Despite Challenges, Fall Senior Design Cohort Finishes Strong

Dec 16, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Over 600 students composing 117 teams from across Georgia Tech’s colleges of engineering and design successfully completed fall semester Senior Design projects, despite unusual conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. This included 18 Senior Design teams from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). 

Professor Emeritus Leon McGinnis noted, “This was a particularly strong ISyE Senior Design cohort. Kudos to all the students: They overcame a compressed semester, social distancing requirements, technical difficulties in collaboration, and the accumulated stress of this year to do remarkable work for a broad range of clients. Congratulations to the faculty advisors, who overcame similar difficulties to connect, encourage, and inspire these teams. It has been very gratifying to be involved and to be inspired by everyone’s contributions.”

For the first time since 2014, an ISyE team received the Capstone Expo People’s Choice Award. (The Capstone Expo was held virtually.) The “Emission Experts” worked with UPS to help redesign the company’s carbon reporting process and included Wages Carroll, Natalie Lucco, Maggie Monahan, Geneva Rumer, Michael Saia, William Salzano, Joseph Stapf, and Joshua White. They were advised by A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor Alexander Shapiro.

The “Swing Space Champs” won the Capstone Expo award for Best ISyE Project. This team was also selected as a finalist for the Fall 2020 ISyE Best of Senior Design Competition. They worked with Georgia Tech’s Capital Planning and Space Management (CPSM) to evaluate how campus spaces are allocated during renovations.

Specifically, when instructional spaces are renovated, courses must be relocated to rooms that have sufficient capacity, time availability, and equipment. The Swing Space Analysis tool uses a CPLEX solver and adjustable constraints to assist Capital Planning and Space Management with balancing the 240 space user needs. This tool recommends swing space solutions that limit course capacity reductions and remote course offerings. Locating sufficient swing space shortens renovation timelines, potentially realizing millions of dollars in savings for the Institute over the next decade.

CPSM Data Scientist Jimmie Hardin, who served as client liaison for the team, praised the students’ work: “It was an absolute pleasure working with these students. We are ecstatic with the results and the dedication displayed by this team to make sure we were receiving an outcome that would be impactful and useful to the future planning of Georgia Tech facilities. This project has raised the bar on what we feel we can accomplish through student project collaborations and proves yet again what an incredible resource we have right here on campus.”

Team members included Prerna Balaji, Savannah Chunn, Zach Hess, Chidambaram Kadiresan, Makala Muhammed, Abbey Nannis, Sarah Poff, and Sena Sennaroglu. They were advised by Associate Professor Steve Hackman.

The other two ISyE Best of Senior Design finalist teams – ultimately selected as joint winners – were “Should It Stay or Should It CIS-GO” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Hartsfield.” 

Team “Should It Stay or Should It CIS-GO” worked with Cisco Systems to evaluate and optimize Cisco’s global supply chain network. The team explored network design alternatives, investigating trade-offs among costs, carbon emissions, and lead time. Cisco was provided comprehensive models and interactive visualizations enabling ongoing exploration along these dimensions, allowing better-informed decisions about future optimizations. The team demonstrated these tools, proposing enhancements to Cisco's current network with projected savings of up to $29 million and a reduction in carbon emissions of 76,000 tons.

ISyE alumna Rachel Zhu (IE 2018, MSSCE 2019) worked with the team as Cisco’s client liaison. She said, “As an ISyE graduate myself, it was really cool to be able to work with the students on the client side. It provided me with a unique experience to lead and give back to the No.1 program in the U.S. The synergy and information flow between the cross-functional internal teams we made were incredible, and we discovered things about Cisco’s network that are now being reviewed at the SVP level. The students provided top-tier deliverables, and we are working on implementing them as soon as possible. A big ‘thank you’ to ISyE and these smart, talented individuals for their dedication and hard work these last seven months. What an unforgettable privilege this has been.”

Team members included Ishita Date, Isabel Jaffoni, Karim Layoun, Karen Loscocco, Amanda Nima, Deep Patel, Jay Patel, and Parth Patel. They were advised by Professor Craig Tovey.

Team “Don’t Go Breaking My Hartsfield” worked with Delta Air Lines to reduce wait times at the domestic TSA Checkpoint of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is the busiest in the world. The team analyzed the service rate of the TSA Checkpoint to create a scenario-based approach for recommending lanes at the checkpoint by creating a simulation model to represent the security checkpoint process. This approach will reduce the average wait times by 12% and reduce the number of passengers waiting over 15 minutes by 20%.

“I had the pleasure of supporting the Delta Senior Design team this semester. Previously, our lane plan[s] did not account for variability of data (at the security screening process) and had many other flaws. The team always kept a good attitude, was eager to understand the TSA screening process and how it can be improved, and [their work] increased the accuracy of the lane plans to a great extent,” said Maya Lachev, a third-year ISyE student who is currently completing a co-op as part of Delta’s Passenger Facilitation Division. “It will be exciting to see wait times at TSA positively impacted by the team’s work.”

Katlin Burpee, manager for the Passenger Facilitation Division, added, “[Delta] plans to take the team’s deliverable and continue to use it and even expand it in the future.”

Team members included Valentina Betancourt, Zach Connolly, Vinay Dalal, Jose Correia, Yuhe Chen, Ricardo Estrada, and Marcel Mensch. They were advised by Associate Professor Steve Hackman.

Dima Nazzal, ISyE Senior Design projects evaluator and program coordinator, explained, “Both teams were exceptional in different ways, and it was impossible to determine a single standout team. Team Cisco built a comprehensive model of Cisco's complex warehousing and logistics network, and generated solutions that have huge cost and carbon emission savings. They took their well-developed models steps further by analyzing the tradeoffs between the different objectives and integrating the outputs into a data visualization dashboard.

"Team Delta had an exceptionally challenging project,” Nazzal continued. “With no access to the physical system due to the pandemic, but through outstanding engineering work their approach and developed analytical tools transform the current security checkpoint planning and operational processes, and thus impacting all passengers with flights originating from Atlanta. The solution is seamlessly implementable and has been piloted at Hartsfield-Jackson this semester and shows excellent outcomes.”

As a further indication of an extremely strong Senior Design cohort, three additional teams were selected for Honorable Mention in the ISyE Best of Senior Design competition. These teams were as follows:

  • “For Fox Sake” – client: Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. Team members included Ali Amirfazli, Libby Ellison, Steffi Harrisson, Jean Young Kim, Allie LaMadrid, Max Rafferty, Charitty Tuttle, and Garrett Witt. They were advised by Associate Professor Enlu Zhou.
     
  • “North Ave. Fire Fighters” – client: Kimberly-Clark. Team members included Andrew Floyd, Naman Garg, Michail Liaroutsos, Austin Nash, Kevin Polak, Alex Rafeedie, Austin Redick, and Shea Underwood. They were advised by Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban.
     
  • “Sharing Is Caring” – client: Smith + Nephew. Team members included Natalie Belt, Laura Hancher, Molly Handel, Henry Hart, Josh Rosenblum, Andrea Ruiz, Alexis Thomann, and Kaitlin VanWambeke. They were advised by Professor Craig Tovey.
  • Senior Design Team
    Senior Design Team "Don't Go Breaking My Hartsfield"
  • Senior Design Team
    Senior Design Team "Should It Stay or Should It CIS-GO"
  • Senior Design Team
    Senior Design Team "Swing Space Champs"
  • Senior Design Team
    Senior Design Team "Emissions Experts"

For More Information Contact: 

Shelley Wunder-Smith

H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering