Tor Guimaraes is Caplenor Research Award Winner at TTU

Tor Guimaraes, professor of Decision Sciences and the chairholder of the Jesse Owen Chair of Excellence, has been named the 1999 Caplenor Faculty Research Award winner at Tennessee Technological University.

Recognized as one of the top international researchers in the information systems area, Guimaraes's work has placed TTU as one of the top 50 universities in the world in this field, an honor no other Tennessee university has achieved.

"He has brought international visibility and recognition to Tennessee Technological University in a discipline so appropriate for a technological university," said Gary Pickett, chairman of the Dept. of Decision Sciences and Management and who nominated Guimaraes for the research award.

Whether making a presentation on how to ensure a business's information systems department is ready for the 21st century, or comparing U.S. and Japanese companies on competitive intelligence and information system support, or conducting research for IBM to find ways to make the computer giant more efficient, Guimaraes, originally of Brazil and who came to Tennessee Tech in 1991, has made a mark in his field unmatched by many others.

"In the field of information systems, his contribution is unlimited. I have admired his consistent enthusiasm and devotion to rigorously pursuing the highest standards of excellence in every field," said Youngohc Yoon, associate professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and co-author on many papers with the TTU professor.

"Dr. Guimaraes is an outstanding researcher who is unquestionably a great asset to your university," Yoon added.

Guimaraes is quick to point out, however, that his research is truly a group effort.

"All these accomplishments are not just mine Ð they have come by the work of a lot of other people," he said.

One project that Guimaraes uses to illustrate his partnering with other skilled researchers is a study of "expert systems" for both IBM and, later, DuPont, with Yoon and others.

An expert system is a computer program that emulates the decision making of a human expert. It is designed to work in a narrow area, similar to the focus of an expert, such as medical diagnosis, computer configuration, and work personnel scheduling.

The research Guimaraes completed, over approximately one year, enabled him to recommend such changes to IBM officials within their expert systems to allow for better diagnosis of manufacturing problems, product problems and better ways of manufacturing planning.

"The whole project was about what IBM and other companies should do in using expert systems and we wanted to identify a list of factors that result if things are done right," he explained.

This particular project received a great deal of publicity and made TTU very visible across the country and even throughout the world with the publication of its methods and results in many top journals.

"But this is just one example of me not being able to do it all by myself," he said.

Guimaraes, as the Jesse Owen Chair of Excellence chairholder, teaches one class a semester and has also earned a positive reputation among his peers and colleagues at TTU.

"Dr. Guimaraes is very open to partnering with junior faculty members and treats them as equals during the process," said Curtis Armstrong, assistant professor of information systems. "Because of my partnering with Dr. Guimaraes on these and other research projects I have matured greatly in my research skill."

The Caplenor Faculty Research Award, established in 1984 in honor of the late Charles Donald Caplenor, former Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Instructional Development, is awarded annually to one member of the faculty of TTU for outstanding research accomplished while employed at the university.