2017 Southwest HFES Symposium
2017 Southwest HFES Symposium

Mariner Safety Research Initiative

The Mariner Safety Research Initiative (MSRI) is a product of the collaborative effort between American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Lamar University, and International Industry Partners. The MSRI includes a large international database of more than 100,000 maritime injury and close call (near miss) reports from over 31 data sources. Dr. Craig (PI), Dr. Curry (CO-PI), and Dr. Zhu (CO-PI) have worked on this project since 2010.

The incident databases have enabled us to create the MSRI, a public forum to share safety related materials and resources with not only industry partners, but the maritime industry as a whole. The incident data has been analyzed to identify trends, possible causes and lessons learned and develop safety related guidance materials including benchmarking statistics and relevant training tools. The overall goal of the MSRI is to improve mariner safety through sharing these data findings and providing safety related documents in a useable context.

The MSRI is broken up into two parts: the Public Site and the Industry Partner Site. The public site includes a general “sampling” of the documents and information that is available to the MSRI Industry Partners. For more information about this project, please see

RET Site: Incorporating Engineering Design and Manufacturing into High School Curriculum

This Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site, entitled, Incorporating Engineering Design and Manufacturing into High School Curriculum, at Lamar University (LU) Beaumont, will provide opportunities for STEM high school teachers from underserved school districts in Southeast Texas to engage in cutting-edge advanced engineering design and manufacturing research and develop curriculum modules based on their research. Advanced design and manufacturing is an industry with growing opportunities for creating the next generation workforce.

For more information, please see:

Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Scholars with Scholarships, Career Mentoring, Outreach and Advisement, Professional Societies and Engineering Learning Community (SCOPE)

This project will provide scholarship funding for students pursuing bachelor degrees in industrial or mechanical engineering. Three cohorts, a total of 36 scholars, will be served in this five-year project. Students selected will be academically talented mechanical or industrial engineering students with financial need. The scholarships will be complemented by academic support including mentoring, tutoring, and undergraduate research opportunities. The program will help to recruit and retain industrial or mechanical engineering students, and will reduce the graduation time of these students. The program will allow Lamar University to offer scholarships to directly address an area of national concern: maintaining US competitiveness in industry. Scholarships for academically strong engineering students, who may not otherwise be able to afford college, have an impact on the number of engineering graduates prepared to help national, regional, and local companies.  For more information, please see:

Multimedia Learning of Engineering Economics through Role Play Gaming on a Mobile Platform

This project is increasing the knowledge base in how people learn using mobile computing technology by investigating the use of mobile technologies in an Engineering Economics course. The mobile technology allows a ubiquitous learning environment suitable to student lifestyle constraints. Specifically the project is studying the effectiveness of mobile technology in promoting deep and lasting learning of content, practice, skills and attitudes. Expected results include more student engagement and better performance on in-class exams. Smart phone apps developed by the project include role-playing games that allow students to interact with the app or with fellow students. The project uses formative and summative assessment to continuously guide the researchers in assessing the results. This study has application in a number of STEM education areas and therefore will significantly improve STEM education.  For more information, please see:

Scheduling Optimization for Food Processing Industry

Dr. Weihang Zhu's project is funded by Lamar University Research Enhancement Grant examines mixed integer linear programming models were developed to optimize the operations of an ice cream production facility with improved production efficiency.

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Reliability and Availability Analysis of Port Equipment

Dr. Yisha Xiang's project is funded by Center for Advances in Port Management at Lamar University and examines innovative preventive maintenance models are developed to address the challenges caused by port equipment unavailability due to busy operational schedules.

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Scheduling Optimization for Food Processing Industry

Optimization of Vessel Scheduling Problem and Evacuation Decision Making Using Real-Time Location Data, and Their Economic Impacts: A Case Study for the Port of Houston

Dr. Berna Eren Tokgoz's project examines the highly chaotic environment during an evacuation. There may not be any pilots assigned to the ships and the risk of collisions or other accidents may get higher in these situations. The substances that are transported in a ship have various hazardous impacts during an evacuation process from the port.

Utilization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Port Operations

This study focuses on: 1) establishing operational concept of UAS for effective port / terminal operations; 2) developing mathematical optimization model(s) to ensure coordinated optimal operations of vessels and UAVs; 3) developing a distributed control algorithms for UAV swarms; and 4) conducting risk analysis and resiliency study in UAV-aided port operations.

The project team includes:
(PI) Dr. Jaeyoung Cho, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering
(Co-PI) Dr. Maryam Hamidi, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering
(Co-PI) Dr. Berna Tokgoz, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering

The purpose of this study is to lay the foundation for the development of future port system using unmanned aerial system (UAS). This study is composed of three detailed sub-topics. First, we study how to establish operational concept of UAS for effective port / terminal operations. Particularly, the focus of the research is on ensuring optimal routes generation of chemical tankers which are performing their respective loading / unloading operations. To optimize the problem, current chemical tankers operations in Houston ship channel are studied, and mathematical optimization model(s) are developing to ensure optimal operations of chemical tankers.  Second, we develop a mathematical model(s) to implement the concept of distributed control of multiple UAVs. This research focuses on decentralized control of UAVs in port operations based on game theory. Third, We conduct risk analysis and resiliency study on various safety & security problems that may arise when UAS is introduced in port operations. 

This project was funded by the Center for Advances in Port Management (CAPM) at Lamar University.  

Houston Ship Channel Closure Scheduling for a Bridge Construction

A methodology will be presented for a temporary closure scheduling of the Houston Ship Channel in order to construct a new bridge over the channel. A poor closure scheduling can cause a substantial loss in revenue for both port authorities and vessels. In this study, we will first analyze historical data for a good estimation of vessels’ traffic and shipping inside the channel, next we will develop a model in ARENA software to simulate the traffic and queue in the ship channel, under different closure scenarios. Constraints will be considered for the working rules of the channel such as daylight restrictions and combined beam rules. Finally, simulation results will be presented for number of the ships affected and also for the total ship time lost as a result of closures, and accordingly, the optimal channel closure schedule will be determined. Besides, policies would be recommended to the port authorities to substitute the current first come, first serve policy.  Please see Dr. Hamidi webpage for more information about her port research effort.

Rahimi, B.*, Abtahi, A., Hamidi, M., Cho, J. & Stromberg, E. “Optimal ship channel closure scheduling for a bridge construction”. In: Proceedings of Institute of Industrial Engineers Annual Conference, May 2017. Accepted.