Muriel, Schmidt win young faculty awards
Skolfield, Special to the Chronicle
assistant professors in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Department recently received young faculty member awards. Ana Muriel
of Industrial Engineering, has received a $375,000 CAREER award
from the National Science Foundation; David Schmidt of Mechanical
Engineering, has been given a $300,000 Young Investigator Award
by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
With Muriel's award,
faculty at the College of Engineering have won 12 CAREER or Presidential
Young Investigator awards from the National Science Foundation.
Her CAREER award will further her research in supply chain management.
The prestigious, five-year CAREER award is aimed at supporting the
work of junior faculty members.
Muriel's CAREER project
focuses on the development of algorithms for the effective integration
of production, inventory, and distribution in the supply chain,
especially when mass production results in lower production and
transportation costs. The objective is to reduce system-wide costs,
make delivery times more reliable, and provide better service to
consumers. These algorithms will be applied to real large-scale
distribution systems accounting for complexities such as uncertainty
in demand, multiple methods of transportation, and capacity constraints
of the different facilities and transportation modes.
The CAREER award also
has a strong educational component. This will enable Muriel to develop
case studies in logistics and supply chain management for classroom
use. "Case studies are very rarely used in engineering courses,"
Muriel said. "The case studies will provide students with data
to allow rigorous engineering analysis, while presenting real, unstructured
situations that require sound business assessment."
Muriel earned her Ph.D.
at Northwestern University, spent two years as faculty at the University
of Michigan Business School and joined the Engineering faculty in
Schmidt is one of just
26 researchers from across the country to receive the Young Investigator
Schmidt's work centers
around sprays, which are important for reducing the pollution from
liquid fuel combustion. "Sprays are ubiquitous," Schmidt
said. "Sprays drive nearly every engine - you burn liquid fuel
and you do it by making a spray. That's critical for controlling
His current research
is on refining computer simulations of sprays. The core of a spray,
he said, has largely been a mystery since peripheral droplets block
and scatter light: "I'm calculating the inner workings of the
core that we can't see or measure," he said. Knowing those
inner workings could eventually lead to smaller and cleaner engines
through better atomization and a more efficient burn.
said, the droplets in computer models were treated as if they were
simplistic dots of a single, unchanging shape that did little more
include a more realistic approximation of the droplets, which actually
"stretch into ligaments and barbells," he said. "We'll
be able to calculate what's going on in the heart of a spray instead
of just speculating."
ONR's Young Investigator
Awards recognize exceptional young scientists and engineers. Young
Investigators are selected on the basis of prior professional achievement,
a research proposal, and strong support by their respective universities.