Mengchu Zhou, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), was recently elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his contributions to Petri nets and their applications.
Being elected a Fellow is one of the Institute's most prestigious honors and the highest grade of membership; a Petri net is a mathematical and graphic modeling tool for automated production systems, transportation systems and computer networks. Designers and analysts use Petri nets to model, implement and operate manufacturing systems.
Atam Dhawan, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of that department at NJIT, said “Zhou has made significant contributions in research, particularly in the area of Petri nets. He is well recognized among his peers as he has chaired a number of research meetings and conferences and has been very active in professional activities. We are proud of him for receiving this coveted honor from IEEE, one of the largest professional societies in the world.”
Zhou, of Parsippany, has spent the last 15 years extending Petri net theory and applying it to manufacturing systems and companies use his theory in a variety of ways. Some firms use his theory to evaluate procedures for building environmental impact into the design and manufacture of new products. Using his tools, firms can see what affect their products will have on the environment, starting from raw material, through production, disposal, recycling and reuse. This allows the firms to design and make products that will not harm the environment.
His ideas have also helped companies design and develop automated-guided vehicle systems – small mobile vehicles and robots that can carry loads in manufacturing centers. And semi conductor firms use his Petri net approach to improve the productivity of cluster tools, instruments used in the manufacture of semi conductor chips.
The country’s top companies including General Motors, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, whose researchers have cited Zhous’s work, call upon his ideas. An information-technology specialist at Microsoft recently said, “My hallway is now littered with Petri nets of business systems, which are a mandatory part of system engineering documentation in my department. I use your paper, Petri nets and Industrial Applications: A Tutorial, as required reading for new analysts.”
Zhou has published four books, 10 book chapters, 50 peer-reviewed journal papers, and more than 120 conference proceeding papers. He has also made more than 100 conference presentations, seminars and workshops worldwide. He has conducted more than 20 projects supported by grants and contracts, to which his contribution is more than $2 million as principal investigator or co-principal investigator.
Zhou has guided more than 30 graduate students and mentored many undergraduates in senior design projects. His students have won several awards in IEEE sponsored international conferences and contests and he is a contributor to the IEEE sponsored program on “Electronics and the Environment.”
He has invested much time in IEEE. He was a three-time program chair of IEEE sponsored international conferences; editor of International Journal of Intelligent and Control Systems; guest-editor of three IEEE transactions -- Industrial Electronics, Semiconductor Manufacturing and Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Part B. He guest edited two other journals -- Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing and the International Journal of Intelligent and Control Systems. He served as a member of the selection committee for the Lucent Global Science Scholars Program as well as on student paper award committees for several IEEE conferences.
He is also a reviewer for many journals, conferences, funding agencies and publishers. He has organized or chaired more than 60 technical sessions for many international conferences. He was founding General Chair of the U.S.-China Conference on High-Tech Industry Development & Business Opportunities in 1999 and served as Program Chair of the 9th International Conference on CAD/CAM, Robotics, & Factories of the Future. He is currently serving as a general chair for the 2003 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. The conference is scheduled for this October in Washington, D.C.
Zhou has won many awards including Engineering Foundation Research Initiation Award (1991); National Science Foundation Research Initiation Award (1994); Harlan J. Perlis Award for Research, NJIT (1996); Humboldt Research Award for U.S. Senior Scientists, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany (2000); and the Academic Achievement Award, Chinese Association for Science & Technology (2001).
Zhou devotes much time to the Asian American community. Awards he’s received include Outstanding Service Award (1994) and the Leadership Award (2000) from the Chinese Association for Science & Technology as well as the Asian American Achievement Award from the Asian American Heritage Council of New Jersey. He organizes a local ski club serving thousands of Chinese-American professionals and is a member and past president of the Chinese Association for Science & Technology.
Zhou, born in Zhejiang, China, in 1963, received his B.S. degree from Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, in 1983. He received his M.S. degree from Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China in 1986, and his Ph.D. in computer and systems engineering in 1990 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. He joined the department of electrical and computer engineering at NJIT in 1990.