Teaching

Instructional Philosophy

Science-based design is a key element of engineering. Creativity and intuition are equally important elements and must be offered as guided experiences to the students. In my teaching, I integrate these elements in design projects and to date I have supervised several thousand individual student and team projects. My graduate students and post-docs always participate in our teaching activities -- whether assisting in the classroom or in one-on-one interactions with individuals and student teams.

Courses Taught

ME 250: DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING I - A sophomore required core course designed as the first course taken by students interested in mechanical engineering. I introduced this course in 1994 as part of the new matrix curriculum in the ME department. More recently the course has a stronger focus on introducing concepts in systems engineering design.

ME 350: DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING II - Originally a classic junior machine design course, it has evolved to include CAE tools, mechatronics, manufacturing, and system rather than just component design.

ME 450: DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING III - A core senior capstone course. In 1980 I introduced for the first time at Michigan the concept of formal student design teams working on open-ended projects for this course. Starting as a novelty this version of the course became a standard way of instruction.

ME 455: ANALYTICAL PRODUCT DESIGN - An alternative to ME 450 for ME students and a required first course for Design Science students, I introduced it in 2003. Projects must have a user-centered design intent. Project work has a multidisciplinary perspective that includes engineering, art, psychology, marketing, and economics. The course is open to engineering and non-engineering students.

ME 490 AND ME 590: INDEPENDENT STUDY - Independent study projects conducted within the Optimal Design Laboratory. Projects include UROP and honors students from U-M, international undergraduate students, often under the IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students in Technical Education) program, and thesis work through collaborative agreements with overseas schools.

ME 555: DESIGN OPTIMIZATION - A classic course first introduced in 1980, it has served as the foundation for the textbook Principles of Optimal Design: Modeling and Computation. Emphasis on the interaction between proper modeling and computation. Students propose design term projects from various disciplines and apply course methodology to optimize designs. A number of the projects in this class have resulted in scientific publications. More information can be found at principlesofoptimaldesign.org.

ME 599: INTERDISCIPLINARY DESIGN LABORATORY - This was an experimental graduate course funded by NSF to study the design process using a multidisciplinary instructional team and multidisciplinary student project teams. During the period 1987-1991 I introduced and team taught the course with faculty and students participating from the School of Art and Design and the Aerospace, Mechanical, Industrial and Electrical Engineering Departments. Outcomes of that experience were a joint degree program between Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design in the School of Art and Design, the Antillium Project, and eventually the Design Science program..

ME 699: ADVANCED DESIGN OPTIMIZATION - An advanced course in design optimization occasionally offered for doctoral students has included topics like duality theory, geometric programming, discrete optimization, structural optimization, and combined design and control optimization.

DESCI 501: ANALYTICAL PRODUCT DESIGN - An alternative to ME 450 for ME students and a required first course for Design Science students, I introduced it in 2003. Projects must have a user-centered design intent. Project work has a multidisciplinary perspective that includes engineering, art, psychology, marketing, and economics. The course is open to engineering and non-engineering students.

DESCI 502: DESIGN PROCESS MODELS - I first taught this course in Winter 2007 as a required course in Design Science. The course offers in-depth reflection on the elements of the design process through relevant literature review and project work. Students propose and test novel analysis methods and instructional modules on design process elements. The course is open to engineering and non-engineering students.

DESCI 790/791: DESIGN SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM - Various topics in Design Science are presented by invited speakers, faculty and students in this community-building course. The goal is to increase cross-disciplinary understanding and define research topics in design science. The course was first taught in 2002 as ME699/Psych 808 and part of the Antilium Project.

Doctoral Dissertations and Masters Theses

Doctoral Students in Academia

  1. Alejandro R. Díaz, 1982. Optimization of Finite Element Grids Using Interpolation Error (J. E. Taylor co-chair). Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, USA.
  2. Shapour Azarm, 1984. Local Monotonicity in Optimal Design. Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, USA.
  3. Mark J. Jakiela, 1988. Intelligent Suggestive Computer Aided Design Systems. Currently, Lee Hunter Professor of Mechanical Design, Washington University at St. Louis, USA.
  4. Han Tong Loh, 1989. A Sequential Linearization Approach for Mixed -Discrete Nonlinear Design Optimization. Currently, Deputy President, Provost, and Professor, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore.
  5. Jagannatha J. R. Rao, 1989. Higher Level Modeling Formulations in Optimal Design. Currently, Associate Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, USA.
  6. Doek-Soo Kim, 1990. Cones on Bezier Curves and Surfaces (T.C. Woo co-chair). Currently, Professor of Industrial Engineering, Hanyang University, Korea.
  7. Shinji Nishiwaki, 1998. Optimum Structural Topology Design Considering Flexibility (N. Kikuchi co-chair). Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Science, Kyoto University, Japan.
  8. Julie Reyer, 2000. Combined Embodiment Design and Control Optimization: Effects of Cross-Disciplinary Coupling. Currently, Associate Dean and Professor, Bradley University, USA.
  9. Harrison Hyung Min Kim, 2001. Target Cascading in Optimal System Design. Currently, Professor of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.
  10. George Delagrammatikas, 2001. A Design Optimization Methodology for Advanced and Hybrid, Diesel-Based, Automotive Powertrains (D. Assanis co-chair). Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, The Cooper Union, New York, USA.
  11. Hosam Fathy, 2003. Combined Plant and Control Optimization: Theory, Strategies, and Applications (A.G. Ulsoy co-chair). Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Penn State University, USA.
  12. Ruchi Choudhary, 2003. A Hierarchical Optimization Framework for Simulation-Based Architectural Design (A. Malkawi, co-chair). Currently, Reader in Architectural Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK.
  13. Matthew Parkinson, 2004. Balance Maintenance in Normal Seated Reach (D. Chaffin co-chair). Currently, Professor of Engineering Design, Penn State University, USA.
  14. Jeremy Michalek, 2004. Preference Coordination in Engineering Design Decision-Making. Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, USA.
  15. Hyoung-June Park, 2004. A Quantification of Proportionality Aesthetics in Morphological Design. Architecture (A. Economou co-chair). Currently, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Hawaii, USA.
  16. Kuei-Yuan Chan, 2005. Monotonicity, Activity and Sequential Linearization in Probabilistic Design Optimization (S. Skerlos co-chair). Currently, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Deputy Vice President for Academic Affairs, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.
  17. Sulaiman Alyaqout, 2006. A Multi-System Optimization Approach to Coupling in Robust Design and Control. (A. G. Ulsoy co-chair). Currently, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kuwait, Kuwait.
  18. Andreas Malikopoulos, 2008. Real-Time, Self-Learning Identification and Stochastic Optimal Control of Advanced Powertrain Systems (D. N. Assanis co-chair). Currently, Associate Professor of Mechanical engineering, University of Delaware, USA
  19. Erin MacDonald, 2008. The Construction of Preference in Engineering Design and Implications for Green Products (R. Gonzalez co-chair). Currently, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, USA.
  20. James Allison, 2008. Optimal Partitioning and Coordination Decisions in Decomposition-based Design Optimization. Currently, Associate Professor of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, USA.
  21. Tahira Reid, 2009. Quantifying Perception-Based Attributes in Design: A Case Study on the Perceived Environmental Friendliness of Vehicle Silhouettes (R. Gonzalez co-chair). Currently, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, USA.
  22. Diane Peters, 2009. Coupling and Controllability in Optimal Design and Control (A.G. Ulsoy co-chair). Currently, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University, USA
  23. Michael Alexander-Ramos, 2011. Management of Functional Data Variables in Decomposition-based Design Optimization. Currently, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Cincinnati, USA.
  24. Steven Hoffenson, 2011. Safety Considerations in Optimal Automotive Vehicle Design. Currently, Assistant Professor of Systems and Enterprises, Stevens Institute of Technology, USA.
  25. Max Yi Ren, 2011. Design Preference Elicitation, Identification and Estimation. Currently, Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Arizona State University, USA.
  26. John Whitefoot, 2011. Optimal Co-Design of Microgrids and Plug-In Vehicles: Synergies, Simplifications and the Effects of Uncertainty. Currently, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburg, USA.
  27. Namwoo Kang, 2014. Multidomain Demand Modeling in Design for Market Systems (F. Feinberg co-chair). Currently, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea.
  28. A. Emrah Bayrak, 2015. Topology Considerations in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Powertrain Architecture Design. Currently, Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, USA.
  29. Alex Burnap, 2016. Crowdsourcing for Engineering Design: Objective Evaluations and Subjective Preferences (R. Gonzalez co-chair.) Currently, Sloan Research Fellow, Sloan Business School, MIT, USA.
  30. Yanxin Pan, 2018. Preference Modeling in Data-Driven ProductDesign: Application in Visual Aesthetics. (R. Gonzalez co-chair). Currently, post-doctoral researcher, University of Michigan, USA.

Doctoral Students in Industry


  1. Heng Long Li, 1985. Design Optimization Strategies with Global and Local Knowledge. Currently, Vice President and CFO (ret.), China Aluminum Corporation, P.R. China.
  2. Rajiv Desai, 1988. Automatic Robot Programming for Accommodating Design Changes (R.A.Volz co-chair). Currently, CEO of 3Di Systems Corp, Brea. CA.
  3. Robin Lo, 1991. Deterministic Global Design Optimization for Nonconvex Generalized Polynomial Problems. Formerly, Senior Staff Engineer, Vehicle Systems, General Motors Corp. (D.)
  4. Mehran Chirehdast, 1992. An Integrated Optimization Environment for Structural Configuration Design. Currently, Executive Director, Credit Risk Management, USAA Bank
  5. Gary Snavely, 1992. An Abstraction-Based Methodology for Mechanical Configuration Design. Currently, Manager, Manufacturing Center, General Motors Corp.
  6. Leonard Pomrehn, 1993. A Recursive Opportunistic Optimization Tool for Discrete Optimal Design. Currently, Senior Controls Engineer, Clear Line Controls Inc
  7. Terrance C. Wagner, 1993. A General Decomposition Methodology for Optimal System Design. Currently, Manager, Engine Programs, Ford Motor Co.
  8. Timothy W. Athan, 1994. A Quasi-Monte Carlo Method for Multicriteria Optimization. Currently, Research Engineer, Applied Dynamics Inc.
  9. Roy P. Johanson, 1996. Topology Optimization of Multicomponent Structural Systems (N. Kikuchi, co-chair). Currently, Principal, Forsetti Partners, Chicago.
  10. Tao Jiang, 1996. Topology Optimization of Structural Systems Using Convex Approximation Methods. Currently, Supervisor, Vehicle Systems, Ford Motor Co.
  11. Ramprasad Krishnamachari, 1996. A Decomposition Synthesis Methodology for Optimal Systems Design. Currently, Supervisor, System Requirements, General Dynamics Land Systems, Detroit.
  12. Sigurd Nelson, III, 1997. Optimal Design of Hierarchical Systems using Sequential Decomposition Programming. Currently, Production Manager, Digital Innovations.
  13. Zhifang Li, 2001. Design Optimization Techniques for Printed Antennas and Periodic Structures, (J. Volakis, co-chair). Currently, Quantitative Risk Analyst, Securian Financial Group, Minneapolis.
  14. Michael J. Sasena, 2002. Flexibility and Efficiency Enhancements for Constrained Global Design Optimization with Kriging Approximations (P. Goovaerts co-chair). Currently, Staff Scientist, Siemens, Troy, Michigan.
  15. Ryan Fellini, 2002. A Model-Based Methodology for Product Family Design.Currently, Research Staff, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore.
  16. Panayiotis Georgiopoulos, 2003. Enterprise-wide Product Design: Linking Optimal Design Decisions with the Theory of the Firm. D.Eng. Program in Manufacturing. Currently, Senior Executive, Vodafone, Athens, Greece.
  17. Primikiri, Elena, 2004. Thermal Building Performance Optimization Using Spatial Archetypes. Ph.D.-Architecture (J. Turner, co-chair). Currently, Investment Analyst, Bank of Piraeus, Greece.
  18. Zhijun Li, 2005. Optimal Design of Multistation Assembly Systems (M. Kokkolaras co-chair). Currently, Product Designer, Foxconn Industries, San Francisco.
  19. Jarrod Kelly, 2008. Interactive Genetic Algorithms for Shape Preference Assessment in Engineering Design. Currently, Energy Systems Analyst, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago
  20. Jeongwoo Han, 2008. Sequential Linear Programming Coordination Strategy for Deterministic and Probabilistic Analytical Target Cascading. Currently, Energy Systems Senior Analyst, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago.
  21. Bart Frischknecht, 2009. A Study of Public and Private Tradeoffs in Optimal Vehicle Design Using a Market Systems Approach. Currently, Assistant Professor, Technical University of Sydney.
  22. T. Earmme, 2009. Evolutionary Structural Optimization with Multiple Performance Constraints by Large admissible Perturbations ( M. Bernitsas Co-chair).
  23. Soodeh Montazeri, 2013. Design for Behavior Change: The Role of Product Visual Aesthetics in Promoting Sustainable Behavior (with Richard Gonzalez) Currently, Research Associate, Fors/Marsh Group, Wash. DC.
  24. Anna McGowan, 2014. Interdisciplinary Interactions During R&D and Early Design of Large Engineered Systems (W. Baker, co-chair). Currently, Senior Engineer, NASA Langley.
  25. KJ Lee, 2014. Optimal System Design with Geometric Considerations. Currently, Research Engineer, Samsung Corporation.


Master Of Science Theses Supervised

  1. Roy P. Johanson, 1989. A Knowledge-Based Convex Approximation Algorithm. Also, doctoral graduate.
  2. Ann Marsan, 1994. Construction of a Surface Model From 3D Homogenization Output (D. Dutta, co-chair). Currently at Ford Motor Co.
  3. Christopher Scheffer, 1997. An Object-Oriented Framework for Optimal Systems Design. Currently at Structural Dynamics Research Corporation (SDRC).
  4. Nnaemeka Nwosu, 1998. Object-Oriented Optimization Using Convex Approximations. Currently at Sybase, Inc.
  5. Ryan Fellini, 1998. Derivative-Free and Global Search Optimization Algorithms in an Object-Oriented Design Framework. Also, doctoral graduate.
  6. Michael Sasena, 1998. Optimization of Computer Simulations via Smoothing Splines and Kriging Metamodels. Also, doctoral graduate.
  7. Jeremy Michalek, 2001. Interactive Layout Design Optimization. Also doctoral graduate.
  8. Whitehead, J. W., 2001. Design and Performance of Derivative-Free Optimization Algorithms Used with Hybrid Electric Vehicle Simulations. Currently at AGC America Inc.
  9. Adam Cooper, 2003. An Enterprise Decision Model for Optimal Vehicle Design Valuation. Currently at Ann Taylor, Inc.
  10. Zhijun Li, 2003. The Effects of Manufacturing Process on Powertrain Design Decisions, M.S. Thesis, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan. Completed her Ph.D. (1/2006)
  11. Lara Sherefkin, 2003. Analytical Craftsmanship: Evaluation and analysis of consumer Perceptions. M.S. thesis, Mechanical Engineering. Currently at Cumings Engines, Co.
  12. Ilkin Hossoy, 2003. Modeling of Craftsmanship Perceptions in Vehicle Interior Design Using Tools from Engineering and Psychology, M.S. thesis, Mechanical Engineering. Currently, research investigator, UM.
  13. Eric Rask, 2004. Estimating and Using the Attainable Set of Attribute Values for Discrete Choice Consumer Preference Modeling. Currently at GM Hybrid Powertrain Systems.
  14. James Allison, 2004. Complex System Optimization: A Review of Analytical Target Cascading, Collaborative Optimization, and Other Formulations. Currently, Ph.D. pre-candidate, UM.
  15. Han, J., 2005. Optimal design of hybrid and non-hybrid fuel cell vehicles. M.S. Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
  16. Frischknecht, B., 2006. Representations and Methods for Enabling Design Variety. M.S. Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
  17. Sarin, H. , 2007. Error Assessment of Response Time Histories. (M. Kokkolaras, co-chair) M.S. Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  18. Alexander, M. J., 2008. Analytical Target Cascading Optimization of an Electric Vehicle Powertrain System. M.S. Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
  19. Ren, Yi, 2009. An interactive Modeling Environment for Automotive Exterior Design. M.S. Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Zissimos Mourelatos (PhD U-M), 1986.

Nikiforos Papadakis (PhD U-M), 1988-89.

Michael Bremicker (PhD University of Siegen), 1988-89.

Nestor Michelena (PhD UC-Berkeley), 1993-95.

Christian Zillober (PhD University of Bayreuth), 2000.

Oleana Sinkevich (PhD Rice University), 2000-02

Michael Kokkolaras (PhD Rice University), 2000-02

Tobias Larsson (PhD Luleå University of Technology), 2001.

Pascal Etman (PhD Technical University of Eindhoven), 2001.

Hyung-Min Kim (PhD U-M), 2003-04

Ryan Fellini (PhD U-M), 2003-2004

Matthew Parkinson (PhD U-M), 2004-05.

Subroto Gunawan (PhD University of Maryland), 2004-06.

Jeremy Michalek (PhD U-M), 2005.

Kuei-Yuan Chan (PhD U-M), 2006.

James Allison (PhD U-M), 2008

Jeongwoo Han (PhD U-M), 2008

Bart Frischknecht (PhD U-M), 2009

Shanna Daly (PhD Purdue), 2008-09.

Diane Peters (PhD U-M), 2010-11.

Tahira Reid (PhD U-M), 2010.

Abigail Mechtenberg (PhD U-M), 2010-11

Michael Alexander (PhD U-M), 2011.

Steven Hoffenson (PhD U-M), 2012

Dongsuk Kum (PhD UM), 2011-12.

Kukhyun Ahn (PhD Seoul National University), 2007-12

Yi Ren (PhD U-M), 2012-15

Namwoo Kang (PhD U-M), 2014-16

Alparslan Emrah Bayrak (PhD U-M), 2015-17

Alex Burnap (PhD U-M), 2016-17