Thurston to discuss decision making in the design process

Published: Mar 19, 2007 1:33:51 PM
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Deborah L. Thurston, interim head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be discussing the engineering decision making process in a seminar on Wednesday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Dunstan 202.

Thurston's lecture will present a decision-based approach to engineering design and product development, using three elements: expanding the traditional scope of analysis to include issues such as manufacturing cost, operations, environmental impact, the business model, etc.; formulating a design optimization problem articulating an objective function, decision variables and constraints; and developing a systems analysis of the results of the first two elements. An illustrative overview of two projects will be presented, including new product design and development for an air pollution control device, and design for sustainability through product take-back and reuse.

Aside from her position as interim department head, Thurston serves as co-director of the Hoeft Technology and Management Program and director of the Decision Systems Laboratory at UI. Her current research interests include multi-objective engineering design decision making - research that has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency, and a broad range of industries. She received the Presidential Young Investigator Award (NSF) in 1989, the Xerox Award for excellence in engineering research in 1992 and 1995, three awards for excellence in undergraduate advising, and a Best Paper of the Year Award from The Engineering Economist. Thurston has served as associate technical editor for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): Journal of Mechanical Design, as well as area editor for The Engineering Economist. She is a registered professional engineer, and a member of ASME, IEEE and INFORMS. Thurston received her doctorate from MIT in 1987.