ISyE Doctoral Student Spotlight

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ARDEN BAXTER // Ph.D. student, Operations Research

With innovative research projects in healthcare, it is no surprise Arden Baxter received a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Her work in humanitarian logistics explores how to allocate scarce resources to meet the most demand, specifically in disaster management scenarios where different resource types must work in coordination.

“In a hurricane setting, you could have flooding in an area but also people who are hurt and need EMS [emergency medical services], necessitating coordination between water rescue services and EMS to get those people out of their homes and treated,” Baxter explained.

She has also been involved in disease modeling for Covid-19, studying the benefits and consequences of nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as voluntary quarantine and school closure, and how they affected the people who were homebound.

“I knew that I wanted to do something where I felt like I was making a difference,” said Baxter. “I've always had this passion for service, and operations research is a great way to combine math and service into one.”

HENRY YUCHI // Ph.D. student, Machine Learning

After studying at the University of Cambridge to earn his undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering, Henry Yuchi was drawn to Georgia Tech by the diversity of ISyE research and his interest in the interface of engineering, data science, and statistics.

“Across the country, and Europe as well, it is very rare to find a data science or machine learning program in the engineering department,” said Yuchi.

He is studying low-rank matrix completion as well as computer experiments with multiple mesh density variables — work that earned him a student paper award from the American Statistical Association. His research tackles the engineering problem of using computer simulation software to separate a very large model into mesh cells, or boxes, to make estimates of items such as flow speed and velocity.

“I’m trying to find a scheme where we can use different sizes of cells to run different experiments, then combine all the solutions together to improve the accuracy of the experiments, while using fewer computational resources,” Yuchi explained.

JIALEI CHEN // Ph.D. 2021, Industrial Engineering

Jialei Chen has been a research assistant at the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, taking part in interdisciplinary research focused on data analytics and its applications to manufacturing and healthcare. One of his projects, a collaboration with Piedmont Heart Institute, proposes a surgical planning framework to treat aortic stenosis, a severe heart disease caused by the narrowing of the aortic valve. The current procedure, which involves inserting a stent, is a standardized treatment with limited customization.

“Our ambition is to personalize this surgery procedure for the specific patient,” said Chen. “We try to understand through computer simulations and 3D printing experiments which surgery procedure is the best for the patient.”

His work across multiple research areas has earned him the Ellis R. Ott Scholarship from the American Society for Quality, as well as many first-place awards at student paper competitions. Now that his Ph.D. is completed, he will continue his path in academia as an assistant professor in the department of statistics at the University of Georgia.


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