Dr. Sigurūur ”lafsson
I am an associate professor at the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering of Iowa State University, where I have been since the fall of 1998. Before joining ISU I received a BS in mathematics from the University of Iceland in 1994, an MS in operations research from the Industrial Engineering Department of the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1996, and a Ph.D. from the same department in 1998.
Below you will find information about my research and teaching, sample of representative publications, and examples of professional service activities. If you have any questions about my work please feel free to contact me. My office is in 3018 Black Engineering, my email address is olafsson (at) iastate.edu, or you can reach me by phone at 515-294-8908.
I supervise an active research program with a group of dedicated and hardworking graduate students interested in data mining, operations research, and the interaction between the two areas. On the data mining side, we have been looking at the use of optimization techniques to solve knowledge discovery problems, scalable data mining through attribute and instance selection, and data mining for production and logistics scheduling.
Much of our work in operations research has focused on basic methodology for discrete optimization of large-scale complex systems, including the optimization of systems where the performance is estimated using simulation. Although our focus is basic methodology and algorithm development, algorithms developed by our group have been successfully used in numerous industry applications.
My teaching includes both undergraduate and graduate courses in operations research and data mining.
I regularly teach one required undergraduate course, IE 312 Optimization, which is offered every fall semester. Much more information about this course, including course topics and PowerPoint slides used for lectures, can be found by following the link to the course homepage.
My regular schedule includes four graduate courses, each of which is offered every other year. In odd numbered years, I teach IE 519 Simulation in the spring and IE 514 Production Scheduling in the fall. In even numbered years, I teach IE 632 Integer Programming in the spring and IE 583 Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in the fall.
In most years, my 500-level courses, which are primarily aimed at 1st and 2nd year graduate students, are also available through Engineering Distance Education.
A book on the nested partitions method, a new approach for solving complex large-scale discrete optimization problems will be published this year.
L. Shi and S. Olafsson. Nested Partitions Optimization: Methodology and Applications, International Series in Operations Research & Management Science, Vol. 109, Springer, 2007.
Other publications include journal articles, conference proceedings, and book chapter, and those can be divided into four groups: data mining, simulation optimization, methodology and applications in discrete optimization, and engineering education. Listed below are five representative publications from each of these groups.
S. ”lafsson, X. Li and S. Wu (2007). “Operations Research and Data Mining,” European Journal on Operational Research, in print.
J. Yang and S. ”lafsson (2006). “Optimization-Based Feature Selection with Adaptive Instance Sampling,” Computers and Operations Research, 33(11), 3088-3106.
J-Y Lee and S. ”lafsson (2006). “Multiattribute Decision Trees and Decision Rules,” in Triantaphyllou and Felici (eds.) Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery Approaches Based on Rule Induction Techniques, Springer, 327-358.
X. Li and S. ”lafsson (2005). “Discovering Dispatching Rules using Data Mining,” Journal of Scheduling, 8(6), 515-527.
S. ”lafsson and J. Yang (2005). “Intelligent Partitioning for Feature Selection,” INFORMS Journal on Computing, 17(3), 339-355.
S. ”lafsson (2006). “Metaheuristics,” in Nelson and Henderson (eds.). Handbook on Simulation, Handbooks in Operations Research and Management Science VII, Elsevier, 633-654.
S. ”lafsson (2004). “Two-Stage Nested Partitions Method for Stochastic Optimization,” Methodology and Computing in Applied Probability, 6, 5-27.
S. ”lafsson and J. Kim (2002). "Simulation Optimization," in E. YŁcesan, C.-H. Chen, J.L. Snowdon, and J.M. Charnes (eds.), Proceedings of the 2002 Winter Simulation Conference, 79-84.
L. Shi and S. ”lafsson (2000). “Stopping Rules for the Stochastic Nested Partitions Method,” Methodology and Computing in Applied Probability, 2, 37-58.
L. Shi and S. ”lafsson (2000). “Nested Partitions Method for Stochastic Optimization,” Methodology and Computing in Applied Probability, 2, 271-291.
Discrete Optimization and Applications
J. Won and S. ”lafsson (2005). “Joint Order Batching and Order Picking in Warehouse Operations,” International Journal of Production Research, 43, 1427-1442.
L. Shi, S. ”lafsson, and Q. Chen (2001). “An Optimization Framework for Product Design,” Management Science, 47, 1681-1692.
L. Shi and S. ”lafsson (2000). “Nested Partitions Method for Global Optimization,” Operations Research, 48, 390-407.
S. ”lafsson and L. Shi (2000). “A Method for Scheduling in Parallel Manufacturing Systems with Flexible Resources,” IIE Transactions, 32, 135-146.
L. Shi, S. ”lafsson, and N. Sun (1999). “New Parallel Randomized Algorithms for the Traveling Salesman Problem,” Computers & Operations Research, 26, 371-394.
S. Ryan, J. Jackman, S. ”lafsson, V. Dark, “Meta-Problem Spaces and Problem Structure,” in D.H. Jonassen (Ed.). Learning to Solve Complex Scientific Problems, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007.
S. Ryan, J. Jackman, F. Peters, S. ”lafsson, M. Huba. (2004). “The Engineering Learning Portal for Problem Solving: Experience in a Large Engineering Economy Class,” The Engineering Economist, 49, 1-20.
J. Jackman and S. ”lafsson (2004). “Engineering Learning Portal: A Learning Management System for Decision Making,” in the Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).
”lafsson, S, K. Saunders, J. Jackman, F. Peters, S. Ryan, V. Dark, and M. Huba (2004). “Implementation and Assessment of Industrial Engineering Curriculum Reform,” to appear in Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, June 20-23, Salt Lake City, UT.
”lafsson, M. Huba, J. Jackman, F. Peters, and S. Ryan (2003). “Information
Technology Based Active Learning: A Pilot Study for Engineering
Economy,” in Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering
Education Annual Conference, June 22-25,
My professional service activities include journal editing, service to professional societies, and conference and workshop organization. A sample of those activities is listed below.
S. ”lafsson (2006). “Introduction to Operations Research and Data Mining,” Computers and Operations Research, 33(11), 3067-3069.
Guest Editor (with Victoria Chen), Annals of Operations Research volume on “Operations Research and Data Mining,” to be published in 2008.
I am involved with three professional societies, the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). I served as Board Member and ISU Liason to the Central Iowa Chapter of IIE from 2000-2002, and as President of its Computers & Information Systems Division from 2003 – 2005. I have served as Newsletter Editor, Secretary Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the Industrial Engineering Division of ASEE (2003 – 2007). Finally, I have served as newsletter editor of the INFORMS Data Mining Section from its inception in 2003.
I frequently organize tracks and sessions at the INFORMS Annual Conference, the ASEE Annual Conference, and the Industrial Engineering Research Conference. I have also helped organize numerous workshops. A sample of those activities is listed below.
Proceedings Chair, “Workshop on AI/DM,” INFORMS Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, November 2006.
Sponsored Session Chair/Organizer, “Improving Decision Tree Induction,” INFORMS Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, November 2006.
Track Chair, “Industrial Engineering Division,” ASEE Annual Conference, Chicago, June 2006.
Track Chair, "Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery," INFORMS Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2004.
Sponsored Session Chair/Organizer, "Optimization in Data Mining," INFORMS Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2004.
Invited Session Chair/Organizer, "Clustering Applications and Evaluation," INFORMS Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2004.
Program Committee, Conference on Mathematical Methods for Learning, Lake Como, Italy, June 2004.
Session Chair/Organizer, "Data Mining," Industrial Engineering Research Conference, Houston, 2004.