Over the last decade the scope of the area of process operations has expanded from operational issues in manufacturing plants to the management and optimization of entire supply chains. Furthermore, its scope has also been expanded towards R&D activities on the one hand, and on the other hand towards distribution and logistics of products. The new expanded scope of process operations offers exciting possibilities at the practical and at the research level. At the practical level it has promoted the integration of computer and information technologies with large-scale modeling and optimization tools that are being translated into large economic savings by improved coordination of operations, decreased inventories and higher levels of service. At the research level process operations has given rise to a number of modeling, algorithmic, and integration challenges in order to effectively tackle large and complex systems that are characterized by constant dynamic changes and uncertainties.
It is in the context of this evolving and changing nature of process operations, that a conference was organized by Carnegie Mellon Professor Ignacio E. Grossmann, and Dr. Conor McDonald of Dupont to provide a forum to discuss new developments and ideas, and for speculating where the future directions in this area might lead, particularly in the face of changing business practices and conditions in industry.
The Foundations of
Computer Aided Process Operations Conference (FOCAPO 2003), which was
held in Coral Springs, Florida, January 12-15, 2003, convened a group
of international experts to discuss the new directions in process operations.
Participants from many countries, industry, academia, vendors, and consulting
companies converged on Coral Springs, to discuss challenges and needs
for process oriented industries such as chemicals, energy, food and beverage,
pharmaceutical, and metals.