spacerIndustrial & Systems Engineering
Link to College of Engineering homepage Link to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Link to University of Wisconsin-Madison homepage Link to Industrial and Systems Engineering Department homepage
Front cover of ISyE newsletter
PDF of the ISyE Spring-Summer 2009 newsletter PDF of the ISyE Fall-Winter 2009-2010 newsletter
ISyE NEWS : The Industrial & Systems Engineering Department Newsletter

FALL / WINTER 2010-11

Featured articles

New simulator puts
UW-Madison on the map for driving research

Google executive addresses Wisconsin industry at E-business conference

Chancellor Martin visits ISyE department

Major grant aims at breaking the habit of implicit bias

Leading the effort to change personal health records

2010-11 ISyE Scholarhips

Students revive Human Factors & Ergonomics Society chapter

Alumnus receives National Institutes of Health award of merit

with Thomas Yen

Regular Features

Message from the Chair

Department News

Focus on New Faculty:
Jingshan Li



spacer Homepage for ISyE newsletter Button to obtain BACK ISSUES Button to CONTACT US Button to JOIN OUR MAILING LIST Button that connects to UW Foundation page for online giving  
John Lee

UP CLOSE: With Thomas Yen

Decorative initial cap Thomas Yen is manager of the ISyE Flexible Manufacturing Cell (FMC) Teaching Lab, where he introduces students to computer-integrated manufacturing, assists faculty with curriculum development, trains teaching assistants, and teaches lab classes. He is an assistant manager of the UW-Madison RFID Lab and operations manager of the Ergonomics Analysis & Design Consortium. Yen also is an instructor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the manager of the Bio-instrumentation Teaching Lab (BTL). “I encourage faculty and students to use me as more than a lab manager as someone who can assist them with all aspects of their teaching and research needs,” Yen says.

What brought you to UW-Madison?

My affiliation with ISyE began in graduate school where I received my PhD in human factor and ergonomics. I worked in ISyE for several years as a scientist and instrumentation innovator before moving to BME, where I continued to conduct research in human factors. About two years ago, I become more involved in teaching and the management of the BTL. During this time, ISyE was looking for someone to manage the FMC lab. I accepted this as an opportunity to return to my interest in computer-based automation and robotics.

What are some of the things students learn from you?

I’m one of the instructors for the BME design course, where we teach students the engineering design process. The success of a design is not simply that it does what it was designed to do, but also that the operator can use it with the least amount of errors and difficulty. My area of focus is in the design and evaluation of the user interface that can produce the most efficient operation with the least amount error.

What are some of the most common instrumentation design challenges students face?

The most common challenge I see is teaching students not to over design. With so many design software and tools available, it is very easy for students to explore and produce very elaborate designs. The students often forget economic and manufacturing constraints. I make it an important part of their education to remind them that a simple design is sometimes the most elegant approach.

How do your various roles in the College of Engineering complement each other?

The same approach and process can be used to find a solution, but the application of the solution must be tailored for the target group. There is definitely a complementary synergy in my work with the consortium and teaching labs. What I learn and experience with one group can benefit and improve the outcome for the other group. Nothing is wasted. This is why I love my job.


For help with this webpage:

Copyright 2011 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Date last modified: Monday, 14-February-2011
Date created: 14-February-2011



PDF version of ISyE NEWS newsletter