International symposium held in honor of Ravindran
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Twenty-eight former doctoral students of A. Ravi Ravidran, a professor in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State, came together to host an international symposium in his honor March 12-13 at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India.
The symposium was co-hosted by the Operations Research Society of India Bangalore chapter, the Department of Management Studies, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Materials Management (IIM) Bangalore chapter.
The event served as a platform for those in academia and industry to discuss challenges and opportunities in operations research and supply chain-related topics such as analytics, healthcare delivery systems and supply chain management while celebrating the dedication, research and service of Ravindran.
“Over the last many years Ravi has been a supervisor, colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend to me,” said Vittal Prabhu, a colleague of Ravindran’s in the Marcus department who also served as a speaker at the symposium. “It was a great privilege for me to participate in this event to honor him and to celebrate his many achievements and contributions to industry and academia.”
A number of Ravidran’s colleagues and former students served as speakers at the event including: Ufuk Bilsel, management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group; Abhijit Deshmukh, head of the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University; U. Dineshkumar, professor at IIM; Surendra Mohan Gupta, professor at Northeastern University; Pankaj Kulshreshtha, business leader of analytics and research at Genpact; Ramakrishnan Ramanathan, professor at the University of Bedforshire; S. Sadagopan, founder and director of IIITB; and Devanath Tirupathi, professor and dean at IIM.
Gupta was a graduate student at Purdue University when he first met Ravindran in 1970. An assistant professor at the time, Ravindran was teaching operations research courses and made an immediate impression on Gupta through the passion he exuded on the subject.
“During my stay at Purdue, I took every course that Dr. Ravindran offered and I wrote my master’s thesis under his guidance,” said Gupta. “I had the opportunity to co-author my first journal paper with him and through our work together, he taught me how to be a better mentor to my own students.”
“I have always aspired to be a better teacher because of the high standards Dr. Ravindran set for me to achieve,” he added. “The books he has authored have taught operations research to generations of students and his contributions to research and education will leave a legacy for years to come.”
A research paper competition that was open to both industry members and graduate students in industrial engineering/operations research was held in conjunction with the symposium. Topics of the papers included multi-criteria decision-making, supply chain engineering and project management, health care delivery systems and best practices in teaching decision sciences.
Suchithra Rajendran and Sharan Srinivas, both doctoral students in industrial engineering at Penn State, claimed two of the three paper awards from the competition. Rajendran earned the best paper award for her submission titled “Inventory Management at Hospitals to Minimize Platelet Wastage.” Srinivas earned a highly commendable paper award for his paper titled “Design and Analysis of Hybrid Appointment System for Patient Scheduling.”
Ravindran was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from his former and current students and was honored that so many of them traveled to India in his honor.
“Among the many awards and honors I have received in my academic career, I rank this experience at the very top,” he said. “Very few faculty receive such a recognition and I am truly blessed that I had the opportunity to advise these students and play a small part in their professional careers.”
Ravindran is a Fulbright Fellow and a fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). He has published six books and more than 100 articles on operations research and supply chain engineering. Ravindran was the recipient of the IIE Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award in 2001 and the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013.
He is celebrating his 70th birthday this year and plans to go into semi-retirement.
Pamela Krewson Wertz