Mixed Integer Programs -- Purdue Awardee Image 3
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Mixed Integer Programs -- Purdue Awardee (Image 3)

July 1, 2010
Mixed Integer Programs -- Purdue Awardee (Image 3) Jean Philippe Richard, an assistant professor of industrial engineering, is one of three Purdue University engineers who have won the National Science Foundation's (NSF) most prestigious honor for outstanding young researchers, the Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER). Richard will use his five-year, $400,000 CAREER award to improve software needed to "optimize" industrial operations, including scheduling the proper order in which to carry out jobs in factories; purchasing the right number and selection of parts for product manufacturing so that inventory space isn't wasted; and creating more efficient shipping schedules for trucks and train cars. Such problems fall into two main categories: discrete problems and continuous problems. In the former, decisions are either made or they are not made. For example, company executives either decide to build a plant or they don't; there is no possibility of building part of a plant. In continuous problems, however, decisions can be made in increments that are fractions, such as increasing the production of a certain item by 50 percent. Typically, researchers have dealt mainly with the integer portion of problems, which is generally considered to be the most challenging. Richard, however, will take a different approach. Because both continuous and discrete decisions are interrelated, he will work toward creating software that tackles both types of decisions simultaneously within "mixed-integer" problems. (Date of Image: August 2007) [One of three related images. See Next Image.]

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