Innovative App

July 31, 2014

A mobile app designed to analyze business travel routes won runner-up honors at an annual industrial engineering conference this summer. EconoRouter, designed by students in Bradley’s industrial and manufacturing engineering and technology and computer science and information systems departments, was one of four finalists at the Institute of Industrial Engineers annual conference and mobile app competition in Montreal, Canada.

Bradley’s app competed against finalists from Penn State, the University of South Florida and Tunghai University in Taiwan. In addition to the routing app, other finalists included apps to monitor health conditions, work scheduling and time study.

EconoRouter used an algorithm to address the “traveling salesperson problem” — finding the most efficient travel route for a person to visit multiple locations and return to the point of origin. This is a problem industrial engineers often face when working on optimization projects.

The early-June conference provided opportunities for students to test their presentation skills and network with many of the 1,500 professionals in attendance.

“This really reinforced the importance of presenting ideas and projects,” said Ethan Hinds ’16, an industrial engineering major from Marengo, Illinois. “You can have great ideas, but without convincing others of those ideas' worth, it's hard to get anywhere. That presentation in Montreal was probably my first ‘important presentation, so I am happy with how it turned out.”

Hinds was joined on the EconoRouter team by graduate students Ashish Thirunavalli (Department of Computer Science and Information Systems), Ali Rahmati and Seshasai Bondalapati (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and Technology). Assistant Professor Dr. John Jung-Woon Yoo advised the project.

The time in Montreal left Hinds and teammates with experience that bolstered their confidence and expertise that will benefit their careers. It already helped Hinds land a summer internship at Rockford-based Greenlee Textron.

“It’s extremely important to have these opportunities,” Hinds said. “I have a reasonable amount of knowledge about what went into the app and how the process works. That knowledge will help differentiate me from the next resume on the desk. The competition was brought up during each of my internship interviews and I feel the competition helped me get to where I am now.”