Former students organize symposium to honor Ravindran

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A. Ravi Ravindran, professor of industrial engineering, will turn 70 this year, and some of his former students are planning to celebrate his milestone birthday with a special event this spring.

The group is working with the Operational Research Society of India, Bangalore chapter; the Indian Institute of Science's (IISc) Department of Management Studies; and the Indian Institute of Materials Management, Bangalore chapter; to organize an international symposium in Ravindran's honor March 12 and 13 at the IISc.

Former student Parasuram Balasubramanian, founder and CEO of Theme Work Analytics in Bangalore, has known Ravindran since 1972. He explained, "Ravi came on sabbatical to teach classes in operations research at IIT Madras, where I was a graduate student working on my master's in industrial management. Ravi showed what excellence in teaching meant, and he created a love for the subject and intense desire in many of us to pursue higher studies in this topic."

Balasubramanian added that he and Ravindran have kept in touch over the decades. "He played a very supportive role in getting me admitted to the doctorate program at Purdue in fall 1973. He has also delivered guest lectures at firms I have worked in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore."

The aim of the symposium is to create a platform and facilitate knowledge sharing on the applications of operations research (OR) in multiple criteria decision-making, financial engineering, health care delivery systems and supply chain management problems.

Balasubramanian noted, "Of course, the main vehicle to accomplish the above goals is to showcase professor Ravindran. Many of the invited speakers have been his students or colleagues with a similar passion to do their best."

Ravindran has been teaching courses in OR for 40 years and has published more than 100 journal articles on the topic.

Before coming to Penn State in 1997, he was a faculty member in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University and at the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the director of the School of Industrial Engineering for eight years and as the associate provost of the university for seven years.

Ravindran said, as a professor, his greatest satisfaction comes from finding out his students have successful careers and have become leaders in their chosen professions. "When I heard that my former students decided to honor me with an international symposium, I was truly humbled and gratified. Very few professors receive this kind of recognition. I am indeed blessed to have had such wonderful students in my academic life."

Academics and practitioners who would like to participate in the symposium are invited to submit an abstract by Jan. 31 at http://ravisymposium.org.

Last Updated January 22, 2015