Music City Engineering

ISE rolls into Nashville for the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Annual Conference with their engineering skills in tune

To view the photos from the conference, go to the Music City Engineering photo gallery.

To compete in the global marketplace, companies must always have productivity and efficiency on their minds. So it comes as no surprise that even in this difficult job market, industrial engineers (IEs) are in high demand. In fact, there are more companies coming to NC State looking for IEs than there are students to fill those jobs.

Each summer IIE holds its annual conference to showcase leading research and practical applications in the areas of engineering management, operations research, process industries, supply chain and logistics, and work systems. This year ISE faculty and students descended on the Music City to present their solutions to some of the most challenging productivity and efficiency issues in the industry.

During the four-day conference in Nashville, ISE’s team of researchers presented their findings at over 20 sessions. They spoke on a wide range of topics including improving healthcare methods, refining advanced manufacturing techniques and developing the next generation of medical devices. But the researchers were not just there to teach, they were there to learn as well. The conference was an opportunity for students to discover how others are providing industry solutions and case studies to solve some of the biggest challenges facing IEs today.


On the first morning of the conference, doctoral students competed against fellow scholars from around the country in the IIE Doctoral Colloquium Poster Competition. Following up on her performance as a finalist at the INFORMS Conference last November, Ph.D. candidate Karen Hicklin finished second for her paper Analyzing the Mode of Delivery Decision through Simulation and a Markov Decision Process to Identify Optimal Policies for Stopping a Trial of Labor. “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized at the doctoral colloquium for our work to promote women’s and children’s health,” said Hicklin. “I enjoy being apart of a process that can potentially have a significant impact in how C-sections are administered and plan to continue to make contributions to the field.”

The following day, ISE alumna Yuanhui Zhang placed third in the IIE Pritzker Outstanding Dissertation Competition. Dr. Zhang’s dissertation titled, Robust Optimal Control for Medical Treatment Decisions, focuses on developing quantitative models and methods for making medical decisions about glycemic control for patients with type 2 diabetes. “She used these models to answer important open research questions about how to design ideal individualized treatment protocols for optimal control of blood glucose over the course of a patient’s lifetime,” said her advisor and former ISE faculty member Brian Denton.

At an early morning breakfast hosted by the ISE Department, both Drs. Rohan Shirwaiker and David Kaber were recognized for receiving faculty awards from IIE. Dr. Shirwaiker received the 2015 Manufacturing and Design Division Outstanding Young Investigator Award and Dr. Kaber received IIE Fellow Status.