A Win-Win Collaboration: Senior Design Facilitates Learning and Benefits Industry

Dec 29, 2011 | Atlanta, GA

Every undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) culminates their education with the capstone Senior Design project. Considered to be the most important and most challenging undergraduate industrial engineering course, Senior Design pushes students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to solve a complex real-world problem that has a defined bottom-line impact for a corporation. The average project value runs in the six figures.

Senior Design is a unique opportunity for companies and organizations to partner and interact with these bright, creative, and dedicated students, and is truly a win-win collaboration for both the students and industry partners. Student teams select a major design project from a company or nonprofit organization and use their ISyE knowledge to develop a solution for the project client. These students gain confidence and practical professional experience working as part of a team addressing real-world problems. The industry partner gains a team of six to eight exceptionally bright undergraduate students who can provide a variety of innovative and creative solutions to an existing organizational problem. Many of these organizations end up making permanent job offers to students from the project team.

Each semester, there are approximately twenty teams who participate in Senior Design. At the end of the semester, each team competes for first place in a competition that highlights and celebrates the team that developed the best solution for their project.

The GE Energy project team won first place in the fall 2010 Senior Design competition. Students Manan Bhatt, Saloni Desai, Avadhi Dhruv, Mark Herman, Ariz Himani, Mohsin Lakhani, and Swathi Narayanaswamy, guided by faculty advisor Yajun Mei, won for their project, Parts Allocation for GE Energy. The team designed a parts allocation system that enables sharing of gas turbine parts across GE Energy’s maintenance contracts. By employing successive network flow optimizations and grouping methods, the project demonstrated annual savings of $8.7 million, resulting from reduced new part purchases and increased utilization of contract assets.

The winner of the spring 2011 Senior Design competition was the Comcast team, guided by faculty advisor Alexander Shaprio. Students Ian Balmaseda, Thien Huynh, Daniel Kohlsdorf, Sagar Patel, Alejandro Santelises, Holly Thomasson, and Michelle Wang won for their project, Improving Comcast’s Outage Detection System, which focused on reducing the number of service calls and unnecessary maintenance attempts for trucks that Comcast incurs because of inaccurate outage detection. A cost model was developed and various algorithms were created aimed at increasing the probability of detecting a genuine outage, thus lowering the unnecessary costs associated with responding to outage reports. A conservative estimate of the project’s value shows it may save Comcast $1.4 million annually.

For more information or to become an industry partner, contact Associate Professor and Senior Design Coordinator Joel Sokol at jsokol@isye.gatech.edu or visit www.isye. gatech.edu/seniordesign.

For More Information Contact: 

Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering