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Professor Ni Appointed to Shien-Ming (Sam) Wu Collegiate Professorship


Jun NiProfessor Jun Ni ( ) has been appointed to the Shien-Ming (Sam) Wu Collegiate Professorship of Manufacturing Science, by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

The appointment of Ni is a fitting tribute to the legendary Professor Wu. Wu served as Ni’s advisor and mentor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where Ni earned his master’s and doctoral degrees.

“This is an honor richly deserved by Professor Ni,” said Dennis Assanis, ME department chair, “one which recognizes his outstanding contributions to manufacturing science and engineering, his commitment to the pursuit of excellence in global research and education programs, as well as his professional accomplishments and international stature.”

Indeed Ni’s contributions and accomplishments are deserving of recognition. He directs the S.M. Wu Manufacturing Research Center and co directs the NSF-Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems and the Multi-Campus National Science Foundation Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems. His research focuses on manufacturing science and engineering, more specifically precision machining, manufacturing process modeling and control, statistical quality design and improvement, micro/meso systems and manufacturing processes, and intelligent monitoring and maintenance systems. He has led several major research projects, and his findings have a direct impact on industry; companies such as Boeing, DaimlerChrysler, Delphi, Ford, General Motors and Honda have implemented his industrial applications.

Sam WuJust as Wu did during his career, Ni continually inspires and mentors students. He has served as an advisory or guest professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, Xi’an Jiao Tong University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Jilin University of Technology, Dalian University of Technology and the Chinese Academy of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. He was the 2001 Distinguished Visiting Chair at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 1994 he was named a Presidential Faculty Fellow by President Clinton.

Ni inspires colleagues as well: In 2002 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and, in 2004, of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Wu joined the U-M faculty in 1987 as the Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing, a position he held until his death in 1992. “Professor Wu brought about a renaissance of the University of Michigan’s Manufacturing programs,” said Assanis. Wu also sparked change throughout his career. He was one of the first to apply statistical methods to manufacturing science and engineering. He developed a theory known as dynamic data systems and successfully applied it to diverse engineering–and even non-engineering–fields, including manufacturing, robotics, paper making, agriculture, nuclear reactors, medical signal processing and earthquake prediction.

The list of Wu’s many well-deserved awards include the Chiang Manufacturing Achievement Award from the Chiang Industrial Charity Foundation of Hong Kong. He received the award in 1991 and donated the $100,000 prize to U-M to establish scholarship programs. He earned the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award from U-M in 1992. He was an elected member of Academia Sinica.

Wu graduated from Jiao-Tong University in Shanghai and went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He taught there for more than 25 years before coming to U-M.

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