Dr. Halit Üster, Hunt Institute Fellow

Halit Üster, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Operations Research and Engineering Management (OREM) department with a courtesy appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and is a Hunt Institute Fellow. Dr. Üster joined SMU Lyle School of Engineering in Fall 2014. He was previously an Associate Professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. He also served as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M (2000-2002) and in the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Alabama (1999-2000). In the Lyle OREM Department, Dr. Üster teaches the Operations Research course at the undergraduate level and the Network Flows and Advanced Logistics Networks courses at the graduate level.

Dr. Üster received his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. After working as a design and field engineer for a new plant built for Procter&Gamble and Eczacibasi in Istanbul, Turkey, he returned to school for a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, while working part-time to complete the project as a mechanical engineer. He later obtained his Ph. D. in Management Science/Systems from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada in 1999.

Dr. Üster’s research interests are in large-scale optimization models and efficient solution algorithms for the design and analysis of networked systems with applications in logistics and communications. Societal impact is typically a central theme and emphasis in the applications of Üster’s research. Specifically, his recent research focuses on application areas including emergency logistics networks, biomass/bio-energy logistics networks, closed-loop logistics and recycling networks, multi-commodity and relay networks in transportation to address driver turnover and shortage problems, integrated production-distribution-inventory networks, and wireless sensor networks with environmental monitoring applications. His research activities to date were funded by grants totaling $2M from sources including National Science Foundation, US Department of Agriculture, and Frito-Lay, Inc. Üster was the founding director of the Logistics and Networked Systems Research Laboratory in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Üsters explains his motivation for impact work, “The central theme in my research is societal impact as evident in the applications I work on. This is important because it affects people’s lives in a way to improves them for the better. To that end, we work on mathematical models, algorithms, analysis for optimal strategic decision-making to impact policy-making and, thus, have far-reaching and long-term positive effects for societal impact.”

Üster also serves on numerous committees at the department, school, and university level as part of his service activities in the university and also on several committees of INFORMS at the national level as a service to the professional community.

Üster’s research has been featured in the Industrial Engineer Magazine in 2008, 2010, and 2017. He has been named the Eshbach Society Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, Northwestern University in 2009 while he was on faculty development leave. His collaborative research for Frito-Lay, Inc. was a finalist for the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research, INFORMS in 2008. He was awarded Caterpillar Teaching Excellence Award at Dwight Look College of Engineering, Texas A&M University in 2011 and was voted as the Outstanding Faculty Member by the IIE Chapter at The University of Alabama, 1999-2000. He also received a national Moving Spirit Award from INFORMS in 2007.

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