Industrial engineering faculty leverages industry experience

Miranda Buckheit
August 25, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Srinivas Subramanya Tamvada, a 2001 Penn State computer science alumnus, joined the College of Engineering’s Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering as an assistant teaching professor on Aug. 15. 

Tamvada contributes to the service systems engineering program (SSE) alongside Vittal Prabhu, professor and Charles and Enid Schneider Faculty Chair in Service Enterprise Engineering, and Lisa Petrine, SSE program manager.

Tamvada’s research focuses on bigdata-driven optimization with applications in the transportation industry. He aims to create innovative ways of solving optimization problems, while simultaneously developing computational techniques that are generally applicable for a variety of industries. 

“SSE is a very interesting initiative,” Tamvada said. “Our group is looking for effective ways of delivering services, both conventional ones and newer online services, like cloud computing.  In fact, in the internet era we may have to redefine what a service means exactly, and how it is delivered and managed.”

Tamvada he said he believes the service systems engineering program has the ability to adapt well-known concepts from operations research, marketing and other disciplines to generate effective delivery of services and engineering.

“Another exciting aspect is the computational and implementation side of it,” Tamvada said. “What existing tools and technologies will be useful for implementing our ideas? Are some new computational tools and techniques needed?”

Tamvada plans to leverage his industry experience to help better educate students on how to apply the concepts they learn during their undergraduate engineering education in a large, real-world industrial setting.

“Industrial experience is perhaps more important for students of industrial engineering than any other discipline, because the graduate research is driven by the problems that industry managers face in their day-to-day operations,” he said. “Measures of quality are better resource utilization, better use of time and fewer negative side effects of technology, such as pollutants. All these industry improvements contribute to a higher quality of life.”

As a faculty member, he aims to include group project work in every course and deliberately leave the project definitions open-ended. 

“My teaching philosophy is simple and is a result of my extensive experience in both academia and industry,” Tamvada said. “I believe in challenging my students, and then helping them overcome those challenges. I have found that this is the only way to leave them with the confidence that they can tackle any technical problem they are faced with later on in their career.”

Tamvada completed his doctorate in operations management at McMaster University in 2020. Prior to that, he worked at Cognizant Technologies in various roles, including as a senior associate, assistant project manager and technical architect. Tamvada received his master of business administration from Texas Tech University in 2005, his master of science in computer science from Penn State in 2001 and his bachelor of technology in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1995.

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Last Updated August 25, 2021