Research and Labs

2017 Southwest HFES Symposium
The Industrial Engineering and Systems Department supports a wide range of research projects in HSE (Human Factors, Safety and Ergonomics), Data Mining, Port Management, Operations Research, Supply Chain Management and process improvement. The department receives research funding from government, industry and internal sources. Doctoral, masters and undergraduate students participate in research.

Department faculty members and students work with the following labs and centers:

Undergraduate engineering students have senior design projects that are sponsored by companies. Companies can participate in senior design free of charge. Please contact Dr. Victor Zaloom (409-880-8804) for more information about senior design and other research capabilities.

The following are examples of current research projects:

Mariner Safety Research Initiative

The Mariner Safety Research Initiative (MSRI) is a product of the collaborative effort between American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Lamar University, and International Industry Partners. The MSRI includes a large international database of more than 100,000 maritime injury and close call (near miss) reports from over 31 data sources. Dr. Craig (PI), Dr. Curry (CO-PI), and Dr. Zhu (CO-PI) have worked on this project since 2010.

The incident databases have enabled us to create the MSRI, a public forum to share safety related materials and resources with not only industry partners, but the maritime industry as a whole. The incident data has been analyzed to identify trends, possible causes and lessons learned and develop safety related guidance materials including benchmarking statistics and relevant training tools. The overall goal of the MSRI is to improve mariner safety through sharing these data findings and providing safety related documents in a useable context.

The MSRI is broken up into two parts: the Public Site and the Industry Partner Site. The public site includes a general “sampling” of the documents and information that is available to the MSRI Industry Partners. For more information about this project, please see

Offshore Safety Culture

Dr. Craig and Dr. Curry are the Lamar participants on a multi-year grant project for The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine titled "Developing an Integrated Offshore Energy Industry Safety Culture Evaluation, Benchmarking, and Improvement Toolbox" with ABS and the University of Houston. Read More.

Research Experiences for Teachers

This Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site, entitled, Incorporating Engineering Design and Manufacturing into High School Curriculum, at Lamar University (LU) Beaumont, will provide opportunities for STEM high school teachers from underserved school districts in Southeast Texas to engage in cutting-edge advanced engineering design and manufacturing research and develop curriculum modules based on their research. Advanced design and manufacturing is an industry with growing opportunities for creating the next generation workforce.

For more information, please see:

Analysis of Ship Wake Wash on the Sabine Neches Water Way

Sponsor: Sabine Neches Navigating District

Research Team:
Dr. Victor Zaloom, Principal Investigator, Professor of Industrial Engineering
Drs. Qin Qian, Xing Wu, Mien Jao, Co-Principal Investigators, Dept. of Civil Engineering
Mr. Ben Kolkmeier, MESCE Student, Lamar College of Engineering
Dr. Keh-Han Wang, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Houston

Funding: $99,742

Project Summary:
The force and velocity of waves especially those produced by passing ships was measured at two strategic locations in the Sabine Neches Water Way. We measured flow velocity and wave characteristics including wave height, speed and orientation. Data analysis included wave height and wave energy especially those produced by passing ships. We obtained ship data from the USCG and correlated ship size, speed, and other parameters to wave impacts on the river bank and subsequent erosion. Erosion is a problem for two reasons. It causes loss of land but more important to our sponsor the Sabine Neches Navigation District the much of the material that results from river bank erosion ends up in the deep draft ship navigation channel thus reducing the depth of the channel. This material must then be dredges out of the Navigation channel and deposited elsewhere. It is usually deposited in placement areas. This is an expensive process. Phase II will be devoted to evaluating and recommending wave attenuation remedies that will result in less erosion and subsequent need to dredge the material from the navigation channel.

Design and evaluation of engineering systems to reduce erosion caused by ship generated and other waves will be accomplished in Phase II of this project.

Rail Yard Management

Dr. Hamidi and Dr. Craig are working on a project to develop a unique rail yard software tool for an industry sponsored project. Read more.

Optimization of Vessel Scheduling Problem and Evacuation Decision Making Using Real-Time Location Data, and Their Economic Impacts: A Case Study for the Port of Houston

Dr. Berna Eren Tokgoz's project examines the highly chaotic environment during an evacuation. There may not be any pilots assigned to the ships and the risk of collisions or other accidents may get higher in these situations. The substances that are transported in a ship have various hazardous impacts during an evacuation process from the port.

Resilience Enhancements of Power Distribution

PIs: Berna Eren Tokgoz, Seokyon Hwang, Jing Zang
Students: Md. Morshedul Alam (Master of Science in Industrial Engineering), Zanbo Zhu (Master of Science in Computer Science

The electric power distribution network is one of the infrastructures that experience frequent and large-scale damages caused by storms. In particularly, the wooden poles carrying power from local substations to customers are found to be extremely vulnerable to storms. There are several reasons for pole failure such as pole inclination angle, decay over the time, falling trees or branches, etc. Among them, the pole inclination angle is assumed to have significant impacts and not much addressed in existing literature. However, pole failure inevitably leads to power outages for hours, days, or even weeks, depending on the intensity of storms and the severity of damages. A methodology was developed by utilizing the deep learning-based vision technologies integrated with a drone system to determine the pole inclination angle. Then, the angular deflection of a pole was determined by applying wind and gravitational forces. Resilience conditions of a pole are determined based on the angular deflection. A cost-benefit analysis was performed to compare losses and savings for different pole conditions. Different strategies were examined based on an angular deflection during the service life of a pole.

Research Project on Utility

Houston Ship Channel Closure Scheduling for a Bridge Construction

A methodology will be presented for a temporary closure scheduling of the Houston Ship Channel in order to construct a new bridge over the channel. A poor closure scheduling can cause a substantial loss in revenue for both port authorities and vessels. In this study, we will first analyze historical data for a good estimation of vessels’ traffic and shipping inside the channel, next we will develop a model in ARENA software to simulate the traffic and queue in the ship channel, under different closure scenarios. Constraints will be considered for the working rules of the channel such as daylight restrictions and combined beam rules. Finally, simulation results will be presented for number of the ships affected and also for the total ship time lost as a result of closures, and accordingly, the optimal channel closure schedule will be determined. Besides, policies would be recommended to the port authorities to substitute the current first come, first serve policy.  Please see Dr. Hamidi webpage for more information about her port research effort.

Rahimi, B.*, Abtahi, A., Hamidi, M., Cho, J. & Stromberg, E. “Optimal ship channel closure scheduling for a bridge construction”. In: Proceedings of Institute of Industrial Engineers Annual Conference, May 2017. Accepted.

Deep Learning-based Auditory Anomaly Detection and Classification for Natural Gas Compressors

Dr. Maryam Hamidi on receiving funding to study using deep learning to identify anomalies in compressors.  The industry sponsored project is a collaboration between Computer Science and Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Deep Learning-based Auditory Anomaly Detection and Classification for Natural Gas Compressors, Phase I, (Awarded $40,000, 2021). PI - Zhang, J., Co-PI - Hamidi, M. Funded by Well Checked Systems International, OK and Center for Midstream Management and Science, Lamar University.  See this LU News article for more information.