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Alice E. Smith

Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor,
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering,
Auburn University


INFORMS Journal on Computing


Seminar title: 

Innovative Uses of Drones for Last Mile Delivery with a Focus on Healthcare


This webinar discusses two novel strategies for employing a combination of drones and delivery vehicles, such as trucks, for last mile delivery to homes and businesses.  The work is general, but we aim for a healthcare application.  The first strategy uses a drone to resupply a truck during the day for same day delivery, as orders are made available at a central depot.  The truck delivers the orders to the customers but does not have to return to the depot during the day since it is being supplied by the drone for new orders.  The second strategy integrates a truck with a drone.  In this case, either the truck or the drone can make both deliveries and pick-ups, and the drone is launched from and returned to the truck.  A mathematical model is formulated and solved for each strategy.  We show that both strategies offer benefits in customer service and cost of delivery compared to traditional truck delivery only.  We focus our work on healthcare and specifically the delivery and pick up of medical supplies and tests (such as COVID tests) in challenged, rural environments.  We are complementing our algorithmic and computational work with a limited field trial.

Speaker bio: 

ALICE E. SMITH is the Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Auburn University, where she served as Department Chair from 1999-2011. Previously, she was on the faculty of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh from 1991-99, which she joined after industrial experience with Southwestern Bell Corporation.  Dr. Smith has degrees from Rice University, Saint Louis University, and Missouri University of Science and Technology.


She holds one U.S. patent and several international patents and has authored more than 200 publications which have garnered over nearly 13,000 citations and an H Index of 47 (Google Scholar) and nearly 5,000 citations and an H Index of 29 (Web of Science).  Several of her papers are among the most highly cited in their respective journals including the most cited paper of Reliability Engineering & System Safety and the 2nd most cited paper of IEEE Transactions on Reliability.  She won the E. L. Grant Best Paper Awards in 1999 and in 2006, and the William A. J. Golomski Best Paper Award in 2002.  Dr. Smith is the Editor in Chief of INFORMS Journal on Computing and an Area Editor of Computers & Operations Research.


Dr. Smith has been a principal investigator on over $10 million of sponsored research with funding by NASA, U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency, National Security Agency, NIST, U.S. Department of Transportation, Lockheed Martin, Adtranz (now Bombardier Transportation), the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania, and U.S. National Science Foundation, from which she has been awarded 18 distinct grants including a CAREER grant in 1995 and an ADVANCE Leadership grant in 2001.  Her industrial partners on sponsored research projects have included DaimlerChrysler Electronics, Toyota, Eljer, Frontier Technology Inc., Extrude Hone, Ford Motor, and Crucible Compaction Metals.  


For accomplishments in research, education, and service she was named the Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor in 2015.  Previously, she was the H. Allen and Martha Reed Professor.  In 2017, she received the inaugural Auburn University 100 Women Strong Leadership in Diversity Faculty Award.  Dr. Smith was awarded the Wellington Award in 2016, the IIE Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award in 2012, and the INFORMS WORMS Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS in 2009.  Dr. Smith was named the Philpott‐ WestPoint Stevens Professor in 2001, received the Senior Research Award of the College of Engineering at Auburn University in 2001, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering Board of Visitors Faculty Award for Research and Scholarly Activity in 1996.  


Dr. Smith is a fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a senior member of the Society of Women Engineers, a member of Tau Beta Pi and the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS), and a Registered Professional Engineer in Alabama and Pennsylvania. 

Date and time: Aug 11 (Wed), 2021, 21:00 HKT (GMT+8)  [Local time]



Record Seminar: [Link]

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