Three ISE seniors win international competition

5/17/2024 William Gillespie

Written by William Gillespie

<span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #000000;">Eamon Henning, Chrysafis Vogiatzis, Ashay Gandhi, and Yash Agarwal</span>
Eamon Henning, Chrysafis Vogiatzis, Ashay Gandhi, and Yash Agarwal

Three ISE seniors are winners in an international competition.

At the beginning of this semester, Yash Agarwal, Ashay Gandhi, Eamon Henning, all seniors in ISE, participated as a team in the Rockwell International Student Simulation Competition, and were finalists. In the 16-year history of the international competition (since 2008), no University of Illinois team has ever before reached the finals. 

Their team, the Illini Optimizers, was selected to present their model at the IISE National Conference in Montreal, Canada, where the top three teams present their work, and judges rank them first, second, and third based on the quality of their presentations. The results are announced at the IISE Conference Honors and Awards Dinner. The top team receives $5,000, second place receives $2,500 and third place will receive $1,500. This was the three students’ first trip to the IISE Conference.

Illini Optimizers took first!

The Student Simulation Competition is sponsored by Rockwell Automation's Arena Simulation Software Group. Teams of students solve a situational case study using the Rockwell Automation simulation package, Arena. The case study provided by Rockwell Automation is based on a real-world consulting scenario. 

Arena allows a team to simulate the personnel, processes, input and output of a factory, increasing productivity and reducing waste. The software works irrespective of the product being manufactured. “In very general terms…. Stuff comes in, goes through processes, and exits,” explains Henning. 

Gandhi says, “We were fortunate to have taken Professor Chrys's IE 371: Simulation Modeling class, where we learned about Arena Modeling software. Because of some luck and hard work, we had the opportunity to represent Illinois in the finals.”

Of the Illini Optimizers, advisor Professor Chrys Vogiatzis says, “The IISE/Rockwell Simulation Competition is always very open-ended, requiring students to use all of their creativity and modeling skills. This is the strength of our team: Ashay, Eamon and Yash are not only excellent students, but they are three of the most creative and imaginative ones! Their simulation modeling skills and their business insights are the main reason we are being recognized in the competition.”

Vogiatzis adds, “This was a goal of mine when I first proposed and designed the simulation class in Spring 2020. After four years of quite a few changes (COVID), we were finally able to launch the team this past semester.”

Beyond luck and hard work, the team attributes their success to a choice to focus resources on a more robust model—rather than their video—and also to the realism of their model, which included such details as the time it would take a worker to walk from point A to point B. “All those little details made our model very real,” Gandhi says.



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This story was published May 17, 2024.