Distinguished lectures on service systems and technology breakthrough


​Two renowned engineering scholars delivered lectures on service systems and technology breakthrough, respectively, at two distinguished lectures at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 28 September.

They were Professor Avishai Mandelbaum, Benjamin & Florence Free Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion, Israel, and Professor Thomas Kailath, Hitachi America Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, Stanford University.

Professor Mandelbaum delivered a lecture titled “Theompirical Research in OR/IE/OM: A Theory-and Data-Based Journey through Service Systems” at the inaugural lecture of the Institute for Advanced Study Distinguished Lecture Series: Frontiers in Operations Research/ Operations Management.

Professor Mandelbaum said that service systems constituted 60% to 80% of the western economy. “Queueing asymptotics” has grown to become a central research theme in Operations Research and Applied Probability, beyond just queuing theory.

He is a founder and the director of the Technion SEE Laboratory whose goal is automatic creation, in real time, of data-based models for service operations – analytical and simulation. Both will be universally accessible for applications.

At the CityU Distinguished Lecture, Professor Kailath said engineering achievement was categorised into geniuses and revolutionary breakthroughs at his talk titled “The Process of Making Breakthroughs in Engineering”.

He used examples like GPS (Global Positioning System), VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) and Optical Microlithography to demonstrate that studying case histories and learning from failures can achieve breakthroughs.

He said that while there was no magic formula for making breakthroughs in any field, they sometimes happen in the course of trying to solve a problem.

He concluded by quoting a US Inventor, Thomas A. Edison, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that do not work”.


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