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Russ College students take top prize in international simulation competition

Pete Shooner | Jul 14, 2017
The Golden Twins - Ohio University

Russ College students take top prize in international simulation competition

Pete Shooner | Jul 14, 2017

Two Russ College of Engineering and Technology students won first place in the May 2017 Simio Student Case Competition, beating out 219 teams from 11 countries.

Industrial and systems engineering seniors Shayne Gillian and Anna Frankart, dubbed the “Golden Twins,” rose to the challenge of designing a simulation to assess and improve a hypothetical pulp and paper manufacturing operation.

The team used Simio’s software to program a simulation that included around 100 independent logging companies in different counties supplying material to three paper mills.

“We had to build a baseline model to assess the cost of running these operations and then create an improved model to reduce the costs associated with transportation for the loggers and low inventory at the paper mills,” Frankart said.

After accounting for detailed and complex factors like weather conditions, county regulations, and price fluctuations, the team presented their final simulation and an explanatory video.

The duo participated in Simio’s competition this past December, placing in the top 16 with two other Russ College classmates. According to Gillian, that experience motivated them to enter the contest again.

“We had already learned the software, so we were really improving upon our skills and thinking of new ways to use the resources Simio provides,” Gillian said. “An important aspect in these projects is being able to thoroughly understand a rather complex problem. It takes time to grasp all of the logic and processes within a large system, and more practice at that is always good for an industrial and systems engineering student.”

Even with the advantage of experience, the team still faced challenges.

“The model was so large that the CPU usage would be at 100 percent with 98 percent of it devoted to Simio,” Frankart explained. “We would spend the day setting up the model and deciding what aspect of the simulation we wanted to optimize and then leave the model to run all night and hope that the software wouldn’t crash.”

In the end, the Golden Twins were awarded first place by an international panel of judges, who represent both academia and industry