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The Grand Challenges and Industrial Engineering

Paul H. Cohen, Edgar S. Woolard Distinguished Professor and Head, Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, North Carolina State University

The National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges have spurred enormous discussion as a well as action by the engineering community. This talk looks at where grand challenges come from for different fields and some of the results. The talk examines the NAE Grand Challenges in sustainability, better health, learning and discovery, and safety. Industrial and systems engineering contributes to these efforts and must provide leadership in the coming decades. This talk illustrates ways in which industrial and systems engineering research is already engaged.


Paul H. Cohen received his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Rhode Island and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University. Prior to his current position, he was Distinguished Professor at Pennsylvania State University’s Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. He also served as director of research for two advanced manufacturing centers at Penn State University. His primary research is in the area of advanced manufacturing processes including modeling, new tool material development, surface and subsurface integrity, tribology, computer aids for process design and new process development More recently he has explored multi-scale manufacturing process development and applications to biomedical devices. He has over 150 publications and has given research presentations in North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Asia. His work has been funded by government agencies as well as over 125 companies. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers.