Welcome from the Department Head

Emily Liu

Emily Liu, Professor and Department Head

Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), previously named Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems (DSES), became a department at Rensselaer in 1987 (the precursor program, Management Engineering, started much earlier in 1933).  The world has changed a great deal since then. Breathtaking technological advances are accompanied by new natural and human-made challenges—extreme weather, energy sustainability, skyrocketing healthcare cost, income inequality, disinformation, terrorism, and a slew of others. In this increasingly complex and cacophonous world, ISE’s grounding in evidence-based, data-driven reasoning and decision making is more relevant and critical than ever before.

Industrial and systems engineers today address highly interconnected societal systems consisting of engineered and human components, with distributed decision making based on huge amounts of disparate data. ISE faculty are at the forefront of the field—conducting innovative and impactful research, and at the same time bringing their insight and discovery into the classroom. To note just a few examples:

Prof. Jennifer Pazour received the NSF CAREER Award, Johnson and Johnson Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing, and Design (STEM2D) Award, and was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.

Dr. Diana Diana Ramirez-Rios and Prof. Al Wallace receive support from Natural Hazards Center in “Exploring how transportation access to healthcare impacts social vulnerability in Puerto Rico.”

Prof. Al Wallace and Prof. Martha Grabowski work with Clemson University, University of Alaska, NC State, and University of Minnesota in National Science Foundation grants: “Emergency Response in the Arctic (ERA): Investments for Global Capabilities and Local Benefits” and “Modeling Operations of Human Trafficking Networks for Effective Interdiction.”

Emeritus Prof. Cheng Hsu’s patent on natural language interface has ushered in the advent of voice-based search such as Siri. The settlement with Apple has enabled the establishment of an ISE department endowment fund.

We are expecting to welcome at least two junior and/or senior faculty to join us in Fall 2022. They will bring great experiences and vision in AI/ML. Stay tuned!

ISE graduate students have been garnering multiple awards, from the Department of Defense Fellowship to scholarships in professional societies to best paper awards at conferences.

We will also continue close engagement with the ISE Advisory Council, many of whom are our alumni, for internship/co-op opportunities, capstone design project sponsorship, research collaboration, and curriculum input.

To broaden our outreach, we have updated our website and have an ISE YouTube channel. Please check them out and let us know what you think!

"Thanks for your interest in our department and visiting ISE's web site. This is a great time for the field of Industrial and Systems Engineering!

I am honored to serve as the ISE department head and to have the opportunity to work with wonderful students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Let’s collectively harness the idealism and actively strive for a better department, university, and society.


Emily L.



ISE Overview