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Expert in “Better, Faster” named ISE department chair



Tamás Terlaky

Tamás Terlaky, an internationally renowned expert in optimization, mathematical programming and high-performance computing, has been named chair of the department of industrial and systems engineering (ISE).

The appointment, announced by S. David Wu, dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, takes effect Aug. 11.

Terlaky, who will also hold the position of Soteria and George N. Kledaras Professor of Industrial Engineering, is currently the director of the McMaster University’s School of Computational Engineering and Science in Hamilton, Ontario.

Previously, he had served on the Faculty of Technical Mathematics and Informatics at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

"Tamás Terlaky is a world-renowned scholar and academic leader who has made critical contributions to key fields in operations research and systems engineering, including computational optimization, interior point methods of mathematical programming, continuous optimization, and high-performance computing,” said Wu.

“I am confident that Tamás’s experience and talents will prove as valuable to the ISE department and the Lehigh community as they have to McMaster and Delft.”

Terlaky holds multiple appointments at McMaster. He is the Canada Research Chair in Optimization, and he serves as a faculty member in the departments of computing and software, mathematics and statistics, and electrical and computer engineering.

In one of his web pages, under the headline “Better, Faster,” Terkaly describes optimization as “the process of finding the most efficient and effective means to an end” and also as “a function of both nature and human nature.”

The arrival of fast, powerful computers, he says, enables optimization algorithms, or formulas, to be applied to real-world problems ranging from communications network routing to maintenance scheduling for large fleets of jets.

Among Terlaky’s research goals is to “move continually from the theoretical to the practical.” He hopes, for example, to develop algorithms that optimize the performance of information technology systems and engineering design systems while solving specific problems such as the design and routing of electric circuit layout.

Terlaky has published more than 120 refereed journal papers and eight edited volumes and special issues. He is also the coauthor of four books, including “Interior Point Methods for Linear Optimization” (2006) and “Nonlinear Optimization” (2004).

In 2006, Terlaky was honored as a Doctor of Science by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is also a fellow of the Fields Institute at Canada’s University of Toronto, which promotes mathematics research, innovation and education and seeks to expand the application of mathematics to modern society.

Terlaky received his Doctor of Natural Sciences from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, in 1981.

He will succeed Greg Tonkay, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, who has served since the fall of 2007 as interim chair of the department of industrial and systems engineering.

George Kledaras, who endowed the George N. and Soterial Kledaras Chair Professorship, earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Lehigh in 1987. Kledaras, who develops financial software for instantaneous global trading, is the founder of two technology companies, CecilRep and FIX Flyer.

--Kurt Pfitzer


Posted on Monday, April 21, 2008

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