Director of E-Enterprise Center, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University
Professor Pekny and his students work at the interface between engineering, computer science, mathematics, management science, and information technology to develop improved methods for the scheduling, planning, design, and optimization of manufacturing, business, and research pipeline processes. Many of the opportunities and challenges addressed by the research effort are emerging from the breathtaking changes in the information infrastructure of the process industries and the increasingly competitive nature of the global economy. Inexpensive means of producing, transporting, storing, and processing large quantities of data is placing a premium on the development of more sophisticated methods for generating knowledge. In fact a significant aspect of generating knowledge is an ability to use data to make discrete process management decisions that arise in virtually all applications. Thus a major thrust of Professor Pekny's research group is the study of model combinatorial optimization problems and the development of software research platforms for process combinatorics problems. Another closely related research area arising naturally out of applications is understanding the implications of uncertain data and the formulation of appropriate risk management strategies to mitigate uncertainty. This research area involves investigating mixed integer linear programming sensitivity analysis, the coupling of simulation and optimization methods, and developing methods that quantitatively and qualitatively incorporate risk preferences.