A group of students from UNIST, led by Professor Sang Jin Kweon from the Department of Industrial Engineering, emerged as the winners in the 19th ‘Korean Industrial Engineering University Students Project Competition,’ organized by the Korean Institute of Industrial Engineers (KIIE). The competition, held at UNIST on November 2, featured intense competition among over 50 teams from universities nationwide.
Professor Kweon’s team was honored with the prestigious ‘Encouragement Award’ for their outstanding research on the equitable distribution of relief goods to transportation-vulnerable individuals during disasters. The project, spearheaded by Professor Kweon and Research Assistant Dagyo Kweon, included team members YuJin Song (School of Business Administration), HyunSoo Kwon (School of Business Administration), SuRyeon Ra (Department of Industrial Engineering), and YuMi Kim (Department of Mathematical Sciences).
The team proposed an optimal relief distribution system that prioritizes spatial equality and fairness, utilizing mathematical optimization models. They took into account the travel time for different transportation methods used by various populations, deriving an optimization solution to improve accessibility for transportation-vulnerable individuals in receiving relief supplies. Notably, this study was conducted in Flint City, Michigan, USA, and distinguished itself by considering the mobility of each individual, setting it apart from previous studies on aid distribution.
Expressing their satisfaction with the project, the participating students stated, “Establishing an emergency response system through a hybrid model that addresses the facility location allocation problem and the capacity-limited vehicle routing problem provided us with invaluable experience.” They emphasized the importance of spatial equality and fairness in tackling the issue of limited access to relief supplies during disasters, recognizing the crucial role of engineering in resolving socially significant problems.
Research Assistant Dagyo Kweon shared her reflections on the successful outcome, stating, “The success of the competition, from our preparations to receiving the prize, was the result of the passion and efforts of the participating students united under the UIRP program.” She further added, “The students collaborated as a cohesive team and consistently pursued excellence. I am delighted to see their hard work pay off.”
“Through this competition, students from various departments and grade levels have demonstrated their problem-solving abilities in addressing welfare gaps related to spatial equality and fairness through optimization research,” noted Professor Kweon. “This award exemplifies the exceptional application of optimization techniques by UNIST students in expanding research into the field of social welfare.”