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IMSE faculty member earns prize for best research paper

Mustafa Sir, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, has been awarded the 2008 Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

Assistant Professor Mustafa Sir, new to the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE) at the University of Missouri, in September learned that he had been awarded the 2008 Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

The endowed award was established by Michigan Professor Katta Murty to recognize the best paper on optimization based on the original work of an industrial and operations engineering (IOE) graduate student. Sir, who received his doctorate and undergraduate degrees in IOE from Michigan, said it “felt really good to be recognized.”

His paper entitled “Stochastic Programming for Off-line Adaptive Radiotherapy” discusses the use of optimization to minimize the extent of damage on healthy tissue during radiation therapy, while ensuring an adequate amount of radiation is delivered to a tumor.

“Radiation therapy has been around for 15 or 20 years. It’s not a new thing. My contribution involved minimizing the effects of uncertainties in the process,” Sir said.

His research takes into account that frequently tumors change positions due to organ motion and setup errors.

“If you take several pictures during the delivery of the treatment you may be able to compensate for these errors,” Sir said.

“It amazes me that in operations research you can use mathematics to model real world problems,” he said. “A little math can make a big difference. Radiation therapy wouldn’t even be possible without algorithms.”