Faculty Profile: Michael Kay

In August, Professor Michael Kay was selected to join Dr. Negash Medhin, from the Department of Mathematics, as Co-Directors of the Operations Research (OR) Program. Michael will be taking over the position from Dr. Thom Hodgson, James T. Ryan Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and former department head. “There are some unique advantages to the Operations Research Program at NC State,” says Kay. “It is its own program and not a part of the industrial and systems engineering department. This allows students with diverse backgrounds to join the program without having to complete a heavy course load of engineering classes.” Many Operations Research students are advised and mentored by ISE faculty.

Michael Kay joined the department in 1987 as a student working on his PhD and then stayed on as a faculty member after graduation in 1992. While at NC State, he was named Associate Director of Graduate Programs in the ISE Department as well as an associate faculty member of the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute (IMSEI). His passion is teaching courses in production system design and logistics engineering.

Michael’s research interests include logistics network design, freight transportation, material handling, warehousing, and metaheuristics. A major focus of his research has been on the design and analysis of public logistics networks that would enable cost-effective home delivery using reusable containers transported by driverless delivery vehicles. Such a home delivery logistics network would make it possible to eliminate all non-recreational shopping for most people. In addition to general merchandise, meals and groceries could be delivered to the home. This would be especially important for the disabled and the elderly, and would allow them to live in a typical sprawling suburban neighborhood and still have their shopping needs met without the need to drive. Also, since empty containers would be available after delivery, each vehicle would provide a low cost means of shipping items from the home; e.g., waste requiring special recycling, sending specimens obtained at home to a lab, or goods manufactured by a home-based business.

In his free time, Michael enjoys reading history, economics, and physics; in particular, early modern European economic history, military history, industrial organization, cooperative game theory, and geometric versions of quantum field theory based on the amplituhedron. He shares his love of history and economics with fellow Professor, Reha Uzsoy and the two can be seen exchanging books on the latest topics.