Laird named director of AIChE CAST Division

Photo of Dr. Carl LairdDr. Carl D. Laird, assistant professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been elected a director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division.

CAST, the leading division for process systems engineering in the chemical engineering community, is responsible for the wide range of activities within AIChE that involve the application of computers and mathematics to chemical engineering problems including process design, process control, operations and applied mathematics.

Laird, who will serve a three-year term, intends to enhance retention efforts for the organization by further developing existing initiatives aimed at creating and maintaining an active body of graduate students within CAST, with hopes of retaining them as ongoing members following graduation. In addition, Laird will assist efforts targeted at increasing the quality, significance and attendance of the organization’s poster sessions where younger students present their work to CAST.

At Texas A&M, Laird's research focuses on large-scale nonlinear optimization, parameter estimation, and parallel computing. Particular applications include network problems, where he has worked on developing algorithms as part of an early warning contaminant detection system in municipal drinking water networks. In addition, Laird is involved in the modeling and optimization of infectious diseases, working to determine the fundamental driving forces affecting the spread of infectious disease in both time and space.

Holder of the William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellowship in Chemical Engineering, Laird completed his undergraduate career at the University of Alberta. He earned his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 and joined Texas A&M in 2007.

As part of its mission to advance the field of computing and systems technology, the CAST division is responsible for organizing technical sessions at AIChE meetings as well as special conferences. The division also publishes the newsletter “CAST Communications.”