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Engineering Professor Wins International Programming Award

Michael C. Ferris

Michael C. Ferris (large image)

Associate Professor Michael C. Ferris, professor of computer sciences and industrial engineering, has received an international award for co-authoring a versatile software program used in everything from traffic-flow analysis to robotics control.

Ferris and his former PhD student, Steven Dirkse, both received the 1997 Beale-Orchard-Hayes Prize during an awards ceremony Aug. 25 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The prize, which includes $1,500, is given once every three years by the Mathematical Programming Society.

The two researchers developed the software, called PATH, in 1995 to help solve large-scale systems of non-linear equations and inequalities. It has since been used in economic analyses (including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT), studies of traffic flow and structural flaws in buildings, and in controlling robot motion.

Ferris has been on the UW-Madison faculty since 1988, and is also affiliated with the Center for Mathematical Sciences. Dirkse graduated from UW-Madison in 1995 and now works for the GAMS Corporation in Washington, D.C.