Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Welcome

Industrial engineering (IE) is about choices - it is the engineering discipline that offers the most wide-ranging array of opportunities in terms of employment, and it is distinguished by its flexibility. While other engineering disciplines tend to apply skills to very specific areas, Industrial Engineers may be found working everywhere: from traditional manufacturing companies to airlines, from distribution companies to financial institutions, from major medical establishments to consulting companies, from high-tech corporations to companies in the food industry.

View our 2019 Summer term schedules here.

View our Fall term 2019-2020 course schedule for undergraduates and graduate students.

The BS in industrial engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). To learn more about Industrial Engineering’s Undergraduate Program ABET Accreditation, click here

Our department is the proud home of Pitt's Center for Industry Studies, which supports multidisciplinary research that links scholars to some of the most important and challenging problems faced by modern industry.


OPEN FACULTY POSITIONS (Fall 2019)


OPEN NON-TENURE STREAM POSITIONS (FALL 2019)



Sep
19
2019

Manipulating the Meta-Atom

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (September 19, 2019) … Metamaterials are a unique class of intricate composites engineered to interact with electromagnetic radiation – such as light – in ways that go beyond conventional materials. By designing their structure at the nanometer scale, such materials can steer, scatter and rotate the polarization of the light in unusual ways. Realizing their full potential in sectors like consumer electronics, bioimaging or defense, requires the ability to manipulate their intricate structure. This presents a daunting challenge – how to manipulate the nanoscale meta-atoms making up metamaterials to then manipulate light? Thanks to a combined $1.7 million from the National Science Foundation, a research group led by faculty at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering hope to utilize “meta-atoms” to fine-tune metamaterials with light and in turn, control how they interact with the light itself. The projects are funded through the NSF’s Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program. “Consider something like photochromatic lenses, which have a simple reaction of darkening when exposed to ultraviolet light, and then lighten when you return indoors,” explained M. Ravi Shankar, principal investigator and professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson School. “Instead, if we harness the light to physically manipulate arrays of nano-scale structures we call meta-atoms, we can program much more complex responses.”Because of the complexity of the problem, Dr. Shankar assembled a multi-disciplinary team from three other universities: Mark Brongersma, professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University;  Robert P. Lipton, the Nicholson Professor of Mathematics at Louisiana State University; Hae Young Noh, assistant professor and Kaushik Dayal, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The team hopes to discover new classes of dynamically programmable metamaterials using theories of plasmonic structures, which are aided by machine-learning algorithms. These will feed into experimental efforts to fabricate these structures. Ultimately, the team envisions demonstrating a range of optical components, including beam steering devices, wave-front shaping systems and polarization converters, which are organized and controlled at the nanometer-scale. This would make them orders-of-magnitude more compact than conventional optical systems. Furthermore, these devices will be powered directly using light itself, without relying on electronics or on-board power sources. This opens a pathway for integrating these compact optical elements in applications ranging from autonomous vehicles, biomedicine and communication devices. ###

Aug
21
2019

Youngjae Chun Receives American Heart Association’s 2020 Innovative Project Award

Bioengineering, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (Aug. 21, 2019) —Coronary artery disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S., with about 370,000 Americans dying from the disease each year. Stents are a life-saving procedure used to prop open narrowing blood vessels; however, over time, tissue can regrow into the mesh stent and cause the artery to narrow again, putting the patient at risk. Knowing that regrowth is happening as soon as possible is crucial in saving the patient’s life, but monitoring is a challenge. Youngjae Chun, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has received a funding award from the American Heart Association for his project creating a stent that will use sensors to monitor for signs of restenosis and alert the patient’s doctor without the need for endless follow-up visits. Dr. Chun’s project has been selected by the American Heart Association for its 2019 Innovative Project Award, which supports highly innovative, high-impact research that could lead to major advancements and discoveries that accelerate cardiovascular and cerebrovascular research. The award includes a total of $200,000 over two years and began on July 1, 2019. “Stenting to treat coronary artery disease is a well-established and widely used interventional procedure. This new stent will minimize the follow-up imaging procedures that can be inconvenient, expensive, and sometimes invasive for the patient,” says Dr. Chun. “Our device would continuously monitor restenosis providing valuable information to the patients.” This project will be conducted through a multidisciplinary collaboration with W. Hong Yeo, PhD, assistant professor of Department of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and John Pacella, MD, cardiologist at UPMC. “Real-time surveillance would be critical for the patient whose stented blood vessels are re-narrowing, putting them at risk for heart attack or stroke,” says Dr. Chun. “The device would provide critical information directly to patients and their doctors and could potentially save many lives.”
Maggie Pavlick
Aug
21
2019

IE Students Help a Local Caterer Develop a Recipe for Success

Industrial, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (August 21, 2019) … A team of industrial engineering (IE) students from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering created a solution to help a small business owner increase production of her popular cookies that tell the tale of Pittsburgh’s storied jazz history. With the students’ help, Leeretta Payne will be able to expand operations of her catering company, the Legacy Café, and help preserve the jazz culture in a time of rapid revitalization. Throughout the twentieth century, Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District neighborhood was home to many clubs frequented by local and national artists. The Hill was an influential part of Payne’s life so she uses her business as an opportunity to teach customers about the neighborhood’s celebrated past. This goal was the inspiration for the Legacy Café’s “Heritage Collection” menu, which features items named after famous entities of Pittsburgh’s jazz era, such as Calloway Beans and Rice, GreenLee Spicy Cucumber, and her most famous offering - the Loendi Club Chocolate Chip Cookie. “The Loendi Club was a very elite establishment that, I believe, paints the picture of the Hill District during the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s,” said Payne. “My aunt was a singer and used to let jazz musicians spend the night at our house while they were in town. It was a fun environment to grow up in, and I want to share this history with my customers.” According to Payne, making the Loendi Club cookies is a laborious process so she sought the help of Swanson School students to develop a more efficient procedure that would increase production and reduce pain in her hands. IE students Ashley Dacosta, Elsie Wang, Keegan MacDougall, and Yang Ren embraced the opportunity for their senior capstone project, an undergraduate program where students help local businesses grow while they gain valuable industry experience. “The Industrial Engineering capstone program provides our graduating seniors with opportunities to work with a company on a real problem without a structured solution,” said Louis Luangkesorn, assistant professor of industrial engineering and coordinator of the capstone program. “Working with a small company that is community-focused like the Legacy Café requires that the students deal with issues that are very different than the big companies usually featured in their textbooks. This forces them to think differently and be creative in how they approach the problem and come up with solutions that are very specific to the individuals involved, skills that are invaluable in the world that they will be entering.” The student team met with Payne to discuss her difficulties and create a strategy to improve the way she bakes the chocolate chip cookies. Ms. Payne with students from Pitt's National Society of Black Engineers “There are two main time-consuming steps in this process: weighing each piece of the cut cold dough and molding the dough into a specific pan using one’s fingers,” explained Wang. “Ms. Payne’s current system would not be effective enough to produce the numbers demanded so our team came up with a solution that could potentially remove the weighing step and move the stress from her fingers to her arm.” The students used a mechanical extrusion tool to pump the warm dough into a uniform cylinder which was then cooled and cut into equal sized cookies, giving a uniform weight throughout. It also incorporated a tamper that would allow the cookies to be pressed into the mold, moving some of the force and pressure from the fingers to the wrist and the lower arm. “Testing showed that this new method would increase throughput by 40 percent, allowing our client to meet current demands,” said Dacosta. “Since Ms. Payne rents time at different certified kitchens, we made sure that our design was portable enough to fit her needs.” Increased demand for the cookies necessitated an updated process, and the students’ new method will help Payne produce the quantity needed for her customers. Throughout the warmer months, she is the sole cookie vendor at Pittsburgh farmers markets in the Carrick, Larimer, Southside, and Beechview neighborhoods. New opportunities like this will help Payne expand her business and spread the history of the Hill District to a wider audience. “The students and I had fun with this project,” said Payne. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them, and I want to use my positive experiences with the University to show residents in my community the impact that can be made if we, as a greater Pittsburgh community, work together to improve our city.” The University’s work with the Legacy Café is just one example of its growing partnership with the Hill District. Pitt is opening a Community Engagement Center in the neighborhood, and while the University not yet secured a permanent facility, it continues to offer educational programming to residents. The University is also working to strengthen its relationship with a community scarred by public housing issues and displacement during the urban redevelopment movement of the late 1960s. “The University’s Community Engagement Center in the Hill District is an opportunity to reimagine the relationship between the community and Pitt, fostering mutually beneficial collaborations that advance the community’s agenda by putting our teaching, research, and capacity building programs at the service of the community,” said Kirk D. Holbrook, Director of the Community Engagement Center in the Hill District. Payne wants to see her neighborhood shine like it did during the jazz era and help current residents feel proud of where they live. She said, “I use the Legacy Café to teach my customers about the Hill District’s past because it is our history, and I don’t want people to forget it.” ###

Aug
13
2019

Engaging Women in Academia

Industrial, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (Aug. 13, 2019) — Women in male-dominated fields can feel like their performance represents not only their ability but the ability of an entire gender. Anna Svirsko, PhD IE ‘19 found herself in such a position, often being one of the only woman in the class as she earned her doctorate in industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. “That can surprisingly be a lot of pressure. Sometimes people don’t think about it, but while you’re in that situation, it can be difficult to think that everyone’s perspective of how women perform is based on you,” she says. “That can make you be a little bit shy when it comes to asking questions. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re not following what the rest of the class is following.” Dr. Svirsko elaborated on her experience in a video for the Spotlight on Women Leaders program, which was created by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Concerns (PACWC) to highlight women whose actions model good leadership and have made a difference in the Pitt community. Dr. Svirsko is now an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. While at Pitt, she worked as a research assistant with Geisinger Health System and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh doing data analysis and writing programs that would help streamline processes there. She was president of the University of Pittsburgh’s INFORMS chapter, an organization that helps prepare graduate industrial engineering students for academia and industry. She earned her master of science degree in statistics and operations research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and her bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. While Dr. Svirsko found a welcoming environment at Pitt, she recommends simple steps that can help women feel like they belong in male-dominated fields like hers. “People don’t realize the influence of just having a woman speaker at seminars every once in a while,” she notes. “Whenever I was president of INFORMS, we would invite two speakers over the course of the year, I made sure we invited one woman and one man so we had equal representation and so that women would get to see someone who is doing great research in that role.” Dr. Svirsko was nominated for the Spotlight by a fellow student. She joins the many women, from undergraduates to faculty and staff, whose stories are shared through the Spotlight on Women Leaders program.
Maggie Pavlick
Jul
11
2019

New Superomniphobic Glass Soars High on Butterfly Wings Using Machine Learning

Chemical & Petroleum, Industrial, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (July 11, 2019) — Glass for technologies like displays, tablets, laptops,  smartphones, and solar cells need to pass light through, but could benefit from a surface that repels water, dirt, oil, and other liquids. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have created a nanostructure glass that takes inspiration from the wings of the glasswing butterfly to create a new type of glass that is not only very clear across a wide variety of wavelengths and angles, but is also antifogging. The team recently published a paper detailing their findings: “Creating Glasswing-Butterfly Inspired Durable Antifogging Omniphobic Supertransmissive, Superclear Nanostructured Glass Through Bayesian Learning and Optimization” in Materials Horizons (doi:10.1039/C9MH00589G). They recently presented this work at the ICML conference in the “Climate Change: How Can AI Help?” workshop. The nanostructured glass has random nanostructures, like the glasswing butterfly wing, that are smaller than the wavelengths of visible light. This allows the glass to have a very high transparency of 99.5% when the random nanostructures are on both sides of the glass. This high transparency can reduce the brightness and power demands on displays that could, for example, extend battery life. The glass is antireflective across higher angles, improving viewing angles. The glass also has low haze, less than 0.1%, which results in very clear images and text. “The glass is superomniphobic, meaning it repels a wide variety of liquids such as orange juice, coffee, water, blood, and milk,” explains Sajad Haghanifar, lead author of the paper and doctoral candidate in industrial engineering at Pitt. “The glass is also anti-fogging, as water condensation tends to easily roll off the surface, and the view through the glass remains unobstructed. Finally, the nanostructured glass is durable from abrasion due to its self-healing properties—abrading the surface with a rough sponge damages the coating, but heating it restores it to its original function.” Natural surfaces like lotus leaves, moth eyes and butterfly wings display omniphobic properties that make them self-cleaning, bacterial-resistant and water-repellant—adaptations for survival that evolved over millions of years. Researchers have long sought inspiration from nature to replicate these properties in a synthetic material, and even to improve upon them. While the team could not rely on evolution to achieve these results, they instead utilized machine learning. “Something significant about the nanostructured glass research, in particular, is that we partnered with SigOpt to use machine learning to reach our final product,” says Paul Leu, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering, whose lab conducted the research. Dr. Leu holds secondary appointments in mechanical engineering and materials science and chemical engineering. “When you create something like this, you don’t start with a lot of data, and each trial takes a great deal of time. We used machine learning to suggest variables to change, and it took us fewer tries to create this material as a result.” “Bayesian optimization and active search are the ideal tools to explore the balance between transparency and omniphobicity efficiently, that is, without needing thousands of fabrications, requiring hundreds of days.” said Michael McCourt, PhD, research engineer at SigOpt. Bolong Cheng, PhD, fellow research engineer at SigOpt, added, “Machine learning and AI strategies are only relevant when they solve real problems; we are excited to be able to collaborate with the University of Pittsburgh to bring the power of Bayesian active learning to a new application.” “Creating Glasswing-Butterfly Inspired Durable Antifogging Omniphobic Supertransmissive, Superclear Nanostrcutured Glass Through Bayesian Learning and Optimization” was coauthored by Sajad Haghanifar, and Paul Leu, from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering; Michael McCourt and Bolong Cheng from SigOpt; and Paul Ohodnicki and Jeffrey Wuenschell from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Laboratory. The project was supported in part by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
Maggie Pavlick

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