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CAST Division Newsletter

Spring 2015



We are happy to bring to you the Spring 2015 CAST Division Newsletter. We start off by announcing the upcoming webinar organized by the CAST Division as part of its WebCAST Series - we hope to have your strong participation at these webinars that focus on the cutting-edge of research, applications and education. Then, we introduce the 2017 Programming Coordinators.

Opportunities for students to attend the upcoming AIChE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City are described in the Student Presentation Award Finalist with Travel Support section - we hope the community makes good use of these opportunities that seek to recognize and reward outstanding research work and scholarship by students. Profiles of the CAST Executive Committee members are also included in this Newsletter. This edition of the Newsletter closes with a recap of the 2014 CAST Awards Banquet.

I would like to acknowledge the help of Ray Adomaitis and Karl Schnelle in putting together this Newsletter. We hope you will find the information useful and interesting.

Until next time .... take care.

CAST Division WebCAST Series: Upcoming Talks

The WebCAST series has been a vital function the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

To participate in the CAST webinar presentations, visit and click the appropriate link. This will take you to the WebEx session. There is no charge to join the webinars. Windows, Linux, iOS, and mobile platforms are supported. Users can participate via audio or video conference through a telephone or internet connection.

  1. Date and Time: September 8, 2015 (Tuesday), 11:00 AM Eastern (1 hour duration) Title: Apps for Chemical Engineering Education
    Presenter: Jason Bara, University of Alabama

The site also features a number of archived lectures. Check them out!

New webinars are being planned for the fall 2015 season. If you have any recommendations for potential speakers, please contact John Hedengren at

2017 Programming Coordinators

10a: Thomas Adams, McMaster University
10b: Juergen Hahn, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
10c: Fengqi You, Northwestern University
10d: Martin Guay, Queen's University in Kingston
10e: Donald Chmielewski, Illinois Institute of Technology

Please join us in congratulating the Programming Coordinators.

Student Presentation Award Finalist with Travel Support

The CAST Division normally makes 5 travel awards each year to assist graduate students with their travel expenses associated with attending the AIChE Annual meeting to present a research paper. The awards consist of $500 plus a ticket to the CAST Division Dinner where the recipients will be officially recognized.

To be eligible, the student must be a member of AIChE and present a paper at the Annual Meeting in a CAST sponsored (or co- sponsored) session. The nomination for this award should be made by the student's research advisor. Each advisor may nominate only one student and only members of the CAST Division can nominate students. Students can win this award only once during the course of their studies. The nomination package, in the form of a single PDF file, should include:

  1. The presentation abstract;
  2. A single page resume, highlighting the student's accomplishments;
  3. A single page recommendation letter from the faculty advisor;
  4. A statement stating the student will be presenting this paper.

Furthermore, because all Presentation Award Finalists/Travel Grant recipients will be judged for the CAST Directors' Student Presentation Award, the following additional requirements apply:

  1. The candidate must be an undergraduate or graduate student when the abstract was submitted;
  2. An award can be shared with multiple students in the case of a tie vote in the awards committee or if multiple students orally present the winning presentation;
  3. Awards will be determined by the quality of the technical content as described in the abstract, quality of the presentation slides, and quality of the oral presentation;
  4. At least two weeks prior to the start of the Annual Meeting, students will be required to submit the current version of their presentation and a description of the technical importance of their work as a single pdf.

Deadline - August 10 for the first 4 items. Note that the student's AIChE membership number must be a part of the nomination package. The nomination material must be sent electronically as a single package to: Carl Laird ( Award winners will be announced by September 4.

Review process - The review process will be coordinated by the Student Presentation/Travel Grant Chair, and the presentations will be judged by the CAST Directors and other members of the CAST EC.

Awards - Travel grant awards consist of $500, plus a ticket to the CAST Division Dinner at the Annual Meeting, where the recipients will be officially recognized and presented with the check. Presentation award winner(s) will be honored with a Presentation Award plaque recognizing their accomplishment at the CAST Award Dinner at the following Annual Meeting.

Meet the CAST Executive Committee

Chair: Ray Adomaitis

Ray Adomaitis received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. After two years working on computational nonlinear dynamics as a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University, he joined the Institute for Systems Research (ISR) at the University of Maryland as a postdoctoral fellow. Currently, he is a Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department with a joint appointment at the ISR at the University of Maryland. He also is affiliated with the Maryland Nanocenter and the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC).

Ray's research and teaching interests focus on simulation and design of thin-film manufacturing processes with applications in microelectronics, alternative energy, nanomanufacturing, and spacecraft systems. Most of his current efforts are directed to developing physically based models of atomic layer deposition surface reaction kinetics to provide simulation tools for the scale-up of these processes to large-substrate formats. Ray has been an active member of the executive committees of the CAST division and National Capital section of AIChE, and more recently as a member of the AIChE Public Affairs and Information Committee. He is a fellow of the AIChE.

Vice-Chair: Karl D. Schnelle

Karl D. Schnelle is a senior R&D Scientist at Dow AgroSciences LLC. He received a BS degree from Vanderbilt University, and then received a PhD degree in Artificial Intelligence Applications in 1992 from Northwestern University - both in Chemical Engineering. Prior to his PhD, Karl had worked as a process engineer for DuPont. Currently, he is transitioning from a Senior Research Leader in R&D Analytics to a role as Master Black Belt in Strategic Planning and Operations at Dow. Karl also provides leadership in training across R&D so that researchers are well versed in design of experiments and statistical analysis of data.

In Analytics, Karl developed and applied multivariate statistical techniques, simulation, and optimization to solve issues in both the Agrochemical and Seeds & Traits (traditional plant breeding and transgenic crops) business units. Significant projects include prediction of environmental fate of agrochemicals, crop growth modeling, human health risk assessment, design and scheduling of manufacturing plants, supply chain planning, multivariate statistical analysis of batch plant data, and design and analysis of clinical trials and large field trial programs.

Karl has been involved with 16 industrial & academic collaborations at Dow and has authored or co-authored 14 external papers and book chapters. In addition he has co-authored 80 internal R&D reports and has recently received the Dow AgroSciences Increase the Slope Award for the most impactful R&D project of 2013.

Since 1992, Karl has been an active member of the CAST Division. Currently he is the CAST Secretary / Treasurer, Associate Editor of CAST Communications, and a member of the AIChE / Wiley Press New Book Committee. Furthermore, he helps update the AIChE CAST website content throughout the year. Karl also supports the local Indianapolis Chapter by being Webmaster and on the Executive Committee. Previous roles include being a CAST Director from 2003-2005. Karl enjoys collecting 1/43 scale model cars, as well as bicycling and hiking in the great outdoors.

Second Vice-Chair: Stratos Pistikopoulos

Stratos Pistikopoulos has recently moved to Texas A&M University as the TEES Distinguished Research Professor at the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering and Associate Director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute. Previously, he has been a Professor of chemical engineering at Imperial College London, where he was a Director of its Centre for Process Systems Engineering between 2002 and 2009. He holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and was with Shell Chemicals in Amsterdam before joining Imperial in 1991.

Stratos has authored/co-authored over 350 major research publications in the areas of modelling, control and optimization of process, energy and systems engineering applications, 10 books and 2 patents. A Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, Editor of Computers & Chemical Engineering, Co-Editor of the Book Series in Computer Aided Chemical Engineering (Elsevier) and Process Systems Engineering (Wiley-VCH), Professor Pistikopoulos has been a co-founder/non-executive director of Process Systems Enterprise (PSE) Ltd and a founder/director of Parametric Optimization Solutions (ParOS) Ltd.

In 2007, Stratos was a co-recipient of the prestigious MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering; in 2008, he received an Advanced Investigator Award from the European Research Council; in 2009, he delivered the Bayer Lecture in Process Systems Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, USA; and in 2014, the 21st Professor Roger Sargent Lecture at Imperial College London; in 2014, he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa, at the University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania. In 2012, he received the Computing in Chemical Engineering Award of the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and in 2013, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK.

Past Chair: Marianthi Ierapetritou

Marianthi Ierapetritou is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. She obtained her BS from National Technical University in Athens, Greece, her PhD from Imperial College (London, UK) in 1995 and subsequently completed post-doctoral research at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ) before joining Rutgers University in 1998. Among her accomplishments are the Rutgers Outstanding faculty Award in 2012, the Rutgers Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence in 2004, and the prestigious NSF CAREER award in 2000.

Marianthi's research focuses on the following areas: Product and Process Synthesis and Design with emphasis in Pharmaceuticals and Biomass conversion; 2) Process Operations in a Dynamic Environment including Planning, Scheduling, Control under uncertainty; 3) Modeling of Reactive Flow Processes focusing in fossil and alternative fuels. She has published 180 papers and presented in national and international conferences (159 presentations). She was invited to present her work in a number of universities and conferences around the world (55 invitations). She is also a member of INFORMS and SIAM and she is an active participant in the scientific advisory committees of ESCAPE 16, 17, 21 and PSE 2006, 2009, 2015, FOCAPD 2009, 2014, and FOCAPO/CPC 2012. In 2008 she organized the fifth international FOCAPO conference. She is an active educator both in the classroom teaching graduate and undergraduate classes in the Chemical Engineering department and as an advisor currently supervising the Ph.D. of 7 students and 1 postdoctoral fellow. Her research work is supported by federal (NSF, ONR, PRF, EPA, NIH) and industrial support (Pfizer, ExxonMobil, BMS).

Marianthi has been active in CAST as a chair of area 10A in 2006, program director, second vice chair, first vice chair and now as a chair. As a director she initiated the Student presentation award, which is in its 3rd year. She is also an elected Trustee of CACHE for the last several years in which she currently serves as a Vice president.

Secretary, Treasurer: Martha A. Grover

Martha Grover is an Associate Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the Duncan Mellichamp Faculty Fellow, and program faculty in bioengineering. She earned her BS at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her PhD at the California Institute of Technology. Honors include the NSF CAREER award, the CAST David W. Smith Graduate Publication Award, and the CAST Outstanding Young Researcher Award. Her research program is focused on the control of molecular-scale self-assembly. Applications in materials self-assembly include feedback control of colloidal photonic crystal processing, and recipe optimization for morphology control of organic electronics manufacturing. Application to biological self-organization is investigated through the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution.

2014-2016 Director: Andreas A. Linninger

Andreas Linninger is a professor of bioengineering, chemical engineering and computer science at the University of Illinois in Chicago. His special interests lie in computer-aided design of chemical and biological processes. At the Stephanopoulos lab at MIT, he co-developed Batch Design Kit, a virtual laboratory for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. His research also aimed at clean manufacturing of pharmaceutical processes with ecological considerations under uncertainty. Current interests include applications of systems engineering methods in biochemistry and cellular dynamics. His lab is developing virtual reality methods for the real time analysis and simulation of hemodynamics and metabolic processes in the brain.

He is the recipient of numerous international awards including the Kosaka award for basic science and several Mimics Innovation Awards. His work won best paper in the Computers and Chemical Engineering Journal, and best doctoral dissertation of the Vienna University of Technology. Conference posters were honored at the AICHE CAST, the workshop of Cybernetics and Systems Research, the International Anesthesia Research Society, and the Scientific Visualization, VisWeek. He was invited to deliver 100 presentations including keynote lectures at the ESCAPE, PSE, and the International Chemical Engineering Symposium. He is the author of more than 100 scientific publications and gave over 200 conference presentations at national and international conferences.

Andreas is an elected Editorial Board Member of the Computers and Chemical Engineering (CACE) journal and a subject editor for the Chemical Engineering Research and Design (CERD) journal. He co-organized the Foundation Conference of Computer-Aided Process Design (FOCAPD). He was chosen CAST Program Coordinator Area 10a. He served as session chair or co chair for 25 sessions at AICHE Annual National Meetings.  

2014-2016 Director: Leo Chiang

Leo Chiang is Senior Technical Manager at The Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, Texas. He has 13 years of experience with Dow in technical and managerial positions leading on-line fault detection, soft sensor implementation, chemometrics, multivariate statistical modeling, and applied statistics. He is accountable to partner with academia to develop and transfer emerging data-driven modeling technologies for Dow globally. Leo has developed and implemented several systems techniques to solve complex manufacturing problems and to improve product quality and yield, resulting in 10 Manufacturing Technology Center Awards. In 2010, he received the Vernon A. Stenger Award, which is the highest individual honor in Dow Analytical Sciences R&D.

Leo has a B.S. degree from University of Wisconsin at Madison and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, all in Chemical Engineering. Leo has authored 17 peer-reviewed papers, 26 conference presentations, and 2 books published by Springer Verlag. His textbook Fault Detection and Diagnosis in Industrial Systems is available in English and Chinese and has received nearly 1000 citations according to Google Scholar.

Leo holds a number of AIChE CAST executive positions including 2015 Spring Big Data topical chair and 2016 10E chair. He has served on the AIChE CAST Directors' Award committee and program committees for the IFAC Symposium in Dynamics and Control of Process Systems, the IFAC Symposium for Advanced Control of Chemical Processes, and the American Control Conference. He has served as Session Chair/Co-chair for 13 AIChE-CAST sessions and as reviewer for 20+ journals. Leo has delivered a dozen invited talks on his industrial success stories at conferences and universities.

2015-2017 Director: Mario R. Eden

Mario R. Eden is the Department Chair and Joe T. & Billie Carole McMillan Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. He is also the Director of a NSF-IGERT on Integrated Biorefining. Mario's research interests include process design, integration and optimization, as well as molecular synthesis and product design. Mario is the recipient of several research awards including the NSF Faculty Early Development (CAREER) award (2006), the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council Junior Faculty Research Award for Excellence (2006), the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council Senior Faculty Research Award for Excellence (2012), and the Auburn University President's Outstanding Collaborative Units Award (2012) as a founding member of Auburn's Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts. At the 2009 FOCAPD meeting, he was honored with the Best Faculty Contribution Award. Mario's teaching has focused on the senior capstone design sequence and he has been recognized with several awards for his efforts, including being selected to participate in the 2010 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium. Mario received his M.Sc. (1999) and Ph.D. (2003) in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark.

Mario has been an active member of the CAST and PSE communities for almost 15 years. He has organized, chaired and presented in numerous sessions at AIChE meetings (both 10A and 10E) as well as the ESCAPE/PSE symposium series. He served as the Area 10A Programming Coordinator in 2012 and has served on the scientific committees of ESCAPE-21, PSE-2012, and ESCAPE-23, PSE-2015/ESCAPE-25, and co-chaired the FOCAPD-2014 conference with Drs. John Siirola and Gavin Towler.

2015-2017 Director: Michael Nikolaou

Michael Nikolaou is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, USA. He earned his PhD from UCLA after obtaining a Diploma from the National Technical University, Athens, Greece. His teaching is primarily in areas related to computing, numerical methods, process design, economics and process control. His research has focused on developing new fundamental methods for the solution of broad classes of intelligent operations problems, and solutions for specific problems of real-world importance. Most of the research work has been done with industrial collaborators and partners. Applications of his research work have been in oil and gas production systems, semiconductor manufacturing processes and in the effective development and use of antibiotics. Michael has published prolifically in the above areas. He has chaired/co-chaired sessions at many international conferences such as Climate Change (Environment Division) at the 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting, and Advances in Process Control at the 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting.

A Recap of the 2014 CAST Awards Banquet

For CAST members who were unable to attend the CAST award banquet at the Atlanta 2014 meeting, we briefly recap the award winners and the dinner highlights.

2014 CAST Division Award Winners

Richard Braatz | Computing in Chemical Engineering Award

Recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of computing and systems technology to chemical engineering.

Click here to view the slides from Richard's 2014 Computing in Chemical Engineering Award Talk.

John Wassick | Computing Practice Award

Recognizes outstanding contributions in the practice or application of chemical engineering to computing and systems technology.

Ruth Misener | W. David Smith, Jr. Graduate Publication Award

This Award is given to an individual for outstanding published work in chemical engineering computing and systems technology. The publication consists of a single paper based on work done by the individual while pursuing graduate or undergraduate studies.

Benoit Chachuat and Mario Eden | CAST Outstanding Young Researcher Award

This Award is given to an individual under the age of 40 to recognize outstanding contributions to the chemical engineering computing and systems technology literature.

John Hedengren | David Himmelblau Award for Innovations in Computer-Based Chemical Engineering Education

Recognizes an individual or group making new and novel contributions to computer aids for chemical engineering education.

In Pictures: 2014 CAST Awards

Richard Braatz receiving the 2014 Computing in Chemical Engineering Award from Marianthi Ierapetritou

John Wassick being presented the 2014 Computing Practice Award

Ruth Misener (right) winner of the 2014 W. David Smith, Jr. Graduate Publication Award

Benoit Chachuat (left) and Mario Eden (right) being recognized with the 2014 Outstanding Young Researcher Award

The 2014 David Himmelblau Award for Innovations in Computer-Based Chemical Engineering Education presented to John Hedengren

Wesley Cole being presented the 2014 CAST Directors Student Presentation Award

Marianthi Ierapetritou's contribution as Chair of CAST Division during the year 2014 is recognized with the presentation of a token of appreciation by Karl Schnelle

Wayne Bequette introducing the 2014 Computing in Chemical Engineering Award winner Richard Braatz

Richard Braatz describing his research journey "From molecules to manufacturing plants" during his Award Acceptance Speech

CAST Directors' Award

The CAST Executive Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the 17th Annual CAST Directors' Award. This time, there was a tie for the first place and the awardees are:

  • Benoit Chachuat (a) for his poster (566f), "Higher-Order Inclusions of Nonlinear Systems" (Co-authors: Jai Rajyagurua, Mario E. Villanuevaa, and Boris Houskab) (a) Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; (b) School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.

    You can access the abstract of their work here (Abstract) and a copy of their poster here (Poster [272KB pdf]).

  • Teng Zhou (a) for his poster (569d), "Integrated Solvent and Process Design Exemplified for a Diels-Alder Reaction" (Co-author Kai Sundmacherb) (a) Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany; (b) Process Systems Engineering, Otto-von Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.

    Access their abstract here (Abstract) and poster here (Poster [677KB pdf]).

This award, established in 1997, is given for the best poster presentations at the AIChE Annual Meeting. The winners are selected by majority vote of CAST Directors and designated poster judges selected by the Directors, who attend the poster session.

Each first place winner will receives $250 honorarium, and the formal presentation of the plaques recognizing their awards will be made at the CAST Award Dinner to author(s) attending the 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

Please join us in congratulating the winners!


2014 Student Travel Grants Awarded

I am happy to announce the winners of the 2014 CAST Graduate Travel Awards. Each award winner received $500 in support of travel expenses to present one or more papers at the Annual AIChE meeting. Additionally, each awardee received a complementary ticket to the CAST banquet. The five award winners recognized at the 2014 Annual Meeting were:






Carmeline Dsilva

Yannis Kevrekidis

Princeton University


Dynamics, Reduction and Control of Distributed Parameter Systems

Sangil Kwon

Panagiotis Christofides

University of California, Los Angeles


Modeling and Control of Crystallization

Yash Puranik

Nick Sahinidis

Carnegie Mellon University


Advances in Optimization I

Peter St. John

Frank Doyle

University of California, Santa Barbara


In silico Systems Biology: Intracellular Signaling and Gene Regulation

Francisco Trespalacios

Ignacio Grossmann

Carnegie Mellon University


Advances in Optimization II

Congratulations to all the winners!!

2014 CAST Directors' Student Presentation Award

This award recognizes a student selected from the CAST Travel Grant recipients for an outstanding oral presentation at the AIChE Annual Meeting.

The winner of the CAST Directors' Student Presentation Award for the year 2014 was Carmeline Dsilva of Princeton University. The title of her presentation was "Data-Driven Methods for the Analysis of Multiscale Stochastic Systems". Hearty Congratulations to Carmeline.




Written by Lakshminarayanan Samavedham, Karl Schnelle, and Ray Adomaitis; last updated 24 June 2015.