Taylan Topcu, a Systems Engineering Master’s student, presented a paper titled “Commercial and Government Value Functions for Electric Vehicle System Design” at the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Annual Conference and Expo in Nashville in June. Under the advisement of first-year ISEEM Department Assistant Professor, Bryan Mesmer, Topcu's paper examines the complex engineered system of electric vehicles using value-driven design, looks at the system attributes important in forming value functions for the vehicle, and forms some novel consumer, commercial, and government-oriented functions.

Sherri Messimer, an associate professor in ISEEM, made a presentation on “Simulation Decision Support for Intensive Care Unit Expansion,” based on industrial engineering research she conducted with Associate Professor Sampson Gholston at Huntsville Hospital. Healthcare facility utilization has become a very important issue for healthcare administrators, particularly as cost controls have become imperative in the face of declining medical reimbursements. In this work, simulation is used to guide the redesign of a hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit, which currently has more requests than available beds. This forces some patients to be placed in other (off-service) intensive care units, resulting in a less than optimal treatment environment for the patient and artificial demand for the admitting unit. Simulation is used to assist hospital administrators to understand the trade-offs of a redesign by way of a realistic portrayal of a new system.

Paul Collopy, a professor in ISEEM, also presented a paper at the conference titled “A Formal Representation of Systems Engineering Activities Post PDR.” This paper is a progress report on an NSF-funded research project working toward a theoretical foundation for systems engineering. The research team has adopted a formal model of planning from the field of artificial intelligence to represent engineering design work, and a means-end hierarchy from Simon's organizational sociology work to describe the connection between engineering design teams. Systems engineering guides, coordinates and facilitates the design teams via requirements, interface definitions, and other information.  The stochastic planning model also permits representation in some depth of the activity in which systems engineers monitor the evolving system design for incipient faults and failures, using recent research in system health management. The long term goal of this research is an articulated formal construct that can be used to validate and improve systems engineering methods, processes and tools.