University of Michigan Industrial and Operations Engineering (U-M IOE) Professor Xiuli Chao has been appointed the Ralph Disney Collegiate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering.
A Collegiate Research Professorship is awarded to a professor who demonstrates exceptional scholarly achievement and makes an impact on advancing knowledge in their academic field of study. The nomination process includes three letters of support, including two from outside U-M, and a rationale for honoring the past faculty member after whom the professorship title will be named.
“I’m deeply humbled by this recognition, and I am pleased to have this opportunity to honor Ralph Disney, a former IOE professor and leader in applied probability, whose work has heavily influenced my research in queueing networks,” Chao said.
Chao has been a professor at U-M IOE since 2007. Chao’s research interests include queueing, scheduling, financial engineering, inventory control, supply chain management, and stochastic and online optimization. Before coming to U-M, he held positions at the University of California at Irvine, Columbia University, North Carolina State University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the National University of Singapore. Chao has consulted for many companies in logistics and supply chains management. From 2020 to 2022 he is working in Amazon’s Supply Chain Optimization Technology (SCOT). He is also a fellow of both the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) and the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS).
In 1998, Chao received the Erlang Prize from INFORMS, and in 2005 he won the David Baker Distinguished Research Award from the IISE. He also received the Jon and Beverly Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Engineering in 2014. He is the co-author of two books, “Operations Scheduling with Applications in Manufacturing and Services” (Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 1998), and “Queueing Networks: Customers, Signals, and Product Form Solutions” (John Wiley & Sons, 1999).
Ralph Disney joined U-M IOE in 1962 as a visiting professor. He quickly rose to a full-time professor at U-M IOE after completing his DEng degree in 1964 from Johns Hopkins University. His research contributions were in queuing theory, particularly queuing networks such as those found in manufacturing, transportation, and communications, as well as the mathematics of stochastic processes. He produced more than 70 research articles and was a founder of the Applied Probability College of Operations Research Society of America, now known as INFORMS. Disney was recognized by the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) with the David Baker Award and the Albert Holzman Award for teaching, research, and other contributions to his field as well as the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Award, the highest honor bestowed on an industrial engineer. In 1999, Disney was elected into the National Academy of Engineering.