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Use of Collaborative Models for Decision Support

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Monday 9 March 2009, 14:00
LT6, Management School

Allen G. Greenwood

Mississippi State University

Abstract: Decision support systems (DSSs) are important vehicles for having OR models used in a broad context. DSSs enrich and enlarge the decision space, standardize approaches to a situation, and enable sophisticated models to be applied without the users having to fully understand and directly interact with the models. Of course, even though DSSs shield users from direct model interactions, the users must have enough understanding of the underlying models to employ them with confidence. DSSs serve users by effectively integrating models, data, and interfaces in a particular domain. However, frequently DSSs involve the use of multiple, and often disparate, models that must work together. Therefore, in these cases DSSs have to supply another key service –providing the mechanisms that permit models to collaborate.

This seminar will explore a variety of types of model collaborations that are based on projects conducted by Mississippi State University’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems. Clients for the projects included General Electric Aviation, Naval Sea Systems Command, Nissan North America, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, and the Office of Naval Research. All of the projects resulted in systems with a discrete-event simulation model at its core, but that model had to collaborate with at least one other model, involving discrete-event, continuous simulation, or optimization. The DSSs will be discussed in terms of the extent of model collaboration, level of decision support, and size and complexity of the underlying discrete-event model. Two models will be explored in more detail, one involving the collaboration of discrete-event simulation and heuristic optimization in manufacturing, the other involving the worldwide logistics support of the U.S. Navy’s combat forces using mixed discrete-continuous simulation.

Biography: Allen Greenwood is Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU). He teaches courses and conducts research in simulation, project management, and enterprise systems engineering. Allen’s primary interest is applied OR, especially in the use of simulation modeling, analysis, and optimization – oftentimes implemented through decision-support systems – to improve the design and management of production and project systems. His work has been applied in such domains as engineering design and development (military aircraft and aerospace), manufacturing and production systems (automotive, electrical systems, healthcare, military aircraft, shipbuilding, and textile fibers), and project management. He received his B.S.I.E, M.S.I.E, and Ph.D. (Management Science) degrees from North Carolina State University, University of Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, respectively. Prior to joining MSU, he held positions at American Enka Company, General Dynamics Corporation, Virginia Tech, Northeastern University, and the American University of Armenia. He is currently on sabbatical, doing research and working on a book, at Lancaster University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Warwick.

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