Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Inc., a multinational company based in India, has awarded a multi-year collaborative grant to Janet K. Allen, Ph.D., of the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Farrokh Mistree, Ph.D., of the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. This wife and husband engineering team will also work with Jitesh Panchal, Ph.D., of Purdue University on this grant. The first year’s grant totals just over $220,000. The title of the project is, Decision-Based Collaborative, Design Workflow Management and Robust Networks.
The OU-Purdue team plans to develop a decision-based engine for collaborative workflow management that can be integrated with the Platform for the Realization of Engineered Materials and Products (PREMɅP), which is currently being developed by TCS. Here, workflow refers to a sequence of computational tasks in which information flows from one task to subsequent task via a graph topology with decision steps at certain graph nodes. Workflow management encapsulates collaborative creation and execution, modular reuse, and reconfiguration. The team’s focus is on supporting product designers and systems engineers who have fundamental engineering knowledge but may not be experts in all the aspects of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering. The team plans to apply robust design principles, specifically the Compromise Decision Support Problem, to realize fail-safe networks. Potential applications of fail-safe networks include networks that need to take into account variations and disruptions that affect profitability. Some examples include: company mergers (e.g., Halliburton’s impending purchase of Baker Hughes), labor union strikes (e.g., labor strike on the west coast of the United States in 2002), sanctions imposed or lifted (e.g., economic sanctions against Iran being lifted by the UN in July 2015), plantations being destroyed (banana plantations were destroyed by Hurricane Mitch in 1998), air traffic being suspended due to weather or terrorism, main suppliers put out of commission by natural disasters (e.g., the 1999 earthquake in Taiwan disrupted semiconductor fabrication facilities), etc.