Three upcoming Winter quarter graduates from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Department of Operations Research (OR) presented their theses to a panel of five judges, along with an audience of faculty and fellow students, during the Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Stephen A. Tisdale Graduate Research Award competition in Glasgow Hall, Feb. 28.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Adam Hilliard and Lt. Carolyne Vu, and U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Ashley Brown each developed unique approaches to solving very different issues facing the U.S. military, and delivered detailed presentations on their research followed by thorough deliberations.
In the end, the panel of judges selected Hilliard to receive the winter quarter MORS/Tisdale award for his thesis, “A Drydock Loading Model for Surface Ship Maintenance,” in which he researched how to coordinate maintenance schedules and drydock availability to accommodate real-time demand changes with greater ease.
“Surface forces have a large number of availabilities with fewer number of dry dock resources,” said Hilliard. “My thesis developed an optimization model to help those forces with scheduling maintenance availabilities to available dry dock resources.”
U.S. Navy Capt. Brian Morgan, program officer for NPS’ OR curriculum, presided over the competition and described the caliber of theses that usually receive a nomination.
“Every quarter, the faculty nominate students to present their work, and to be recognized for the quality of their work,” said Morgan. “The significance of nominating these students is to recognize their outstanding work in operations research on particular topics that are of near-term value to the United States and its allies.”
For Vu and Brown, their research also presented the potential for immediate dividends to the nation.
Vu’s thesis, “Network Classification Under Incomplete Information,” studied the time between information gathering and reaction time.
“My thesis is examining a supervised learning method on how to classify a network before you have complete information,” said Vu. “I’m hoping that with my method of classification we can look at partial information of a network and start to develop a strategy to take action without delay.”
Brown’s thesis, “Effective Humanitarian Logistics Delivery Using Space-Filling Curves,” looks to impact logistical efficiency during humanitarian relief missions.
“My thesis is about humanitarian logistics delivery and using a routing model that is a simple heuristic solution that improves how we are able to deliver supplies, by reducing time, distance demands,” said Brown. “Having a quick and easy tool you can implement to route logistics can save time, money and most importantly lives.”
Retired U.S. Capt. Wayne Hughes, whose first MORS symposium was in 1979, served as a panelist and says the competition is meant to be inspirational.
“The theses are some of the best examples of the kinds of things that can be done by our students,” said Hughes. “These works are different, original, and in the best of worlds, they are immediately applicable to military operations.”
The MORS/Tisdale award is named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. Stephen A. Tisdale, a dual-degree graduate of NPS in 1989 who perished in a military aircraft accident on March 21, 1991, while serving with Patrol Squadron 50 off the coast of California. Tisdale’s outstanding and influential thesis, “Assessing Optimal Utilization of Potential Anti-Satellite Architectures,” won the MORS prize for his graduating class, and was also recognized as the top Space Systems Operations student as well.