College of Engineering 1996 Annual Report: Progress By Design Industrial Engineering
Assistant Professor Dharmaraj ("Raj") Veeramani's research group is developing theoretical methods and computer-integrated tools, such as QUESTER, that could revolutionize the way people buy and sell products. QUESTER, an Internet-based system, allows purchasers to customize products, receive price quotations and place orders, simply by interacting with a vendor company's homepage on the World Wide Web. (33K JPG) QUESTER screen shot

WINGS project seeks to break Web barriers

World Wide Web users with visual impairments, in addition to those who have slower modems or text-only browsers, are expected to benefit from a study being conducted by the Trace Research and Development Center. As part of a multi-million dollar U.S. Postal Service-sponsored project titled WINGS (Web Interactive Network for Government Services), the center is identifying barriers to Internet access, and exploring possible solutions. In addition to identifying ways to construct more accessible Web pages, the study is looking at other features that could enhance browsing for Web users, says Professor Gregg C. Vanderheiden, the center director. For example, a "description tag" is being proposed to provide a more complete explanation of graphic images. "The results of this research should provide Web page designers with better tools for enhancing the accessibility of their pages," says Vanderheiden.

Study helps firms significantly cut lead time

Fourteen Midwest firms learned valuable lessons on how to reduce lead time by 75-95 percent while improving product quality and reducing costs, thanks to part one of a study conducted by the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing. The primary finding was that while companies were concerned with lead time, few were measuring it, and even fewer were taking into account major lead-time components, says Professor Rajan Suri, the center's director. The study was funded by a three-year grant from the Wisconsin Industrial and Economic Development Research Program and by contributions from the participating companies. Other faculty involved were Franklin J. Rath (engineering professional development), and Assistant Professors Rajit Gadh (mechanical engineering) and Dharmaraj ("Raj") Veeramani (industrial engineering).

Shi coordinating submarines' many systems

Assistant Professor Leyuan Shi, an expert on discrete event systems and communications, is coordinating the staggering variety of systems on a U.S. submarine. Working under contract with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, she is helping designers assess, optimize and control a system that must balance the priorities of specialized functions, such as sonar, navigation, communications and targeting. Because the field of discrete events systems is in its infancy, Shi must develop a fresh methodology for each new application. She isolates the discrete elements and, through computer simulations, gauges their dynamic interactions. "When you have such a complex system, you want to be able to say how sensitive the system response is to different design parameters," Shi says.

Computer system aids breast cancer patients

Approximately 300 women diagnosed with breast cancer are benefiting from a pilot computer support system overseen by UW-Madison's Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis. The "breast cancer computer" is being tested in the Madison and Chicago regions. It offers users a variety of features, including the ability to communicate anonymously with other patients, and to ask questions of experts at the Cancer Information Service. The goal is to bridge the gap between patients and doctors that results from funding cuts and the increasing cost of health care, says Professor David H. Gustafson, who directs the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System, or CHEC.

Copyright 1996 University System Board of Regents

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Date last modified: 25-Sep-1996
Date created: 25-Sep-1996

1996 Annual Report Contents