Summer School on Decision Making in Large Systems

Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 22:00

Summer School on Decision Making in Large Systems 

Funded by the National Science Foundation

Principal Investigator

 Ali Abbas - Director of the Neely Center, University of Southern California

Ali E. Abbas is Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and a leading authority in the field of decision and risk analysis. Read More.

Venue: University of Southern California

Date: June 24th – 29th, 2018

The University of Southern California's Neely Center, with funding support from the National Science Foundation, will be hosting a six-day Summer School in June 2018 that will introduce graduate students to the foundations of decision making in large systems.

This summer school is developed in direct response to needs expressed through various NSF-sponsored workshops. The school will provide an intensive and interactive educational experience to graduate students who are interested in studying decision making in the context of engineering design and systems engineering. It is specifically intended to provide educational opportunities for students from graduate programs that do not have appropriate coursework in this area. The summer school will cover theoretical and practical issues. It will provide students with foundational understanding about how to conduct research in decision making in design and systems engineering; create a network of peers who are studying these issues, and advance community research standards.

Objectives of the Summer School

  1. To provide graduate students with the foundations needed to enable them to conduct formal research in decision making.
  2. To provide online resources through a web site that will compile a list of papers, references, and lecture material for graduate students around the nation.
  3. To develop a cohort and a network of graduate students exposed to formal decision making methods in systems engineering and design.
  4. To provide graduate students with the opportunity to meet with other academics and industry experts.

Topics covered include

  • Characterizing uncertainty in a systems engineering and design environment
  • Building Preference – Value – Utility models for systems engineering and design
  • Introducing the basic axioms of decision making, and methods to analyze flawed methods of decision making
  • Research methodologies for decision making in systems engineering and design
  • Future research directions
  • Practical applications of decision making in systems engineering featuring guest speakers from industry and academia





Featured Speaker: Dean Yannis Yortsos: Ethics and Technology in an Exponentially Changing World

Yannis C. Yortsos - Dean of the  Viterbi School of Engineering

Yannis C. Yortsos is the Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Zohrab Kaprielian Chair in Engineering, a position he holds since 2005. Prior to that he served from 2001 to 2005 as Associate Dean and then as Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Yortsos served as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering between 1991 and 1996 and since 1995 he also holds the Chester Dolley Professorship. Read More.



Ali Abbas - Principal Investigator/ Director of the Neely Center, University of Southern California

Ali E. Abbas is Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. A leading authority in the field of decision and risk analysis, Dr. Abbas received his M.S. in electrical engineering; M.S. in engineering economic systems & operations research; PhD in management science and engineering, and PhD minor in electrical engineering all from the school of engineering at Stanford University. Read More.



Andrea Belz - University of Southern California

Andrea Belz, an expert in transforming innovation into profit, serves as the Vice Dean, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship, at USC Viterbi. She is the Director of Innovation Node-Los Angeles, one of the national centers of the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program. Read More.             



George Hazelrigg - National Science Foundation

George Hazelrigg  enjoyed designing and building things when he was young, so he decided to go to college to study engineering.  He obtained a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Newark College of Engineering (now New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJIT), and MA, MSE, and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering from Princeton University. Read More.



Satyandra K. Gupta - University of Southern California

Satyandra K. Gupta is Smith International Professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is the founding Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Southern California. He served as a program director for the National Robotics Initiative at the National  Science Foundation from September 2012 to September 2014. Read More. 


Richard Malak- National Science Foundation

Richard Malak currently serves as Program Director for the Engineering Design and Systems Engineering (EDSE) program in the division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) of the National Science Foundation. Read More.                               



Jacqueline Orr - University of Southern California

Jacqueline Orr is a consultant and researcher focused on social impact. Her work has been published in a variety of academic journals pertaining to management and entrepreneurship, and she has authored numerous business case studies distributed by Harvard Business Publishing and the Case Centre. Her case, “Driving the Future: Carmakers’ Quandary with Automated Vehicles,” which she is presenting at the NSF Summer School, won first place in the Neely Center’s inaugural Ethics Competition. Read More.


 Tony Schmitz - UNC Charlotte

The mission of Dr. Schmitz’ advanced manufacturing research is to serve the discrete part manufacturing community. The overall focus is improving the practicing engineer’s ability to produce accurate components in a timely manner; this has important ramifications for both the private and defense sectors. Read More.                                                                 



Neil Siegel - University of Southern California

Neil Siegel is the IBM professor of Engineering Management in the Daniel Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering. Until the end of 2015, he was the sector vice-president & chief technology officer at Northrop Grumman, where he was responsible for the creation of many first-of-their-kind, large-scale, high-reliability systems. Read More.


Sarah Al-Hussaini - University of Southern California

Sarah is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science, University of Southern California. Her current research interest is physics-aware decision-making for autonomous multi-agent systems operating in large-scale unknown environment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 Hanan Al-Awadhi - University of Michigan

Hanan is pursuing a Master’s degree in industrial and operations engineering with concentration in healthcare engineering and patient safety. Her research interests focus on informed healthcare policy-making, in particular policies related to healthcare technologies, regulations and safety in healthcare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 Ahmed Alzanki - University of Southern California

Ahmed is a PhD student in Industrial and Systems Engineering with an emphasis on Decision Analysis. His research focuses on exploring the applications of Multiattribute Utility Theory in medical decisions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Zachary Ball - University at Buffalo

Zachary is a Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering. His primary research focuses on mass collaboration and concurrent engineering within the product development process.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 Anton van Beek - Northwestern University

Anton is a Ph.D. student in the Department of the Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University where he is a member of the Intelligent Design Automation Laboratory. In his work he explores the intersection of mechanical engineering with data science to improve resource allocation in multifidelity, multidiscipline design optimization.               

Seyedeh Elaheh Ghiasian - University at Buffalo

Elaheh is a Ph.D. student of mechanical engineering (design and optimization). In her current research, she focuses on design for additive manufacturing, and optimization of systems engineering.       


Charlie DeStefano - University of Arkansas

Charlie is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. His current research efforts are primarily in the areas of decision theory, failure analysis, and machine learning, with a focus on making complex systems more adaptable to failures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Kenton Blane Fillingim - Georgia Institute of Technology

Blane Fillingim is currently a graduate research assistant at the Georgia Institute of Technology pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering. His research focuses on understanding how designers employ design heuristics in hopes of improving decision making during early concept development.                                                                                                                                                       

Jason Gregory - University of Southern California

Jason is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. His current research interests include resilient, physics-aware decision making for single- and multi-robot systems operating in complex, real-world environments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Josh Gyory - Carnegie Mellon University

Josh is a 2nd year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He is interested in the intersection of mechanical engineering and psychology as they pertain to the cognitive basis of engineering design theory and methodology.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 Bat-Zion Hose - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bat-Zion "Betsy" is a second year Ph.D student in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is interested in health IT design; in particular, considering human factors engineering design implications for information flow and coordination interdependence as it applies to the diagnostic process.                                                                                                                                               

Seunghan Lee - University of Arizona

Seunghan is a Ph.D. candidate in Systems and Industrial Engineering Department at University of Arizona. His research interests are modeling and analysis of a hierarchical decision-making process in social networks based on simulation and optimization.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Rishi Malhan - University of Southern California

Rishi is a graduate research assistant working at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at USC. His work focuses around motion planning, numerical optimization, and machine learning applied to automation of manufacturing processes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 Edwin Ordoukhanian - University of Southern California

Edwin Ordoukhanian is a Ph.D. Candidate specializing in Systems Architecting and Engineering (SAE). His research interests include Model-Based Systems Engineering, Resilient System-of-Systems, Trade-off Analysis, Complex Systems, and Human-Systems Integration.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 Varuneswara Panyam - Texas A&M University

Varuneswara is a Ph.D. student in Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. His current research involves designing, developing, and analyzing Bio-Inspired Human Networks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Laxmi Prasad Poudel - University of Arkansas

Laxmi is a Ph.D. student in Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. His research interests are Complex Systems Design, Robotics and Machine Learning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Sita Marie Syal - Stanford University

Sita is currently a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.  For her research, Sita is planning to study the human-driven costs of renewable energy technologies and how people make decisions about their energy choices.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Hannah Walsh - Oregon State University

Hannah Walsh is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University. Her research interests include model-based design, system analysis & engineering, design optimization, risk and reliability based design, and network theory and analysis.                                                                                                                                                                                  


Jonathan Weaver-Rosen - Texas A&M University

Jonathan is a Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering department at Texas A&M University. His research interests include techniques for multidisciplinary and parametric design optimization to enable decision-making at the system level. He is currently applying his work to the design of a supersonic morphing aircraft.                                                          

 Yeo Jung Yoon - University of Southern California

Yeo Jung is currently a Ph.D. student in aerospace and mechanical engineering. Her research interests are in robotics, 3D printing, decision-making, manufacturing and automation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Amineh Zadbood - Stevens Institute of Technology

Amineh is a second-year Ph.D. student under the advisement of Dr. Steven Hoffenson. Her research focuses on exploring new ways to improve decision-based design and design for markets systems analysis with interdisciplinary systems modeling approaches to design more sustainable products and systems.                                                                                                                                                                        

Maximilian Zellner - University of Southern California

Max is a Ph.D. student in Industrial and Systems Engineering with an emphasis on Decision Analysis. His research focuses on the value of information, the game theoretic design of incentives, and decision making in complex systems.