Ohio University

Engineering student duo named semi-finalists in national simulation competition

Engineering student duo named semi-finalists in national simulation competition

Author: Marissa McDaid

Two Russ College of Engineering and Technology students were named semi-finalists last month in the national Simio Student Case Competition, which challenges students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world problems.

Clive Chirume, mechanical engineering graduate student and researcher at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, and Madison Fiehrer, industrial and systems engineering (ISE) senior, landed in the top 14 of 300 teams that comprised a total of 1,064 students from across the world.

Competing as team “MC Solutions,” Fiehrer and Chirume were tasked with simulating a corn seed production facility to show seed processing from harvest to delivery. They had to factor in a variety of seed types, treatments, batch sizes and packaging types that the manufacturing facility produced to ensure orders were accurately filled.

“Our simulation helped determine the bottleneck of the seed production facility and what changes could be crucial in fulfilling these orders faster with a more stable process,” explained Fiehrer.

Simio software is used in the Russ College classroom as part of Professor of ISE Dušan Sormaz’s Industrial Computer Simulation class (ISE 4130). Sormaz has been using the Simio Student Case Competition as a final project for his class since fall 2014 -- and has seen great success.

“Simio competition problems are selected from real factories and organizations,” Sormaz said. “It gives students the opportunity to solve problems similar to those that they will need to solve when they start their career. All of the presented problems are challenging and require student teams to make a model, run an experiment, produce a 3D animation of the model, and make recommendations on how to improve operations.”

Sormaz’s fall semester class produced eight teams who were judged by a panel of ISE faculty. The top three simulations in the class were submitted to Simio’s global competition, where Fiehrer and Chirume were named semi-finalists.

“I’m particularly delighted that our best team was composed of an undergraduate ISE student and graduate mechanical engineering student who combined their skills in solving the competition problem,” said Sormaz.

Since Sormaz’s students started competing, the class has produced multiple finalist and semi-finalist teams. In May 2017, an Ohio University team took first place.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.