Department Chair’s Message

Welcome to another issue of IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. I’m pleased to share some recent news with you.

We’ve had a busy several months in IOE with our IOE 60+ Anniversary Celebration, Homecoming Weekend, faculty and students making trips to conferences such as HFES and INFORMS, and many other activities.

It was an absolute pleasure for me to connect with so many alumni at our 60+ Anniversary Celebration. It was even more exciting to see alums of all ages connecting with our current students. I enjoyed every moment of the weekend from technical talks from our bright and innovative IOE community members, to dinner at the University of Michigan Art Museum, and, of course, our tour of the Michigan Stadium.

Speaking of our alumni, you may enjoy reading about a recent graduate, Ryan Kennedy, who took a few months after graduation to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. In an event a little closer to home, Gary Verplank returned to campus for Homecoming Weekend and shared his expertise and experience with IOE alumni, students, faculty, and staff as our Alumni Awardee. And, finally, I truly enjoyed reading our guest post from Mike Kahn, an IOE alum I had the pleasure of meeting at our 60+ Anniversary Celebration.

And, as usual, our current students are doing great things as well. Bassel Salka and Minjun Zhao have founded Michigan Lean Consortium Consulting (MLC Consulting) which is intended to spread Lean minded thinking across the University of Michigan campus. And, IOE 202 students, showed off their research in an amazing poster session. Many thanks to Lauren Steimle, an IOE PhD student, who taught this section of 202 and who organized this poster session.

You’ll see even more accomplishments from our community in the faculty & staff news and student & alumni news sections. There are also plenty of exciting research projects in our research funding updates. I’m pleased to share, for example, that Viswanath Nagarajan has received an NSF CAREER Award. Congratulations, Vish.

I’m always eager to hear what our alumni are up to and to highlight alumni stories in this newsletter and on our website. If you have news of achievements and awards that we can share with the IOE community or would like to be featured in the Alumni Spotlight, please contact us at

In the spirit of keeping in touch, I’d like to remind you that IOE has a Twitter account, @UMIOE, which you can follow for the most recent news and updates.

I have enjoyed meeting many of you in the past years. Whenever you are on campus, our doors are always open to you. Please drop by to introduce yourself or catch up.

Go Blue!
Mark S. Daskin

Four IOE Faculty Members Promoted

The IOE Department is pleased to celebrate four promotions which will be effective September 1, 2017. Amy Cohn and Marina Epelman have been promoted to Full Professor while Eunshin Byon and Siqian Shen have been promoted to Associate Professor. Members of the IOE community gathered on the afternoon of June 23, 2017 to recognize these four women for their contributions to the department and their success.

Amy Cohn joined the faculty in 2002 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009; in 2011, she was also named a Thurnau Professor and in 2017 was promoted to Full Professor. She currently holds the position of Associate Director for the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety. Her primary research interest is in robust and integrated planning for large-scale systems, predominantly in healthcare and aviation applications. She also collaborates on projects in satellite communications, vehicle routing problems for hybrid fleets, and robust network design for power systems and related applications. Her primary teaching interest is in optimization techniques, at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Marina Epelman received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and her PhD from the MIT Operations Research Center. She has been a faculty member at the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department at the University of Michigan since 1999. Her research spans methodological and applied work in optimization. During her years at Michigan, she worked on research projects developing optimization models and algorithms for treatment planning in radiation oncology, personnel scheduling in hospitals and call centers, production scheduling and planning in manufacturing, and other interesting applications. On the methodological side, she works on algorithms for convex optimization problems (including some in infinite dimensions) and dynamic programming. She is active in service to the department and many professional organizations and is particularly proud of her three teaching awards presented by the IOE graduate students.

Eunshin Byon joined the faculty in Fall 2011. Her research interests include reliability evaluation, fault diagnosis/condition monitoring, predictive modeling and data analytics, and operations and maintenance decision-making for stochastic systems. Her recent research focuses on uncertainty quantification of stochastic systems using stochastic simulations, reliability analysis and improvement of large-scale, interconnected systems with applications to renewable power systems and manufacturing processes. She is a member of IIE, INFORMS, and IEEE.

Siqian Shen earned her BS from Tsinghua University in China in 2007 and her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2011. She joined the faculty in Fall 2011. Her research is in integer programming, stochastic programming, and network optimization. The models she considers usually feature stochastic parameters and discrete decision variables. In general, optimal solutions are desired for trading off between the immediate benefits and the long-run gains, or between cost effectiveness and operational risk. Applications include risk analysis and optimization of energy, healthcare, cloud-computing, and transportation systems. She currently serves as an Associate Director for the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).

Below you will see some of the comments from colleagues, students, and alumni as they shared their congratulations on Twitter.

Research Funding Updates

Brian Denton

Brian Denton
Title: Data Science Models and Methods for Improving Active Surveillance in Prostate Cancer
Funding Source: University of Michigan Cancer Center




Clive D’Souza

Clive D’Souza
Title: Usability and Design Evaluation of Vacuum Cleaning Appliances
Funding Source: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)




Judy Jin

Judy Jin
Title: Research on Distracted Driver Detection
Funding Source: Honda R & D Americas, Inc.
Distracted driving has been an increasing societal concern. This project, funded by Honda R&D Americas, aims to develop new online algorithms with a prototype for detecting distracted driving of a leading vehicle based on predicted kinematic features using host vehicle’s driving data.


Pascal Van Hentenryck, Viswanath Nagarajan, Siqian Shen

Viswanath Nagarajan

Siqian Shen





Title: DiDi: Real-Time Optimization and Pricing of Ride-Sharing Services
Funding Source: DiDi
The proposal aims at developing novel real-time optimization and pricing algorithms for large-scale ride sharing problems faced by DiDi ChuXing, exploiting techniques from mathematical
programming, approximation algorithms, stochastic optimization, and game theory.

Pascal Van Hentenryck

Pascal Van Hentenryck
Title: Clean Energy Research Center with Argonne National Lab to pursue research at the intersection of mobility systems and energy, applying advanced simulation and optimization technologies
Funding Source: Argonne National Laboratory

Faculty & Staff Updates

Brian Denton with Selin Merdan and Christine Barnett

Brian Denton, along with a team which included IOE graduate student researchers, Selin Merdan and Christine Barnett, helped develop new, statistically-derived guidelines which are helping urologists across Michigan zero in on which prostate cancer patients to scan for spread of their disease. To build the new guidelines, they worked with urologists to take advantage of an unusually comprehensive set of health data gathered by the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MUSIC), a physician-led collaborative of urologists. Read the full story here.

Chenhui Shao, Jionghua (Judy) Jin, and S. Jack Hu were awarded the best paper award from the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for their paper, “Dynamic sampling design for characterizing spatiotemporal processes in manufacturing.” The team was presented with the award at the 2017 Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference of the American Society of Manufacturing Engineering (ASME).

Monroe Keyserling was named the Departmental Merit Award winner at the College of Engineering faculty honors and awards dinner on March 24, 2017.

Celebrating Monroe Keyserling’s Department Merit Award

Student & Alumni Updates

Christine Barnett

IOE PhD student Christine Barnett was awarded best session poster at AUA 2017, the American Urological Association’s annual conference. Christine’s poster, titled “Can Frequency of Prostate Biopsy on Active Surveillance Be Reduced Without Significantly Increasing Risk?,” was recognized in the “active surveillance” session. Active surveillance (AS) for prostate cancer (CaP) involves close follow-up with serial prostate biopsies. The optimal biopsy frequency during follow-up has not been determined, resulting in variation in practice. The goal of this investigation was to use longitudinal AS biopsy data to assess if the frequency of biopsy could be reduced without substantially prolonging the time to detection of Gleason ≥ 7 disease. The research highlighted in the poster found that, while annual biopsy for low-risk men on AS is associated with the shortest time to detection of Gleason ≥ 7 disease, several alternative strategies may allow for less frequent biopsy without sizable increases in time to detecting grade progression.

IOE student Gian-Gabriel Garcia is the winner of the Winter 2017 Joel and Lorraine Brown GSI of the Semester Award. The student body was polled and the votes were weighted according to several factors.

Gian-Gabriel Garcia also received Honorable Mention for the 2017 Ford Foundation Fellowship.

Shivani Joshi

IOE undergrad Shivani Joshi won best poster award at the moderated poster session of the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting in Boston. The poster was entitled “Personalized decision support tool to prevent hospital readmission for patients treated with radical cystectomy” and the work was done in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team (including IOE students Sarah Finley and Xiang Liu.) The purpose of the tool is “to create a user-friendly, personalized decision support tool that can display the likelihood of readmission after radical cystectomy, as well as recommendations for optimal follow-up based on published data.” It is rare for a sophomore to be invited to present work at the AUA, and even less common to win the best poster award!

Brian Lemay has been awarded a 2017 Murty Prize. Brian received the award for a paper written with Amy Cohn, Marina Epelman, and Stephen Gorga titled “New Methods for Resolving Conflicting Requests with Examples from Medical Residency Scheduling.” The paper proposes an optimization based method that identifies maximally-feasible and minimally-infeasible sets of time-off requests which can then be used by decision makers to select their preferred schedule. Although the paper focuses on a residency scheduling problem, the proposed method is applicable to any problem involving conflicting requests. A version of the paper co-authored by Professor Amy Cohn, Professor Marina Epelman, and Dr. Stephen Gorga was recently accepted for publication in the Production and Operations Management (POM) Journal. A committee reviews papers nominated for the annual award, formally known as the Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization by an IOE Student.

Donald Richardson

Donald Richardson was featured in a Michigan Engineering profile titled “Donald Richardson: Leading a career with impact.”

Xiangkun Shen has been awarded a 2017 Murty Prize for his paper written with Jon Lee and Viswanath Nagarajan titled “Approximating Graph-Constrained Max-Cut.” The max-cut problem is an extensively studied combinatorial optimization problem. This paper studies the case where additional graph-based constraints are required. The algorithm uses LP relaxation based on the Sherali-Adams hierarchy. It gives a ½-approximation when the input constraint graph is of bounded treewidth. It can handle any graph constraint for which there is a dynamic program of a specific form, including constraints such as independent set, dominating set, vertex cover, precedence, and connectivity. A committee reviews papers nominated for the annual award, formally known as the Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization by an IOE Student.

Congratulations Graduates!

The IOE Department is incredibly proud of its 2017 graduates!

Graduate students, along with their families and IOE faculty and staff, celebrated at a graduate student banquet on March 23, 2017.

Undergraduate students and their families came to the IOE Building on April 28, 2017 to celebrate graduation with IOE faculty and staff.

Department Chair’s Message

Welcome to another issue of IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. As always, the IOE Department is an exciting place to be and I’m pleased to share some recent news with you.

I’m proud to share that four of our faculty members have earned promotions. I’m delighted to work with  Amy Cohn, Marina Epelman, Eunshin Byon, and Siqian Shen and congratulate them on the well-deserved promotions.

I’m sorry to share the news that Richard Wilson, one of our influential faculty members from the early days of the IOE Department, passed away earlier this year. The memories shared in this newsletter illustrate why his influence is still felt in the department today.

I am also honored to share the accomplishments of our IOE community members. Be sure to read our Faculty & Staff Updates, Student & Alumni Updates, and Research Funding Updates to see what our accomplished community members are doing. And, of course, this issue wouldn’t be complete without a big congratulations to our 2017 graduates!

I’m always eager to hear what our alumni are up to and to highlight alumni stories in this newsletter and on our website. If you have news of achievements and awards that we can share with the IOE community or would like to be featured in the Alumni Spotlight, please contact us at

In the spirit of keeping in touch, I’d like to remind you that IOE has a Twitter account, @UMIOE, which you can follow for the most recent news and updates.

I have enjoyed meeting many of you in the past years. Whenever you are on campus, our doors are always open to you. Please drop by to introduce yourself or catch up.

In closing, I hope you will plan to join us from Thursday, November 9th to Saturday, November 11th, 2017 for an event which will celebrate the history, present, and future of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering! Activities will include panels featuring students, faculty, and alumni; family friendly activities; networking; opportunities to mentor current students; talks from prominent members of the IOE community; and more! Keep an eye out for more information regarding this event!

Go Blue!
Mark S. Daskin

In Memory of Richard Wilson

Professor Richard Wilson, who had a profound impact on the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, passed away on January 12, 2017. Wilson began his academic career with IOE as an instructor in 1956. At the same time, he began work on his PhD. He was awarded his PhD and promoted to professor in 1961.

As an instructor in the late 50’s he taught the use of digital computers for solving various IE problems. He was soon acknowledged for his expertise in providing useful solutions to complex analytical models related to facility layout, production planning, and production scheduling. In the mid-1960’s he established a production simulation laboratory for teaching and research related to facility layout and production scheduling. He later served as Associate Dean in the College of Engineering from 1968 to 1972, and then Chair of the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department from 1973 to 1977. In 1978 he established a collaborative education and research program in Manufacturing with Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science that later became the Center for Research on Integrated Manufacturing.

Wilson is also known for the difference he made in the lives of his students and colleagues. Thom J. Hodgson, who earned his IOE PhD in 1970, said, “Dick was known by all of the graduate students as the very best professor in his office. That is, when you went to his office for advice or help on your research, he had the knack for asking the right questions to open your mind to the possibilities of how to deal with the issues involved. Many of us are greatly indebted for his many practical insights, and for his unfailing good nature.”

IOE Professor Emeritus Don Chaffin remembers Wilson’s influence on his choice to study in the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department. “When I was considering studying for a PhD after working at GM for several years, I visited UM and several other universities. It was during a period when only a few faculty members were on campus here, but Richard Wilson was. We talked about the PhD degree in Industrial Engineering with great enthusiasm, and after about an hour or so I was convinced that it was the type of degree that I wanted. To top it off, shortly after the discussion I got a letter from him providing a $1,000 fellowship, which really cinched the deal, and the rest, so they say, is history.”

Chaffin also recalls one of the other things Wilson was known for, his love of music. “One other thing about RC, as we called him, was that he always loved good music. In fact, I fondly remember his retirement party at the Michigan Union Ballroom with a great band that he had hired. So when he retired I was not surprised to learn that he was taking trombone lessons with a total commitment to being an outstanding trombone player.” In fact, when Wilson retired from the University of Michigan in 1983, he embarked on a new career as a jazz trombonist.

Wilson was honored with a memorial service at Kerrytown Concert House on April 22, 2017. His impact is still felt in the IOE Department and in the lives of those he influenced, including his colleagues and students.

Henry Lam Receives NSF CAREER Award

Henry Lam

Henry Lam has received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his project titled “Optimization­-based Quantification of Statistical Uncertainty in Stochastic and Simulation Analysis.” The CAREER Award program offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards 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.

This CAREER award will fund the creation of a systematic framework for designing, analyzing, and implementing statistical uncertainty quantification methodologies that effectively integrate data into stochastic and simulation analyses. The specific research objectives will cover the following four inter-connected problems: 1) Rare-event prediction and computation; 2) Propagation of input model errors in simulation analysis; 3) Calibration of stochastic input models from output data; and 4) Quantification and enrichment of the feasibility of obtained solutions in data-driven stochastic optimization. The research outcomes will aid in developing data-driven simulation-based tools for evaluating automated vehicle safety, provide reliable methodologies to assess risks and calibrate industrial simulation platforms, and equip next-generation engineers with multi-faceted perspectives in using computational and statistical tools that will benefit their future careers.

Research Funding Updates

Xiuli Chao
Data-Driven Learning Algorithms for Dynamic Inventory and Pricing Optimization Problems
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
Learning algorithms aim to solve dynamic optimization problems in which the decision maker has limited or even no prior information about some or the entire system structure. Indeed, in many applications, the system is so complex that it may not be possible to lay out an exact theoretical model with all system parameters known in advance. In these settings, the decision maker needs to learn such information during the decision-making process, e.g., by extracting information from the collected data, to design algorithms for improved system performance. This award supports research to develop efficient data-driven learning algorithms for dynamic operations optimization problems in supply chain management. It will be accomplished by incorporating and extending ideas and techniques from machine learning, statistics, and stochastic optimization. This research is particularly timely for the booming of data analytics applications in industrial and business operations. With the increasing availability of data in companies, the research from this project will help them better utilize data for intelligent pricing and inventory decisions, and increase revenue and minimize cost.

Seth Guikema

Seth Guikema
Collaborative Research: Methods of Disaster Research – Interdisciplinary Approaches
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
This project will bring together national and international leaders in interdisciplinary hazards research for a series of workshops focused on discussing and further developing methods for interdisciplinary research, leading to a special issue in Risk Analysis as well as an edited book on interdisciplinary methods for disaster research.

Seth Guikema
Coordinated, Behaviorally-Aware Recovery for Transportation and Power Disruptions
Funding  Source: National Science Foundation
A major purpose of infrastructure is to support and serve human beings and their activities. Humans are highly adaptive, a fact overlooked in many infrastructure network assessments of interdependency and recovery. We cannot fully understand infrastructure interdependence nor properly develop recovery strategies until we account for human capacity to adapt to infrastructure disruptions. This project addresses the question “how can we better recover from infrastructure disruptions by using a coordinated approach that accounts for human behavior?” The researchers’ approach will specifically examine the adaptation of individuals who pursue alternate means to accomplish an activity goal and the interdependence between power and transportation infrastructure that results from this adaptation and during disruptions. The project’s key advancement will be a framework that views coordinated restoration in a context that focuses on human use of infrastructure services, not simply as an effort to restore service of the technical components.

Mariel Lavieri and Mark Van Oyen
Personalized Forecasting of Disease Trajectory for Patients with Open-Angle Glaucoma
Funding Source: National Institutes of Health
This research will develop an innovative approach to personalized care of patients with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and ocular hypertension (OHTN) to prevent avoidable blindness and vision loss. It will capitalize on NEI-funded clinical trials data through integrate operations research and systems engineering-based models. This decision support method will assist clinicians by (a) producing personalized forecasts of the probability of progressing from OHTN to OAG and less severe to more advanced disease states, (b) determining the optimal timing of specific diagnostic tests to monitor each patient, (c) identifying those at highest risk for irreversible vision loss from OAG (i.e., “fast progressors”), and (d) generating recommended target treatment goals of intraocular pressure (IOP). This research was initiated at the University of Michigan in a multidisciplinary collaboration between Mariel Lavieri and Mark Van Oyen – from the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department – and Joshua Stein from the Kellogg Eye Center. The team includes outstanding collaborators from the University of Iowa, NYU, UCSD, and Washington University.

Jon Lee
“Treating Difficult Nonlinearities in Optimization: Sparse, Global and Integer Optimization”
Funding Source: Office of Naval Research
For mixed-integer linear programming and local nonlinear programming, over the last 50+ years, good modeling practices have become well known, and many important mathematical and algorithmic principles are now absorbed by solvers. For other important categories of optimization problems, mathematical and algorithmic theory and practice are much less developed. We are addressing several key issues: optimizing sparsity, handling non-smooth and nonconvex functions in the context of global optimization, and addressing integrality issues in the presence of nonlinearities. Jon Lee receives research funding from Office of Naval Research

Nadine Sarter
It’s the transitions…!: Supporting Shared Control in Vehicle Steering Across Routine and Off-Nominal Conditions
Funding Source: Toyota Research Institute (TRI)
This is a three-year collaborative research project between Brent Gillespie in Mechanical Engineering and Professor Sarter.

Siqian Shen

Siqian Shen
Data-driven Risk-aware Adversarial Analysis under Uncertainty
Funding Source: Department of Defense/Army Research Office
We study stochastic sequential games with the players’ being risk averse. We focus on specific network interdiction applications and develop data-driven optimization approaches for analyzing related problems under uncertainty. The research covers both two-stage and multi-stage interdiction models, with emphasis on both modeling and solution methodology development.

Siqian Shen
EAGER: Inclusive Design and Operations for Integrated Vehicle-and-Service-Sharing Systems
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
Siqian Shen (PI) will collaborate with Co-PIs Tawanna Dillahunt and Tanya Rosenblat from School of Information to conduct interdisciplinary research for this project. The goal is to investigate the feasibility, challenges, and opportunities of deploying shared connected vehicles with new information and communication technologies (ICTs), to deliver goods and services in future smart & connected communities (S&CC). In taking on a living-lab approach, we will engage industry, non-profit partners, and underserved populations in Detroit throughout each phase of the project. The end result of this EAGER will be 1) improved mathematical models and efficient algorithms for optimizing resource allocation, supply-demand matching, and barrier-free vehicle & ICT operations in centralized and decentralized vehicle-and-service-sharing (V&SS) systems; 2) an articulation of the types of critical services that have the highest impact and are needed most among underserved communities (e.g., access to better healthcare or jobs).

Cong Shi
Nonparametric Sampling-Based Algorithms for Supply Chain Systems
Source: National Science Foundation
The research objective of this award is to develop a sampling-based algorithmic framework for sequential decision-making problems such as those that arise when supply chain systems experience input certainties, e.g. in demand, capacity, lead time, yield, or product lifetime at the beginning of the decision period. The algorithmic framework can simultaneously learn the input uncertainties through observed data and optimize the system-wide objective on the fly. The algorithms developed will help decision makers better cope with uncertainties in complex supply chains by analyzing and utilizing data in an online fashion.

Pascal Van Hentenryck

Pascal Van Hentenryck
Computable Market and System Equilibrium Models for Coupled Infrastructures
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
This research is motivated by increasing interdependencies between the U.S. electric power and natural gas infrastructures, which may have some significant unintended consequences as in the case of the New England Polar vortex in 2014. These interdependencies arise from the increasing roles of natural gas as a base-load resource (replacing coal-fired power plants) and as a balancing resource (to smooth fluctuations in variable renewable energy generation). While natural gas brings environmental benefits over coal, the increased coupling between electricity and gas systems and their markets has been difficult to model with existing tools. This research program will develop tractable computational tools and supporting data sets to enable analysis of the operational or economic risks associated with this increasing interdependence and to articulate the economic and social value from increased coordination in system planning, operations, and clearing of markets.

Pascal Van Hentenryck
Project Title:
Reinventing Public Urban Transportation and Mobility
Funding Source: Michigan Institute for Data Science Challenge Initiatives
IOE professor Pascal Van Hentenryck is the lead researcher for a MIDAS (Michigan Institute for Data Science Challenge Initiatives) project that was recently awarded funding of $1.25 million dollars. The goal of the multiyear MIDAS Challenge Initiatives program is to foster data science projects that have the potential to prompt new partnerships between U-M, federal research agencies, and industry.
The project will help design and operate an on-demand, public transportation system for urban areas in which a fleet of connected and automated vehicles are synchronized with buses and light rail, using predictive models based on high volumes of diverse transportation data. The goal is to begin testing on the U-M campus within a year and then expand the experiment to Ann Arbor and Detroit.
Lead researcher: Pascal Van Hentenryck, Industrial Operations, and Engineering
Research team: Ceren Budak and Tawanna Dillahunt, School of Information; Amy Cohn, Industrial and Operations Engineering; Rebecca Cunningham, Emergency Medicine; Robert Hampshire and Jim Sayer, U-M Transportation Research Institute; Jerome Lynch, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Jonathan Levine and Louis Merlin, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning;  Luis Ortiz, Computer and Information Science, UM-Dearborn; and Michael Wellman, Computer Science and Engineering.