A student's program can be specialized or broad based depending on the student's interests and subject to the approval of his or her advisor.
The concentration in operations research provides students with a working knowledge of how to develop analytical models for solving problems that arise in the manufacturing and service sectors. Students receive a solid foundation in several areas including linear and nonlinear programming, simulation, probability, and statistics. They learn the theory of optimization and how to apply it using software packages such as Excel, LINDO, and CPLEX. Students also have the option of taking courses that emphasize how to apply operations research concepts in the areas of production planning and inventory control, scheduling, facility layout and design, and manufacturing processes. Additional elective courses include network optimization, integer programming, dynamic programming, simulation, neural networks, heuristic optimization, reliability and maintainability, and the design of experiments.Recent projects with local companies that have applied operations research include: personnel and resource scheduling at KnowledgeSoft Inc, process control for the hot rolling of steel at Pittsburgh Flatroll Company, optimizing furnace operations at Crucible Compaction Metals, preventive maintenance systems design for Adtranz (ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation), facility design at PPG, and uncertainty analysis for electric power production costs for GPU Energy.
Industrial engineering departments typically focus on manufacturing as a core area. At the University of Pittsburgh, we have moved beyond traditional manufacturing as a focus and have integrated product design, rapid prototyping, and manufacturing systems into a larger framework of new product development. Industries are quickly beginning to recognize the importance of new product development as part of their core business strategy. Industrial engineers are ideally suited to take the lead in new product development projects within an organization.
This focused area of study will allow engineers to study product design principles, give them hands-on experience in reverse engineering, rapid prototyping, and rapid manufacturing methodologies in one of the best laboratories in the country, and also to learn business and management perspectives of new product development.
Engineering managers are distinguished from other managers because they posses both an ability to apply engineering principles and a skill in organizing and directing technical people and projects. Industries recognize the importance of technical managers and note that industrial engineers are well suited to fill this role. The concentration in engineering management provides students with hands-on knowledge in several areas including project management, total quality management, decision analysis and modeling, and cost management. Combined with courses from other concentrations of operations research, information systems and manufacturing, a student will be uniquely qualified for managing technical functions in almost any enterprise, or broader functions in a high-technology enterprise.
* It is possible by a judicious choice of courses to choose a concentration in human factors. If a student chooses to do so, the advisor should be a member of the faculty whose area of specialization is this area. *