12 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Industrial and systems engineers are known as expert problem-
solvers and are often given unique puzzles to conquer. One ISE
recently found herself with a truly original process challenge:
How to get down a hill faster than a dozen other competitors
while chasing a rolling cheese.
Abby Lampe, a spring 2022 graduate of North Carolina State
University, did just that, winning the womens division of the
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake event in early June 5
near Gloucester, England. In the race, participants must tumble
their way down a steep, 200-yard hill to capture the prize: an
8-pound wheel of Gloucester’s finest.
Lampe, 21, a native of Smithfield, North Carolina, told N.C.
State News she wanted to compete in the event in 2020 while
studying at the University of Surrey but it was canceled by the
COVID-19 pandemic. When it resumed this year, she jumped
at the chance to roll down “Gloucestershire’s steepest hill” in an
event that may be up to 600 years old with a written record as
far back as 1826.
Lampe credited her ISE skills in video interviews afterward.
“I graduated with an industrial and systems engineering de-
gree which is about optimizing and making sure youre stream-
lining processes and trying to make things as efficient as pos-
sible, which I think I did with the roll,” she said. “During the
races on Sunday, there are three downhill races for the men and
one womens race. So I watched the previous two and figured
out, ‘Where did the people who won start on the hill?’ And so
I strategized that way.
She also did it for her school, as her family is part of four
generations afliated with N.C. State. Her great-grandfather,
J. Harold Lampe, was dean of the School of Engineering from
1945-1962, the longest serving dean in school history.
“I knew I had to represent N.C. State well during the race,
she said. “I bleed Wolfpack red.
Her victory in the race, which left her scratched, bruised and
covered with dirt but otherwise unhurt, made her an instant
celebrity with the British and U.S. media and she conducted
News from the field
The front line
The cheese stands alone with Wolfpack ISE
N.C. State grad Lampe’s downhill tumble wins ancient British event
Abby Lampe takes off downhill in the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-
Rolling and Wake.
Photos courtesy of Abby Lampe
Abby Lampe, winner of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and
Wake, is a 2022 spring graduate in industrial and systems
engineering at North Carolina State University.
August 2022 | ISE Magazine 13
We all likely feel our decision-making skills are not at their
best when we’re drowsy due to a lack of quality sleep. But
what about the decisions made by physicians dealing with their
patients’ pain?
A recent international study from the University of Mis-
souri School of Medicine and researchers in Israel addressed
this issue and found that sleep-deprived doctors are not always
making the best choices for those in their care. Their findings
were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences of the United States of America.
The study tested 31 resident physicians in Israel who were
starting their day and 36 who were coming off a 26-hour shift.
They tested the physicians’ reaction to questions about a clini-
cal scenario involving two patients, one with a headache and
the other with a backache. And they found that the doctors
at the end of their shifts had significant less empathy for their
patients’ pain as those at the beginning.
“Pain management is a major challenge, and a doctor’s per-
ception of a patients subjective pain is susceptible to bias,” said
co-author David Gozal, M.D., the Marie M. and Harry L.
Smith Endowed Chair of Child Health at the MU School of
Medicine. “This study demonstrated that night shift work is
an important and previously unrecognized source of bias in
pain management, likely stemming from impaired perception
of pain.”
To verify the study findings, the researchers reviewed dis-
charge notes from more than 13,000 electronic medical re-
cords in the U.S. and Israel involving patients being treated
for pain complaints. They found the doctors’ willingness to
prescribe pain relievers during the night shift was 9% lower in
the U.S. and 11% lower in Israel.
Gozal said the results show hospitals should consider chang-
es to resident work schedules to avoid such empathy or deci-
sion fatigue.
These results highlight the need to address this bias by
developing and implementing more structured pain manage-
ment guidelines and by educating physicians about this bias,
he said.
Sleepy docs dont address pain the same
Study of physicians in US and Israel shows ‘empathy gap’ based on shift length
numerous interviews sporting her Wolfpack sweatshirt. She
even earned congratulations from North Carolina Gov. Roy
She said in a YouTube interview she enjoys competing in such
oddball competitions, such as a 2.5-mile sprint to a doughnut
shop in Raleigh where contestants wolf down a dozen pastries,
then run back without a gastrointestinal incident.
Despite practicing at shorter hills on campus, her race strategy
quickly devolved into survival mode.
“My plan was to be on my feet as long as I could but that
did not last very long,” she said. “I quickly fell and I started
tumbling, and I could notice I was not going in a straight line. I
could see the crowd getting closer, which is not good, so I knew
I was going diagonally. My only thought during the entire race
was to go down, ‘be the cheese,’ go as fast as I can and try to get
down. Be the cheese.
Lampe planned to continue her travels throughout Europe
over the summer before starting her postgraduate career in the
fall as a technology consultant in the cloud and digital field. As
for the cheese, it was shipped home to her parents in North
Carolina with plans to feast on it when she returns.
The atmosphere was amazing,” she said. “People were so
supportive – they were cheering the entire time. At one point,
they started chanting ‘Cheese, cheese, cheese’ and it was just an
amazing experience to be a part of. Even if I hadnt had won, it
would have been an amazing experience.
© 2021 Scott Adams, Inc. Used by permission of Andrews McMeel Syndication. All rights reserved.
14 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
the frontlinethe front line
Amid the “Great Resignation” and la-
bor challenges in the wake of the CO-
VID-19 pandemic, many employers are
exploring new and better ways to retain
workers by creating a more welcoming
This effort is particularly important
for part-time retail workers who often
face unpredictable work shifts that can
leave them either overworked or without
enough hours to make ends meet.
A group of researchers conducted a
large-scale field experiment at Gap retail
stores beginning in 2015, well before the
pandemic and its effects. They found that
even then, store managers who adopted
a more worker-friendly schedule not
only benefited from happier employees
willing to stay on, but the business also
profited from increased sales and produc-
The group included Pradeep Pendem,
at the time a graduate student and now
an assistant professor of operations and
business analytics at the University of
Oregons Lundquist College of Business.
The teams study was published in March
in the journal Management Science.
The study showed store productiv-
ity rose 5.1%, sales rose 3.3% and labor
costs declined 1.8% at stores that ad-
opted more flexible work schedules. The
authors wrote that their study provides
evidence that retailers may not need to
choose between profits and employee
well-being by demonstrating that re-
sponsible scheduling practices can serve
both goals.”
The groups data was cited in a bill
introduced in the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives, the Schedules That Work Act
(HR 6670). It would permit employees
to request changes to their schedules
without fear of retaliation, ensure that
employers consider those requests and
require employers to provide more pre-
dictable and stable schedules for employ-
ees in certain occupations.
The study also was cited in the 2022
Economic Report of the President re-
leased by the White House Council of
Economic Advisers. Several cities and
states, including the groups home state
of Oregon, have adopted such laws pro-
tecting retail workers.
“It is immensely satisfying as a re-
searcher to see the references to my re-
search study in a congressional bill and in
the Biden-Harris administrations 2022
economic report,” Pendem said.
The study reviewed a practice by re-
tail managers to match the labor supply
on hand to customer traffic based on al-
gorithms predicting consumer demand.
While the practice seeks to create a fluid
labor force available as demand rises,
“these workforce management systems
have failed to consider worker well-be-
ing,” Pendem said. The effects of unpre-
dictable work schedules can include sleep
quality, mental health, child care and
family arrangements, and other negative
health and emotional outcomes.
The researchers conducted an experi-
ment at 28 Gap stores with 1,500 em-
ployees in San Francisco and Chicago
over nine months with varying schedule
practices at 19 and the status quo sched-
uling at the other nine. The schedule
adjustments included fixed start and end
times for shifts, allowing employees to
work the same shifts week to week and
a minimum number of hours for part-
time workers. The results found that
employees with the stable schedules were
happier and put in more effort, were
more likely to show up on time and less
likely to stay late.
Pendem said the findings, and po-
tential passage of the House resolution,
“will indeed encourage firms to embrace
these practices.
Worker-friendly retail schedules can boost bottom line
Oregon State study finds happier employees increase sales, productivity
20 – 23, 2023
Hyatt Regency New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
IISE’s Annual Conference & Expo descends on New Orleans next year!
The Crescent City, known as a blend of influences French, Spanish, Creole and American, is
the perfect place for 2023’s largest gathering of ISEs – the problem-solving profession that
has a hand in almost every engineering and business sector.
Quote, unquote
Algorithm helps forecast crime, focus resources
“We created a digital twin of urban environments. If you feed it data from happened in the past, it will tell you what’s going
to happen in future. It’s not magical, there are limitations, but we validated it and it works really well. Now you can use this
as a simulation tool to see what happens if crime goes up in one area of the city, or there is increased enforcement in another
area. If you apply all these different variables, you can see how the systems evolves in response.
— Ishanu Chattopadhyay, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and senior author of a study on a crime-predicting
algorithm published recently in Nature Human Behaviour. Data and social scientists from the university developed the algorithm which forecasts
crime by learning patterns in time and geographic locations from public data on violent and property crimes. The model can predict future crimes
one week in advance with about 90% accuracy.
August 2022 | ISE Magazine 15
20 – 23, 2023
Hyatt Regency New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
IISE’s Annual Conference & Expo descends on New Orleans next year!
The Crescent City, known as a blend of influences French, Spanish, Creole and American, is
the perfect place for 2023’s largest gathering of ISEs – the problem-solving profession that
has a hand in almost every engineering and business sector.
16 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
the frontlinethe front line
Your basic straw-stuffed scarecrow is a time-honored, but
not always effective, way to keep birds out of agricultural
Enter modern technology. Now a team of researchers is us-
ing drones to patrol fields and run off those pesky crows of
starlings that can cost growers millions of dollars each year in
stolen or ruined produce.
A Washington State University team published their study
in the journal Computer and Electronics in Agriculture with details
on a system designed to use automated drones on patrol 24
hours a day.
Growers dont really have a good tool they can rely on for
deterring pest birds at an affordable price,” said Manoj Kar-
kee, associate professor in WSUs Department of Biological
Systems Engineering and the study’s corresponding author.
“With further renement and industry partnerships, this sys-
tem could work.
Researchers are working to overcome specific challenges,
including having the system work on a larger scale and com-
ply with federal flight regulations, plus learning how to scare
off birds who might become accustomed to drones becoming
Birds are really clever,” said Karkee, who is also afliated
with WSUs Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural
Systems. “They often find ways around deterrents. We dont
want a system that only lasts for a few months or years before
they stop being scared off.
One idea is that if they begin to ignore the motion and noise
of the drones, builders could include distress calls or predatory
bird noises to get their attention.
“We could make drones look like predators, or have re-
flective propellers that are really shiny,” he said. “All of these
working together would likely keep birds away from those
vineyards and fields. We need to research that over multiple
years to make sure.
The studies done so far on the project have shown that man-
ually operated drones conducting random flights can reduce
bird counts fourfold. The impact on crop yields shows a 50%
reduction in damaged produce.
Karkee said plans are in place to meet with growers and
other stakeholders to develop the next step toward a commer-
cially available drone patrol system.
“It takes time,” he said. “But the results so far are exciting.
These scarecrows have a brain, and rotors
Drone system studied as solution to shoo birds way from crops
Parents OK with AI diagnoses for their children
Parents are becoming more receptive to the idea of artificial intelligence devices being used to diagnose their children
suffering from respiratory illnesses. A survey from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago, and published
in the journal Academic Pediatrics, showed that of 1,620 parents questioned, most respondents were comfortable with the
use of computer programs to determine the need for antibiotics (77%) or bloodwork (76%), and to interpret radiographs
(77%). The greatest perceived benefits of computer programs were finding something a human would miss and obtaining
a more rapid diagnosis. Areas of greatest concern were diagnostic errors and recommending incorrect treatment. Some
demographic groups, however, showed greater reservations about using the technology. “Our results suggest that
development of AI tools to improve the care of children in an acute care setting needs to involve a diverse set of patient
and parent stakeholders early on in the process to ensure that they are comfortable with the technology and that the new
tools do not contain unintentional bias,” said lead author Sriram Ramgopal, pediatric emergency medicine physician at
Lurie Childrens and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Prime NumberS
A drone operated by researchers at Washington State University
flies over a vineyard during tests for bird deterrence and fruit
damage assessment.
Photo by WSU Agricultural Automation and Robotics Lab
August 2022 | ISE Magazine 17
One could easily dene work as “solving problems for money,” to fix what doesnt work and make
what does work better. Most companies seek to improve and rene their problem-solving efforts
through formal training, tools and targeted projects. Yet this is not always where real improvement
is found, according to author Jamie Flinchbaugh. His book, People Solve Problems: The Power of
Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem, explores the leverage to improve problem-solving in any
organization. Flinchbaugh, co-author of the 2006 book The Hitchhikers Guide to Lean: Lessons
from the Road, notes in the introduction “Not every organization is, wants to be or should be
investing in a specific Lean journey. Every organization does, however, do problem-solving on
some level. There is nothing magical about declaring you are doing Lean, and quite frankly, I do not think it should matter.
There has been too much invested and wasted in labels, umbrella frameworks and hierarchies of ideas. Most people and most
companies just want to get better and be more in control of their own destiny” The book begins by examining the value
and limits of tools and templates in addressing problems. It then explores the marriage of problem-solving and standards by
discussing four primary domains to build a successful approach: People-Centered Capabilities, Problem-Solving Culture,
Success through Coaching and the Role of the Leader. “Most problem-solving courses begin right after you have pulled out
the problem-solving tool and youre ready to start using it,” Flinchbaugh writes. “This is similar to teaching someone how
to live a healthy lifestyle by teaching them how to hold a dumbbell, when its getting to the gym in the first place that is the
gap worth bridging. This is the approach to this book. I want to write about getting you to the gym.
People Solve Problems: The Power of Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem is published by Old Dutch Group, $17.95.
Problem-solving from the ground up
Author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean offers tools, tips to target improvement
Book of the Month
The air freight industry is working to create more environ-
mentally friendly options to cut fossil fuel emissions in the
years to come. Their desire to seek sustainable practices is
driven by consumer sentiment toward companies that show
such initiatives.
“It’s provided a moment to think, ‘Well, everything has
changed, so why not also lean into the change thats hap-
pening in sustainability as well?” Heather Mueller, chief
marketing and product officer at Breakthrough, told Supply
Chain Dive.
Air transport providers are aiming to reach net-zero carbon
emissions by 2050. Yet their efforts have run into snags due
to the availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a biofuel
used to power aircraft with a smaller carbon footprint.
A report by ICF, a global advisory and digital services pro-
vider, showed only 50,000 metric tons of SAFs were used by
the air freight industry in 2020. The same report estimates
that up to 445 million metric tons of the fuel will be required
for the aviation industry to meet its emission goals by mid-
centur y.
The tight supply of sustainable fuel is hampering carriers
sustainability efforts. DHL said its emissions likely will rise
again this year because of limited availability after its emissions
increased 17% in 2021.
Meeting sustainability goals will depend on how fast SAF
supply can meet demand. The industry group Airlines for
America is among those pushing for government incentives to
boost SAF production.
“We’re moving as fast as we can to get there,” DHL Express
Americas CEO Mike Parra said of the company’s efforts to
reduce its carbon emissions to fewer than 29 million metric
tons by 2030.
Companies are doing what they can in other areas to re-
duce fuel consumption, such as using truck capacity more ef-
ficiently and optimizing transportation routes. Delta plans to
spend about 80% of its capital on fleet renewal this year while
DHL is replacing its aging planes with Boeing 777 freighters
that reduce CO₂ emissions by 17%.
But SAFs alone might not be enough to reach emission
goals, some say, because the biofuels are capped at a 50-50
blend with traditional jet fuel. That will require new tech-
nologies “that dont exist today,” according to Stacy Malphurs,
Southwest Airlines’ vice president of supply chain manage-
ment and environmental sustainability, such as reduced capac-
ity for electric or hydrogen fuel cells.
The fuel cells themselves have to take up so much physical
space in a conceptual aircraft design that you wouldnt have as
much room for customers,” Mulphurs said.
Air freight emissions goals tied to biofuel
Shortage of sustainable blend slows industry efforts to cut carbon output
18 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
Ensuring an ample water supply is an ongoing challenge in arid
parts of the world where rainfall is rare. One such place is south-
ern Morocco on the edge of the Sahara Desert, where only 5
inches of rain falls per year on average.
One rural community engineered an innovative solution:
Capturing water particles from fog and turning them into clean
drinking water. The process captures moisture in large, vertical
mesh nets suspended on the slopes of Mount Boutmezguida,
condenses the water into a receptacle and transfers it via a net-
work of pipes to the villages below, providing some 6,300 liters
(1,600 gallons) of fresh water daily.
It is among the unique ideas chronicled by a Hamilton, On-
tario, think tank in a new book, Unconventional Water Resources,
from United Nations University Institute for Water, Environ-
ment and Health (UNU-INWEH). The group features several
unconventional water resources, from deep underground aqui-
fers to icebergs in the Arctic, to help ease the global shortage of
potable water.
These unconventional resources are a response to the limita-
tion of conventional water sources, like snowmelt and river run-
offs, which are becoming less sufficient,” said Manzoor Qadir,
deputy director at the institute and lead editor of the book.
Another creative source of water comes from transport ships,
which included onboard desalination equipment to convert
sea water to fresh for ballast. It later can be rened and used as
drinkable water.
Qadir said almost half of the countries in the world are ex-
pected to experience water scarcity by 2050, making such in-
novative techniques crucial in dry areas.
The time is right now,” he said.
Catching fog to drink and other innovative ideas
New book details creative ways to supply water in dry areas
Fog-catching nets are seen on Mount Boutmezguida in Morocco
as an innovative way to provide drinking water to a nearby town.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rosman
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In recent years, U.S. government officials have undertaken ef-
forts to pin down an answer to that question and find a way to
identify decades of reports of unidentified flying objects, now
referred to as unexplained aerial phenomenon (UAPs).
In addition, a private effort is underway called The Galileo
Project, led by Avi Loeb, chair of the Harvard Department
of Astronomy. And Tel Aviv startup Timbr has offered its AI
technology to sift through the data.
To gather images, Loeb plans to build 100 telescopes
equipped with wide-angle lenses, infrared capability, radio
receivers and an audio system. The data collected will be com-
bined with satellite imagery to create a more comprehensive
picture of the skies. The AI program then will decipher the
data and filter out what is known and unknown.
“We will have an artificial intelligence system that will
identify whether we are looking at a bird, a drone, an airplane
or something else,” Loeb told the tech news website Sifted.
He notes that getting clear images is crucial since decent
photos of unexplained objects remain elusive.
A million low resolution images are not worth as much as
one high resolution image,” he said.
Timbr co-founder and chief strategy officer Tzvi Weitzner
said the task is a unique one for a machine learning algorithm
because what they are looking for is unknown.
The use of AI to analyze images is widely known,” he told
Sifted. “But in Galileos case it is not as simple as training a ma-
chine learning algorithm to identify objects, just because we
dont know what we are looking for – or, more exactly, we are
looking for objects that are not part of an existing image cata-
logue that would serve to train a machine learning algorithm.
Weitzner considers himself a UFO skeptic but believes dig-
ging for answers into the mystery is worthwhile.
“I have always disregarded these kinds of observations
(UFO sightings), as errors or, you know, bad data,” he said.
“What we can do – and it is very important – is try to explain
what we have observed, and to try to not just disregard what
we cannot explain.
Loeb wants any findings to be based on evidence.
“I have built a big tent, including people that are both ad-
vocates for extraterrestrial origins of these objects, and people
that are skeptics,” he said. “I it doesnt matter what you believe
in to start with; it’s the evidence that will guide us.
AI looks to the skies for answers on UFOs
Galileo Project seeks to gather data to answer mysterious phenomenon