Aragon Receives the Charles E. Coates Outstanding Dissertation Award

Daira Aragon Mena has been awarded the Charles E. Coates Outstanding Dissertation Award by the LSU Graduate School for 2009-2010. Aragon received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in August 2009 and conducted her research under the direction of Professor Jose Romagnoli.

Her dissertation, "Integrated Model-Centric Decision Support System for Process Industries," presents the conceptual definition of a single and consistent framework for integrated process decision support (IMCPSS) to facilitate the realistic formulation of related model-based engineering problems. Through the integration of data management, simulation, parameter estimation, data reconciliation, and optimization methods, this framework seeks to extend the viability of model-centric technologies within the industrial workplace.

The main contribution is the conceptual definition and implementation of mechanisms to ease the formulation of large-scale data-driven/model-based problems: data model definitions (DMDs), problem formulation objects (PFOs) and process data objects (PDOs). These mechanisms allow the definition of problems in terms of physical variables; to embed plant data seamlessly into model-based problems; and to permit data transfer, re-usability, and synergy among different activities.

The IMCPSS responds to the need for software tools centered in process engineers for which the complexity of using current modeling environments is a barrier for broader application of model-based activities. Consequently, the IMCPSS represents a valuable tool for process industries, as the facilitation of problem formulation is translated into incorporation of plant data in less error-prone manner, maximization of time dedicated to the analysis of processes, and exploitation of synergy among activities based on process models.

The Coates Outstanding Dissertation Awards of $1,000 are awarded to LSU students in the departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or Physics & Astronomy. The criteria used to evaluate awardees includes: GPA, strength of support letters from student's committee members, anticipated impact of dissertation work, and originality of research. The award is one of four made possible by the Coates Fund, which assists full-time chemical engineering, chemistry, and physics doctoral students in their research. The other awards are for conference travel, research travel, and scholarly research work.


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Article by Melanie Monce McCandless, Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, 225/578-3242,