Students, faculty win best paper honors at industrial engineering conference


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Deepak Agrawal and Cheng-Bang Chen, doctoral students in industrial engineering, along with their Ph.D. adviser, Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce/Allen M. Pearce Professor in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State, received best paper honors at the recent Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Annual Conference and Expo in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Improving Food Access: An Agent Based Simulation” was named the best paper in the social, environmental and sustainability IIE track. It also received Best Student Paper honors from the Sustainable Development Division of IIE. Agrawal, Chen and Kumara presented their paper at the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC 2015), which is part of the larger IIE annual conference.

In addition, a paper advised by Kumara and co-authored by Penn State students Agrawal, Chen and Kenneth Hutchison, along with Shruti Agrawal, an undergraduate student from the Indian Institute of Technology, earned the Operations Research Division Student Research Dissemination Award at the same event. The paper was titled “Robustness of Indian Airport Network: A graph analytics approach.”

Kumara participated in two ISERC panel discussions. The first, titled “Industrial analytics courses: The needs, contents and expectations,” focused on the content of data analytics courses taught in several industrial engineering programs across the country, including the program at Penn State. The second discussion centered on insights into the Internet of Things (IoT) and the implications it has on industrial and systems engineering. 

According to Forbes, the IoT is basically the concept of connecting any device with an on/off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, etc.

Industrial engineering students Hutchison and Michael Brown along with Kumara gave a live demonstration of IoT involving coffee making and outlet control during the session. 

Penn State served as one of the sponsors of the 2015 IIE conference, which was held May 30-June 2 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

IIE is the world’s largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the industrial engineering profession and individuals involved with improving quality and productivity.


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Pamela Krewson Wertz


Soundar Kumara
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering



Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

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