Posted January 4, 2010 | Atlanta
The GE Energy Senior Design team captured first place in the renowned end-of-the semester Senior Design Competition. Senior Design, considered to be the most important and most challenging industrial engineering course an undergraduate student will experience, sets students in motion to become successful industrial engineers. During the course, students are pushed to think outside the box as they adapt what they have learned in their classes to tackle a complex real world problem.
Joel Sokol, ISyE associate professor and Senior Design coordinator, states that "every semester, our students do some extremely good work, and the competition to be named a finalist or winner is intense." According to Sokol, ***this year's finalists creatively used advanced techniques in operations research, logistics, and statistics to create millions of dollars in value for a diverse set of corporate clients."
ISyE Senior Design has worked with organizations ranging from local startups to Fortune 100 companies to international humanitarian organizations. The impact of Senior Design projects has been felt not only in the Atlanta area, but across the country and as far away as Europe, Africa, and Asia. The average team is able to use their ISyE skills to create hundreds of thousands of dollars in value for the company they work with.
This was certainly true of the GE Energy Senior Design team, which demonstrated savings to the company of $8.6 million per year. Associate Professor Shabbir Ahmed advised the winning team, which included Charles Ballowe, Viviana Gonzalez, Sharece Hall, David Liss, Meghna Mukherjee, and Stefan Solntsev. The goal of the project, titled Procurement Planning for GE Energy, was to determine the minimal cost policy for the procurement of wind turbine towers for GE Energy The team developed software based on forecasting and optimization models that take into account purchasing and transportation costs, government policies, and renewable energy demand.
About his team's project, Professor Ahmed said that "the high volatility in the wind energy market made this project an extremely challenging one. The team developed a rigorous method for forecasting wind turbine demand and integrated it with a sophisticated stochastic optimization model to come up with an economic parts procurement plan. The explicit consideration of the various uncertain factors in the wind energy sector was key to the success of the team's approach."
Runners up in the competition were the Senior Design teams who worked with the American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and Manheim Auto Auctions.
The American Honda Motor Company, Inc., team focused on a project titled, Developing a Stand-Alone Vehicle Routing Tool Utilizing a Tabu Search Heuristic to Create a Set of Vehicle Routes to Minimize Cost and Maximize Service Level. Advised by Associate Professor Ozelm Ergun, the team included Alyssa Gangone, Steven Grimes, Caroline Jones, Max Moriarity, and Alex Paquette. The purpose of the project was to create a stand-alone vehicle routing tool that would allow Honda to create a set of vehicle routes to deliver spare automobile parts to the 240 Honda and Acura dealers located in the southeastern United States. The routing tool the team created takes into account the current operations parameters and metrics including fixed and variable route costs, multiple depot locations and soft-time window constraints. The model then finds the best-known solution in order to lower the operational cost and raise the service level. About the project, the Honda project sponsor stated that he has seen "routing proposals" from very different companies (big and small players) over the last 25 years, and this was one of the best among them.
The project team working with Manheim Auto Auctions learned that in 2009, Manheim's clients missed bidding on 50 percent of the cars in which they were interested. With a project titled Manheim Auto Auction Aggregate Planning and Forecasting, the team comprising Dustin Crance, Raymond Demere, Caroline Ferreira, Terence Norman, Brad Strickland, and Charles Welch used regression analysis and forecasting to create dynamic schedule updating predicted arrival windows for each vehicle at any given auction. Additionally, the team provided Manheim with a decision-making driver staffing tool, which it did not have. In total, this project adds $1.8 million yearly to eleven of Manheim's locations. Chang Kang, visiting professor from Hanyang University , Korea, advised the Manheim team.
All three teams gave presentations of their work on Wednesday, December 8, 2009, to a room filled with faculty, company sponsors, students and parents. Chen Zhou, associate professor and associate chair of undergraduate programs, stated that all the finalists were outstanding.
For more information on the senior design program, or if you are interested in sponsoring a student team, please visit http://www.isye.gatech.edu/seniordesign/.
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Contact Barbara Christopher