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Industrial engineering professors net NSF grant

Dr. Yisha XiangYisha Xiang, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Lamar University will receive a $279,025 National Science Foundation grant for collaborative research she will conduct with University of Houston Associate Professor and Sunita Agrawai Faculty Fellow Qianmei Feng.

The pair’s research proposal “Maintenance Planning for Complex Systems in Dynamic Environments” will explore equipment failures in capital-intensive industries, such as oil and gas exploration, aerospace, and power generation, that may threaten human lives and have significant environmental and economic impact. Many of these equipment failures can be traced to poor equipment maintenance, Xiang said. 

One criticism of existing maintenance planning is that the existing predictive failure models are not rich enough to accurately reflect degradation in dynamic environments, she said. “Our project will address the need for better planning models and analysis to enhance equipment reliability in capital-intensive industries,” Xiang wrote in the proposal.

“Maintenance planning in complex systems plays an extremely critical role in the efficient and safe operations of high cost, environmentally sensitive systems,” said Brian Craig, professor and chair of LU’s Department of Industrial Engineering. “Dr. Xiang and her colleagues are at the forefront of this research as demonstrated by their most recent NSF award to study the reliability and maintenance of such systems.”

Xiang and Feng anticipate that the work will lead to fundamentally new perspectives on the application of reliability and maintenance optimization for complex engineered systems. The project will begin this fall and continue through Summer 2021.

Xiang holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas, and a B.S. in industrial engineering from Nanjing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics, China.

Her research and teaching interests involves reliability modeling and optimization, maintenance optimization, and risk analysis. She has published articles in refereed journals, including IIE Transactions, European Journal of Operational Research, and Computers and Industrial Engineering. She received the prestigious Ralph A. Evans/P.K. McElroyy Award for the best paper at the 2013 Reliability and Maintainability Symposium, and Stan Oftshun Best Paper Award from Society of Reliability Engineers in 2013 and 2017.