Montreuil noted that “the set of technologies put in place through the SSE project now enables the team – in a matter of a few days – to identify a polling location, scan the site, model it in 3-D, develop demand and operating scenarios, assess capacity requirements, and generate 3-D layouts. We can run animated 3-D simulations of the proposed election facility and multi-criteria assessment of expected performance, which make feasible the tools’ deployment over large territories for future elections, and eventually dynamic adaptations as further information is available up to Election Day.”

Volunteers can help the SSE group provide live wait times at polling locations to Fulton County voters by observing voters on Nov. 3 and texting current wait times.

You can read about ISyE student involvement in the Safe Secure Elections project here.

Safe Secure Elections Team


Ali Barenji

Frederick Benaben

Mike Best

Richard DeMillo

Vladimir Kolesnikov

Benoit Montreuil

Dima Nazzal

Ellen Zegura

ISyE Students

Anjana Anandkumar

Yogesh Avhad

Sevda Babalou 

Yewhan Choi

Christina Collins

Zach Connolly

Denis Goldsman

Vrinda Naik

Brennan O'Connor

Megan Stevens

Muiz Wani

College of Computing Students

Cole Anderson

Grace Barkhuff

Amy Chen

Ciabhan Connelly

Kara Dees

Rishab Goswami

Ahmed Klasra

Michael Koohang

Shine Lee

Gregory Logon

Bandhan Patel

IMT Mines Albi Students

Thibaut Cerabona

Nafe Moradkhani

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1604348333 2020-11-02 20:18:53 1604687971 2020-11-06 18:39:31 0 0 news The Election Day effort ties into a larger six-month project by the SSE group that focuses on providing local election officials with tools to help them better manage the voting process. 

2020-11-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-02 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Josh Preston

College of Computing

640888 640888 image <![CDATA[A map showing McCamish Pavilion with optimal equipment allocated for high voter turnout]]> image/jpeg 1604347797 2020-11-02 20:09:57 1604347797 2020-11-02 20:09:57
<![CDATA[How ISyE Is Optimizing Voting in Fulton County for the 2020 Election]]> 28766 The 2020 election is historic for many reasons, but the most pressing feature is Covid-19. Making the polling locations safer and more efficient has never been more important. A group of eight graduate and undergraduate students from Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) are being led by Director of Professional Practice Dima Nazzal and Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair and Professor Benoit Montreuil to facilitate the voting process. The project, titled Safe and Secure Elections (SSE), is a joint effort between ISyE and the College of Computing.

The team was asked by Fulton County to do a comprehensive review on some of the polling locations. The goal is to provide recommendations for resources that would benefit both voters and poll workers. The students have run simulations, built models, and studied queuing theory to address the efficiency of voting. The goal is to make wait times as low as 30 minutes so that the opportunity to vote remains accessible and exposure to other people is minimal. There are many factors that the team must consider such as machine failure, slow computers, and Covid-related physical distance measures throughout the polling location. 

Anjana Anandkumar, a fourth-year ISyE student involved in the project, has found using her skills in such a meaningful way has been very rewarding. 

“My favorite part is seeing the impact of our work and how changing one detail could optimize precinct resources and give everyone an equal chance to vote,” she said. Her passion for getting involved in SSE stemmed from her experience seeing a correlation between wealth disparities and voting. Applying her skills to address this observation proved impactful.

Another notable aspect of the project is the use of Georgia Tech’s basketball arena as a polling location. On three different days in October, any Fulton County resident could vote early at McCamish Pavilion. On Election Day, Nov. 3, it will serve as a polling site for people who have been specifically assigned to the McCamish precinct, including Georgia Tech students who registered to vote using their campus address.

“When we learned that there would be a polling location in our own back yard, we were very grateful that Georgia Tech provided another facility, and we looked at it as a central location to optimize,” Nazzal noted.

The project is a multidisciplinary effort, yet everyone involved has the passion for improving the significant process of voting. 

Nazzal added, “I think everyone is very enthusiastic about this project because it touches our lives, and we all face the impacts of it.” 

The importance of the ISyE team’s work will be seen across Fulton County as Election Day nears.

You can learn more about the interdisciplinary Georgia Tech team that worked on the Safe and Secure Elections Project here.

ISyE Student Team
Anjana Anandkumar
Yogesh Avhad
Sevda Babalou
Yewhan Choi
Christina Collins
Zach Connolly
Denis Goldsman
Vrinda Naik
Brennan O'Connor
Megan Stevens
Muiz Wani

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1604345650 2020-11-02 19:34:10 1604687745 2020-11-06 18:35:45 0 0 news A team of 8 ISyE undergraduate and graduate students reviewed Fulton Co. polling locations and provided recommendations for resources that benefit both voters and poll workers. 

2020-11-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-02T00:00:00-05:00 2020-11-02 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

ISyE Communications Assistant

640883 640883 image <![CDATA[Anjana Anandkumar]]> image/jpeg 1604344532 2020-11-02 19:15:32 1604344532 2020-11-02 19:15:32
<![CDATA[10 Questions with Yassin Watson]]> 28766 Yassin Watson currently holds an undergraduate degree from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systmens Engineering (ISyE) and is finishing a second degree in biology this semester. Watson will then begin his master's degree in health systems at ISyE.

Watson has worked as an undergraduate researcher and teaching assistant, as well as a diversity ambassador with the Office of Student Diversity Programs. He co-founded the GT-e Distance Running Team. Outside of Tech, he spends time on sustainability and social innovation initiative.

Recently, the College of Engineering spoke with Watson as part of the "10 Questions" series. You can read the Q&A here.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1603742214 2020-10-26 19:56:54 1603742214 2020-10-26 19:56:54 0 0 news Get to know ISyE/biology double-major Yassin Watson in this Q&A from Georgia Tech's College of Engineering.

2020-10-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-26 00:00:00 Kay Kinard

College of Engineering

640617 640617 image <![CDATA[Yassin Watson]]> image/jpeg 1603740941 2020-10-26 19:35:41 1603740941 2020-10-26 19:35:41
<![CDATA[Just Ask Jamel]]> 28766 Jamel Thompson, a fourth-year undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, won't graduate until December 2021 -- but he already has a standing full-time job offer with Deloitte. This is remarkable even by Georgia Tech standards.

What makes Thompson such a star? While he might dispute the use of that term, he encourages students to get involved in activities that interest them as a way of preparing themselves for new opportunities, especially those that arrive after graduation.

In a new article from Georgia Tech's College of Engineering, Thompson shares his advice on making the most of the college experience, which you can read here.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1603734789 2020-10-26 17:53:09 1603735011 2020-10-26 17:56:51 0 0 news An ISyE undergraduate shares his thoughts on how college experiences can help prepare students for real-world opportunities.

2020-10-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-26 00:00:00 Georgia Parmelee

College of Engineering

640593 640593 image <![CDATA[Jamel Thompson]]> image/jpeg 1603734070 2020-10-26 17:41:10 1603734070 2020-10-26 17:41:10
<![CDATA[Two ISyE Staff Members Complete 2020 Inclusive Leaders Academy]]> 28766 Two staff members from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering successfully completed the 2020 Inclusive Leaders Academy (ILA) program offered by Georgia Tech’s Office of Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement. Joscelyn Cooper-Rodriguez, program and operations manager for the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems, and Nancy Sandlin, director of development, along with nearly 100 other participants, have been designated as Culture Champions. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a celebration of this year’s Culture Champions will be held in February 2021.

 The ILA is designed to provide personal and professional development of self-awareness, social intelligence, and courage for Institute employees who hold a supervisory position. Participants complete a series of self-guided trainings and group workshops – 27 hours in total, as well as write a personal reflection that becomes part of the Institute’s digital story library, known as Transformative Narratives.

In this interview, Cooper-Rodriguez and Sandlin reflect on their experience with the ILA.

What motivated you to apply to participate in the Inclusive Leaders Academy?

JC-R: I’ve been interested in diversity and inclusion since I was young, even when I didn’t have those words for it. As a young Black woman, I remember thinking in high school that I wished my white counterparts could understand my experience. So when I saw the call for applications with ILA, I realized it was another opportunity to explore diversity and inclusion – what it means and how to incorporate it at work, especially since I work with an international group of people. 

NS: I had been reading quite a bit about Georgia Tech’s vision and commitment toward diversity, equity, and inclusion, and with each article that came out about this, I became more and more interested in the Institute’s initiatives and in being a part of the progress of this important mission. When I saw the call for applications for the 2020 ILA, I was excited to apply.  

How do you personally define diversity and inclusion?

JC-R: It means having conversations with people whom we call friends and colleagues and learning about their experiences and their hopes for the future. It means confronting the racist past of the U.S and how that past is affecting our present-day systems. It means looking at the daily micro-aggressions that happen to people who are considered “minorities” or “other.” 

How would you characterize the focus of the Inclusive Leaders Academy? 

JC-R: ILA helps you examine and understand how childhood traumas can affect how, as adults, we think about ourselves and also relate to our professional peers – how they can keep you from being an effective leader. It’s about learning your core identity – your values and why you have them.

NS: : The program is designed to build a leadership community that will transform and enhance the culture at Georgia Tech through practicing and modeling inclusive excellence. It focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion while examining unconscious biases that can adversely affect how we interact and make decisions. 

What was it like doing the ILA coursework, as well as your job – especially during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic?

JC-R: It was actually perfect timing. Although the program wasn’t planned with Covid-19 in mind, one of the first sessions was on resilience. We discussed whether we were thriving or surviving. At that point in the spring, I was merely coping with my circumstances. And the resilience workshop enabled me to slow down, acknowledge my feelings and where they were coming from, and then learn techniques to manage those feelings. 

NS: I found it to be really comforting to have a focus and a goal in the middle of all this. The program leaders were able to modify the format, which is usually a combination of online and in-person meetings, as well as individual and group work. They seamlessly moved everything to an online format, and I enjoyed every session. Everything I learned I intend to continue practicing.

What was your favorite learning experience, and why?

JC-R: One assignment we had to complete was writing an “I Am” poem. We were given a list of questions to respond to that helped us describe ourselves, and I found the words flowing out of me while writing this poem. It really got to the heart of how I feel about myself, which is something a lot of us don’t take the time to discover. The exercise helped me see how I need to be more compassionate toward myself. I even called my sister right after I wrote it and said, “You have to hear this. I can’t believe I just wrote this!”

NS: A good portion of the program is centered around Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead. One of my favorite sessions involved a deep dive into self-awareness and vulnerability as the book talks about them, and how these qualities take courage. That courage paves the way to helping to identify and develop the potential of people and processes – which is the heart of leadership. 

What was a particularly challenging moment for you in the program? 

NS: The most challenging and eye-opening experience I had was a workshop called “Disarming Saboteurs.” We completed exercises designed to help us personally discover the two areas that most work against our becoming our best selves. It was an exercise designed to help you analyze the voice in your head – the one that tells you, “You’re not good enough.” And then once you identify these areas, you can learn how to silence that destructive internal voice.

Describe what your Transformative Narrative is about, and how the process of creating it was the capstone of the Inclusive Leaders Academy.

JC-R: My narrative, titled “You Speak So Well,” is a closer look at the Black experience beyond what is seen trending in the media. This is my personal experience of the more subtle, daily interactions that impact our identities, self-esteem, and will to succeed. My time with the ILA helped me to identify who I am at my core, which brought me back to a time in my childhood that has affected the person I am today. I thank ILA for drawing this out of me and teaching me the tools to confront that little girl whose self-esteem was fractured. I hope this narrative that helped me grow into a more self-aware leader also helps others become more aware of the experiences of their peers.

NS: My story is about the journey of learning to set boundaries, live in my authenticity, and not be defined or scripted by others. The process of writing, re-writing, fine-tuning, re-fine-tuning, reading, and re-reading (multiple times) was a challenging but rewarding experience. It is my hope that my story might help others. 

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1603727060 2020-10-26 15:44:20 1603727060 2020-10-26 15:44:20 0 0 news Joscelyn Cooper-Rodriguez and Nancy Sandlin, along with nearly 100 other participants, have been designated as Culture Champions for completing the program.

2020-10-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-26 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

640585 640586 640585 image <![CDATA[Joscelyn Cooper-Rodriguez ]]> image/jpeg 1603721474 2020-10-26 14:11:14 1603721474 2020-10-26 14:11:14 640586 image <![CDATA[Nancy Sandlin]]> image/jpeg 1603721510 2020-10-26 14:11:50 1603721510 2020-10-26 14:11:50
<![CDATA[Santanu Dey Awarded Inaugural Egon Balas Prize]]> 28766 The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) announced that Santanu Dey is the inaugural recipient of the INFORMS Optimization Society (IOS) Egon Balas Prize. Dey is an A. Russell Chandler III Professor in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).

The Egon Balas Prize was established in 2020 and is awarded annually to an early-career individual for significant contributions in the field of optimization, including theory, algorithms, and/or computations. In the award announcement, Dey is cited for his “strong and seminal contributions to the theory of maximal lattice-free convex sets; multi-row cuts; cutting planes in integer programming; the structure of mixed-integer convex optimization; and, along with co-authors, developed practical algorithms for power problems based on strong relaxations from a detailed analysis of the underlying systems.”

“Congratulations to Santanu on being the inaugural winner of the Egon Balas Prize,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “He has made a substantial impact on the field of discrete optimization during his career, and this award further confirms that. We are proud to have him as part of the ISyE team, and I look forward to his future contributions.”

Dey's research interests are in the area of non-convex optimization, and in particular, mixed integer linear and nonlinear programming. His research is partly motivated by applications of non-convex optimization arising in areas such as electrical power engineering, process engineering, civil engineering, logistics, and statistics.

"I am honored to receive this award and feel truly humbled," said Dey.

He has received a number of professional recognitions for his work, including an NSF CAREER Award in 2012 and the INFORMS ENRE Best Publication: Energy in 2019.

Dey, who serves as ISyE’s associate chair for graduate studies, will present his work at the virtual INFORMS Annual Meeting in early November.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1603460246 2020-10-23 13:37:26 1603462574 2020-10-23 14:16:14 0 0 news The Egon Balas Prize, which was established in 2020, is awarded annually to an early-career individual for significant contributions in the field of optimization.

2020-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-23 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

640513 640513 image <![CDATA[Santanu Dey]]> image/jpeg 1603461037 2020-10-23 13:50:37 1603461037 2020-10-23 13:50:37
<![CDATA[Fellowship Created for ISyE Students in Health Systems and Analytics]]> 34760 The George Family Foundation has provided funding to launch the George Fellows Leadership Program for the 2020-21 academic year. George Fellows, who are ISyE graduate students conducting research in health systems and analytics, will receive a leadership stipend in addition to their fellowship award and will participate in the new year-long leadership program.

The program is led by Terry Blum, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship and professor in the Scheller College of Business, and Pinar Keskinocak, ISyE William W. George Chair and professor. Participants will study the True North approach to leadership development created by Bill George that has been implemented at both Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Program activities include opportunities to examine self-awareness; values and principles; motivations; and how to lead an integrated life — all of which underlie becoming an authentic leader.

“Historically, healthcare providers have been focused on and were incentivized for treating disease, instead of a holistic systems approach that promotes overall health and well-being and is supported by new advances in analytics and data science,” said Keskinocak. “We hope that graduates of our master’s in health systems program will combine their knowledge of health systems with the skills they gain in this exciting leadership program to lead systemwide transformation from ‘sick care’ to ‘healthcare.’”

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1603366669 2020-10-22 11:37:49 1603462560 2020-10-23 14:16:00 0 0 news The George Family Foundation has provided funding to launch the George Fellows Leadership Program for the 2020-21 academic year.

2020-10-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-22 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

640492 640492 image <![CDATA[Bill and Penny George]]> image/jpeg 1603391502 2020-10-22 18:31:42 1603391502 2020-10-22 18:31:42
<![CDATA[Jeff Wu Delivers 2020 Distinguished Lecture Series in Statistical Sciences]]> 28766 On September 28th and 29th  Jeff Wu delivered the 2020-21 Distinguished Lecture Series in Statistical Sciences at the Fields Institute. Wu, Coca-Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, gave the following presentations: “Navier-Stokes, Spatial-Temporal Kriging, and Combustion Stability: A Prominent Example of Physics-Based Analytics,” and “Cmenet: A New Method for Bi-Level Variable Selection of Conditional Main Effects.”

The Fields Institute, located in Ontario, Canada, is a center for mathematical research. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wu delivered the lectures virtually.

Wu has received numerous prestigious awards for his eminent research in the theory and application of statistics, but 2020 has been a particularly notable year for him. In addition to the Fields Institute lectures, he has also been honored with the Georgia Tech Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award – the Institute’s highest faculty honor – and the Sigma Xi Monie A. Ferst Award, which is a national-level award given by the Georgia Tech Sigma Xi chapter.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1603382572 2020-10-22 16:02:52 1603383049 2020-10-22 16:10:49 0 0 news This lecture series has been held annually for 20 years and consists of a general lecture and a more specialized lecture by an internationally prominent statistical scientist.

2020-10-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-22 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

640482 640482 image <![CDATA[Jeff Wu]]> image/jpeg 1603382980 2020-10-22 16:09:40 1603382980 2020-10-22 16:09:40
<![CDATA[ISyE’s Newest Undergraduate Concentration: Analytics and Data Science]]> 28766 The demand for a workforce versant in data analytics continues to increase, and the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) has responded by providing undergraduates a way to specialize and market themselves in the growing field. The analytics and data science (ADS) concentration complements the ISyE bachelor's degree by preparing students to use data science to facilitate decision making and improve systems.

The coursework is challenging and hands-on. Chen Zhou, ISyE associate chair for undergraduate studies, noted that considerable effort was put into creating a curriculum that prepares students to stand out in the data analytics field.

Recent alumna Hannah Murray (BSIE 20) was looking for an alternative to the supply chain engineering career path taken by many ISyE students, and she decided to try the new ADS concentration. According to her, the opportunity to study data analytics — including machine learning — as an undergraduate means an introduction to topics usually covered in advanced academic study. 

“My favorite part was all of the project-based work within the ADS curriculum,” Murray explained. “I got to take interesting classes that some people don’t take until grad school.” This exposure prompted Murray to continue her data analytics education by enrolling in Georgia Tech’s M.S. in Analytics (MSA) program this fall.

Students with this concentration go on to careers as consultants or analysts. Companies are increasingly hiring for positions that process and analyze data, so the introduction of this concentration aims to meet this need.

Take Three with Hannah Murray

What has the MSA experience been like so far? 

I have been very impressed with the MSA program on all fronts. The career advisors, the directors, my peers, and the courses have been more helpful and rewarding than I anticipated. The courses in the MSA program are also much more application-based. You do work and projects that closely resemble the work you would do in a professional environment, which is very helpful for interviews.

How did the ADS concentration prep you for grad school? 

The analytics concentration – and truthfully, my Georgia Tech education in general -- taught me how to think critically, know what questions to ask, and become an effective student. While learning the material is a keystone of any college experience, learning how to manage a full-time schedule at Georgia Tech is an invaluable skill that is even useful for people who go into careers outside of their major.

What career opportunities would you like to pursue? 

I am currently in the thick of recruiting season! There are so many opportunities in analytics and data science to be excited about that you can really have your pick of what industry you want to work in. My experience with analytics is primarily in a research and healthcare setting, so I'm looking forward to learning how analytics practices work in product-based businesses.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1602272445 2020-10-09 19:40:45 1602272445 2020-10-09 19:40:45 0 0 news In response to companies' increasing demand for graduates who are highly skilled in data science and analytics, ISyE has developed this new concentration. 

2020-10-09T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-09T00:00:00-04:00 2020-10-09 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

640072 640072 image <![CDATA[Hannah Murray]]> image/jpeg 1602272042 2020-10-09 19:34:02 1602272042 2020-10-09 19:34:02
<![CDATA[ISyE’s Dave Goldsman Elected as 2020 INFORMS Fellow]]> 28766 The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) announced that Dave Goldsman has been chosen as an INFORMS Fellow for 2020. Fellows are selected for outstanding lifetime accomplishments and contributions to the field of operations research (OR) and analytics, and it is one of the highest honors in the OR profession. Goldsman is a professor and director of master’s programs in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). 

His research interests include simulation output analysis; statistical ranking and selection methods; and medical and humanitarian applications of OR. He has published extensively with over 75 articles in journals such as Management ScienceOperations Research, and IISE Transactions. He has co-authored 20 book chapters and three textbooks. Goldsman has also served as associate editor for Sequential Analysis and The Journal of Simulation, among other journals.

Goldsman has been president of the INFORMS Simulation Society and the chair of the INFORMS Public Awareness Committee. He received the INFORMS Simulation Society’s Distinguished Service Award. He and ISyE Professor Christos Alexopoulos won the INFORMS Simulation Society’s 2007 Outstanding Simulation Publication Award for their paper “To Batch or Not to Batch?” Goldsman and Alexopoulos, along with Claudia Antonini and Jim Wilson received the IIE Transactions 2010 Best Paper Prize in Operations Engineering and Analysis for “Area Variance Estimators for Simulation Using Folded Standardized Time Series.” Goldsman also received a Fulbright fellowship in 2006 to lecture at Boğaziçi and Sabancı Universities in Istanbul, Turkey. He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers in 2012.

Goldsman and the other 11 2020 Fellows will be inducted at the Virtual 2020 INFORMS Annual Meeting, November 7-13.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600868897 2020-09-23 13:48:17 1602263428 2020-10-09 17:10:28 0 0 news This honor is given for outstanding lifetime accomplishments and contributions to the field of operations research and analytics.

2020-09-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-23 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639414 639414 image <![CDATA[Dave Goldsman]]> image/jpeg 1600865567 2020-09-23 12:52:47 1600865567 2020-09-23 12:52:47
<![CDATA[ISyE Welcomes Parisa Yousefi Zowj]]> 34760 Parisa Yousefi Zowj joined ISyE on August 15, 2020 as a lecturer.

Her research focuses on developing multiresolution analytical tools, including wavelets and autocorrelation shells for signal and image processing with applications in medical decision making. She has also been working on Bayesian methods for modeling genetic consequences of the transatlantic slave trade. She is an ISyE teaching fellow.

Yousefi Zowj received a B.S. in statistics from Payam-e-Noor University in Iran, an M.S. in statistics from Azad University in Iran, and an M.S. in applied statistics from ISyE. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in bioinformatics at Georgia Tech.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1601905815 2020-10-05 13:50:15 1601905815 2020-10-05 13:50:15 0 0 news Yousefi Zowj joined ISyE in August as a lecturer.

2020-08-20T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-20T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-20 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

639896 639896 image <![CDATA[Parisa Yousefi Zowj]]> image/jpeg 1601905487 2020-10-05 13:44:47 1601905487 2020-10-05 13:44:47
<![CDATA[ISyE Welcomes Nick Sahinidis]]> 34760 Professor Nick Sahinidis joined the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) on August 15, 2020 as the inaugural Gary C. Butler Family Chair. Prior to this appointment, he was a professor of chemical engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Process Decision-making at Carnegie Mellon University and a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Throughout his career, Sahinidis has pioneered algorithms and developed widely used software for optimization and machine learning. His research won the INFORMS Computing Society Prize in 2004; the Beale-Orchard-Hays Prize from the Mathematical Programming Society in 2006; the Computing in Chemical Engineering Award in 2010; the Constantin Carathéodory Prize in 2015; and the National Award and Gold Medal from the Hellenic Operational Research Society in 2016. He is the editor-in-chief of Optimization and Engineering and a fellow of INFORMS and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Sahinidis received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a diploma in chemical engineering from Aristotle University.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1597847189 2020-08-19 14:26:29 1601301182 2020-09-28 13:53:02 0 0 news Sahinidis joined the ISyE faculty in August as the inaugural Gary C. Butler Family Chair and Professor.

2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

638070 638070 image <![CDATA[ISyE Butler Family Chair and Professor Nick Sahinidis]]> image/jpeg 1597846000 2020-08-19 14:06:40 1597846000 2020-08-19 14:06:40
<![CDATA[ New Tool Can Detect COVID-19 Outbreaks in U.S. Counties]]> 28766 A new machine learning–based online tool developed by researchers at Georgia Tech, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School, and Boston Medical Center allows for early detection of Covid-19 outbreaks in different U.S. counties. The Covid-19 Outbreak Detection Tool is updated two to three times per week, and it predicts how fast an outbreak is spreading within a given county by estimating the doubling time of Covid-19 cases. 

To make these predictions, the tool accounts for reported Covid-19 cases and deaths, face mask mandates, social distancing policies, changes in tests performed, rates of positive tests, and the Centers for Disease Control’s Social Vulnerability Index (which assesses the health-related resilience of individual communities when confronted with external stresses, such as natural or human-caused disasters or disease outbreaks).

The tool offers an interactive map and a “data explorer” that allows users to select a specific county to see that county’s population, total new cases of Covid-19 in the past week, average daily cases in the past week, and the Covid-19 doubling rate (i.e., how many days it takes for the number of cases to double in a given county). 

“For effectively controlling the pandemic, it is critical to detect an outbreak in a timely manner so that the affected area can be isolated and the spread of Covid-19 infections to neighboring areas can be minimized; however, due to several reasons, it may take days or even weeks for humans to manually detect an outbreak. Our data-driven machine learning–based solution significantly speeds up and automates that process,” said Turgay Ayer, Ph.D., the director of Business Intelligence and Healthcare Analytics at the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems and the George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and associate professor in Georgia Tech's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“While earlier mitigation responses focused on state-level measures—such as a lockdown of an entire state—detecting local outbreaks will allow policy makers to implement measures at the county level—such as closing restaurants in a single county—to effectively contain the pandemic,” said Jagpreet Chhatwal, Ph.D., the associate director at the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “The model is able to detect many of the prior outbreaks within a matter of days.”

Using the Covid-19 Outbreak Tool, the research team verified an outbreak in Johnson county in Iowa last week, which was linked to an outbreak at the University of Iowa. In addition, the tool identified several counties where outbreaks could be happening now. These include Harrisonburg County in Virginia, Wheeler County in Georgia, Monroe County in Indiana, and Whitman County in Washington, where infections are doubling in less than one week.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600454229 2020-09-18 18:37:09 1600790958 2020-09-22 16:09:18 0 0 news Using machine learning, the online tool can predict outbreaks in different counties across the U.S.

2020-09-18T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-18T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-18 00:00:00 635391 639395 635391 image <![CDATA[Turgay Ayer]]> image/jpeg 1589481251 2020-05-14 18:34:11 1589481251 2020-05-14 18:34:11 639395 image <![CDATA[Covid-19 Outbreak Predictor Map]]> image/png 1600790884 2020-09-22 16:08:04 1600790884 2020-09-22 16:08:04
<![CDATA[Rebuild Supply Chains for Quicker Hurricane Recovery ]]> 28766  By Ben Brumfield 

Alleviating suffering more effectively in the wake of hurricanes may require a shift in relief strategies, says a committee report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

In the immediate aftermath, relief agencies rush in survival supplies like water, food, medicine, and blankets. But instead of prioritizing and maintaining the relief supply chains, restoring a normal supply infrastructure could help more people more quickly. That’s the first recommendation from over 125 pages of case studies and analyses, issued by an eight-member National Academies committee that included Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair and Professor at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. 

Following a hurricane, mangled homes and roads, contaminated water, and shortages of everything compound suffering. The report noted that restoring supply lines, primarily within the private sector, would accelerate recovery — but relief efforts can unintentionally conflict with that. 

“Relief supply chains inevitably compete with regular supply chains, given limited resources such as transportation. If the focus is primarily on pushing relief supply rather than restoring infrastructure and supply chains to normalcy, we may unwittingly delay recovery and prolong the aftermath,” said Keskinocak, who is also director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems. 

In 2017, after hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (Maria killed over 3,000 people), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assigned the National Academies to make recommendations on improving relief response. “We spoke to stakeholders in affected areas — local governments, businesses, health systems, and more. We learned about the impact of storms on their community, what their participation was in the response process, and what went well and not so well,” Keskinocak said. 

Challenges to coordinating resource allocation, especially the logistics, have hindered recovery. This led to the report’s other major recommendations. 

“Areas where hurricanes may strike need to get a good understanding of how supply chains work under normal conditions along with their vulnerabilities, or weak links, so they can be proactive in strengthening supply,” Keskinocak explained. 

Disaster preparedness requires collaboration among government, relief agencies, and the private sector. All sectors would benefit from learning about supply chain dynamics and sharing public-private partnership best practices. 

“After a big storm strikes, it is typically not possible for any one entity to handle it all alone,” Keskinocak said. “Organizations such as FEMA could play the role of a convener to ensure various organizations collaborate, coordinate, and share information well ahead of time and in the aftermath.” 

The report recommends a focus on preparedness rather than post-disaster response. This could help alleviate situations in which FEMA marshals ample supplies but then finds that these supplies are not needed or cannot be effectively distributed to those in need. 

“I have the utmost respect for what FEMA does because they have to work under the most difficult circumstances, and these conditions may put them into binds that are out of their control,” Keskinocak said. “More preparedness on the ground could help get FEMA, local governments, private sector, and nongovernmental relief agencies to achieve synergies for saving lives and to alleviate suffering."

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600704092 2020-09-21 16:01:32 1600728232 2020-09-21 22:43:52 0 0 news Alleviating suffering more effectively in the wake of hurricanes may require a shift in relief strategies, says the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

2020-09-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-21 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639332 639348 639332 image <![CDATA[2020 has seen a highly active hurricane season, with a total so far of 24 tropical or subtropical cyclones, 23 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.]]> image/jpeg 1600699472 2020-09-21 14:44:32 1600699472 2020-09-21 14:44:32 639348 image <![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak]]> image/jpeg 1600704217 2020-09-21 16:03:37 1600704217 2020-09-21 16:03:37
<![CDATA[ISyE Students Optimize Scrubs Distribution to Medical Professionals ]]> 28766 This summer, a Georgia-based manufacturer of medical scrubs employed three ISyE undergraduate students as interns to help build a more efficient order fulfillment process. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company experienced increased orders, shipping more than 20,000 units daily from its Lithonia Springs warehouse. The interns — fourth-year Mary Claire Solomon and second-years Gabi Falcone and Annie Robinson — knew their project was crucial to fulfilling the high demand.

They focused on implementing a process to quickly fix short orders, which are orders that can’t be completed in the first round of picking because an item is missing. The previous process of resolving short orders took five days or more, and as a result unresolved orders piled up.

Before devising and proposing ideas, the team conducted extensive research and worked in the warehouse, which was vital to optimizing the distribution process. While following social distancing rules and wearing masks, the students worked side by side with warehouse employees.

“We knew that getting scrubs to the doctors and the nurses in the field fueled their success,” Solomon said. 

The outcome was a process they called “order hospital” in which a select group of trained pickers investigates short orders to ensure items are not in inventory and then determines if a replenishment is on the way or needs to be ordered. The remaining items in the order are delivered to the hospital; the missing items are delivered once they have been restocked.

As a result of this project, short orders can now be fixed in just one day and the number of orders that go through the inventory control team has decreased significantly. 

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600719027 2020-09-21 20:10:27 1600719027 2020-09-21 20:10:27 0 0 news The three students created a more efficient process to resolve open orders for the Georgia-based manufacturer of medical scrubs. 

2020-09-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-21 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639369 639369 image <![CDATA[Annie Robinson, Mary Claire Solomon, and Gabi Falcone]]> image/jpeg 1600717653 2020-09-21 19:47:33 1600717653 2020-09-21 19:47:33
<![CDATA[Brandon Kang: Teaching Assistant of the Year]]> 28766 Managing the role of an undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) on top of a normal class load can be challenging. A UTA’s responsibilities can range from grading homework assignments to responding to student emails late at night. This past year, one notable UTA went above and beyond to help students: Brandon Kang, now an alumnus of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), who served as a UTA for ISyE statistics and regression courses. 

Not only did Kang win ISyE’s 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Award, he also received the 2020 Undergraduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award from Georgia Tech. According to Kang, he wasn’t expecting either. “It's incredibly gratifying and very humbling. After receiving both awards, I realize that I'm in a position where I can make an impact on someone’s life, and I don’t take that for granted,” Kang said. 

“Brandon was my UTA for ISyE 4031 during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters,” said ISyE Lecturer Gamze Tokol-Goldsman. “Brandon exceeded all my expectations by far and was that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ UTA who makes teaching a breeze. I have never seen such an organized, prompt, dependable, courteous, and responsible teaching assistant -- and the students loved him! I was so impressed so that I nominated Brandon for the ISyE Outstanding UTA Award."

Kang’s motivation for teaching stems from his interest in helping others. He founded the Georgia Tech organization Seoulstice, a K-Pop dance team. “One of the main reasons why I wanted to be a UTA was inspired by my experience leading a dance team. I teach choreography, and it's always a really good feeling when I help someone become better at dancing,” Kang said.

Beyond grading assignments and holding office hours, Kang implemented additional resources for his students. With permission from Tokol-Goldsman, he introduced review sessions before exams that allowed students to go over fundamental concepts and practice problems. Additionally, he made software notes in Python to facilitate the class’s understanding of the regression course material. This, along with his passion for teaching, set him apart from other teaching assistants.

“My biggest takeaway from being a UTA is being able to understand different perspectives,” Kang said, “I am constantly improving my communication skills.”

Outside the classroom, Kang has had two data science internships that have given him valuable experience. “I can always take my experience back to the classroom and show how regression applies to real world situations,” Kang explained. This summer, he interned with Roblox before returning to Tech to pursue a master's degree in analytics. Career-wise, his goal is to invest his skills and experience into the data science field. 

Being a UTA is an experience Kang will use for a lifetime, professionally and personally. The biggest takeaway for him is being able to communicate and present information in a clear, concise way. “The best feeling as a TA is knowing that you made a positive influence on someone's life and at the end of the day, you helped someone. That is the best part,” Kang concluded.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600443585 2020-09-18 15:39:45 1600444234 2020-09-18 15:50:34 0 0 news Brandon received undergraduate teaching awards from both ISyE and the Institute.

2020-09-18T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-18T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-18 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639290 639290 image <![CDATA[Brandon Kang]]> image/jpeg 1600444174 2020-09-18 15:49:34 1600444174 2020-09-18 15:49:34
<![CDATA[The Society of Women Engineers Honors Engineering Graduate Student]]> 34760 The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has recognized Isabella T. Sanders of Georgia Tech for her impact on the Society as well as the engineering community with the SWE Outstanding Collegiate Member award. Sanders will accept the award at SWE’s annual conference, WE20, which will be held virtually from November 3-14, 2020.

The SWE Outstanding Collegiate Member award recognizes Sanders for her outstanding contribution to SWE, the engineering community, and her campus. She was specifically selected for serving as an impeccable role model for academic diligence and research skill, strong engagement in community service, and dedication to increasing membership in GradSWE, worldwide.

Sanders is a Ph.D. student in supply chain engineering in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and an MBA student in the Scheller College of Business. She previously received a B.S. in Mathematics from MIT, and an M.S. in operations research and M.S. in geographic information science and technology from Georgia Tech. Sanders is a graduate research assistant in the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute working under Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair and Professor Benoit Montreuil in the Physical Internet Center.

Sanders’ research focuses on fresh and cold supply chains, studying the logistics of perishables, such as food and flowers. Specifically, she works on hyperconnected deployment and logistics of local food supply chains, incorporating both the variability of supply and the market demand. For her research, Sanders has been recognized as the recipient of the 2020 Richardson-Applebaum Outstanding Graduate Research on Food Distribution and Marketing Award and first place in multiple poster competitions.

Sanders has been driven to empower women in STEM. She served as president of the Undergraduate Society of Women in Mathematics at MIT from 2014-16, where she worked to improve inclusion within the department. In graduate school, she helped rebuild the Georgia Tech GradSWE group after a period of inactivity and served as the leader from 2017-2019. She advocated increased communication and collaboration between the undergraduate and graduate students within the section. Her efforts led to GT GradSWE’s receiving two Mission Awards at the SWE annual conference and individual recognition as Outstanding Graduate Student at Georgia Tech’s Women of Distinction Awards in 2019. Currently, Sanders serves as Society-level GradSWE graduate programming coordinator, organizing content for graduate students at SWE conferences. She is dedicated to increasing the presence and participation of grad students in SWE across the globe.

In addition to SWE, Sanders serves the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) as 2020-21 society student president of the Operational Excellence Division. In this role, she mentors students and helps plan the annual conference.

The award also recognizes her continuing dedication to SWE’s mission — striving to highlight the impact and importance of women in engineering across the globe, leading by example, and demonstrating that a career in engineering can be a fulfilling, rewarding pursuit for women of any background.

“The men and women recognized have lived and learned through significant contributions to the engineering community, and they continue to lead in their careers and personal lives,” said Cindy Hoover, president of SWE. “They are leaders paving the way to empower and inspire future women engineers across the globe.”

For more information about SWE, visit www.swe.org. For more information about Georgia Tech SWE, visit http://www.swe.gtorg.gatech.edu/.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1599670050 2020-09-09 16:47:30 1600272053 2020-09-16 16:00:53 0 0 news ISyE Ph.D. Student Isabella T. Sanders Accepts SWE Outstanding Collegiate Member Award

2020-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-01 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

638876 638876 image <![CDATA[Isabella Sanders]]> image/jpeg 1599667985 2020-09-09 16:13:05 1599667985 2020-09-09 16:13:05 <![CDATA[ISyE Ph.D. Student Isabella Sanders: Encouraging Women in STEM]]> <![CDATA[Leading the Way for Women Engineers]]>
<![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Program Again Ranked No. 1]]> 34760 Once again, Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) has been ranked No. 1 in the Best Colleges undergraduate standings by U.S. News & World Report (USNWR). This marks the 26th consecutive year that ISyE holds the top position. The rankings were released on September 14, 2020.

“We are honored that ISyE’s leadership in research and education continues to be recognized,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “Maintaining our position as the No. 1 undergraduate program is a remarkable tribute to the hard work and dedication of our outstanding faculty, students, alumni, and staff.”

In addition to ISyE, in the overall rankings, the Institute’s undergraduate civil engineering program has been ranked No. 1, and all undergraduate engineering programs are in the top five. Among public institutions, Georgia Tech has five No. 1 programs: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, ISyE, and mechanical engineering.

USNWR ranked Georgia Tech as eighth among public universities and the fourth most innovative nationally.

View the complete list of rankings

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1600092102 2020-09-14 14:01:42 1600272018 2020-09-16 16:00:18 0 0 news This marks the 26th consecutive year that ISyE holds the top position.

2020-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-14 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith
ISyE Communications

639039 639039 image <![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Rankings]]> image/png 1600091556 2020-09-14 13:52:36 1600091556 2020-09-14 13:52:36
<![CDATA[Siva Theja Maguluri Appointed to Fouts Family Early Career Professorship]]> 28766 Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) announced that Assistant Professor Siva Theja Maguluri has been appointed to a Fouts Family Early Career Professorship for a three-year term. Endowed by ISyE alumnus J. Louis Fouts (BIE 90), the Fouts Family Faculty Fund is designed to enhance the ability of ISyE to attract and retain eminent teacher-scholars.

Maguluri is a core faculty member of the Center for Machine Learning and the Decision and Control Laboratory at Georgia Tech, and his research interests span the areas of control, optimization, algorithms, and applied probability. He works on fundamental problems in queuing theory, stochastic optimization, distributed optimization, and reinforcement learning. He applies these tools for scheduling, resource allocation, and revenue optimization in a variety of systems including data centers, cloud computing, wireless networks, block chain, and ride-hailing systems. 

I am honored to be appointed as a Fouts Family Early Career Professor, and I thank the Fouts family for their generosity,” said Maguluri. “The professorship will enable me to continue the research in our group on developing a Lyapunov theory of stochastic recursions, which provides a unified framework to study problems in seemingly different areas such as reinforcement learning, stochastic optimization, and cloud computing. 

“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with brilliant Ph.D. students in ISyE who will be supported by the professorship and will make fundamental contributions toward developing this theory. I also thank the ISyE faculty for their constant support,” he added.

Maguluri is also a passionate and creative instructor, and his pedagogical dedication was recently recognized when he received the Institute-level CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

He earned his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering in 2014 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to ISyE, Maguluri was a research staff member in the Mathematical Sciences Department at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600190895 2020-09-15 17:28:15 1600190895 2020-09-15 17:28:15 0 0 news Assistant Professor Maguluri's research interests include queuing theory, stochastic optimization, distributed optimization, and reinforcement learning.

2020-09-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-15 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639123 639123 image <![CDATA[Siva Theja Maguluri]]> image/jpeg 1600188617 2020-09-15 16:50:17 1600188617 2020-09-15 16:50:17 <![CDATA[Assistant Professor Siva Theja Maguluri Receives Teaching Award]]>
<![CDATA[Renato Monteiro Awarded 2020 INFORMS Computing Society Prize]]> 28766 Renato Monteiro, professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems (ISyE), has been awarded the 2020 INFORMS Computing Society (ICS) Prize. His former student, Sam Burer (Ph.D. 01), professor of business analytics at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, was a co-recipient. 

This is Monteiro’s second time receiving the award, making him one of the few researchers to win it more than once. He initially received the ICS Prize in 2001 with co-recipient Yin Zhang, professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University.

The ICS Prize is given annually for the best English language paper or group of related papers dealing with the operations research/computer science interface. It is one of the most prestigious honors given by ICS.

In announcing the 2020 award, ICS referenced Monteiro and Burer’s “pioneering work on low-rank semidefinite programming.” The group particularly noted the following papers: “A Nonlinear Programming Algorithm for Solving Semidefinite Programs via Low-Rank Factorization,” Mathematical Programming Series B 95: 329–57 (2003); and “Local Minima and Convergence in Low-Rank Semidefinite Programming,” Mathematical Programming Series A 103, 427–44 (2005). The former paper has been cited 716 times.

“The interface between OR and CS is primarily computational optimization,” said ISyE A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck. “Renato and Sam’s contributions are exactly of that nature: They are methodological advances for speeding up an important convex optimization technique. What is unusual here is the fact that these results were obtained almost two decades ago and have seen a new life in recent years. Indeed, semi-definite programming has attracted significant attention in a number of fields, ranging from energy and control systems to machine learning and data science, where scalability issues have been critical.”

Monteiro's research interests lie in the area of continuous optimization and complexity of algorithms. More specifically, he is interested in the theory, complexity analysis, and implementation of algorithms for solving large scale linear programming (LP); convex quadratic programming (CQP); semidefinite programming (SDP); complementarity problems; convex programming; saddle-point problems; variational inequalities; and general nonlinear programming. 

His research contributions are both theoretical and computational in nature. The theoretical contributions consist of studying the properties of the problems under consideration that are helpful in the design of provably good algorithms for their solution. The computational contributions consist of developing the right computational techniques to efficiently and reliably solve these problems, and extracting information to enhance practical use of the obtained solution. 

This balanced research focus has led to major contributions in the field of continuous optimization, most notably in the area of interior point algorithms and low-rank methods for solving large scale linear and semidefinite programs. It has also led to many important contributions in the development of first and second projection-type methods for solving convex, as well as some well-structured nonconvex, optimization problems.

His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. He joined the list of ISI Highly Cited Researchers in 2004. Monteiro is heavily involved with Georgia Tech’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization and has served in several editorial boards such as Operations ResearchINFORMS Journal on ComputingMathematics Methods of Operations Research, and Mathematics of Operations Research. He has also served as vice-chair and chair of the INFORMS Optimization Section.

Other ISyE faculty members who have received the ICS Prize include A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Institute Professor George Nemhauser, former Professor Shabbir Ahmed, and Juan Pablo Vielma (Ph.D. 09) in 2017; Butler Family Chair and Professor Nick Sahinidis in 2004; and A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck in 2002.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1600112438 2020-09-14 19:40:38 1600112438 2020-09-14 19:40:38 0 0 news Professor Monteiro also received this prestigious award in 2001.

2020-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-09-14 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

639089 639089 image <![CDATA[Renato Monteiro]]> image/jpeg 1600111154 2020-09-14 19:19:14 1600111154 2020-09-14 19:19:14
<![CDATA[ISyE Welcomes Professor Jing Li]]> 34760 Professor Jing Li joined Georgia Tech's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering on August 15, 2020.

Prior to coming to ISyE, Li was a faculty member at Arizona State University and is a co-founder of the ASU-Mayo Clinic Center for Innovative Imaging. Her research develops statistical machine learning algorithms for modeling and inference of medical image data, and fusion of images, genomics, and clinical records. Her research outcomes support clinical decision making for diagnosis, prognosis, and telemedicine for various conditions affecting the brain, such as brain cancer, post-traumatic headache and migraine, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Li's research has been funded by NIH, NSF, DOD, and industries. Li is an NSF CAREER Awardee. She received a Ph.D. in industrial and operations engineering and an M.A. in statistics from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in civil engineering from Tsinghua University.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1597851359 2020-08-19 15:35:59 1597852426 2020-08-19 15:53:46 0 0 news Li's research develops statistical machine learning algorithms for modeling and inference of medical image data, and fusion of images, genomics, and clinical records.

2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

638072 638072 image <![CDATA[ISyE Professor Jing Li]]> image/png 1597846169 2020-08-19 14:09:29 1597846169 2020-08-19 14:09:29
<![CDATA[ISyE Welcomes Brandy Ball Blake]]> 34760 Brandy Ball Blake joined the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) on August 14, 2020 as the director of professional and technical communication.

In this role, Blake coaches ISyE students on writing, presentations, visual design, and data visualization. Working primarily with Senior and Cornerstone Design classes, she will also develop a communication program to help meet the needs of ISyE students and faculty. Additionally, she will advise and assist students with their scholarship and graduate fellowship applications, including those for the NSF Graduate Fellowship program.

Prior to assuming her current position, she was the director of the Institute’s Communication Center, where she worked extensively with students and professors across Georgia Tech, managed day-to-day operations of the center, developed initiatives to help STEM students improve communication, and created and led numerous workshops on communication skills.

Her research is on perceptions of engineers in culture and how they shape the way engineers communicate. In conjunction with this research, she teaches English classes on engineers in literature and culture. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. from Georgia State University, and a B.A. from Emory University.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1597847418 2020-08-19 14:30:18 1597852219 2020-08-19 15:50:19 0 0 news Blake Joined ISyE in August as director of professional and technical communication.

2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

638069 638069 image <![CDATA[Brandy Ball Blake]]> image/jpeg 1597845881 2020-08-19 14:04:41 1597845881 2020-08-19 14:04:41
<![CDATA[ISyE Welcomes Assistant Professor Shihao Yang]]> 34760 Assistant Professor Shihao Yang joined the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) on August 15, 2020.

Prior to joining ISyE, he served as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. His primary research interest is to use big data to solve real-life problems focusing on three perspectives: methodological development, computational tools, and probabilistic modeling. He has developed methods for infectious disease prevalence forecasts and built a tailor-made matching method to study cancer immunotherapy with electronic health data. He also introduced a new method for parallelizable Markov chain Monte Carlo and another fast approximation method for inference in dynamic systems.

Yang received his Ph.D. and an A.M. in statistics from Harvard University and his B.Sc. in actuarial science from University of Hong Kong.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1597851665 2020-08-19 15:41:05 1597851665 2020-08-19 15:41:05 0 0 news Yang's primary research interest is to use big data to solve real-life problems focusing on three perspectives: methodological development, computational tools, and probabilistic modeling.

2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-19 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

638071 638071 image <![CDATA[ISyE Assistant Professor Shihao Yang]]> image/jpeg 1597846084 2020-08-19 14:08:04 1597846084 2020-08-19 14:08:04
<![CDATA[He Wang Appointed to Colonel John B. Day Early Career Professorship]]> 28766 Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) announced that Assistant Professor He Wang has been appointed to a Colonel John B. Day Early Career Professorship for a three-year term. The Colonel John B. Day endowment fund provides support for faculty and graduate students in ISyE.

Wang’s research interests include revenue management, supply chain and logistics, and statistical and online learning. His recent research focuses on developing data-driven methods for the interface between machine learning and operations management.

“I am honored to receive the Colonel John B. Day Early Career Professorship and am grateful to Colonel John B. Day for his generous support of ISyE students and faculty,” said Wang. “The Day professorship will help advance my research and educational plans in the upcoming years. I also want to thank ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn and other faculty and staff at the Stewart School for their continuous support in my career development.”

Wang received his Ph.D. in operations research in 2016 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2018, he was awarded first place in the INFORMS Junior Faculty Interest Group (JFIG) Paper Competition. In 2019, he received an Amazon Research Award for the project “Marketplace Design for Long-haul Ground Transportation.”


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1596640766 2020-08-05 15:19:26 1597237745 2020-08-12 13:09:05 0 0 news Wang’s research interests include revenue management, supply chain and logistics, and statistical and online learning.

2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

637533 637533 image <![CDATA[He Wang]]> image/jpeg 1596640237 2020-08-05 15:10:37 1596640237 2020-08-05 15:10:37
<![CDATA[Swati Gupta Appointed to Fouts Family Early Career Professorship]]> 28766 Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) announced that Assistant Professor Swati Gupta has been appointed to a Fouts Family Early Career Professorship for a three-year term. Endowed by ISyE alumnus J. Louis Fouts (BIE 90), the Fouts Family Faculty Fund is designed to enhance the ability of ISyE to attract and retain eminent teacher-scholars.

Gupta's research interests lie primarily in combinatorial optimization, machine learning and algorithmic fairness. Her work focuses on speeding up fundamental bottlenecks that arise in learning problems due to the combinatorial nature of the decisions, drawing from machine learning to improve traditional optimization methods, as well as ensuring that developed algorithms are fair and ethical so they do not exacerbate inequalities present in the society.

She is a faculty member associated with the Center for Machine Learning at Georgia Tech and studies what she calls “socially conscious problem solving.” This includes research into algorithmic biases, particularly in job applications and school applications. Gupta is also the Georgia Tech principal investigator on an inter-agency team that has been awarded a $9.2 million grant from DARPA to study quantum computing. She is looking forward to examining how quantum computing may be able to help solve classical optimization problems.

“I am honored to be selected for the Fouts Family Early Career Professorship," said Gupta. "I am really excited about this position and am confident that this will help supplement our efforts to develop efficient algorithms by bridging discrete and continuous optimization; create opportunities for a much-needed and timely interdisciplinary collaboration across operations research and law; and result in greater direct impact of operations research in societal applications.”

Gupta earned her Ph.D. in 2017 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining ISyE, she spent two semesters as a research fellow at the Simons Institute, University of California, Berkeley.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1596638681 2020-08-05 14:44:41 1596747205 2020-08-06 20:53:25 0 0 news Gupta's research interests lie primarily in combinatorial optimization, machine learning and algorithmic fairness.

2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05T00:00:00-04:00 2020-08-05 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart Schoolr of Industrial and Systems Engineering

637528 637528 image <![CDATA[Swati Gupta]]> image/jpeg 1596638267 2020-08-05 14:37:47 1596638267 2020-08-05 14:37:47
<![CDATA[Resiliency of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems during Pandemic Response]]> 28766 On June 3, 2020, the Socially Aware Mobility (SAM) Lab met to discuss the resiliency of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems (ODMTS) in the midst of a pandemic response. It is predicted that the current COVID-19 pandemic will persist for about two years and there always exists the possibility of future pandemics. Consequently, our transit systems must be equipped to handle both depressed demand and social distancing. It is under this premise that the SAM Lab has been working to configure an ODMTS pipeline that takes into account the changed behavior of both individuals and transit agencies to curb the spread of viruses.

The purpose of ODMTS is to combine the best of transit and ride-sharing systems through blending customer experience with data and technology. It is a multimodal system that joins on-demand mobility services that serve low-density regions with high occupancy vehicles traveling along high-density corridors. One of the major functions and social issues ODMTS addresses is the “first/last mile” problem, which is the inability of our current transit system to take travelers all the way from their origin to their destination. This is addressed through the addition of shuttles to current public transportation systems. Using shuttles in addition to buses and rail improves rider convenience and decreases costs for both transit agencies and riders.

Using ridership data provided by MARTA, the SAM team was able to map different demand scenarios amidst a pandemic response. Comparing data from March and April 2019 to March and April 2020, the team found significant decrease in rail ridership. While ridership was down at all MARTA stations, there was a noticeable trend showing that ridership decreases varied at different locations. This is due to the nature of the different activities that generate ridership.

For example, there was minimal traffic at the Buckhead station known for its shopping centers, compared to only reduced traffic at the North Ave. station, where Emory Hospital is located. These trends give insight into the design of ODMTS that address the differing needs during a pandemic response.

Using novel state-of-the-art optimization techniques for planning and operating transit systems, the team was able to demonstrate the benefits of ODMTS using a real-time simulation for three different demand scenarios: 1) a normal “base case” scenario with 100% demand; 2) early and post pandemic scenarios with 60% demand and; 3) a late pandemic scenario with 20% demand. These scenarios were determined by Breeze Card transactions in the month of March 2020.

The second and third scenarios were evaluated under various physical distancing measures to ensure the safety of the riders. In particular, no ride sharing was permitted for the shuttles and the capacity of the buses and the rail were reduced by 50% and 75%. A scenario with no buses was also examined.

The team found that there is an inherent robustness in ODTMS. Not only can the system handle the different demand scenarios smoothly, but the average wait time also decreases across the board due the depressed demand. It is worth emphasizing that, in its base case configuration, the proposed ODMTS induces significantly less pressure on the budget while simultaneously creating more jobs. 

 The Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation team is excited to see the continued evolution of this project and would like to thank all the contributing stakeholders that work toward the success of this critical transit research.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1596747075 2020-08-06 20:51:15 1596747092 2020-08-06 20:51:32 0 0 news On June 3, 2020, the Socially Aware Mobility (SAM) Lab met to discuss the resiliency of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems (ODMTS) in the midst of a pandemic response. 

2020-06-10T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-10T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-10 00:00:00 636168 636167 636168 image <![CDATA[Regular Station Entry by Month at North Avenue]]> image/gif 1591885085 2020-06-11 14:18:05 1591886700 2020-06-11 14:45:00 636167 image <![CDATA[On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems ]]> image/gif 1591885032 2020-06-11 14:17:12 1591886602 2020-06-11 14:43:22
<![CDATA[Four ISyE Alumni in Inaugural Class of GTAA 40 Under 40]]> 34760 On July 15, 2020, the Georgia Tech Alumni Association announced 40 distinguished honorees as part of its inaugural 40 Under 40 class. Selected from more than 250 nominations, the Class of 2020 represented a wide range of industries and sectors and included four outstanding alumni from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering: Maithili Appalwar, Sheereen Brown, Jennifer McKeehan, and Evren Ozkaya.

“We are very proud of these four alumni who have made, and are continuing to make, a difference in the world,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “They have all had amazing careers thus far, and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the future.”

Maithili Appalwar, IE 18
CEO, Avana

After learning that inconsistent rainfall was the leading cause of suicide among farmers in a district in India, Maithili Appalwar used her passion for manufacturing and affordable design to address their situation. Through her company, Avana, she’s helped more than 10,000 farmers conserve 50 billion liters of water with an eco-friendly polymer lining that helps harvest rainwater and create artificial ponds on farms. After just one year using the liner, she found that income for the farmers increased by 98.7%. “I want my legacy to be a world where every farmer lives with dignity and is empowered to create a world that they want to live in,” said Appalwar.

Fun fact: She once followed a professor around until he gave her a waiver to enroll in his Medieval Literature class.

Sheereen Brown, IE 13, MS HS 14
Senior Business Analyst, The Task Force for Global Health

Sheereen Brown likes to say that her work is about getting the right information (data) to the right people at the right time via the right tech to make the right decisions. As senior business analyst for The Task Force for Global Health, Brown travels the world from Johannesburg to Geneva to fulfill the organization’s mission to eliminate disease and protect populations. Working in partnership with WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she helps bring innovative solutions to global health challenges. Brown supported the establishment of an outpatient care system at the largest national hospital in Tanzania to reduce patient wait times and implemented a cloud-based solution to equitably allocate government health care workers in sub-Saharan African countries. For inspiration, she looks to her two sisters, also ISyE alumni, who have used their experience at Tech as launching pads to successful careers in the sciences and art. “Our parents raised us to be tenacious women. Tech reinforced that tenacity, and I’m proud of what my sisters have accomplished with it. I strive to be like them,” she says. 

Fun Fact: This jet-setting humanitarian dreams of becoming a kindergarten art teacher in retirement.

Jennifer McKeehan, IE 05
Founder, Smith and James LLC and Former Vice President Supply Chain, The Home Depot

Jennifer McKeehan’s trailblazing career at The Home Depot over the last 15 years has been nothing shy of extraordinary. In 2016, she was named vice president of inventory for all 2,000 U.S. stores and online businesses, responsible for leading a $15 billion portfolio and 250 associates. It’s worth mentioning that at the time she was also the youngest officer and was a working mom with two children. Most recently, she founded Smith and James LLC, a retail consulting firm. But, perhaps even more noteworthy than her professional career is her commitment to service. She’s a member of CHOA’s Emerging Leader Committee, which recently raised $639,000 for pediatric cardiology research. She also serves on the Cobb Health Futures Foundation Board. “What I find most energizing, hopeful, and inspirational is when some of the biggest mountains are moved or seemingly ‘impossible’ problems are solved,” McKeehan says.

Fun Fact: She was part of the Yellow Jacket Marching Band in college, which cemented her love for Georgia Tech football and “Game Day”!

Evren Ozkaya, Ph.D. IE 08
Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Wizard, LLC

Dealing with the end-to-end operations in today’s global supply chain requires a true wizard like Evren Ozkaya. As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Wizard, Ozkaya is making pharmaceutical supply chains more secure, and ultimately safer for patients, by reducing the risk of counterfeit drugs with track and trace technologies. But Ozkaya didn’t fall into his consulting career easily. During his last year at Georgia Tech, he forgot to register for an internship course that put him just short of the full-time requirement for his international student visa. He lost his right to work on campus and in one day, lost his three part-time jobs. “That was probably the worst day of my life at the time, but unbeknownst to me, it created an opportunity,” he says. He studied for consulting interviews every day that month while his visa was reinstated. “I ended up getting multiple offers from top consulting firms and accepted an offer from McKinsey & Company in Atlanta, which forever changed my life and propelled me much faster in my career.”

Fun fact: He considers time his most valuable asset, so he tracks every hour of his time 24/7 to learn how to improve his time management.

Content provided by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1595513982 2020-07-23 14:19:42 1596489191 2020-08-03 21:13:11 0 0 news Honorees represent a wide range of industries and sectors and were selected from more than 250 nominations.

2020-07-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-23T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-23 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh

637220 637195 637197 637198 637199 637220 image <![CDATA[GTAA announces 40 under 40]]> image/png 1595514432 2020-07-23 14:27:12 1595515060 2020-07-23 14:37:40 637195 image <![CDATA[Maithili Appalwar, IE 18]]> image/jpeg 1595443894 2020-07-22 18:51:34 1595515187 2020-07-23 14:39:47 637197 image <![CDATA[Sheereen Brown, IE 13, MS HS 14]]> image/jpeg 1595444017 2020-07-22 18:53:37 1595515163 2020-07-23 14:39:23 637198 image <![CDATA[Jennifer McKeehan, IE 05]]> image/jpeg 1595444156 2020-07-22 18:55:56 1595515319 2020-07-23 14:41:59 637199 image <![CDATA[Evren Ozkaya, Ph.D. IE 08]]> image/jpeg 1595444244 2020-07-22 18:57:24 1595515212 2020-07-23 14:40:12
<![CDATA[Centralized Ordering, Modeling Will Keep PPE Supplied to Research Labs]]> 28766 As America’s leading research universities ramp up laboratory operations that were shut down by Covid-19 in March, they’re encountering a perfect storm of challenges in providing personal protective equipment (PPE) – surgical masks, cloth face coverings, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant materials.

Global PPE supply chains have been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, producing long lead times and unreliable deliveries. At the same time, Covid-19 precautions are mandating the use of PPE in laboratories where it wasn’t required before, such as computer and electronics labs. And as researchers, staff, and graduate students slowly come back to the lab, predicting how many people will be at work on any given day creates yet another unknown. 

At the Georgia Institute of Technology, supply chain and logistics experts have put their knowledge to work on the problem, using the kind of modeling and machine learning technologies that major retailers rely on to keep products on store shelves. In just one month, the research team has built an automated centralized system to replace traditional purchasing systems in which individual labs had to hunt for their own supplies.

By asking researchers to report details of the PPE they use each day, the labs will provide data the system needs to predict demand, allowing Georgia Tech to place large orders and stock a centralized warehouse that will help bridge the gap between supply chain hiccups. Based on usage data, the system will know when each lab’s stock of PPE needs to be resupplied from distribution centers located in 22 major laboratory buildings. The goal will be for each lab to have a robust three-day supply of PPE at all times.

“We need to make sure that every researcher, staff member, and graduate student is going to be protected properly,” said Benoit Montreuil, Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair and professor in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and director of the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute. “We are dealing with a very volatile situation for supply capacity, lead times, alternate sources, and reliability. With this system, we can ensure that the distribution of PPE throughout campus will be done in an efficient, seamless, responsive, and fair way.”

With $1 billion in sponsored activity during 2019, Georgia Tech has hundreds of research laboratories studying everything from viral antibodies and stem cells to robotics and electronic defense. In peak times, those researchers are expected to use 400,000 gloves a month and 20,000 surgical masks. With new sanitizing guidelines, they’re expected to use more than 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer a month – but nobody really knows for sure, because this wasn’t widely required before.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, most labs were responsible for purchasing their own PPE. But with so many labs worldwide now hunting for materials in the same disrupted supply chains, that’s no longer possible.

“Georgia Tech can ensure better success in obtaining PPE by buying in very large quantities instead of asking individual lab managers to try to find stock on their own,” said Robert Butera, Georgia Tech’s vice president for research development and operations. “We can track down the best suppliers and create a buffer in the system. We’ll also be able to identify who are the most reliable suppliers.”

From individual laboratories, the system needs daily reports of how many gloves, masks, and other PPE are used. The system aggregates the numbers and uses that information to predict future usage, allowing Montreuil and his team to provide information to Georgia Tech’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Baseline information obtained during Phase 1 of the research ramp-up will help plan for PPE needs as the number of researchers increases during Phase 2.

Individual labs won’t need to place orders unless than they encounter an unexpected change in demand. 

“Rather than principal investigators requesting PPE for their labs and having to anticipate demand, they will log usage and the platform will do all the back-end work to make sure there’s a three-day supply in each lab and a two-week supply in the buildings,” Butera explained. “We are switching from making requests to logging usage in real-time. People have to log their use of PPE on daily basis to make sure they are supplied.”

The new system will supply an estimated 95% of PPE needed on campus. Other items that are purchased less frequently, such as lab coats and shoe coverings, will continue to be ordered through traditional means. Those other supplies may be added to the system later.

“The idea is to focus right now on the key PPEs that are most critical from a supply perspective,” said Montreuil. “We will be revising consumption predictions on a daily basis and transferring this information into an overall demand forecast for PPEs.”

Georgia Tech’s research enterprise is ramping up in two phases over the summer. The first phase began June 18, and the second will start July 13. The new PPE supply system launches July 1.

To initiate the system, EHS has provided a stock of supplies to each lab, and that initial stock will be replenished based on the new system. In Phase 2 of the research ramp-up, the system will grow to include distribution centers in more than 50 campus buildings. At this point, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) labs will receive their PPE through a separate supply system.

PPE distribution will begin at a campus warehouse managed by EHS. To meet the predicted demand, the warehouse will regularly distribute supplies to buildings, where managers will in turn supply individual labs. How labs receive their supplies will depend on building-level plans developed by managers, Butera said.

The centralized and automated system will for the first time allow administrators to know how much stock of each PPE item is available on campus. Ensuring adequate stock has become increasingly important with the protection needs of the Covid-19 environment.

While researchers who work with biological and chemical materials are accustomed to using and maintaining PPE stocks, keeping up with face masks and disinfectant stocks will be a new practice for others. 

“In my lab in ISyE, nobody was using PPE before Covid-19 because we are only around workstations and computer displays,” said Montreuil. “Now, ISYE researchers won’t be able to get into the lab unless they have masks and we will provide hand sanitizer. We will have to get used to this change.” 

Georgia Tech has one of the world’s best industrial engineering schools, and supply chain and logistics research is a key part of that. But even that expertise is challenged by the global logistics issues created by the pandemic, he added.

“The basics of inventory replenishment systems are well known,” Montreuil said. “But most of the time, the assumptions made in the models are very different from the environment we have now. With highly disrupted settings around the world, we find ourselves on a new frontier. It’s not a lab problem, a building problem, or a Georgia Tech problem. It’s a global challenge, and it affects everybody.”

Below are some frequently-asked questions about PPE supplies.

Where is the form to log use of PPE?

The form is available at this link

Which PPE items are covered by the system?

Consumption of the following items should be reported: Pairs of nitrile gloves by size (S/M/L/XL), pairs of latex gloves by size (M/L), pairs of vinyl gloves, individual surgical masks, individual cloth masks, hand sanitizer by bottle, disinfecting spray by bottle, and disinfecting wipes by package.

How should consumption be reported?

Reporting usage by individual lab occupant would be most useful to the system because it will provide the most detailed data for predicting future use. But if labs cannot report usage by individuals working in the lab, they should provide daily data on the entire lab.

When are labs expected to begin reporting their daily consumption of PPE?

The system is operational now, and labs will be expected to start using it July 1.

Will GTRI labs obtain their PPE through this system?

No, GTRI has a separate system for providing PPE.

How will PPE supplies be restocked from buildings to individual laboratories?

Building managers will receive supplies from EHS and will be responsible for determining how labs will receive replenishment.

What should labs do with empty hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray bottles?

Empty hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray bottles should be returned to building managers for refill from bulk supplies. There is a shortage of bottles and reuse will help prevent shortages.

What is the lead time for PPE materials ordered from suppliers?

That varies according to the item. The median lead time for nitrile gloves has ranged from 11 to 53 days depending on glove size, with shortest for various sizes ranging between 7 and 11 days while the longest ranged between 11 and 130 days, depicting a high volatility. Supply chain challenges for hand sanitizer led Georgia Tech to work with non-traditional suppliers to create an alternative supply chain based on ethanol rather than isopropyl alcohol.

If labs will be provided with a robust three-day stock, how much will be at building depots?

Buildings should have a robust two-week supply of critical PPE items. The adjective robust is important as the aim is not to keep a stock covering an average three-day demand in labs, and an average two-week demand in buildings, but rather enough to cover demand considering consumption and supply stochasticity with degree of confidence. The three-day and two-weeks targets will be dynamically adjusted according to learning of the overall demand and supply chain dynamics.

Where can I get more information about accessing the consumption reporting system?

Please visit https://ehs.gatech.edu/covid-19/isye.

What if labs need certain supplies immediately?

An urgent request can be made using the urgent request form. At this point, ISyE is monitoring the requests and will notify the building manager. In the near future, requests will go directly to the building manager (or other point of contact). 


Research News
Georgia Institute of Technology
177 North Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia  30332-0181  USA

Media Relations Contact: John Toon (404-894-6986) (jtoon@gatech.edu)

Writer: John Toon

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1593631297 2020-07-01 19:21:37 1595009052 2020-07-17 18:04:12 0 0 news Georgia Tech supply chain and logistics experts have developed an automated and centralized system for replenishing PPE stock in research labs.

2020-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-29 00:00:00 John Toon

Research News

(404) 894-6986

636607 636608 636607 image <![CDATA[Hand sanitizer]]> image/jpeg 1593475960 2020-06-30 00:12:40 1593475960 2020-06-30 00:12:40 636608 image <![CDATA[Personal protective equipment stock]]> image/jpeg 1593476335 2020-06-30 00:18:55 1593476335 2020-06-30 00:18:55 <![CDATA[About Dr. Benoit Montreuil]]> <![CDATA[Physical Internet Center]]>
<![CDATA[Allie Ghisson: Photographing Bobby Dodd to Mercedes-Benz]]> 28766 Self-taught and dedicated, Allie Ghisson, a rising third-year undergraduate in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), serves as the photography editor for the Technique. The Technique is Georgia Tech’s weekly student newspaper and is known as “the South’s liveliest newspaper.”

Ghisson came to Tech wanting to participate in an activity unrelated to her STEM studies. English was a passion of hers in high school, so she joined the Technique as a student writer. She was also interested in photography, but what initially stopped Ghisson from starting was her lack of a camera. “I figured it was time to get my own camera, and Amazon had a deal,” she explained. “I got a little cheap camera to start out with and started shooting for the paper’s photography section.”

This humble beginning quickly led to a leadership position with the Technique. The former head of photography, a fourth year who wanted to show Ghisson the ropes before graduating, stepped down to be Ghisson’s assistant. “I had to learn really quickly, but she was more than happy to help,” Ghisson said, highlighting the important role her mentor played.

As photography editor, Ghisson learned on the job -- everything from using photo editing software to taking action shots at athletic events. She had to learn how to use manual shooting through iteration. “I would just shoot a couple photos, look down on my camera, notice they weren't right, change something, notice that it was even more incorrect, go back to where I was, change things and analyze how I got it to look the way I wanted,” Ghisson said.

For Ghisson’s first Georgia Tech football game, she had the opportunity to take action shots from the sidelines. Taking good photos of people in motion proved difficult, but she loved the challenge, which developed her sports photography skills. Ghisson is so passionate about her craft that she has never sat in Bobby Dodd’s student section. She prefers to be down on the field, next to the action, where she can hone in on photography.

As a result of the experience she had working on Grant Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Ghisson has been given the opportunity to shoot in big stadiums like Mercedes-Benz Stadium. She has taken pictures for many big teams including Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons. She even got to work with the NFL communications team and take pictures at the Super Bowl LIII press conference.

Despite working with all these different teams, Ghisson is a Tech fan at heart. When given the chance to shoot a football game at the University of Georgia, she managed to sneak her Georgia Tech logo on her hat. She also has taken on the role of managing the Georgia Tech club hockey team. She began by taking pictures of the team and sending them to the social media manager. After attending most of the home games, she was offered a spot as a team manager.

“I really liked the optimization of ISyE, but I wanted to be creative outside all the STEM at Tech,” she noted. Ghisson’s extracurricular activities at Georgia Tech allow her to tap into her creative side which, for her, is important to maintain.

Besides giving her incredible opportunities and allowing her to learn photography skills that she can use forever, working for the Technique exposed Ghisson to the diversity of the student body. “The Technique has allowed me to explore all that there is to offer on campus,” she said. “Picking up the newspaper, even just to scan, can introduce you to different places and different people, and that is very important.”

Why does she do it?

“I get to explore the creative side of me with people who are extremely talented in their own fields. I get to learn and develop in ways that I wouldn't in the classroom. It is a method of escape. It is my friends, my free time, my passion,” Ghisson concluded.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1594671203 2020-07-13 20:13:23 1594671286 2020-07-13 20:14:46 0 0 news The ISyE third-year has been able to shoot a variety of sports events and venues as a result of teaching herself photography.

2020-07-13T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-13T00:00:00-04:00 2020-07-13 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

636917 636917 image <![CDATA[Allie Ghisson]]> image/jpeg 1594671246 2020-07-13 20:14:06 1594671246 2020-07-13 20:14:06
<![CDATA[ISyE Ph.D. Student Dipayan Banerjee Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship]]> 28766 Dipayan Banerjee, a rising second-year Ph.D. student studying operations research in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Banerjee, who has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and management sciences from Northwestern University, is co-advised by UPS Professor of Logistics Alan Erera and Leo and Louise Benatar Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Alejandro Toriello.

“Dipayan is a rising researcher in logistics, and the NSF fellowship is yet another accolade testifying to his promising young career,” said Toriello. “I look forward to working with him in the coming years in last-mile logistics and e-commerce, an exciting area where Dipayan has the potential to make a significant contribution.”

Banerjee is studying the tactical design of last-mile delivery systems, which are a challenging supply chain problem. The last mile in a supply chain represents the transport of goods being delivered, for example, from a local warehouse to a home or business. Specifically, Banerjee is looking at issues related to designing delivery fleets and vehicle dispatch policies for cost-effective last-mile delivery within a particular region.

“You can pack a big truck full of bulk quantities of goods and efficiently transport them across the U.S.,” Banerjee explained. “But getting the goods to a consumer’s home is less efficient, since individual items are being delivered. You could also see the importance of last-mile logistics during the Covid-19 lockdowns, when so many people were ordering and receiving their groceries at home.”

Beyond the demand dictated by the pandemic, Banerjee noted that e-commerce supply chains have become fundamental to the average person’s life, and hundreds of companies ranging from bakeries to florists are responding accordingly.

“It’s a really exciting time to be studying transportation and logistics systems,” he says. “There are many fascinating new challenges being faced in the last mile as companies seek to deliver more and more goods on increasingly tighter deadlines. These include issue of accessibility and environmental sustainability. We also have so much data and advanced computing power at our disposal that wasn’t available five or 10 years ago. I’m excited about the opportunity to develop new operations research approaches to solving these problems.”

Established in 1951, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is the oldest fellowship of its kind. The  fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1592244234 2020-06-15 18:03:54 1592580430 2020-06-19 15:27:10 0 0 news Banerjee is studying the tactical design of last-mile delivery systems, which are a challenging supply chain problem.

2020-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-15 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

636237 636237 image <![CDATA[Dipayan Banerjee]]> image/jpeg 1592243810 2020-06-15 17:56:50 1592243810 2020-06-15 17:56:50
<![CDATA[In Support of Our Community]]> 34760 Dear ISyE Family,

The events of the past week have impacted me greatly, as I’m sure is the case for many of us. We see images on television and all around us that show a nation responding to the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many other black Americans, while trying to find a way forward.

It's hard to find the right words and actions right now, but we must try. These events have profound significance for each of us as individuals and for our country as a whole. This is an opportunity to learn from one another and to work together to ensure that ISyE is a place where everyone feels welcome and can thrive.

While as a School family, we are all struggling during this difficult time, some of you carry experiences, fears, and other feelings that others of us do not have to confront and deal with. If you feel comfortable sharing your stories, we want to hear from you. If you prefer to talk to me individually, I would be glad to hear from you and start a conversation. Together, we can help foster an environment where all of us gain a greater understanding of each other and begin a process that will help bring about the changes that we all know are needed.   

I am committed to working with you – the entire ISyE and larger Georgia Tech community – to take a stand against the ills of racism and prejudice, and to work to ensure that our school is a place where everyone's contributions and all members are valued without exception. Let us work together to make sure that ISyE is not only the No. 1 industrial engineering program in the country academically, but also that we are a School where all people can achieve their goals and feel welcome.

Take care.


Edwin Romeijn


Georgia Tech Resources:

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1592318648 2020-06-16 14:44:08 1592333646 2020-06-16 18:54:06 0 0 news A statement from ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn.

2020-06-04T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-04T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-04 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
Communications Manager

636264 636264 image <![CDATA[Tech Tower Square]]> image/jpeg 1592317201 2020-06-16 14:20:01 1592317201 2020-06-16 14:20:01 <![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Alumna Ndeyanta Jallow on Current Events]]>
<![CDATA[DARPA Awards $9.2M Grant to Inter-agency Team Researching Quantum Computing]]> 28766 Quantum computing is a young, exciting field in computer science. Experts hope that its powerful processing capabilities will eventually help the world solve increasingly complex problems.

To explore these new possibilities, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded several high-value, multi-stage grants. One such grant has gone to inter-agency group OPTIQ (Optimization with Trapped Ion Qubits). Led by Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), OPTIQ is a collaboration with Georgia Tech, Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Creston Herold, senior research scientist in GTRI’s quantum systems division and head of the measurement branch, is the lead PI. Swati Gupta, an assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is the Georgia Tech PI, along with John Bollinger (group Leader of NIST’s ion storage group) and Travis Humble (distinguished scientist and director of the ORNL Quantum Computing Institute), who round out the team. DARPA has given OPTIQ up to $9.2 million to do its work over a four-year period.

“Our OPTIQ team is going to explore special-purpose quantum hardware tailored to solving combinatorial problems like Max-Cut, as well as to show what’s called ‘quantum advantage,’ – i.e., quantifiable advantage over specific instances of such problems where quantum hardware can outperform classical algorithms,” explained Gupta. Max-Cut is one of the most famous NP-hard problems that arises in many operations research applications. Researchers have been attempting to solve it for over five decades using classical – or digital – computers.

On the faculty in one of the foremost optimization departments in the country, Gupta is particularly interested in examining how challenging problems in classical optimization can be solved by quantum computing.

“This program is really a race between classical and quantum models of computation. This means that we need to identify blind spots, i.e., identify the really hard problem instances, for classical methods that can be improved by current quantum hardware,” she said. “Imagine there are two superheroes: one (classical) that is lightning fast but runs on the ground, while the other (quantum) can jump to arbitrary far-off spaces as long as these spaces have a landing pad. There might exist some places that the second superhero can get to faster than the first one. We need to find these instances. This will give us an opportunity to find barriers for classical optimization and develop a deeper understanding of what makes problems solvable classically.”

She continued, “What particularly excites me about this project is the opportunity to think beyond the classical model of computation that has paved the way for algorithmic design for decades, and to look for new computational primitives that might change the face of computation, as well as train a new generation of researchers who are adept at both classical and quantum techniques.”

The OPTIQ team will build quantum hardware based on trapped-ions to run combinatorial optimization problems, like Max-Cut, and benchmark its performance against the best “classical” optimizers. GTRI and NIST will collaborate on quantum hardware design, construction, and operation. GTRI and ORNL will develop methods to learn the best operating parameters for the quantum hardware and mitigate noise. Georgia Tech will identify “hard” instances of Max-Cut where quantum hardware may have a quantifiable advantage over known classical heuristics. The OPTIQ project leverages ORNL’s expertise in large-scale modeling of noisy quantum systems.

Quantum computing has promising applications in pharmaceutical discovery and faster scientific simulations, as well as revolutionizing artificial intelligence and the search for new materials. The OPTIQ team is looking forward to the potential insights that may be generated by bringing together quantum physicists and optimization experts.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1592245102 2020-06-15 18:18:22 1592245102 2020-06-15 18:18:22 0 0 news ISyE Assistant Professor Swati Gupta is the Georgia Tech PI for this project.

2020-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-15 00:00:00 636239 636239 image <![CDATA[Assistant Professor Swati Gupta]]> image/jpeg 1592244584 2020-06-15 18:09:44 1592244584 2020-06-15 18:09:44
<![CDATA[Tech Volunteers Support Mask-Making Organization ]]> 27713 When Shelley Wunder-Smith volunteered to brush up on her sewing skills to help an organization named Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals (SMAH), she had no idea she would end up becoming the communications director for the group.

“I was like a lot of people, just absolutely desperate to do something helpful and meaningful during the pandemic,” said Wunder-Smith, a senior writer-editor for the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). “I haven’t sewn since I was a kid but was willing to do whatever I could to support SMAH’s mission.”

That mission is to provide supplementary cloth face coverings to healthcare professionals experiencing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

SMAH responded to Wunder-Smith’s willingness to help, and one of the co-founders asked if she would like to be more involved and use her professional communications skills and talent. She immediately said yes.

“It was a much better fit for me than trying to re-learn how to sew,” Wunder-Smith said. “And, it’s given me the unique challenge of managing crisis communications while in the middle of the fast-paced environment of what is, essentially, a start-up.”

Her duties include responding to media requests, creating the organization’s website and social media content, developing blog posts, and editing all external documents — such as patterns and sewing instructions — for the organization. She also created a press kit, manages social media, and is working on a public relations strategy so the organization can be proactive instead of reactive.

And yes, she has done all this while still working full-time for Georgia Tech. So, it has meant a lot of late nights.

Shortly after joining SMAH, Wunder-Smith reached out to one of her College of Engineering colleagues, Kelsey Gulledge, a communications officer in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, for help with the organization’s social media.

“I wanted to help in any way that I could,” said Gulledge, “and that happened to be establishing and managing the SMAH Twitter and Instagram accounts. This included establishing the voice and tone, creating content, and coordinating with SMAH volunteers for user-generated content.”

As the stay-at-home order continued, Gulledge realized she did not have enough time to work her full-time job, volunteer with SMAH’s social media, and also sew masks.

“With the support of the SMAH leadership, I made the decision to alter my volunteerism to focus solely on making masks. Sewing can be really challenging, but I’ve found it to be very therapeutic in these difficult times,” she said.

After Gulledge curtailed her involvement, Wunder-Smith enlisted two ISyE students to assist with social media: Maya Menon, a rising third-year student, and Nithya Koganti, a fifth-year student.

“Maya and I work together to keep all of SMAH’s social media channels up to date,” said Koganti. “We post content and create some of it with the help of other SMAH team members.” They also strive to increase engagement with SMAH members and reach people who are not familiar with the organization.

“I have learned so much from working with this organization during the past month,” said Menon. “I’ve really been able to learn just how much social media engages and brings together a group of people that don’t even know each other to create something so powerful and helpful.”

Wunder-Smith said SMAH’s founders initially thought the group would make about 1,000 face coverings. But by the end of May they had delivered 55,000 masks to area hospitals. The organization recently enlisted another group of ISyE students to address some supply chain issues, which will result in a smoother operation.

Phu Jaitrong, one of 10 students working on the project, said, “We've been interviewing and process mapping to identify pain points and issues, some of which we've found so far are supply chain related.” The students are also examining the allocation of work, as well as technology and IT issues.

SMAH recently received its 501(c)(3) designation, making it one of a few nonprofit groups providing personal protective equipment. The designation allows the organization to apply for grants, and it makes donations tax-deductible. (The organization does not need fabric at this time, but to make a financial donation or to volunteer, see the website.)

When asked what she has learned from this experience, Wunder-Smith said, “Go where the important work is happening, and give yourself to it. Sometimes that means you don’t get to do the thing you’re best at. Sometimes that means you find a new way to do that thing. Sometimes you find that the thing you’re actually best at is being willing to give yourself where you can help. Because if the work is really important, you don’t have to be. Because it’s not about you.”

NOTE: As of press time, SMAH is responding to current events by expanding its original mission of supplying PPE to healthcare workers. Once they provide the remaining 3,000 masks that have been requested by local healthcare facilities, SMAH’s administrative team will pivot the organization to supporting the black and African American communities and providing face coverings for civil rights protesters. If there is a second Covid-19 wave in the fall or winter, SMAH will return to its original mission. For more information, follow SMAH on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @smahatlanta.

]]> Victor Rogers 1 1591745534 2020-06-09 23:32:14 1591798562 2020-06-10 14:16:02 0 0 news 2020-06-09T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-09T00:00:00-04:00 2020-06-09 00:00:00 Victor Rogers

Institute Communications

636120 636121 636119 636120 image <![CDATA[Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals]]> image/jpeg 1591791444 2020-06-10 12:17:24 1591791468 2020-06-10 12:17:48 636121 image <![CDATA[Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals]]> image/jpeg 1591791778 2020-06-10 12:22:58 1591791805 2020-06-10 12:23:25 636119 image <![CDATA[Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals]]> image/jpeg 1591791168 2020-06-10 12:12:48 1591791197 2020-06-10 12:13:17 <![CDATA[H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals ]]>
<![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Ilesh Jain, Student Alumni Association President]]> 28766 With over 6,000 members, Georgia Tech’s Student Alumni Association (SAA) is the largest student organization on campus. SAA connects current students with Tech alumni to foster personal and professional growth. It also promotes philanthropy on campus, with all member donations going back to the students in support of a variety of causes. Since SAA's inception nine years ago, over $500,000 has been donated by SAA members.

Ilesh Jain, a fourth-year undergraduate in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), served as president of SAA for the 2019-2020 academic year. He came to Georgia Tech on a scholarship funded by alumni, so the importance of alums giving back to students stuck with him throughout his time in SAA. His journey to the presidency was natural, starting when he joined the organization his fourth week at Georgia Tech.

Almost immediately, Jain began facilitating an SAA speaker series called Expert Jackets. Students are given the opportunity to meet an alumnus and hear their undergraduate and postgraduate experiences. “I was the guy introducing and talking with the incoming CFO of Coca-Cola. I was like, ‘Woah, I am a freshman, and this is one of the coolest things ever,’” Jain remembered. 

Jain quickly saw the value of SAA and wanted to get involved in its leadership. His second year, Jain became both chair of member engagement and chair of Mentor Jackets. He then went on to be vice president of alumni connections his third year. “For me, it was very important to try different positions and see how each person fits into the overall mission of the organization,” he said. “It's very empowering for all of us — SAA leadership — to potentially make an impact on a significant portion of the student population, both undergrad and grad.”

One main goal Jain had as president was to understand what students wanted from SAA and to provide programming and events that matched the feedback. This focus on member engagement aimed to get members more involved in events SAA puts on. Meeting alumni has never been easier with SAA annually hosting over 100 events such as Dinner Jackets (an evening of food and conversation with alumni), Expert Jackets, Mentor Jackets, and more.

The Mentor Jackets program allows SAA members to have one-to-one contact with alumni in order to support their academic and professional development. One of Jain’s mentors, a biomedical engineer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, had a big impact on Jain’s experience at Georgia Tech. Despite the differences in their fields, Jain learned about the nonprofit world and about thriving at Georgia Tech from his mentor’s insights.

Even though Jain’s senior year did not go as expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t let it slow him down. He, along with the rest of the SAA leadership team, worked to convert many events into remote versions and create new virtual workshops. SAA was able to host Expert Jackets and wellness workshops via video call. “We’ve really taken on the mentality that the show must go on,” Jain said.

More than ever, Georgia Tech alumni are providing support to the student body. From participating in webinars and virtual events to donating to the Student Emergency Fund set up for students who are financially affected by COVID-19, alumni are actively assisting students. For students, knowing that there is a huge community behind them helps alleviate some of the challenges generated by the pandemic.

“Everything on campus is impacted by alumni one way or another. Most buildings have an alumni name tied to it, and they made a big contribution to make sure the students get the right facilities,” Jain explained. With such a big impact, providing an outlet for alumni to support the campus is what makes SAA so important. 

When asked which Georgia Tech alum stands out for him personally, Jain had a ready answer: John Young, AE 1952. “Knowing that at a Georgia Tech alum went to the moon and is one of the most recognized astronauts in the entire world boggles my mind,” he said. It is fascinating to Jain that such a notable alumnus was sitting in the same classrooms and walking the paths that Jain traversed.  

As Jain moves onto the next chapter in his life, the roles will reverse, and he will become an alumnus supportingt the next generation of students. After graduation, Jain plans to stay in Midtown Atlanta and starting in January, work as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Being phyically close to his alma mater, he plans on continuing his participation in SAA.

Jain said, “I am really excited to be a mentor through the Mentor Jackets program and host a Dinner Jackets event when I come back to Atlanta for work."

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1590600133 2020-05-27 17:22:13 1590669536 2020-05-28 12:38:56 0 0 news The SAA, which connects Tech alumni with current students, is the Institute's largest student organization.

2020-05-27T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-27T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-27 00:00:00  

Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

635712 635712 image <![CDATA[Illesh Jain]]> image/jpeg 1590596737 2020-05-27 16:25:37 1590596737 2020-05-27 16:25:37
<![CDATA[SCL Congratulates Master of Science in Supply Chain Engineering Students Earning SCD-1 Credential]]> 27233 Recently, several Georgia Tech students participating in the Georgia Tech Master of Science in Supply Chain Engineering (MS SCE) program earned LLamasoft's Supply Chain Design - Level 1 (SCD-1) Credential.

Holders of the software neutral, professional credential demonstrate fundamental knowledge of core concepts of supply chain management; basic principles of optimization, simulation, and heuristics; and common practices in data transformation, modeling, analysis, and visualization. The SCD-1 exam is a 50-question multiple choice exam administered during a proctored 90-minute session. The minimum passing score is 80%. 

SCL would like to thank LLamasoft for engaging students and faculty through use of its software and creation of the SCD Credential.

SCD-1 Credential Awardee Listing

For additional information relating to earning the SCD-1 Credential, please visit https://llamasoft.com/company/services/supply-chain-credential/.

]]> Andy Haleblian 1 1590156810 2020-05-22 14:13:30 1590597846 2020-05-27 16:44:06 0 0 news The Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL) would like to congratulate participants in the Georgia Tech Master of Science in Supply Chain Engineering program for earning LLamasoft's Supply Chain Design – Level 1 (SCD-1) Credential.

2020-05-25T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-25T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-25 00:00:00 Please see LLamasoft Supply Chain Credential website.

635702 635702 image <![CDATA[Supply Chain Design – Level 1 Credential]]> image/png 1590543888 2020-05-27 01:44:48 1590543990 2020-05-27 01:46:30 <![CDATA[LLamasoft Supply Chain Credential]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Master of Science in Supply Chain Engineering (MS SCE) program]]>
<![CDATA[Triple-major Daniel Gurevich Wins Love Family Foundation Scholarship ]]> 28766

After four years at Georgia Tech, Daniel Gurevich will graduate this spring with bachelor’s degrees in industrial engineering, physics, and math. As a result of his academic excellence, he has been honored with the Love Family Foundation Scholarship, the highest honor Georgia Tech can give to a graduating student. Gurevich was nominated for the $10,000 award by both the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Daniel for being granted this prestigious award,” said Steve McLaughlin, dean and Southern Company chair of the College of Engineering. “His excellent scholastic record, as well as his involvement in multiple research labs here at Tech, is an outstanding accomplishment that sets an exceptional example for all students.” 

For Gurevich, receiving the prestigious Love Family Foundation Scholarship is the culmination of his hard work and dedication while at the Institute. As a first-year physics major, he realized that the amount of college credit he had earned in high school would make a second major in industrial engineering manageable. When Gurevich shared his academic plans with his family, friends, and professors, everyone supported him. But a third major? 

Gurevich recalled talking with Fran Buser, an academic advisor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), about his intention to study math as well.  

“She asked, ‘Well, are you sleeping? Are you eating? Is everything okay?’” Gurevich remembered. “When I said, “Yes, I'm doing fine. Everything is good,’ she said, ‘Go ahead.’” 

The commonality between Gurevich’s majors -- math, physics, and industrial engineering -- is applied mathematics. “The ability to explain how things work is something that really attracts me about math,” he explained. It is this passion for using mathematics to understand how the world and its people function that is driving him to graduate school. In the fall, Gurevich will begin his Ph.D. studies at Princeton University in applied and computational mathematics.  

He hopes to continue the research on cardiac arrhythmias he began at Georgia Tech. He was first attracted by the field's importance to society — arrhythmias are a leading cause of death worldwide — as well as its rich mathematical background. Now, Gurevich aims to develop low-energy defibrillation protocols that are more effective with fewer side effects. 

When not busy with his studies or research, Gurevich can often be found playing chess. Chess has been a major part of his life – he began playing at age five and became an international master in high school. At the beginning of his third year at Tech, Gurevich joined the chess club. The group’s Friday afternoon meetings comprise his favorite Tech memories.

“It was really the main source of challenge for me. I had to learn to work hard because competing against all these proven players is very tough,” he said. “It's definitely something that has helped me succeed in my academics.”

Gurevich is very appreciative for his undergraduate education, and the Institute will always hold a special place in his heart. 

“I can’t think of a more welcoming place that has such great people, and of course, Tech is an academically outstanding institution," Gurevich said. "My education here has been the best possible opportunity for me to lay a foundation of knowledge that will propel me forward.”

He is looking ahead to further learning, further research and – someday – to teaching the next generation of students.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1588272820 2020-04-30 18:53:40 1590333080 2020-05-24 15:11:20 0 0 news Gurevich, who is graduating with bachelor's degrees in ISyE, physics, and math, has been honored with the Institute's top award for a graduating senior.

2020-04-30T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-30T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-30 00:00:00  

Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634908 634908 image <![CDATA[Daniel Gurevich]]> image/jpeg 1588272233 2020-04-30 18:43:53 1588272233 2020-04-30 18:43:53 <![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Daniel Gurevich Selected as Petiti Scholar]]> <![CDATA[Triple Major Daniel Gurevich Represents Georgia Tech with Top USG Academic Honor]]>
<![CDATA[Assistant Professor Siva Theja Maguluri Receives Teaching Award]]> 28766 Georgia Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has recognized Siva Theja Maguluri, an assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), for his outstanding pedagogy. Maguluri was honored with the CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, one of only seven that were given across the Institute.

Maguluri describes his pedagogical style as “traditional interspersed with interactivity.” He aspires to develop students’ intuition of important mathematical concepts without losing rigor. He typically does this using a series of increasingly complex illustrative examples. Maguluri’s guiding principal is the saying usually attributed to Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” He strongly believes that teaching and research reinforce each other.

In Maguluri’s award nomination letter, ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn noted that Maguluri’s “passion for research is only matched by his passion for teaching. Since he joined ISyE in 2017, he has taught four different courses, including required undergraduate courses, first year Ph.D. courses, and a special topics course on advanced topics. He uses innovative teaching methods in his class, such as pop quizzes to keep the students engaged and active, card tricks and paradoxes to teach subtle ideas in probability, and projects based on running a simulated manufacturing plant.”

The CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award is given jointly by CTL and BP America to highlight the excellent teaching and educational innovation that junior faculty bring to Tech’s campus. In evaluating candidates for the award, CTL considers the nominee’s impact on students’ lives both in and out of the classroom; their passion for teaching and learning; teaching excellence in core classes, required classes, and large classes; and accessibility to all students, even those who were not performing well in the class.

When asked what receiving this award meant to him, Maguluri said, “I believe that the award is a reflection of students’ response to my teaching, and so I am both honored and humbled to receive it. I consider it a great fortune to have an opportunity to teach and to work with such great students that we have here at Georgia Tech.”


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1590076260 2020-05-21 15:51:00 1590076260 2020-05-21 15:51:00 0 0 news Maguluri was honored with the CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, one of only seven that were given across the Institute.

2020-05-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-21 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

635557 635557 image <![CDATA[ISyE Assistant Professor Siva Theja Maguluri]]> image/jpeg 1590076072 2020-05-21 15:47:52 1590076072 2020-05-21 15:47:52
<![CDATA[Spring 2020 Senior Design Results in Tied Winning Teams]]> 28766 Despite the spring semester’s challenges ensuing from the COVID-19 pandemic, which included all classes at Georgia Tech moving to 100% online instruction and the cancellation of the semi-annual Capstone Expo, 30 Senior Design teams from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) successfully completed their projects.

“We had one of the largest cohorts in ISyE Senior Design history this semester. Despite the disruptions, all 30 teams were able to deliver high-quality solution to their project sponsors," said ISyE Director of Professional Practice and Senior Design Coordinator Dima Nazzal. "My conclusion after evaluating these 30 teams is that we have uncovered untapped ingenuity in our students – their ability to adapt and deliver a product on par (or one that exceeds) previous cohorts. This is a testament to their resilience and training.”

ISyE still held its Best of Senior Design competition – virtually via BlueJeans – on Tuesday, April 28. Over 300 people attended the event, at which three teams presented their projects for Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW), Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), and Plasmaxis (Kinaxis). Teams GWCC and Kinaxis were selected as tied winners. Each winning team will receive $1,500 to split among their team members.

The GWCC team, whose project was “Waste Diversion System Design,” has created solutions for their client that will have significant environmental impact. They diverted 13% of waste from the landfill in 2019. Standardized processes and incentive-based fee structures can increase diversion to 45%. Using a custom web application, GWCC can predict conference waste hauls, track conference charges, and reward sustainable conferences. The waste operation can improve from a 7% loss to a 20% profit. The 32% increase in waste diversion saves the equivalent of 3,054 CO2 tons and creates a roughly $473,000 impact on the local recycling industry.

“This team from Georgia Tech combined their natural inquisitive natures and their industrial engineering skill sets to generate a straightforward and accessible set of tools even in the face of data availability limitations and constantly variable operating circumstances,” said Dominic Bruno, director of facility operations at GWCC Authority. “They faced their challenges undaunted and were able to generate a multi-pronged real-world approach to solving the challenges.

"Their solutions are easy to understand, but they are also quite clever in that when combined. They will incentivize better action while providing for a lower overall program cost. In this way, they have provided something that can truly change behavior – often the missing element from process improvement projects.”

The team included Erin Abbott, Elena Buter, Benjamin Espy, Kiran Gite, Toral Kadakia, Abhita Moorthy, Sahana Subramanian, and Caleb Tysor. They were advised by ISyE Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies Chen Zhou.

The Kinaxis team, whose project was “Plasmaxis: Plasma Production Planning,” partnered with Kinaxis, a supply chain planning software company, to improve the efficiency of a major biopharmaceutical manufacturer’s global supply chain for plasma-derived therapeutics. The team developed an optimization model that plans plasma fractionation into “pastes,” an intermediate product in the manufacturing system. This model was integrated into a software tool for use by the client’s production planners. The improvements achieved will save the client an estimated $4.5 million dollars annually and allow them to more rapidly deliver life-saving medication to those in need.

“The Senior Design course at Georgia Tech is an excellent platform that fosters collaboration between academia and industry. Through this project we presented a biopharma industry plasma fractionation planning problem that required synchronizing discrete manufacturing plan with process manufacturing. Once we described the goals and objectives of the project to the Plasmaxis team they successfully created a digital twin of the problem and optimized the plan using mixed integer linear programming approach,” said Arif Mohammed, Kinaxis vice president of professional services, North America.

“We were blown away by the quality of the deliverables that exceeded our expectations – truly world-class, boardroom-quality, top-notch. For Kinaxis it was truly a rewarding experience, and it is an honor to be included among such a distinguished list of Senior Design project winners, both past and present,” Mohammed concluded.

Team members included Nosrat Chowdhury, Brice Edelman, Osman Ghandour, Aniruddh Hari, Yash Lunagaria, Alice Pagoto, and Maria Yagnye. They were advised by ISyE Professor Emeritus Leon McGinnis.

The Buffalo Wild Wings team, whose project was “Untapped Potential: Product Mix Selection Strategy,” worked to improve BWW’s beer selection strategy. The team implemented demand forecasting and streamlined the product selection process to increase profit and generate the most profitable monthly product mix on a store-by-store basis. The proposed system, which can be utilized at any Buffalo Wild Wings location, observed a $30,000 average annual increase in profit per store and reduced the product selection process time from six months to two weeks.

The team included Diego Granizo, Ashwin Haritsa, Selin Karaoguz, Philip Murray, Katie Neil, Wilson Pu, Katie Wah, and Andrew Yowell. They were advised by ISyE Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban.

“All three teams gave terrific presentations of difficult problems with design solutions that have huge potential impact to their clients,” said Nazzal. “Team BWW developed an impressive suite of deliverables with great potential value. Team GWCC faced data availability, process variability, and multi-player challenges but developed an integrated suite of solutions that are immediately implementable and will have a huge environmental and societal impact. Team Kinaxis had a challenging biomedical engineering production problem that crossed disciplinary boundaries and required advanced modeling and optimization technology to obtain solutions.

“Team GWCC and Team Kinaxis were both exceptional in very different ways, which is why we selected them as joint winners this semester,” Nazzal added.

More Reading about Spring 2020's Senior Design Teams

How Senior Design Teams Succeed in the Middle of a Pandemic

How Georgia Tech ISyE Capstone Seniors Rose to the Challenge of COVID-19, and What It Means for Business at Large

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1589904825 2020-05-19 16:13:45 1590075483 2020-05-21 15:38:03 0 0 news Two Senior Design teams, working with the Georgia World Congress Center and Kinaxis as clients, were selected as joint winners for the spring 2020 ISyE Best of Senior Design competition.

2020-05-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-19 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

635484 635486 635487 635485 635484 image <![CDATA[Two Senior Design teams, working with the Georgia World Congress Center and Kinaxis as clients, were selected as joint winners for the spring 2020 ISyE Best of Senior Design competition.]]> image/jpeg 1589903976 2020-05-19 15:59:36 1589903976 2020-05-19 15:59:36 635486 image <![CDATA[The Georgia World Congress Center Senior Design Team]]> image/jpeg 1589904154 2020-05-19 16:02:34 1589904154 2020-05-19 16:02:34 635487 image <![CDATA[The Kinaxis Senior Design Team]]> image/png 1589904197 2020-05-19 16:03:17 1589904197 2020-05-19 16:03:17 635485 image <![CDATA[The Buffalo Wild Wings Senior Design Team]]> image/jpeg 1589904103 2020-05-19 16:01:43 1589904103 2020-05-19 16:01:43 <![CDATA[How Senior Design Teams Succeed in the Middle of a Pandemic]]> <![CDATA[How Georgia Tech ISyE Capstone Seniors Rose to the Challenge of COVID-19, and What It Means for Business at Large]]>
<![CDATA[How Georgia Tech ISyE Capstone Seniors Rose to the Challenge of COVID-19, and What It Means for Business at Large ]]> 28766 By Dima Nazzal

At a time when 97% of Americans were under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, where life as we knew it was upended in a matter of weeks, my Capstone Design course at Georgia Tech saw 218 senior undergraduates in 30 groups deliver high-value industrial and systems engineering solutions to partner clients including Delta Airlines, Starbucks, Emory Healthcare, and The Home Depot. In the design solutions that these seniors completed – and more fundamentally – how they completed them, were strong signals of how we can all realize incredible efficiencies.  
In my pre-pandemic classes, I usually banned the use of cellphones. Computers would be allowed only when I’d tell the students, “Open your notebook and work on analyzing demand data, calculating throughput capacity, or estimating the value and impact of your design.” The environment I sought to curate for my students was built on decades-long history of industrial engineering working norms, which regard distractions as the enemy. And collaboration best occurs through face-to-face engagement and dynamic exchanges of ideas, coupled with rigorous data exploration and analysis.

In mid-March, these norms were overturned because of COVID-19. Students found themselves having to continue their projects from dorm rooms, home states and countries, in isolation and without access to their client’s site. In several instances, the clients were unreachable and unresponsive for an extended period. The students had to lean on their intrinsic motivation, resourcefulness, and integrity more than ever before. What I saw was how prepared they were to make this transition. Rather than being diminished due to a dramatic change of events, the work product was as good as any other Capstone group I’ve led – and in some ways, better (but don’t tell my other students).

These ISyE students were able to deliver high-quality work product because of their ingenuity and training. They leveraged technology, – including the previously forbidden mobile devices and computers, – and quickly adapted to the new environment free of any pre-conceived notion of what a normal work week should be. They restructured their days to allocate time to be more present with their families, to exercise, and to conduct interviews with future employers. They also apportioned enough productive time to give to their projects, and pivot as needed when data or access was scarce.

As COVID-19 eventually recedes, these newfound efficiencies stand to make these students – and us – more productive than before, while affording more time to engage in activities key to quality of life. The tools were already there. This pandemic is the precipitating event showing us how to use them.

As businesses deal with the unique challenges of this time – from a recession requiring tighter control on production, distribution, and warehousing costs to remain competitive; shifting fulfillment channels with the continued rise of e-commerce; significant new health standards that will stay with us for years; and nonprofit organizations that are needed more than ever – these Georgia Tech industrial and systems engineering students have, once again, demonstrated they’re more than up to the task.

This pandemic is making us all – students and faculty -- better prepared, more empathetic, and more flexible. And if it generates more collaborations between Georgia Tech and industry, so much the better. As one Capstone project sponsor told me, “With the success of this team, we are extremely motivated to submit more projects. Also given the COVID-19 lockdown, we are seeing an inflection point and customers/partners are all willing to work remotely more than ever before.”

If you work for an organization, for-profit or nonprofit, large or small, and you have a business problem that can be tackled by a group of highly motivated industrial engineering students mentored by world-class faculty, feel free to reach out to me.

Dima Nazzal is the director of professional practice and Senior Design in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. She is responsible for project-based learning in the industrial engineering undergraduate curriculum, including the Capstone senior design course and the Cornerstone junior design course.

Please contact Dr. Nazzal here for more information on how your company can partner with advanced industrial engineering undergraduates on a project that will yield real-world results.

More Reading About Spring 2020 ISyE Senior Design
How Senior Design Teams Succeed in the Middle of a Pandemic

Spring 2020 Senior Design Results in Tied Winning Teams


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1589907931 2020-05-19 17:05:31 1590075448 2020-05-21 15:37:28 0 0 news In the design solutions that these seniors completed – and more fundamentally – how they completed them, were strong signals of how we can all realize incredible efficiencies.

2020-05-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-19T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-19 00:00:00 How Senior Design Teams Succeed in the Middle of a Pandemic

 Spring 2020 Senior Design Results in Tied Winning Teams

Dima Nazzal

Director of Professional Practice

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

635497 635497 image <![CDATA[ISyE Director of Professional Practice Dima Nazzal]]> image/jpeg 1589907226 2020-05-19 16:53:46 1589907226 2020-05-19 16:53:46
<![CDATA[Professor Arkadi Nemirovski Elected to the National Academy of Sciences]]> 28766 Professor Arkadi Nemirovski, who holds the John Hunter Chair in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). In announcing his election, the NAS commended Nemirovski for “outstanding contributions to foundational mathematics.”

“It is wonderful to see the work of ISyE Professor Arkadi Nemirovski recognized by his peers,” said Steve McLaughlin, College of Engineering dean and Southern Company Chair. “Arkadi joins some of the most distinguished scientists in the country as a member of the NAS, and I join the rest of the Georgia Tech community in congratulating him on this well-deserved honor.”

NAS membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors a scientist can receive. In addition to Nemirovski, two other faculty members from Georgia Tech have been elected to the NAS this year: Marilyn Brown, Regents Professor and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy, and Randall Engle, professor in the School of Psychology. Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Regents Professor and Julius Brown Chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was elected to the NAS in 1980.

“Congratulations to Arkadi on his recent induction into the National Academy of Sciences. This is an amazing and well-deserved honor,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “He is a thought leader and pioneer in his field, and this most recent recognition is just another example of his impact on and fundamental contributions to continuous optimization and machine learning during his unparalleled career. We’re very proud to have Arkadi as a longstanding member of the ISyE family.”

The late Anderson-Interface Chair and Professor Shabbir Ahmed once described Nemirovski’s work as ahead of its time, anticipating the solution to a problem that was yet to exist. Nemirovski’s research interests focus on optimization theory and algorithms, with emphasis on investigating complexity and developing efficient algorithms for nonlinear convex programs, optimization under uncertainty, applications of convex optimization in engineering, and nonparametric statistics.

For his work in “developing efficient algorithms for large-scale convex optimization problems,” Nemirovski was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2017, the first year he was eligible for induction. He and Brown are the only two faculty members at Georgia Tech to hold both honors.

“While the field of industrial engineering and operations research is represented by many members in the NAE, I believe that Arkadi Nemirovski is the first  member of the NAS, as well as being the first mathematician in the NAS who specializes in optimization,” said George Nemhauser, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Institute Professor.

“There is a reason why Arkadi is in both the NAS and the NAE: He has repeatedly demonstrated that fundamental mathematics have deep and sustained implications for engineering,” said A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck.

“Arkadi has revolutionized our understanding of tractability through his seminal work on interior-point methods for convex optimization. He has transformed optimization under uncertainty through his pioneering work on robust optimization. These methodologies are now pervasive in many engineering disciplines, including energy, robotics, autonomous control systems, networking, finance, and signal processing.”

Election to the NAS is the latest in a long line of high honors for Nemirovski, which include the Fulkerson Prize from the Mathematical Programming Society and the American Mathematical Society in 1982 (joint with Leonid Khachiyan and David Yudin); the Dantzig Prize from the Mathematical Programming Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 1991 (joint with Martin Grötschel); and the John von Neumann Theory Prize by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences in 2003 (along with Michael Todd).

“I am extremely grateful to the National Academy of Sciences for the great honor the Academy has seen fit to confer upon me,” said Nemirovski. “I am equally grateful to my colleagues at Georgia Tech and to Georgia Tech as an institution for the honor and privilege to enjoy excellent working conditions,  friendly personal relations, and an inspiring atmosphere.”

Nemirovski earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics (1974) from Moscow State University; his Doctor of Sciences in Mathematics (1990) from the Supreme Attestation Board at the USSR Council of Ministers; and his Doctor of Mathematics (Honoris Causa) from the University of Waterloo, Canada (2009). He joined ISyE in 2005.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1589827763 2020-05-18 18:49:23 1589836536 2020-05-18 21:15:36 0 0 news Nemirovski is one of two professors at the Insitute to have been inducted into both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

2020-05-18T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-18T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-18 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

635456 635231 635456 image <![CDATA[John Hunter Chair and Professor Arkadi Nemirovski]]> image/png 1589836411 2020-05-18 21:13:31 1589836411 2020-05-18 21:13:31 635231 image <![CDATA[2020 NAS Members: Randall Engle, Arkadi Nemirovski, Marilyn Brown]]> image/jpeg 1588957715 2020-05-08 17:08:35 1588957715 2020-05-08 17:08:35 <![CDATA[Three Georgia Tech Faculty Elected to the National Academic of Sciences]]> <![CDATA[NemFest: Celebrating Optimization Legends George Nemhauser and Arkadi Nemirovski]]>
<![CDATA[Wu Honored With Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award ]]> 27713 Jeff Wu is considered a visionary in engineering statistics. During a 1997 lecture he popularized the term “data science,” which is now used worldwide. He was the first academic statistician elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He has received almost every award in the field of engineering statistics. And he is the only person in statistical sciences to have received all three of the following awards: the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Presidents Award in 1987, the COPSS Fisher Lecture in 2011, and the Deming Lecture in 2012. Georgia Tech honored him with the Sigma Xi Sustained Research Award in 2014.

Wu, professor and Coca Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), will now receive Georgia Tech’s highest award given to a faculty member: the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching, research, and service. Instituted in 1984 by the Class of 1934 in observance of its 50th reunion, it is presented to a professor who has made significant long-term contributions that have brought widespread recognition to the professor, to his or her school, and to the Institute.

“This is a great honor in recognition of my work at Georgia Tech and for Georgia Tech,” Wu said. “Any good work is teamwork. I would like to acknowledge my former students, my collaborators, and the supportive environment of ISyE, especially our chair Edwin Romeijn for his leadership. I will continue to give my best to the Institute.”

From Taiwan to Data Science

Wu grew up in Taiwan with two sisters and three brothers. His parents owned a shoe store where he worked behind the scenes as the accountant because he did not like being out front bargaining with the customers. He was an intellectually curious child, and working alone gave him more time to read.

He earned a B.S. in mathematics from National Taiwan University and a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Michigan before coming to Georgia Tech in 2003.

Georgia Tech invited Wu to give a seminar in February of 2002. Two weeks before the seminar, ISyE informed him that an endowed chair was available, and they asked for his C.V.

“I found Georgia Tech to have a great environment, forward-looking and ambitious faculty, and lots of resources,” Wu said. “I give credit to Bill Rouse, the ISyE chair at the time, whose vision was to develop statistics as a branch of industrial engineering.”

Wu also credits then-provost Jean-Lou Chameau, for adding five new assistant professor positions within the school’s statistics program. All five assistant professors, recruited by Wu, earned the National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

“Over the years data science, machine learning, and data analytics have flourished on campus,” Wu said. “This is why I will stay here until I retire. I have been very happy here.”

When asked about the legacy he hopes to leave, Wu said, “The obvious answer is the collection of my research. But several people have pointed out that my bigger legacy is the students I have educated who are now in academia and industry.”

He has supervised 49 doctoral students, out of which 35 are teaching in major research departments or institutions in statistics, engineering, and business in the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Europe. Among them, there are 21 Fellows of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the American Society for Quality, and the International Academy for Quality; three editors of Technometrics, and one editor of the Journal of Quality Technology.

Quotes about Dr. Wu, taken from letters of support written by colleagues and former students:

“Jeff Wu has sustained outstanding achievements in the areas of research, teaching, and service. He is a leading scholar who has made profound impacts in methodology development and industrial applications in the area of industrial statistics and engineering. He has influenced multiple generations of researchers and students through his devoted teaching and mentoring. He also has contributed to many different aspects at Georgia Tech, serving on numerous committees and being a great supporter of Tech’s faculty and alumni for national and international recognition.”

H. Edwin Romeijn

H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart School Chair and Professor


“Quite plainly, Jeff is a living legend in statistical sciences. His contributions, spanning over several decades, to statistics and its applications to other disciplines are so tremendous and have received such worldwide recognition and applaud that I find it impossible even to sketch an account of all his achievements in the limited space of this letter. Personally, I had the opportunity to work with Jeff on several research projects. On each occasion, I was simply amazed by his depth of knowledge, erudition, and foresight.”

Rahul Mukerjee

Professor of Statistics and J.C. Bose National Fellow, Government of India

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta


“I met Professor Wu in 2013, after he had developed a highly efficient algorithm for sensitivity testing for which my organization, the Department of Defense, had a significant need. Since then he has helped us in adapting this approach to a variety of systems, which has led to my team partnering with others across the federal government and private industry to help them adapt this approach to their systems. His research is modernizing the way the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, NASA, and the Department of Energy test and evaluate their systems, leading to safer and more reliable products and technologies.”

Douglas M. Ray, PStat

Lead Mathematical Statistician

U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center


“I was Jeff’s 29th student, but probably the first with a pure engineering background. He treated me differently from the others. He was excited to hear about the problems I encountered in industries, and he gave me the freedom to work on them. He was able to instill a passion in me for engineering statistics, which has become my profession and career. Jeff has the unique ability to bring the best out of his students. He told me the secret of his success is ‘train each student according to his or her own abilities.’ No wonder he has 49 Ph.D. students who are very successful in their careers, and many of them are now leaders in their fields.”

Roshan Joseph

A. Russell Chandler III Professor

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering


“Inviting Professor Wu as co-PI [on a $2 million National Science Foundation-funded grant in the Emerging Frontiers and Research Innovation program] has been the best decision I have ever made during my 20 years at Georgia Tech. Among my experiences with colleagues at Tech, Professor Wu stands out through the enormous impact he has made in my domain, his irreplaceable courses for graduate students, and the way he has helped to propel my lab into a new and exciting direction.”

Godfried Augenbroe

Professor and Director of the High Performance Building Lab

School of Architecture


“Professor Wu is my personal hero. He inspired me to become a professor and helped me at every major juncture of my career. His kind support has significantly accelerated my professional development. I use what I learned from him to support my own students. I told my students the reason I care about their professional development is because Professor Wu did the same for me.”

Peter Chien

Professor in Statistics

University of Wisconsin-Madison

]]> Victor Rogers 1 1589317372 2020-05-12 21:02:52 1589827136 2020-05-18 18:38:56 0 0 news ISyE's Jeff Wu receives Georgia Tech’s highest award given to a faculty member: the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award.

2020-05-12T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-12T00:00:00-04:00 2020-05-12 00:00:00 The Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award is one of many Faculty and Staff Honors usually presented each spring. See the list of Faculty and Staff Honors recipients here.

Victor Rogers

Institute Communications

635315 635316 635314 635315 image <![CDATA[Jeff Wu]]> image/jpeg 1589374016 2020-05-13 12:46:56 1589374044 2020-05-13 12:47:24 635316 image <![CDATA[Jeff Wu]]> image/jpeg 1589374199 2020-05-13 12:49:59 1589374218 2020-05-13 12:50:18 635314 image <![CDATA[Jeff Wu]]> image/jpeg 1589373800 2020-05-13 12:43:20 1589373828 2020-05-13 12:43:48
<![CDATA[In Memoriam: Robin Thomas ]]> 34760 In addition to his appointment in the School of Mathematics, Thomas was an adjunct faculty member in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and director of the interdisciplinary Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization (ACO) program, sponsored by ISyE, the College of Computing, and the School of Mathematics.

“ACO is an outstanding program largely due to Robin’s contributions,” said Santanu Dey, A. Russell Chandler III Professor and associate chair of graduate studies in ISyE. “He cared deeply about the quality of the program. He is a role model for many of us both as researchers and as administrators. His passing is a huge loss.”

In addition to his significant impact on the ACO program, Thomas was also known as a great teacher who was devoted to his students’ success.

“One of the highlights of my time as an ISyE Ph.D. student was the opportunity to take courses from leaders in the field who were also excellent teachers, and Robin Thomas was certainly in that category,” said Leo and Louise Benatar Early Career Professor and ISyE Associate Professor Alejandro Toriello. “I had the great fortune of taking Robin's graduate graph theory course as a first-year Ph.D. student and later audited his advanced graph theory course as well. Robin was terrific in class and was very supportive of his students, myself included. It was thus also a great honor to have Robin himself invite me to join the ACO faculty when I returned to ISyE as a faculty member. I am extremely grateful for Robin's impact on my education and career, and I will remember him as an outstanding colleague and role model.”

Thomas worked closely with many faculty members in ISyE and was a great friend and colleague to many throughout the Institute.

“Robin Thomas was an inspiring colleague both for his mathematical work and his integrity,” added Santosh Vempala, adjunct professor in ISyE and Frederick G. Storey Chair and professor in the College of Computing. “He approached research and administrative duties in the same spirit — precise, careful, complete, and always with the highest standards. As a graph theorist, he is one of the all-time greats. As a person, he was straightforward, honest, reliable, and fearless. I feel very fortunate to have known him, interacted with him, and learned from him for the past 25 years.”

“He was amazing on a daily basis,” added Dey. “Even when he was unwell, he was on top of everything. He was truly a ‘superman’ and will be greatly missed.”

Our thoughts are with Robin’s wife, ISyE Professor Sigrun Andradottir, and the rest of his family during this difficult time. Read more about Robin’s many contributions to his field here.

]]> Laurie Haigh 1 1587559810 2020-04-22 12:50:10 1587560766 2020-04-22 13:06:06 0 0 news Regents’ Professor Robin Thomas passed away on March 26, 2020. He was a world-renowned mathematician, scholar, colleague, and friend to many at Georgia Tech.

2020-04-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-22T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-22 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634635 634396 634635 image <![CDATA[Robin Thomas ]]> image/jpeg 1587560668 2020-04-22 13:04:28 1587560668 2020-04-22 13:04:28 634396 image <![CDATA[Robin Thomas with Family]]> image/png 1586969831 2020-04-15 16:57:11 1586971196 2020-04-15 17:19:56
<![CDATA[How an ISyE Instructor Transitioned to Online Learning ]]> 28766 At some point in their studies, most undergraduate students in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) encounter Damon P. Williams as an instructor. Williams, who himself earned a bachelor’s degree from ISyE in 2002, is a lecturer and advisor in ISyE’s academic office, and he has a reputation for being an engaging – and demanding – teacher. In fact, Williams recently won a teaching award from the Institute’s Center for Teaching and Learning that was based on student course surveys.

Williams describes his pedagogical style as student-centered; he expects his pupils to drive their own learning. In a normal semester, he starts each class session with a quiz – intended to train the students to quickly analyze and solve problems, a skill they’ll need in their post-graduate professional roles. The quiz is then often followed by having the students rotate to the whiteboard in groups of two or three to answer questions.

But obviously, given the sweeping social changes mandated by the novel coronavirus, these aren’t normal times. When the Institute moved to entirely online learning in late March, was Williams able to adapt his teaching approach for a virtual classroom?

The short answer is “yes.”

Over spring break, Williams – like most instructors at Tech – experimented with recording his remaining 14 lectures for ISYE 3104, Supply Chain Modeling: Manufacturing & Warehousing, and setting up videoconferencing via BlueJeans. Being able to teach effectively, he quickly discovered, requires multiple devices.

“I have two laptops and my tablet connected to BlueJeans,” Williams explains. “One laptop is for managing the videoconference, where I can see all the students. Then I screenshare my tablet and give my lecture to the other computer, while writing on the tablet. That way, the students can both see me and see what I was writing on the tablet – as if I was in the classroom writing on the whiteboard. Implementing best practices for online instruction has been key.”

The 60 students enrolled in ISYE 3104 watch the asynchronous videos Williams recorded over spring break prior to each live session, which he begins with a quiz, just as in his face-to-face classes. The students write their answers to the quiz questions on quiz template paper, just as they would in William’s on-campus class, and when they’re finished, they use their smartphones to take a picture of their responses, save them as a PDF, and upload them to the class Canvas page to be graded.

Then Williams dives into his lecture for the day. He says that despite the online format, student engagement has not suffered. His students expect to be called upon by name – generally in alphabetical order, since that’s how BlueJeans orders participants – at least once per session. Many of the students hang around for Williams’ office hours, which immediately follow class.

ISyE fourth-year student Maggie May serves as Williams’ teaching assistant for ISYE 3104. She has also moved to an online format for her office hours and review sessions, which she holds each week via BlueJeans from her family’s home in Maryland.

“I actually have seen a great turnout from the students for these virtual sessions,” she says. “We had an exam this past week, and 40 students showed up to review the test material. I also hosted a couple of extra review sessions, in response to student requests. I think that’s due to Damon’s expectation that his students are personally responsible for engaging with the material, as well as the solid work ethic he instills in them.”

In addition to covering course material, Williams has also used the online format to teach his undergraduates some basic videoconferencing etiquette: Dress appropriately (no pajamas!), remember that your surroundings should not be distracting to other participants, and – above all – mute your audio when you’re not speaking. He gives the students one extra point per class session, which they lose if they forget to silence themselves at any point during the class or don’t remember to unmute themselves when they’re responding to a question.

“These students are going to be in professional positions after graduation where they will be regularly working with colleagues around the world via videoconference,” Williams notes. “And being able to be effective in this format is essential. I was not going to lose this opportunity to help my students learn how to do this.”

Makala Muhammed, an ISyE fourth-year student enrolled in Williams’ class, says that his effort to maintain an effective learning environment for his students has paid off.

“He gives us numerous opportunities to grasp the material and shows us multiple ways to solve problems. That’s classic Damon,” she explains. “But even more than that, he checks in with us to make sure we’re doing okay, which means a lot in the middle of a situation that is difficult for everyone.”

“The shift to a fully online format has been relatively smooth,” May adds. “Apart from learning to use these technologies effectively, such a transition means that everyone – Damon, me, and the students – have to be adaptive and flexible within incredibly challenging circumstances. But largely the level of class engagement has been the same, and Damon provides an excellent example of how an online class can be taught successfully.”

Williams is already thinking about how he’ll approach teaching this summer, since classes at the Institute will continue to be virtual. One idea: Have the students demonstrate their grasp of the materials by putting them into an instructional posture.

“Being able to teach someone something is the highest form of comprehension,” he says. “Every semester, I give my students hundreds of problems to solve. A student recently sent me a three-minute video of his correct solution to a problem that I solved in a different way for the class. His video, in its quality and brevity, ended up being a great resource for the rest of the students, and it occurred to me that student-made short videos may be something to incorporate more fully this summer. To do this successfully, a student really has to learn the material in a deep way.”

Williams considers the transition to fully online teaching a success, all things considered. “The students in my class are Georgia Tech students, which means they have the capacity to work hard and be professional even in the middle of a pandemic,” he says. But like most of the Georgia Tech family, Williams is also looking forward to eventually returning to campus. He’s ready to interact again with his students face-to-face.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1587483279 2020-04-21 15:34:39 1587483279 2020-04-21 15:34:39 0 0 news Damon P. Williams has found ways to maintain student engagement even in the virtual classroom.

2020-04-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-21T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-21 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634599 634526 634530 634527 634599 image <![CDATA[Damon P. Williams, Makala Muhammed, and Maggie May]]> image/jpeg 1587480740 2020-04-21 14:52:20 1587480740 2020-04-21 14:52:20 634526 image <![CDATA[ Lecturer and Advisor Damon P. Williams]]> image/jpeg 1587395613 2020-04-20 15:13:33 1587395613 2020-04-20 15:13:33 634530 image <![CDATA[Makala Muhammed]]> image/jpeg 1587397311 2020-04-20 15:41:51 1587397311 2020-04-20 15:41:51 634527 image <![CDATA[Maggie May]]> image/jpeg 1587396364 2020-04-20 15:26:04 1587396364 2020-04-20 15:26:04 <![CDATA[Damon P. Williams Wins Teaching Award]]> <![CDATA[ Lecturer and Pastor Damon P. Williams on his Complementary Careers]]>
<![CDATA[Digital Tool Helps Hospital Make Important Coronavirus Retest Decisions]]> 28766 What-if questions can torment a doctor making coronavirus retest decisions: What if a patient’s initial negative test was a false negative, and he or she needs a second test? What if they don’t need it, and a retest would use up a scarce test kit and treatments that other patients need?

Such challenges led Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta to establish a paper-based decision tree for ordering COVID-19 retests, and researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology turned it into an automated digital tool. Piedmont further developed the tool and has now built it into the hospital’s electronic medical record, where it influences the ordering of retests.

A user can answer their “ifs” by clicking through questions, and the “if-this-then-do-that” algorithm makes recommendations for best courses of action, ranging from immediately treating a patient for COVID-19 to retesting to consulting a specialist. The final decision remains with the physician.

The questions are deceptively simple, but the recommendations are not always obvious. That reflects the algorithm’s usefulness to fill gaps in thinking about the new sickness, which can confront clinicians with surprises.

“If a patient has not had close contact with positive patients and the first test came back negative, a physician may think the patient does not need to be retested. But actually, the patient may need a second test because they are in intensive care and also have suspicious chest X-rays,” said Georgia Tech graduate research assistant April Yu, who converted the decision tree into a digital tool.

“One of our big worries in using a brand-new test like the coronavirus test is that it will miss real cases, and this tool helps prevent that,” said Dr. Bronwen Garner, who helped develop the original decision tree and is an infectious disease specialist at Piedmont Healthcare. “It also helps reassure physicians when they get a negative result that it is probably a true negative.”

Suspenseful decision-making

A physician’s reaction to an initial negative test can mean life or death because the physician not only decides on follow-up testing but also on treatment pathways and quarantine.

“If you make a misstep in the thought process, it can lead to cascading impacts not only for the patient but also for healthcare professionals and family members, who may be exposed to the patient,” said Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair and Professor in Georgia Tech’s Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “This tool is meant to help doctors easily stay on the decision tree path.”

Michael O’Toole, executive director of Piedmont Healthcare’s quality improvement department, originally pictured doctors getting an automated version of the decision tree to use on their phones. O’Toole called Keskinocak, and she tapped Yu, a member of her research group.

“Literally within four hours they had it ready for us. It was incredible,” said O’Toole, a Georgia Tech alumnus who studied industrial and systems engineering.

“It was a very pleasant surprise,” said Dr. Garner, who is also a Georgia Tech graduate. “Automated tools are better than a paper format because they’re in the same format as orders in our electronic system. We get notifications in real time instead of having to remember to check a piece of paper.”

The tool is in place in the system where doctors order retests and is specific to Piedmont’s workflow. It may not be directly transferable to other health care systems.

Piedmont Healthcare simplified the logic even more, and the hospital built its own custom alerts to guide physicians on retesting. For cases that are more ambiguous, Piedmont Healthcare’s final version of the tool also gives physicians inside the hospital guidance to consult with their in-house infectious disease specialists.


In her original version, Yu had turned the decision tree criteria into a short panel of questions with yes and no answers. It took her six iterations to arrive at her final version.

Yu’s version asked whether the patient:

On the back end, the algorithm guided the user through risks of coronavirus presence based on the answers.

“The steps were easy to follow, and the answers were color-coded for urgency with white, yellow, and red,” said Keskinocak, who also directs Georgia Tech’s Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems.

One bright yellow answer read: “This patient needs re-testing 24 hours after the initial test!” And there were further recommendations on how to handle the case.

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Also read: Advice on DIY masks

Writer & Media Representative: Ben Brumfield (404-272-2780), email: ben.brumfield@comm.gatech.edu

Georgia Institute of Technology

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586885430 2020-04-14 17:30:30 1587476608 2020-04-21 13:43:28 0 0 news The dearth of coronavirus tests and the many false negatives confront doctors with a difficult decision this new tool helps them make.

2020-04-13T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-13T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-13 00:00:00 Ben Brumfield

Institute Communications

633644 634297 633644 image <![CDATA[Coping with COVID2]]> image/png 1584495570 2020-03-18 01:39:30 1584562072 2020-03-18 20:07:52 634297 image <![CDATA[Piedmont Healthcare beauty shot]]> image/jpeg 1586786167 2020-04-13 13:56:07 1586786167 2020-04-13 13:56:07
<![CDATA[Associate Professor Mohit Singh Leads Algorithms & Randomness Center]]> 28766

The Algorithms & Randomness Center (ARC) is known as Georgia Tech’s “think tank” for the theory of computing and optimization. ARC is an interdisciplinary center  at the intersection of engineering, math, and computer science. Mohit Singh, H. Milton Stewart Early Career Professor and associate professor in the H. Milton StewartSchool of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), is ARC’s new director.

“ARC brings faculty together around common problems within the three fields,” Singh explained. “The aim of the center is to utilize ISyE’s strength in optimization and probability, graph theory from mathematics,and algorithms from computer science. ARC is a forum for faculty knowledge, where those of us working on similar problems can collaborate and act as a force multiplier.”

Optimization has classically branched into two distinct subfields of continuous and discrete optimization progressing on close but distinct directions. Recent exciting developments have found interesting bridges between the two fields, and ARC-associated faculty have led many of these developments. Such bridges are finding applications in sampling algorithms, approximation algorithms, and classical problems such as maximum flow in networks or discrepancy problems in discrete mathematics. ARC-associated faculty are also focusing on optimization problems in machine learning that involve fairness.

“What is fairness?” asks Singh. “That’s actually a major research question, and the definition of fairness is based on the different contexts in which it is studied.” Fairness in classical opti-mization problems has been studied for decades, while more recently academicians have been examining statistical notions of fairness.

For example, a data set might consist of thousands of images of both men and women, with these images represented as vectors in huge dimensions. In order to process this data more quickly, it can be reduced to much smaller dimensions, which lends itself to some loss of data. The loss is comparatively small, and on average a typical image is still well preserved, but Singh’s students found that most of the images experiencing loss are images of women.

“I don’t care about average loss, such as how much of my image is retained from large dimensions to small dimensions,” said Singh. “But ideally I want the loss to be about equal between images of men and women. So what are the new algorithms that will accomplish this?”

Singh has been working on algorithmic problems since he was a Ph.D. student in the Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization (ACO) program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. (In fact, Carnegie Mellon and Georgia Tech are the only two schools to offer an interdisciplinary ACO graduate degree.) His role as ARC’s director is a natural fit.

In this capacity, he helps bring in postdoctoral students who are helping drive the center’s cross-disciplinary research. Singh is planning to strengthen ARC’s close partnership with TRIAD (Transdisciplinary Research Institute for Advancing Data Science); the two centers have already jointly funded six to eight research proposals from young Ph.D. students. Singh is also planning continued collaborations with Georgia Tech IRCs and IRIs, such as the Center for Machine Learning and the Institute for Data Engineering and Science.

“These centers are studying some of the most exciting and influential research areas, in alignment with ARC, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them closely,” added Singh.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586374222 2020-04-08 19:30:22 1587136149 2020-04-17 15:09:09 0 0 news ARC serves as Georgia Tech's "think thank" for the theory of computing and optimization.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634190 634190 image <![CDATA[Associate Professor and Director of the Algorithms and Randomness Center Mohit Singh]]> image/jpeg 1586373799 2020-04-08 19:23:19 1586373799 2020-04-08 19:23:19
<![CDATA[How a Georgia Tech Campus Chaplain Uses Her ISyE Skills on the Job]]> 28766 The Episcopal chaplain of the Georgia Tech campus ministry Grace House, Kathryn Pierce Folk,  is a familiar face to many students – particularly to the hundreds who show up on Thursday afternoons at “Grace Coffee House” for free coffee.

Folk’s love for Georgia Tech began at age eight, when her father took to see her first Ramblin’ Wreck Parade. Fourteen years later, she graduated from the Institute with a bachelor’s degree from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).

Post-Commencement, Folk initially took a job with UPS in the industrial engineering department but quickly discovered that she most enjoyed working with people and solving workplace issues to ensure employees were happy and productive. This interest in people led her to a master’s degree in counseling and – eventually – to the Grace House chaplaincy.

The primary goal for Folk and Grace House – which is a joint ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) – is to provide what she calls “a safe, welcoming, and hopeful space for students at the Institute.” Given that Tech’s campus is closed down due to the coronavirus, Folk’s focus has shifted to leading the ECLA and Episcopal denominations’ national effort to provide housing and supportive resources for students displaced by the pandemic. And yes, she’s using her ISyE skills more than ever.

After you graduated from Tech, you went into consulting, a typical role for a young ISyE alum. And yet now you’re a campus ministry chaplain, a very atypical role. How did that happen?

I was involved with Christian Campus Fellowship as an undergraduate, and by my third year, I decided I wanted to be a campus minister. I earned my counseling degree to explore my calling further, but always thought you had to be ordained to do ministry. One night my husband said, “I dare you to quit your job.” He wanted me to focus on becoming a chaplain, because he knew how much I wanted to do it. That was at 11:45 p.m. At midnight, I submitted my resignation to the consulting company at which I was employed.

I started volunteering at Kennesaw State University with Canterbury Club, the Episcopal ministry there. Eventually, a job opened up at Grace House. My priest and some fellow parishioners encouraged me to apply for it even though I wasn’t ordained, so I did, and here I am.

Why was campus ministry so compelling to you even when you were an undergraduate?

I saw how campus ministries can change lives. The opportunities are so powerful with people that age – away from family for the first time, trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up, and trying to master necessary life skills along the way. They have so many needs to be met, and that called to me. 

Campus ministry also changed my life. It fed me spiritually and encouraged me in ways that my church and youth group no longer could. I think this encouragement kept me going on the rough days, ultimately helping me cross the finish line of graduation. I fondly remember those Monday afternoons at 4 p.m. when Mary Lou would have homemade cinnamon rolls waiting for us at the CCF house. That cinnamon roll and her smile melted away the stress created by whatever test I just took.

How many students do you work with?

It varies widely. We might have eight students for our Thursday worship, whereas we’ve had well over 400 students show up for Grace Coffee House. (Yes, we use time study clickers to help determine inventory needs!)

What does a typical week look like for you?

I’m all over the place. I’m also a chaplain at Oglethorpe University, so on Mondays and Wednesdays, I’m with the students and other campus ministers over there. Tuesdays, I’m at Tech and we have our staff meeting that evening. Thursdays we have Grace Coffee House, of course, and then Fridays are for meetings – both with individual students as well as campus organizations. Saturday and Sunday are kind of a free-for-all. I could be guest preaching at a church, attending a fundraiser, working a Diocesan event, leading a retreat, doing my own homework, or binge-watching my favorite show, The Dead Files.

You’re currently working on your doctorate in education. What is your focus, and how will you use what you’re learning as a campus chaplain?

Creighton University recently contacted me to report I passed my comprehensive exams this semester, so I will begin dissertation proposal construction in the fall! My dissertation will focus on helping higher educational institutions put policies into place to help transgender students stay in school and graduate.  While this alone may not sound very profound, what is profound are the rates of suicidality in college-aged transgender students. These rates drop significantly after they obtain their undergraduate degree.  I ideally would like to remove as many barriers as possible to graduation. At this point, I believe a phenomenological study will be involved, but I’m also a fan of mixed-methods research. Fortunately, I have a little while to decide on which direction to go.

Relatively recently, I realized that there are no suicide prevention experts in the Church. These deaths are happening more and more, especially with LGBTQIA+ members of the community. So, my thought has been that we should open up this topic and start discussing it – bring it up – instead of sweeping it under the rug like it isn’t happening.

To quantify this a bit, there are millions of Americans who are members of faith-based organizations. If we can offer these organizations a suicide prevention curriculum and encourage them to spend a few days a year talking about suicide, then we will have educated a huge portion of society about this issue in the U.S. alone. Imagine what we could do globally.  

How do you use your ISyE skills in this role?

We are starting to add more campuses to this ministry, and everything is still run just by Andrew Rickel, the Lutheran pastor, and me. In consulting, you look at doing more with less and creating tools to help folks work better, and that applies to Grace House too. Campus ministry is an interesting blend of theory of constraints and a modified economy of scale. What can I do at Georgia Tech, and at Oglethorpe, that I can also eventually do at Georgia State and Emory with little to no effort, no additional funding, and no additional headcount?

To solve this puzzle, I keep going to back to the human factors class I took at Tech. How can I make our jobs more user-friendly, more efficient, more intuitive, and more cost-effective? No, it’s not designing airplane cockpits, but all of the same thought processes and concepts apply. Needless to say, the skills I learned in my ISyE classes are invaluable, timeless, and interdisciplinary.   

What do you want students to know about Grace House?

I would say it goes to back to the question, “What is a chaplain?” If you need to talk to someone but you don’t need to talk to your advisor and you don’t want to talk to your parents, then come talk to us. Maybe you’re hungry and need to grab some food for the weekend and don’t want to make a big deal about it, well then come talk to us – we have a food pantry. If you need a pep talk before an exam, come talk to us. If you have a flat tire, come talk to us. These are little things that add up. Our desire is to fill that space between Institute administration, advisors, counselors, and parents.

How has your role changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic?

The pandemic has necessitated campus closings all over the U.S., beginning with Stanford University. Andrew and I began thinking about what might happen at Georgia Tech and how we could help. We talked to the Diocese and the Synod about students who couldn’t go home and whether or not there was anything we could do to help them. They gave us the go-ahead, so we could be prepared.

I started putting a plan together on Thursday, March 12th, and shared it with the national heads of the Episcopalian and Lutheran campus ministries, and they asked me to open up this assistance to students nationwide. We sent out a request for people who could offer students housing via Facebook, Instagram, and parish administrators.

I began building a database of people who could open their homes, and with that in place, we then allowed students to begin requesting housing.

There are people who also want to help by bringing food and groceries to the students or offering U-Hauls to help them move out of campus housing or praying for the students – we are happy to accept whatever you’re able to offer. It’s a divide and conquer approach – the Lutheran church is spearheading the effort to find housing and the Episcopal church is managing donors of other goods and services.

In this pandemic, I am using my ISyE degree to solve problems I could never have imagined. This is once again, a classic example of optimizing under constraints. In this situation, I have to find students housing opportunities so that both student and host preferences match, and everyone feels comfortable with the arrangement. And it can even come down to things like, “Are you allergic to cats?” “Do you need a space to pray?” “Are you vegetarian?” “Do you keep kosher?”

At this point, I believe students have been placed and those that need food are receiving food. My concern for future housing continues to grow, especially after being on a recent call with one of the sororities at Georgia Tech. Students have found temporary housing until the end of spring semester. But what happens for the summer? Internships are being pushed out until June 1. Classes begin in May. Where will students live? How will they get their belongings? Where will they eat? I suppose it is time to dust off some network modeling notes and do a little failure modes and effects analysis. While I don’t currently have answers to these questions, what I do know is our Student Life staff is awesome and both “Ma Tech” and the ISyE program prepared me well for this. To quote one of our famous Grace House alums, “We’re Georgia Tech. We can do that.”

If you are a student in need of housing or if you would like to help support displaced students with housing, prayer, food, or funding, please go to the Grace House website and fill out the appropriate form or contact Kathryn at kat@gracepeople.org.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586524000 2020-04-10 13:06:40 1586969097 2020-04-15 16:44:57 0 0 news Alumna Kathryn Pierce Folk has found herself using her ISyE degree in unexpected ways. Now she's leading a national effort to provide housing for college students displaced by the coronavirus.

2020-04-09T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-09T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-09 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634391 634391 image <![CDATA[Kathryn Pierce Folk, ISyE alumna and Grace House chaplain]]> image/jpeg 1586969033 2020-04-15 16:43:53 1586969033 2020-04-15 16:43:53
<![CDATA[ISyE Team Places Third in National ARPA-E GO Competition]]> 28766 A team led by Anderson-Interface Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Andy Sun in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) has placed third out of 27 teams in the first round of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ARPA-E Grid Optimization Competition. The team also included A. Russell Chandler III Professor Santanu Dey and three Ph.D. students -- Amin Gholami, Kaizhao Sun, and Shixuan Zhang – who are all advised by Associate Professor Sun.

For the competition, the DOE devised a series of challenges to develop software management solutions for challenging power grid problems with the intent of creating a more reliable, resilient, and secure American electricity grid.

Decades ago, the national electricity grid was dominated by large centralized power companies, but in recent years, the grid has been broken up into smaller units held by individual power companies – such as Georgia Power, for example.

“All these individual units make coordination – and thus, reliability – harder to achieve,” Associate Professor Sun explained. “And then if you factor in sustainable energy sources like wind and solar, that also introduces uncertainty, all in an industry where 100% dependability is key. So, the goal of the GO Competition was to devise sophisticated software solutions that improve overall grid reliability. This is a problem that industry experts have been trying to solve since the 1960s.”

For competition purposes, the DOE provided blind data sets pulled from actual power grids – blind, because of security risks. The 27 teams then created algorithms to make the grids operate as efficiently as possible – which was not a simple task.

“To design an algorithm, we had to have some theoretical understanding of the problem and its constraints,” said Zhang. “The theory is one thing but trying to provide code that is robust and resilient to bugs or failures is another. We spent a good bit of time debugging our code and testing the algorithm as extensively as possible on our own server.”

Associate Professor Sun praised the Ph.D. students’ work.

“They’ve done a fantastic job,” he said. “Their task was to build a robust piece of software from scratch in a very short time period. Shixuan, Amin, and Kaizhao took on the responsibility of doing the coding and testing.”

Next steps involve further testing of the algorithm and evaluating the economic impact it could have on energy systems. There is a second challenge round, currently scheduled for the fall, that Sun’s team will participate in. The top 10 teams share a $3.4 million prize, which is to be used to further develop their respective approaches and pursue industry adoption of their technologies.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586883782 2020-04-14 17:03:02 1586884735 2020-04-14 17:18:55 0 0 news The competition asked participating teams to develop software management solutions with the goal of creating a more resilient electrical grid.]]> 2020-04-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-14 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634355 634355 image <![CDATA[Electrical lines stretch across farmland in the Midwest.]]> image/jpeg 1586882954 2020-04-14 16:49:14 1586882954 2020-04-14 16:49:14
<![CDATA[Effectively Treating Hepatitis C]]> 28766 “My ‘aha’ moment came when I learned that as of 2006, more people are dying of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) than of HIV,” explained George Family Foundation Early Career Professor Turgay Ayer. “Although HIV gets more attention, HCV presents a huge societal burden.”

Ayer, an associate professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has spent his career applying his analytics skills to health care–related problems. So this new information immediately piqued his interest. In 2014, he began examining Hepatitis C in the general U.S. population with the first of several grants dedicated to this problem.

As Ayer conducted research, he discovered that the disease has an outsize presence in prisons, up to 10 times higher than in the general population, largely because HCV results from intravenous drug use. Inmates on average are incarcerated fewer than five years, during which time the majority are likely not treated for HCV. Then, upon their release, they sicken members of the general population through injection drug use (IDU).
Thus, Ayer realized that if the infected IDU prisoners — called “super spreaders” by the medical community — are successfully treated for HCV in prison, infections in the general population are much less likely to occur. At the same time, some significantly more effective HCV treatments were being approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. Thanks to these more effective treatments, the World Health Organization (WHO) set a goal for the worldwide elimination of HCV
by 2030.

Treating prisoners represents a significant step toward this larger goal. “While you’re treating inmates, you’re achieving two objectives,” Ayer said. “The first is that they’re essentially being cured, so their lives are potentially being saved. The second is that it’s cheaper and easier to diagnose HCV in prison than it is in the larger population, because the infected group is contained.”

Combating HCV in U.S. prisons, however, presents a significant challenge because treatment is so expensive. Prison systems operate on extremely tight budgets, and treatment for a single inmate costs $25,000 to $70,000. As a result, treatment during incarceration is still relatively rare.

However, Ayer and his research team analyzed these constraints and found that it is still more cost effective to focus treatment on inmates rather than the general population.

“From an investment perspective, an effective resource allocation perspective, it makes sense to increase prison treatments, because you will prevent so many downstream infections,” Ayer explained. “A single inmate might infect many other people in the community after release, and then some of those people might need a liver transplant or treatment for liver cancer down the road, and that represents a cost to the entire health care system.”

Now that Ayer has successfully modeled a treatment plan for U.S. prisons, he is expanding his work to a global focus — one that aims to meet the WHO goal of viral hepatitis eradication. He is working with health care partners at Harvard Medical School, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, WHO, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He’s also developing a generalized decision support tool that will take into account limited treatment resources for any population.

“With the tool, you can allocate greater or lesser resources to the general population or to the prison population or to another subgroup. The tool will also consider the prevalence and spread of HCV based on each country’s data,” Ayer noted. “This is a more universal approach.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586368393 2020-04-08 17:53:13 1586884658 2020-04-14 17:17:38 0 0 news Associate Professor Turgay Ayer created a model showing that treating prisoners with Hepatitis C is the most effective way to eradicate the disease.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634176 634177 634176 image <![CDATA[George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Turgay Ayer]]> image/jpeg 1586367708 2020-04-08 17:41:48 1586367708 2020-04-08 17:41:48 634177 image <![CDATA[Associate Professor Turgay Ayer has developed a model to combat Hepatitis C in prisoners.]]> image/jpeg 1586367898 2020-04-08 17:44:58 1586367898 2020-04-08 17:44:58
<![CDATA[ISyE Professors Improve Efficiency for the U.S. Marine Corps]]> 28766 On a 3,600-acre site about three hours’ drive from Atlanta sits the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, home to Marine Corps Logistics Command (MARCORLOGCOM). MARCORLOGCOM has a presence on both U.S. coasts and is responsible for Marine Corps equipment and its supply chain. The base is located in Albany, Georgia, and serves as the primary sourcing location for the East Coast. (The other location is in Barstow, California.)

The large amount of equipment that passes through the command inevitably results in significant problems involving its supply chain and logistics. Three faculty members from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) — Professors Christos Alexopoulos, John-Paul Clarke, and Dave Goldsman — have been working to provide MARCORLOGCOM with models and methods that improve process efficiency throughout the depot and optimize the overall supply chain.

This project is part of a funded grant involving the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute. The initial focus area involves a detailed study of work flows in the facility, specifically the areas of disassembly and assembly.

“There’s a disassembly process that ground equipment coming in for major maintenance undergoes,” explained Goldsman. “So we’re developing a model that improves efficiency in the process.”

Another aspect of the project that Alexopoulos, Clarke, and Goldsman plan to tackle in 2020 is the development of a large-scale simulation that will include not only the flow of parts through the depot but also the flow of information.

“When equipment needs repair, you don’t just need the parts,” noted Alexopoulos. “You also need to schedule the people to do the work. And what happens if a part isn’t in stock and has to be ordered? We need all of the people involved in the process to communicate with each other until the problem is solved.”

“You can call this a classic industrial engineering problem,” added Goldsman. “It’s a process project, certainly, but it also involves statistics, operations research, optimization, and of course human factors.”

Alexopoulos and Goldsman are currently working with two ISyE alumni, Christopher Tipper (BIE 1996) and Jessica Walden (BSIE 04, MSIE 05), on the project. Tipper and Walden are civilian employees at the Marine Depot Maintenance Command (MDMC) in Albany, and their ISyE training has been invaluable in the modeling process.

“As a former student of both Professors Goldsman and Alexopoulos, it has been great to work with them as peers,” said Walden. “They have brought the academic thought process, as well as a fresh perspective, into what Chris and I deal with on a daily basis. Our motto at MDMC is, ‘What you do is important. Every day a Marine’s life will depend on it!’ While progressing through this project, we are able to combine our tribal knowledge of Marine Corps procedures and equipment with the modeling processes, simulation practices, and expertise this partnership affords.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586367279 2020-04-08 17:34:39 1586884634 2020-04-14 17:17:14 0 0 news Christos Alexopoulos and Dave Goldsman are providing the Marine Corps Logistics Base with models and methods to improve process efficiency and supply chain.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634172 634172 image <![CDATA[The blank hull of a Light Armored Vehicle ready for rebuild at the Marine Depot Maintenance Command in Albany, Georgia.]]> image/jpeg 1586366856 2020-04-08 17:27:36 1586366856 2020-04-08 17:27:36
<![CDATA[Data-driven Research Aims to Solve First/Last-Mile Problem]]> 28766 MetroLab Network has partnered with Government Technology to bring its readers a segment called the MetroLab Innovation of the Month Series, which highlights impactful tech, data, and innovation projects underway between cities and universities.

This month’s installment of the Innovation of the Month series explores the work of Georgia Tech and the city of Atlanta on the Socially Aware Mobility Lab (SAM).

MetroLab’s Ben Levine spoke with Pascal Van Hentenryck, an A. Russell Chandler III chair and professor in Georgia Tech's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and head of the SAM Lab; Jacob Tzegaegbe, senior transportation policy advisor for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and part of the SAM advisory board; and Debra Lam, managing director of smart cities and inclusive innovation at Georgia Tech.

You can read the entire interview here: https://bit.ly/34ho348

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586275046 2020-04-07 15:57:26 1586884597 2020-04-14 17:16:37 0 0 news Georgia Tech, the city of Atlanta, and the SAM Lab use data and machine learning to look at how on-demand multimodal transit could improve traffic congestion and mobility.

2020-04-07T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-07T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-07 00:00:00 634138 629162 634138 image <![CDATA[Preliminary design of an on-demand multi-modal transit system for Atlanta]]> image/png 1586274570 2020-04-07 15:49:30 1586274570 2020-04-07 15:49:30 629162 image <![CDATA[A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck]]> image/jpeg 1574268447 2019-11-20 16:47:27 1574268447 2019-11-20 16:47:27
<![CDATA[The ISyE Duo Who Lead Georgia Tech’s International Ambassadors ]]> 28766

When you look around campus, there is no question that Georgia Tech sustains a diverse student body. The Office of International Education reports that over 5,000 international students from 128 countries are enrolled at the Institute. The thought of moving thousands of miles away from home and family may sound daunting to some, but the International Ambassadors at Georgia Tech (GTIA) attempt to ease this transition.  

Yebin (Alice) Choi, a fourth-year undergraduate in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), now president of GTIA, joined the organization because she saw the variety of Tech’s student body and wanted to immerse herself in it. Born and raised in Korea, Choi’s move to the United States offered a large contrast to the cultural homogeneity she had experienced. “Coming to Tech, where I saw different races and cultures, made me want to experience the diversity of our campus,” she said. 

Third-year ISyE undergraduate Aarushi Khajuria shared these sentiments. Her family, native to India, moved to Jamaica when she was five years old. “From a very young age I valued diversity because of the experiences I had growing up,” Khajuria explained. For most of her early years, she grew up surrounded by people who didn’t look, live, or speak like her. “I've never really felt like I fit in in any particular culture so when I heard about GTIA, I felt like it would be a community that I would fit into,” Khajuira said. Her feelings proved true, and she has been a part of the organization her whole time at Georgia Tech.  

Choi and Khajuria now lead over 60 members of GTIA as president and executive vice president. They work hand in hand to provide positive experiences for international students. From the moment they joined, they got involved in leadership which ultimately led to their current roles. Their management style is a balance, with Choi heading external relations, collaborating with other student organizations and seeking out  resources for international students, while Khajuria oversees internal aspects of the organization. Their ISyE backgrounds have come in handy when dealing with logistics, planning, process design for meetings, and efficiency. 

It may seem like there could be conflict with the wide array of cultural differences in the organization, but Choi explains that open-mindedness is one of the main criteria for being an ambassador. “My favorite part of about being in GTIA is interacting with people from so many different backgrounds,” she said. The differences among the organization’s members unite them. 

Collaboration is very important to Choi and Khajuria. “We’re holding large events like Night Market, where over 15 student associations collaborate with us. They represent their culture and teach Tech students about their heritage and backgrounds,” Choi explained. GTIA holds Night Market every fall in order to showcase this diversity. At the event, which takes place on Tech Walkway, you can find performances, food, and art from different countries and traditions. GTIA also collaborates with different cultural organizations such as the African Student Association, the Egyptian Student Association, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to put on Culture Fest, a week-long celebration of the diversity on Georgia Tech’s campus. International students can share their cultures through food and art, while native students can experience different cultures and appreciate their differences. 

For international students, the All-Majors Career Fair can be tricky to maneuver since many companies don’t accept certain visas. In response, Choi coordinated with the Career Fair organizers to create a list of employers that will hire international students. Domestic students at Georgia Tech don't have to worry about issues like these, so GTIA facilitates the process for their members. 

With the campus now shut down because of the coronavirus, GTIA faced many unique challenges, especially for the international students in the organization. The dilemma for many was deciding whether to travel back to their home countries or to stay in Atlanta. The issue stems from the uncertainty of returning to the United States, if they choose to return to their home country. This stressful time in these international students' lives was partially relived with support from GTIA. Members who were local to Atlanta offered to store items for students who had to leave abruptly. Now more than ever, international students need the support and the resources that GTIA provides. 

 Although GTIA is just eight years old, the organization has served the entire campus by sharing with the student body the value of cultural diversity. More importantly, GTIA provides a safe space for students to express their cultural background. As Khajuria explained, “Respecting everyone and their background, their ideologies, what they stand for, and where they’re from is the most important goal.”  

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586879735 2020-04-14 15:55:35 1586879897 2020-04-14 15:58:17 0 0 news Undergrads Alice Choi and Aarushi Khajuria helm the 60-member organization that  celebrates the diversity of cultures on Tech's campus.

2020-04-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-14T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-14 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634350 634350 image <![CDATA[Aarushi Khajuria, ISyE 3rd-year and GTIA executive vice president; Alice Choi, ISyE 4th-year and GTIA president]]> image/jpeg 1586879055 2020-04-14 15:44:15 1586879055 2020-04-14 15:44:15
<![CDATA[Mission Possible 2019]]> 28766

Before they arrive at Georgia Tech, high school students interested in STEM are often introduced to mechanical or computer engineering through afterschool activities like robotics and coding classes. Industrial engineering (IE), on the other hand, is known as a “discovery major.” This is largely because IE’s problem-solving applications are so varied that, as a field, it can be a challenge to define.

Enter Mission Possible, a week-long summer camp designed to familiarize high school students with IE. Through computer games involving disaster preparedness and supply chains, as well as presentations on “magic” math tricks, sports analytics, and how artificial intelligence recognizes human faces, 30-plus students received a crash course in the many ways IE is applicable to today’s challenges. In addition, through an activity that involves assembling LEGO structures, the students learned soft skills such as teamwork and communication. Toward the end of the week, the students toured Bobby Dodd Stadium, where they saw Grant Field and learned about some of the logistics of operating an NCAA Division I athletic department.

“Industrial engineers can successfully fill so many roles in the workplace that we can have a hard time defining ourselves,” explained Jon Lowe, an academic professional in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) who oversaw the Mission Possible activities. “In contrast, when someone says ‘civil engineering,’ for example, everyone knows they build bridges and roads. The goal of Mission Possible is to show the students that there’s so much industrial engineers can do.”

Based on student feedback, this seventh iteration of Mission Possible — it was offered for the first time in 2012 — was a success.

“Learning the many applications of industrial engineering has piqued my interest, and I can definitely see myself doing something related to this as a future career,” said one participant.

The ISyE academic team plans to expand its educational outreach beyond the single summer offeing of Mission Possible. “The success of ISyE’s Mission Possible has inspired the outreach team to develop mini Mission Possible events that will take place during the school year, with the goal of introducing ISyE to students who may not have the chance to attend the summer program,” said Tuba Ketenci, an academic professional who directs ISyE’s K-12 outreach.

To learn more about Mission Possible and ISyE’s K-12 outreach, visit isye.gatech.edu/k-12.




]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586359332 2020-04-08 15:22:12 1586524776 2020-04-10 13:19:36 0 0 news The annual summer camp introduces high school students to principles and applications of industrial engineering.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634161 634161 image <![CDATA[High school students participating in Mission Possible toured Georgia Tech's athletic facilities as part of the camp.]]> image/jpeg 1586358884 2020-04-08 15:14:44 1586358884 2020-04-08 15:14:44
<![CDATA[Nailed It: How an ISyE Alumna Is Reshaping a Corner of the Beauty Industry]]> 28766

Brianna Cochran is remaking her world to her own specifications.

Cochran (BSIE 18) was raised in Cleveland, a small town (pop. 3,900) in the north Georgia mountains, and realized at an early age she didn’t quite fit in. “It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous area. But everything moves slowly, and I always felt out of place,” she said.

When it came time for her to decide which university to attend and pick a major, Cochran — who is the first person in her family to attend college — wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. So she enrolled at the University of Georgia and took a few classes in computer science and upper-level math. She quickly realized that she liked this combination, and began researching fields that use these skills. That exploration led her to industrial engineering. And where better to study it than Georgia Tech’s No. 1-ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE)?

It was a no-brainer.

“When I transferred to Tech, I knew I was where I needed to be,” Cochran said. “There’s a difference in the way people think here — both the students and the teachers. Everyone is chasing really big dreams. Everyone is trying to put their best out there. So I just dove right in.”

At ISyE, Cochran was solidly on a consulting career trajectory, including an internship and co-op with Delta Air Lines. Then one day her friend and fellow ISyE student, Kendall McRae (BSIE 18), came home frustrated by a sloppy salon manicure. “Her nails
weren’t the shape she wanted, the color wasn’t the color she wanted, and it took hours for the application.” Cochran said. “She had spent all this money and didn’t like the results.”

The experience got Cochran thinking. While maintaining a solidly STEM focus, she also saw fashion and beauty as an important means of self-expression. “Everyone’s entitled to look how they want,” she insisted. “It’s very important for your confidence, for your sense of identity, for being comfortable in your own skin. It’s something I do for me."

Cochran saw her friend’s situation as a problem. And industrial engineers are problem-solvers.

At the time of McRae’s unfortunate salon experience, she and Cochran were both enrolled in a mechanical engineering special topics class on additive manufacturing. Cochran had a brainstorm: If people could use an app to design and 3D-print artificial nails to their personal specifications, then experiences like McRae’s wouldn’t happen. When Cochran learned that the U.S. nail industry is worth $8 billion annually, she became even more convinced that her idea had merit. By the end of the semester, she had persuaded McRae to join her, and together they founded VAILS (Virtual Nails).

She and McRae have designed VAILS to be water soluble, sealed with a waterproofing coating, and 100% personalized by the user using augmented reality. In addition, VAILS can be applied and removed without using the harsh, nail-damaging, and environmentally unfriendly chemicals common in salon applications of acrylic nails. They also intend for VAILS to be an inclusive product.

“We don’t like how the nail industry typically targets women,” Cochran said. “We want VAILS to be a means of self-expression for everyone.”

The duo knew that to make VAILS a successful company, they would need to combine their industrial engineering knowledge with business savvy. They enrolled in CREATE-X’s Startup Launch, Georgia Tech’s program for student entrepreneurs, and received $20,000 in seed funding along with the necessary legal advice to help budding entrepreneurs start their companies. As part of the process, they showed VAILS to a celebrity nail stylist who immediately became interested in their product.

But Cochran and McRae felt that VAILS still wasn’t quite ready to share with the world. They wanted to build on the Startup Launch experience. That was when Cochran discovered that the Fulbright Scholarship program funded a University College London’s master’s degree in entrepreneurship. The program is practical and hands on, and Cochran would be able to continue actively developing VAILS as part of her studies.

Once again, the next step seemed obvious.

McRae was the first person Cochran called when she learned she had been chosen for the prestigious award. Last September, Cochran moved to London to begin her studies. She enrolled in the program’s Technology pathway, which is for students who intend to develop high-impact services and products that take advantage of emerging technologies.

“The faculty encourage students to bring their startup ideas to class, so I won’t have to separate my work from my academic life. I’ll be able to integrate them, and this will make VAILS a stronger product,” Cochran noted.

By this coming fall, Cochran and McRae expect VAILS to be ready to showcase. “A product like this could change so many people’s lives. We are reinventing how people do their nails,” Cochran said.

She holds her future in her well-manicured hands.

Cochran provided an update on VAILS as of mid-January 2020:

VIALS has been granted free office space through Makerversity's Under 25 program, so we are now operating there -- in the heart of London. We've made finalists (out of 60-plus applicants) for a pitch competition through UCL's entrepreneurship group. Our non-provisional patent is being filed at the end of this month, and we've met some great people here in London who may be joining our team.

I'm halfway through my master's program at this point, and I've felt incredibly grateful to be a part of it. They have a great sense of community and a holistic perspective -- a natural given since the cohort comprises 70 students from 46 different countries. I have also had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship event at the U.S. Embassy and to meet the U.S. ambassador to UK.

For more information about VAILS, please send an email inquiry to storm@toughasvails.com.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1586373127 2020-04-08 19:12:07 1586373638 2020-04-08 19:20:38 0 0 news Brianna Cochran has co-founded VAILS, a startup that will enable people to design and 3D-print artificial nails to their personal specifications.

2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-08 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

634184 634184 image <![CDATA[VAILS co-founders Kendall McRae and Brianna Cochran]]> image/jpeg 1586371707 2020-04-08 18:48:27 1586371707 2020-04-08 18:48:27
<![CDATA[Assistant Professor Rachel Cummings Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award]]> 28766 Rachel Cummings, an assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER grant is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

The $488,884 award runs through February 28, 2025. Cummings’ project is titled “Algorithms, Incentives, and Policy for Data Privacy,” under the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program. She will be examining how privacy concerns impact data usage and how to address new technical challenges that arise when theoretical privacy technologies are implemented in real-world settings.

Cummings studies a parametrized privacy notion known as differential privacy. It provides a mathematically rigorous bound on the amount of information leaked about an individual by performing an analysis on a dataset that contains her information. Differential privacy has quickly become viewed as the gold standard for privacy-preserving data analysis, and has been deployed by major organizations such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Uber, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

These real-world implementations bring about new technical challenges for differential privacy, which is the focus of this award. These challenges include optimally spreading a privacy budget across multiple analysis tasks, designing privacy policies that match users’ context-dependent expectations, and regulating markets for personal information to balance privacy, fairness, and economic value. This award also includes a significant educational and outreach component, including workshop organization aimed at improving diversity in graduate education.

Cummings joined ISyE in 2017. She received her B.A. in mathematics and economics from the University of Southern California (2011), her M.S. in computer science from Northwestern University (2013), and her Ph.D. in computing and mathematical sciences from the California Institute of Technology (2017).

She is the recipient of a Google Research Fellowship, a Simons-Berkeley Research Fellowship in Data Privacy, the ACM SIGecom Doctoral Dissertation Honorable Mention, the Amori Doctoral Prize in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, a Caltech Leadership Award, a Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science, and the Best Paper Award at the 2014 International Symposium on Distributed Computing.  

Cummings also serves on the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council's Privacy Committee.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1585863202 2020-04-02 21:33:22 1585912413 2020-04-03 11:13:33 0 0 news Cummings’ project is titled “Algorithms, Incentives, and Policy for Data Privacy,” under the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program.

2020-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-02 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

610193 610193 image <![CDATA[ISyE Assistant Professor Rachel Cummings]]> image/jpeg 1534961749 2018-08-22 18:15:49 1534961749 2018-08-22 18:15:49
<![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Tess Denniss, The Face of the Face of Georgia Tech ]]> 28766

When it comes to loving Georgia Tech, Tess Denniss, a fourth-year undergraduate in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and president of the Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors, has many students beat. She leads over 80 student ambassadors who give tours for alumni and special guests, work noteworthy events, and generally serve as the face of the Institute.  

 She became a member in the spring of her second year and immediately fell in love with the organization. “I love that I could see the value that we were providing Georgia Tech so clearly,” she explained. “I could see that we were strengthening the ties that alumni have.” At this point, she knew that she wanted to play a larger role in the organization, which led her to become membership chair and later on, president. 

Denniss’ responsibilities as president include finding speakers, generating programming, communicating with the ambassadors, meeting with advisors, and overseeing duties of the vice presidents. Working to strengthen relations with the Alumni Association is one of Denniss’ top priorities. The organization aims to showcase Georgia Tech on alumni tours by highlighting the elements on campus that remain the same, such as the famous Whistle, and the aspects that have changed, such as the brand-new library. 

Student ambassadors have a great duty to represent Georgia Tech. They host some big names on campus when they work the President’s Dinner, advisory board events, and Board of Trustees events. The tours they conduct are intended to present the best face of the Institute to special guests. A Georgia Tech Student Ambassador is someone who truly loves Georgia Tech, has a diversity of involvements, and can get people excited about Tech.

“My favorite aspect of being president has been helping younger ambassadors with their own personal and professional development, the same way older ambassadors helped me when I first joined," she said.

Denniss noted the importance of her ISyE education to her involvement in this organization. “It’s almost like a manufacturing line,” she explained. “You go down the line with the new ambassador retreat, and then the training from your meetings, and then social experiences. You come out a fully formed ambassador, ready to represent the Institute to visitors and guests.”  

When sharing what Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors means to her, Denniss explained, “Being able to interact with our amazing alumni of has shown me the lifelong value of a Georgia Tech degree. I’ve seen firsthand examples of the sort of alumna I want to be when I graduate — involved with Tech, always willing to help current students, and appreciative of the Institute.”  

The next step for Denniss after graduating this May is working at McKinsey as a full-time business analyst. There, she will continue to emulate the value of a Georgia Tech education and the value of her role in Student Ambassadors. She says, “I want to have the Institute as a part of my life for the rest of my life.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1585855936 2020-04-02 19:32:16 1585855936 2020-04-02 19:32:16 0 0 news Fourth-year Tess Denniss fell in love with the Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors when she joined the organization in her second year.

2020-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2020-04-02 00:00:00 Taylor Hunter

Communications Assistant

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering


634010 634010 image <![CDATA[ISyE fourth-year and Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors President Tess Denniss]]> image/jpeg 1585852323 2020-04-02 18:32:03 1585852323 2020-04-02 18:32:03
<![CDATA[Yajun Mei Promoted to Professor]]> 28766 Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) announced that Yajun Mei has been promoted to professor, effective August 15, 2020.

“Yajun’s hard work has led to numerous contributions to the fields of mathematical statistics and biostatistics,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “I congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion.”

Mei's research interests in statistics include change-point problems and sequential analysis in mathematical statistics; longitudinal data analysis, random effects models, and clinical trials in biostatistics; and sensor networks and information theory in engineering.

He received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2010; the Abraham Wald Prize in Sequential Analysis in 2009; and the FUSION Best Paper Award (co-authored with Cheng-Der Fuh) in 2008.

Mei earned a B.S. in mathematics from Peking University in P.R. China, and a Ph.D. in mathematics with a minor in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in biostatistics at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1585241786 2020-03-26 16:56:26 1585326975 2020-03-27 16:36:15 0 0 news Mei's promotion will be effective in mid-August.

2020-03-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-26 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

633844 633844 image <![CDATA[Professor Yajun Mei]]> image/jpeg 1585241057 2020-03-26 16:44:17 1585241057 2020-03-26 16:44:17
<![CDATA[Two ISyE Faculty Receive Teaching Awards]]> 28766 Georgia Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has recognized two faculty members in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) for their outstanding pedagogy. Georgia Power Early Career Professor and Professor Nagi Gebraeel and Lecturer and Advisor Damon P. Williams received the Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award at CTL’s Celebrating Teaching Day event on March 10, 2020.

Gebraeel was honored for his instruction in ISYE 6805, a graduate-level class on reliability engineering. He describes his pedagogical style as traditional.

“I like to enforce basic concepts through interactive examples,” he said. “Having a variety of industry experiences and anecdotes helps me in designing practical examples inspired by real-world problems, which enhances student engagement. Students immediately see the relevance and practical implications of topics that they just covered earlier in class or a previous lecture.

“I am truly honored to receive this award,” Gebraeel noted. “It comes directly from my students, and it communicates their honest opinions and experiences. I send my sincere gratitude and love to all my students. Thank you!”

Williams was honored for his instruction in ISYE 3104, which introduces undergraduates to supply chain principles for manufacturing and warehouses. He says his teaching style aims to actively facilitate learning, rather than simply delivering a lecture to his students.

“In a learning-centered classroom, the objective is for the students to do the work – not me. I ask them lots of questions to get them to think about the material,” he explained. “During a class session, it’s typical for students in pairs or trios to be up at the whiteboard solving problems, and then rotating out with a different group. I already know the material – the goal is to make sure my students do as well.  

“I truly appreciate being given this award,” Williams added. “Georgia Tech has outstanding teacher-scholars in its ranks, and to be considered by the students as someone who puts considerable effort into teaching means a lot to me. When students respond to that effort, it feels good.”

The Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award, previously known as the Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award, was created several years ago when funds were identified to recognize teaching excellence at the Institute. Some of these funds are used each year to reward faculty members with exceptional response rates and scores on the Course-Instructor Opinion Survey.  A maximum of 40 awards are given out each year. 

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1585242585 2020-03-26 17:09:45 1585326845 2020-03-27 16:34:05 0 0 news Nagi Gebraeel and Damon Williams each received the Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award.

2020-03-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-26T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-26 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

633847 633858 633847 image <![CDATA[Nagi Gebraeel]]> image/jpeg 1585242280 2020-03-26 17:04:40 1585242280 2020-03-26 17:04:40 633858 image <![CDATA[Damon P. Williams]]> image/jpeg 1585323523 2020-03-27 15:38:43 1585323523 2020-03-27 15:38:43
<![CDATA[ISyE Graduate Program Maintains Top Ranking]]> 28766 For the 30th consecutive year, Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) has been ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s 2020 edition of Best Graduate Schools.

“Maintaining our rank as the top graduate program in the industrial/manufacturing/systems engineering specialty for 30 consecutive years is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “This significant milestone reflects the contributions and leadership of our faculty, students, alumni, and staff, both past and present, and we look forward to continuing the success of our program.”

“To be ranked the No. 1 industrial engineering graduate program for so many years is a testament to ISyE’s commitment to academic excellence, as well as to the hard work by the School’s faculty, staff, and students,” said Steve McLaughlin, College of Engineering dean and Southern Company Chair. “The College is extremely proud of the research that is done by ISyE and the caliber of students they enroll and graduate.”

Overall, Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering (COE) is ranked eighth in the country and third among public colleges. For the ninth consecutive year, all 11 of Georgia Tech’s graduate engineering programs are ranked in the top 10 in their fields in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report graduate rankings. See the other COE program rankings here: https://b.gatech.edu/33p5FWJ.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1584463189 2020-03-17 16:39:49 1585248230 2020-03-26 18:43:50 0 0 news For the 30th consecutive year, ISyE's graduate program has been ranked No. 1 by USNWR.

2020-03-17T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-17T00:00:00-04:00 2020-03-17 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

633629 633629 image <![CDATA[ISyE's graduate program has been ranked No. 1 by USNWR for the 30th consecutive year.]]> image/png 1584461565 2020-03-17 16:12:45 1584461565 2020-03-17 16:12:45 <![CDATA[Georgia Tech College of Engineering Rankings]]>
<![CDATA[ISyE Undergraduate Stavan Shah on Building Georgia Tech’s Startup Community]]> 28766 Entrepreneurship is an increasing interest of many students in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), and third-year Stavan Shah is no exception. He’s president of Startup Exchange, an organization dedicated to – as you might guess from the name -- building up the startup community among Tech students. It’s the largest organization of its kind on campus.

Each semester Startup Exchange hosts numerous events. These include fireside chats with entrepreneurs, both locally and nationally based, networking activities, and educational workshops. Two years ago, Shah himself developed and implemented the Startup Exchange Membership Program for first- and second-years. The program teaches them the basics of starting their own company – everything from handling legal issues to marketing. Participating students work in teams through the customer discovery and ideation process, and then share their ideas with investors at a pitch competition that concludes the experience.

“Freshmen and sophomores arrive at Tech with ideas about how they can solve some very big issues,” Shah explained. “And obviously people here have engineering capabilities that let them build very cool things. We’re trying to give them the fundamentals – and the confidence – to do the actual building.”

Shah was personally bitten by the entrepreneurial bug when he was in high school, and his family took a trip to San Francisco. “My dad drove me around to the headquarters of Google and Facebook,” he remembered, “and then that night, I was eating dinner with my family in an Indian restaurant, and there was an investor meeting happening right next to us. I got to overhear everything, beginning with the pitch. The whole experience made me excited about the possibilities opened up by entrepreneurship.”

Shortly thereafter, he and some friends started a t-shirt company that donated all profits to flood relief in South Carolina -- in total they raised about $40k. After he graduated, Shah passed the company on to some younger students. He knew that once he arrived at Tech, he wanted to focus on making a significant impact on the Institute’s enterprising students.

“The community focus is what sets Startup Exchange apart from other organizations in Tech’s entrepreneurial space,” Shah said. “At nearly every event we host, we allocate an hour just for networking. People from all different majors, all different cultures, all different industries, bouncing ideas off each other. That’s where innovation happens.”

He went on to note that as important as programs such as CREATE-X and the InVenture Prize are, they are more appropriate for students who have startups further along in the development process. In contrast, Shah said, “We are targeting people who aren’t quite there yet. They know they’re interested in entrepreneurship, and they want to attempt it. Startup Exchange provides students with an opportunity to try things out – no repercussions or strings attached. It’s a low-stakes place to fail, and even if that happens, the entire experience is one of learning. That in itself is very rewarding.”

Shah has personally benefited from his years of participation in Startup Exchange. He said, “It’s been exhilarating to be able to learn from industry-leading individuals who have built companies that started from a basement and grew to be multi-billion dollar corporations! I've had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with many of these notable individuals to help further the mission of Startup Exchange, which has allowed me to make a substantial positive chance to Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Having been on Startup Exchange’s executive team for three years, it's been exciting to see the rise of student entrepreneurship on campus,” Shah adds. “More than ever before, students feel as though they have the resources and network to build out their own ideas here in Atlanta. The city is increasingly becoming a hub for startups and rapidly-growing companies, and I have no doubt in my mind that Atlanta will be one of leading innovation hubs in the next 20-30 years.”

Startup Exchange events are held in the Garage at Tech Square and are open to the entire Georgia Tech and Atlanta community. To learn more, you can follow the organization’s Instagram and also check out their website.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1582653225 2020-02-25 17:53:45 1583249616 2020-03-03 15:33:36 0 0 news ISyE third-year Stavan Shah is president of Startup Exchange, the largest organization of its kind on Tech's campus.

2020-02-25T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-25T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-25 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

632927 632928 632927 image <![CDATA[ISyE third-year and Startup Exchange President Stavan Shah]]> image/jpeg 1582652531 2020-02-25 17:42:11 1582652531 2020-02-25 17:42:11 632928 image <![CDATA[Stavan Shah hosting entrepreneur and philanthropist Chris Klaus for a Startup Exchange fireside chat.]]> image/jpeg 1582652672 2020-02-25 17:44:32 1582652672 2020-02-25 17:44:32
<![CDATA[ISyE Professor to Serve on State Health Reform Commission]]> 28766 Nicoleta Serban, Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), will serve on a new commission examining how the state of Georgia can improve behavioral health services.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s office announced the formation of the 24-member Georgia Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Commission in September. Appointees are state legislators, judges, subject matter experts, and citizens. The commission will review Georgia's behavioral health system, including access to and delivery of critical mental health services, and provide recommendations for reform and innovation.

Serban's primary role on the commission is as a member of the Workforce and System Development Subcommittee chaired by Gwen Skinner, vice president of Operations for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

"Serving on the commission is an excellent opportunity to inform policy and reform using health analytics," Serban said.

Serban’s research focuses, in part, on health care delivery and health policy. Recently, she and her research group have examined children's Medicaid data nationwide, including access to mental health services. Serban's research has also discovered gaps in behavioral therapy for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In 2018, Serban and collaborators from Emory University and Georgia HOPE received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to research the delivery of mental and behavioral health services for children at school and at home.

She leads the Health Analytics initiative, a collaborative network of clinicians, health care providers, and public health entities. Serban has also authored or co-authored two books about the health care system, "Understanding and Managing the Complexity of Healthcare," published by MIT Press and "Healthcare System Access: Measurement, Inference, and Intervention," published by Wiley.

In 2019, the Georgia General Assembly allocated $20 million for local health departments to treat mental health issues and doubled funding for APEX, a school-based counseling services program.

Read the full announcement about the commission on the Office of the Governor website.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1582658130 2020-02-25 19:15:30 1582658353 2020-02-25 19:19:13 0 0 news Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban will serve on the commission that will review Georgia's behavioral health system.]]> 2020-02-06T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-06T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-06 00:00:00 Alyson Powell Key

Research Communications Program Manager

Institute for People and Technology

629264 629264 image <![CDATA[Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban]]> image/png 1574444130 2019-11-22 17:35:30 1574444130 2019-11-22 17:35:30 <![CDATA[Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Selects Serban for Leadership Development Program]]> <![CDATA[Study Finds Gaps in Treatment for Children with ADHD on Medicaid]]> <![CDATA[Nicoleta Serban Appointed as Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech’s Technology Square Phase III to Include George Tower]]> 28766 Momentum for Technology Square Phase III continues to grow with the naming of its second tower in honor of longtime supporters of Georgia Tech. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the naming of George Tower at its meeting Feb. 11 in recognition of philanthropists William “Bill” and Penny George.

George Tower will be home to the nation’s No. 1-ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, as well other programs. George Tower will complement Scheller Tower, also planned on the site, to house the graduate and executive education programs of the Scheller College of Business.  Both new towers in Tech Square Phase III are expected to open by the end of 2022. 

“We are incredibly grateful to Bill and Penny George for their long-standing support of Georgia Tech,” said Georgia Tech’s President Ángel Cabrera. “The George family legacy of support can be seen and felt in the experiences of our students who benefit from various scholarships and fellowships, and through the impact of our faculty, made possible because of the generosity of Bill and Penny George. We are honored to affix the George name to this transformative next step in Tech Square and our campus.”

Bill George graduated from Georgia Tech in 1964 with a degree in industrial engineering. He also received an honorary doctoral degree from Georgia Tech, awarded in 2008.  He began his career at the U.S. Department of Defense. He had been an executive at Honeywell and Litton Industries before joining Medtronic as president and chief operating officer. He became chief executive officer of Medtronic in 1991 and chairman of the board in 1996. George is currently a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School.

Tech Square Phase III will be a 400,000 square foot multi-building complex in Midtown Atlanta, located on the northwest corner of West Peachtree and Fifth streets. The project received $4.3 million in general obligation bonds for planning and design in the FY 2020 state budget; the governor recommended $30.7 million in construction funding in his FY 2021 budget recommendation, and the project is now under consideration by the General Assembly. A total of $75 million in private philanthropy will be included toward the $200 million estimated cost of construction.

Georgia Tech opened Technology Square in 2003. One of the area’s guiding principles is to foster a better connection between the Institute and the business community. Today the area is a thriving innovation ecosystem thanks to a growing network of students, faculty members, researchers, startup entrepreneurs, and global corporations.

About the Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Tech provides a focused, technologically based education to more than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked in the nation’s top five public universities by U.S. News & World Report. It offers degrees through the Colleges of Computing, Design, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech has more than 100 centers focused on interdisciplinary research that consistently contribute vital research and innovation to American government, industry, and business.

About Tech Square

Founded: 2003

Location: 10 blocks on Georgia Tech's campus in Midtown Atlanta. Comprised of more than 1.5 million square feet of office, research, retail, residential, and hotel space, including the Technology Square Research Building, the Biltmore, the Global Learning Center and the Scheller College of Business.

Companies: More than 100

Corporate Presence: More than 35 major companies with corporate offices or innovation centers, including Anthem, AT&T, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, NCR, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp Elevator and UCB.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1581604459 2020-02-13 14:34:19 1582641277 2020-02-25 14:34:37 0 0 news George Tower approved to house the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering in Tech Square Phase III.

2020-02-11T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-11T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-11 00:00:00 Denise Ward


632342 632343 632342 image <![CDATA[Tech Square Phase III ]]> image/jpeg 1581465463 2020-02-11 23:57:43 1581465463 2020-02-11 23:57:43 632343 image <![CDATA[Penny and Bill George ]]> image/jpeg 1581465646 2020-02-12 00:00:46 1581465646 2020-02-12 00:00:46 <![CDATA[Bill & Penny George on Philanthrophy, Leadership, and Health Care]]> <![CDATA[Bill & Penny George, Making a Difference]]>
<![CDATA[ISyE's Alexander Shapiro Elected to the National Academy of Engineering]]> 28766 Professor Alexander Shapiro, who holds an A. Russell Chandler III Chair in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) as part of the Class of 2020. Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. 

In announcing Shapiro’s election to the prestigious organization, the NAE commended him for “contributions to the theory, computation, and application of stochastic programming.”

“We are delighted that Alex’s extraordinary career and contributions to the field have been recognized with his induction into the NAE. He has been a pioneer in optimization, and this honor is testament to his research work and accomplishments,” stated Steve McLaughlin, dean of the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair.

“Congratulations to Alexander on this outstanding professional achievement,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “This well-deserved recognition and honor confirms his leadership in the field of stochastic programming. We are proud to have him as a member of the ISyE and Georgia Tech communities, and I know he will continue to make noteworthy contributions to our field in the future.”

An example of application of Shapiro’s research is the work he did a few years ago with Operador Nacional do Sistema Eletrico (ONS) in Brazil, described in an issue of Georgia Tech publication Research Horizons.

Brazilian power system generation is dominated by hydroelectric sources using large reservoirs. ONS uses a complex computer algorithm that models the system to help ensure that electricity generation meets the demand at minimum expected cost, planning the generation of power based on such information as electricity demand forecast and water inflow scenarios based on the historical data. To improve the system, ONS decided to develop a methodology for adding a risk aversion criterion to the planning model. It contacted Shapiro because of his expertise in optimizing systems using stochastic programming, a technique useful for modeling complex systems when not all input parameters can be known.

The system presented a classic optimization challenge concerning the use of a resource whose future availability could not be determined with accuracy. Shapiro worked with ONS to understand the problem formulation and suggested some modifications that would reduce the risk of energy supply failures. The changes he made rely on stochastic programming, which is often used for modeling optimization programs that involve uncertainty.

In addition to his work on optimization and stochastic programming, Shapiro's research interests also focus on risk analysis, sensitivity analysis of nonlinear programs, and multivariate statistical analysis.

Shapiro has received other notable accolades for his research. In 2004, he joined the list of ISI Highly Cited Researchers. He was awarded the INFORMS Optimization Society’s Khachiyan Prize for lifetime achievements in optimization in 2013. In 2018 Shapiro received the George B. Dantzig Prize, awarded by the Mathematical Optimization Society and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

“I am honored to be elected to the NAE. This came as a complete surprise to me. Joining our outstanding faculty members of NAE makes me proud,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics-statistics from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) in 1981. He joined ISyE in 1991.

He and the other 86 newly elected members will be formally inducted at NAE's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 2020. Three other faculty members from Georgia Tech were also selected as Class of 2020 members: Wallace H. Coulter Chair Professor Susan Margulies in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering; HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control and Professor Tim Kurfess; and Regents' Professor and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems Marilyn Brown in the School of Public Policy.

Shapiro joins other ISyE faculty who are already members of the NAE, including Carolyn J. Stewart Chair and Professor Jan Shi (2018); John Hunter Chair and Professor Arkadi Nemirovski (2017); Coca-Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics and Professor Jeff Wu (2004); Regent’s Professor Emeritus H. Donald Ratliff (1996); Professor Emeritus William Rouse (1991); and Professor Emeritus Ellis Johnson (1988); and  A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Institute Professor George Nemhauser (1986).

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1581525766 2020-02-12 16:42:46 1581971723 2020-02-17 20:35:23 0 0 news In announcing Shapiro’s election to the prestigious organization, the NAE commended him for “contributions to the theory, computation, and application of stochastic programming.”

2020-02-12T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-12T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-12 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

632362 632362 image <![CDATA[A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Alex Shapiro has been elected to the NAE's Class of 2020.]]> image/jpeg 1581525494 2020-02-12 16:38:14 1581525494 2020-02-12 16:38:14 <![CDATA[Four Georgia Tech Faculty Elected to NAE]]>
<![CDATA[Optimizing the Flu Vaccine Supply Chain for Maximum Impact]]> 28766 A yearly flu vaccine is crucial for protecting yourself from the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, because of limited vaccine supply, the demand in some regions cannot always be met, especially during a pandemic.

Health experts determine the ideal vaccine formula each season, which is then produced in small batches, leading to uneven supply and demand while vaccine production ramps up. Historically, due to fairness considerations, vaccines have been allocated pro rata, which means proportionally based on the population of a region. While this may seem like the best way to fairly distribute a limited supply, it does not take demand and “uptake” — the number of people who are willing to be vaccinated — into account.

“The uptake rate can vary by region, for various reasons.” explained Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering ADVANCE Professor, and co-founder and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems (CHHS). “If the limited vaccine inventory is allocated proportionally to the population in different regions without considering the uptake rate, unused vaccine inventory may pile up in some areas while other areas experience shortages.”

With the goal of better matching supply and demand, Zihao Li (Ph.D. 16), Keskinocak, and CHHS co-founder and Professor Julie Swann (BIE 1996) from NC State University proposed a new allocation strategy, where the limited vaccine inventory is allocated pro rata only to those regions that continue to experience a positive uptake rate. They developed a simulation model to compare the current and proposed vaccine allocation strategies.

“We found that the proposed strategy would benefit the entire population because it leads to a higher number of people vaccinated and less inventory leftover,” explained Keskinocak.

However, vaccine inventory visibility in public health supply chains is limited, and accurate uptake rates may not always be available in each geographic area. Keskinocak hopes the results of the study will encourage local reporting of both the number of vaccines administered during a season and the amount that is unused, to inform future allocation decisions.

Optimizing the flu vaccine supply chain will also help when the next pandemic strikes. Historically, pandemics occur every 30-40 years, but the results can be devastating. According to the CDC, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic resulted in 60.8 million illnesses and 12,469 deaths in the U.S. alone.

“Information about uptake rates is even more important during a pandemic,” added Keskinocak, “not only for the effective allocation of vaccines to slow the spread of the disease, but also to increase public awareness efforts about vaccinations in areas where uptake is low.”

This study was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This research was also supported in part by the Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Junior Faculty Endowment Fund and the following Georgia Tech benefactors: William W. George, Andrea Laliberte, Joseph C. Mello, and Richard “Rick” E. and Charlene Zalesky.


]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1581959718 2020-02-17 17:15:18 1581971288 2020-02-17 20:28:08 0 0 news ISyE Professor Pinar Keskinocak and her team have developed a model that better matches flu vaccine supply with actual regional demand.

2020-02-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-17 00:00:00 Laurie Haigh

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

632533 632533 image <![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair and Professor; Director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems ]]> image/jpeg 1581958983 2020-02-17 17:03:03 1581958983 2020-02-17 17:03:03
<![CDATA[ISyE Alumnus Kofi Smith: From the Football Field to the Boardroom]]> 28766 Kofi Smith (BIE 1999, MBA 09) is a born leader, which he has demonstrated both on the football field and off. He leads by example, using his “industrial engineering brain” to continuously optimize situations and create winning teams.

A high school football star from Florence, Alabama, Smith was recruited as a defensive back for the Yellow Jackets and enrolled in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), where he was as committed to academic success as he was on the field. As graduation neared, he hoped professional football would be in his future. But an injury ended his NFL dreams, and Smith shifted his focus back to industrial engineering and corporate America.

His first job was in manufacturing with Milliken & Company.

“The very first question my plant manager asked me was, ‘Do you want to sit behind a desk and do time analysis and cost studies, or do you want to go out onto the manufacturing floor and manage a team?’ I chose the team,” Smith recalled. “He said, ‘Great. I’m going to give you the worst team, C-shift, and you’ll either sink or swim.’”

Smith was ready for the challenge.

“As a kid, you don’t always realize the value of the lessons you are learning. You just want to win,” Smith explained. “[Then-football] Coach O’Leary was hard on us, but it wasn’t until after I left Georgia Tech that I understood that this man had implanted some things within our DNA. Once I hit corporate America, it came out. Come in early. Stay late. Outwork everybody. Make no excuses. Figure out how to win. Align your team to attack a common goal. If someone is in the wrong position, put them in the right one. So that’s what I did.”

And it worked. He combined this philosophy with the education he received at ISyE and began to see success.

“Within six months, that team and I became No. 1,” Smith said with a smile. “We broke records and set new ones, and everybody was chasing us.”

Smith used the same philosophy to maximize efficiencies and lead teams in numerous industries and companies, and as he climbed the corporate ladder, the size of his teams grew. He continued to use his training as an industrial engineer to optimize processes, look at how facilities were laid out, and understand the advantages and disadvantages of making different choices. He also earned an MBA in global business to better understand strategy, finance, operations, and other business topics that further strengthened his decision-making abilities.

Eventually, Smith’s career led him to the airline industry and managing facilities for Delta Airlines. Because of his unique approach, he was noticed by senior leadership at the Atlanta Airlines Terminal Company (AATC), the facility management company for Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). In 2010, Smith joined AATC as the youngest president and CEO in the history of the company. His organization is responsible for managing 7.2 million square feet of terminal facilities at the world’s busiest airport.

Smith’s combination of leadership skills, business acumen, and industrial engineering expertise have given him the tools necessary to manage a $119 million yearly operating budget and lead AATC. He has also seen more than $646 million in capital improvement contracts executed for the facility since he joined the company. Smith’s IE brain not only serves him in the area of organizational improvements but also in the area of continuous self-improvement. In May of 2018, Smith graduated with his doctorate in business from Georgia State University. In August of that same year, he was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs.

“IEs can go into any type of environment and assess the situation, break it down in our minds, see all of the individual processes that are happening, and then optimize each of them,” Smith said. “As a CEO, I look at the various departments — finance, engineering, IT, procurement, human resources, operations, and asset sustainability — and figure out how to optimize them to create value for my shareholders.”

An estimated 106 million passengers will pass through ATL in 2019, and a new $6 billion capital improvement plan for the airport is underway. And during it all, Smith and his team will work hard to make sure that the facilities are running as efficiently as possible.

“I love leading teams, defining the win, and then achieving that win,” Smith said. And he’s continuing to do just that.



]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1581519420 2020-02-12 14:57:00 1581524567 2020-02-12 16:22:47 0 0 news ISyE alumnus Kofi Smith leads teams to new heights.

2020-02-12T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-12T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-12 00:00:00 Optimizing ATL: ISyE Alumni Collaborate to Attain International Certification

Kofi Smith understands the value that Georgia Tech industrial engineers bring to an organization and has hired numerous ISyE alumni and interns to help him continuously optimize ATL.

In order to show stakeholders that the facilities are running as efficiently as possible, Smith worked with three of them — Donna Ahlrich (BIE 1982), Stephen Maceyko (BIE 1990), and Melanie Tomlinson (BIE 1989, MSIE 1991) — to obtain the prestigious ISO 55001 certification for the airport’s utility plants, which in Smith’s words are the “heart of the airport.”

Earning this certification made ATL the first international airport (and AATC the third organization) in the western hemisphere to receive this designation.

Laurie Haigh

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

632345 632346 632345 image <![CDATA[Kofi Smith]]> image/jpeg 1581516971 2020-02-12 14:16:11 1581516971 2020-02-12 14:16:11 632346 image <![CDATA[ISO 55001 Certification Team]]> image/jpeg 1581517246 2020-02-12 14:20:46 1581517246 2020-02-12 14:20:46
<![CDATA[Undergraduate Kathryn Otte Zeroes in on Sustainability]]> 28766 Sustainability and an appreciation of nature permeates almost everything Kathryn Otte does. “Growing up, my family was very into the outdoors,” reflected the third-year in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). “And my mom recycled everything and would go around the house turning off the lights.”

This influence, and a high school environmental science class, led Otte to understand sustainability as managing the Earth’s resources so they are available in the future. Such a mindset naturally led to her ISyE major, where she has studied how to make renewable energies more efficient, and to her minor in sustainable cities, where she has examined the social and economic aspects of sustainability, especially here in Atlanta.

“I’m trying to get the big picture and understand the details of the issues. I like looking at problems holistically,” she said.

Last semester, Otte was nominated by the ISyE academic office to attend the Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference. This gave her the chance to learn about sustainability as applied to national security and defense, which she hopes to make her career focus. For example, what will happen to naval bases on the coasts when sea levels rise? What happens when an extreme weather event – like a tsunami or wildfire – impacts a country and depletes its resources, increasing instability? 

She came back from the conference even more motivated to dedicate her time and studies to sustainability. Otte is involved with SGA’s campus services committee working to make Tech’s dining services as sustainable as possible. She also has a personal project to identify options for providing information about and appropriate containers for recycling in dorms. Next year, she plans to focus her Senior Design project on an aspect of sustainability in Atlanta and, eventually, to pursue a graduate degree in a field like sustainable engineering.

Otte definitely practices what she preaches.

“I try to make sure what I do personally is as efficient as possible. I switch off lights in empty classrooms and unplug appliances when they’re not in use,” she said, laughing. “I always carry a reusable water bottle and reusable bags for shopping. I combine shopping trips, and if I’m visiting out-of-town friends, I’ll take Megabus or carpool instead of driving alone. I spend as much time out-of-doors as I can. It’s the little things.

"And of course, I’m trying to direct my studies and my career toward these issues so I can make as big an impact as possible – to get people to understand that their individual choices can make a difference and to get organizations I’m in to care about these things too.”

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1581019120 2020-02-06 19:58:40 1581084332 2020-02-07 14:05:32 0 0 news When it comes sustainability, the ISyE third-year practices what she preaches.

2020-02-06T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-06T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-06 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

632180 632180 image <![CDATA[ISyE third-year Kathryn Otte]]> image/jpeg 1581018710 2020-02-06 19:51:50 1581018710 2020-02-06 19:51:50
<![CDATA[In Conversation: ISyE Undergraduate & GTSBE President Ndeyanta Jallow]]> 28766 Ndeyanta Jallow, a fourth-year student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and Georgia Tech Provost Scholar, is certainly one of the School’s stand-out students. While maintaining a high GPA, she has completed an impressive array of research projects providing data analysis for Spotify, the Security and Exchange Commission, and the Atlanta Police Department, as well as an internship for Goldman Sachs. But it is perhaps Jallow’s experience with the Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers (GTSBE), the collegiate chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE), that has most defined her time at Tech.

Founded in 1976 by Robert Dixon (EE 1977) and then-ISyE Professor Augustine Esogbue (Tech’s first tenured black professor) a year after the national organization was formed, GTSBE is the third-largest organization on campus with around 250 members. The chapter won NSBE’s first-ever National Distinguished Chapter of the Year Award and for the past two years has received the NSBE (Large) Chapter of the Year Award.

Jallow, who is from Danbury, Connecticut, joined GTSBE during her first semester and eventually held three executive board positions, including her current role as president. As she shares in the following interview, GTSBE helped her find her place at the Institute. She also talks about Lambda Delta Rho, the organization’s initiative to help first-year members succeed, and what leadership means to her.

Why is it important to have a group that represents black engineering students on Tech’s campus?

GTSBE serves the purpose of making sure that we're not only leading people toward STEM fields but also are letting them know they actually have a place there. Tech is such a large school that when I came here, it was initially very hard for me to find my place. GTSBE has made me believe that I have a seat at the table when it comes to engineering.

When I am at work in an office environment, I may be the only person at the table who looks like me. But I can go to a GTSBE meeting and be with many like-minded passionate engineers. Seeing everyone’s success – and how we all want to be world-changers – fuels my passion for the organization even more.

In addition, you can’t forget about the people who haven’t gotten here yet. We work both with high school students and college students across Atlanta, and we are the bridge that connects them to engineering. We are able to reach out to them and say, “This is a field for you. You can see yourself here.” There’s a personal connection. I think back to my mentors and fellow students who brought me into GTSBE, and how I saw myself in them. They gave me the confidence and support I need to succeed as an engineer.

What is Lambda Delta Rho?

Georgia Tech students are very smart, but when you first get here, it can be shocking how difficult the Institute is. So in conjunction with the Lambda Delta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., we designed Lambda Delta Rho (LDR)  to not only provide academic support but also mentorship and leadership. It’s important to succeed academically, of course, but there's so much more to college than just studying. We wanted to create a sense of community early on in our first-years’ experience.

LDR functions like a mini-GTSBE. At the beginning of the fall semester, the first-years run for offices that have counterparts in the larger GTSBE executive board. They start with zero dollars, and the goal is to raise enough money to give several scholarships to the next incoming class.

My first year at Tech, I was co-programs chair for LDR. A friend of mine and I planned all of LDR’s big events that helped us raise money throughout the year. At the end of the year, we had raised $3,000 and gave three $1,000 scholarships to the class after us. It was amazing to see how we first-years started off with nothing and successfully reached that end goal.

LDR is also a leadership pipeline. It helps us identify those students who have leadership capabilities and talent early on, and then we help them grow even more to achieve the leadership goals they want. In my case, two past GTSBE presidents, Niya Abdulkadir (ChE 19) and Shanice Saunders (BSBA 17), who both identified me within LDR and saw the passion, love, and dedication I had for the organization very early on. And they've cultivated me all the way to where I am today.

Tell us more about that.

At the end of my first year, Niya and Shanice wanted me to transition to the GTSBE executive board, and I was so focused on academics that initially I didn’t think I could do it. They sat me down and said, “We promise you – you’re going to be able to do both. We see so much potential in you, and we’ll be here for you.”

I took their advice and decided to apply for the exec board, and I’m so grateful that I did, because I have grown a tremendous amount. Through their mentorship and my GTSBE leadership experiences, I’ve learned so much about how the world works, how to interact with people, and how to successfully lead an organization.

GTSBE has several K-12 initiatives. What is one of them?

We do an annual event called STEAM Expo, which is held in Clough on a Saturday afternoon. We have anywhere between 150-200 K-12 students who participate in STEAM-related activities. Kindergarteners might make slime and learn about the chemical properties of its composition, while 12th graders might have a live coding session.

We’ve gotten great feedback from the parents about how well this event introduces kids to STEAM and the possible majors and careers within those fields. It’s important to have conversations early on about what engineering – for example – is, so students can see themselves as future engineers.

Why is leadership important to you?

For me, leadership is all about serving others. I have never wanted to get involved in something just to have a line on my resume. I really want to help others get to where they want to be. It has been a way a give back to the organization and people who gave so much to me.

It’s also important to think about the future. Of course we have goals and dreams that we want to achieve this year, but let’s also think about the people who will be in these seats 10 years from now – what are we doing today that will sustain GTSBE? As we put on annual events and continue to foster the development of our membership, we are asking the important questions to ensure that our members understand our purpose, enjoy their time within the organization and can share their experiences with those who are to follow. When I think about the reasons why I joined the organization, it was largely because of great stories I was told from those who came before me. In addition to this, all that we are able to do within GTSBE stems from the support of our corporate sponsors. And so, as our members graduate and move onto their respective fields, we always ask them to think back to their undergraduate days and consider us when it comes time to make decisions about campus wide partnerships.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1578413807 2020-01-07 16:16:47 1580843940 2020-02-04 19:19:00 0 0 news Fourth-year Ndeyanta Jallow is this year's president of GTSBE, an organization that has defined her Georgia Tech experience.

2020-01-07T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-07T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-07 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

630679 630680 630679 image <![CDATA[ISyE fourth-year Ndeyanta Jallow is this year's president of the Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers.]]> image/jpeg 1578412772 2020-01-07 15:59:32 1578412772 2020-01-07 15:59:32 630680 image <![CDATA[The GTSBE Executive Board with Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. ]]> image/jpeg 1578412888 2020-01-07 16:01:28 1578412888 2020-01-07 16:01:28
<![CDATA[ISyE Alumnus Karan Agrawal Shares His Supply Chain Insights on "Supply Chain Now" Podcast]]> 28766 Supply chain has fascinated Karan Agrawal since early in his college career. As an avid coffee drinker, he began thinking about how the coffee beans in Costa Rica seamlessly translate into a cup of coffee in the USA. His growing curiosity about supply chain led him to found APICS at GT

⁠Now an alum (BSIE 19), Karan works for  Dell in Austin, TX on an operations strategy team, focusing on strategic initiatives to digitize Dell's global supply chain. Karan was recently featured on the "Supply Chain Now" podcast, speaking on "Why Millennials are Perfect for Supply Chain & How to Successfully Start Your Career." ⁠

⁠"Every millennial today wants to be in a cross-functional role," he notes. "And supply chain, by definition, is a global interconnected network which has numerous complex problems to solve.This challenge excites me everyday.”

⁠You can listen to the podcast episode here.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1579875322 2020-01-24 14:15:22 1579890454 2020-01-24 18:27:34 0 0 news In his appearance on the SCN episode, Karan discusses why millennials make for excellent hires in this industry.

2020-01-24T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-24T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-24 00:00:00 631558 631558 image <![CDATA[Karan Agrawal]]> image/jpeg 1579890436 2020-01-24 18:27:16 1579890436 2020-01-24 18:27:16
<![CDATA[Pinar Keskinocak Assumes INFORMS Presidency]]> 28766 Georgia Tech Professor Pinar Keskinocak assumed the presidency of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in January 2020. Keskinocak is the William W. George Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), a College of Engineering ADVANCE professor, and the director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems (CHHS) at Georgia Tech.

In some ways, this office represents the pinnacle of Keskinocak’s longstanding service to INFORMS, which began when she was a junior faculty member. Since then, she has served on the INFORMS board as both vice president of membership and professional recognition and secretary; co-founder and president of the Junior Faculty Interest Group Forum and Pubic Sector Operations Research Section; and president of the Women in OR/MS Forum and the Health Applications Society. She also has served as an officer of other INFORMS sections, on the editorial boards of several journals, and as chair of both the Doctoral Colloquium and Nicholson Paper Competition.

Keskinocak has been serving as president-elect of INFORMS since January 2019. After her presidency in 2020, she will remain on the executive board for one year as past president. In this interview, she discusses her goals for INFORMS’ growth, outreach, and impact.

As an ISyE faculty member, you’re very busy – teaching, researching, directing CHHS. Given this, why are you also committed to active involvement in INFORMS?

INFORMS is the largest professional society for our field. As an organization that has both academic and non-academic members, it is a community influencing the current and future impact of our field in education, research, and practice. I care about the impact our work can have on society and businesses, and for that reason, it is important for me to contribute as much as I can.

What are some of your goals for your presidency?

There are several exciting areas I would like to focus on.

Our membership has been strong and growing for a number of years. I believe we can further extend our reach in terms of attracting and retaining student members, as well as practice members. One way to do this to reach out to younger generations and share information about our field. Middle school and high school students may have no awareness of the exciting career opportunities available to them through operations research and analytics. INFORMS has a history of successful K-12 outreach, and I hope we will continue to build on that, as well as continuing our outreach to undergraduate and graduate student members.

Historically, we have seen engagement and collaborations between our academic and practice members. There’s an opportunity to increase such interactions by building more and stronger bridges between academia and practice. There are many practitioners whose work involves operations research or analytics. But they may not be engaged with INFORMS – or even if they are, their engagement might be primarily with practice members. So, we still have opportunities to increase engagement and collaborations between academia and practice (including industry and government), considering what academia might offer to positively impact practice, and the challenging problems faced by practitioners to spur new research and innovation.  

While INFORMS’ engagement with industry has been strong, we can build on our policy impact by increasing our engagement with governmental and non-governmental agencies (NGOs). This continues to be another growth area for the organization – domestically and internationally. We have the opportunity to tackle some of the most complex problems facing humanity, and we need to be connecting more to the decision-makers, so that when they have issues that require data-driven analytical approaches, they think of and reach out to INFORMS and its members.

We also have opportunities to further diversify our membership base and enhance our culture of inclusivity. The STEM fields generally face challenges in diversity and inclusion, and INFORMS is no exception, though as an organization, we have made significant strides. For example, we established a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, ethics guidelines, and a code of conduct.

The INFORMS board just approved a new initiative proposal to establish an INFORMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Ambassadors Program. These ambassadors, both individually and collectively, will work on initiatives to improve DEI within the broader INFORMS community. We are very excited about the possibilities for this program, which is open to all INFORMS members and staff.

What is most exciting to you about this opportunity to serve as president?

INFORMS is an amazing organization and has been on a positive trajectory for several years. Just look at our performance metrics in terms of our membership, participation in our conferences, our journals, the quality and number of journal articles published, and how these articles are consumed by readers. So this is a fantastic time for INFORMS – we can communally be proud of it. Our current position of strength gives us opportunities to take some bigger leaps.

 You’re obviously a systems thinker. How will that contribute to your role as INFORMS president?

We definitely need to be implementing the OR and analytical techniques we use in our day to day research and work into INFORMS operations. For some of these future goals and also current initiatives, the pieces all need to fit together. Our portfolio includes conferences, journals, sections and societies, etc. When we take action in one area, it has impact and implications for the others as well. That’s where the systems thinking becomes important: Considering our actions and strategies not in isolation for each part of our portfolio, but synergistically, to make progress in line with our overarching goals. Of course progress can only happen with the synergistic collaborations between our amazing staff, members, and our external constituents. As a famous African proverb states, “Go alone if you want to go fast; go together if you want to go far.”

After your presidency, what will your future involvement in INFORMS look like?

I have always been committed to INFORMS, and I envision my involvement will continue beyond 2020-21, via journal editorial boards, outreach, etc. I am also excited about the new DEI Ambassadors program and hope to contribute to its progress and success moving forward. INFORMS is an incredible organization. I am grateful to be a member, and I encourage and invite everyone to engage.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1579278275 2020-01-17 16:24:35 1579615077 2020-01-21 13:57:57 0 0 news Keskinocak has been an engaged member of INFORMS since early in her academic career, and the presidency represents the pinnacle of her involvement.

2020-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-17 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

631260 631260 image <![CDATA[William W. George Chair and Professor and INFORMS President Pinar Keskinocak]]> image/jpeg 1579278049 2020-01-17 16:20:49 1579278049 2020-01-17 16:20:49
<![CDATA[The College of Engineering Announces the Reappointment of Edwin Romeijn]]> 28766 H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart School Chair and Professor H. Edwin Romeijn has been reappointed to a five-year term in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE).

The reappointment follows a five-year performance review as required by the Georgia Tech Faculty Handbook. The review committee, chaired by Vigor Yang, professor and former aerospace engineering school chair, conducted a thorough assessment complemented by feedback from the School and community including faculty, staff, and students; the ISyE Advisory Board; and other colleagues.

“I am pleased to announce the reappointment of Edwin Romeijn as the ISyE school chair,” said Steve McLaughlin, dean of the College of Engineering. “During his tenure, the School has accomplished some significant milestones including offering an online master’s degree in analytics as well as maintaining its preeminence as the No. 1 industrial engineering program in the country, a position the School has had for more than 20 years.”

“Serving as the H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart Chair of ISyE for the past five years has been a great privilege, and I am looking forward to remaining in this role,” Romeijn commented. “I will continue to work closely with faculty, students, alumni, and staff to ensure ISyE remains the top-ranked program of its kind, attracts the best and brightest students, produces top-tier graduates, and leads the way for researchers in our field. I am proud to be part of this community and am excited to see what the future holds.”

The review committee from ISyE comprised the following:

The reappointment was effective January 1 and runs through December 31, 2024.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1579277799 2020-01-17 16:16:39 1579298354 2020-01-17 21:59:14 0 0 news Under Romeijn's tenure as School Chair, ISyE has remained the No. 1 program of its kind nationally.

2020-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-17 00:00:00 631258 631258 image <![CDATA[H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart School Chair and Professor Edwin Romeijn]]> image/jpeg 1579277593 2020-01-17 16:13:13 1579277593 2020-01-17 16:13:13
<![CDATA[Lauren Steimle Joins ISyE as Assistant Professor]]> 28766 Lauren Steimle joined Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) as an assistant professor in January 2020.

Steimle’s research interests include operations research and data analytics with applications in public health and medical decision making. She has methodological interests in sequential decision-making, decision-making under uncertainty, and computational optimization with a focus on Markov decision processes and stochastic programming. She has worked on projects studying preventive treatment related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as vaccination decisions for the control of norovirus.

She received her Ph.D. and M.S.E. in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan and her B.S. in systems science and engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Steimle received a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship Honorable Mention. In 2017, she was a member of the third-place team in the New England Journal of Medicine’s SPRINT Data Challenge.

Steimle is a member of INFORMS and has served on the INFORMS Subdivisions Council.

]]> Shelley Wunder-Smith 1 1578584580 2020-01-09 15:43:00 1578584580 2020-01-09 15:43:00 0 0 news Steimle earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and joined ISyE in January 2020.

2020-01-09T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-09T00:00:00-05:00 2020-01-09 00:00:00 Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

630821 630821 image <![CDATA[ISyE Assistant Professor Lauren Steimle]]> image/jpeg 1578584074 2020-01-09 15:34:34 1578584074 2020-01-09 15:34:34