ISyE professor, new to Tech, wins INFORMS fellowship

Jianjun Shi, a professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), was presented with a fellowship by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences on Oct. 13. Shi is one of 12 INFORMS members, or about 0.125% of the organization’s membership, to be named as an INFORMS Fellow at this year’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

INFORMS is a professional organization for operations research, described on its website as “the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.” INFORMS awards fellowships annually, based on five criteria: Research, Practice, Management, Education and Service. Shi joins 10 other ISyE faculty who have won an INFORMS fellowship.

Shi was awarded this fellowship on the basis of his contribution to INFORMS. In 1998, he founded and chaired the Quality, Statistics and Reliability (QSR) section of INFORMS. QSR expanded the territory of INFORMS, Shi said. “Before QSR, people in quality, statistics or reliability did not have a home in INFORMS…this effort kind of expands INFORMS to attract new members.”

In addition to simply expanding INFORMS, QSR has become an active and prominent section. In recent years’ conferences, Shi said “this subdivision holds the most sessions of all subdivisions [within INFORMS].” Because of its wide applications, the QSR section has members from both the academic and business communities.

Shi’s extensive research on industrial engineering also contributed to the award. Shi has written a book, Stream of Variation Modeling and Analysis for Multistage Manufacturing Processes, and has published 73 research papers in journals. Shi’s research has focused on variability and manufacturing, and he has performed research for the automotive and aircraft industries. At the Chinese Academy of Science, Shi founded the Center for Quality Science Research, where he is the director.

Before coming to Georgia Tech in January, Shi was the G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan. In 1992, Shi earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan, where he taught students studying both Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Operations Engineering from 1995 to 2007.

After spending 19 years on Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, Shi chose to come to Tech because of its opportunities, adding that “the department here is huge…[with] 65 faculty members.” Shi is adjusting to his 17-mile commute from Marietta, and is enjoying Atlanta’s warmer weather. More importantly, Shi feels like he now has “more impact on Industrial Engineering as a discipline.”

At Tech, Shi has already made an impact—last month, ISyE approved a new PhD specialization for System Informatics and Control. In a production or service system, Shi said, “there is a lot of data available in different formats…. The question is, how can we effectively extract information from them, close to a real-time fashion?” Such information could then be used to improve upon the system, and would be useful for system diagnostics and prognostics (determining the remaining life of a system.)

System Informatics and Control is an interdisciplinary field. “The specialization really emphasizes the interface…between statistics, signal processing, data analysis and computer science with engineering domain knowledge,” Shi said.

System Informatics and Control draws from, and will be able to support, the other specializations within ISyE.

There are currently five students in the System Informatics and Control specialization, and Shi will start teaching a course specific to the specialization in the spring.

“Within ISYE, we have people who are very strong in Operations Research, very strong in Stoichastics, very strong in Logistics and Statistics…these are the pillars of IE and the new concentration will work with them to have a solid basis,” Shi said.

While Tech’s program is currently unique, Shi hopes for more expansion. “I hope that other IE departments can either follow or participate [with the new concentration],” Shi said.