UTEP’s College of Engineering will establish a concentration in Systems Modeling and Simulation under the Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering (IMSE) Department, thanks to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The new degree path will allow graduate engineering students to enhance their knowledge in data analytics, computer simulation, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and machine learning for dynamic production and operations systems. These are systems that tend to be complex in nature due to rapid changes in customer needs, operational parameters, technology involvement and interactive cyber-physical systems.
“With this new concentration, UTEP will train students to be more innovative, technologically sound, and able to cope with a rapidly evolving environment of industries,” said Bill Tseng, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering (IMSE) and director of the Research Institute for Manufacturing and Engineering Systems. “This will allow our graduates to thrive in today’s industrial landscape, where the very nature of work is changing due to technological advances, and constantly shifting supply chains and customer needs.”
As part of this grant, the IMSE Department will establish a new laboratory for Systems Innovation with Modeling and Simulation (SIMS) to stimulate student interest in hands-on skills such as big data analysis, development of simulation models, 3D-model design and AR/VR applications development. Safety, cost and scale prevent most students from being able to develop expertise in these areas prior to entering the workforce, Tseng said.
Investigators also hope to spur student-driven innovation in modeling and simulation through original research projects.
The grant will also support significant revisions to the existing IMSE curricula. Two existing courses – Industrial Data Analytics and Computer Simulation – will be restructured to align with this project’s goals. In addition, two new courses – Machine Learning for Systems Emulation and AR/VR-Based Simulation – will be developed.
Tseng is the grant’s principal investigator. Michael Pokojovy, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematical sciences and computational science; Arturo Olivarez, Ph.D., professor of UTEP’s Educational Leadership Department; and Md Fashiar Rahman, Ph.D., assistant professor of research in the IMSE Department are the project’s co-PIs.
“Industries are always facing new kinds of challenges and problems, such as constantly changing customer demand and preferences,” Rahman said. “These challenges cannot be fully addressed using traditional knowledge. Students who graduate from this concentration will gain the necessary expertise to make substantial contributions to the search for solutions.”
The program will have its first cohort of students by the Spring 2024 semester.