Industrial engineer receives career research award from international society


By Gabrielle Stewart

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce and Allen M. Pearce Professor of Industrial Engineering at Penn State, received the David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). He was honored at the IISE annual conference, held virtually May 22-25.

The award is given once annually to one IISE member in recognition of outstanding research throughout a career of accomplishments that broadly benefited practitioners, organizations or other researchers, according to the IISE website.

Kumara was recognized for his research in smart manufacturing systems, which spans more than three decades. His work is based on artificial intelligence and machine learning in real-time data analytics, sensor-based process monitoring and graph analytics. This research has contributed to improvements in manufacturing as well as specific applications in health care, military logistics, and pharmaceutical sectors, according to Kumara. He has collaborated worldwide on many interdisciplinary grants and funded projects across universities, industries and government. He currently heads a multi-university U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute research initiative on futuristic smart machines.

Kumara was named an IISE fellow in 2006. He has served on IISE’s Body of Knowledge governing board, which oversees the organization’s repository of relevant industrial and systems engineering concepts, as well as on the editorial board of the journal IISE Transactions. He is also a fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

“I’m very happy that my work was recognized,” Kumara said. “But more importantly, I am thankful that I could make some significant contributions, while doing research that I absolutely love. It has been a pleasure to teach and mentor future generations of engineers and researchers, while shaping futuristic research directions.”

Kumara earned his bachelor of engineering in mechanical engineering from Sri Venkateswara University. He received his master of technology in industrial engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his doctorate in industrial engineering from Purdue University. He has advised 61 doctoral students and 75 graduate students during his career.


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Soundar Kumara received the David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award in recognition of a career of research accomplishments. IMAGE: PENN STATE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING