Research in Industrial and Systems Engineering

The UW-Madison Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering is a national leader in research funding. At the cutting-edge of industrial engineering and systems research, the department offers state of the art facilities for faculty, staff and students to work in. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, respected nationally and internationally for their research.

Research Specializations

Decision Science/Operations Research


Decision Science and Operations Research aims to inform decisions using advanced analytical methods such as optimization, machine learning and queuing theory. It entails developing data science and problem-solving skills that will enable students to recognize and identify problems involving decisions, and then generate, evaluate, choose and implement solutions to these problems.

The theories and tools implemented in this research can be used to identify improvement opportunities in a variety of application areas:

  • Manufacturing
  • Supply Chains
  • Healthcare Systems
  • Protection & Security
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • Public Safety & Emergency Management

Students in this area of research may choose to focus in the following areas of work:

  • Optimization
  • Stochastic Processes and Simulation
  • Decision Science Foundations and Machine Learning


Decision Science/Operations Research in the News




Health Systems


Health Systems applies Industrial and Systems Engineering tools and approaches to a wide variety of health care problems. Since healthcare systems engineering includes many different disciplines. Due to its highly interdisciplinary nature, the Health Systems program welcomes students with a wide range of professional interests.

Students in this area of research may choose to focus in the following areas of work in healthcare:

  • Financial, numerical, statistical and simulation modeling to aid healthcare organizations and healthcare personnel
  • Decision analysis applied to the optimization of clinical guidelines
  • Evaluation and optimization of patient safety
  • Clinical decision making and decision support
  • Evaluation of healthcare management and organization


Health Systems in the News


Human Factors and Ergonomics


The goal of human factors and ergonomics is to reduce human error, increase productivity, and enhance safety with a specific focus on the interaction between a human and the other elements of a system. Human factors engineers contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people.

Students in this area of research may choose to focus in the following areas of work:

  • Sociotechnical Systems
  • Ergonomics
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Automation in Transportation





Human Factors and Ergonomics Research in the News

Radwin to Take Over as Human Factors Journal Editor-in-Chief

International Ergonomics Association Honors Radwin

ISyE PhD Student Receives International Ergonomics Honor

Radwin to Lead Study Exploring Human-Robot Collaboration in Manufacturing



Manufacturing and Production Systems


The success of any manufacturing company depends on their ability to respond to factors impacting a host of areas, from product development to production scheduling to logistics coordination. Due to the rapid development of internet of things technology and cloud computing platform, more and more data from different sources are becoming available in real time, which creates new opportunity in smart manufacturing. Manufacturing and production systems researchers at UW-Madison have developed data science methodologies, computer-aided tools and experimental testbeds to design, analyze and improve manufacturing systems and product quality. Students specializing in this area will develop the skills and expertise to apply this research to a manufacturing environment.

Students in this area of research may choose to focus in the following areas of work:

  • Machine Learning and Data Science
  • Quality Control and Improvement
  • Advanced Manufacturing & Data Analytics
  • Production Planning and Scheduling



Manufacturing and Production Systems in the news

Research Centers & Consortia