Featured Student: Clement Smartt, Ph.D. Industrial Engineering Student with a Focus on Systems Engineering

UTA’s Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) focuses on innovative and strategic systems engineering research. This blog entry focuses on one of the students affiliated with UTA’s SERC and his research related to real-world needs.

Clement Smartt is a Ph.D. candidate with a focus on Systems Engineering. Clement received the 2012 INCOSE Foundation Stevens Doctoral Award. This award recognizes innovative doctoral-level research related to the field of systems engineering.  His research addresses the important, but relatively unexplored topic: the use of systems engineering on proposals.  Organizations whose primary business is executing contracts must be able to capture contracts to survive.  When the contracts involve engineering complex systems, systems engineering often plays a significant role in the proposal process, sometimes leading the technical effort.  This research seeks to find an optimal use of systems engineering in proposal management to maximize the probability that a supplier organization will be awarded contracts.

Smartt suggests that a number of systems engineering related factors that can potentially be used to predict contract awards and pertain to the organization, the skill levels of employees, the competitive environment, the proposal project, the contract, and the relationship with the customer.  A survey was conducted to gather information related to these factors as well as contract award status for recent proposal efforts.  Smartt’s analysis of the survey results indicates that suppliers seeking to be awarded new contracts should: (1) keep their existing customers very satisfied with the contract work already captured, (2) invest adequate resources in systems engineering labor to understand the requirements and define a solution in support of the proposal, and (3) maintain an adequate number of face-to-face contacts with the customer during the proposal process.

A modeling framework was developed and validated to help decision makers determine an optimal use of systems engineering on their proposals.  The framework allows users to maximize the probability of a contract award given constraints such as budget and employee availability by strategically allocating resources to key systems engineering activities and employee with various skill levels. Organizations that engineer complex systems can use the findings of the survey analysis and the modeling framework to improve the chances of survival for their organizations.

Clement Smartt will be defending his dissertation on Friday, November 1, 2013 in Woolf Hall Room 200. If you are interested in learning more about systems engineering or about our M.S. Systems Engineering or Ph.D Industrial Engineering with Systems Engineering focus, please feel free to contact the IMSE Department at UT Arlington at 817-272-3092 and ask to speak to an advisor or email us with your questions at IMSEinfo@.uta.edu.

Written by Dr. Susan Ferreira, Director of Systems Engineering Research Center
IMSE Faculty


Clement Smartt
Ph.D. Student

Dr. Corley’s Recent Activities

As this entry goes online, I will be in Minneapolis at the annual INFORMS conference presenting a paper entitled “A Cooperative Dual for the Nash Equilibrium.” The gist of this research is that people can often fare better in competitive situations if they cooperate. However, the more profound implication of the work is that complete cooperation is guaranteed to be possible only between two competitors, not three or more. In other words, there is a mathematical limit to complete cooperation. Apparently, three’s a crowd, like we all knew already. In addition, I will be attending the conference “Learning and the Brain” at Harvard in  November. At the INFORMS conference, I will also be working on a Systems Engineering research proposal with Dr. Ferreira.

Dr. Rosenberger, a recent IMSE Ph.D. graduate and I submitted in August a paper entitled “Constraint Optimal Selection Techniques (COSTs) for Nonnegative Linear Programming Problems”  to Optimization Methods and Software about an approach to solve huge, currently unsolvable linear programming problems quickly, as demanded by today’s high-speed, high-tech, ever-accelerating world. Linear programming, as you may remember, is the most widely used computational model in the business and scientific worlds. The method was also the basis of a recently issued patent entitled “System, Method and Apparatus for Allocating Resources by Constraint Selection.”

Finally, I will be headed abroad over the winter break and stop thinking about all this heady stuff. Enjoy your semester.

Written by Dr. Bill Corley
IMSE Faculty

Guest Post: Diana Martinez, IMSE Doctoral Student

I am originally from Mexico; I earned my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at the Instituto Tecnologico de Saltillo and worked in a plastic injection company as a Manufacturing and Project Engineer for over two years. My initial desire was to come to the United States to improve the language; however, in 2007 I was awarded a 60-month scholarship from the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology to study at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).

I finished my M.S. in Industrial Engineering in Summer 2008 and pursued a PhD program in Fall 2008, joining the COSMOS (Center on Stochastic Modeling, Optimization, & Statistics) family. My research focused on the study of an advanced statistical method called Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) and the development of variants and sequential algorithms that provide more flexibility to the modeling process and facilitate the optimization routines. The case studies included an inventory forecasting problem, an air pollution problem and an automotive crash safety design problem.

During my graduate studies I was selected as a Graduate Research Assistant at TMAC, where I had the opportunity of being involved in different consulting projects for small and medium companies located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Being part of the diverse community of UTA has been absolutely one of the most important experiences in my life not only because of the professional achievements I have earned but also because of the amazing people I have been fortunate to meet.

Written by Diana Martinez, IMSE Doctoral Student
Email: diana.martinezcepeda@mavs.uta.edu