2013 ISE INFORMS Student Chapter Wins Cum Laude Award!

We are excited to announce that our 2013 INFORMS Student Chapter has won the annual Cum Laude Award in recognition for outstanding participation and performance during the year of 2013! 

The 2013 INFORMS Student Chapter Officers were: President: Onur Babat, Vice President: Matt Menickelly, Secretary: Pelin Cay, Treasurer: Wei Guo and Outside Support and Webmaster: Sertalp Cay. Please congratulate them on this prestigious award!




ISE Department Hosts Palo Alto Alumni Event on Saturday, November 8th!



2014-2015 ISE Council Members

The 2014-2015 ISE Council Election has concluded and the results are in! The following have been chosen by their peers to serve on the ISE Council:

Keri McGlothlin
Tony Nikolov

Royce Kok
Lama Nassar

Danielle Annecchino
Carly Deskins
Allison Howard

Master's Students
Huizhong Han
Alex Wiedorn

Ph.D Students
Pelin Cay
Rui Yu


Congratulations to Lehigh University's Dept. of ISE & the ESC for being a 2014 UPS George D. Smith Finalist!



2013-2014 ISE Council Members

The 2013-2014 ISE Council Election has concluded and the results are in! The following have been chosen by their peers to serve on the ISE Council:

Sophomore class - Sean Byrne, Patrick Dec & Royce Kok
Junior class -Carly Deskins & Allison Howard
Senior class - Janine Necef, Lauren Villaverde & Emily Furiga
Master's- Jieli Tian (Emily) & Yangjiaqi Sun
Ph.D.'s - Wei Guo & Matt Menickelly


Brittany Rasmussen and Rebecca Swaszek "Quantitative Models in Healthcare Finance"

Department: Industrial Systems Engineering
Advisor: Professor Aurélie Thiele

The “Social Goods Model” (Wheeler and Clement 1990) incorporates the intangible value of healthcare services, such as the idea that tax-exempt hospitals should provide a social benefit to community. The traditional model combines commercial and social value in one monetary measure, discounting cash flows and social outputs with different factors. The focus here is on financing decisions such as capital expenditure (e.g., buying new MRI machine). Our con tributions will include: analyzing the impact on the decision of considering commercial present value and social output separately, in particular in situations where a monetary value for social outputs is hard to determine. And designing an optimization m odel where the manager selects projects to maximize Commercial Present Value while ensuring that Total Social Value is above a threshold to provide enough social value to community.

We also use decision trees to model sequential decision-making in healthcare. The models we have created encompass a patient’s well-being from discharge to cure for acute conditions as well as chronic. The examples studied are that of the amount of time a nurse should spend reminding a patient to take their medication in order to minimize total cost and the way to choose the least costly medication regimen given certain symptoms. In this study we take into account factors of different costs, times, and probabilities to perform a sensitivity analysis.

About Brittany and Rebecca:
Brittany Rasmussen is an Industrial Engineering major with a minor in Health, Medicine, and Society. At Lehigh she is the treasurer for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), a key member of an executive committee working to redesign the Health Prevention program, and is an active peer educator. In addition to her work at Lehigh, Brittany interned with Bayada Home Health Care this past summer. In her free time she enjoys to read, do puzzles and spend time with friends and family. Brittany plans to continue working in the healthcare industry and has a special interest in working with not-for-profit hospitals.

Rebecca Swaszek is an Industrial Engineering major considering a minor in History. She is a consistent Dean’s List student, a member of the engineering honors society Tau Beta Pi, and received the ISE Department’s Industrial Engineering Sophomore of the Year award in 2012. At Lehigh she is involved with women’s club lacrosse, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and has tutored prisoners at a local correctional institution through the University’s Department of Religion. This summer she will travel to Slovenia as a Martindale Student Associate to study the country’s investment in infrastructure and transportation systems. She has held an internship at the headquarters of OCJL, a retail corporation with over 100 stores, for two consecutive summers. In her free time she pursues her interests in running, French culture, and textile design. Rebecca plans to attend graduate school and earn her doctorate in Industrial Engineering with a possible career of professorship.

Frank E. Curtis receives Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program Award

ISE Department Assistant Professor, Frank E. Curtis, has received the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Early Career Research Program Award. He will receive $750,000 over five years for his proposal titled, Fast, Dynamic, and Scalable Algorithms for Large‐Scale Constrained Optimization.

“It’s an honor to be selected and this award will go a long way to support my research and my research group,” said Frank. “It gives me an opportunity to focus on the research now that the support has been secured.”

This program, now in its fourth year, is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work. Frank is one out of 61 researchers to receive this award.

“Scientists and engineers are constantly faced with the task to optimize an objective subject to physical, environmental, or resource constraints. The technique of using mathematical models to formulate and find real solutions of such problems is known as mathematical optimization, a process that has become invaluable for design and discovery in numerous scientific fields,” said Frank.

His project will involve the development and implementation of high‐performance computing algorithms for solving cutting‐edge optimization problems. These include problems that involve data uncertainties, such as those in the future supply, demand, and capacity of a given power system, extreme numbers of alternatives, such as in the design of electrical power grids to avoid network vulnerabilities, and real‐time decisions, such as in the control of chemical reactors.

“The key features of these new algorithms are that they will be fast, dynamic, and scalable to meet the computational requirements of scientists and researchers working to optimize large‐scale, complex systems,” said Frank.

Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ISE Department Video Update

Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ISE Department looking for alumni feedback

The department is looking for alumni feedback about communications, alumni engagement and involvement. Alums that take the survey will be in the drawing for a Lehigh gift basket. Please take the survey before July 1, 2013.

To take the survey, please visit

Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Operations researchers win major national recognition

For the second year in a row, the Enterprise Systems Center (ESC) and the department of industrial and systems engineering (ISE) have received one of the top honors in the field of operations research.

ESC and ISE were recently selected as one of three finalists for the UPS George D. Smith Prize awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The other two finalists were MIT and the Naval Postgraduate School.

Operations researchers use sophisticated analytical techniques to help organizations solve increasingly complex problems. The ESC has completed more than 1,000 research projects with 400 industry partners since it was established as a research center in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science almost four decades ago. More than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students have participated in these projects, working in interdisciplinary teams with faculty and industry mentors to help companies solve real-world operations problems.

Tamás Terlaky, chair of the ISE department, said the recognition from INFORMS reflects the department’s emphases on providing students with a strong foundation in analytical techniques and on cultivating close ties with industry.

“All of our programs have a strong analytics core and are aligned along the need of our graduates and their employers,” said Terlaky, who is also the George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Chair Professor.

“Our unique partnership with the ESC enables our students to build their expertise in real industry settings, while being mentored by experienced professionals. To stand in the spotlight of national prominence two years in a row confirms the exceptional qualities of the ISE department.”

The UPS George D. Smith Prize, offered for the first time last year, was established to strengthen ties between industry and the schools of higher education that graduate young practitioners of operations research.

INFORMS awards the prize to an academic department or program for preparing students in an effective and innovative manner to be good practitioners of operations research, management science, or analytics.

The UPS George D. Smith Prize is named for the late CEO of the United Parcel Service, who was a champion of operations research at a leading Fortune 500 corporation.

“I was pleased that the INFORMS program committee recognized the focus we place on developing consulting and leadership skills,” said Emory Zimmers, ESC director and professor of industrial and systems engineering.

“This focus includes several courses we offer in leadership development as well as our optional leadership minor. It was also gratifying to see recognition given to the ESC Collaboratory which facilitates virtual teleconferencing with corporate sponsors, student teams, and ESC mentors.”

While the Naval Postgraduate School was chosen from among the three finalists to receive the Smith Prize, the Lehigh team received unique recognition for being the only program to be selected as a finalist two years in a row. Besides Lehigh, last year’s finalists were the University of Michigan and Cornell University.

Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Operations Research legend visits Lehigh

ISE department holds annual Spencer C. Schantz ’55 Distinguished Lecture and annual banquet

Ralph E. Gomory, New York University research professor, former head of IBM’s Research Division, former president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and founding contributor to the field of integer programming, was the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department’s 2013 Spencer C. Schantz ’55 Distinguished Lecturer.

Gomory’s technical talk entitled, “Problems Create Mathematics” discussed his view that even in today’s world with all its riches of mathematical knowledge, practical problems still cause the creation of new mathematics.

Of all of his numerous achievements, one of his largest was discovering the “Gomory Cut.” It is well known that this emerged from his exposure to Navy problems while serving in the U.S, Navy. In his technical lecture Dr. Gomory described how the apparently mundane need to speed up a calculation so that it could run on the small computers that paper mills could afford actually led to new theoretical understandings in integer programming.

During his tenure as director of the IBM Research Division, his greatest accomplishment was building a research organization in an industrial setting.

“You figure out what to do to contribute both to the company and to the world. The IBM Research Division is still there today, and it is thriving,” said Gomory. “Industrial research labs can affect major industries. But trying to get a gain every quarter does not usually provide a stable background for doing important research.”

As president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for 18 years, Dr. Gomory’s most memorable accomplishment was the development of online education. Lehigh’s Distance Education currently has over a thousand students enrolled.

“We started online learning in 1991, and the initiative grew steadily. This last academic year there were 7 million different individuals enrolled on line and taking at least one college level course for credit.”

In Dr. Gomory’s public lecture, “New Goals for American Corporations” he discussed what should we expect of our great American Corporations.

“One of the country’s biggest economic challenges is to get more corporations to work in the interest of the country as a whole,” said Gomory. “Educators need to question the teaching of shareholder value as the main purpose of the corporation.”

Dr. Gomory was also recognized at the annual ISE Banquet on Thursday, April 18. This annual banquet celebrates the department’s students, faculty and alumni for their accomplishments. For the third time in a row, Professor Robert Storer won the faculty member of the year award, which is voted by the department’s students.

Dr. J. Robert Baum ’64 won the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for achievements in industry. Baum is the chairman of the board of Highmark Inc., a position he has held since 2005. He was also acting CEO of Highmark in 2012. In that role, he leads the board review of Highmark’s performance and strategic plans.

In addition to his service to Highmark, Dr. Baum is professor of entrepreneurship in the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. He is the former owner/president/CEO of Ivan C. Dutterer, Inc. in Hanover, Pa., and Wood Alive Woodworks in Manassas, Va. and Ithaca, N.Y.

Dr. Baum teaches new venture creation and financing for master of business administration students, and he has won five university teaching awards since 2000. His research interests are entrepreneurship, quantitative methods and strategic decision-making. Baum is also a member of the Lehigh University Healthcare Systems Engineering Industry Leadership Council.

ISE Department 2013 Awards

I&SE Senior of the Year
Emily Koehler ’13

IE Senior of the Year
Matt Raborn ’13

IBE Senior of the Year
Ory Ball ’13

I&SE Junior of the Year
Jin Chen ’14

IE Junior of the Year
Rebecca Swaszek ’14

IBE Junior of the Year
Jason Kravec ’14

IE Sophomore of the Year & Alpha Pi Mu Award
Darby Dustman ’15

I&SE Sophomore of the Year
Anthony Hill ’15

IBE Sophomore of the Year
Stormont Mahoney ’15

Master’s Degree Student of the Year
Lorand Dragu ’12, ’13G

Ph.D. Candidate of the Year
Mohsen Moarefdoost

To see the full photo album of the lecture and banquet, please visit the photo album web page.

Posted Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TERM and Lehigh Host a One-Day Summit

Trends Emerging in Risk Management (TERM) and the ISE department in collaboration with the integrated Healthcare Delivery cluster and the Healthcare Systems Engineering program will hold a Summit next month.

The summit will consist of participants from multiple stakeholders including regulators, academia, providers, and payers. It will feature presentations, cross stakeholder panel discussions, Q&A, and stakeholder breakouts. The TERM Summit will take place at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda in Bethesda, Maryland on May 23, 2013 from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Those that are encouraged to attend include:

Risk management professionals from the pharmaceutical industry
Academic leaders in the healthcare system
Healthcare providers from open care systems as well as closed managed care systems
Health intervention outcomes researchers
Healthcare system leaders
Specialty pharmacy representatives
Patient advocacy group representatives

For further information including the agenda, participating speakers and panelists, and how to register for this event, please click here.

TERM is a community that consists of pharmaceutical safety risk management and healthcare professionals who meet periodically to participate in roundtable discussions regarding trends in the constantly changing and evolving environment. Topics of discussion revolve around problem solving, advanced mutual learning, and experience sharing.

To view the full article, please visit the Fort Mills Times web site.

Posted Monday, April 29, 2013

Ph.D. candidate featured on INFORMS conference web site

Ph.D. candidate, Anahita Hassanzadeh, is featured on the The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) conference web site discussing why she attends the annual event.

Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013

National Medal of Science recipient discusses math and inclusion

Richard Tapia, whose contributions to mathematics and dedication to diversity in education won him the 2010 National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama, spoke on both topics during a two-day visit to Lehigh last week.

“Believe in yourself and education, and you can accomplish anything,” said Tapia, who is a professor of computational and applied mathematics and director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University.

In a lecture on Feb. 28 titled “Crisis In Higher Education: The Need for New Leadership,” Tapia discussed the need for supporting and mentoring underrepresented minority students in higher education. He encouraged the audience to motivate and encourage these students.

“While recruiting underrepresented minority students, universities should look to see if the student will be a good fit,” said Tapia. “When they admit a student, they want to make sure that the student is prepared to succeed, will be happy and will make the institution a better place.”

Tapia, who also holds the Maxfield-Oshman Professorship in Engineering and University Professor at Rice, focused on how to be better professionals, mentors and champions of diversity in mathematics and of life in general.

“Higher education professionals need to understand that people come from all different paths and backgrounds to get where they want to go,” he said.

“I thought his talk was enlightening,” said Patty Garmirian, a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics. “The statistics were very interesting.”

Tapia, who in 1992 became the first Hispanic elected to the National Academy of Engineering, also gave a lecture on March 1 titled “The Isoperimetric Problem Revisited: Extracting a Short Proof of Sufficiency from Euler's 1744 Proof of Necessity.”

Tapia conducts research in mathematical optimization and iterative methods for nonlinear problems. He is currently studying algorithms for constrained optimization and interior point methods for linear and nonlinear programming.

“The critical need my research addresses is how math tools can solve problems,” said Tapia. “Better science will provide better technology to solve the world’s problems. The main goal of my research is to try and make the world a better place.”

“I have known Richard for over 20 years and I believe he is one of the greatest men of our time,” said ISE Department chair Tamás Terlaky. “He is not only a great researcher, but a caring husband and father, not just to his own children, but for all of his students and anyone who he senses he can help.”

Being awarded the National Medal of Science was an extremely humbling experience for Tapia.

“When President Obama said that I had ‘provided a great value to the nation,’ that validated that everything I was doing in my life was correct,” he said.

“Richard Tapia’s experiences and important messages are of great value to the university,” said Henry Odi, vice provost for academic diversity. “He came to Lehigh as a visitor and left as a friend.”

Tapia’s visit was sponsored by the Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Academic Outreach, the ADVANCE grant, the Faculty and Staff of Color Network, Library and Technology Services, and the departments of computer science and engineering, industrial and systems engineering, mathematics, and mechanical engineering and mechanics.

Full article can be found on the Lehigh News web site.

- Amanda Fabrizio

Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dr. Roger Nagel Retiring

Professor Roger Nagel will be retiring this year. A few alums are collecting memories/stories/photos for a book in honor of his retirement. If you would like to share a memory of Roger (greatest thing he taught you, etc.) please send them to nage-dot-retirement-at-gmail-dot-com.

Posted Monday, February 25, 2013

Call for ISE alumni nominations

ISE department looking for nominees for the 2014 ISE Distinguished Alumni Award

This award is presented to graduates of the department who have distinguished themselves professionally, made significant contribution to society and through their achievements, have reflected credit on Lehigh.

If you would like to nominate a fellow alum for this award, please send their name and class year to Amanda Fabrizio at amf208-at-lehigh-dot-edu.

To see the honor roll of Distinguished Alums, please visit the ISE Distinguished Alums web page.

Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Remembering Arthur "Pete" Veinott ’56

The 2012 ISE Distinguished Alum for Achievements in Academia, Arthur "Pete" Veinott ’56, passed away this past December. He was 78.

Veinott was an expert in the field of operations research, which applies advanced analytical methods to help managers make better decisions. He made major contributions to the theory of operations research and to its development as a field both at Stanford and nationally.

He began at Stanford University in 1962 and served until retiring in 2009. During his career, Veinott played a key role in the creation and development of the Department of Operations Research, including serving as department chair from 1975 to 1985. Operations Research would later be folded into the Department of Management Science and Engineering.

He also helped found the journal Mathematics of Operations Research. It remains the leading journal for the publication of mathematical contributions to operations research and management science.

Wide-ranging contributions

Professionally, Veinott had three main contributions to his field: lattice programming, inventory theory and dynamic programming.

In lattice programming, Veinott developed a type of qualitative optimization theory to predict the direction and nature of change in global systems.

"Pete was a legend in the operations research community," said Frieda Granot of the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. Lattice programming had a profound effect on economics and in such classical operations research areas as production planning, project planning and scheduling, reliability and maintenance, and network optimization, she said.

Researcher and mentor

Throughout his academic career, Veinott was devoted to research and teaching, publishing 56 papers and guiding 27 students to their doctorates.

"From the first time I met him I was impressed by his intellect, his wit, his intellectual curiosity and his encyclopedic knowledge of operations research," said Dimitris Bertsimas, co-director of the Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"As an editor, he maintained very high standards on research and exposition. Even recently, he was up on the latest research, the best results and the best young people. His spirit of excellence will live on through the students he educated in his almost half-century at Stanford."

A long legacy

Veinott earned his Bachelor of Arts and his Bachelor of Science from Lehigh in 1956. During his tenure at Lehigh, was a member of IIE, Student Activities Committee, Tau Beta Pi, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and a brother of Theta Chi Fraternity. He earned his doctorate in industrial engineering from Columbia University in 1960.

Veinott served in the Air Force Logistics Command as an operations analyst until 1962, when he joined the Stanford faculty as an assistant professor of industrial engineering. He remained there until his retirement.

"Pete completed a trifecta during the 1975-1976 academic year: He began a 10-year tour as chairman of the Department of Operations Research at Stanford, founded the journal Mathematics of Operations Research and led the campaign that created the John von Neumann Theory Prize awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)," said his colleague Professor Donald Iglehart.

In 2002, Veinott was named an inaugural Fellow of INFORMS, and in 2007, he won the prize he helped create. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1986, selected as a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1978-79.

During his final visit to Lehigh this past April, Veinott was the 2012 Spencer C. Schantz ’55 Distinguished Lecturer. He gave two lectures titled, "Polytime Computation of Strong and n-Present-Value Optimal Policies in Markov Decision Chains" and "Optimal and Near Optimal Supply Policy for Deterministic Multiperiod Supply Networks." Both abstracts can be found on the Spencer C. Schantz ’55 Distinguished Lecture web page.

"Pete was one of the legends of our field, and was one my most brain stimulating friends. He never stopped thinking of either a research problem, or how to serve the community," said Tamás Terlaky, ISE Department chair and the George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Chair Professor.

"He was a proud and thankful Lehigh alum. He fondly remembered his time and the opportunities a scholarship gave him, and therefore Pete never forgot to give back to Lehigh. The ISE community will never forget the lectures he gave this past year."

To read the full article, please visit the Stanford University News web site.

Article by Andrew Myers, associate director of communications for the Stanford University School of Engineering.

Photos by Christopher Elston Photography.

Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The eye of the tigers

On the ABC show “Shark Tank,” aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their products to venture capitalists in hopes of obtaining funds to further their dreams.

Students in Lehigh’s Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) honors program do much the same every December before a group of “tigers”—entrepreneurs, consultants and business owners associated with Ben Franklin Technology Partners. The “Tiger Sessions” culminate the yearlong IBE capstone senior design program course.

“As part of the capstone course, students work with outside clients—startup companies and entrepreneurs in the early stages of product development who are trying to grow their vision—and spend a year on a specific product,” says Pat Costa, professor of practice, who teaches the course.

At the most recent Tiger Sessions on Dec. 10, one IBE group pitched NEATCap, a “cap” that reduces the harmful noise to which infants are exposed in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Over-stimulation caused by jet ventilators, diagnostic alarms and other noises in NICUs can inhibit the infants’ sleep habits and slow brain development.

Other IBE products presented included a feedback tool designed to address stroke errors in rowing; stainless steel ‘beans’ put into coffee to make it less hot; and an unmanned aerial vehicle prototype whose potential applications include bridge monitoring.

The world at their disposal

Students in the NEATCap group worked from scratch to develop an effective medical device. In their presentation, seniors Ben Sargent, Tommy Witmer, David Root, Meghan Dano, Seseg Tyryshkina, Xander Berry and Ory Ball gave detailed data on NEATCap’s design, clinical research, marketing strategies and sales projections.

The students highlighted what they see as NEATCap’s advantages over MiniMuffs, a similar product now on the market, which sells for less than one-tenth the price of NEATCap but must be thrown away after each use. NEATCap is designed to be used for the entire length of an infant’s stay in the NICU.

“[We] reached out to many relevant people in the industry, including nurses, neonatologists and NICU coordinators, to understand the field and ultimately build recommendations,” says Witmer, an IBE/IE and finance double major. “In the capstone class, there is no assigned textbook. You have the world at your disposal in terms of resources, and it is up to you to decide which ones to pursue.”

A tough audience

The four tigers judging the NEATCap presentation were familiar with healthcare and medical devices. They praised the students for a professional presentation and innovative product, but also gave constructive feedback.

“Hospitals will likely throw away a lot of NEATCaps, so $150 apiece might be high,” said Cindy Miller, an industry professional who trains CEOs of small medical device and healthcare companies.

The IBE students said they learned more from the experience than they could by reading a book or taking a test.

“There was certainly a common theme among the tigers—assumptions need validation,” Sargent says. “The tigers wouldn’t settle for our conservative estimates. This attention to gathering hard evidence for our assumptions was the most important advice they gave.”

“The capstone class teaches students to take the initiative and be go-getters,” Witmer says. “When we graduate, our interactions with co-workers will be key facets to our success, and our exposure to the real world will improve our effectiveness in public speaking and simple one-on-one dialogues with industry professionals.”

Aspiring student entrepreneurs in Lehigh's IBE program make presentations before a group of seasoned business owners. For more information about the IBE program, please visit their web site.

To read the full article please visit the Lehigh News web site.

Article by Elizabeth Shimer Bowers.

Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013

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