Message from the Chair
I am honored to be Chair of the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Twenty years ago, in 2002, we became the first named academic department at the University of Southern California - The Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. The founder and CEO of ConAm Management Corporation, Daniel Epstein, used his ISE education to become a leading real estate developer. Mr. Epstein has now donated $25 million to the department, enabling us to escalate the recruitment of exceptional professors, expanding the department by seven new tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as renovating a state-of-the-art building to house the department. We are actively recruiting faculty with expertise in the use of optimization, artificial intelligence, systems engineering, and data analytics to solve society's most pressing problems.
New AI and Learning Center Supported by Meta Platforms
We are pleased to announce a new center funded by Meta Platforms, the USC ECE-ISE-Meta Platforms, Inc Center for Research and Education in AI and Learning. A collaboration between electrical and computer engineering and ISE, the center will be funded at 1 million dollars a year to support AI research while also increasing accessibility to AI education. The first year's projects will focus on AI research at the intersection of systems hardware and algorithms, with particular emphasis on computational optimization to formalize the AI model training process under practical constraints.
Noteworthy accomplishments by the faculty during the past year include Meisam Razaviyayn being awarded both an NSF CAREER Award and a Young Investigator Grant by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for his research on the design and analysis of optimization and decision-making algorithms for modern data science applications.
Qiang Huang was named a Fellow of IISE and ASME for his research on integrated nanomanufacturing and nanoinformatics and machine learning for additive manufacturing. Sze-chuan Suen received an Honorable Mention for the Best Application Paper in the 2021 IISE Transactions Focus Issue on Operations Engineering and Analytics for her paper "Allocating outreach resources for disease control in a dynamic population with information spread."
Vishal Gupta was awarded the prestigious INFORMS Wagner Prize for his reinforcement learning system to curb the spread of COVID in Greece. Najmedin Meshkati has been selected as one of the 2022 "Titans" of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Petros Ioannou was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to robust adaptive control and intelligent transportation systems.
Carl Kesselman received an IEEE Internet Award for contributions to the design, deployment, and application of practical Internet-scale global computing platforms. Two of our faculty won Viterbi School of Engineering Awards. Phebe Vayanos was awarded the Viterbi Junior Research Award, and Meisam Razaviyayn was awarded the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award.
Associate Professor Giacomo Nannicini, an expert in quantum algorithms and optimization, joined the Epstein Department this fall from IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. Dr. Nannicini earned his Ph.D. from Ecole Polytechnique in France and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at CMU Tepper School of Business and MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Nannicini has been honored for his research through the 2021 Beale–Orchard-Hays prize, the 2015 Robert Faure prize, and the 2012 Glover-Klingman prize.
Abigail Horn also joined the Epstein Department as a Research Assistant Professor. She earned her Ph.D. from MIT and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at USC's Division of Biostatistics in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences. Her research studies food supply networks, foodborne disease outbreaks, and network science.
We also hired Bruce Wilcox, Ph.D., as a Senior Lecturer for our rapidly growing analytics master's program. Prior to joining the department, Dr. Wilcox spent over 30 years with top-tier consulting firms in the information systems and advanced analytics software industries, most recently with SAS Institute. Niloufar Izadinia will join the department in Spring 2023 as a Lecturer to teach our Supply Chain and Operations courses. She is earning her Ph.D. from Northwestern this year.
Students and Alumni
Our Ph.D. students also received prestigious awards this year. Bill (Yongpeng) Tang was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to improve housing resource allocation to the homeless. Chou-Chu Wu and Anthony Nguyen were both awarded the Lusted Student Prize for their research related to decision-making for kidney disease, and Weizhi Lin, and her collaborators, won a Best Paper Award at the 2022 Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Conference in Seattle.
Undergraduate, Jose Jimenez, was awarded the 2022 USC Viterbi Community Impact Award. This award is given to the student who has provided the highest quality service to the Viterbi School outside their area of responsibility within a student organization. He was a member of the first generation college student community and worked for both the First Generation Plus Success Center and the First Generation Student Leadership Program. Both programs aim to provide resources and community to first-generation college students.
Master's student, Saket Venkatesh, was awarded USC Viterbi's 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Leadership Award. He hopes to harness his engineering knowledge to improve his beloved sport of badminton by developing a shuttlecock that will avoid animal cruelty.
We invite you to explore some of our "greatest hits" during the past year, highlighted in this newsletter. Like USC as a whole, our commitment to excellence is evident in our state-of-the-art curriculum, distinguished faculty, and exceptional students. Please have a look and enjoy.
Maged Dessouky, Dean's Professor and Chair