Student & Alumni Updates

IOE undergraduate, Chhavi Chaudhry, has been profiled on the CoE website. The article focuses on her work as an undergraduate researcher with the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (CHEPS) where she and an interdisciplinary team are studying patient wait times at cancer treatment facilities.

Chhavi Chaudhry working with members of the Michigan Cancer Center (photo courtesy of Michigan Engineering)

Chhavi Chaudhry working with members of the Michigan Cancer Center (photo courtesy of Michigan Engineering)

IOE PhD Candidate, Boxiao (Beryl) Chen and Professors Xiuli Chao and Hyun-Soo Ahn have received an Honorable Mention from the College of Supply Chain Management of the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) for the paper “Dynamic Pricing and Inventory Control with Nonparametric Demand Learning.” The best paper competition is held each year to identify and honor outstanding papers in the field of Supply Chain Management. Each submitted paper is judged based on its contribution towards the advancement of theory and practice of supply chain management.

Boxiao (Beryl) Chen has been awarded the 2015 Wilson Prize for her paper titled, “Dynamic Pricing and Inventory Control with Nonparametric Demand Learning.” This prize is given to the best student paper dealing with any aspect of manufacturing systems, including, but not limited to, operations, quality control, finance, logistics, production planning, product development, facility layout, material handling. Beryl’s advisors are Xiuli Chao and Hyun-Soo Ahn.

IOE PhD candidate Youngjun Choe has been awarded the 2015 Mary G. and Joseph Natrella Scholarship from the Quality and Productivity (Q&P) Section of the American Statistical Association (ASA) for his research on “Uncertainty analysis for importance sampling estimators with stochastic simulations.” Youngjun was chosen for his outstanding academic achievement, teaching experience, and commitment to the pursuit of quality improvement through the use of statistical methods.

Elizabeth Ettleson

Elizabeth Ettleson

IOE undergraduate student Elizabeth Ettleson has been awarded the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Council of Fellows Undergraduate Scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year. This scholarship was created to reward outstanding academic scholarship and leadership at the undergraduate level.

PhD candidate Pooyan Kazemian has been chosen to receive the 2015 Murty prize. His paper is titled “Dynamic Personalized Monitoring and Treatment Control of Glaucoma.” His advisor is Mark Van Oyen. A committee reviews papers nominated for this annual award, formally known as the Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization by an IOE Student.

IOE PhD candidate Brian Lemay took 2nd place in the Industrial, Operations and Financial Engineering division at the University of Michigan’s 10th annual Engineering Graduate Symposium poster presentation competition. His poster was titled “Scheduling Medical Residents with Conflicting Requests for Time-Off.”

IOE graduate student Yanxun Mao received a Rackham Summer Award. He is a masters student in IOE and has been doing research on computational cognitive modeling with Professor Yili Liu.

The Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society awarded Kayse Maass with the 2015 Joel and Lorraine Brown GSI of the Year Award. Every year IOE students cast their vote for this award to honor instructors who have made great impacts on their education and lives.

Kayse Maass was also awarded the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research in the College of Engineering. The award highlights the innovation and creativity demonstrated by PhD students, and rewards outstanding research achievements.

IOE Students Wesley Marrero and Yongcai Xu along with IOE alum Kunal Sanghani and faculty member Mariel Lavieri collaborated with colleagues from the Division of Gastroenterology and the School of Public Health on a study which predicts that a shortage of donor organs will be prevalent in liver transplantation through 2025 according to data published in Liver Transplantation. Their work was featured on the Healio website.

IOE PhD candidate Selin Merdan has been selected as the 2015 Bonder Fellow. The one year Seth Bonder Fellowship is awarded on a competitive basis to a superior IOE graduate student who wishes to study and do research in the field of applied operations research.

Rama Mwenesi, IOE Master’s student, is co-captain of the University of Michigan Boxing Team which hosted the 2015 United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA) National Championships Thursday, April 9 – Saturday, April 11. He represented the University in the national title bout for the 165 lb. (middle-weight) class in the Open Division, the highest “experience-level” division allowed by the USIBA in amateur boxing. In a bout against a former sparring partner from the local rival club at Eastern Michigan University, Rama fought hard but was just barely edged out in a split-decision for the championship. In addition to his place on the men’s team, Rama is an assistant coach for the women’s team which won the women’s team title and secured five individual national title belts. He says he found the women’s team’s achievements “incredibly rewarding as a coach, and teammate.”

Rama Mwenesi

Rama Mwenesi


IOE PhD candidate Emily Speakman received a Rackham Summer Award for 2015. Emily worked with Professor Jon Lee on a project titled “Optimal Double McCormick for Trilinear Monomials.” When using the standard McCormick inequalities iteratively to linearize trilinear monomials, there is a choice of which variables to group first. The project explores the effect of this choice on the feasible regions of the resulting linear relaxations. By computing the 4-dimensional volumes of appropriate polytopes (which are dependent on the upper and lower bounds of the variables), the researchers describe the optimal way to perform this double McCormick linearization.

Emily Speakman took first place in the Industrial, Operations and Financial Engineering division at the University of Michigan’s 10th annual Engineering Graduate Symposium poster presentation competition where she presented her poster, based on the research described above, titled, “Optimal Double McCormick for Trilinear Monomials: Global optimization of non-convex functions.”

The UM HFES Chapter

The UM HFES Chapter

The members of the HFES U-M chapter received the 2015 Outstanding Student Chapter Gold Award at the HFES Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, Oct 27, 2015. The mission of the HFES (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society) is to promote the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds.

The INFORMS student magazine, ORMS Tomorrow, has a student chapter spotlight on The University of Michigan INFORMS Chapter.

Many members of the IOE community were also recognized for their work at the recent INFORMS Annual Meeting. Please see our article on the meeting for information on those awards.

Research Updates

Tom Armstrong

Tom Armstrong

Professor Tom Armstrong
Project Title: TEMA’s Ergonomic Risk Assessment Technology Research Proposal
Funding Source: Toyota (TEMA)
This research project is in collaboration with SangHyun Lee, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan and Robert Radwin, Discovery Fellow, Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin. It involves examining use of computer vision to track worker postures and movements and assess ergonomic burdens.

Professor Eunshin Byon
Project Title: Collaborative Degradation Analysis for Enterprise-Level Maintenance Management via Dynamic Segmentation
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
The objective of this research project is to create a collaborative prognostics and health management methodology for manufacturing enterprises. There is an emerging need for enterprise-level management in many applications where a large number of units operate, which requires thorough understanding of their degradation patterns. While recent advancements in sensing technology provide unprecedented data collection opportunities, developing the desired enterprise-level framework, however, faces several challenges. This project will establish an integrative framework for learning heterogeneous degradation processes of a large number of units by investigating the differences and similarities among individual units. The prognostic results will guide the allocation of limited monitoring and maintenance resources. The developed methodology from this research will benefit a variety of US manufacturing or production enterprises that operate massive number of working units. This is a joint research project with Dr. Shuai Huang at the University of Washington.

Professor Amy Cohn
Project Title: Passenger Aviation Flight Disruption Analysis
Funding Source: Jeppesen Systems AB
In this collaborative project with Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing, we are investigating how different passenger airlines address disruptions within the complex aviation system. We focus in particular on the trade-offs between focusing on robust planning (in which the initial schedule is designed to be more resilient to weather issues, mechanical delays, and other problems, but often at a higher planned cost) and recovery, in which the disruptions are recognized as being highly likely to impact the system, and the focus is on developing mechanisms for responding quickly and effectively.

Professor Brian Denton
Project Title: Optimal Design of Biomarker-Based Screening Strategies for Early Detection of Chronic Diseases
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
Recent discoveries of new biomarkers are helping physicians identify early signs of chronic diseases, such as cancer. At the same time, these advances have made clinical decision making difficult because the available tests are not 100% reliable and sometimes cause false positive or false negative results. Since no single biomarker on its own is considered satisfactory, attention is turning to ways to combine biomarkers into composite tests with better predictive characteristics. This project will develop new data-driven optimization models for design of personalized composite tests and dynamic protocols for screening over a patient’s lifetime to optimally balance the competing goals of early disease detection and minimal harm from screening. These problems are challenging because of their stochastic and combinatorial nature and the partially observable characteristics of early stage chronic diseases. Theoretical properties that provide insight into optimal screening strategies will be analyzed and used to design efficient algorithms and approximation methods for solving these problems using a combination of stochastic optimization and machine learning methods.

Professor Brian Denton
Project Title: Individualized Medical Treatment Optimization for Improving Population Health
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
This project involves the development of mathematical models for chronic disease progression using very large data sets based on electronic medical record (EMR) data. Since model parameter estimates based on EMR data are subject to unavoidable uncertainty as a result of patient heterogeneity, missing data, and conflicting estimates from different data sources, we will develop new robust optimal control models for drug treatment optimization over a patient’s lifetime. The uncertainty in model parameters combined with complex interactions between disease risk factors, treatment efficacy, and medication adherence gives rise to new large-scale optimization models that have not been well studied and that are difficult to solve computationally. To address these challenges we will study the mathematical structure of these models and develop methods for computing optimal treatment policies. Moreover, we will use insights we gain to develop fast approximation methods that can help clinicians improve medical decision making at the point of care.

Clive D'Souza

Clive D’Souza

Professor Clive D’Souza
Project Title: Investigating Performance Indicators in Accessible and Inclusive Public Transportation
Funding Source: Department of Health and Human Services
Transportation barriers often restrict community participation for different vulnerable populations such as for individuals that are older or with mobility impairments. This research project combines human factors studies and data analytic methods, and brings together researchers, individuals with mobility impairments, community partners and transportation service providers to identify mitigating factors and improvement opportunities in public transit design and operations that impact mobility in vulnerable user groups alongside transit system performance.

Professor Clive D’Souza
Project Title: Work Domain Analysis of Hospital Lift Teams in High-risk Patient Handling
Funding Source: Hill-Rom
Providing care for bariatric patients in hospitals such as during repositioning, moving and transferring patients can be complex and poses ergonomic safety risks to both patients and care-providers. In collaboration with lift-team staff at the UMHS, this project will employ physical and cognitive work analysis techniques to identify constraints, challenges and ergonomic design opportunities when caring for patients that are bariatric and often not accommodated by contemporary medical equipment.

Professor Romesh Saigal
Project Title: Intelligent Parking Guidance System based on Connected Vehicle Sensor Networks
Funding Source: Mobility Transformation Center
This research project with Robert Hampshire proposes an Intelligent Parking Guidance (IPG) System which will utilize existing sensors embedded on connected/automated vehicles to collect real-time parking availability information both during driving and while parked. A minimum infrastructure upgrade is proposed.

Professor Mark Van Oyen
Project Title: EAGER: Advanced Capacity Allocation Methodology: Time-sensitive Appointments in Congested Service Systems
Funding Source: National Science Foundation
The proposed research addresses healthcare and service operations by creating methods that allow organizations to service multiple classes of patient types while delivering waiting times at or below some target level appropriate to the patient’s urgency. In settings with service resources shared in common, the methods created will optimize trade-offs involving the utilization of key resources, staff overtime, volumes of services fulfilled, and waiting times for appointments. The potential impact of these new methods includes improved cost control through efficiency, better ability to coordinate a patient’s care across providers over time, and improved health outcomes as a result of more timely visits. These stochastic optimization problems will be solved as mixed integer programs using novel formulations.

Faculty & Staff Updates


James Bagian

Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety Director, James Bagian, has been named one of the “50 Experts Leading the Field of Patient Safety” by Becker’s Hospital Review. The list consists of advocates, professors, researchers, administrators, and healthcare providers who have won awards, published articles, spoken out, and led initiatives to reduce harm and ensure safety in healthcare. James Bagian’s entry on the list as well as the full list of experts can be viewed at the Becker’s Hospital Review website.

The Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society named Professor Amy Cohn the Alpha Pi Mu Professor of the Year. Every year IOE students cast their vote for this award to honor instructors who have made great impacts on their education and lives.

Clyde W. Johnson Collegiate Professor and Department Chair Mark Daskin delivered the keynote address at the IIE Annual Conference & Expo 2015 which took place in Nashville, Tennessee from May 30 to June 2. IIE has made a video of his keynote address available.

Professor Brian Denton received the 2015 Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Teaching Excellence. These awards are presented annually to one faculty member in Industrial and Operations Engineering and one in Materials Science and Engineering to recognize outstanding teaching. Brian is most deserving of this award in light of his outstanding teaching record in IOE 512 and 543 as well as his excellent research and service records.

Professor Brian Denton and IOE PhD students Selin Merdan and Christine Barnett have been published in Cancer. The article, titled “Assessment of long-term outcomes associated with urinary prostate cancer antigen 3 and TMPRSS2: ERG gene fusion at repeat biopsy,” details collaborative work on molecular biomarkers for early detection of prostate cancer with the departments of pathology and urology. Additional authors are Scott A. Tomlins MD, PhD; Todd M. Morgan MD; James E. Montie MD; and John T. Wei MD.

Marina Epelman received the INFORMS Graduate Course Professor of the Year Award, presented by the INFORMS UM Student Chapter. The runner up was Professor Brian Denton.

Seth Guikema

Seth Guikema

IOE Professor Seth Guikema and colleagues, Julie Shortridge, Stefanie Falconi and Ben Zaitchik, have had their recent paper, titled “Fuel for Growth and Development,” summarized in Significance, a publication of the American Statistical Association. Their paper explains how statistical models can be used to predict undernourishment around the world based on climatic, social and economic factors.

Professor Seth Guikema was quoted in a Michigan News article about the potential for Hurricane Joaquin to affect power for over 14 million in the US.

Professor Seth Guikema is featured in a “People behind the Science” podcast on “Engineering Solutions to Reduce Risk and Increase Resilience.”

Professor Wally Hopp is quoted in a The Atlantic article on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership might hurt the trend on growing American manufacturing.

Professor Wally Hopp and Ross Business School professor, Jun Li, have written a working paper titled, “Cost-Effectiveness of Referring Patients to Centers of Excellence for Mitral Valve Surgery.” Their research is discussed in a UM Record article.

Chris Konrad

Chris Konrad

IOE Staff members Chris Konrad and Sheryl Ulin are both celebrating 30 years at the University of Michigan this year. Chris is Manager of Information Technology and Facilities for the IOE Department and Sheryl serves as Research Program Officer and Director and Continuing Education in the Center for Ergonomics. Chris says, “I have always felt extremely fortunate that I work at the University of Michigan and especially the IOE Department. To work with such brilliant, exciting and supportive people has been both challenging and rewarding. Thanks IOE!”

Professor Jon Lee served as a Simons Visiting Professor at the University of Klagenfurt (Austria) in October 2015. Funded by the Simons Foundation, and organized through the prestigious Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach (Germany), Professor Lee collaborated with colleagues at Klagenurt on Mixed-Integer Nonlinear Optimization.

Professor Jeff Liker was quoted in an article on Toyota’s move to upgrade Canadian manufacturing facilities.

Teresa Maldonado

Teresa Maldonado

Teresa Maldonado has joined the Center for Ergonomics in October as Administrative Assistant. Her background is in business administration, and she has many years of experience in planning and coordinating events.

Professor Matt Reed‘s UMTRI lab is working to make military vehicles safer through the Seated Soldier Study. This work was featured on the BBC website.

Professor Nadine Sarter was interviewed on the 99% Invisible radio show about automation problems in aviation. 99% Invisible is a “radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” Part one and part two of the show featuring Professor Sarter are both available online.

Many members of the IOE community were also recognized for their work at the recent INFORMS Annual Meeting. Please see our article on the meeting for information on those awards.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley Visits IOE

This article was written by IOE News guest writer, Guy Lin. Guy is a first year master’s student in IOE. He also completed his undergraduate degree at Michigan, studying Math and Econ in addition to IOE. He’s a Michigan native who enjoys playing basketball and going to church. When he’s not in class, you may also spot him in Pierpont Commons working for the UM Credit Union branch there.

The Industrial Operations and Engineering 421 Class (Work Organizations) had the privilege of being visited by Michigan’s Lt. Governor, Brian Calley, calley1 on October 16th. He is the youngest lieutenant governor in the fifty states and is a graduate of Michigan State, Grand Valley, and Harvard. As the lieutenant governor, Calley has many responsibilities. He presides as President of the Michigan State Senate, enforcing rules, and breaking ties in votes. He also assumes the role of Governor as soon as the current governor leaves the state of Michigan. Otherwise, his responsibilities are whatever the governor delegates to him. He has helped pushed through two tax reforms, headed the Prescription Drug and Opioid Task Force, and championed for autism awareness while in office.

Calley took the time to visit our class and field any questions we had for him. This was especially relevant for us because of the topics we had been discussing in class about how to make decisions in organizations, and organizational relationships. Specifically for me, I was able to learn more about the overall role of lieutenant governor, which is not the most publicized role. He shared from his experiences, both present and past. Initially, he worked in banking, starting from the very lowest of the organization and rising to management level. He said he saw a need in the public sector and switched to politics. He enjoyed being in the Michigan State Senate because of the like-minded people he met. It was during this time that he also was nominated to run with Governor Snyder, even though they hardly knew each other.


His style of politics is analytical, emphasizing problem analysis whether when he was in the House, or now as lieutenant governor. With the tax reform, he recognized there was a problem of too much complexity and sought to make it simple, fair, and efficient. Instead of applying many exceptions and restrictions, he instead fought for just a few simple rules as not to dictate people’s lives. As chair of the Opioid Task Force, he saw that the problems were not an enforcement issue, but a health care issue. As a father of child with autism, he is highly aware of the condition, but preached to us that as a society, we usually tend to say what’s negative first. He emphasized that instead of obsessing over differences, we need to stop defining people by the differences which is a key issue in autism awareness.

Aside from problem solving practicality, Calley is also a marked forward thinker. He recognizes that if you are standing still you are falling behind, and if you’re not thinking about the future, you’re irrelevant. Although Calley has an MBA and MPA, even he acknowledges that he wants to continue to learn, whether it be in a classroom setting or not. That explains why he visited our class and we are all the more wiser and appreciative of him for it.

Honoring the Legacy of Clyde W. Johnson

Clyde Johnson

Clyde Johnson

In 1957, the IOE Department hired Clyde W. Johnson, highly respected for his work running manufacturing operations for the Modine Manufacturing Company, to help broaden the department’s curriculum to include organizational management, and to develop student project courses for undergraduates.

In the early 1960s, Johnson and Dean Wilson lead the department in its interest in improving hospital operations. Johnson and Wilson collaborated with the University of Michigan Hospital to establish the first IE group within a hospital to improve its operations. Before long this approach had spread to other hospitals in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Johnson provided the strategic guidance and coordinated the various projects. The intent was to provide a more precise method of determining the staffing levels needed in different departments and under various operating conditions. Essentially, this massive effort was analogous to the way a manufacturing operation plans and determines its productivity goals.


Guests read about Clyde W. Johnson at the Johnson Dinner

In 1974, Clyde Johnson retired, but his vision — along with his management of the many hospital projects performed by IE students and staff during his years with the department — left a mark. Johnson’s pioneering hospital project course continues to this day.

His influence is also felt through the Clyde W. Johnson Scholarship which is awarded annually to junior or senior undergraduate students in IOE and the newly established Clyde W. Johnson Fellowship which supports a fellowship for an IOE graduate student studying healthcare engineering, in honor of Professor Johnson’s pioneering efforts to apply industrial engineering principles in the hospital field.

Maxwell Boykin, a 2015 recipient of the scholarship said, “Through my experience in being a Clyde Johnson scholar, I have learned that academia, knowledge and learning isn’t an individualized experience; it is a shared one… learning and collaborating with others is one of the best methods of learning and that a solution doesn’t need to be the final answer you get on an exam or a homework set or a final project itself, but about how you get there.”


Alumni and current students connecting at the Johnson Dinner

On Friday, September 25th, 2015, about 75 alumni, students, and faculty from IOE gathered to celebrate Clyde W. Johnson’s contributions to and continuing influence on the department. Clyde’s son, Bill Johnson, and Bill’s wife, Nadra Johnson, were also in attendance at the event which took place in the Johnson Rooms of the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center.

The current students who attended were all recipients of the Clyde W. Johnson Scholarship. They, along with IOE faculty, had the chance to speak with Clyde’s family members as well as many returning alumni who were former students of Clyde’s. It became clear throughout the evening that Clyde had a profound impact on his students that lasted long beyond their time at Michigan.

CoE Dean David C. Munson Jr. and IOE Chair and Clyde W. Johnson Collegiate Professor Mark Daskin welcomed attendees before dinner. During dinner, several attendees spoke to the group about how Clyde had affected their lives. Former students Fred Schanne (BSE IOE’67, MSE ’68, PhD ’72), David Giancola (BSE IOE ’63), and Richard Jelinek (BSE IOE ’61, PhD ’64, MBA ’62) told stories of their work with Clyde at IOE and beyond. Elizabeth Ettleson, a current IOE student, spoke of her time as a Clyde W. Johnson Scholar and Don Chaffin (PhD IOE ’67), an emeritus faculty member, spoke about a book he is writing on IOE’s history which will include information about Clyde’s contributions to the department.


Bill Johnson

C. William “Bill” Johnson (BSE IOE ’67, MBA ’69), Clyde’s son closed the evening by talking about his father, his own time at IOE, and the Johnson family’s ongoing relationship with the IOE Department. He also announced that the Johnson family has offered a 25% match to all donations to Johnson funds made by the end of 2015. Anyone interested in donating to the Clyde W. Johnson Scholarship or the Clyde W. Johnson Fellowship may do so at this link.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

Bill Johnson Recognized with IOE Alumni Award

C. William “Bill” Johnson, Principal, Johnson Business Consulting Group, is the Distinguished 2015 IOE Alumni Awardee. He delivered a seminar to IOE students, alumni, faculty and staff on Friday, October 9th as part of IOE and the College of Engineering’s Homecoming Weekend Festivities. In his talk, he advised students to follow three main principles: “remember where you’re from, remember those around you, and remember to give back.” Of maintaining ties with IOE and the university, he said, “As a Michigan graduate, you can always be proud of where you’re from and you’re never alone out there.”

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson (BSIE, 1967; MBA, 1969) has recently formed Johnson Business Consulting Group providing general business support to upper management of small to medium sized manufacturing firms with domestic and international customer bases. Bill has a personal focus in supplying business management “know-how” to entrepreneurial organizations-both start ups and acquisitions. His personal interest in entrepreneurial organizations is an outgrowth from his earlier business experience and his recent ownership history of Chandler Industries, a company he acquired in 1986 and sold to Arch Equity Partners in 2011.

Founded in 1961, Chandler Industries is a contract manufacturer of precision machine components, sub assemblies and complete assembled parts. Bill purchased Chandler in 1986, and the company grew from $1 million annual domestic sales with 22 employees to $25 million annual sales with 165 employees at the time of sale. International sales accounted for over sixty percent of the Chandler sales mix, and were supported by marketing and production facilities in China and Europe. Under Bill’s direction, Chandler’s competitive advantage also included company wide endorsement of initiatives like value added, niched marketing strategies, advanced quality systems, and a managed sales mix.

A Changing of the Guard at C4E

On May 31, 2015, Professor Tom Armstrong’s term as director of the Center for Ergonomics came to an end. Tom served with distinction as the center director for about 15 years. He’ll now focus his energies on other areas including his active research agenda.

Nadine Sarter

Nadine Sarter

Professor Nadine Sarter began a five year term as the director of the Center for Ergonomics on June 1, 2015. Nadine is a recognized leader and scholar in the field of cognitive ergonomics with a particular focus on human-automation interaction and multimodal display design. She has applied her research to the aviation industry, healthcare, and military operations. Her current interests extend her research to the field of robotics.

Please join us in thanking Tom for his devotion to the center and in wishing Nadine well as she takes over the reigns of this important center in the department.

IOE Shines at INFORMS Annual Meeting

From November 1 – 4, 2015, students and faculty from the IOE Department attended the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. The conference brought together over five thousand leading academics, industry experts, students, INFORMS members, and representatives of government agencies.

“There are opportunities [at INFORMS] for networking and telling lots of other people in the community about the work we’re doing at Michigan,” said IOE Chair Mark Daskin. Nearly fifty IOE students and faculty attended and presented their research as well as numerous IOE alumni.

Gabriel Zayas Caban

Gabriel Zayas Caban

Gabriel Zayas Caban, President’s Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for Healthcare Engineering & Patient Safety said he had some great talks with colleagues and potential collaborators after his own presentation. He also emphasized how much he appreciated the chance to attend talks by others saying, “You get to see talks and works that may be similar to your own and get to see their perspective and see whether that is something you should incorporate in the work you’re doing.”

The conference held many opportunities in addition to talks and poster sessions. PhD student Kayse Maass participated in the INFORMS Coffee with a Member program. She said of her experience, “I was paired up with a junior faculty member who has just started an academic job and we had a great time. She gave me a lot of advice on the job search process that I’m currently going through and, then, now that she is a faculty member, what that looks like for her and what I should be considering in my decisions.”

IOE Students at INFORMS Michigan Nite

IOE Students at INFORMS Michigan Nite

The IOE Department also hosted Michigan Nite. The annual gathering provides a chance for current students and faculty of the department to reunite with alumni and former faculty members also attending the conference. It’s also a time to meet some potential graduate students. “I look forward to that every year,” said Mark Daskin. “It’s one of the highlights of the conference for all of us at Michigan.”

Many members of the IOE community had their accomplishments recognized at the conference. Below is a list of awards that were presented to IOE faculty, students, and alumni.

UM Student INFORMS Chapter

UM Student INFORMS Chapter

The U of M INFORMS student chapter received a Cum Laude chapter award to recognize their achievements and service.

Maya Bam

Maya Bam

IOE PhD candidate Maya Bam won the Interactive Session poster competition and the Minority Issues Forum poster prize with her poster “Surgery Scheduling with Recovery Resources.” Surgery scheduling is complicated by the post-anesthesia care unit, the typical recovery resource. Based on collaboration with a hospital, the research featured in the poster presents a novel, fast 2-phase heuristic that considers both surgery and recovery resources. It shows that each phase of the heuristic has a tight provable worst-case performance bound, and that the heuristic performs well compared to optimization based methods when evaluated under uncertainty using a discrete event simulation model.

Kayse Maass received the Judith Liebman Award which recognizes outstanding student volunteers who have been “moving spirits” in their universities, their student chapters, and the Institute.

Wesley Marrero was awarded second prize in the Minority Issues Forum poster competition for his poster titled “Policy Approximation for Optimal Treatment Planning.” Markov decision process (MDP) models are powerful tools which enable the derivation of optimal treatment policies, but may incur long computational times and decision rules which are challenging to interpret by physicians. To reduce complexity and enhance interpretability, the researchers study how Poisson regression may be used to approximate optimal hypertension treatment policies derived by a MDP for maximizing a patient’s expected discounted quality-adjusted life years.

Gregg Schell, an IOE PhD alum, was awarded first place in the IBM Research Service Science Best Student Paper competition hosted by the INFORMS Service Science section and sponsored by IBM. His paper, titled “Optimal Coinsurance Rates for a Heterogeneous Population under Inequality and Resource Constraints,” analyzes how coinsurance rates for medication can be tailored to patient characteristics in order to improve adherence to those medications, which in turn improves patient health outcomes.

A paper resulting from a project sponsored by Ford-UM Alliance was selected as a finalist for the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice. The team included IOE PhD student Yuhui Shi and Professors Marina Epelman and Amy Cohn. The team presented their work, titled “Scheduling Tests at Ford Motor Company,” for the jury during the conference.

Professor Brian Denton is INFORMS President-Elect

btdentonIOE Professor Brian Denton has been elected as President-Elect of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) for 2016. He is currently serving one of two terms as Secretary of INFORMS. In his position statement, Brian said that he is “optimistic about the future of INFORMS and the opportunity we have to increase its relevance to ourselves, as members, and to the public.”

Brian joined the IOE faculty in 2012. His primary research interests are in optimization under uncertainty with applications to medical decision making related to the detection, treatment, and prevention of chronic diseases. He is a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan and he holds a fellowship appointment at the Cecil Sheps Health Services Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Previously he has been a Senior Associate Consultant at Mayo Clinic, and a Senior Engineer at IBM. In 2009 he received the National Science Foundation Career Award. He has also won the INFORMS Service Section Prize (2010), the INFORMS Daniel H. Wagner Prize (2005), the Institute of Industrial Engineers Outstanding Publication Award (2005), and the Canadian Operations Research Society Best Paper Award (2000). He has co-authored more than fifty journal articles and conference proceedings, and has twenty five patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics.

Chair’s Message

Mark DaskinWelcome to another issue of IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. I’m excited to share so much news with you!

I’m extremely proud of the IOE Department’s recent trip to the INFORMS Annual Meeting where many of our faculty, students, and alumni were recognized for their work and achievements. I’m equally proud that IOE’s own Brian Denton was recently elected INFORMS President-Elect.

Our Center for Ergonomics has seen a change in leadership. Tom Armstrong ended nearly 15 years of strong leadership as the center’s director. Nadine Sarter took the reins for a five year term as director starting this summer and I’m confident that the center will continue to perform strongly under her leadership.

IOE students and alumni have earned some impressive awards and recognition recently as have our faculty and staff. You’ll also have a chance to read about a wide variety of exciting research that’s been funded in our Research Updates section.

The Johnson family has had a long relationship with and profound impact on our department. We were pleased to recognize Bill Johnson as our IOE Alumni Merit Awardee this October. We also took some time to look back at the legacy of Bill’s father, Clyde W. Johnson. Clyde was extremely influential as a professor in the department and continues to impact students today through the scholarship and fellowship named in his honor. The Johnson family has offered a 25% match to all donations to both of those funds made by the end of 2015.

Finally, you can read about IOE’s visit from Michigan’s Lt. Governor, Brian Calley, in a first-person guest article written by IOE master’s student, Guy Lin.

We’re always eager to highlight alumni news 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