From Big Data to Smart Manufacturing [Blog Series]

December 5, 2012

This is Part 10 in the ChEnected series "We Are ChE: Entering a Golden Age". It is authored by Incoming 2013 AIChE president Phil Westmoreland.

In the last post, I focused on the remarkable advances in simulations and high-performance computing, including their impacts on ChE.

There is a whole other side to computing, though: Gathering and making sense of data. Two key buzzwords are informatics (or information science) – processing, managing, and retrieving information – and analytics – using statistics for extracting and expressing insights from large amounts of data, now frequently called “Big Data.”

Quick access to networked and cloud-based data has changed how all of us do our work. As a key example, ChEs have long been involved in process data acquisition and control, but combining these aspects with informatics and analytics is creating an increasing ChE leadership role in “Smart Manufacturing.”

Data, data everywhere

First, you must have data to work with...

Phillip R. Westmoreland

Phillip R. Westmoreland is Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State Univ. (NCSU) and Executive Director of the NCSU Institute for Computational Science and Engineering. His chemical engineering degrees are from NCSU (BS, 1973), Louisiana State Univ. (MS, 1974), and MIT (PhD, 1986). He worked in coal research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1974–1979), as a ChE faculty member at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst (1986–2009), and as a program director at the National Science Foundation (2006–2009).

An AIChE Fellow, Phil began service as public...Read more

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