Research


Dr. Smith's research focus is on modeling, analysis and optimization of complex systems using computational intelligence (artificial neural networks, meta-heuristics and fuzzy systems) combined with techniques from probability and statistics and from operations research. Primary application areas include facilities layout in manufacturing, retailers and hospitals/pharmacies, manufacturing process control, advanced materials microstructure, design of reliable wired and wireless telecommunications networks, and economic modeling.

Dr. Smith has been a principal investigator on over $7 million of sponsored research. Her research in analysis, modeling and optimization of complex systems has been funded by NASA, U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency, NIST, U.S. Department of Transportation, Lockheed Martin, Adtranz (now Bombardier Transportation), the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania and U.S. National Science Foundation, from which she has been awarded 16 grants including a CAREER grant in 1995 and an ADVANCE Leadership grant in 2001. Her industrial partners on sponsored research projects have included DaimlerChrysler Electronics, Eljer Plumbingware, Extrude Hone, Ford Motor and Crucible Compaction Metals.

International research collaborations have been sponsored by the federal governments of Japan, Turkey, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Egypt, South Korea, Iraq, China, Algeria, Chile and the U.S., and by the Institute of International Education. In 2013 she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Bilkent University in Turkey, in 2016 she was a Fulbright Specialist at EAFIT in Colombia and in 2017 she will be a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Catholic University of Chile at Valparaiso.

Research Grants




  • “Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase VIII,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $150,000, 2015-2016.
  • “Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase VII,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $120,000, 2014-2015.
  • "Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase VI," Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $100,000, 2013-2014.
  • "Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase V,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $100,000, 2012-2013.
  • “Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase IV,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $100,000, 2011-2012.
  • “Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase III,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $200,000, 2010-2011.
  • “Academy of Aerospace Quality – Phase II,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $280,890, 2006-2010.
  • “Academy of Aerospace Quality,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, NASA, $405,000, 2003-2006.

Link to the NASA Academy of Aerospace Quality






  • "Collaborative Research: Non-Traditional Designs for Order Picking Warehouses," Kevin Gue (now at University of Louisville) and Alice E. Smith, National Science Foundation, #CMMI-12005677, $255,000, 2012-2016. Associated project at University of Arkansas (PI – Russ Meller and then Ashlea Milburn) for $200,000.  REU Supplements of $12,000.
  • "Pan American Advanced Studies Institute (PASI) on Modeling, Simulation and Optimization of Globalized Physical Distribution Systems,” Alice E. Smith and Jorge F. Valenzuela, National Science Foundation, #OISE-1242239, $100,000, 2012-2014.
  • Workshop: Empowering Women in Industrial Engineering Academia – International Collaborations for Research and Education,” Alice E. Smith and Janet M. Twomey (Wichita State University), National Science Foundation, #OISE-1042980, $60,000, 2010-2012.
  • “US-Turkey Workshop: on Women in Industrial Engineering Academia - U.S. and Middle East,” National Science Foundation (NSF), #OISE-0728947, $60,000, 2007-2009.
  • “ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation and Dissemination: SEM Transformation through "Small Wins"”, Donna Sollie, Marie Wooten, Overtoun Jenda, Alice E. Smith and Daniel Svyantek, National Science Foundation (NSF), #SBE-0620000, $450,000, 2006-2010.
  • “Planning Visit: Workshop on Industrial Engineering Women in Academia,” National Science Foundation (NSF), #OISE-0549304, $14,705, 2006-2007.
  • “Next Generation of Manufacturing Engineers for the Automotive Sector,” Alice E. Smith, John Evans and Peter Jones, National Science Foundation (NSF), #DUE-0422361, $400,000, 2004-2008.
  • “Enhancing the Fracture Strength of Advanced Ceramics by Process Control at the Microstructural Scale,” Ian Nettleship (University of Pittsburgh) and Alice E. Smith, National Science Foundation (NSF), #DMI-0301273, $100,000 with RET Supplement $6,000, 2003-2005.
  • “Industry / University Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Vehicle Electronics (CAVE), Research Experiences for Teachers,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Suhling, National Science Foundation (NSF), Supplements to #EEC-9907749, $175,400, 2003-2010.
  • ADVANCE Leadership: Improving Success of Women Engineering Academics in Archival Publications,” National Science Foundation (NSF), #SBE-0123493, $150,000 with REU Supplement $15,000 and RET Supplement $10,000, 2001-2005.
  • “Relating Field Data to Accelerated Life Testing,” Alice E. Smith and S. Wayne Johnson, National Science Foundation (NSF), #EEC-0002669, $50,000 with REU Supplement of $6,000, RET Supplement of $46,225 with another $70,000 from the member companies of the NSF Center for Advanced Vehicle Electronics, 2000-02. This was a joint project with the NSF Center for Quality and Reliability Engineering of Rutgers University. The PIs there, Elsayed S. Elsayed and David W. Coit (both, Rutgers University), also received a similar amount for the same project.
  • “Comprehensive Redesign of Industrial Facilities,” Bryan A. Norman (University of Pittsburgh) and Alice E. Smith, National Science Foundation (NSF), #DMI-9908322, $317,562 with REU Supplement $22,000, 1999-2003.
  • “GOALI: Improving Manufacturability of P/M Superalloys by Microstructural Control,” Alice E. Smith and Ian Nettleship (University of Pittsburgh), National Science Foundation (NSF) with the participation of Crucible Compaction Metals, #DMI-9800430, $311,526 with REU Supplement $32,000 and International Supplement $20,000, 1998-2001.
  • “Collaborative Research: Design of Communications Networks Using Computational Intelligence and Women in Engineering in the U.S. and Turkey,” Alice E. Smith and Berna Dengiz (Gazi University, Turkey), National Science Foundation (NSF), #INT-9731207, $34,965, with additional support from TUBITAK(Turkish equivalent of NSF), 1998-2004.
  • “Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) : Resampling Approaches to Neural Model Validation,” National Science Foundation (NSF), #DMI-9502134, $309,574 with REU Supplements $40,000, 1995-2000.
  • “Process Planning Using an Integrated Neural Network and Expert System Approach,” National Science Foundation (NSF), #DDM-9209424, $21,235, 1992-94.


  • “RT 159: Agile Systems Engineering Management,” Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, Office of the Secretary of Defense / National Security Agency (subcontracted from the Systems Engineering Research Center / Stevens Institute of Technology, Richard Turner, Stevens PI), $52,373, 2016-17.
  • “RT 126: Agile Systems Engineering – Kanban Scheduling,” Alice E. Smith, Jeff Smith and Levent Yilmaz, Office of the Secretary of Defense / National Security Agency (subcontracted from the Systems Engineering Research Center / Stevens Institute of Technology, Richard Turner, Stevens PI), $172,874, 2014-2015.
  • "A Framework for Complexity Management in Virtual Forward Operating Base Camps - Phase II,"; Steven Corns, Mariesa Crow, Cihan Dagli, Curt Elmore, Scott Grasman, Suzanna Long (all Missouri University of Science and Technology) and Alice E. Smith, Army Research ERDC, U.S. Department of Defense, $398,932 (Auburn portion = $60,000), 2012-2013.
  • “A Framework for Complexity Management in Virtual Forward Operating Base Camps,” Steven Corns, Mariesa Crow, Cihan Dagli, Curt Elmore, Scott Grasman, Suzanna Long (all Missouri University of Science and Technology) and Alice E. Smith, Army Research ERDC, U.S. Department of Defense, $398,932 (Auburn portion = $60,000), 2011-2012.
  • “Systems Engineering Using Secure Open Source Technology,” David Umphress, Drew Hamilton and Alice E. Smith, U.S. Department of Defense, $179,993, with subcontract to Tuskegee University, 2011-2012.
  • “Systems Engineering in a Secure Computing Intensive Environment,” David Umphress, Drew Hamilton and Alice E. Smith, U.S. Department of Defense, $200,000, 2010-2011.
  • Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC),” Alice E. Smith and Drew Hamilton (later, Levent Yilmaz), University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) consisting of 20 universities / research organizations, U.S. Department of Defense, 2009-onwards.


  • “A Model-Driven Generative Domain Architecture for Simulation Experiment Lifecycle Management and System Optimization,” Levent Yilmaz and Alice E. Smith, Missile Defense Agency, $589,132, 2015-2018.
  • "An Integrated Framework for Engineering Replicability into High Assurance Ballistic Missile Defense System Simulations - Supplement," Levent Yilmaz and Alice E. Smith, Missile Defense Agency, $57,172, 2014-2015.
  • "An Integrated Framework for Engineering Replicability into High Assurance Ballistic Missile Defense System Simulations," Levent Yilmaz and Alice E. Smith, Missile Defense Agency, $434,504, 2012-2015.


  • "Facility Design for Grocery Stores," Haluk Yapicioglu (Anadolu University, Eskisehir Turkey), Alice E. Smith and Bahar Yetis Kara (Bilkent University, Ankara Turkey), Coca Cola Turkey, $5,000, 2013.


  • "Iraqi Scholar Rescue Project," Alice E. Smith, Institute of International Education, $32,500, 2012-2013.
  • “Iraqi Scholar Rescue Project,” Alice E. Smith, Institute of International Education, $31,700, 2010-2011.

Other sponsors
  • “Integracion de tecnicas de simulacion y de diseno de instalaciones para manejo de contenedores," Alice E. Smith, Rosa Gonzalez and Jimena Pascual (both, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Valparaiso Chile), Comision Nacional de lnvestigacion Cientifica y Tecnologica- CONICYT - of Chile, 8,300,000 Chilean pesos (about $14,000), 2015-2016.
  • "Facility Design and Redesign for Retail Enterprises," Alice E. Smith and Ihsan Sabuncuoglu (Bilkent University, Ankara Turkey), The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), Visiting Scientist Fellowship Program, with the participation of Migros Corporation, $15,000, 2013.
  • "Fulbright Senior Fellow," Fulbright Commission, $15,000, 2013.
  • “Development of a Hot Mix Plan Production Process Control System,” Michael Heitzman, Alice E. Smith and Jeff Smith, Department of Transportation / Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), $372,438, 2009-2010.
  • “Joint Research on Intelligent Manufacturing Techniques,” Mitsuo Gen (Ashikaga Institute of Technology, Japan), Alice E. Smith, Bryan A. Norman (University of Pittsburgh) and Gursel A. Suer (University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez), Monbusho (Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture) International Scientific Research Program, 6,900,000 yen, with supplemental funds from the University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, $760, and the Japanese Science & Technology Management Program, University of Pittsburgh, $6500. 1998-2000.
  • “Process Improvement for Low Oxygen Metal Powders,” Alice E. Smith and Ian Nettleship (University of Pittsburgh), Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania with Crucible Compaction Metals Corporation, $172,035, 1997-99.
  • “Motor Vehicle Abrasive Flow Machining,” Alice E. Smith and William S. Slaughter (University of Pittsburgh), National Institute of Standards (NIST) with Extrude Hone Corporation, Ford Motor Company and others, $125,000 (part of larger Advanced Technology Program), 1996-99.
  • “Predicting Failures of Mechanical/Electrical Systems,” Adtranz (now Bombardier Transportation), $83,376, 1996-2000.
  • “Predictive Quality Control for Ceramic Casting,” Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania with Eljer Plumbingware Corporation, $141,782, 1993-96.
  • “Intelligent Control for Wave Soldering,” Alice E. Smith, Amro El-Jaroudi (University of Pittsburgh) and William Clark (University of Pittsburgh), Lockheed Martin Corporation, $100,000, 1993-94.
  • “An Empirical and Theoretical Analysis of Backpropagation Error Surface Initiation and Descent,” Central Research Development Fund Award, University of Pittsburgh, $12,996, 1992-94.

Equipment Grants
  • “In-Process, Non-Destructive Analytical Equipment for Electronics Manufacturing Research,” Wayne Johnson, Jeffrey Suhling, Roy Knight, George Flowers, Alice E. Smith, Hareesh Tipur, Michael Bozak, Bryan Chin and William Gale, Auburn University Internal Infrastructure Grant, $100,000, 2000-01.
  • “Software for Simulation Research,” Systems Modeling Corporation, $1,550, 1996.
  • “Interdisciplinary Fuzzy Logic Infrastructure for Education and Research,” Robert Boston (University of Pittsburgh), Alice E. Smith and George Klinzing (University of Pittsburgh), Faculty/Departmental Computing Infrastructure Grant, University of Pittsburgh, $4,000, 1994.
  • “Artificial Intelligence Hardware,” Individual Faculty Initiative, Computing Proficiency Enhancement Program, University of Pittsburgh, $4,993, 1992.

Patents