Industrial engineering

Toyota's fractured structure may be at root of safety problems

2/23/2010 Los Angeles Times - The fact that Toyota's quality and safety problems have affected almost every model in its line suggests that the automaker has a systemic management problem, said Robert Bea, a UC Berkeley professor who has accumulated about 800 case studies of corporate and government-agency meltdowns. Bea said the cultural and organizational problems affecting Toyota are similar to those that allowed NASA and the Army Corps of Engineers to ignore structural issues leading to the Columbia space shuttle and Hurricane Katrina disasters.

Professor Alper Atamturk named DoD National Security Fellow

1/25/2010 Department of Defense - Alper Atamturk, professor of industrial engineering and operations research at UC Berkeley, was named by the the U.S. Department of Defense as one of 11 distinguished university faculty scientists and engineers forming the 2010 class of its National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship program. NSSEFF provides grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct unclassified, basic research that may transform DoD's capabilities in the long term.

Engineering the Magic

12/15/2009 - At the most magical place on earth, industrial engineer Brian Loo (B.S.'09 IEOR) has worked in restaurants, analyzing food and beverage service, and in entertainment, doing workforce planning and forecasting. He has even worked on the railroad, optimizing process design and crowd flow. Last August, Loo joined the Workforce Planning team at Disneyland. Following a childhood of family vacations to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and internships there and at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Loo is now a bona fide "Cast Member," the term used for all Disney employees, each an integral part of the show.

Engineering Better Disaster Relief

5/2/2009 - Scheduling problems, which involve searching for an optimal or near-optimal schedule for a set of tasks, are notoriously complex because simple searches are overwhelmed by their explosively vast number of possibilities. But with large-scale manufacturing and distribution operations, fractional improvements in scheduling can have large-scale impacts on the bottom line, which is why industrial engineers are routinely called upon to create customized sophisticated strategies for specific scheduling problems. Now, Professor Rhonda Righter has applied industrial engineering–style analysis to a different type of scheduling problem: after a mass casualty event, such as a natural disaster, a wreck or an attack, how should a medical emergency response team allocate its attention to patients, in order to save the most lives?

Focus on Innovation

10/2/2008 - With Wall Street in a tailspin these last few weeks, it is a pleasure to have positive financial news to report for Berkeley Engineering. Alumnus Coleman Fung (B.S.’87 IEOR) has pledged a $15 million gift that will enable the college’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) to broaden its scope and enhance its programs. Among comparable departments in the country, UC Berkeley’s is the smallest. Coleman Fung’s gift will provide the resources to pursue new strategic directions.

Re-engineering Bioproduction

1/2/2008 - As the biotech industry has grown, Professors Lee Schruben, Rob Leachman and Phil Kaminsky of Berkeley’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) have watched the young field bring lifesaving new drugs to market. They have also seen that their potential benefit to society isn’t always realized when these drugs are priced out of reach or when stocks run short. Recognizing that some good IEOR principles could address these problems, they organized the first NSF symposium on Biomanufacturing and Logistics Systems in 2006.