As this entry goes online, I will be in Minneapolis at the annual INFORMS conference presenting a paper entitled “A Cooperative Dual for the Nash Equilibrium.” The gist of this research is that people can often fare better in competitive situations if they cooperate. However, the more profound implication of the work is that complete cooperation is guaranteed to be possible only between two competitors, not three or more. In other words, there is a mathematical limit to complete cooperation. Apparently, three’s a crowd, like we all knew already. In addition, I will be attending the conference “Learning and the Brain” at Harvard in November. At the INFORMS conference, I will also be working on a Systems Engineering research proposal with Dr. Ferreira.
Dr. Rosenberger, a recent IMSE Ph.D. graduate, and I submitted in August a paper entitled “Constraint Optimal Selection Techniques (COSTs) for Nonnegative Linear Programming Problems” to Optimization Methods and Software about an approach to solve huge, currently unsolvable linear programming problems quickly, as demanded by today’s high-speed, high-tech, ever-accelerating world. Linear programming, as you may remember, is the most widely used computational model in the business and scientific worlds. The method was also the basis of a recently issued patent entitled “System, Method and Apparatus for Allocating Resources by Constraint Selection.”
Finally, I will be headed abroad over the winter break and stop thinking about all this heady stuff. Enjoy your semester.
Written by Dr. Bill Corley
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I am originally from Mexico; I earned my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at the Instituto Tecnologico de Saltillo and worked in a plastic injection company as a Manufacturing and Project Engineer for over two years. My initial desire was to come to the United States to improve the language; however, in 2007 I was awarded a 60-month scholarship from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology to study at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).
I finished my M.S. in Industrial Engineering in Summer 2008 and pursued a PhD program in Fall 2008, joining the COSMOS (Center on Stochastic Modeling, Optimization, & Statistics) family. My research focused on the study of an advanced statistical method called Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) and the development of variants and sequential algorithms that provide more flexibility to the modeling process and facilitate the optimization routines. The case studies included an inventory forecasting problem, an air pollution problem and an automotive crash safety design problem.
During my graduate studies I was selected as a Graduate Research Assistant at TMAC, where I had the opportunity of being involved in different consulting projects for small and medium companies located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Being part of the diverse community of UTA has been absolutely one of the most important experiences in my life not only because of the professional achievements I have earned but also because of the amazing people I have been fortunate to meet.
Written by Diana Martinez, IMSE Doctoral Student
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Earlier this summer I attended the First Year Engineering Experience conference at the University of Pittsburgh. The conference afforded me an opportunity to meet with other engineering educators, discuss ideas, reflect on the topics and issues from the sessions, and chart new directions and collaborations. I met lots of great people and was inspired by what I heard. I’m already using many of the tips and techniques that I learned. At the conference I presented a paper about the correlation between being good at working in teams and being successful in graduating with an engineering degree at UTA.
Each semester a new batch of engineering students join one of UTA’s six departments offering an undergraduate degree in engineering. They all sign up for an interdisciplinary Introduction to Engineering course. Students in the class are assigned by the instructors to interdisciplinary teams of six students each. At the end of the semester, each student is required to submit a peer evaluation of each of his or her teammates as well as evaluate their own participation and contribution to the team’s activities. The instructors read each of the team members’ evaluations and note when a student consistently earns low marks from his or her peers. Those students rated low enough in peer evaluations for the instructors to reduce their project score are defined as “team underachievers.” Dr. Peterson and I hypothesized that there was a correlation between team performance in this first semester interdisciplinary group work effort and ultimate success in the College of Engineering. For this analysis we identified team underachievers from the Fall 2008 semester and tracked their academic career at UTA.
We compared the number of team underachievers in each of the categories to a randomly-selected group of students from the same peer group who were not deemed team underachievers to look for significant differences in their educational path. A chi-square test for association was performed to see if there was a relationship between team achievement in the Introduction to Engineering class and the current educational status of students who took the class in the fall 2008 semester. The results showed that the null hypothesis was rejected and there is a relationship between team achievement in the Introduction to Engineering class and educational status of the student population sampled.
These results suggest that while it not is necessary to be good at team work to be successful in university level education it is necessary to be successful in engineering education. So work on your teamwork skills students. It will be important to you now and later!
If you are interested in seeing the complete statistical analysis feel free to email me (email@example.com) for a copy of the paper presented.
Written by Dr. Bonnie Boardman
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My name is Nadia Martinez and I am an international student at the University of Texas at Arlington. I came to the United States on January 2007 to enrich my education by accomplishing a master’s degree and pursuing a doctorate degree program. I obtained my master’s degree in fall 2008 and am currently working on my Ph.D. at the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department.
I belong to the Center On Stochastic, Modeling, Optimization, and Statistics (COSMOS) where the main objective is to design and model complex real-world systems. My research is focused on developing a deterministic global optimization method based on mixed integer linear programming to solve a piecewise linear function generated by a flexible statistical model subject to constraints that include both linear regression models and piecewise linear models. One of the main applications of this method is on the safety system design of automotive vehicles, with a special interest in crash-worthiness. This type of systems is considered computationally complex. I have also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) at TMAC, which is a research center of the College of Engineering at UTA, where I have participated in different projects related to my Industrial Engineering career. The opportunity I have had of being a GRA has definitely increased my vision about how to deal with real-life problems.
Through my experiences at UTA, I have learned and realized that I was not only fulfilling a dream but I was also becoming part of a big and great family. Although being away from your beloved ones is not an easy thing, being around with such an amazing people like students, professors, co-workers and friends have made of this experience an amazing journey. Sharing cultures, beliefs and ways of life is an incredible opportunity to mature and expand your horizons.
Written By Nadia Martinez, IMSE Doctoral Student
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