Research Focus Areas

Research Focus Areas

The Industrial and Systems Engineering program at Iowa offers five principal academic focus areas: design and manufacturing, human factors and ergonomics, production systems, reliability systems, and wind power management. Graduate students participate in research in their academic concentration areas alongside world-class faculty.


Design and Manufacturing
—Ongoing design and manufacturing research consists of flexible manufacturing systems, optimum control of processes, and reliability assessment. Design and manufacturing courses delve into selecting appropriate manufacturing methods, planning processing operations, devising control strategies, and designing products and manufacturing systems. Contemporary topics include computer-aided process planning, computer-aided design, computer-controlled manufacturing, concurrent engineering, and applications of artificial intelligence in manufacturing.

Human Factors and Ergonomics
—The Human Factors area specializes in exploring how systems fit the people who must operate them, determining the roles of people with the systems, and selecting those people who can best fit particular roles within these systems. Students who focus on Human Factors will be able to work with a multidisciplinary team of faculty with strengths in understanding cognitive behavior as it relates to automation, air and ground transportation, medical studies, and space exploration.

Production Systems
—The Production Systems area develops new solutions in areas such as engineering design, supply chain management (e.g. supply chain system design, error recovery, large scale systems), manufacturing (e.g. system design, planning and scheduling), and medicine (e.g. disease diagnosis, discovery of medical knowledge). Students who focus on production systems will be able to work on topics related to computational intelligence theories for applications in industry, healthcare, and service organizations. Biomanufacturing is our most recent research addition in this area.

Reliability Systems
—The objective of the Reliability Systems area is to provide students with advanced data analysis and decision making techniques that will improve quality and reliability of complex systems. Students who focus on system reliability and uncertainty will be able to work on areas related to contemporary reliability systems including integration of quality and reliability, simultaneous life cycle design for manufacturing systems, decision theory in quality and reliability engineering, condition-based maintenance and degradation modeling, discrete event simulation and decision analysis.